Semi‘s gonna have a ball with this one.
There’s a new director of the Pentagon’s new Information Awareness Office, part of the DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. (It was DARPA’s organizational predecessor that gave the world the Internet. But I digress…) This new director is one John M. Poindexter.
Yes, that John Poindexter. Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor. The one who was convicted in the Iran-Contra affair. Remember? He sold weapons (illegally) to Iran, and used the cash to (also illegally) fund the Contra insurgency in Nicaragua. Ollie North’s buddy. It was in all the papers.
Poindexter was convicted of conspiracy, lying to Congress, defrauding the government, and destroying documents. The convictions were overturned; Poindexter had been given immunity before Congress (after invoking his Fifth Amendment rights). His testimony, though public and nationally broadcast, was inadmissible, courts said.
So here he comes sliming his way back into public service, this time running an office that is supposed to:
create a new intelligence infrastructure to allow … agencies to share information and collaborate effectively, and new information technology aimed at exposing terrorists and their activities and support systems…. The key to fighting terrorism is information. Elements of the solution include gathering a much broader array of data than we do currently, discovering information from elements of the data, creating models of hypotheses, and analyzing these models in a collaborative environment to determine the most probable current or future scenario.
To me, this sounds a lot like what the NSA is supposed to be doing. If you read the IOS’s page closely — and there’s no way to read it casually — it looks like IOS is developing ways to massage and pass around raw data that the NSA and the National Reconnaissance Office and all that crew develops.
Which is not a bad thing. And it’s surely a comedown for a past National Security Advisor to have an office that’s probably deep in the bowels of the Pentagon, far from corridors of power. And it speaks well of the man that he still wants to be in public service.
But still. John Poindexter should be in jail, not in the Pentagon. He waged a private war that was contrary to the policy of the government he swore to serve. He should not be pulling a government paycheck — much less with a high security clearance.