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About R J Hillhouse

  • Dr. Hillhouse has run Cuban rum between East and West Berlin, smuggled jewels from the Soviet Union and slipped through some of the world’s tightest borders. From Uzbekistan to Romania, she's been followed, held at gunpoint and interrogated. Foreign governments and others have pitched her for recruitment as a spy. (They failed.)

    A former professor and Fulbright fellow, Dr. Hillhouse earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan. Her latest novel, OUTSOURCED (Forge Books) is about the turf wars between the Pentagon and the CIA and the privatization of national security.

    Dr. Hillhouse is an expert on national security outsourcing. Her controversial work has twice elicited a formal response by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence--the only times that office has ever publicly responded to the writings of a private citizen.

    She is a regular media guest and available for interviews.

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OUTSOURCED.

« I'm baaaack -- The Spy Who Billed Me Comes in from the Cold | Main | Pakistan Security Reveals ISI Toileting Secrets »

August 07, 2011

Comments

HotFlash

You said it was a "major international news story|" and you do not disappoint! Thank you so much for this interesting information.

So, Pakistani's took him down? Most interesting and not, ahem, in accordance with published accounts. Which smelled like fish even to me.

The burial at sea part, that still on?

Nice to see you blogging again.

n. khan

it;s reasonable to assume that anything to do with the bin laden kill op must be top secret - begs the question, how do you know all that you claim?
for all we know, you are making it all up?

DuaneW

"for all we know, you are making it all up?"

Or else your sources are feeding you fabrications in support of an undisclosed intelligence agenda or, on the other hand, to fulfill a rogue personal agenda?

Thomas Nephew

Interesting story, seems plausible. I'm not sure, though, what the White House was supposed to do differently once the chopper crashed -- it's hard to hide where you've been and why at that point.

RJ Hillhouse

"a rogue personal agenda"--that sounds way cool. Me like.

Note the rogue personal agendas on all the intel stories I've broken over the years. Nuff said.

Charl

Why would the Saudis pay Pakistan to keep OBL hidden?

Tony Foresta

Great to see back, and look forward to your informative posts.

Curious what correlation this news might have with the terrible loss this weekend in Tangi valley?

Bill in Chicago

"Why would the Saudis pay Pakistan to keep OBL hidden?"

Probably because he's a national hero to the Saudis, and either cooperating with the US in capturing him, or allowing him to come home, would put the Saudi royals in an untenable position. Perhaps they also appreciate his efforts "in God's cause".

http://www.asecondlookatthesaudis.com

George Caldwell

Like most novelsts, you have a very vivid imagination. Did you clear this with Rush before posting?

Michael Hesson

So, the Saudis were paying Pakistan to protect Bin Laden. In a way, it helps explain why Bush had no interest in finding him. The question now is - was it out of courtesy that Bush backed off, or was he being paid too?!?

Nano

This would explain why they didn't have a measuring tape on them when they found the body.

RJ Hillhouse

Wow. I'm always amazed by how many people think that once an academic writes a novel, they have been lobotomized and can never distinguish fact from fiction again.

Nano, I don't know about the measuring tape, but it's my understanding that the forensics person on the OBL team was a contractor. I haven't been able to confirm if the IC was private or from a corporation.

Cynthia

Welcome back! Always interesting.

Tony Foresta

90% of the Saudi population loathes Amerika. The Saudi royals fund and support wahabist jihadi factions, including al queda globally. Though I repudiate Trump on most grounds we agree that Saudi Arabia is an enemy - not a friend of America. Bushcrimefamilycabal profiteering notwithstanding.

Murray Abraham

Torture is not part of the official story. And you can't help yourself from name calling.

Makes your story sound more like an agenda driven piece than a reliable account.

The irony is that bribery is perfectly plausible and even likely. But not how you describe it.

person america

"cooperating Pakistanis"?

you mean the Pakistan that was hiding bin ladin for $? oh, THAT cooperation!

poor Pakistani generals :(

otherwise, why would a cover story be a drone attack? on what? bin ladin? didn't they want "proof" of his death? wouldn't drone attack NOT do that?

what are you talking about?

RJ Hillhouse

Yeah, it is a little hard to feel sorry for P & K.

The cover story of a drone attack was supposed to be just that--a cover story to protect Pakistan's involvement. It's one thing to send a drone in -- we've done that a lot -- and quite another to send in SEALS. Not much explanation would have been necessary for a drone. It's great stealth capabilities kept radar from detecting and it was a down and dirty strike for which no explanation of why the nexus of Pakistani military didn't react.

It was a pretty clean cover -- and just that a cover. No drone attack was intended. The operation would have gone down as it did, minus the helo crash.

If SEAL involvement was acknowledged (as it was), it raises a billion questions of how multiple helicopters penetrated so deeply into the heart of the military complex without Pakistani cooperation.

Luther

Just to clarify, you're saying that had the helicopter ~not~ crashed, the story would have been that OBL was killed in a drone strike?

Really? Such a cover story seems terribly naive. I doubt it would have held up for more than a few hours. Worse, it would (at least publicly) have left OBL's remains in the hands of the Pakistanis. This would raise all sorts of problems that neither Pakistan nor the US would desire.

As for that cover story not holding, helicopters are LOUD. The locals near the hideout heard and reported the low flying helicopters. Further, our congress leaks like a sieve when there's credit to be taken. Additionally, I can easily imagine proponents of the Seals wanting them to get their due credit and leaking their involvement to the press.

Any of those reports would have blown that cover story to bits, probably within hours, days at most.


On another topic, you leave unanswered the reason as to why OBL's wife was (very curiously) only shot in the leg. I fully agree that DEVGRU shoots to kill. Perhaps it has something to do with the initial plan of evacuating OBL's relatives for interrogation? Perhaps there were specific orders not to kill certain potential intelligence sources?


Blueman

So you're back, huh? And CTC just put in a call to Bruce Jessen (LoL). After re-reading your novel, Outsourced, I think that I've got it figured out--you used to be one of us and then went green, but I'm not quite sure for who. Just too many things in Outsourced that you wouldn't know unless you were aqua (i.e., blue who went green). I'll figure it out though. One thing's for sure, you're remarkably well-informed for a "civilian."

RJ Hillhouse

Welcome back, Blueman!

And how did you know I've been hanging out with a gnarly shrink lately on Waikiki beach? You guys are damn good!

I am touched you re-read Outsourced. I honestly never made it through it (cover to cover) and was thinking about taking it on now I have some distance and can no longer remember what the hell I wrote.

You know I never worked for you guys and I'm guessing you know whose door to knock on to find out. And you have to know my WaPo piece and OUTSOURCED could never had made it through the PRB--proof alone I'm an intel virgin.

Must be a little creepy to have a civilian who spies on the spies. ;)

BTW, isn't all green aqua by definition??

Welcome back!

rustyhoundog

Why would anyone think the Saudis had no stake in protecting OBL? He's the lynch pin of their complete involvement in this push for the Caliphate.

Retired

Welcome back, Dr. Hillhouse! Blueman, you twerp, what did they do, scramble your brains at your last promotion ceremony? Must have been like a one egg omlet. If you had paid attention during my staff meetings before I turned my badge in and went fishing instead of playing footsie with the HRM babe, you would realize that Dr Hillhouse is exactly the type of person that I was tryng to recruit. Too bad I hadn't heard of her before I pulled the plug. It would be nice to have that type of mind focused on our problems instead of the abstraction of decrypting feckless cover stories. Oh, well, welcome back anyway, RJ.

Jeremy Cohen

Dr. Hillhouse, Larry Johnson made the same claims in May. Were you aware of this? Did you speak with him or possibly the same sources?

RJ Hillhouse

Jeremy, I haven't followed Larry's blog for some time. It's excellent, but I've been deep in other projects until recently. Will check it out.

Seems our sources are telling us similar things. It's highly doubtful that we share the same sources, but you never know.

Siamak Karimi

hi,it was intresting story
so in notherword : the king
of saudi is and was the lidar of
alqaeda no ben laden,BL was just
a 3rd hand person in al ghaeda.

Nimblebooks

Worthless when there is no checkable sourcing. For all we know, you've been fed a cover story. I expected better from you.

In any event, not sure this really changes anything. We still got him, which is good, and we still know major elements of Pakistani Saudi culture are deeply out of sync with our interests.

Bambi La Ronda

(not to deny the effectiveness of waterboarding, but it’s just not applicable in this case.)
Should we take this as a hint of another man-bites-dog story in the wings? Real actionable intel that came from waterboarding someone only 82 times?

Seriously, though, do you know the Hartley/Kinnich books? I found Get People To Do What You Want on clearance. Hartley claims to be a white hat military interrogator who worked at Gitmo. He said something really interesting about interrogation techniques.
The older classic school of just hanging with the guy and chatting is still the best for getting real intel, but it is not as effective with religious nutbars as it is with soldiers. Soldier conditioning is to the soldier's unit and for officers to the organization and culture represented by his colleagues. When the subject is removed from this social backup, he is marooned and weak and can be slowly turned. Religious loonbats have strong conditioning to an abstract idea as well as his compatriots, and are thus less vulnerable than a soldier who is separated from his platoon. But waterboarding, 90db rock for days at a time, and enforced c-lingus are ineffective and noose-worthy.

Glad you're back.

911Truth Controlled Demolition

one thing IS clear : 911 is controlled demolition, therefore inside flase flag make-it-happen operation.

Ladin might have wanted to do it in revenge for destruction of Iraq, but could have never succeeded.

www.911investigate.blogspot.com
www.twitter.com/911news

911Truth Controlled Demolition

and one more: WHY wasnt bin Ladin just brought to justice?

what's up with this extrajudicial killing of main suspect?

Shah Rukh Kahn

Unless it was a low-ranking, low-paid, Shia,"rogue" ISI operative, most Pakistani Military/ISI generals DO make more than than the piddly $25 million US govt. was offering - courtesy U.S. tax payers and PA owning most businesses in Pakistan. Not enough incentive, in my humble opinion! Besides, the lower ranks within ISI are more radicalized than the top brass, so less chances of committing this sacrilegious act.

Christian Louboutin Sale

The spark that caused the riot was the shooting of a black by police, but the riot that ensued appears to have been dominated by looters (many of them white) hoping to get away with their loot in the confusion of a riot. They seem not to have reckoned with England’s extraordinary network of surveillance cameras, or with the anger of the people (including the Pakistani storekeepers victimized by the looters), which has resulted in many arrests and the swift imposition of substantial prison sentences on the looters and now a movement to evict looters and their families from publicly subsidized housing. The evicted may be more prone to engage in criminal activity, but the hope is that the threat of eviction, and of collective punishment (family members along with the malefactor), will deter more riotous behavior than it encourages.

Jordan Flight SC-1

Grasp the current time, wasted time let him become the past? The opportunity ahead!

Brig Retd Farooq Hameed Khan

It was all strategic deception.i seriously doubt if there was any Bin Laden in the compound, yes his family was there. It is unbelievable that Al- Qaeda's top leader and founder would be in a compound guarded by only two armed persons. can Al QAEDA dump its leader who was revered like a saint?
What was in that body bag no one knows. The muslim world is used to seeing dead, mutilated bodies killed in drone attacks and terrorist bombings. I would believe when they show OBL's dead body images. HE PROBABLY DIED MANY YEARS AGO.

Interesting Reader

Your article seems like a potboiler to me. Is what you have said possible. Well it is, as adidas puts it out in their ads "impossible is nothing". But is it probable, likely not.

For one, when Isralies blew out Syrian nuclear facility in Operation Orchard, they used a software that when used could effectively jam enemy radars (Suter airborne network attack system). That is why Israeli jets were not detected by the Syrians when they bombed the facility.

Further more, it this was a "controlled operation" as you put out, why did the helicopter at all crash. Could it not have been made to land in a place further away. After all there were open fields of potatoes and god knows what next to this safe house, no other buildings. And why helicopters, when you could have driven up to the house, if the Pakistanis were really cooperating.

No military is always in a state of heightened alert unless there is reason for it. If the Pakistanis didnot know the Americans were coming, then it is highly probable that all radar units were not continuously monitoring air traffic. After all, Americans flew in from Afghanistan, a direction from which Pakistan least expects an attack. India, with whom they seem to have a life long animosity is on the opposite side of Afghan- Pakistan border.

Further, on such a sensitive topic as this, I really donot think the US President will boldly stride into a room and make an announcement to the world that is a blatant lie.

Oh ! and one more thing, why shoot Bin Laden's wife in the leg. Probably because they were instructed to limit collateral damage. Any collateral damage would have undermined the success of the raid. A clean surgical strike is what would bolster America's image. Seal Team 6 shoots to kill only when they want. Trust me, not all the bullets they fire have some one's name written on it or has to have a name written on it

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Acknowledgements

  • A tip of the hat to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock who inspired the name of this blog with his path-breaking 2005 article, "The Spy Who Billed Me."

    Shorrock has a dedicated web page on outsourcing in intel. It links to many of his articles which are must-reads for anyone interested in the privatization of intelligence.