Protect the Secret Squirrels. Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden writes why SecDef Gates should consider keeping the Pentagon's spy unit. He makes the unpopular conclusion, "Some of the things Rumsfeld did were right."
Taliban attacks Blackwater convoy. A suicide car bomber in Kabul attacked a Blackwater diplomatic security detachment, injuring five BW employees, one seriously. No principals were injured.
Bad Rep for Shoddy Work? Improve or Hire a PR firm. DynCorp is still fretting over its bad press from the January Special Inspector General Report for Iraqi Reconstruction alleged DynCorp had improperly spent funds on 20 VIP trailers and an Olympic-size pool as well as over $36 million for body armor, armored vehicles and weapons it couldn't account. It's response: hire Qorvis, PR firm to the Saudi government. DynCorp, is a major private military corporation with a reputation for excellent upper management and big problems everywhere below. They dwarf Blackwater and serve as a reminder, that despite their flaws, BW is generally well run.
Grazie, Italia. The Nation did a nice rehash of the prosecution of CIA officers for rendering a Muslim cleric accused of recruiting jihadists to fight in Iraq. Keep this in mind when reading about Italy's recent release of Taliban prisoners in a trade for an Italian hostage.
PsyOps Coup or Misguided Investigators? The Irish press is reporting that six flights that were suspected of carrying CIA prisoners were inspected, but instead of hooded, shackled detainees, they found racehorses and golfers. I'm guessing it's a case of over-zealous investigators. Do they really think there's such a high volume going on anymore, particularly routing through the North Atlantic? I'm sure the surge capacity is there in the system, but I seriously doubt that it's being used.
K-Street finds new friends. Many saw the November elections as a big blow to the lawyers, PR specialist and lobbyists that are the K-Street spin machine--the one that helped bring us multiple congressional scandals. No so, thanks to the private military industry. They've found a new role in the democratic-controlled Congress. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Crowell & Moring, Patton Boggs, Qorvis Communications, and Vinson & Elkins have hired by such firms as DynCorp and KBR (former Halliburton subsidiary) to assist them through Congressional corruption inquiries.
Blackwater the Book. I doubt the Blackwater Pro Shop is selling the new book BLACKWATER by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill (Note to BW execs: Thanks for bringing back the BW Teddy Bears!) I have a different take on BW than Scahill and myself in the bizarre position on a DC NPR station defending its leadership yesterday (long story), but BLACKWATER is definitely worth a read because of the meticulous research. So is Scahill's new article in the Nation, "Bush's Shadow Army."
Federal Prosecutor Lam firing linked to CIA Probe? The San Diego Union-Tribune thinks so, but I suspect it was not done to protect the Agency. As the Plame scandal has very publicly demonstrated, Rove and his friend Cheney are no friends of the CIA and are unlikely to have made the move to protect Dusty Foggo, former 3rd in command at the CIA or the Agency. In their eye's, any help they gave to the spooks was more likely seen as an unfortunately side effect of the payback for prosecuting Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham or to help protect the intelligence contractor Wilkes.
The Whore Who Billed Me. Okay, I admit there's no segue between the topic of this blog and this item, but I found it interesting. David Kaplan of US News reports on his Bad Guy's blog that the Department of Justice has just issued a new guide to prostitution which includes such helpful info as the going rates for various sexual acts (ranging from $20 to $100.) Having just checked on prices here at Big Island resorts after being surprised at the prices that defense contractor Wilkes (as in Dusty Foggo and Cunningham scandals) allegedly had paid at the Hapuna Prince Resort for their call girls, these rates seem well below market. (According to the Wilkes indictment, in one instance $600 was paid to their "driver" for prostitute A and B. Later that evening, Prostitute A was given a $500 tip.) It could be that the Mainland is a lot cheaper than here in Hawaii and it's another case of what we here call the price of paradise.