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[] Guardian kritisch zu Poindexter und dem neuen Information Awareness Office,

   No more Mr Scrupulous Guy
   How one of the two brains behind the Iran-Contra scandal this week
   became one of America's most powerful men
   John Sutherland
   Monday February 18, 2002
   Last Wednesday something strange happened. The American population
   instructed to panic. Place themselves, that is, on a state of highest
   vigilance. Some cataclysmic act of terrorism would happen - within
   hours. But nothing terrible happened. Something creepy did. On
   Thursday there was an inconspicuous news item. John M Poindexter had
   been appointed to head a new agency "to counter attacks on the US",
   such as Wednesday's no-show. It is equivalent, in British terms, to
   Jeffrey Archer being made chancellor of the exchequer.
   The agency which Poindexter will run is called the Information
   Awareness Office. You want to know what that is? Think, Big Brother
   Watching You. IAO will supply federal officials with "instant"
   analysis on what is being written on email and said on phones all
   the US. Domestic espionage. You want to test it out? Text-message any
   American friend, "Bmb OK. Allah gr8".
   The IAO is one of two new offshoots of the Pentagon-based Darpa - the
   Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (it's venerable ancestor,
   Arpa, invented the internet). The other new agency is called the
   Information Exploitation Office. Its mission is to supply similarly
   instant analysis about overseas enemy targets. IEO will employ the
   computerised sensor networks that have proved so successful in
   Afghanistan. And, from now on, America - with IEO guiding its smart
   weaponry - will launch sneak attacks. No more Mr Nice Guy.
   IOA and IEO will get a big chunk of the $48bn of the taxpayers' money
   George Bush is pumping into his war on the evildoers. Never again
   it be said that US intelligence agencies went to sleep on the job -
   that they were too careful about the American citizen's civil rights
   to do that job. No more Mr Scrupulous Guy.

   Poindexter is frighteningly smart and very unscrupulous. He graduated
   top of his class at the Naval Academy in 1958 and went on to a PhD in
   physics at the California Institute of Technology. He returned to
   uniform as America's best-educated sailor. He wasn't a desk warrior.
   Poindexter commanded missile destroyers. He won medals to hang
   alongside his academic diplomas. He is the model for Tom Clancy's
   hero, Jack Ryan.

   After the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981,
   Poindexter was called in to review White House security.
   Reagan was impressed and appointed him a national security
   adviser, in 1983, with the rank of vice-admiral. 

   At this point, things started to go wrong. He and Oliver North
   were found to be up to their necks in the Iran-Contra (guns for
   hostages) scam, which blew up in 1986. Poindexter was
   charged and found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice,
   and the destruction of evidence in 1990; this was overturned on
   appeal the following year. The case against them was that they
   meticulously wiped out 5,000 incriminating emails - but forgot
   about the back-up tapes. Even smart guys goof sometimes. 

   Poindexter was also accused by a Costa Rican government
   commission of being involved in cocaine trafficking to raise funds
   for the contras, though this was never proved (you can find
   details in the Guardian, July 22 1989). 

   His excuse for his behaviour was brazen: "I made a very
   deliberate decision not to tell the president so that I could
   insulate him from the decision and provide some future
   deniability for the president if it ever leaked out." In other words,
   he gave himself the right to run America's foreign policy behind
   the back of the commander in chief. Who the hell voted for John
   M Poindexter? 

   Both North and Poindexter have gone on to do well. North has a
   radio chat programme that rivals Rush Limbaugh in rightwing
   virulence. Poindexter was recruited by Syntek Technologies, a
   firm in bed with Darpa. His hand was back in the hi-tech cookie
   jar. As a company vice-president, Poindexter helped develop
   Genoa - an "intelligence mining, information harvesting" system
   designed to explore (clandestinely) large computer databases.
   Listen in on America's electronic conversations, that is. 

   Poindexter is, once again, one of the most powerful men in
   America. His job description is "crisis manager". How do you
   put a man with Poindexter's record back in the manager's box?
   Well, a spurious crisis would be convenient. Now do you
   understand what was going on last Wednesday - or must I spell
   it out for you?

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