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How to Bring America’s Spy Agencies Under Control in One Step

Written by Gary North on August 12, 2013

What is the solution to the problem of the NSA and the CIA? We know that the two organizations are not limited by their original charters, namely, to monitor the activities only of foreigners who might be a threat to the security of the United States, and never Americans.

Every organization in the government wants to get bigger: more power, more money, more employees. There is a process known as bureaucratic creep. Why is this? Because career promotions in a bureaucracy are based on the number of people who are under your authority. The more people your department hires, the more likely you will rise in the pyramid of power and pay. This is part of what is known as Parkinson’s law. The famous version is this: “Work expands so as to fill the time allotted for its completion.” But the more important aspect of this law is the law of bureaucratic growth. He published this in 1955, and it is still worth reading. Note: the context of the discussion was the growth of the military. This is basic to my suggested reform.

It is officially assumed by the NSA and the CIA that terrorists outside the United States who may be plotting against the United States will inevitably get into communication with people who are inside the United States. This assumes that terrorists have not figured this out, and they therefore still use digital communications. It assumes that they are not imitating Osama bin Laden, who was never caught transmitting digitally. The moment that the NSA and the CIA persuade the President and Congress that the terrorists will communicate with people inside the USA, they justify their practice of subjecting the entire population of the United States to total monitoring. This justification is sometimes called “six degrees of separation.” It is more commonly known as the Kevin Bacon game.

Edward Snowden has proven that the counter-spies have been playing the Kevin Bacon game with everyone in the USA. Just about everybody in the government suspected this beforehand, but nobody had the documentation. Now they do. That is his real crime in the eyes of the government. He turned the spokesmen of the NSA and the CIA into retroactive liars. They denied that any of this was going on. The government can live with this. Spies lie. So what? But Snowden also revealed that Congress was suckered by these lying spokesmen. Congress now looks like a collection of naive dolts. For this, he is hated.

The government’s right to collect telephone information is defended by the Obama Administration in a 22-page paper. Despite all of the President’s denials, the reality is this: there is no real challenge to the NSA’s surveillance of citizens on the part of the U.S. government.

I think there is an institutional way to reverse this bureaucratic creed. It is consistent with the Constitution. Here is my plan: All of the spying activities of the United States government should be transferred to the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense is officially the agency that is required to defend the United States from attack. Attack would include domestic terrorism.


The moment the assignment of monitoring potential terrorists is transferred to the Department of Defense, the spies’ budget becomes subjected to intense scrutiny from inside the Department of Defense. By transferring all spying activities to the Department of Defense, the agencies assigned to do the spying would have to defend their budgets to all the other bureaucrats inside the Department of Defense.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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28 thoughts on “How to Bring America’s Spy Agencies Under Control in One Step

  1. The reason they are letting all of the illegal aliens in is so they can have an excuse to spy on the people of America. Now just who is spying on Obama and his shenanigans? He is the one who is destroying America and getting away with it.

  2. This president held a press conference last week where he said he wants tighter controls and oversight on the NSA domestic spying program…the same domestic spying program he told Jay Leno on national TV does not exist. And this guy was sold as the anti-Bush.

    The Edward Snowden article on Wikipedia was recently editted to change a reference from “whistleblower” to “traitor”. The editor’s IP traced back to the Senate office building in Washington.

  3. It used to be that human intelligence was the driving force in the war on terror. It still should be. But electronic intelligence gives more volume for the buck. It also make politicians feel good because it is hi-tech. There is little nuance and no ability to dig deeper with electronic intel. Sometime the old ways, feet on the street, are better. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com

  4. How about the Coast Guard? They are in fact tasked to defend United States interests. Coast Guard = U.S.; Army, AF, or Navy (Marine Corps is under the Navy) = Foreign Interests!

  5. We will never be able to eliminate these agencies or reduce the size of any or transfer duties, Congress will not even fight to have this done. Only thing I can see is Sheriff Joe Arpaio going in and arrest everyone for "treason" and lock them up first and trial later and then firing squad.

  6. The Department of Defense has been spying on US citizens for a long time without court orders. The DOD uses spying to murder US citizens. They were spying before 911 without court orders so they failed stopping this terrorist attack. If the DOD is spying on you then you will die, your marriage will be ruined, you will lose your job, etc with no legal recourse. DOD uses spying to destroy people with little interest in terrorists. Do not ask for something you do not understand. DOD are not nice people.

  7. The predatory, pathological liar in chief strikes again? Who would believe this parasitic imbecile when it comes to discussing national security, especially while he supports our enemies. As for Wikipedia, the major reason colleges and universities do not permit students to use their material as a reference is because anyone can make changes to the articles, thus rendering them as an unreliable source. The coward in the Senate may have been an intern–and obviously is a liberal/dem/communist. Snowden is a "whistleblower," not a "traitor" because he alerted the American public to the current administration's UNCONSTITUTIONAL spying in violation of our guaranteed rights. Many thanks to Snowden.

  8. Sure wish there was an edit button so we could make corrections….

  9. Marine Corps hasn't been under the Navy for eons. It's anachronism is USMC and they are a military unit of there own. The US Coast Guard patrols our shores, they have a foreign interest only as it pertains to potential invasion of our shores; they are never sent overseas to participate in a conflict.

  10. Bill Smith says:

    Lets proceed directly to the firing squad.

  11. I don't know where you get your info but, the Coast Guard does go over seas in conflicts.

  12. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    Congress is a bunch of dolts, the doltiest, also the most stupid group, just look at the laws they have passed, can't recite any of the amendments, not even the 10 bill of rights, allow the pres. to run all around them, don't do anything their mass electorate wants, don't do anything they swore to do, wont fight for america, and yes they swore on the bible to defend the constitution. These are a group of dolts, save about 10, who do their work, vote for america, and they are chastized, called stupid, accused of some of the god awful things, Why? Because they tell it like it is, it hurts the liars, crooks, grafters, schemers,thieves, criminals, and incompetents. Yes, they have always been over run with dolts. Sad but true, and they don't even realize it.

  13. Johnthelibertarian says:

    2 problems with the suggestion by Mr. North: 1) Bureaucracies expand because of the career incentives of the bureaucrats. This presupposes that expansion will continue to be possible. The titanically IMMENSE federal debt bubble, is the largest in the history of mankind. As ALL unsustainable economic bubbles in the modern mercantile history, since the 1700s, this one will implode, also. [consider the implosion of the Eurozone as a current, comparable example, only theirs has NOT fully run it's course YET]… when our debt bubble finally collapses, it will mean the electronically ALMOST IMMEDIATE [probably over several days] repatriation of trillions of dollars of reserves currently held in foreign hands [treasury reserves, banks and investors]. The federal reserve will be unable to stem that tide, or be able to do very much about it. Simultaneous, or perhaps shortly before, the petroleum exporters will desert the 'petro dollar' requirement, that oil be purchased using dollars. This has created an artificial demand for our dollar, that will no longer be there. I submit when these 2 gigantically HUGE events occur, it'll be hard FOR ANY BUREAUCRACY to expand…

  14. Johnthelibertarian says:

    2) handing the spying over to dod will complete the trashing of the Posse Comitatus Act, that's already on life support.We DO NOT want the completion of it's destruction. Like the old fox guarding the hen house. And let us NOT forget dod has MORE and BIGGER guns than lyin' king's self styled 'private' army [aka dept. of homeland Insecurity]

  15. awkingsley says:

    This also needs to be done with border security. The U.S. Military needs to be in charge to deal with possible border surges and possible invasion instead of the DHS who can be permanently redeployed at a moment's notice to some other locations. States fight for their military bases and installations, so a military presence along the border is much more likely to be maintained.

    The military should always have been in charge of the activities in which the CIA engages. The CIA has long been a rogue organization with little oversight or control by Congress. We do not need a Police State. American citizens need to get control of their government, and we need to stop attacking other nations and allowing illegal immigration and too much immigration in order to avoid terrorism.


  17. Although I am certain that computer programs have the ability to sort, correlate and associate and filter specific target information, I am also just as certain that, without the analysis of a human being to determine the specific relevance and accuracy of any collated information, it is absolutely useless. I am also convinced that nearly 99 percent of all the talk about this is worthless and pointless, just as the same percentage of the information is worthless and pointless. Those who believe that America's diversity justifies such programs must also believe that risks are worth taking or accepting. If you think that the surveillance programs should be limited, you ought also to believe that immigration and/or tourism ought to be limited. Cause and effect can not logically be disassociated. The U.S. Military IS in charge. You don't know because you don't have the "need to know." Isn't ignorance bliss?

  18. Anyone can edit a Wiki article (I have), but if your correction/amendment clashes with Wikipedia’s agenda (and they do have one), your entry will be reset. If you attempt to make the correction again, Wikipedia will just lock the article, leaving the inaccuracy/smear in place.

    I have an un-PC acquaintance who wrote an article on himself. Soon others were editting it, adding smears and falsehoods. He tried repeatedly to correct the smears and slanders, but they were re-set every time. Finally he wrote Wikipedia to complain and they wrote back that he was barred forever from fixing his article because Wiki ruled that he (I’m not joking) is “not considered an expert on the subject matter”.

  19. I had a classmate from high school who went into the Coast Guard. His billet was the Great Lakes. He said they fished a lot of bodies out of there. But he was never deployed to do anything the Navy was expected to do.

  20. Time to play cowboys and government agencies!

  21. You sure Wiki is not run by our congress? lol Or at the very least the administration. It sounds like something they would say.

  22. Great article, Gary. A classic, or close to it. Too bad most of the commentary is off-point. Something a little more on-point: This adds credence to the theory that the whole Snowden affair was a turf war between the NSA and the CIA. Both spook organizations are competing for the same tax dollars. The CIA, feeling a little left behind in the tech battle by NSA's digital prowess, maybe decided to take the computer nerds down a peg and affirm the advantages of actual "boots on the ground" by releasing the data on the NSA and saying Snowden stole it. Maybe what we really need, in addition to the military takeover, is a THIRD or even a FOURTH spook organization. Let them beat themselves senseless.

  23. Myron J. Poltroonian says:

    Peter Principle: n; the. the theory, usually taken facetiously, that all members in a hierarchy (private or public sector) rise to their own level of incompetence (and tend to stay there).

    [from the book The Peter Principle (1969) by Dr. Lawrence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, in which the theory was originally propounded.]

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

  24. I have an idea for a research project. How about using the vast surveillance capability of our government to study the spending habits and lifestyle of anyone who receives welfare. Of course, this would be done with the welfare recipient’s permission – and their permission would be a requirement for receiving welfare. This should apply to corporations as well as individuals.

    I got this idea while watching a TV documentary on the life and times of people on food stamps.

  25. Come to think of it, lets make all foreign aid contingent upon permission to spy on the recipient.

  26. Michael4yah says:

    Obama just made an agreement with Putin to put 15,000 or more Russian Troops in DC, Maryland, VIrginia and W. Virginia in case of a large scale disaster. These Russian Troops will be experts in civil unrest etc. Why would we need 15K + foreigners in our streets and in our living rooms? If we were short of troops all we's have to bring home some of the 500K we have spread all over creation? They are there to protect a tyrannical government if the public turns on them. You need to spread this far and wide. To anyone that will listen. This must not be allowed to happen.

  27. Foreign armies are being armed by the regime, in many different countries. They are standing ready to come to the aid of the regime and share in the "spoils." The UN will send in the "blue helmets" if some of them are not already here in training. It won't be American troops that come to confiscate our weapons.. And, it won't be American troops that herd people into camps, and it won't be Americans in charge of those camps. Remember this country is under the control of a foreigner, not an American. (The foreigner only has control because we are willingly tolerating him.) He will have foreign armies to fight for him.. The Russians are only a small part of what is coming.

  28. How about using the vast surveillance capability of our government to study the spending habits and lifestyle of everyone who receives welfare. This could be done with the welfare recipient's permission – and their permission could be a requirement for receiving welfare. This should apply to foreign countries and corporations as well as individuals.
    I got this idea while watching a TV documentary on the lavish lifestyle of many food stamp recipients.