Skip to comments.Liberal Bureaucracy Undermines Rule Of Law, Undermines Safety
Posted on 01/12/2009 8:54:16 AM PST by jazusamo
You think youre electing a Congress and a president. But many of the crucial decisions are made by unelected bureaucrats who often march to their own tune, defying the will of those who are supposed to be making the decisions. One of the areas where this is most painfully obvious involves the U.S. State Department. Read on for the full explanation.
If you think that liberal bureaucrats just pose academic questions with no practical significance, consider what John Bolton had to do when he was serving as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. He had to carry out policy determined by President George W. Bush. But he found that was virtually impossible to do in the face of liberal bureaucrats who wanted to go their own way when it came to policy.
So what did Mr. Bolton have to do in order to carry out the presidents policy rather than that of bureaucrats working under Mr. Bolton? Heres what he had to, as reported by Bill Gertz in his book The Failure Factory: How Unelected Bureaucrats, Liberal Democrat and Big-Government Republicans are Undermining Americas Security and Leading Us to War.
The bureaucrats opposition to U.S. policy was so intense that Bolton was ultimately compelled to hire a lawyer from outside the department in order to force them to implement sanctions laws. In 2003, he brought on Stephen A. Elliott, a tough, no-nonsense lawyer for the Navy Department, as a legal adviser. Mr. Elliott worked with Mr. Bolton to counter the foot-dragging and outright opposition to enforcing U.S. sanctions law within the division.
Something has gone very wrong when a high-level official appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate must bring in an attorney to make intransigent subordinates carry out the official policy of the United States. But that is the mindset of the liberal bureaucrats entrenched in the federal government: Though it is their responsibility to carry out U.S. policy, they will not only refuse to do so but will actually undercut that policy.
This kind of irresponsible liberal free-lancing can and has led to disasters for the U.S. One of the best illustrations of that is documented by Mr. Gertz. It involved the National Intelligence Estimate of 2007. That estimate was presented as the consensus of all U.S. intelligence analysts and found they judge with a high degree of confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.
Mr. Gertz shows how this report was designed to sabotage the U.S. position on Iran and give the false impression that all was well. Mr. Gertz also shows it was not in fact any consensus but represented the views of three liberal bureaucrats who wanted to take a soft approach to Iran and undercut the administrations steps to take aggressive measures to stop Irans nuclear weapons program. If the report is read carefully, it is clear there was no basis for the main claim. But the authors of the report designed the report to assure that the main claim would make the headlines, even if there were no basis for such claim.
Mr. Gertz is one of the leading experts on intelligence, and his views on how the liberal bureaucracy has undermined our intelligence efforts and how it continues to do so give valuable insight into the problem. What makes the issues Mr. Gertz takes up even more important than ever is that the Obama administration is likely to overload the bureaucracy with even more liberal leftists.
This means that a situation that was already bad under the Bush administration is likely to sharply deteriorate under an Obama administration. You can start with Barack Obamas nomination of Leon Panetta to hold the CIA. He is already on record as being opposed to make enemy combatants and terrorists uncomfortable during interrogation. Need I say more? You wouldnt even apply the Obama-Panetta uncomfortable standard to an eighth grade teacher asking students questions. With that kind of CIA, well lose the war against Islamofascist terrorists for sure.
The picture painted by Mr. Gertz is already grim even long years after 9/11 should have forced reform and improvement in our intelligence capabilities, on which our safety depends and, which provides our main protection against Islamofascist terrorists out to destroy us.
Mr. Gertz finds:
But even today the sixteen different intelligence agencies, which altogether cost $44 billion annually, remain mired in bureaucracy, legalistic restrictions, political correctness, and a self-congratulatory culture that poses one of the most serious dangers to U.S. national security.
As threats to American security grow more dangerous, U.S. intelligence agencies are unprepared and ill-structured to meet the challenges. The problem is that the senior leadership of the institutions in charge of American national security has aggressively opposed urgently needed reforms, making the country more vulnerable and less prepared to meet the threats of terrorists, who are constantly evolving their techniques, and by enemy nations. U.S. intelligence agencies, by their refusal to reform, are actually endangering the country, rather than protecting it.
To give you an idea how bad things were before 9/11 and how bad they are even now, consider the case of Nada Nadim Prouty. She was a Lebanese national who entered the country in 1989 posing as a student. A year later she paid a man to pose as her husband.
That enabled her to obtain permanent residence status and ultimately U.S. citizenship. She was in fact a spy for the terrorist organization Hezbollah, but that didnt stop her from going to work for the FBI and then the CIA and gaining access to top national security secrets.
First she got a job with the FBI during the Clinton Administration when politically correct diversity was the order of the day. With Ms. Prouty, the bureaucrats were especially happy to land not only a woman but also a Muslim.
The FBI that claims to conduct rigorous background checks didnt even figure out her citizenship was fraudulent, having been based on a fraudulent marriage. Later, she would fool the CIA. Mr. Gertz believes this is a case of politically correct diversity goals pushing out more rational considerations. She would not only make the FBI but also earn a clearance for top secrets.
It gets better, or I should say worse. In 2003 Ms. Prouty got a job with the CIA.
Prouty went to work with the CIA, not simply as an analyst or Arab linguist but as a member of the elite Directorate of Operations, which is in charge of both gathering intelligence and stealing secrets on foreign terrorist organizations. Now the CIA had an Hezbollah agent in its midst, recruited by the politically correct bureaucrats running the organization
This was a disaster on every count, as Mr. Prouty not only could betray top U.S. secrets to Hezbollah, but due to its connection with Iran, to Iran as well. But publicly, after the spy was discovered, the FBI and CIA tried to downplay the whole incident just as a minor glitch.
This shows the mindset of the FBI, the CIA and the rest of the bureaucracy. This incident should have called for dramatic reforms and firings, but it was dismissed as a minor security affair.
There are other cases cited by Mr. Gertz that are as shocking and incredible as the Prouty affair. For example, the CIA accepted uncritically the account of a defector from Iran who held forth on their weapons of mass destruction. The defector was finally exposed as a fraud by the CIA and by CBSs 60 Minutes. The defector could have easily been exposed as a fraud if there had been a proper CIA investigation. That would have avoided at least part of the major U.S. embarrassment due to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq issue. But you can be sure, as is the usual rule, that there was no disciplinary action taken. Mr. Gertz writes,
Once again, there was no accountability for failure, even though these failures had contributed to war and subsequent counterinsurgency.
What is even more shocking is that Mr. Gertz finds what he calls liberal policy criminals are not confined to the intelligence community. They are spread all over the massive federal bureaucracy and that means they can be found in abundance in the White House.
One former CIA operative said our intelligence agencies are overrun with what he calls knee-jerk liberals. They are making policy and subverting the policy established by the President and his other top-level appointees.
Mr. Gertz concludes his discussion of the intelligence agencies with this observation:
The bureaucrats chosen to run U.S. intelligence have shown themselves to be more interested in political correctness and diversity among their personnel than in national security. Diversity is a good thing for intelligence if you can bring in people who will enhance the primary mission: stealing enemies secrets.
But if diversity means allowing Hezbollah spies to penetrate and steal the nations secrets, or bringing in less-than-qualified intelligence personnel to meet predetermined political objectives, it is extremely damaging. That is especially true because it can hinder agencies from questioning peoples motives and loyalties, something that is the bedrock of counterespionage and finding terrorists.
This dangerous situation is likely to get worse during the Obama administration, and that will greatly increase the chance of terrorists attacks in the U.S. Most of Mr. Obamas key security and defense advisers are Clintonistas, and that spells disaster. They were the ones responsible for taking the law enforcement approach to terrorism arrest and prosecute the terrorists. That kind of silly inaction directly led to 9/11 and many of our present security problems.
Mr. Gertz thinks the Clinton approach will mean we will be putty in the hands of the likes of Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I am sure there will be a long line of tyrants and terrorists who will be anxious to talk to President Obama.
As already suggested, the appointment of liberal Leon Panetta is another bad sign. He has already made it clear he is against all of the measures that have at least prevented a successful terrorist attack on the homeland since 9/11. The Obama administration and Mr. Panetta have made it clear they are against tough interrogation. They consider something like waterboarding torture, even though it is used on our own military personnel during training and even though tough interrogation produced the most important intelligence information we have obtained on al Qaeda.
Messers. Panetta and Obama would rather please their liberal constituency than get the intelligence that will save lives. They are more concerned with the comfort of terrorists than the safety of Americans.
They are also against electronic eavesdropping, even though it has produced life-saving intelligence. They insist on closing down Guantanomo, which apparently isnt luxurious enough to satisfy their requirements for the treatment of enemy combatants. They also object to rendition sending a prisoner to another country where they may be questioned with tougher tactics than we would employ.
We are already highly vulnerable and ill-prepared for terrorist attacks. We are on the road to greatly magnifying that danger, making terrorist inroads almost certain.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.
I have always thought the State Department needed a good overhaul. Civil service regulations make it almost impossible to fire people with tenure, but that’s what the place needs, some good firings.
I thought Bolton was an excellent pick for Ambassador to the UN, It was evident when the Democrats would not seat him, that he was the perfect pick.
Many people believe there are three branches of government. Unseen or unacknowledged are the tens of thousands of local, low, and mid-level bureaucrats who impact our lives far more than the Pelosis and Reids of the world. There is an administrative branch of government devoted to inflicting compliance on all of us.
We need many more like John Bolton working in government agencies to counter some of the effects of the leftists.
This article makes a point of what a great many people are beginning to realize- just how dangerous and subversive and FASCISTIC ALL the agencies are. The State Dept. is a glaring example, but it is no different in any of the OTHER federal agencies (117! of them)and the other groups and agencies less tied to the government, but influencing government affairs.
These leftist, agenda-heavy operatives have claimed the agencies as their own and have been infesting them with their own kind since FDR. Of all the dangers we face in this world, the greatest inhabit the federal agencies of the United States government and it is time for the rest of us to demand that action be taken. We didn’t elect them, we don’t need them and they make up a great part of the mysterious deficit that has enough zeros to overwhelm us. They make policy, levy taxes and dream up regulations, all without the approval of Congress and they need to GO. We do NOT need the IRS, the EPA, Commerce AND Transportation, the Park Service, Education, HUD, etc. And State needs a house cleaning. Homeland Security might have been a good idea, but given the people within the agency, it is fast becoming a bigger threat than the arab terrorists.
I wonder if there are any pols, anywhere, with the guts to take on these monoliths of nazism and abolish them.
Yes and they’re libs almost to a person.
I got a degree in Political Science (a challenging task for a conservative at very liberal Indiana University in 1981). Anyway, this phenomenon was already being commented on in the late 1970’s. It was called “Dissipation of Authority.” The permanent bureaucrats know their politically appointed masters come and go every four years or so, but they remain forever. They also know they are “broken guns:” They don’t work, and you can’t fire them.
So what happens is that the chief permanent bureaucrats nod their heads in agreement when the politically appointed undersecretaries announce new policy. Memos get written for the next layer of bureaucracy, where they are watered down, at the next layer they are distributed and filed, and at lower levels generally ignored. The rank-and-file bureaucrats are ignorant that the policy even exists, and continue business as usual. And in a giant federal government agency bogged down by it’s own labyrinthian structure and Byzantine rules, the appointed “bosses” can do nothing to change things.
I’ve long pondered how to change things. The only way, it occurs to me, is to directly threaten the bureaucrats’ jobs. From time to time, the herd must be culled. Every four years mandate a 10-20% RIF, and allow the only the appointed officials to determine who gets cut. Anyone cut is banned from being re-hired by the agency.
Never happen, though.
I think it’s safe to say none of them will be taken on during the BHO administration, at least not successfully.
You’re right, it’ll never happen but it should.
Of course they’re libs. Any conservative in such a position would have been driven completely insane simply by retaining their own values in the face of endless diversity training and living the lie that what they’re tasked to do is so utterly counterproductive.
And some wonder why I despise liberals so much.
Republican presidents should have instituted a soviet style purge when they took over. Instead what will happen is rthe few conservativces left will be the victims of one once the unrepentant comrade obama takes over.
Most appropriate, HO. Thanks for the link!
In direct contravention to our founding governmental document, Scotus in the 1930s ruled that Congress can assign its Constitutional duties to faceless, unelected bureaucrats.
Scotus has long been the handmaiden to the erosion of our liberties. D@mn them.