A Victim of the Ambient Morality

Blog Post

The Shorts: A Collection of Short Stories

by Larry B. Lambert

Available now in digital format on Amazon.com

 

Cover art courtesy of Jules Smith – Contact her here to commission work.

The collection of short stories comprises two sections. The first includes thirty-six ‘shorts’ with topics marked as fiction, nonfiction, or based on a true story. The topics vary between stories of espionage, science fiction, historical fiction, and true crime. The second section consists of seven non-fiction case studies of police informers under the general theme of how to make money by being a government informant.

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Bullet Points:

** The next time you feel stupid, remember that following arrows down a grocery aisle made people feel safe during the Covid plague.

** Americans are much better at being overweight than the Japanese (more here).

** Don’t go into business meetings without a tailgunner. (Chappelle)

** Follow the white rabbit (right)

** Many people believe that they are thinking when they’re just rearranging their prejudices.

** The Biden Family Values.

** 59.6% of students who begin college graduate with a degree. The 40% who don’t are still saddled with debt – sometimes a lot of debt.

** Chappelle discusses gay people and their behavior. (warning, graphic)

** A brief primer on the 2008 market collapse. Now you know.

** From a friend in Alberta, Canada: “Who is the most hated person in your life, and why did you choose Justin Fidel Trudeau?

** Love is in the air – In the early stages of China’s history as a communist state, the Soviet Union was often referred to as Sulian dage or Soviet Big Brother. China relied on it for weapons, funding, and political support. In many ways, the roles have now been reversed. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, this month in Beijing. China has been accused of propping up Mr Putin’s war machine.

Chinese nationalists are pleased with the new power dynamic. In recent months, short videos have been popping up online that play to their feelings of superiority and continue a tradition of using foreigners to aggrandize China. They feature young Russian women expressing their admiration for China and desire to marry Chinese men.

 

The Drawing Board

Rock Island Arsenal proposed a heavily modified Huey armed with a 105mm XM204 Light Howitzer in the 1960s.

 

Old Maps – Gaza Update

Mopping up Gaza is taking time. The US Gaza relief pier debacle only underscores how inept we’ve become under woke leadership. Everyone cries foul but the anaconda moves and Israel is committed to ending Hamas by occupying all of Gaza and removing future threats.

 

Reform

In the following article, the author, ((Ishmael Jones)) left the CIA in 2002. To the best of my knowledge, he and I have never met. The FBI in 2002 was very different when Jones retired from the FBI in 2024. Today, it actively involves itself in American politics and works to bring about favorable political outcomes to itself, as an agency, and the Democrat Party. Don’t get me wrong, the FBI has blackmailed American politicians since its inception under Hoover. It put its thumb on the scale for what it perceived as its bureaucratic survival. That’s not what we see today. Therefore, Jones’ recommendations below are not my recommendations. He lenses his suggestions for change through his view of the world of the late 1980s through the early 2000s.

Having said that, he’s not wrong. The Swamp Factor is alive and well in its calculations of things that should happen to reform the US Central Intelligence Agency.

 

Solutions for reform of the clandestine service within the current system

Jones, Ishmael. The Human Factor (p. 351). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

1. Define the mission. Create a clear, one-line mission statement. Current CIA mission statements are multi-page documents written by committees, which nobody ever reads. A clear statement, “Provide foreign intelligence that will defend the United States,” would help employees measure and direct their efforts.

2. Focus on the mission. Recruit and handle high-quality human sources; avoid trivial, easy targets.

3. Cut layers of management ruthlessly to speed operations and to put more spies on the street. (See further comments below.)

4. Get rid of the gatekeepers and abandon the geographical station system. Station chiefs are not captains of ships; they are employees located within fortress embassies, seeking to ensure that no flaps occur on their turf. Terrorists and nuclear proliferators don’t have geographical boundaries.

5. Get the CIA out of the United States. Most CIA employees live and work in the United States. Get the CIA spying on and in foreign countries where it belongs.

6. Clarify the chain of command. Every employee should know his or her direct supervisor, and each employee should have only one supervisor. Supervisors should be senior in grade to their employees. Spouses of supervisors should never be inserted into the chain of command. A single supervisor should write an employee’s annual evaluation.

7. Account for the money. Make certain that the taxpayers’ money is spent properly. Don’t let secrecy get in the way. Don’t be afraid of verifying receipts written in foreign languages in faraway places.

8. Create a one-line cultural statement: Do not lie, cheat, or steal unless required in an intelligence operation. Spies need to lie, but only when necessary for operational success. The organization’s efficiency and reliability will improve when employees trust one another to speak the truth. Recent reforms demonstrate what happens when change is attempted at the CIA. Following the intelligence failures of 9/11, Congressionally mandated reforms did the three worst things possible by

A. Adding extra layers of management. They created a new office of the Director of National Intelligence. No successful organization has as many layers of management as the CIA.

B. Accepting the CIA’s ploy that hiring the right people just needs a few more years. The CIA has used this ploy for decades. The CIA has all the qualified people it needs. The problem is that they are poorly led.

C. Showering the CIA with billions of dollars in additional funding without transparency or a system of accountability leads to fraud, waste, and mismanagement. The CIA is a failed organization that has proven resistant to reform. Therefore, the CIA should be broken up into its constituent parts, and those parts should be assigned to organizations that already have clear missions and defined chains of command, as follows:

1. Transfer CIA offices and personnel operating within the United States to the FBI. The CIA was never intended to be a domestic spy agency. The FBI is designed to handle domestic intelligence operations. The FBI is measured and held accountable by its ability to catch criminals, and this accountability motivates the FBI to perform.

2. Transfer all CIA embassy activities overseas to the US Department of State. The State Department is designed to handle diplomacy. Much of what the CIA now does in its embassies involves diplomacy, such as handling relationships with liaison services. State Department officers can contact other foreign government representatives in diplomatic venues. The State Department handled these functions before creating the CIA in 1947.

3. Transfer overseas human intelligence collection efforts to the US military. Focus case officers exclusively on the gathering of human intelligence. The fundamental motivation of the American military—to win wars and to protect the lives of its soldiers—is to ensure that its case officers provide the necessary intelligence and do not become distracted by soft targets or by designing programs meant to look busy and spend money. The US military already has a large corps of trained case officers and graduates of the CIA’s training course. The US military already has a better ability to place case officers overseas in non-State Department positions. The military’s command structure is clearly defined and flatter than the Agency’s. We should recognize the scope of the problem: The lack of human intelligence sources has haunted American Presidents since the foundation of the CIA in 1947. The lack of human sources has been the greatest threat to the presidencies and the historical legacies of American Presidents and the American people.

a. The Chinese invasion of North Korea in 1950 was a complete surprise62 and the subsequent handling of the war by President Truman led him to cancel his re-election campaign.

b. The handling of the U-2 incident was President Eisenhower’s greatest regret as President.63.

c. Lack of Cuban human sources contributed to the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which was President Kennedy’s greatest failure.

d. The lack of human sources in Vietnam64 haunted President Johnson during the Vietnam War.

e. The Vietnam War was also one of President Nixon’s greatest challenges. The outbreak of the 1973 Arab/Israeli war also took the Agency by surprise.

f. Throughout the Cold War, the Agency’s top program, recruiting Soviet human sources, was a shambles. Lack of intelligence on Soviet intentions nearly led to war on several occasions.

g. President Carter’s humiliation and the destruction of his presidency were caused by the Iran hostage crisis and the subsequent failed rescue attempt, both of which featured a lack of human sources.

h. President Reagan’s humiliation involved hostages and the ensuing Iran-Contra scandal, both featuring a lack of human sources.

i. President Clinton’s legacy was tarnished by the lack of human sources who could have transmitted information that might have prevented the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Lack of human sources led to a nuclear arms race in the Asian sub-continent.

j. Lack of human sources on Iraqi WMD and the Iraq war poisoned the George W. Bush presidency. The greatest vulnerability to the President elected in 2008 and future Presidents will be the lack of human intelligence sources. Terrorists armed with nuclear weapons will kill hundreds of thousands of Americans if we do not improve our human intelligence capability.

Comments on mission drift:

1. Recruiting human sources isn’t easy or fun. For the case officer, rejection, humiliation, and loneliness are the byproducts of human intelligence operations. Sitting in a hotel room and meeting a man with bad breath for hours at a stretch is hard work.

2. Recruiting human sources does not appear to lead to career advancement. It is the lowest form of work within the Agency, and few top managers have ever recruited a good human source. To have recruited human sources in al Qaeda and Iraqi WMD, a case officer would have had to be in the field for years, away from Agency stations and HQs. He’d have returned to a dead career with no management experience and with none of the connections at HQs necessary for personal advancement. A person who wants to advance in the organization does so through lengthy service at HQs, with rare assignments overseas.

3. This leads to mission drift: officers prefer fun things that lead to promotion, such as creating layers of managers, handling liaison operations, building boondoggles, Potemkin offices, elaborate cover mechanisms, and elaborate covert action schemes.

4. The Agency’s successes are in areas outside the fundamental intelligence-gathering mission. Success in Afghanistan was a military operation, for example. Convincing Libya to end its WMD programs was a diplomatic success.

5. Mission drift causes the Agency to go after little fish, not big fish. Operations involving little fish cause bigger flaps when something goes wrong because the American people don’t support espionage operations aimed at seemingly unimportant topics.

6. Human intelligence operations are relatively cheap. Mission drift into more expensive non-human source missions provides openings for corruption.

Comments on the destructiveness of excessive layers of management:

Excessive layers cause delays in disseminating intelligence reports, often making those reports worthless. Intelligence collection is peculiar in that it is a one-on-one activity; there is no need for layers. Management consultant Tom Peters discusses the problem of layers by pointing out that, in a chain of six layers, if each layer makes the correct decision 80 percent of the time, this will result in a correct decision by the six layers 26 percent of the time. (.8 to the 6th power = 26 percent).65 Excessive layers increase risk when it becomes difficult to determine who is in charge. Excessive layers increase the number of people who know secrets, making leaks easier and harder to find moles like Ames. Excessive layers encourage rule-breaking. I rarely conducted an intelligence operation where I didn’t have to break an Agency rule. Had I not broken the rules, I would never have completed an operation. Promote case officers by giving them more freedom and responsibility in conducting operations rather than by making them gatekeepers. I’ve never come across the suggestion that the Agency reduce its layers. Yet that is one of the first things a businessman or management consultant seeks to do to improve an organization’s operations.

Comments on motivation:

American businesses are driven by profit, which motivates them to keep their organizations functioning efficiently. It can be argued that the FBI and the US military are bureaucratic, but they, too, have clear missions—to catch criminals and to win wars—and this helps give them focus. It is less likely that an FBI agent, for example, can rise within the FBI without ever having been involved in catching a criminal. The US military is motivated to win wars. These motivations drive the FBI and the US military just as the motivation to earn profits drives American businesses. The US military’s effectiveness is partly due to “civilian audit, dissent, and self-critique,” which are part of the “larger Western tradition of personal freedom, consensual government, and individualism.”  Without civilian audit, dissent, self-critique, transparency, or accountability, a bureaucracy will thrive, grow, and morph into a monster, such as the CIA is today. We must acknowledge what drives humans and what motivates an organization. If the FBI did not need to catch criminals, if the US military did not need to win wars, and if American businesses did not need to earn profits, they would fall into the same rudderless disarray as the CIA.

The CIA has no driving motivation and should be split up and attached to organizations with driving motivations.

Notes: Kessler, Ronald. The CIA at War: Inside the Secret Campaign Against Terror. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003, p. 89. 4 “Dewey Clarridge, who served in the CIA for 30 years, holding increasingly responsible positions in the Directorate of Operations, and Robert M. Gates, who became director of central intelligence in the administration of the first President Bush, both acknowledged that they knew of no significant recruitments of Soviet spies during their long careers. The spies were all walk-ins or volunteers.”

 

Identify the Aircraft

1

2

3

Two pictures

4

 

Identify the Armored Car

5

6

 

 

Parting Shot

 

End

33 thoughts on “A Victim of the Ambient Morality

  1. Identify the Aircraft:
    1. Sud-Est S.E.700
    2. North American F-100 Super Sabre
    3. Blackburn Shark
    4. Ilyushin Il-20
    Identify the Armorer car:
    5. Humber Light Reconnaissance Car
    6. Cadillac Gage Commando

  2. “The Big Short” and “Margin Call” deal in the “pre and during” of the 2008 housing market collapse. We The People, aka The Peons, are nothing but tradable commodities to the Wall Street scammer shell gamer grifters. When they got in bed with “The Fed”, like they did with Student Loans, everything went to “pot”. Every one of these people should be in prison, but like Hunter and an increasingly growing pile of other reprobates, including that so-called hand picked operative “judge” Merchan, they are part of the protected class…could definitely “murder someone on 5th Avenue” and would never see the inside of Rikers.
    *
    Great content this morning…much to digest.

    1. PS. Never envy the wealthy…many have sold their souls, betting at least half gained their status by ill-gotten means…and they are not smarter than you or me.

      1. Will the wealthy by my collection of short stories? Would they become even richer if they read a new story daily for a month? I’m just dragging the sack in a fit of self-promotion today.

        1. You should drag the sack of self-promotion, no one else will (at least directly); one has to be their own biggest cheerleader…or as I like to say, “No one is going to pay your mortgage for you” (something entirely lost on the lazy).

  3. Jesus Cristo, amigo! What a wealth of information and thinking material today. Thanks.

  4. Gaza – move them all to Qatar. If that place is good enough for Hamas leadership, it’s good enough for their supporters. Also, move all of our stuff out of there. Why are we supporting and defending Hamas friendly countries?

    1. The US has a huge presence in Qatar as you know, with on the order of 10,000 troops. The Clinton Global Initiative parked over $1 billion in Qatar, which might explain a great deal.

    1. You’re right. You could eliminate all of them and reduce the federal workforce to 50% of current levels (or less) without deteriorating service. Nobody would notice.

  5. I’m elderly, as well as old-fashioned.
    I want to read a book that I can hold in my hands, not something on a screen.
    This sounds like a great book and I don’t want to miss it; please make it available in a print edition.

    1. The problem with being a one-man show is that you’re a one-man show. I have been putting off releasing it until I had the paperback in order. It will be a while until I get that done unless I stop blogging, working, or being married.

      1. Yeah!
        You do sorta remind me o’ d’ guy on a bicycle on the high wire juggling four bowling pins and assorted balls.
        BTW: I’ve also been enjoying your illustrations (best word I can find for them); sorta a highly modernized Norman Rockwell/Georges Seurat

        1. I try to surprise blog readers—just a little—with different art and themes. Sometimes, I try the same things with topical discussions, but I think that keeps things fresh. It does require me to balance my time. As to art, I have told my daughters that I’d do art projects for them. I’ve told MRSLL that I’d pre-do a collection of hand-made greeting cards for her to send out for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. She just reminded me, and I haven’t even started those. Do you know how much time goes into a hand-painted greeting card that the recipient will throw away? Such is the cash value that I place on my work. I can’t write creative novels or shorts if I feel depressed or angry. Politics makes me angry. So, even with the non-work projects (blogging is a little different because it’s very quick for me), much has to do with what is happening around me. What demands are people making of me (outside of work). I have eliminated most of my overseas phone call work, which requires me to be awake all night. I just had to do that, Boron. I made money, but –damn. I also do a lot of charity-related work that I don’t discuss on the blog. PaulM is aware of it. I planned to start a food bank funded by corporate donors (not a religious food bank). Everything was lined up, and the local churches all lined up against me. They wanted control of the food bank, which I started. THEY wanted credit for feeding the flock, not a non-denominational corporate outreach. I heard from some church members (different churches) that they planned to send people in to empty the shelves under the guise of need and then stock the local church food bank (one they would create)—just nasty crap. I scrapped the idea. I didn’t start the project to create a war. Thanks for listening. On to the regular blogging.

          1. That right there is exactly why you have the readership you do; fascinating content, thought provoking things sometimes from left field (at least mine), no host ego, exceptional artwork (I mean, seriously…unbelievable), and for the savants among the crowed, some armament challenges. So…it ain’t bragging if you do it…and unlike what most people may believe (as Rush would say), it is not easy, especially with “talent on loan from God” that is well used, of which He smiles. (now I sound like a suck up…but it’s all true)

        2. @Boron- My thoughts as well. Like all the others, this particular header picture/painting is incredible…terrific detail requiring actual study. Then again, if LL simply spit paint on a canvas – and knew the right Nameless Chinesium buyers – he could quit his day job like Hunter, assuming he ever had an actual day job….and even that 10% for the Big Guy would be an easy check to write for the super secret deep pocket connections.

  6. trump guilty on all charges. well, i hope the jury likes being know as the dumbest idiots of all time. and i hope the libs dancing in glee can still do it in the next few days and months. i doubt they’ll be so happy with themselves when the unintended consequences come to fruition.

    1. This is their free pass badge of honor to be flaunted at all the Lefty party invites. Merchan says, “The jury has not reached a verdict so I will move to dismiss the court for the day.” [5 minutes later]…Uh, oopsie, the jury HAS reached a verdict.” Uh huh, nah…nothing to see there. I want to see every jurors bank account…gotta be bought. They are brainless bums and Marxists. Just wait as every pundit will say “don’t blame the jury, they were working with what they were given.” (Clue: They were given NOTHING of substance piled on top of made up Lawfare.)

      Had I gotten this convoluted mess with the asinine 1.5 hours of unwritten instructions from Bum Judge, I would have walked into that room and asked anyone if they had a clue what the actual crime that was committed, let alone the fairy dust crap of the secondary crime to bump a defunct misdemeanor up to a felony (at best, IF a crime had truly been committed, which this was not). Yet no one knew, or STILL knows, what the secondary crime they “convicted” him on is/was. Made up garbage to prosecute a political rival. Wait for The Husk to act all magnanimous, altho if their Campaign statement is any indication this will give Biden the opportunity to say he’s not debating a convicted felon (which was always a setup purely for optics).

      Please Lord, remove that scumbag from the planet during his moment of glory tonight…however if not, then let today’s ugly catapult PDJT into the election stratosphere that even the Demon-Rats fraud machine can’t overcome.

        1. The Judge’s lack of impartiality and demand for a guilty verdict opens the way to an appeal on the verdict. The jury was tainted. The Swamp demands prison or execution and 4 more years of brain dead Pedo Joe. We are still in wait and see mode. At least President Trump should be free to campaign unless the NYC Probation Department forbids travel (and possible “flight to avoid prosecution”). Don’t rule that out.

          1. I think that preventing Trump from campaigning will be the primary focus of the sentencing on July 11th which is 4 days before the Republican National Convention (July 15th-18th). Merchan will likely put Trump under house arrest because of the problems of letting the Secret Service provide protection. Therefore, Trump will not be able to travel to Milwaukee. And he will also severely limit Trump’s freedom of speech as he is a “convicted felon” so he can’t even make speeches from his place of confinement.

          2. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
            -OWK

            My text reply to a friend earlier this evening: “Real question is: when are They going to really panic — and kill him?”

            >The Swamp demands prison or execution
            Heard on a livestream just now: “Trump should write a book while in prison. He could maybe call it ‘My Struggle’.” Yeah. Haha. DJT doesn’t have it in him to go that route. But this bullshit is making it increasingly possible that someone who DOES have it in him to arise. ROL is dead. The Republic is likewise dead. Both have been croaked for quite some time. What this farcical trial has done isn’t killing ROL, it’s merely pulling the curtain aside and shining an arclight on the putrid, maggot-ridden mass of corruption that’s become of the corpse of our nation.

          3. Mike_C – Creating a martyr historically has been the spark that lit the fuse. Hammering nails into his hands and feet and thrusting a spear up under his ribs and into his heart is a short term solution. I’m not conflating President Trump with Jesus Christ, but a public execution will be seen as that in the same way as Epstein’s assassination is not believed to be anything but another case of Arkancide.

  7. I’ve downloaded your new book. Thanks Larry for pushing it out. Looking forward to the eventual print edition as I like holding a book. So, I’ll own both print and electronic. Love the cover too, good job Jules.

  8. Solutions for reform of the clandestine service within the current system

    There is no such thing as limited Kudzu. Kudzu and government grows exponentially, that’s what it does. Nobody has yet altered the DNA of Kudzu or government to limit it. If CIA was actually great it could self-analyze.

    THEY wanted credit for feeding the flock, not a non-denominational corporate outreach

    They’re commies. Disintermediate the churches and feed the deserving poor using new cutouts.

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