Friday, December 16, 2011

No Moral Qualities!!!

Hut, Hut, Holy Moly!


Keith Taylor

You're more likely to see a miracle at a football game than at Lourdes. Take the recent string of miracles taking place around the second-year quarterback playing for the Broncos. His "miracle" doesn't change much from game to game.

It goes something like this: A burly center looks back through his legs, then hikes the ball straight to a guy named Tebow who runs with it willy-nilly. Several linemen hit their opponents from the other side hard, knocking them silly. Silly knocking is a plus in football. The referee decides a blocker holding a defensive pass rusher by the shirt isn't a violation. The quarterback slips through an opening and makes a touchdown.

Then Tebow gets on his knees and thanks God.

That's worth a chuckle, but I dare not laugh. Hell . . . uh, heck, I better not even frown. Tebow is busy talking with God. This is a moment for piety, a time for me to recapture that pious look I used to effect at the alter rail at communion.

Most football fans, and all politicians, think football is so important the creator of a universe -- huge beyond description -- has a personal interest in it. They don't want no making fun of the deity, or his herald angels like guys named Tebow.

In America any dissenters from claims of our most favored religion are called heretics. That includes me. Naively I think believing in unsubstantiated claims is imprudent, but my thinking doesn't sway many people. Dissent in things religious is discouraged. In fact if I grumble about it too much I'll become a pariah, and Boy Scouts won't have me.

Tebow, of course, does not have those problems. Belief in things supernatural needs no verification. In fact asking for it is blasphemous, and woe unto the blasphemers.

And providence does indeed seem to be shining down on the young quarterback. He looks All-American, even ecumenical. Although he's a Baptist, his name sounds as if it emanated from Salt Lake City. It is on a par with Moab, Deseret, Lamanite, or Nephi.

He gets superstar type press coverage even though his "miracles" are merely average by NFL standards. Since becoming starting quarterback he has won six and lost one. Only in places like Buffalo would that be considered supernatural.

Claims of his heroism are protected by the true believers. Sean Hannity on Fox news went bonkers over the disrespect for a man who's setting such a good example for the youth of our country. Hannity, of course, loves to juxtapose the saintly demeanor of the shining knight in a Broncos helmet with the sinfulness of bad guys -- dopers and adulterers.

Reid Cherner in the Huffington Post quotes a football fan from Alabama (where else?) , as saying, "We are a nation founded upon religious freedom and expression. We're a melting pot. But instead of respecting and embracing our differences we're becoming more and more intolerant. To me, that's more egregious than anything Tim Tebow has done or will do. It's sad, really."

Could it be more egregious than having my a vice president once say an atheist could not be a citizen or patriotic. Or how about knowing that the majority of citizens would not vote for a dreaded non-believer no matter what their qualifications. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain wouldn't have a chance.

And as for intolerance, the Boy Scouts would only accept me if I claimed a belief in God. Otherwise little kids would be told I didn't have the moral qualities to be a scout.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CIA & Open Source Intel...

From Secrecy News...

December 12, 2011

Secrecy News Blog:



Open Source Works, which is the CIA's in-house open source analysis component, is devoted to intelligence analysis of unclassified, open source information. Oddly, however, the directive that established Open Source Works is classified, as is the charter of the organization. In fact, CIA says the very existence of any such records is a classified fact.

"The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request," wrote Susan Viscuso, CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator, in a November 29 response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Jeffrey Richelson of the National Security Archive for the Open Source Works directive and charter.

"The fact of the existence or nonexistence of requested records is currently and properly classified and is intelligence sources and methods information that is protected from disclosure," Dr. Viscuso wrote.

This is a surprising development since Open Source Works -- by definition -- does not engage in clandestine collection of intelligence. Rather, it performs analysis based on unclassified, open source materials.

Thus, according to a November 2010 CIA report, Open Source Works "was charged by the [CIA] Director for Intelligence with drawing on language-trained analysts to mine open-source information for new or alternative insights on intelligence issues. Open Source Works' products, based only on open source information, do not represent the coordinated views of the Central Intelligence Agency."

As such, there is no basis for treating Open Source Works as a covert, unacknowledged intelligence organization. It isn't one.

(Even if Open Source Works were engaged in classified intelligence analysis, the idea that its charter must necessarily be classified is a non-sequitur. Illustrating the contrary proposition, the Department of Defense last week issued a new Instruction on "Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT)," setting forth the policies governing that largely classified intelligence domain.)

Beyond that, it is an interesting question "why the CIA felt the need to establish such a unit given the existence of the DNI Open Source Center," said Dr. Richelson. The Open Source Center, the successor to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, is the U.S. Government's principal open source agency. It is, naturally, a publicly acknowledged organization.

"An even more interesting question," he added, is "why would the CIA, whose DI [Directorate of Intelligence] organization structure is published on its website, feel it necessary to refuse to confirm or deny the existence of this new open source component?"

The CIA's extreme approach to classification policy is timely in one sense: It provides a convenient benchmark for evaluating current progress in combating overclassification.

If the charter of CIA's Open Source Works remains classified six months from now, when the Obama Administration's Fundamental Classification Guidance Review will have completed its first cycle, that will be a decisive indication that the Review failed to eliminate even the most blatant examples of overclassification.


There are more than 50 federal statutes that pertain to some aspect of cybersecurity, according to the Congressional Research Service. Those statutes, and the potential impact on them of several pending legislative proposals, are described in a new CRS report. See "Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions," December 7, 2011.

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.