The Only Place Our Intelligence Community Looks Good

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           Waning Crescent of the Winter Moon

Movies move slowly across the 694 pick-up line.  I just watched Breach, the story of the capture of Robert Hanssen, the mole in the FBI.  It’s well done, written by the young agent hopeful who worked as Hanssen’s assistant and put the last pieces together to bring Hanssen down.  After reading some of Legacy of Ashes, a history of the CIA, it became clear to me the role these movies play in the national psyche.  Playing up the clever strategies and cunning skill of guys like Hanssen puffs up the image of the FBI when they finally corner him; but, consider, he worked 22 years inside the FBI and even headed the Task Force looking for the mole. 

Legacy of Ashes shows that when it comes to matters of subterfuge, we don’t get it.  The CIA failed at most of its chaotically designed missions, blundering around in the affairs of other nations like a giant child, flailing and hiding behind parking meter posts.  The only place the intelligence community gets to look good is in movies and books.  I don’t know whether the books and movies are intentional propaganda or if the material that gets a greenlight passes a certain screening.  Or, it may be that we need, as a nation, to believe that in the world of the shadows we can play as well as anybody.  Those who’ve looked into it suggest we can’t.  Thought all the way through movies like Breach show the same conclusion.

Demonstrating the frail line between happiness and horror our neighbor, 55 or so, went to the hospital two weeks ago.  They thought he’d had a stroke.  It would have been a better thing.  He has a demyelinating process at work in patches inside his brain.  A process at the root of M.S. demyelination strips the insulation off nerve fibers and creates electrical storms.  He has some aphasia. It’s not clear how bad the damage is, nor whether it will persist.  He’s at home now, sleeping 44 minutes at a time which keeps his wife and daughter, who just graduated from college, up as he wanders when not asleep.

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