Friday, June 20, 2008

97s vs. 98s (or why I believe in surveillance but not torture)

Seems like forever since I blogged but on the way out of Chicago (I'll have a blog or two on that later) they were hyperventilating about the FISA compromise legislation on Air America. So horrible, the telco's got immunity. Boo hoo. I'm glad they got it. Damn right you shouldn't let folks (like the nasty ACLU) sue them.

So I was wondering why I find "domestic surveillance" far less problematic than torture.

And I think might have something to do with clean and dirty Intel. Or perhaps I've just watched one too many episodes of The Wire and now firmly believe that listening to folks phone calls is always a good thing.

Now the 97 series MOS's in MI are primarily HUMINT folks. Counterintelligence and Interrogators. HUMINT is dirty, nasty work, and not for folks like me.

To engage in MI stereotypes (and I'll leave the 05H's out of this) many of the 97's (especially the one's that manage your clearances) I knew were sort of creepy folks. They liked to fuck with you. They liked to play mind games. 98's (SIGINT guys like myself) on the other hand might be sort of geeky (and there were a fair number of folks at Goodfellow that dressed up in those weird Mid-Evil costumes and did jousting and God knows what else), but they weren't so creepy.

But maybe its about the what you can get. Abusing someone's human rights with SIGINT (violating their privacy) does not impact the quality of the intel (since like sniffing network traffic, it is fundamentally a passive process and you can never have too many intercepts) -- while that is certainly not the case with interrogation because obviously they do know they are being water-boarded, sodomized, or whatever your "enhanced interrogation" technique of choice that were authorized by the Bush administration.

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