Necessary Secrets

The Powerline Blog has a post this morning on a surprising honest review in the Washington Post of the new book Necessary Secrets. From the Powerline post:

The review is by Leonard Downie, Jr., who was the Post’s executive editor until 2008. Downie is obviously uneasy with Schoenfeld’s view that editors and reporters at the New York Times should be prosecuted and imprisoned for revealing two of the Bush administration’s antiterrorism programs – the warrantless intercept program for monitoring calls to the U.S. by foreign terrorists and the program though which the international financial transactions of terrorists were secretly tracked.”

The exposure of these programs by the fearless reporters and editors at the Times unquestionably contributed to the prolonged detention of David Rohde because we lost the tools for finding to a kidnap victim in the tribal areas of Pakistan.  For that very reason the Times was forced to find “outside the box” options to try and gain Rohdes’ freedom and apparently one of those options involved hiring civilian contractors who had contacts and access into the denied areas of the North West Frontier. Here is a quote from the first story the Times published on the subject:

From December 2008 to mid-June 2009, both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Clarridge were hired to assist The New York Times in the case of David Rohde, the Times reporter who was kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan and held for seven months in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The reporter ultimately escaped on his own.

I doubt he escaped on his own.  The Haqqanis do not seem the kind of villains who would let David walk freely around the compound to find enough rope laying right there to scale the compound walls.  Nor do I think Americans can wander about the town of Miranshah for more than five minutes without being detected but miraculously there was a patrol of Khyber Rifles to take him into custody and see him safely to Peshawar.  Sounds like somebody pulled off a wicked smart operation to me.

Pardoy from Freerepublic
Parody from

Many of you may not recall the kidnapping of the Times Pultzer Prize winning journalist because the Times used their considerable clout to put a complete media black out on the event.  It is too bad that the Times is unable to muster a little empathy for the Americans fighting in Afghanistan or they would not have published a piece in the Sunday edition which, by their own admission, endangers them. “U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts” is the headline but in the article the doubts are from the CIA and International man of action Robert Young Pelton about a program which is performing so well the Pentagon doesn’t want to shut it down.  The CIA is supposed to run human intelligence  and can’t, Mr. Pelton had a contract to do something similar and failed so what is the point of the story?  Look at this quote:

“While the Pentagon declined to discuss the program, it appears that commanders in the field are in no rush to shut it down because some of the information has been highly valuable, particularly in protecting troops against enemy attacks.”

Is that not all you need to know about this program to understand that maybe there are better things to focus on in Afghanistan?  This article, just like the first one, said that the military is investigating to make sure no policies or procedures were violated.  So what is the point?  Is the New York Times now the hall monitor of record?  “Teacher, teacher those boys are still producing vital intelligence and we told them to stop!”  “Teacher, teacher Mike Furlong just came out of the boys room and it smells like cigarette smoke!”  Are you kidding me?  Do these people think we are so stupid we cannot clearly see this hypocritical agenda driven attack journalism for what it is?

Blackfive came out today with yet another report on the detention of Mullah Omar by the Pakistan ISI.  Uncle Jimbo is no amateur and has many more sources for this kind of news than I do.  If this story is true it is an outrage.  The President of the United States has the mandate to uphold the constitution.  He has no right to spin and scheme and play games where matters of national security are in play.  There is nothing for him to think about – the procedures for high value fugitives like Mullah Omar have been planned out in great detail by top legal talent like John Woo who crafted  a constitutionally acceptable set of procedures so tight that even Jon Stewart could not find fault in them.  Obama has been in office for over 18 months; if he has not written his own set of procedures he has to live with the old ones.

This Mullah Omar story is the most important story of the day.  Our government is lying to us, they are taking liberties with the positions of power the people  have granted them that are not constitutional nor remotely covered by executive privilege.  I want to know if this is true but our “newspaper of record” is busy carrying water for a loser CIA station chief and a failed Canadian “adventure personality.”  I’ll keep my eyes glued to the Times of London who will break this story light years ahead of our liberal, agenda driven, state run media.

48 Replies to “Necessary Secrets”

  1. Tim,
    I appreciate that you owe Brad Thor a favor because he paid you to run him around J-Bad playing “secret squirrel” but I am a having a problem with you squealing like a girl at the same time you lambast the media for being so chatty.

    You need to be more restrained about providing the details on the very people you keep criticizing others for publicizing. If anyone is a security risk its those manipulated bloggers who are actually undermining the very American and Afghan elements that are providing support to information operations.

    For the record you are ignorant, misinformed and being manipulated. Although you work the same area as my stomping grounds you seem terribly out of sync with about what is actually going on.

    The issue is about a flag level SES with a conflict of interest. Ordered by 4 stars to deliver something and failing magnificently. Then when he is handed a potential windfall by us, he drives that program through a closely controlled corporation run by cronies. That along with diversion of funds, failed promises and lying to other flags is the core of the discontent.

    For the record our program had nothing to do with the current “covert spy ring”. I am fully able to deliver insider information but I do it openly and in the public forum.

    We kept tabs on Rhodes and talked frequently to his kidnappers. Just as I keep tabs on Bergdahl his movements and negotiations. We also keep tabs on the people you keep jabbering about in the public forum because they are somewhat clumsy and obvious in their attempts to sell their services. But what’s your point? There never was a competition between us and any information provision service, just an clumsy attempt by a specific person to diss us when we pointed out some fundamental flaws in a concpet. Flaws that led to the current public blow up his program. But this was predicted by us and came to pass. We had nothing to do with the current public disclosure that was the Agency and the highest level of the DoD.

    We were also approached by the people you keep posting about and declined to work with them because they are spies. Once again we don’t need to spy. All the actors know who we are and our history in the region. Many of these assets are the very same people who let bin laden escape. including an ISI double agent who is provided the Mullah Omar stuff that you, North and Thor keep channeling through Furlong. Whether its true or not how does a gaggle of schoolgirls chirping on their blogs serve the national security interest? You lose any ways it lays down.

    But for the record any legal program that helps soldiers make smart decisions should be employed.

    Stop and think about something. You and your big haired buddy are the one that keeps this in the pubic forum, You are the one connecting the dots for the media and you are the one who constantly misreads the top commanders intent in their need for clear information on the region.

    For the record.

    My company pitched an open source information system. We don’t need to “spy” we deal with people like Haqqani, Sangin,Hek as well as the Pak and Karachi taliban openly. My record of access and accuracy are based in 15 years of well known publication and direct contact in Afghanistan with key players.

    We don’t know what Furlong did and didn’t want to know. We work “outside the wire” as you like to call it and never sought to replicate internal activity. We don’t even have passes to get on base. We only work with locals and we have never had a clearance, base pass or government contract. We are independent and self directed.

    Furlong is under criminal and conduct investigation by his own employer, not us. We have never made any charges against Furlong. He is an earnest person who seems to be hoist by his own petard from Bosnia, to Iraq to Afghanistan. We have full faith in what these investigative agencies find. But we have no part of it nor do we have any stake in what happens.

    Our program has no linkage to anything Furlong ever did, we never worked for him and we only worked at the flag level to craft a subscriptions service. He was tasked to find funding and we met him on various venues specifically to follow up on the subscription funding. We were never provided the original concept, never worked for the new crew (including Smith) but our concept was overwhelming approved at the highest level as of Aug 30. What the command got was very different than what they approved. But that is all ancient history.

    Your anger is misplaced.You are a victim of psyops. And you disseminate to the detriment of Americans serving overseas. Perhaps you could channel it into actually providing usable information for the troops, public and families.

    So why not act like a friggin marine and get off the emo train, stop crying like a girl. Contribute or get out of the way.

    peace out


  2. I find the above Pelton’s comments just might warrant a response by this blog’s author.

    However, in general I find my thoughts return to when I was a youth and played games with those other young boys in the neighborhood. Games that revolved around “good guys and bad guys” in themes.

    It didn’t take me long to discover who I wanted on my team or whose team I wanted to be part of when we all could choose. I wanted to win and be on a winning team.

    When someone comes on a response/comment section, offering a “formal” perspective as to those issues presented; I expect to see responses either to validate such comments or to invalidate them, especially if the charges carry a serious tone to them, which I think Mr. Pelton attempts.

    Pecking orders are always fascinating when dissected.

    So, fascinate us if time and interest permit, or if truths need to be presented.

  3. Call me a homer but I’ll take the decorated Marine over the discredited “Adventure guy” anyday…
    Frankly, knowing Tim like I do I find it amusing Pelton’s schtick is he is getting “worked” I am not sure if he is trying to illicit a response or if its a amateur attempt at recruitment. At best, its a “Please leave me alone” thing. Actually, I went back into the blogs and tried to find where Pelton was attacked. Not that he doesn’t deserve it but I wanted to be fair. Couldn’t realy find anything that wasn’t true so I think this is an attempt by Pelton to say “I am still relevant…please engage” also known as the “I’m still here method”

  4. Go back and read it again. I am very clear in what I am saying. Tim is being worked and not to anyone’s benefit. I dont’ need him to engage me, he can read comments on his own blog and he knows where to find me and I know where to find him.

    I have nothing against Tim and he is entitled to his opinions even I think he would be first one to admit they are not based on any knowledge of who I am.

  5. You have got to be kidding me. John Woo a top legal talent? He’s a toady and a shill. He has done grave damage to this country and made our militaries job much more difficult. He was told to find loopholes making torture legal and thats just what he did. He should be charged with crimes against the constitution and Bill of Rights and so should his chickenhawk bosses in the ex Bush administration. Why you think John Stewart is the threshold for legal examination is beyond me Watch the whole interview. He walked all over Yoo.
    The Mullah Omar story is so foolish as to be unworthy of any further comment.

    1. JarJar,

      on what are you basing your opinion about John Yoo? Some two-bit turd story in the Huffington Post? News update to you: even the frothing liberals that dominate the Justice Department now could not find any basis for charges against Yoo. Not even enough to warrant a referral to Yoo’s state bar commission. That was months ago BTW.

      As far as the Mullah Omar story, why don’t you try to cite some facts or specific examples rather than just ranting and throwing around unsubstantiated opinions. (Hint: it’s called contributing to the debate). Guessing that you are a flaming liberal, you are no doubt short on facts or logic, so you fall back on invective.

      I hope that you did not actually serve in the Corps.

  6. I’m leaning over to black five abet Tim. something is up tho.No mainstream media is hinting or reporting anything on this.So if true, who is working who? ISI have him and holding him for us to show up with are lawyers?. Or karzai to cut a deal with the “one eyed saint” to help stop the fighting? Who benefits more? But one thing is for sure,someone is playing someone.

  7. I’ve re-read the RYP comment several times but am unsure what he is trying to say. I need someone who has endured a lifetime of substance abuse to translate. Or somebody with a severe psychotic disorder like Charles Manson. In fact it is very similar to the writing in the Unabomber Manifesto.

    Anyway, serious time spent in analysis and reply would be a no-win situation similar to arguing with a homeless person. Another day in paradise.

  8. babatim says: “The exposure of these programs by the fearless reporters and editors at the Times unquestionably contributed to the prolonged detention of David Rohde because we lost the tools for finding to a kidnap victim in the tribal areas of Pakistan.”

    How would that be? Please explain.

    1. Time for me to comment on these comments and I’ll start by saying I don’t have much to say. I am not a professional writer; I am an infantryman who writes. The difference may best be illustrated in my response to Moon of Alabama who wanted me to explain my contention that the exposure of Top Secret programs by the NYT contributed to the prolonged detention of reporter David Rohde.

      We once had an NSA program that was designed to eavesdrop on al-Qaeda members who were located in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The Haqqni network that is based out of the same tribal areas in Pakistan kidnapped David Rohde. Assuming that this program, which was considered vital by the intelligence agencies and the military, had not already targeted and eliminated the Haqqani leadership prior to the kidnapping, whatever capabilities were resident in the program were lost to the U.S. security agencies long before Mr. Rohde was kidnapped and held in the very place this program was targeting.

      If that program was half as effective as the intelligence agencies claimed it was there is no way that exposing it and eliminating it from our list of options did not prolonged David Rohde’s detention. Actions have consequences and those consequences are seldom disclosed or discussed in the dinosaur media because they seldom venture outside their preferred liberal narrative. This is how a law passed by the State of Arizona, which requires local police to enforce federal immigration law while specifically banning racial profiling becomes an unreasonable racist anti-constitutional, profiling law when featured in the MSM.

      The beauty of being an infantryman who writes is that I was raised to make the most complex plans simple because in war simple is what works. Afghanistan is becoming more confusing, more complex, more dangerous by the day. Our Commander in Chief, being true to form, is voting present, our military leadership is talking COIN but deploying and fighting using the standard attrition warfare template.

      I am blessed to be in this place at this time where I can provide what I hope is clear simple ground truth to the international community who follows Afghanistan milbloggers. I am also blessed because I don’t have to prove anything regarding my motives, agenda, conduct, courage or background to anyone. My reputation within the circle of warrior leaders with whom I spent the best years of my adult life is the only reputation that is of concern to me. Additionally, I am in the enviable position of never recommending that the military do something that I am not doing or have not done myself. I am certain the popularity of this blog and the loyalty of the regular commenters can be directly attributed to the fact that I walk the walk long before I talk the talk.

      That last sentence kind of sucks but this is my other problem I have very little time in the day to do this and I am working through super slow internet connections. Plus my laptop does not function correctly because The Bot spilled beer on my touch pad about four months ago. The last sentence above has to stand because I need to get going. Thanks to my regular readers for their positive feedback and comments.

  9. 1. Thought a lot about this column and the RYP commentary.
    2. Comes down to two things: creds and motivation.
    3. Give BabbaTim the creds department based on time on the ground. Have been reading his stuff for a long time and the body of his work is undeviating and convincing.
    4. Motivations are about even. Both have rice bowls to protect. Additionally, BabbaTim communicates an affection for the Afghan people that even an insensitive soul like myself can appreciate.
    5. The “back off -you don’t know what you are messing with” warning from RYP is one I’ve heard before.
    6. My superiors, betters, agents of organizations that were rung in on whatever problem it was, used it from time to time.
    7. My instincts generally ran counter.
    8. In the aftermath, instincts usually proved up.
    9. My instincts say that Sam is going to wake up the day after the Peace Jirga feeling sorry and sore. Per usual.
    10. The 20 or 30-something SES’ers that formulated the policies leading to it will be gainfully employed spinning the abject failure into something more politically acceptable.
    11. Who will the losers be? A few troops on the pointy end, some generals who can look out for themselves -and the Afghan people. Per usual.
    12. Accurate commentary will increase the risk to yourself and your mission. Please take care.
    V/R JWest

  10. RYP’s commentary seems long on insult and intrigue and short on support. If I sat in my mom’s basement reading conspiratorial novels and watching Oliver Stone movies long enough I could probably make something up that sounds roughly equivalent. But then again I am not struggling for respect in my working hours so I can’t relate. Good luck sorting it out but RYP sounds like a lot of bitchy libs I used to argue with on campus – they too thought that some bluster could overcome their failure to systematically construct a sensible view of the world, leaving them vulnerable to critique and hypersensitive in general.

  11. Babatim,

    We need more men like you in the circles I work in. Honest, principled men who can dole out truth knowing full well the criticisms that are to be expected. After all, truth hurts peoples feelings.

    A personal attack on your service as a Marine and credibility as a blogger insinuates to me that you hit a nerve. Again, the truth hurts. Kudos.

    While I don’t know the full story behind the situation in question, I can say that your commentary on necessary steps for progress in Afghanistan are right on the money, which gives you the credibility.

    As for your actions being in accordance with the decorated history and traditions of the USMC, this I will say; the defining traits of a Marine per my observation are blunt honesty, an irreconcilable desire to win, and the ability to constructively analyze and approach with solutions any problem at hand. You, Sir, are the epitome.

    I look forward to your continued insight on the problems at hand.



  12. While I would love to wax eloquently for pages about the deeds of those that are actually doing the work, I cannot because I have a job to do. To Baba T and Brad Thor, thank you. You are true patriots who have been blessed with access based on your principals and convictions. To RYP (retarded yellow pus…), you are a joke and the laughing stock of real operators everywhere. Your infantile, self-serving rant marks you as a little bitch that doesn’t know when to sit down and let the real men deal with the problems at hand. I pray you come to Afghanistan soon, I know a lot of folks that would love to meet you. We would take you on some real adventures and use I mean your vast array of skills. We are always in need of chum (not a chum, see fishing metaphors). Alas that would be like hunting deer at a petting zoo. Stay safe, stay in Canada, and stay out of our way.
    Here’s your piece out.

  13. I notice a couple of things on this site and associated ones. No direct answer to direct questions, ignoring the actual points made by talking schoolyard tough behind silly aliases and hoping that having other random people post under aliases on other sides invents the illusion of support. The earth trembles.

    My point still stands. Tim is allowing the enemy to triangulate exactly who is operating out there. He is dissing serving Americans who are in Afghanistan and Pakistan and he is passing RUMINT and gossip thinking he is defending something by destroying.

    His sitreps and observations of the area he works in are invaluable but his attempts at steering the clown car are questionable at best. Perhaps Tim will recognizes the background in that post over at Uncle Jimbo’s. Either way its Tim’s clown car over here and he chooses who gets on board.

  14. Tim, the incoherent whining, while fun to read, proves you are way the hell out of your element.

    So you’re sniffling about not disclosing we (may have) captured a VHVT and claiming that’s unconstitutional while simultaneously damning the NYT for publishing on warrantless surveillance? Yeah, OK. We’ll pretend that’s sound logic.

    Furlong, is a superhero force protector? Uh huh. OK stud. Try talking to someone who knows something next time.

    Fact is, you’d be better served to stay in your lane than feverishly jerking off a wannabe like Brad Thor in public. It’s flat out embarrassing.

  15. What a bunch of freak’n posers.
    warrior spirit here? – just
    “do it to your brother before he does it to you”.
    Ya’ all need to stop spending like it’s your money.
    It’s not!
    like a shell game, we are all feeding at the bin of lies
    Kill and ask questions later,
    but that’s not a living. That dope will not go away.
    I go with the Marine, living in the light,
    he who feels it knows it lord.
    Tim dawg and team live it.

  16. The title of the post is Necessary Secrets, drawing a distinction between those and unnecessary secrets such as the possible capture of MO.

    Obviously, Pelton is trying to protect his income source. Frankly, he comes across as a douchebag poser.

    It don’t mean nothin’

  17. Let me see if I have this right: Mr. Pelton claims there are programs in place that seek to gather information useful to our side against those who we presently consider our enemies. These programs are both formal and informal, also, they employ direct and indirect elements. Further, Mr. Pelton wishes that independent bloggers, such as this site’s author, would spend his/her time presenting information that, in his, Mr. Pelton’s opinion, does not offer up in jeopardy, facts which an enemy might and could use.

    Also, Mr. Pelton suggests that this site’s author is easily duped into presenting misinformation all the while promoting stories which others then pick up helping him but not those at the tip of the spear.

    A brief visit to Mr. Pelton’s web site suggests he roams the world seeking “inside” access so that he can present those “truths” he finds, or is presented by those he interviews, etc.

    I recall some drug dealers at school who always told the prospective buyers that their “shit” was the best and that the other guy’s stuff was crap.

    I also recall our dear lawyer/warrior Eric Holder attempting to avoid saying that radical islam infects the minds of those terrorists who have committed their lives to destroying ours.

    I read today that a state Attorney General, in Connecticut, a trained lawyer who it is alleged received five (5) military deferments during the Vietnam period, only later to join the Marine Corps Reserve where he was stationed at Washington, D.C., wherein while running for the Senate seat held for years by Fanny Mae and Freddie’s Macs’ best friend, Chris Dodd, previous statements spoken by this candidate concerning his Viet Nam military experience were lies, all of which, surrounded by veterans–or those posing as such, he today claimed such comments were in fact “mis-statements” which he is now presently deeply sorry for others (read us citizens) taking as truthful.

    Therefore, not every one who has worn a Marine uniform tells the truth: This is what I take away from these current events.

    Many have made comments on these very elements one way or another; all seem to take a side or a slant on who to believe. Of course, there is that old saying “you always kill the messenger” which still may have merit in warfare.

    Obama-Mao and his team are cowards, plain and simple. Those in our military; career officers and enlisted personnel, these people march to their immediate superiors’ orders.

    If the most powerful country on this planet Earth cannot defeat a group of people who wipe their ass with the left hand while eating with the right, who tell women to cover up their bodies and do clitorectomies as a cultural given, who dream of wiping every Jew off this planet, and who kill any who defame their god…

    Yea, we got great leaders who know how to win a war with such people. Leaders like an Attorney General who is now a “poser” yet has real veterans stand behind him offering up “he’s been there for us” testimonials.

    Mr. Pelton, your “bona fides” don’t leave me with warm and fuzzy feelings. While this blog’s Jarhead author does his thing, his thoughts ring with a “focus” as to how our own people are undermining those who wear our military uniforms via their efforts, both known and not so known.

    In other words, I take with a “grain of salt” all that I read from all the sources from which I pay attention.

    As of today, Mr. Pelton, I will be following your travails too.

    I recall Peter Jennings wearing that photog’s tan jacket, hair slicked, pants pressed, cigarette at the ready, shined shoes, walking amongst us in ’66 wanting to know what “combat” operations were like.

    I thought he was a real pretty boy phony then! I of course, have my DD214 to back up my statements, as a starter for seeking truth, not a guarantee for truth.

    My memory is not what I thought it used to be.

    Good luck…Who’s got a “short timer’s” calendar?

  18. Sorry, I didn’t catch anyone’s name. Was there something coherent you wanted to tell me? I enjoy your off topic rants but I don’t sense any real connection with the reason for my comments. I am impressed with how many people can fit in the clown car. Which one is the designated thinker?

    And to think the internet was invented for this.

  19. As I read Tim’s post, I have the impression that the issue is with the NYT publishing information detrimental to the troops and the possible detainment of MO by ISI. Your issue seems to be with a Flag level SES who didn’t pay you. I am left wondering who went off topic?

  20. I’m beginning to comprehend why this blog’s author has chosen for the present time not to respond to R.Y.Pelton’s malignant narcissistic intrusion.

  21. Sorry, Mr. Pelton,
    But you fit into the clown car quite nicely yourself. You lost the argument when you indulged in a bit of verbal self gratification at the squealing girl. The verbal barrage and accusations which followed it are practically the entire mini train the clowns ride in on.
    I recommend Capri Shoes for clown shoes, though you should make sure your income source is still around because they cost around $1000k a pair.

  22. Baba, I have no idea where you find the time to put these together. Between Class VI runs to the warehouse, rebuilding Southwest Asia, and trying to stay ahead of all those check points, your observations – Maritime Based as they may be – are spot on.
    On a side note, make sure you go shopping when the “Bomb Dogs” are on duty – you might get in.

  23. ugh can’t sit on my fingers much more.


    Somebody’s been drinking way too much liquid courage. The nose shows…

    The only thing I saw that really caught my eye was somebody admitting to being an accessory after the fact to the kidnapping of a federal employee. That would be a felony criminal matter.

    My understanding is that that same somebody is currently not located in Canada at all, but in Hollywood looking for another TV deal.

    I believe the people located at the above link would have a valid and legal reason to know this, if they do not already.

    If you know where Bowe Bergdahl is located then you have a legal requirement turn that information over to law enforcement. You are not above the law.

    Come back anytime, all IP’s are logged.


    Unconfirmed rumors are just that, unconfirmed, they remain nothing more then rumors.

    After eight years of unconfirmed rumors I’ll need to see the orange suit shuffle or a bodybag being unzipped for a DNA test. I have zero doubt Omar One-Eye is somewhere in Pakistan. I have only the tiniest modicum of doubt that the Pakistani “authorities”, such as they are, could/can lay hands on him pretty much anytime they want too. Talib being in Pakistani “custody” doesn’t usually mean squat to us, or the war effort.

    Noting that DCI Panetta and National Security Advisor Jones are now in Pakistan supposedly because we’re not getting anything useful out of #2 Talib Baradar (who it appears actually is in Pak “custody”) and/or we’re not getting anything useful on the Times Square investigation. Rhetorically, when was the last time a DCI actually left the CONUS while in office?

    Speaking of unconfirmed rumors…

    So did Omar send that jirga while he was in custody? And who authorized the unexpected hit on KK?

    Screw it. Just raze Miram Shah to the ground.

    TO BE

  24. The shenanigans about the competing intelligence programs seem to indicate only one thing clearly: things are going badly in Afghanistan. I’m about as far as you can get from Afghanistan, so I must be forthcoming that my views are regrettably uninformed by experience. But this whole fracas has been going on for quite some time, and even though the friction of war makes even the simplest task difficult this is not the sort of thing that should be a major issue.

    As far as I know, both Pelton’s and Furlong’s programs have or had their successes and flaws. I don’t know enough about them to say definitively which was better, but it is clear that everyone involved is ultimately on the same team. Our fight is with the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and all the others who would profit from an Islamist or anarchist Afghanistan, and we would all do well to remember it. I am not so naïve as to expect everyone to just get along, but there are much better things for us to do than call each other names while the bad guys build their next few VBIEDs.

    Bottom line, I appreciate your views Tim, as always. They are valuable for an aspiring Marine Officer, and I hope I will get the chance to implement the knowledge and experience you share. That said the issues surrounding David Rhode’s escape and Mullah Omar’s rumored arrest seem to be far enough outside your area of expertise that addressing them puts you at risk for attacks like Pelton’s without being in a position to counter them effectively. I agree with you on all counts, but don’t want to see someone like Pelton making your life harder than it has to be.

    Mr. Pelton: Why post your angry response on Tim’s blog, instead of responding to him directly via email? Your comments say just enough to craft an argument but are too vague for it to be a good one. Who are you trying to persuade, and what are you trying to convince them of? Also, how is Tim allowing the enemy to triangulate exactly who is operating out there? And what are you trying to accomplish with all your insults of Tim and his readers? Without answers to these questions you seem to be flailing in frustration. Furthermore, answers to these questions would help all of us here get good “usable information” for now and the future. Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. BD this is an excellent comment. My observations about David Rohde’s escape are speculation. I think well-informed speculation but my opinion of how well informed I am or am not is meaningless. Speculation is speculation and you are correct about that being outside my area of expertise. I wasn’t there and know only what was reported in the press. You did an excellent job of pointing that out and I am grateful for the soft course correction you so ably provided.

      Time for some advice my friend. If you are on your way to joining the Corps as an officer I don’t think you’ll have any problem making the grade. What you have to remember is that it is critical that your first battalion commander and executive officer not know how well you write. You’ll never escape the job of battalion adjutant if they find out. Trust me on this – being the adjutant is all work and no play. No days on the range, no going out to CAX to be a coyote no MCCRES (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation System) evaluator TDY orders, all the things which make being a young Lieutenant so much fun will be lost to you as you man the adjutant’s chair. Keep your talent for clear concise written communication on the down low until after you make your first pump overseas. And good luck – we can always use a few more good men.

  25. BD,
    Well said. In Tim’s defense, it is a blog…Not mainstream media. As I understand the vector, the whole idea of blogging is to put up stuff that doesn’t make it for whatever reason into the media circus or stuff that may be less than validated and then open up the doors for the kind of nonsense you see above. Thats part of the deal. I, too was alittle taken back by mr. pelton’s attack but there is obviously something here that we all don’t understand. My old Boss used to and still says “The only time you can really expect something from someone is when they are in danger of being harmed or you have you hand in their pocket book” If, we are to subscribe to that then Mr. Pelton either feels threatened or someone took “his money” Don’t know, don’t care.
    I will say this though, as a young something or other I read Mr. Pelton’s book. Liked it even when years later I had operated in most of the places he “visited” I thought then and for a long time that he was really on to something with the concept and I respected his courage. Having said that, his email to the author is not a shining moment in his career. Like I said, there is probably more here than is surfaced. But, the Author should not be bothered by Pelton’s stuff just as Mr. Pelton should not be surprised that some among the readers of this blog would go “high order” His subsequent email baiting the knuckledraggers just indicates to me that he knew exactly what the response would be. I think the better course for Mr. Pelton would have been to make his point for whatever point he felt he needed to (see above sage wisdom) and pop out. engaging in silly blog battles just doesn’t seem to fit the scenario.
    All in all, BD’s post was well written and i would like to wish him good luck with his Corps aspirations.

  26. “both Pelton’s and Furlong’s programs have or had their successes and flaws. I don’t know enough about them to say definitively which was better, but it is clear that everyone involved is ultimately on the same team.”

    Smartest thing anyone has said here. Our concept had nothing to with Furlong other than he was directed to find funding for the 4 stars who wanted us in in place and working robustly. What Furlong did after is his business

    But a blog “battle”? Please. All I see are a gaggle of anonymous hens waiting for someone to tell them how to cackle. BD, Tim and some others excepted.

    Tim gets my respect for his response and I am glad he realizes that even a “let of some steam after work” blog is a source of potentially deadly information.

    peace out



    Help yourself.


    “I am fully able to deliver insider information but I do it openly and in the public forum.”

    In the really real world we call that leaking classified information.

    “Just as I keep tabs on Bergdahl his movements and negotiations.”

    You cannot prove that without violating OPSEC, can you RYP? Why even mention it?


    For at least some of us anonymity is our only legal form of OPSEC. The relevant authorities, who would have a need to know, know full well who we are and what we do. You do not and you never will. Give Eason Jordan our regards…We are not on the same side.



  28. babatim, should Mullah Omar be handed over by Pakistan to President Karzai and the ISF? Should Mullah Omar be tried by the Afghan people for crimes against the Afghan people?

    Try to look at Mullah Omar from a Pakistani perspective. Don’t Pakistanis owe Mullah Omar a debt of gratitude? Wasn’t Mullah Omar a loyal ally 1994-2001?

    Didn’t Mullah Omar help start up the Kashmir insurgency against India? The fact that violence in Kashmir dropped 90% after 9/11 demonstrate Mullah Omar’s outsized contribution to the Kashmir Jihad. Many tens of thousands of Indians died 1996-2001 because of Mullah Omar linked militants.

    Didn’t Mullah Omar bleed Iran 1996-2001? Didn’t Iran nearly invade Afghanistan in 1997 and 1998 because Mullah Omar was complicit in the deaths of so many Iranians, Afghan Hazara Shia? Many ISI believed keeping Iran in check advanced Pakistani interests.

    Didn’t Mullah Omar bleed Russia 1996-2001? Zawahiri personally fought in Chechnya as did many Pakistani, Arab and Taliban militants. Russia threatened to invaded Afghanistan in 1999 and 2001 because of the number of Russians being killed by Mullah Omar linked militants.

    Didn’t Mullah Omar also bleed potential Pakistani rivals/enemies in the Stans?

    Didn’t Mullah Omar bleed the Northern Alliance, which was widely percieved by Pakistan’s security establishment as Pakistan’s mortal enemy?

    Another fringe benefit from the perspective of Mullah Omar’s Pakistani supporters was that he irritated the West, for which the Pakistani public has deep antipathy.

    Many retired Pakistani Army and ISI remain deeply grateful to Mullah Omar for his service to what they perceive as Pakistan’s interests and the advancement of the interests of the global Ummah. Would it be just, honorable, or consistent with Pakistani values for Pakistan to hand over Mullah Omar? If Mullah Omar is to be tried and punished, might Pakistanis think he should be tried and punished inside Pakistan?

    From the perspective of Pakistanis, doesn’t honor, justice, and values count in addition to short term expediency [which is served by handing Mullah Omar in return for short term foreign aid]?

    babatim, I don’t have the answers, I am merely asking questions. Could Pakistanis on this blog provide their perspective? Is my interpretation of the perspective of senior retired Pakistani Army and ISI off base? Am I missing something?

    1. Anan everything you write is true and none of it matters. The only relevant fact regarding Mullah Omar is that he was the leader of the country from which the 9/11 attack originated. The only thing that should matter to the Pakistani’s is the consequences for not immediately and unconditionally handing that scumbag over to us. Any other consideration is irrelevant.

  29. OUR GOVERNMENT IS LYING TO US ????? shocking. Secrets from whom ? The insurgents most of whom are illiterate and couldn’t even read or make use of them if they were handed to them on a silver platter. The reason Afghanistan is going down teh tubes is NOT because of the Free Press. The next “secret” that we will hear is that India was supporting the Northern Resistance, something that everyone over their already had heard about.

    1. John, care to clarify what you think India is supporting? India believes the Taliban and AQ linked networks pose an existential threat to them. India’s PM Singh while in Washington said that the Pakistani Taliban attacking the Pakistani state posed a grave threat to India. India’s nightmare is that Pakistani/former Soviet WMD finds its way into the hands of terrorists who use it against Indian population centers.

      For that matter, that is Russia’s, Europe’s, America’s, and Iraq’s nightmare too.

      John, is it possible that the widely held perception that ISAF backs the Taliban, Iran backs the Taliban, India backs the Taliban, Russia backs the Taliban, China backs the Taliban are information operations from elements of Saudi and Pakistani intelligence?

      India is said to have offered to train the ANSF during Gates’ recent trip to India this year. Gates rejected India’s offer. Do you think India should be allowed to contribute to NTM-A? Russia has offered to train ANSF as well, but Afghans are reluctant to accept Russian help openly. Pakistan’s offer to train the ANSF has similarly been rebuffed by Afghans. Iran’s offer to train the ANSF was rebuffed by President Bush. These are the only four major offers to train the ANSF that were turned down.

      Would you support both India and Pakistan joining NTM-A? How about a major contribution by India to NTM-A conditioned on India convincing muslim countries to substantially increase their contribution to NTM-A [probably Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan]?

      John, part of the problem in Afghanistan is that local Taliban are stiffed up by embedded foreign combat advisors, extensive training in bases east of the Durand line, and by external funding and combat enablers. Many of the Taliban embedded combat advisors and foreign supporters are literate. IO operations matter.

      babatim, I strongly disagree with your assertion that “Any other consideration is irrelevant.” As you know better than anyone, the vast majority of people killed by AQ linked networks are not American. When you phrase your comments the way you do, might it not offend other countries [such as Iran, Russia, India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Thailand] that have lost many of their people at the hands of AQ linked terrorists? As you know, many AQ victim countries are suspicious that America might be secretly backing the Taliban and AQ linked networks against them. This belief is even held by many well informed, smart, educated and sophisticated officers in the ANA. [The ANA and especially the ANA officer corps are anti Taliban and anti AQ linked networks.]

      Would it be better for Mullah Omar to be tried in Afghan courts for his crimes against the Afghan people, much as Saddam was tried in Iraqi courts for his crimes against the Iraqi people? Might this demonstrate to the Afghan people and the international community that America really is on their side against the Taliban and AQ linked networks?

      babatim, Pakistani public opinion matters. Many Pakistanis believe that there is a global conspiracy of atheists, Jews, communists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Shiites, Sufis, Buddhists, Israelis, Russians, Iranians, Westerners, Indians, Afghans to destroy Pakistan. Many Pakistan genuinely think that their country is surrounded by countries plotting to destroy their beloved Pakistan, led by America. Pakistanis are also a very proud people who greatly overestimate their capabilities and the prowess of the Pakistani armed forces. Why would Pakistanis hand over Mullah Omar [who many Pakistanis think is sympathetic to Pakistan and against Pakistan’s enemies] to Pakistan’s enemies? If Pakistan does hand Mullah Omar over, could it lead to the collapse of the Zardari/Gilani government? If so, is getting Mullah Omar even worth it? Might Pakistanis and the international community be better off with Mullah Omar under house arrest in Pakistan?

  30. Wow.

    I’m an occasional reader of and very infrequent commenter on military blogs. I find them useful as a check on perceptions on the Afghan war developed through reading the American and foreign press. I admire greatly the service done by their authors (and by many of the commenters on their blogs. Not just the Americans, either). I’m regularly impressed as well by the quality of the writing on these blogs.

    But…I have to say that I read exchanges like the ones on this thread with a sinking heart. The combatants impress me as runners jostling for position on the same treadmill, all of them generally aware that they aren’t moving forward in any meaningful way but determined to stake their claim to this or that square inch of space — the details of this intelligence program or the disposal of that Taliban leader. I appreciate the emotions involved and the urgency of these matters to those who must deal with them directly every day, but I cannot escape the thought that quarrels like those on this thread are the kind one finds on the side that is losing the war.

    I’m reasonably familiar with the history of the Afghan conflict — conflicts, really, since one region or other in country has been a war zone for over thirty years. I know the enemy leadership was allowed to escape in the war’s early days, that the war was chronically underresourced while the last administration pursued its Iraq adventure, and that the present administration committed after much internal debate to new tactics and a new commanding general in the hope of improving a deteriorating situation. Skeptical of our prospects, I was nonetheless inclined to give the administration and Central Command the benefit of the doubt that this hope was justified.

    It’s hard for me to see that it is at this point. Frankly, Gen. McChrystal’s early moves — deploying to Helmand, advertising the move on Marjah for weeks beforehand, allowing talk about an Afghan “government in a box” I had no reason to think we could deliver — looked like a new method of wheelspinning to me. The apparent repetition of this approach with respect to Kandahar has prospects for success difficult to discern from here. I don’t fault Gen. McChrystal for wanting to try something different, and recognize that some reinforcements have yet to arrive in country. Different, though, is not by definition better, and reinforcing failure with a few thousand additional soldiers and Marines begins to look like something being done just because it was promised.

    I’m pretty confident that everything I’ve said here has occurred to the author of this post and to regular readers of this blog. I don’t expect that they, or most of them anyway, have fully considered the situation in the context of America’s budget and economic situations or the emerging security challenges to the United States. I have. My conclusion is that our time on the Afghan treadmill has to be much nearer its end than its beginning. Afghanistan is a dumbbell held at arms length; we can’t afford — in the most literal sense — to keep holding it up for the indefinite amount of time our counterinsurgency thinkers appear to think necessary.

    This conclusion is depressing for me, and must be also for those reading this, but there is no doubt this is where we are right now, none whatever. Blame for this situation can be apportioned later, but for now we need to understand that both time lost within Afghanistan and the changed environment outside it have consequences. When America started this war, it had budget surpluses (albeit temporary ones) and unemployment under five per cent; it has massive budget deficits and unemployment over ten per cent now. It also overthrew a widely despised Taliban government in Kabul in 2001, has had almost nine years to find a way to assemble something better, and has failed to do so. If we were not on the brink of a fiscal emergency while attempting to grapple with a massive recession we might be able to afford to spend years more trying to finally “get Afghanistan right.” It may be also that if tactics being applied now had been tried in 2002, or even 2005, we would not face our current grim situation there.

    These, though, will very soon be mere historical counterfactuals. I apologize for the length of this comment, which may strike those immersed in this thread’s discussion as irrelevant bigthink. Frankly — and I say this without malice — the reverse is also true. If the Afghan campaign cannot be won in the coming months, it will have to be abandoned. Americans immersed in the war effort there will need to find ways to reconcile what differences they have to give us the best chance of victory, and to limit the damage to our geopolitical position if victory proves unattainable.

    1. Zathras, there are no binary options in Afghanistan.
      Presumably you favor the US reducing its contribution to Afghanistan. If your advise is followed the following is likely to happen:
      -India, Russia, Iran, China and Turkey are likely to increase their contribution to the ANSF.
      -Then ANSF are likely to take the gloves off and kill a lot of Taliban and possible Taliban “sympathizers.”
      -The war in Afghanistan/Pakistan is likely to greatly expand with possibly hundreds of thousands of deaths
      -If the worst happens, or the Pakistan government falls or destabilizes, we risk Armageddon. Allowing the Taliban or AQ linked networks to get WMD poses an existential threat to Russia, India, NATO; and a great threat to China.
      -If a Pakistani nuclear devise is detonated in Europe, Shia-stan, America, Russia, or India, the consequences for Pakistan and Afghanistan would be beyond dire.

      Rather than think in binary terms, Zathras, consider that America and the international community has a continuum of options.

      One option is to transform ISAF into an FID centric GIRoA/ANSF capacity building and advising mission + economic development.

      This option is likely to cost $300 billion over 20 years in international grants to the Afghans.

      ANSF annual budget = approx $10 billion a year. Afghanistan will likely need $5 billion/year in economic grants.

      Force other countries to put up serious money and a civilian surge for Afghanistan. For example demand that Japan increase their grants to Afghanistan from $1 billion/year [$20 billion over the next 20 years] to $40 billion over 20 years [or $2 billion a year.] Demand that India and China both put up $750 million/year each in grants [$15 billion over 20 years]. Demand that Iran put up $300 million/year in grants [$6 billion over 20 years.] Demand that South Korea puts up $200 million/year [$4 billion over 20 years.] Similarly challenge other countries to contribute.

      If other countries don’t put up, then threaten to reduce the US contribution to Afghanistan.

      Zathras, do you think the ANSF can’t win this war with $200 billion in external funding over 20 years?

      With $10 billion a year, I think ANATC (ANA Training Command) can increase the number of ANA being trained at any given time to 50,000. 20,000 of which will be officers in 4 year academy, officer candidate school, Staff college, NCOs (including advanced literacy training), specialized training in combat enablers. 30,000 of which can be basic bootcamp [which can be greatly expanded in length.]

      Similarly, MoI could expand the number it trains at any given time to 40,000 or so, enabling a major increase in the length of ANP training cycles.

  31. Anan,

    The danger posed by the jihadis is that they will attack the “west” and cause all sorts of economic damage and casualties. The former is far more likely than the latter. If you are worried about a jihadist attack causing several billion dollars of damage (primarily through lost airline seat sales and increased security theater) how does giving the Afghans tens of billions of additional dollars annually make sense? Plans to increase the cash wasted in Afghanistan is like spending $1,000 to guard a $100 dollar bicycle that you don’t use.

    I like a good debate on how set up an ambush,run convoys or int nets etc. as much as anyone but the strategic question is how much to pay to get “X” improvement in our security. I don’t think there is any real question that the threat from the Taliban to the west is close to nil. I don’t think there is much debate over the real AQ need for Afghan gravel pits for training when there are lots of such facilities in Yemen, Sudan and Pakistan…and we haven’t yet stopped jihadis from training in Afghanistan.

    We are spending too much already by several magnitudes and that pouring more cash in simply will increase the severity of the debacle. I also expect that a “double dip” recession caused by the unraveling of the European financial system (and the welfare state that lead to the troubles) is coming and that demanding our allies spend more in Afghanistan is unlikely to have positive results.

  32. Let me say briefly that I appreciate “anan’s” very prompt response to my post upthread. I thought I was pretty clear about what I thought our options were. I commend his creativity in coming up with 20-year plans for Afghanistan.

    In response to his question, I have no idea whether ANSF can win the war, with X amount of external funding, in that period. The only thing I know for sure about 20 years from now is that I won’t be running any marathons then.

    1. Zathras, always like a fellow B-5 fan 🙂

      Believe the ANSF can win, but on their own (long) time table and in their own way.

      In the short run I think the ANSF would not bother so much with most of Helmand, Kandahar, Babil, Paktika, Ghazni, Nuristan and Kunar [aside from some road routes] Rather they would focus on the North, West, greater Kabul (Kapisha/Parwan/Laghman), Nangarhar, Paktia. In other words, focus on parts of the Pashtun belt where actual anti Taliban Pashtuns live. 😉

      Gradually recapture other provinces as the ANSF grows in size and quality over many years.

      And the ANSF will, let us say, be a little rougher and less Amnesty International friendly than ISAF and ISAF advisors prefer.

      It will take the ANSF many years to win the war their way. But I think they win with long term $10 billion/year in annual funding, trainers and advisors.

  33. You know, RYP sure has a lot of time to post on websites these days. I guess his business with Eason may not be going so well after all, despite his attempts to drum up business.

  34. HI Old Blue aka whatever alias you are stalking under these days. Business is great. How are things in Kansas these days?

    By the way Tim, the entire modern jihadi movement in Pakistan has its roots in Greeley, Colorado. Read the works of Sayyid Qutb and look at his followers like Zawahiri. The 9/11 attacks were also hatched in the US by Pakistani KSM who went to school in North Carolina and perfected the 1993 attack which KSM also bankrolled but was thought up by Ramzi Yousef a Pakistani (born in Kuwait) who trained in the Khalden camp which was funded by the Pakistanis. I could go on but why on earth do we need to “fix” Afghanistan when Pakistan has always been the fountainhead of violent jihad and America the place where the plots are hatched and carried out?

    Afghanistan is a poor nation with plenty of people meddling in its affairs. Some good, some bad. But ultimately Afghanistan and Afghans are not our enemy.

    I wil be in country soon if you want to link up.

  35. as we discuss AQ, it should be noted that they have to a great extent relocated to Yemen and Somalia. While Bin Laden remains the boogieman, I am somewhat amazed no one has connected the dots on Al-Awlaki. He has been involved in virtually every major terror operation claimed by AQ in one way or another.

    At the same time, the primary source of funding for the Taliban and Haqqanis and some of the other insurgent/bandit networks is the opium trade, about which we seem to be doing very little. 90% of the world’s heroin originates there. We have troops sitting right on top of it, and yet it still passes through….Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Albania into Europe and the states.

    As I hear from friends who are in of disillusionment and a lack of real progress, highly restrictive ROE’s and no end to the corruption, I have to ask whether we should be continuing the mission.

    The President has set next year as a cut off, as have the Brits, Canadians, and others, so it’s now or never and it looks as if, from what you’re saying, the Kandahar offensive is turning into a clown show.

    Can I get some enlightenment?

  36. The truth shall set you free. Americans have a right to know what their government is doing.

  37. Love the post! I was searching for free classified advertising and classified related articles when I came across your website post on Bing. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the share. I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference 🙂 Nice article – Catch Ya

Comments are closed.

Verified by MonsterInsights