David R. Henderson has a great piece at antiwar.com showing how Admiral Mullen completely botches his attempted defense of the US intelligence budget. An excerpt:
This brings me to yesterday’s appearance by Adm. Mike Mullen on Fareed Zakaria’s show. Zakaria started off with a good tough question and then pursued it:
ZAKARIA: “But, you know, when one reads about these intelligence failures, if – if you look at the North Korean nuclear facility, which we were taken by surprise, you could look at this Afghan guy, it is puzzling. I mean, we spend tens – we spend more money on intelligence than the rest of the world. We spend $60 billion on it. You oversee a large part of that.”
ZAKARIA: “Why does this happen? In the private sector, these guys would all be fired.”
MULLEN: “Well, I think that’s – I think it’s just too simple an answer. I mean, there is an extraordinary group of professionals who are working hard to – to uncover from an intelligence standpoint all the intelligence and information that we need, and I have seen that. I mean, I’ll shift just quickly to the – the recent threats coming from Yemen, with al-Qaeda on the Arabian peninsula there. And the cargo flights, the bombing that was – the potential – the Times Square incident, and also last year in Detroit.”
But in those last two instances – the Times Square and Detroit bomber incidents – decentralized information worked and centralized information failed. In the Times Square case, it was a vendor, not a member of “an extraordinary group of professionals,” who noted something suspicious and notified the police. In the Detroit case, it was an heroic fellow passenger who foiled the bomber. Even worse, indeed, the U.S. government had plenty of intelligence about the bomber but refused to use it. And Mullen thinks that’s a success?