American Elephants

Has the Government Gone Completely Nuts? by The Elephant's Child

The Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, created in 1947 by President Harry Truman to replace the Wartime OSS, now protects us all — by operating a special center dedicated to global warming. What?

It was launched under President Obama in 2009, and known as the Center on Climate Change and National Security, and it operates under a cloak of secrecy that rejects all public-records requests. It is considered an exclusive unit that is led by “senior specialists.”

As the agency suffers through a huge scandal this month, it has come out with a startling report exposing the national security dangers of global warming. Climate change is accelerating at such a fast pace that it will put severe strains on U.S. military and Intelligence agencies in coming years, the CIA -sanctioned study found. The changes will trigger increasingly disruptive developments around the world as well.

Scientific evidence indicates that the global climate is moving outside the bounds of past experience and can be expected to put new stresses on societies around the world, prompting examination of a variety of plausible scenarios through which climate change might pose or alter security risks for the United States,” according to a summary from the report. It goes on to offer an improved understanding of the links between climate and security as well as the ability to anticipate potential security risks arising from “climate phenomena.

Keeping with the CIA’s primary mission of gathering foreign intelligence, the report focuses on climate-related “social and political stresses outside the United States.” It outlines security risks that might “exceed the capacity of affected populations to cope and respond.” How exactly will this occur? Seemingly unrelated events exacerbated by climate change will cause an unpredictable crisis in water and energy supplies, food markets and public health systems…

Well, climate is changing, just as it always does. We haven’t had any warming at all for over fifteen years, and the planet has been cooling slightly. But these guys seem to be getting their advice from the Society of Environmental Journalists who don’t talk to scientists either, they learn from each other. If the EPA keeps insisting that we put our food crops in our gas tanks, we may have some shortages of food supplies. But there is no sign yet of another Little Ice Age.  But that doesn’t seem to be what the Center has in mind:

Its charter is not the science of climate change, but the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources. The Center will provide support to American policymakers as they negotiate, implement, and verify international agreements on environmental issues. That is something the CIA has done for years. “Decision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security. The CIA is well positioned to deliver that intelligence,” said Director Leon Panetta.

Why on earth is the CIA involved? President Obama may be the last of the ‘true believers’ in alarmist climate change along with Al Gore and Bill McKibben. But it’s not just the CIA. According to a new report on financial waste in the Department of Defense, the Pentagon initiated more renewable energy projects in 2010 — the year measured— than any other federal agency, including the Energy Department and the EPA. Senator Tom Coburn released a report highlighting Defense programs that are wasteful, duplicative, or superfluous:

The federal government launched 679 renewable energy initiatives in 2010 including those at the Department of Energy. The Department of Defense accounted for 116 initiatives,more than any other department or agency. By contrast, DOE started less than 100.

There is currently no comprehensive inventory of which federal agencies are implementing renewable energy-related initiatives and the types of initiatives they are implementing. In light of efforts to balance the federal budget and target spending on activities that will most effectively meet national needs, the lack of available information on agencies’ renewable energy initiatives has further raised congressional concerns about the ability to identify whether efforts are fragmented, duplicative, or operating at cross-purposes.

The military’s “green push,” notes Heritage, needlessly bleeds scarce resources away from core missions to advance a political agenda.

The Pentagon and the environmental movement seem to have found common cause by linking America’s national security to the basic tenets of the President’s green agenda. The DOD bureaucracy benefits by securing resources to engage in climate change and alternative energy research, and the green movement benefits by keeping its agenda alive. Unfortunately, there are real costs for national security, energy technology, the taxpayer, and the American consumer.

So al Qaeda is back, stronger than ever, the Middle East is aflame, the president is attempting to burnish his nonexistent foreign policy credentials by visiting Myanmar, and demonstrating how peaceful he is by cutting the military back to bare bones in a dangerous world. He will save the world by running what military we have left on ethanol?

ADDENDUM:According to The Hill’s E² Wire, 11/19/12, The CIA Center on Climate Change and National Security has closed. The agency’s work on climate change has been transferred to a new office.

“The CIA for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change. As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged,” Ebitz said in a statement to The Hill.

The CIA is one of multiple federal agencies to explore the nexus between climate change and security — sometimes drawing GOP criticism in the process.

The article does not identify “the new office.” The most interesting description of the previous office says “it operates under a cloak of secrecy that rejects all public record requests.”

A Note to the Media: by The Elephant's Child

This may surprise you, but I’m not interested in the salacious details of General David Petraeus’ affair, nor those of his biographer. No interest. Zero.

What I am interested in — is why our Ambassador to Libya was in Benghazi, unguarded,  at a facility with clearly inadequate protection, in a city so dangerous that other nations had long since pulled out? Who thought this was a good idea and why? If the facility in Benghazi was important, why wasn’t it better protected? If it wasn’t worth protecting, why was the Ambassador there?

Images and information started flowing to the American capitol almost immediately. There was apparently a drone overhead. A battle raged at the poorly protected consulate and at the “annex” for nine hours while people died, and while those in the administration watched and did nothing. Why?

The two brave SEALS who were apparently contract employees of the CIA who stepped forward to rescue other workers at the consulate or the annex called repeatedly for help, which was denied. Indecision? Attempt to avoid getting involved? We have had numerous excuses, lots of avoidance, no answers. Many of the answers should be provided by Secretary Clinton who was in charge of the Ambassador, the workers at the consulate, and the security provisions for them.

Whose decision was it that the Ambassador, the technology guy, and the two former SEALS should be there and for what reason? Why was there no extra security on 9/11, let alone just ordinary security? When they were attacked, why was there no instant response? Why was there no response for the nine hours of the battle? This says to all employees of the American government, including the military, that we don’t have their back, and they cannot count on the American government for help or rescue.

Both the State Department and the Obama Administration have a long record of refusing to accept the blame for anything. Whatever it is, it was Bush’s fault. And a convenient hurricane and storm surge presented the opportunity for the press to turn to the more comfortable territory of storm damage and the General and Sex. The storm damage is real, but the Petraeus scandal is a sideshow.

U.N.Secretary Rice’s orchestrated tour of the Sunday shows to spread lies about the catastrophe, far too late to be believable, destroyed any hope she might have held of being Secretary of State. Lying to the American people may be common at the State Department, but you can’t seek nomination with that record. The President, in turn,was indignant. Not about the four needlessly dead Americans, but that anyone would dare to criticize his ambassador to the U.N.  It’s clear that lying to the American people does not rank as particularly important in his book.

There’s an ongoing investigation, we are told. It will apparently ongo until we have forgotten entirely and can’t remember what the fuss was all about. I care far less about finding which terrorist from the al Qaeda associated group was responsible, than in finding which members of the administration were responsible for our lack of response.

The real scandal is the American media, who have forgotten what journalism is supposed to be about, if they ever knew.  Your job is to hold feet to the fire, ask difficult questions, search for truth; and attempt to keep the government honest. If you can’t do that, why are you there? How do you justify your existence?

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