Friday, December 01, 2006
I needed you but you didn't need me, so I just gotta tell you: goodbye:
With no Rumsfeld, there will also be no more Rumsfeld's Rumsfeld. That would be Steve Cambone, the Pentagon's intelligence czar. The announcement comes -- of course -- on a Friday late afternoon. Take it away, Larry DiRita & co:
No. 1221-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 01, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public/Industry(703) 428-0711

Stephen A. Cambone to Resign

The Department of Defense announced today that Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) Stephen A. Cambone will resign from the Department on Dec. 31, 2006.

"It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve the incredible men and women of our Armed Forces, the secretary of defense, and the President's national security team during the past several years," said Cambone.

Cambone has no specific plans for after his departure yet, but said he looks forward to spending more time with his family.
This guy was overwhelmingly powerful within the Pentagon. You remember General Boykin, the guy whose God is bigger than the Muslim God, despite being the exact same God? Cambone was his boss. The man was responsible for the greatest concentration of Pentagon intelligence assets (probably) ever, and what did it get us? A move into the realm of strategic intelligence collection, which is CIA's business; a great deal of torture (in all likelihood); and much, much more. Like Robert Plant, he was a Golden God.

Cambone didn't give out many interviews during his tenure, but he gave one to me for this profile just after Abu Ghraib came to light. Some highlights:
In a rare interview, Cambone--a longtime defense wonk and veteran of George H.W. Bush's Pentagon--is emphatic that he's not a rival to the DCI. "I can't imagine that's true," he says. He describes his 120-member office as focused on "workaday and relatively unglamorous kinds of things." Its foremost responsibility, according to Cambone, is to ensure that military commanders have the intelligence they need, which in turn guarantees that "the other [intelligence] agencies are concentrating on the right things." (He declined to discuss Abu Ghraib.) Beyond focusing on immediate battlefield needs, Cambone makes sure the Pentagon civilian leadership also has the intelligence it requires. He emphasizes that his office does not itself perform either intelligence collection or analysis. But, in the event of disagreement between the intelligence agencies, Cambone will explore the roots of the dispute and "encourage the community to engage in those comparative analyses."

There has never been a senior Pentagon official with this much direct involvement in intelligence matters. Previously, the Pentagon's role in compiling the intelligence budget was spread out among officials from a variety of military intelligence services, all of which contributed to the budget request that the DCI's staff would compile. Now, Cambone's office provides a solitary mechanism to ensure that the defense secretary's interests are reflected in the intelligence budget. He and the CIA's deputy director for community management sit down to hammer out budget priorities, a process Cambone describes as "highly collegial."

But others aren't so sure relations between the Pentagon and the CIA will remain so cordial. "By definition," says Aftergood, the creation of Cambone's position "means that there's going to be a lot more high-level intelligence policy-making going on at the Pentagon. That, in turn, means that U.S. intelligence will take on an increasingly military-oriented focus." Currently, military and civilian intelligence largely serve different roles: Most of the Pentagon's intelligence assets are tactical--geared toward specific, short-term military operations rather than, say, running an agent over decades. But that may change. For one thing, Cambone isn't the tactical sort. "He's very strategically focused," says Torie Clarke, a former Pentagon spokeswoman and another member of Rumsfeld's brain trust. For another, the office itself is designed to look at the big picture. According to Cambone, the undersecretary is responsible for identifying what intelligence capabilities the Pentagon will need ten years out and ensuring that the department will have them. And that focus is broad. "It could be anything from technical capability to the kinds of human intelligence we might need to the type of analytic base we're going to need," Cambone says.

He also told me that he "really had to go" as soon as I asked him about his role in Abu Ghraib. Bye, Steve! See you under oath!
--Spencer Ackerman
"You remember General Boykin, the guy whose God is bigger than the Muslim God, despite being the exact same God?"

Dude, you know that moon rock in the Kaaba is not God.
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