Which US Spy Agency Does What to Whom?

Bayard & Holmes

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

One of the most common mistakes in fiction is confusing which intelligence agencies have the power to do what to whom and where they have the authority to do it. Today, we want to clear up that confusion.

Wiki 2015 March US_Intelligence_Community_Logo_blue

While there are numerous military and civilian intelligence agencies, we’ll focus on four of the biggest branches, which are also the ones most commonly assigned imaginative extracurricular activities books and movies – the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA” or “Company”), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), and the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (“NSA/CSS” or “NSA”). 

 

Wiki 2015 Mar CIA Logo

Central Intelligence Agency

Purpose:

To collect, assess, and disseminate foreign intelligence. The Central Intelligence Agency is and always was what Congress thought it was creating for the first time with the DHS.

Where the CIA operates:

Exclusively on foreign soil.

Entire novel and TV series are premised on the notion that the CIA conducts elaborate surveillance and investigations of American citizens on American soil. (i.e. Homeland and Burn Notice). No. Even in the case of an internal investigation, such as the investigation of traitor Aldrich Ames, the agency must contact the FBI and/or the DHS—depending on the foreigner’s activities—as soon as surveillance on American soil is involved.

What the CIA is authorized to do:

The CIA is authorized to gather intelligence on foreign countries and foreign individuals outside of the US. It has its own employees, but it can also employ contractors and foreigners. Any combination of employees (a.k.a. blue badgers), contractors (a.k.a. green badgers), or foreign agents can be involved in an operation.

Power to arrest:

The CIA does not have the authority to arrest anyone. They do at times detain foreigners in the process of covert actions, but you didn’t hear that from us. The CIA never arrests people for the purpose of prosecution.

To arrest someone on foreign soil for the purpose of prosecution, the CIA cooperates with the FBI, who must in turn cooperate with the host country.

 

Islamabad house where Ramzi Yousef was captured. Image by US govt., public domain.

Islamabad house where Ramzi Yousef was captured.
Image by US govt., public domain.

 

An example of this interaction is the arrest of the first World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Yousef, in Islamabad, Pakistan. A US State Department employee found the relevant lead by passing out thousands of matchbooks with a modest reward offer printed on the covers. He turned over the information to the CIA, which located Yousef and kept him under surveillance until an FBI team could arrive in Pakistan. The FBI executed a raid while the Islamabad Police waited outside the building. When the FBI brought Yousef out, the Islamabad Police performed the arrest and immediately turned him back to the FBI team to be escorted to New York for formal prosecution.

Oversight:

The CIA reports to the National Intelligence Director, who reports to the president. The agency is overseen by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. As much as Congress and the president disavow their knowledge of CIA activities at times, the CIA has never operated without oversight from Congress and the White House.

 

Wiki 2015 Mar FBI Logo

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Purpose:

The FBI was originally the federal government’s investigative agency. Now, the FBI investigates both criminal and terrorist activities and has offices in several overseas US embassies.

Official priorities listed at the FBI website:

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels
  5. Protect civil rights
  6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
  7. Combat major white-collar crime
  8. Combat significant violent crime
  9. Support federal, state, local and international partners
  10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI’s mission

Unofficially, the FBI is tasked with keeping suit manufacturers in business.

 

Canstock photo of three actual FBI agents.

Canstock photo of three actual FBI agents.

 

Where the FBI operates:

The FBI operates inside the US as both an investigative and a law enforcement agency. Outside of the US, the FBI assists foreign governments in investigations and conducts investigations of crimes against Americans and American installations. It also acts as a liaison to foreign law enforcement agencies.

What the FBI is authorized to do:

The FBI is authorized to conduct law enforcement and surveillance inside the US. Outside the US, it relies on the CIA for surveillance and must obtain the permission and cooperation of foreign governments for any US law enforcement activities on their territory.

Power to arrest:

The FBI arrests people inside America and, with the cooperation of foreign governments, takes criminals abroad into custody.

Oversight:

The FBI answers to the Department of Justice. The president can and does speak directly to the bureau, and the attorney general and various congressional committees provide oversight.

 

Wiki 2015 Mar DHS Logo

 

Department of Homeland Security

Purpose:

We’re not sure they know, and if they do know, they’re not admitting it.

Law prevented the FBI and CIA from operating effectively to avert terrorism in the US in that the bureau and the agency weren’t allowed to share most of their information with each other. This could have been fixed with a few changes in law.

However, Congress, never one to do for a dollar what could be done for $38 billion dollars, created the DHS. Their intent in establishing the DHS was to set up an agency that could work with itself in order to prevent the next 9/11. Its original core mission was counter-intelligence in order to ensure a homeland that is safe and secure, whatever that means.

The DHS is still creating itself and being created by outside forces such as Congress and any given president. Since its inception, the department has grown to include FEMA, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, ICE, Border Patrol, TSA, and more.

 

TSA agents in Boston. Image by DHS, public domain.

TSA agents in Boston.
Image by DHS, public domain.

 

Where the DHS operates:

DHS operates both inside the US and outside the US, supposedly with the cooperation of the CIA. That boundary is a grey area that has never quite been defined.

What the DHS can do:

The DHS can order surveillance on anyone inside the US for virtually any reason under the Patriot Act and its legal progeny. To spy on people outside the US, it relies on the NSA, the CIA, and other agencies.

Power to arrest:

Like the FBI, the DHS can arrest people in the US or abroad if it obtains the cooperation of the foreign country. Those arrested by the DHS in the US have all the rights they would have if arrested by any other US police body. If the DHS nabs someone overseas, that person will show up in the US judicial system.

Oversight:

DHS has full department status, unlike the FBI or the CIA. They have their own department head. It is a cabinet position that reports straight to the president and only nominally to the National Director of Intelligence.

 

Wiki 2015 Mar NSA Logo

National Security Agency/Central Security Service

Purpose:

Cryptology is at the core of the NSA/CSS. It’s the agency’s job to break foreign codes and set codes for the entire US government. It also listens to and stores foreign and domestic signals, including computer signals.

The NSA is very stingy at sharing what it gathers with other sectors of the intelligence community. Other intelligence organizations view the NSA as a black hole where information and money go in, and nothing comes out. In fact, it is undoubtedly the source of astronomers’ models of cosmological black holes.

Where the NSA operates:

Most NSA employees reside and operate inside the US, though they might travel to US embassies or foreign bases. Anywhere there are secured communications, the NSA has the authority to show up and investigate to make sure that security procedures are in place.

The NSA neither confirms nor denies having any facilities for gathering signals outside of the US.

What the NSA can do:

The NSA’s foreign and domestic intelligence gathering operations are not discussed, however, we would refer you to Piper’s PRISM articles listed below. Everyone in the NSA leadership serves at the pleasure of the president. As with the CIA, the president likes to pretend that he forgot that the NSA does what he tells it to do.

 

President Obama addressing NSA about mass surveillance on Jan 17, 2014, pretending he forgot that he ordered the mass surveillance in the first place. Image by US govt., public domain.

President Obama addressing NSA about mass surveillance on Jan 17, 2014, pretending he forgot that he ordered the mass surveillance in the first place.
Image by US govt., public domain.

 

Power to arrest:

The NSA doesn’t arrest anyone. Not ever. If someone shows up flashing an NSA badge, feel free to shoot them. They are a Hollywood crew and not NSA employees.

Oversight:

The question of NSA oversight has been afloat for many decades. They are supposed to report to the National Director of Intelligence and the CIA, but the CIA has never been satisfied with the NSA’s sharing of information.

Have you ever spotted fantastical activities on the part of the CIA, FBI, or NSA in fiction? Do you have any question about who gets to do what to whom in the real world?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

PRISM Surveillance on Americans—What Price Convenience?

PRISM—We Can’t Stop the Signal

Why PRISM Matters

Spooks Without Boundaries

NSA: Hoarders, Cheaters, Dr. Phil, or Jerry Springer?

America Is Not a Location–The Ultimate Price of Citizen Surveillance

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Coming in September!

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Mom’s Dating Tips — Bonds of Love or Bonds of Crazy?

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

Everyone is a head case. The only question is whether they are a head case you can live with. ~ Mom

In the first article, First Be Happy Alone, we looked at why the first step to being happy with someone else is learning to be happy alone. A full cup attracts a full cup. If you’re happy alone, then it’s time to open yourself to the world of opportunities.

Opening yourself means you have to get rid of pre-conceived notions. The fact is that you might not know what you need. Trust that God, Life, the Universe, your Higher Power, or simply your Inner Good Sense does know. In other words, don’t stay trapped in a box of what you think you want. Open yourself to what you need.

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Think Outside Box

 

Relationships are journeys of discovery. They are not enactments of pre-conceived fantasies.

Forget thinking that you must have crazy hot chemistry the moment your eyes meet. Crazy hot chemistry – the kind that makes you want to jump a stranger right there in the produce section of the grocery store – is exciting and makes us feel alive and tingly, but it’s still CRAZY. The fact is that our hottest attractions occur when our own crazy meets a compatible crazy. Crazy sucks onto crazy like a fanatic sucks onto dogma. Crazy is not a basis to build a life together.

Crazy is attracted to crazy in the hope that if you can fix each other’s crazy, it will somehow fix your own. In reality, though, the only thing crazy can build together is more crazy. This results in one of two inevitabilities. You spend your lives in an increasingly miserable death spiral, OR, one of you gets better, and the bond is broken. The classic example is the alcoholic and the co-dependent. They either die inch by inch together in alternating ecstasy and misery without ever building a stable life, or one of the two gets better, and the relationship falls apart.

Crazy love sparks the firestorm that burns down our world.

Lasting love is the hearth fire that warms us for a lifetime.

Bonds of love are bonds of solace and refuge that are built over time. They nurture each partner while nurturing the relationship. And don’t worry. This does not preclude hot sex. The difference is that the hot sex is real and solid, and you’re in the room with your mate and not lost in your head with someone you don’t even really know outside of crazy. It’s an exchange of nurturing love rather than an expression of needs that the relationship cannot fill.

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Hearth Fire with warming feet

 

Signs You’re Bonded in Crazy

This is not a comprehensive list, but it hits some major points.

  • You understand each other’s pain before the dessert course.

Bonds of pain are at the foundation of crazy love, and they can be a force of nature. Finding someone with matching scars is like reaching an island in an endless stormy ocean, and it is one hot, steamy island. But unless there is a great deal more to the relationship, you either indulge each other’s pain for the duration, or, the moment one of you starts to heal, the bond is broken.

  • You fall into bed and ask questions later.
  • You have the same strengths and the same weaknesses.
  • You overlook Red Flags* and plow forward without resolution.
  • You make excuses for the other person’s words and behavior.
  • You keep the relationship compartmentalized from your family and friends.
  • When you are together with family or friends, you act differently than you would if the other wasn’t there.
  • You treat the other like a fixer-upper, focusing on who the other can be rather than who the other is right now, today.

 

So much potential!

So much potential!

 

Signs You’re Bonded in Love

  • You learn each other’s life stories over time.
  • You become friends who genuinely enjoy each other’s company before you become lovers.

As we discussed in the last article, sex is easy. Love takes time and commitment. The vast majority of relationships that begin in the bedroom never make it to the altar, much less through a lifetime. Think of controlling yourselves as a way of respecting the sacred relationship you want to share. It also builds trust in that you show each other that you aren’t slaves to lust – something anyone married over a decade can tell you will be a potential danger to the relationship at some point. Establish that you are up to the challenges to come.

  • You have different strengths and weaknesses, preferably complimentary ones that will help you draw strength from each other.
  • There are no unmitigated Red Flags.*
  • You are comfortable with the other’s words and behavior.
  • You socialize easily with each other’s friends.
  • You are drawn to who the other is today, not who the other might be tomorrow.

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Family with a Home in its hands

 

At the heart, lifelong relationships are about time and boundaries. A dear friend once explained it to me like this . . .

You are in the center of multiple circles of fence. Not walls. Fence. When you meet someone, go to the outer circle, and stand behind your fence. Chat over the fence for a bit. If you’re comfortable with them, open the gate and let them in to where you were standing while you go behind the next fence. Wash, rinse, repeat. THE CHOICE TO OPEN A GATE IS COMPLETELY YOURS. You don’t owe an open gate to anyone. Not anyone. Most people will remain in those outer circles as acquaintances. Some will come in several layers and be good friends. And, in time, one will make it in far enough to be your mate for life, and a mate for life is worth the investment of a little time.

Now give yourself a hug and be good to yourself today.

Many blessings,

Mom

*Red Flags are signs that you’re barking up the wrong skivvies. We’ll talk about those next time.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Bayard & Holmes Official Photo

When it comes to dating, Piper Bayard did it wrong, and then she did it right. She’s now been happily married for over two decades and is passing on the tips that helped her find a solid partner in building a life and a family.

Piper Bayard, is also an author and a recovering attorney. Her writing partner, Jay Holmes, is an anonymous senior member of the intelligence community and a field veteran from the Cold War through the current Global War on Terror. Together, they are the bestselling authors of the international spy thriller, THE SPY BRIDE, coming soon!

THE SPY BRIDE Final Cover 3 inch

Keep in touch through updates at Bayard & Holmes Covert Briefing.

You can contact Bayard & Holmes in comments below, at their site, Bayard & Holmes, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Bayard & Holmes, or at their email, BH@BayardandHolmes.com.

Operation Fox Hunt — China Targets Its Expatriates

Bayard & Holmes

~ Jay Holmes

According to news stories in Western sources, China is now conducting a global campaign to capture Chinese fugitives and recover illicit funds. Chinese police and security forces are entering foreign countries, illegally detaining fugitives, and shipping them back to China without any due process.

 

Fox silhouette with concept phase inside on blur background of forest

 

Some of the fugitives may have been guilty of committing acts that would be considered crimes in the US and other Western nations. Unfortunately, in China, the term “fugitive” is also applied to political dissenters that have escaped.

Even in cases involving actual criminals, the Chinese are ignoring US laws in pursuit of their quarry.

Foreign governments wishing to detain criminals that have escaped to the US must first convince the US government of each individual case’s legitimacy. If the US agrees that a case is legitimate, then foreign police officers may be granted legal entry. The foreign police officers would then have to work with US law enforcement agencies to arrest the suspect. The Chinese have no desire to meet these normal requirements of US and other Western governments.

One of the results of China’s new economic success combined with its endemic corruption is that it now has more criminals escaping China with wealth.

In communist China, today’s revered business mogul, general, or party official may be tomorrow’s wanted criminal. Financial corruption at all levels of the Chinese government is completely normal. As long as a corrupt individual remains in favor with the oligarchy, he may remain a revered hero. That same “hero” instantly takes on demon status when he falls from favor. When said hero sees the ideographs on the wall and gets out of Dodge – or Shanghai, Beijing, etc. – a fugitive is born. If said fugitive demon manages to transfer wealth out of China while getting the hell out of Dodge, then he becomes a more urgently wanted fugitive.

To be fair, I must point out that chasing targets in other people’s countries is not a completely Chinese invention.

I seem to recall hearing a rumor or two about extreme cases when US agents escorted wanted individuals back to the US without the permission of the foreign nations where those individuals may have been residing. Not that I would ever do anything so impolite, myself. These are just rumors, and I don’t remember where I heard them. I’m old, and I forget stuff. In any event, it happens more frequently in fiction than in reality. Overall, it all really comes down to the relationships between the nations in question.

When nations have anything like a reasonable working relationship, they are unlikely to resort to snatch jobs.

For one thing, they don’t need to. For another, they don’t want to damage workable relationships by pursuing every annoying criminal or NSA whistle blower. Let us consider the case of Edward Snowden as a well-known example. Edward committed an unforgiveable sin. He did something that made him a more sought-after fugitive than if he had been a serial killer – he embarrassed the US government and the governments of several of our allies.

You will note that Edward resides in Russia. It’s not because he likes the food, weather, or women better than what he might have had available in, say, Italy, Spain, France, etc. Or, if he wasn’t hungry, perhaps he might even have relocated to England or Germany. But Edward chose Russia because he knew that Russia would not send him back to the US. He also guessed correctly that he would quickly become a high profile case, and that the US would not attempt to chase him while he was under the protection of Putin and pals.

In the case of China, the Chinese government knows that it has nearly zero diplomatic capital to trade on. In China’s judgment, if it wants someone, it needs to go out and hunt him down. The Chinese have named their program for hunting fugitives and their cash Operation Fox Hunt.

The agents employed by China in Operation Fox Hunt are not employees of the Chinese Ministry of Justice, but rather employees of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. The methods used by the Chinese agents chasing “fugitives” are often extreme. In some cases, the fugitives’ family members in China are threatened in order to force the fugitives to return.

The Chinese government let its citizens know that Operation Fox Hunt has captured and returned over 900 fugitives to China. That figure indicates a scope of activity that surpasses Hollywood’s wildest imagination. In fact, it even dwarfs the vast Iranian efforts at controlling, murdering, or snatching Iranian expatriates. The message to the people of China is clear. Annoy the Chinese government, and there will be no escape from its wrath.

Having publicized Operation Fox Hunt to its domestic audience, China will now deny it to everyone else.

Our well-dressed friends from Foggy Bottom (the US State Department) reported that they warned Chinese officials about the activities. I assume that the State Department’s warning will be as effective as all the other warnings that the US has issued to China in the last hundred years, as in not at all.

Next month, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the US. I have no doubt that one White House aide or another will, with a serious look on his or her face, tell us that during their meetings, our President “expressed our grave concerns.” The result of that meeting will be similar to the results of our last dozen meetings with the Chinese, as in nothing will happen.

One of the implications of China’s Operation Fox Hunt is perhaps less obvious than China’s usual lack of ethical conduct, but it is more important. For more than 900 expatriate Chinese to be captured and returned from the West, the appropriate Western agencies would have to be asleep at the switch.

 

Actual photo of Western agency during Operation Fox Hunt

Actual photo of Western agency during Operation Fox Hunt

 

Given the cost to Western taxpayers of those various agencies, the naps in question are more outlandishly expensive than an Obama family vacation or a Congressional junket. If all this activity has been missed by our beloved and oh-so-clever Department of Homeland Security, Britain’s MI-5, or the French Surete Nationale etc., then what else have they been missing? Let’s not ask them. They would simply respond by asking to have their budgets doubled.

One possibility is that Western Governments have known about Operation Fox Hunt, but they have remained silent until the Chinese decided to expose it to its citizens for the propaganda value.

Let me be clear that I am speaking from the point of view of a casual observer. I have no access to classified information concerning Operation Fox Hunt – not even the usual emails from Hillary.

That being said, Western governments might not like what the Chinese are doing, but lacking a practical and effective response, they have until now ignored Operation Fox Hunt.

In many cases, the West may have no desire to keep China from capturing its expatriate party elites. Not all wealthy Chinese escapees are criminals in the traditional sense, and it is likely that a few of them are legitimate prisoners of conscience. How many times various Western agencies may have foiled Chinese Fox Hunts is unknown. Western governments don’t usually publicize such successes unless there is a diplomatic advantage in doing so.

Behind the smoke and mirrors, one can discern a clear message.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping continues to extend his authority to Maoist proportions, he needs to convince the Chinese people that his power grabbing campaign is actually a campaign to save China from “those corrupt traitors.” Operation Fox Hunt is just another facet of Xi’s bigger game. As long as Xi Jinping is able to hold the throne, don’t expect meaningful positive change in China.

America’s Future Low-Budget Bomber–When $550M Just Isn’t Enough

Bayard & Holmes

~ Jay Holmes

For the last six months American and foreign intelligence agencies have been reading about a new stealth bomber that is being developed for the US Air Force. Most of what has been published about the new plane has not been published by the Pentagon or the US Air Force, but rather by a variety of “defense experts” and “aviation writers.”

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Money going down the toilet

 

The US Air Force and Pentagon are suggesting a cost limit of $550,000,000 per new bomber.

I am not a bomber expert, so I am happy to disclose my limitations in assessing bomber development. I am not a bomber pilot or even a pilot at all. I have never served in the US Air Force or anyone else’s air force. I am not any type of aviation engineer, nor have I ever dated one. It’s fair to say that I am not an aviation expert.

My qualifications for having an opinion on the US Air Force’s new bomber program are thus:

  • I don’t have $550,000,000.00 to give the US Air Force to pay for each bomber, and I don’t know anyone that does.
  • I am a happy US taxpayer. I don’t mind paying taxes, but I want the money to be used efficiently.
  • In the past, I have been a casual consumer of valuable products and services offered by the US Air Force, along with Marine Corps and Naval Aviation groups.

So, from this limited perspective, I offer my response to the scarce actual information and abundant “expert” opinions that have been published about the next US Air Force bomber.

For ease of communication, let’s refer to the imaginary new bomber as the “FD”—short for Flying Deficit.

Aviation “experts” thus far all agree that the greatest challenge to producing FD bomber will be the unreasonably tight price limitation of $550,000,000 per plane. To mere mortals, the price tag sounds dizzyingly high. Count me with the mere mortals.

So what does it mean that so many “aviation experts” are in a state of “deep concern” over the $550,000,000 suggested retail value for each FD bomber?

Are all of us non-aviation experts confused about the value of cash? Do we all fail to understand how difficult it is to make something fly and drop stuff on people we don’t like? Perhaps we are not all that confused.

Let us first examine what is known about the FD bomber. We know next to nothing.

We know that it will be “stealth,” like the B-2 already is. We know that it will be built for both conventional and nuclear payloads, like the B-2 already is. And we know that it will include the defense industry’s most important buzzwords. Yes, it will be like my house and my car. It will be “net centric.” Let’s all cheer for “net centric.” It sounds so nice and must cost a bunch. Right?

 

B-2 Stealth Bomber Image by Dept. of Defense, public domain

B-2 Stealth Bomber
Image by Dept. of Defense, public domain

 

You might find it interesting that the “experts” that are concerned about the suggested budget limitation for the FD bomber have yet to review the US Air Force’s requirements for the FD. Without knowing what the US Air Force wants to buy, they are already certain that a $550,000,000 price tag means that the next bomber will not be the best technology on the best bomber. I’m heartbroken . . . Not really.

How can well educated, experienced aviation experts suggest that the FD bomber will be an underpriced failure when the US Air Force has yet to release the actual requirements for the project?

To understand the answer to that critical question we must first understand who these “experts” are. So far, as near as I have been able to determine, they are not “aviation experts” in the traditional sense. The “experts” publishing those articles are not aviation engineers, retired US Air Force bomber pilots, or US Air Force project managers. They are, in fact, people with degrees and expertise in marketing, communications, public relations, and sales.

I was not surprised to discover that members of the Chicken Little’s The Bomber is Falling Choral Group are not bomber experts.

They harmonize well, but they don’t appear to know much about aviation, the sky, or falling bombs. What I have not been able to determine is how many of these “experts” have received free pens, free lunches, free junkets, free prostitutes, jobs, etc., from corporations that are hoping to receive a share of the “bomber windfall.” Thus far, the two competing potential prime contractors are Northrup Grumman and a team comprised of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. As is always the case when we consider opinions on large government projects, we must consider the source.

As of the time of this article, the US is in debt to the tune of $18 trillion. That figure is increasing every day, but what’s a few hundred billion between friends?

So while we accumulate debt faster than teenagers can consume pizza or congressional aids can snort cocaine, we are being told that rather than questioning the high price tag for FD bomber, we should actually be apologizing to the defense industry for expecting them to produce an adequate bomber for a measly $550,000,000 each. Shame on us . . . Not really.

My best guess is that a bomber that costs $550,000,000 each leaves lots of cash for PR campaigns peddled as “expert opinions.” Before you are overcome by shame for making the US Air Force use such a low budget bomber, you might want to drop a line to your elected officials to ask them why this, and other future projects, and so many current projects, cost as much as they do. Efficiency in defense spending will not get better until we, the taxpayers, convince Congress that, unlike them, we are not so easily boondoggled.

Mom’s Dating Tips — First Be Happy Alone

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

I’ve often posted dating tips on FB. This post is in response to friends there who have asked me to elaborate . . .

“Seducing someone is almost as difficult as watching ice melt, but not quite. You can do better.” ~ Mom

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Melting Ice

 

It’s easy to find sex.

Almost all of the population wants it at any given moment of any given day, and regardless of your sexual orientation, half the horny people on the planet are potential sex partners.

But finding a life partner? That’s another matter altogether.

The most important step to finding a life partner is to learn to be happy alone. Yes, that’s right. Learn to be happy alone. That way, you won’t settle for a toxic relationship just because you’re afraid of the sound of your own head rattling around in an empty house.

But wait a minute, you say. If I were happy alone, why would I bother dating at all?

Because when you’re happy alone, you end up with more of yourself than you need. You develop an abundance of spirit that makes you want to share yourself with someone else. You are an overflowing cup that seeks another vessel to fill. That “other vessel” is the “We” of a relationship.

Relationships have an “I,” a “You,” and a “We.”

People who aren’t happy alone are half full cups. They find other half full cups and empty themselves into a third cup – the “We” cup. Since the “I” and “You” are now empty cups, they draw from the “We” without having anything left to nurture it, and the “We” runs dry.

People who are full cups attract other full cups, and together, they make a “We” cup that holds their overflow. The relationship is about giving to the “We,” and not about taking from it. The “We” is a creation born from abundance and not from want, so it doesn’t run dry.

 

Full "I" + Full "You" = Full "We"

Full “I” + Full “You” = Full “We”

 

Great, you say. So how do I start being happy alone?

  • First, clean your room. Seriously. Clean your room. Messy surroundings sap the spirit, and you’re going for abundance here.
  • Treat yourself with class. You matter.
  • Ask yourself what it is that you want someone else to give you, and find ways to give those things to yourself.
  • Figure out if you have unresolved pain. That’s the restlessness that keeps you overscheduling your life and seeking out social media in lieu of quiet time alone with your head.
  • Get help to resolve that pain. Find a competent professional or a good friend who can guide you to a better place, so that time alone with yourself doesn’t scare you anymore.
  • Make a list of twenty things you want to do in the next five years.
  • Turn off the computer, pick something off of the list, and go do it.
  • Get rid of the people in your life who don’t respect you. Likewise, get rid of the ones you don’t respect. You and your time are too precious to share with anyone who doesn’t feed your dreams and nurture your soul.
  • Cook good meals for yourself. Feeding yourself well is the most nurturing thing you can do for both your body and your soul.
  • Actively seek out laughter and beauty. Both fill the spirit and lead to happiness.

Now give yourself a hug and enjoy the feel of your own embrace. Stop waiting for someone to come along make you happy. Love yourself, and the happy will come, and with it, a fellow full cup.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Bayard & Holmes Official Photo

When it comes to dating, Piper Bayard did it wrong, and then she did it right. She’s now been happily married for over two decades and is passing on the tips that helped her find a solid partner in building a life and a family.

Piper Bayard, is also an author and a recovering attorney. Her writing partner, Jay Holmes, is an anonymous senior member of the intelligence community and a field veteran from the Cold War through the current Global War on Terror. Together, they are the bestselling authors of the international spy thriller, THE SPY BRIDE, coming soon!

THE SPY BRIDE Final Cover 3 inch

Keep in touch through updates at Bayard & Holmes Covert Briefing.

You can contact Bayard & Holmes in comments below, at their site, Bayard & Holmes, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Bayard & Holmes, or at their email, BH@BayardandHolmes.com.

The Real Issue Behind Clinton’s Missing Emails — Benghazi

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Benghazi. The watershed event that former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton can’t make go away, no matter how many emails she deletes.

Much has been bantered about regarding Clinton’s unsecured servers that she kept in her home, transmitting both classified State Department and personal emails. Was she really that ignorant? Or was she deliberately devious? The same questions were asked regarding her denial of security for Ambassador Stevens at the Benghazi Consulate.

Many would frame this discussion as purely a cybersecurity issue. However, the heart of the investigation is the incident on  9/11/2012 at the Benghazi Consulate, when US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and CIA Operatives and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were murdered by the Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Al-Sharia.

It is worth remembering what we do know about that seven-hour attack, in which our military was ordered to stand down while our people were being slaughtered. Below is a post that was written by Jay Holmes, a senior member of the US intelligence community, six weeks after the brutal attack on our unsecured Consulate.

Perspective on Benghazi, October 28, 2012

by Jay Holmes

 

Image of burning US Consulate in Benghazi by Voice of America employee, public domain.

On September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorists attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi.

They murdered US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans during the attack. We extend our condolences to the loved ones of those four Americans who lost their lives in service to their country.

Within twenty-four hours of the attack, both President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton stated that the incident was not a terrorist attack, but rather a spontaneous assault carried out by angry Libyans who were protesting against an anti-Islamic video produced by an Egyptian expatriate in the US.

In the weeks since the attack, the White House and State Department told the public, contrary to their original statements, that the attacks were an organized assault carried out by international terrorists. The public, along with the families of the four dead Americans, are questioning why a US Consulate in a well known danger spot like Benghazi was left with so little security.

The administration is still repeating the mantra that “the attack was unprecedented.”

Apparently, these youngsters remain unaware of the November 1979 attack on the US Embassy in Tehran. Note to Self:  Send son’s middle school textbook and DVD of Argo to White House.

Within days of the attack, the public learned that Ambassador Stevens had endorsed the Benghazi Consulate’s requests for increased security and passed them on to Washington. We know that request made it as far as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

I’m not yet certain if the request made it to President Obama’s desk. However, the White House, with the cooperation of the major media outlets, played down the allegations that security was denied from the top and claimed that the lack of security was caused instead by “Republican budget cuts” of State Department security funds. The White House also claimed that “all the intelligence” indicated there was no need for increased security.

I found both of these statements worrisome, because as political hot air goes, they seem fairly flimsy and desperate. After decades of listening to the statements issued forth from our various administrations, I know that often times that sort of flimsiness in White House denials indicates a concern for brewing scandals.

Most Americans are aware that all federal budgets and omnibus spending bills require the final approval of the US President, so the budget excuse was at best nonsensical, and at worst an indication of deeper troubles. As for “all the intelligence” which indicated no need for increased security, the White House and the Secretary of State were both aware of two failed bombing attempts against the Benghazi Consulate that occurred April 6 and June 2, only a few months before the successful September 11 attack.

On October 26, FOX News broke an exclusive story that quoted sources from within the CIA who were involved in the rescue of US consulate staff. According to those CIA sources, CIA personnel requested military assistance three specific times during the attack and were denied.

Originally, this denial was blamed on Defense Secretary Leon Panetta alone. We now know that Panetta was in a meeting with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and National Security Advisor Thomas Donilan approximately one hour after the start of the attack. This was hours before the third denial of assistance and well before at least two of our Americans were killed. I can’t imagine Panetta would not have mentioned the ongoing assault to our nation’s two top officials and requested their input since they were, after all, sitting in the same room as a drone fed real time imagery to the White House. If he did not mention it, one has to wonder what, exactly, was more important to them at that moment.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta responded to the FOX News piece by claiming that he and the president lacked enough information to justify sending US troops “into harms way.” This response doesn’t explain why he and the president were willing to leave the US personnel in Benghazi in harm’s way by denying them assistance from the massive US military assets in the Mediterranean.

These assets included two combat-ready Air Mobile/Airborne Special Forces teams close to Libya on call in Italy, and the powerful Naval Air and Marine forces of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, including the Sixth Fleet drone capability. Fighter strikes from Italy could have been accomplished within, at most, an hour and a half of the start of the incident. Also, with minimal air support, our people could have been evacuated more easily and safely.

Panetta’s claim that the administration lacked “enough information” is inconsistent with the fact that they knew about two prior bombing attacks on the Benghazi Consulate, and it is a direct contradiction of the fact that they received real time imagery from the drone on site.

It is also a direct contradiction of the fact that eight US security personnel were sent by charter plane from Tripoli to rescue the Benghazi staff during the incident. How is it that the administration had enough information to send the team from Tripoli, but not enough information to employ any of the vast military assets that were available and may have saved some of the American lives lost in the attack and the ensuing rescue operation?

CIA sources also said CIA employee Tyrone Woods used a laser to illuminate a terrorist mortar team that was firing on the Consulate.

As an ex-Navy SEAL, Woods would not have exposed his laser by illuminating a target unless he expected an air unit such as an armed drone, Navy F/A-18, or an Air Force Spectre gun ship to fire on the target right away. Permission for that fire would have come from Commander of Forces in Africa US Army General Carter Ham or any of his superiors, such as Defense Secretary Panetta or President Obama. Revocation of that permission, which Woods apparently had reason to believe was issued, could only have come from those same people, as well.

Sensibly, some members of the press have turned to the CIA for answers. Of course, asking the CIA questions when you are not the president or a member of a Congressional Intelligence Committee can lead to less than satisfying results. So far, the CIA has skillfully managed to strongly deny all of the allegations that have not been made.

In the long and proud CIA tradition of honestly answering anything but the question being asked, CIA Director General David Petraeus sternly denies that the CIA failed to respond to calls for help from the Benghazi Consulate. He does not, however, confirm or deny what requests for military assistance were made by CIA personnel in Benghazi. Thanks Dave. That really clarifies things. Keep up the good work.

Most press members know better than to ask questions of the NSA. The NSA might well have recordings of all the relevant communications from and to Benghazi, but getting that out of the NSA would be more difficult than mining diamonds on Pluto.

So far, the president has dodged the questions raised by the FOX News story by simply saying what amounts to, “I never did that.” He has left any other talking to Panetta.

Panetta claims that questions being asked “amount to Monday morning quarterbacking.”

This answer is convenient for him and the Obama administration, and it is being well received by the Democratic Party faithful. But those voters who feel less constrained in their political choices might not find Panetta’s response an adequate substitution for an explanation or accountability, and the fact is that no presidential candidate can be elected solely by the votes of their party’s faithful. For either Romney or Obama to win the election, they will need the votes of those Americans who are willing to vote without regard for the labels “Democrat,” “Republican,” “liberal,” “progressive,” or “conservative.”

Based on the information thus far available, it appears the administration decided to respond to the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi with as minimal a response as possible.

I suspect this has everything to do with the fact that Obama was reluctant to initiate military activity on a new front so close to the election when so much of his base is anti-war under all circumstances. His minimalist approach turned out to be a bad guess, and it is now becoming clear to the public that said guess was made against the advice of his people on the ground.

Naturally, the president may be reluctant to be seen as expanding military operations into new areas, but the message he sent with his non-action was that Americans will not act militarily to protect their own on foreign soil. This is no doubt extremely encouraging to all of our terrorist enemies, as well as to the Iranian government as it rapidly approaches nuclear capability.

With time and a little interest from members of Congress, more facts will surface and a clearer picture will emerge.

How much time that will take is a key question. On November 6, the administration might realize the benefits of its strategy of dodging questions concerning the Benghazi debacle, but the questions are significant enough to lose Obama some votes. In fact, the President might find himself back in the community organizing business next January.

What happened in Benghazi matters.

It matters to the families; it matters to our Americans abroad; it matters to our enemies; it matters to the public, and it matters to our political future as a nation. How much it matters to the election, however, will depend on the reaction of those Americans who will vote independently this November.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Shortly after this article was published, we learned from Retired Admiral James A. Lyons, former Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, that Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi to meet with a Turkish emissary to arrange the transfer of Gadhafi’s captured armaments to an Al-Qaeda group in Syria. (See Admiral Lyons’s letter to The Washington Times, Obama Needs to Come Clean on What Happened in Benghazi.) It is also public that the story put forth by the White House blaming the violence on an obscure video that ridiculed Islam was published in Cairo before Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods had even been killed.

While Ms. Clinton certainly has a great deal of explaining to do about passing classified information on her personal, unsecured server, it would be a great disservice to the US if we forget the original questions about her ignorance and intentions that uncovered the cybersecurity breach in the first place. We cannot afford to forget Benghazi.

~ Piper Bayard

The Man Who Would Be King — Of Mexico

Bayard & Holmes

~ Jay Holmes

When we use the term “ugly American,” most of us think of stereotypes of insensitive American tourists blundering their way through highly choreographed, eight-country, seven-day tours across Europe. The stereotype may be unfair, but, unfortunately, the worst visitors to any country make the strongest impressions.

Long before middle-aged American retirees flew to Paris to board those European torture tour buses, one American set a standard for “unwelcome tourist” that has yet to be surpassed by the loudest American visitors to European Art Museums or the drunkest American college students on Caribbean beaches.

William Walker Library of Congress wikimedia

“General” William Walker, Library of Congress

In 1853, five years after the end of the Mexican-American War, a young lawyer from Tennessee named William Walker decided he liked northwestern Mexico. He liked it so much that he decided it would be a nice place to set up a kingdom.

Walker traveled to Guaymas, Mexico and patiently explained to the Mexican government that it would be a great idea for him to establish a “buffer zone” in northern Mexico. Walker would rule the area in order to protect the US from raids by indigenous peoples that operated from bases in that region. The Mexicans failed to see the beauty of Walker’s plan and declined his generous offer. Walker was undeterred.

He returned to the US and recruited roughly 45 devout members of the Church of Manifest Destiny. No such church existed, but that did nothing to dissuade the obviously faithful members of that adventurous religion.

In October of 1853, Walker and his followers traveled to Baja, California to set up a base for their conquest of the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora.

On October 15, Walker captured La Paz in Baja California. To the few sleepy villagers who might have heard, Walker proudly proclaimed himself President of Lower California and Sonora. He declared that the region would forthwith follow the legal system of Louisiana. This, according to Walker and his band of lunatics, made slavery legal in the region. Few people got the news, and no one outside Walker’s party agreed.

In what must have been a rare moment of lucidity, Walker realized he was a long way from the US and moved his “capital” further north to Ensenada, Mexico. A few weeks later, enough Mexican authorities became aware of Walker’s presence in Baja California that they organized a response. Upon realizing that the Mexican government would muster a force of men consisting of something more than 45, Walker retreated to the US. Unfortunately for both us and them, Walker made good his escape.

Once the US government became aware of Walker’s invasion of Mexico, he was arrested and put on trial in California. However, in the political climate of the time, the jurors thought that Walker’s invasion of Mexico was reasonable.   To the dismay of the federal prosecutor and the judge, he was acquitted within a few minutes of jury deliberation. As is often the case, politics trumped law.

About now, any reasonable reader would expect me to finish the story with an explanation of how Walker counted his blessings and settled down in California to farm kumquats or lettuce. But no, the story actually takes a turn for the worse.

In 1854, a civil war broke out in Nicaragua between some not very liberal “liberals” called “Democrats” and some not very conservative conservatives called “Legitimists.” Back then, Nicaragua mattered to the US. There was no Panama Canal, and the US congress had not yet sold its collective small and dingy soul to the railroad companies for the building of a transcontinental railroad. The easiest route from the US eastern seaboard to California was by way of ship to Nicaragua, up to Lake Nicaragua, followed by a stagecoach ride to the Pacific coast, and another sailing ship journey to San Francisco.

Not one to avoid trouble, Walker quickly insinuated himself into the crisis. The liberal Democratic president of Nicaragua, Francisco Castellon, signed an agreement with Walker that allowed him to bring 300 “colonists” from the US. These 300 “colonists” would then join the fight and rescue Castellon from the evil clutches of the Legitimists.

Walker had difficulty finding enough idiots willing to place their lives in his not-very-God-like hands, and he showed up in Nicaragua with 60 mercenaries. The Democrats gave him an additional force of nearly 300 men. On September 4, 1855, Walker defeated an equally-poorly-led Legitimist force at the Battle of La Virgen.

On December 13, 1855, Walker captured the Legitimist Capitol at Granada, Nicaragua. He kept control of the Nicaraguan Army, such as it was, and ruled the country through a puppet president by the name of Patricio Rivas.

William Walker's residence in Grenada March 15, 1856 Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

General Walker’s residence in Granada, March 15, 1856

image from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper

Walker began to preach a sort of “slavery theology” and explained that he was going to liberate neighboring Central Americans from their ignorant, non-slave-trading governments. It turned out that most of the locals had no interest in receiving any political blessings from him, and Central America began to organize itself to oust him from Nicaragua. Walker appealed to wealthy slave owners in the Southern US and received financial support from them.

In March of 1856, Walker sent an army to Costa Rica, which was promptly defeated by Costa Rica.

In July of 1856, after a quick, Chicago-style election, Walker was inaugurated as the President of Nicaragua. He instituted an “Americanization” plan. He declared English the official language, repealed the emancipation law, and arranged for the massive migration of Americans to Nicaragua for the eventual “reorganization” of Central America as a slave plantation zone. Central Americans were not altogether certain as to who would be the slaves and who would be the slave owners, and they decided that they did not wish to have the region converted to a giant, Louisiana-style slave plantation.

On December 14, 1856, besieged by four thousand Guatemalans and Salvadorans, Walker and his followers set fire to the old capital of Granada and managed to escape to Lake Nicaragua. He surrendered to a US Navy commander who forgot to throw him overboard in the dark of night before he was repatriated to New York City.

Upon his arrival in New York City, Walker published a book that explained why the US Navy was responsible for his defeat in Nicaragua. The fact that the US Navy had not been involved in the fighting apparently didn’t influence his version of history.

Now, you are likely hoping that I tell you Walker died from a falling piano, choked on a bagel, or quietly settled down as a tailor on Delancey Street and was never heard from again. Sorry, the story isn’t over yet.

In 1860, Walker accepted an invitation from some sleazy British land owners in Honduras to help them take over Honduras. Fortunately for Honduras and everyone else, the British Navy was informed of Walker’s plans. Captain Neville Salmon of the British Navy led forces which captured Walker and promptly turned him over to the Honduran government. The Hondurans did what many think should have been done to Walker on his eighteenth birthday. They shot him.

As strange as Walker’s misadventures sound to us today, he was not completely unusual for his time. The word “filibuster” originally referred not to a congressman using delaying tactics to block legislation, but to adventurous Americans from Southern slave states who wanted to set up new slave states south of the US border all the way to Argentina. The admission of Texas to the Union is, in fact, an example of the “filibuster” philosophy.

While William Walker and his pals are, for the most part, unknown to people north of the Rio Grande River, many Central Americans remember him as an example of American aggression. Even though he acted against the wishes of the US government, and he was clearly part of a small minority, his actions and the support of his fellow filibusters helped form Central America’s view of the US.

If any of you should have occasion to visit Latin America, in the interest of good international relations, please don’t be an Ugly American. Be polite and resist any temptation to declare yourself president of any republics that you happen to be visiting.