Congress / Intelligence / Politics / etc.

The President under investigation

I have continued to watch the news with regard to the Russian intelligence operations against the US elections in 2016, part of which included cyber operations but also clearly included good ol’ human intelligence operations. I’ve continued to watch, in part for the sadness over how this is continuing to impact our country, our House and Senate, and our new administration, but also out of professional curiosity – I am these days teaching counterintelligence to undergraduates and graduate students. One thing that continues to amaze me is the Trump’s obsession with being told that he isn’t under investigation, even

Intelligence / Military / Politics

Looking Back: 8 Years of an Obama Administration

I have been recently reflecting on what these last eight years have meant, and in part on how I think they will written in the history books. Reflection is, after all, an important tool for me – I’ve written about that before. But with my 25 years in the intelligence field, and my current work teaching intelligence, security studies, and a lot of topics related to policy to undergraduate and graduate students, I have and continue to spend time thinking about decision and policy makers. History is going to judge them. History is going to make judgement about these

Intelligence / Politics

Dear Mr. President-Elect: “Reforming” the CIA as a Priority

Donald, I continue to read reports, dating back to the time of the election, that you want to initiate significant reforms to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). With this, you may look to significantly change and even eliminate the position of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Intelligence reform is a topic I teach at the undergraduate and graduate level. This includes the reforms made after the Bush / Cheney / Wolfowitz / GOP abuses of the Intelligence Community in 2002, but also the abuses committed by American intelligence agencies

Writing

On Good Writing: Mahood

Make time to go read these two articles when you get the chance. The Hunt for the Death Valley Germans The Hunt for 928 Tom Mahood is the author, and he has had an interesting life. He gets into a subject, and then boy, does he. But he also writes very, very well. These long stories are amazing tales, in and of themselves, but they are worth reading in large part because of his storytelling, too. Good writing is important.

Congress / Ethics / Politics / etc.

Donald, Congress and Ethics

I see no reason why Congress would not go ahead and gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, as it did today, moving the office from being independent to being under the control of the very people the office is charged to oversee. I mean, why not. This is a new era, the Donald era. This is an era in which the new White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks can just say, “The transition is not concerned about the appearance of a conflict,” and declare that, with regards to his $525-per-plate New Year’s Eve dinner actually selling access to the

Military / Politics

The US and Ukraine – BFF in 2017, We Swear

“I send the message from the American people – we are with you, your fight is our fight and we will win together,” Senator John McCain said today, as he visited Ukraine’s front lines in its ongoing conflict with Russia. “In 2017 we will defeat the invaders and send them back where they came from. To Vladimir Putin – you will never defeat the Ukrainian people and deprive them of their independence and freedom,” he said. But when Russia influenced the elections in Crimea in March, and annexed it, where was the United States? In light of the revelations

Terrorism

2016 and the Drones

I spent much of this fall semester diving back into drones, drone technology, and policies related to drones. This was, in large part, because I had agreed to take on leading this cohort of undergrads through an internship regarding drones starting next month, and it’s about all things drones. I have a solid background in drones – well, I tell myself that – but I really needed to bear down and ensure I had maintained my subject matter expertise in the whole of the subject. Nobody wants a professor who sort of knows the material. I don’t want to

Education / Portland / Writing

Coming to Terms with Mistakes

One of the key requirements for reflection is coming to terms with your mistakes. It’s not enough to look back at what has happened and just see the past, it’s taking the time to more than recognize the mistake, but accept them for what they are. I try to do this, and often. Reflection has been a part of my own continued personal and professional development, in the Army and now in education, since my 20’s when I had Army leaders talk with me about the need to include reflection and our open and honest embracing of mistakes as

Army

Our Homeless Vets

Just over a year ago, my buddy Tom arrived in Portland. I had been following his journey, as he rode his motorcycle up out of the deep South, blogging about his adventures, and headed this way to see family and possibly spend the holidays in the Portland area. I was excited at the prospects of getting the chance to see him, if only for a little bit, before his plans had him heading East and on to other parts unknown. He had just closed one large chapter of his life, and he was free – or adrift – to go

Education

Mentoring: Modeling for others

I say all the time, model the behavior you want to see in others. Some of the time, I am talking to or with students, about the challenges in growing up. But often, I am talking with teachers and other educators about the struggles we ourselves face, in continuing our own personal and professional development. We can sit around, and wait for the world to come to us with what it thinks should happen to us or for us. Or we can start to have the effect we want to see. That’s especially true with mentoring. In K-12 education,

Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go – Playing the Long Game

About two weeks ago, I shelved my Pokémon Go account and created a new one. With my friend Josh, I will be speaking about Pokémon Go in December at the TIES conference, and there was a number of things about the game I wanted to re-look – things that I thought I was not, and would not, see, given the status of my current account. So, I started over. I shelved a Level 25 account, with well more than a half-million experience points, in order to start fresh. A giant part of it is a relearn the game, but part of

Politics

A businessman running for President

It’s an unusual event, having a non-politician as the presidential candidate for one of American’s two main political parties in the election this year. Donald Trump has never held office. He’s from a wealthy family, he started his business career with a loan from his father, and he has had his financial ups and downs over the years, to include 4 instances of filing for bankruptcy. But in his first run for office, he’s swinging for the fence – with some backing from the Republican party, he’s running for President of the United States. In reading today his posted

Intelligence

The Clinton Email Investigation

Back in July, I read with great interest the statement from James B. Comey, the Director of the FBI, regarding the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, their cyber analysis in support of their investigation, and his ultimate decision to not recommend that she or others involved in this series of events be brought up on charges or prosecutes. I read this with interest because, unlike others, I am not a self-described political blogger. I am a retired intelligence officer. I spent a lifetime living, eating, breathing these exact types of classified information, for 25

Pokemon Go / Portland

Sellwood Riverfront Park – Pikachu Nest

Sellwood Riverfront Park is an open dog run park, with a great walking path around it, that features more than half a dozen Pokestops know for dispensing a high rate of various balls. Oh, and it’s the local nesting place for Pikachu. What do I mean by nest? I mean you can very likely catch 4 of a specific but uncommon Pokemon in a 60 minute period. That is what I mean by a nest.

Intelligence

The Congressional Report of Bias at CENTCOM

For my friends and colleagues still in the business, it might be worth the time to read the newly released report from the Congressional Joint Task Force that looked into allegations that CENTCOM senior officials and senior intelligence analysts slanted intelligence analysis and the intelligence process.   This is good reading, and key to understanding – and remembering – so many of the things that led to the debacle of the poor intelligence support to policy and decision makers in 2002.   This speaks to the role analysts play in supporting policy and decision makers; to analysts vs those

Pokemon Go / Portland

Laurelhurst Park – Scyther Nest

The Laurelhurst Park in NE Portland is a Scyther nest. Spanning from the Pokestop where SE 33rd meets SE Pine streets, across the park to where SE Cesar Chavez Blvd crosses SE Ash St., those little buggers can be found just about everywhere in the park, north of SE Oak Street. What do I mean by nest? I mean you can very likely catch 4 of a specific but uncommon Pokemon in a 60 minute period. That is what I mean by a nest.