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It's a strange thing, being a blogger. Sometimes I can almost respect the lives and work of journalists, if I could believe the majority of them were half as serious about the commitment to accuracy, consistency, and simply respecting the ideals of the nation in the pursuit of a story, as bloggers are. Since I first began to write on blogs last spring, I have occasionally been contacted by various people in various places, offering me insight into their positions and experience, on the condition that I respect their privacy and protect their anonymity. Fortunately, I have always been able to agree to this provision; I would never protect anyone guilty of a crime or advocating violence, nor anyone acting in opposition to the traditional responsibilities of the military, government, or similarly authoritative positions, but the people who contact me hold the same sort of ideals. Apparently, only Newsweek and the Washington Post hear from people whose sense of responsibility and conscience are lond dead. Friday evening, I got a call that fell into that no man's land between details which cannot be revealed, and something that screams to be told.
The Intelligence Community of the United States is something of a maze, an enigmatic mess of groups and agencies, even for many of the men and women who work in it. Without a prolonged discussion which would bore the tears out of most people, the Intel guys basically fall into five types: The Technical and Logistics crews who make the tools and supplies that make Operations possible; the Field agents of various classes who get the information, the Analysts who sort out the information and prepare reports, warnings, advisories, and recommendations, the Politicians who represent the agencies in their dealings with Congress and the President, and the Money guys, whose main plan is always to get the agency they work for a bigger budget and larger share of the power pie. You think the office politics is bad where you work, think for a few minutes about what this arrangement is like, especially given the incestuous habit some guys have of collecting Congressional patrons in exchange for, well, "inside" information, which used to lead to leaks whcih endangered the security, even the lives, of real agents, in a way the Plame affair scarcely imagines.
Anyway, I'm of an age where I know a few old friends who went one way when I went another, and as a result I got a call on Friday from an old bud who used to work in the field, and now gets to write reports for some of the higher-ups. Since he and I are pretty much law-&-order types, there's no juicy secrets here about the War on Terror. He doesn't get chatty about details, and I don't plan on breaking trust with anyone who not only carries a gun, but who has saved my butt in more than one way.
But in case you were wondering how well the War is really going, my buddy assures me of a few interesting points:
 Coalition morale is high, for good reason.
 Zarqawi may be alive and on the run. But his network is really, really messed up, however. One of his lieutenants has been nicknamed "Snitch-Life", which won't translate well to fascist terrorist, no matter how they try.
 Osama bin Laden hasn't been heard from since Howard Dean was taken seriously for a good reason.
 A new group may be expected to soon start claiming credit for "insurgent" attacks in Iraq. This represents new desperation, rather than organization.
 Syria will have electrical problems in a number of places this summer.
 Don't be surprised to see raids on Madrassahs in Jordan, Lebanon, even Iran in coming weeks.
IOW, we're winning, so expect a lot of whining from the Left.
And thanks guys, out in deep center.