A Case of Smoke and Mirrors
Presently, we find ourselves deeply ensconced in a target rich environment of government scandals ranging from Benghazi to the IRS targeting conservative groups, to DOJ’s seizure of telephone records for the Associated Press and individual reporters.
With a hint of foreign intrigue, officials taking the 5th, and agency stonewalling at every turn, Americans are becoming increasingly impatient with the near flaccid process of getting to the bottom of things. The inevitable conclusion: we’re not one step closer to finding who is responsible much less who will be held accountable.
This long simmering anger was never more apparent than last weekend when I attended my first gun show north of Atlanta, GA. While you might conclude that the average attendees meet the usual, stereotypical notion of attendees at those sorts of events, most were just average folks hell bent on securing their piece of the second amendment before this or any other administration seriously curtailed their right to bear arms.
Conspiracy theorists and underground devotees fueled with the notion of secession from the union meandered among the tables looking to proselytize anyone making eye contact with them for more than a few seconds. Otherwise, customers filtered through narrow aisles surrounded by conference tables on either side filled with all manner of firearm and watched over by buxom women wearing undersized t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Concealed Weapons” written across the front.
According to conventional wisdom, prices for everything from guns to brass for reloads had gone through the roof based not only on buyer panic to second amendment concerns or a shortage created by the frenetic purchasing of ammunition by government agencies whose intent purpose was to create a shortage.
It’s All a Matter of Perspective
You could find as many ongoing discussions about gun ownership and gun rights as there were vendor’s tables in the auditorium. The conversations followed the usual script that you might expect, but one discussion rose above the rest.
I was speaking to a fellow trying to sell me on the notion of Georgia seceding from the union and forming its own country was the best and only way to rid itself of the “corruption and intransigence of politicians residing within the beltway.”
For my part, I was fully engaged in rattling off the major findings of the United States Committee on Homeland Security report that cited conclusions that “experts believe the Southwest border has become the great threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States.” No matter where you looked in this report, there was no good news.
Another vendor was sitting nearby and touched me on my arm to get my attention when he heard me raise this particular point. I never asked for his name and I assume that in the context of what he said, that would suit him just fine. He said that he had previously served as a military intel analyst in Washington and was now employed by the Department of Defense to essentially do the same type of work.
He said that he already knew the talking points raised in the Congressional study long before they were published. He said that others in Congress did too but that it was never to be released for public consumption prematurely.
He said that the US government model of management is one of plausible deniability. It is seemingly one purported to protect the public from information that might lead to wholesale panic while giving the power brokers ample opportunity to deny what they always knew to be the truth. He said that by manipulating the facts vis a vis plausible deniability, no one has to admit to knowing anything and no one is held accountable because the facts in their entirety will never be known. It works well for those seeking to operate behind the scenes and under the radar but not so well for anyone else that has to depend on the integrity of the people involved in the administration of government.
Lately, the failures in this model have manifested themselves in a variety of ways. One need look no further than the hearings involving the IRS targeting conservative groups prior to the last election. Rather than stepping up to set the record straight, agency managers respond to Congressional inquiries by running for cover invoking the “5th” all the while decrying the proceedings as a slight to their character.
Why should we be surprised? Such is the system of plausible deniability where layer upon bureaucratic layer obfuscates any possible trail to the oval office where the answers to these questions may abound. That appears to be after all, why this system is in place.
Given the near invincible nature of this system, we may never even realize that we never got any nearer to the truth than when we started and no one will be the wiser…
Brett Braaten is the author of Homeland Insecurity: Failed Politics, Policies, and a Nation at Risk. His book brings his no nonsense, insider’s account of the current state of national security to help you decide whether you, your family, and your country are truly safe. Brett’s career as a writer and speaker is informed by 30 years of experience as a federal agent with U.S. Customs and the Department of Homeland Security. Brett Braaten draws back the curtain on the vast federal law enforcement bureaucracy to give a rare glimpse of behind the scenes agency responses to politics and policies that impact national security, sovereignty and the economy. “As a former special agent with both the U.S. Customs Service and later Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I enjoyed a great career. In retrospect, it was job satisfaction that most of us spent time looking for as we did our jobs in a system that fostered more obstacles than solutions.” Contact Brett at firstname.lastname@example.org .Visit his website, at www.homeland-insecurity.com for his thoughts and analysis of current issues affecting national security and the well-being of American families.