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March 4, 2014

Black-Baggers Dropped the ‘Ball’

Harry M. Covert

Many people, wizened and otherwise, have long believed that Russia of the past and present is the Great Satan. It's probably a bit too late now, but the question looms: did American intelligence agencies drop the ball, completely and totally of late?


The furor over the National Security Agency's (NSA) phone-tapping and listening in on world leaders didn't mean much because the black baggers apparently didn't sneak in on Vladimir Putin's telephonic commiserations.


Somehow Edward Snowden's stealing NSA files and defecting to Moscow Russia has not been silenced.


The professionals at Maryland's Fort Meade may have been too busy with other issues involving the Middle East (as always) or following the bubbling antics in Venezuela, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and other international hot spots.


Mr. Putin, however, has been anything but asleep. While Americans were talking about the expected terrorist attacks at the Sochi Olympics, which didn't happen, the Russian president continued on his merry way. As usual, the United States debated and debated with academics and commentators filling time.


It's a nice thing to work for peace around the world. While that's something all desire, dealing with the Russians and their leader is akin to kissing a deadly rattlesnake.


The populace in the 50 states accepts the idea the USA is the most powerful nation on earth. That's nice. While the bragging continues, the alerts are echoing that the Cold War of the 1950s is re-emerging big time, under the noses of the nation's intelligence agencies.


How could Mr. Putin's planning and action be so missed? Surely it has been, right on top of President Barack Obama's recent decision to cut the military back to pre-WWII levels? The world is watching, paying attention and all the wannabe leaders and dictators are back in business dreaming of the day when they can sit on their thrones shooting, killing and starving their people.


Plus, these world despots aren't worried too much about an intrusion into their affairs. Of course, they want to tap the American treasury.


It's a good wager that Frederick's Fort Detrick isn't asleep.


Here's a reminder, Fort Detrick conducts biomedical research and development, medical materiel management, global medical communications and the study of foreign plant pathogens.


It’s home to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) with its bio-defense agency, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). It also hosts the National Cancer Institute-Frederick (NCI-Frederick) [1] and is home to the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research (NICBR) [2] and National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC).


Mr. Putin apparently doesn't like the braggadocios talk that says the Russians aren't a world power.


So, after the success of the Sochi Olympics, the former KGB agent and spy leader just quietly went about his business, silently moving in his soldiers to the Ukraine, capturing the Crimea and acting like he's Daniel Craig, his James Bond doppelganger.


May the Almighty forbid a return to a time when a British prime minister waved a paper noting "peace in our time" and gladly giving up territory to another hard-cold killer.


Mr. Putin has had a plan. He doesn't do a lot of talking about them, but he does act quickly. A 90-minute presidential confab from Washington to Moscow and strong words haven't solved a thing nor deterred him.


No one wants war; it's out of the question anyway. Mr. Putin is no wall-flower or video talk show debater, and he's flat out walking to his own drums. It is high time world leaders of the western variety realize there's a problem out there. Not a small one at that.


The computer genius who walked out of the Fort Meade headquarters with thumb-drives loaded with highly secret files could end up as a Russian intelligence colonel. He's certainly no American patriot and not misunderstood at all.


Mr. Putin is no Sunday School teacher. Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, after looking the Russian president in the eye, described him "a stone-cold killer."


And, not a single American soldier, sailor, Marine, Coast Guardsman, intelligence officer, diplomat, doctor, nurse or journalist should suffer any wound, maiming, death or prison for the invasion of Ukraine or the capture of Crimea.


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