Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pre- 9/11 Intelligence : The “Flat-Footed” Watchmen


I looked at a news story from Australia this week : police entered a burglarized store,and found the burglar – snoozing contentedly – on a pile of carpets. The sound of his snoring gave him away.


Catching burglars “asleep on the job” is rare enough to be uncommon – but catching the night watchman “flatfooted” is so common as to be unremarkable.


Let’s pretend – for a moment or two – the United States was a big candy factory, prior to 9/11. Candy is kind of tempting, so there were a lot of guards posted------BUT:


Let’s say there were Wackenhut guards outside the fence, Burns security people at the gatehouse, Pinkertons keeping an eye on the delivery trucks,and Wells Fargo people watching the doors. ( I’m just using names from memory here: no praise or slur intended !) Inside the building itself,we would have found several Candy company guards patrolling various routes, and assorted “undercover” people keeping an eye on the help.


All of these “competing” guards have radio networks – but each network is set to operate on its own, private frequency , so the others can’t overhear transmissions , and so these guards can’t talk to their competitors – because talking to a competitor is a violation of company policy.


Now, let’s make things worse: Each of the competing guard services answers to somebody different in the factory – and that person has to answer to a separate chain of command : which may – or may not – get to talk to the the people who need to know : the executives running the candy factory.


Our make-believe candy factory would probably have the worst security one can imagine – at the highest cost one can imagine : not unlike the United States of America , prior to 9/11.


I’d like to think things are better now . I’d really like to think things are much better now. I’d really,really,really like to think to think things are better now !!


How about you ?

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