The White House National Security Council recently directed U.S. spy agencies to lower the priority placed on intelligence collection for China, amid opposition to the policy change from senior intelligence leaders who feared it would hamper efforts to obtain secrets about Beijing's military and its cyber-attacks.And why are they doing this? Rational reasons like budget, resources, even more urgent needs? Nope:
The downgrading of intelligence gathering on China was challenged by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta after it was first proposed in interagency memorandums in October, current and former intelligence officials said.
The decision downgrades China from "Priority 1" status, alongside Iran and North Korea, to "Priority 2," which covers specific events such as the humanitarian crisis after the Haitian earthquake or tensions between India and Pakistan.
But administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the new policy is part of the Obama administration's larger effort to develop a more cooperative relationship with Beijing.Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! [sputter, choke]. Hahahahahahaha. [drinks water]. Hahahahahahaha!
What else can you do but laugh at the stupidity of this? The article reports opposing claims: (1) it won't have any effect on intel, just a number, and (2) over time quality of China intel will fall. If (1) is true the Chinese will know it, so no effect on relationship. If (2) is true, we shouldn't be doing it for any reason. The report also shows that at least one priority is Iran -- just another way our obsession with the Middle East is crowding out the really important stuff in Asia. It also shows how China, by cheaply feeding Iran's nuke program (at a profit!), is getting the US to consume its resources on secondary targets. Analysts in Beijing must surely go to bed laughing each night at news like this, as they contemplate American boys dying in Afghanistan to make Central Asia safe for Chinese expansion.
But to do it to further a more cooperative relationship with Beijing? I just can't stop laughing. Why doesn't Panetta have the intelligence community date coma victims instead? That will be an experience just like trying to establish a cooperative relationship with China, and it will not impair our intelligence gathering.
Seriously, it might be worth attempting to relate to Beijing, but not by reducing our espionage efforts.
Ok, let's start a pool: how many days after this news will it be before Beijing does something stupendous espionage or hack on the US intelligence community? I'm picking eight days -- the amount of time between the US and China resuming military exchanges, and the harassment of the USNS Impeccable in international waters by Chinese vessels.
Let's hope this news is some kind of disinformation.
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