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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14815/henderson-on-hayek-vs-admiral-mullen/

Henderson on Hayek vs. Admiral Mullen

November 30, 2010 by

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.”

MULLEN: “Sure.”

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?


Christopher November 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

The average citizen is unaware how vast the amount of data the intelligence agencies must sift through. It’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack the size of a football stadium. Collecting the intelligence is the easy part.

Capt Mike November 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I call BS.

It doesn’t work if the idea is to take ALL THAT DATA and boil it down to one piece of paper for one man’s eyes. That’s like uh stupid.

De-centralized teams get data from a specific region or demographic and work on that to come up for their own conclusions.

You didn’t have to sift through “vast amounts” of data to spot the undie guy when his OWN FATHER rats him out to the U.S. Embassy. If Ted Kennedy got on the ‘no fly’, why wasn’t THAT bozo??

JFF December 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Especially when he was escorted through security…

Rackman November 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm

“And Mullen thinks that’s a success?” Yes, when you were in on the planning of the phony threats from the get go, than it is a success.

Dave Albin November 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm

It doesn’t make any sense that vast government agencies would be able to monitor rag-tag groups and individuals – eluded to in the clarification at the end. And, of course, they have no incentive to anyway. Unfortunately, people like the Admiral, who have been trained to walk through a brick wall if ordered to, have a tough time thinking outside of the system.

Ohhh Henry December 1, 2010 at 11:12 am

And Mullen thinks that’s a success

When you operate a monopoly, failure is success, because only failure can lead to an increase in revenue and perks.

The seeming stupidity of the government drone is because there is no logical reason for the existence of such a monopoly except as an act of theft against the public. Any attempt to describe it as beneficial to the public can be no more than a recitiation of contradictions and non-sequiturs.

The admiral’s statements are the same as a mugger telling his victim, “Better give your money to me because the mugger’s on the next block are much worse.” Words not being enough, it is also required to periodically arrange for a suitable demonstration of the other muggers’ brutality in order to reinforce the lesson.

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