Real government links

Here are a few interesting stories and some brief commentary:

1) The non-partisan bureaucracy.

2) On briefings:

Former U.S. Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat who served on every major House security committee before resigning from Congress in 2011, said getting the right briefer can make a big difference in how much lawmakers learn.

“Sometimes these briefings are a game of 20 questions. If you don’t ask exactly the right question, you don’t get the answer,” said Harman.

Note that it may be worth considering the combined implications of 1) and 2), given that briefings often come from bureaucrats.

3) “On occasion, the most striking evidence of power and influence is the invisibility of its source.” From Sailer.

4) Also from Sailer, a couple posts suggesting who is actually writing (at least large parts of) the immigration bill.

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3 Responses to Real government links

  1. Handle says:

    Harman and Tester and Wyden are so completely full of it when they say these things, it’s frustrating and absurd. What bogus excuses, “Well, ok, so, yeah, they briefed us dozens of times about this stuff using the same Powerpoint you see at the Guardian, but, I mean, you can’t just expect us to understand or remember anything based on that, can you? That sneaky Intelligence Community! It’s like they expect you to be able to follow along or something! I mean, “… the quality of closed briefings depends largely on … whether members go in with a working knowledge of programs.” which, you know, is completely unrealistic because it’s only our main responsibility to pretend we care to have that knowledge.”

    Would you believe they assigned Rubio to the SSCI too as one of the few minority (party) slots? Crazy. They’re all far too busy raising money or pushing Amnesty to do learn anything anyway.

    Or setting up intelligence civil rights protection commissions (to do their oversight job for them) only to showboat about having done so – and then refusing or forgetting to fund them (so that nobody is actually doing the overseeing, because, damn, that requires a lot of reading and learning!)

    Look, I sympathize, this stuff is really complicated! There’s a lengthy learning curve and even career professionals have a hard time keeping it all straight. It doesn’t help that half the complication is the law itself, which was forwarded to the Congress by …. the members of the Intelligence Committees.

    • Handle says:

      By the way, relatedly, Sailer’s my favorite, but this is an example of his mild Israel-paranoia (I don’t detect any genuine animus) getting the better of him. We don’t backdoor spy on US persons by using other entities, and believe me, USG is definitely the dog and definitely does the wagging.

      Well, ok, only 99% of the time. But that’s true with all our close international partners. The 1% of the time is when they have better access to something than we do – usually because it’s a direct threat in their backyard and they’ve spent years and billions preparing and building an infrastructure there.

      Is there anything going on in the world right now of interest to USG but in a place with typically low USG influence and in a friend’s backyard?

  2. dearieme says:

    O has spent much effort in hiding details of the circumstances of his life, presumably because he feels that public knowledge of them would exact a political penalty.

    Yet the US security services must surely know about those circumstances.

    So they have (I assume) considerable power of blackmail over him, as they must over most of the legislators too.

    Who shall supervise the supervisors? Who whom?

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