July 30 2021 — On Tuesday, President Biden made his first visit to a U.S. Intelligence agency. The issue of probabilities and certainties seems to be high on the mind of the President. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: MEDINT — So just how healthy is Joe Biden?
Biden waited 6 months to make a first visit to a U.S. Intelligence agency, and that was not the usual trip to the CIA. The message is rather obvious.
First, Biden wants to make it very clear that Avril Haines — the director of National Intelligence — is his adviser on intelligence matters.
Secondly, the US president wants the intelligence community to believe that his administration will not politicize intelligence issues.
“I’ll never politicize the work you do. You have my word on that,” he said. “It’s too important for our country.”
The U.S. president has already called on Haines with several politically sensitive requests, including the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cause of the Havana Syndrome.
As for the origin of the pandemic, Biden has announced an urgent investigation into the origin of the COVID pandemic on May 26 2021.
Biden set a 90-day time-frame and pledged to make the results of the review public.
On June 3 2021, I predicted that the US IC will not reach a conclusion on this issue. Since then, Haines (ODNI) and Burns (CIA) have also said that their review of COVID-19 origins may be inconclusive.
Did you actually believe that the ‘redoubled’ effort would turn up any new revelations about the virus’s origin. Seriously?
CIA Director Bill Burns recently appointed a new director of its task force investigating Havana syndrome cases
On April 16 2021, for the first time ever, a top ranking US official said that US diplomats in Havana have suffered microwave attacks. During a interview on CNN (Spanish), Juan Gonzalez (Special Assistant to POTUS & NSC Senior Director for Western Hemisphere) admitted that US diplomats in Havana were indeed subjected to microwave attacks.
Last week, William Burns gave his first sit-down interview since assuming the role of Central Intelligence Agency director in March. In a wide-ranging conversation, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly asked him several questions about the Havana Syndrome.
Burns said that he is persuaded that what CIA officers and some family members — as well as other U.S. government employees — have experienced is real and serious. But he added that they don’t know for sure what is the cause.
“We still don’t know for sure, but I am absolutely determined to get to the bottom of the question of what and who caused this,” Burns said.
Cyber-attacks — Biden also warned that cyber-attacks could lead to very real wars.
“I think it’s more likely … if we end up in a war, a real shooting war with a major power, it’s going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of great consequence,” Biden said.
I have long believed that we need a Geneva Convention for the cyber world because rules are not as clean in terms of what’s allowable and what the consequences are.
Disinformation — During his speech to the ODNI, Biden also mentioned the issue of disinformation.
“Now you see what’s happening. More people get their information from the Internet than they do from any other outlet. What’s — all the disinformation that’s having real consequences in terms of people’s access.”
“We also need to take on the rampant disinformation that’s making it harder and harder for people to access the facts to be able to make decisions.”
Did you know? ‘Disinformation’ first made an appearance in English dictionaries in 1985, specifically in the Webster’s New College Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary.
English use increased in 1986, after revelations that the Reagan Administration engaged in disinformation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
RELATED POST: Disinformation — Who Coined That Word Anyway?
Truth, probabilities and certainties — The issue of probabilities and certainties seems to be high on the mind of the President.
“I want to make it clear to everyone here today and to the members of the Intelligence Community working around the globe that you have my full confidence.
That’s doesn’t mean I don’t question what you send me. But one of the reasons I question is to push — push you to the limits to determine just how certain you are about what you’re doing. Lots of times, the only honest answer: ‘We’re not certain. We’re not certain, but this is what our best judgment is.’
I know there’s no such thing as 100 percent certainty in the intelligence world. Occasionally that happens, but rarely, rarely, rarely.
And I ask each of you the same thing I asked Director Haines, ‘Just give it to me straight.’ I’m not looking for pablum; I’m looking for straight-from-the-shoulder assessments. And when you’re not sure, say you’re not sure. But give me your best judgment of what you think is — your best judgment is better than almost anybody else’s judgment in the whole world — even if the news is hard, even if the news is bad.
I can’t make the decisions I need to make if I’m not getting the best unvarnished, unbiased judgments you can give me. I’m not looking to hear nice things. I’m looking to hear what you think to be the truth.”
Haunted by the ‘unknown unknowns’ — “It may not be any of the things we think of.”
“What’s going to happen as we move on and we’re able to develop around the world pathogens that can be transmitted to societies and communities? It may not be a nuclear weapon. It may not be a hypersonic missile. It may not be any of the things we think of.
But think about it. Just think about what’s happened with one — I’m not suggesting it was intended — a lot more we need to know — but think what’s happened: More people have been killed in the United States of America because of COVID than in every single major war we fought combined.
Every single one. What’s next? What is intended? There’s a lot of research going on. You’re going to find — you’re going to have to increase your ranks with people with significant scientific capacity relative to pathogens.“
Get vaccinated! — Before leaving, Biden answered a couple of questions and offered a good advice to everyone around the world: Get vaccinated!
Q Will you require all federal employees to get vaccinated?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s under consideration right now. But if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were.
THE PRESIDENT: We have a pandemic because of the unvaccinated, and they’re sowing enormous confusion. And the more we learn — the more we learn about this virus and the Delta variation, the more we have to be worried and concerned. And only one thing we know for sure: If those other hundred million people got vaccinated, we’d be in a very different world.
PS — Could someone pass this message to POTUS? “Once the pursuit of truth begins to haunt the mind, it becomes an ideal never wholly attained. We can never achieve absolute truth but we can live hopefully by a system of calculated probabilities.” — Agnes Meyer Driscoll
Remarks by President Biden at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
JULY 27, 2021 — The White House
POTUS : “I will never politicize Intelligence.”