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September 4, 2007

The Accountability Project

Today’s Downsizer Dispatch . . .

Spread the Downsize DC message to those you know. Forward this message to others.

Quotes of the Day:

“It has been said that the intelligence agencies have to be right 100% of the time, and the terrorists only have to get lucky once. This explanation for the devastating attacks of September 11th, simple on its face, is wrong in its value, because the 9-11 terrorists were not just lucky once. They were lucky over and over again. When you have this repeated pattern of broken protocols, broken laws, broken communication, one cannot still call it luck. If at some point, we dont look to hold the individuals accountable for not doing their jobs properly, then how can we ever expect for terrorists to not get lucky again?”
— Mindy Kleinberg, one of the Jersey Girls (of the 9-11 Families)

“There was plenty of intelligence. That intelligence was mismanaged. Instead of addressing that mismanagement we gave the intelligence community more money, more authority, and they’re less accountable. That’s ultimately going to prove catastrophic.”
— Mike German, former undercover anti-terrorist agent for the FBI, famed Whistleblower, and author of “Thinking Like a Terrorist”

Subject: The Accountability Project

These are perhaps the most important insights we would like to share, with as many people as possible . . .

1. The institution of government tends not to work . . . because it does not have to.

2. The institution of government pays no real price for failure . . . instead, it usually rewards itself for failure.

3. Rewarding government for failure leads to a dangerous spiral of bigger and bigger disasters.

These three observations, in a nutshell, sum up the practical case for Downsizing DC — the bigger government is the harder it fails. The rest is commentary.

The 9-11 attacks, and their aftermath, are a classic case study demonstrating the above points.

The first government failure implicated in 9-11 was long-standing U.S. foreign policy. Congressman Ron Paul is right, as is Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit. Both argue, as do bin Laden’s own writings, that 9-11 was blowback, retaliation for U.S. foreign policy.

The list of these foreign policy failures — crimes against people in the Middle East — is too long to list here. We will mention just one . . .

The decade-long sanctions against Iraq did nothing to weaken Saddam Hussein, but they were devastating to the Iraqi people. The sanctions destroyed Iraqi lives as well as the infrastructure and civil society that could have helped us prevail there, once we invaded, which, by the way, was yet another failure.

One failure leads to another. It is the classic paradigm of government action — the natural product of a monopoly, which is what the federal government is.

And the beat goes on. Having supported Osama bin Laden in the past, and having provided the pretext for him to attack us in the future, our government then shot itself in the foot, on the very eve of 9-11. The aforementioned government counter-terrorism expert, Mike German, sums it up in the quote at the top of the page.

Government officials knew the attack was coming. They knew how it was coming. They knew the names of some of the likely attackers. They even had a fairly good idea of the time-frame. They had all the power and resources they needed to stop the attacks — they simply failed to do so.

And the beat goes on. The failure was rewarded, with new powers and resources, leading to larger failures. This pattern of rewarded failure has led Mike German, a former undercover counter-terrorism agent for the FBI, to go to work for the ACLU. Why?

Because German has looked at what does and does not work in counter-terrorism efforts around the world. He has even successfully practiced what works, leading to rare convictions of real terrorists. His conclusion . . .

“The Bill of Rights is the perfect counter-terrorism strategy.”

German argues that the restrictions of the Bill of Rights force agents such as himself to FOCUS, and not waste time chasing phantoms. This is in line with an argument we make constantly — government could accomplish more by doing less. Subtraction is addition when it comes to government. Downsize DC!

So German blows the whistle on the FBI for violating the law and then goes to work for the ACLU, fighting to protect the “perfect counter-terrorism strategy” — what’s left of our Bill of Rights.

Mike German and Michael Scheuer are both examples of a common phenomenon — highly competent government employees who are stymied by the inherent incompetence of monopoly government. In government the worst are rewarded and the best are fired or quit in frustration.

And the beat goes on. Failure rewarded. Failure repeated. Again and again.

One approach to this problem is to downsize government. Another is to hold government accountable. These two approaches support each other. Accountability exposes failure and gives us entry to argue our case. So we’re going to make more use of the accountability angle. Our 9-11 campaign has been RESTRUCTURED as part of what we are calling The Accountability Project.

Starting this month, and next week in particular, there will be showings in homes and theaters around the country of the film “9/11: Press for Truth,” which might be better titled, “9/11: Press for Accountability.”

Many national and local groups will work in support of these showings. Computers will be available in homes and theaters so that those who see the movie can log-on to and send a message to Congress, demanding accountability.

And I, will be practicing what I preach. Next Thursday, June 13th, my Read the Bills Meetup Group will meet in my home, in Northeast Ohio, for a showing, of “9/11: Press for Truth.” We’ll have the computer set up to send those messages through

We are going to hammer Congress for its lack of accountability. Please join those who will do the hammering, starting today, by sending a new message to Congress on this issue.

If you haven’t yet seen the movie, you can watch it for yourself, on the Background page of this new campaign.

Maybe you’ll decide to host a showing. If so, let us know. We’d like to report it.
The anniversary of 9-11 is on the horizon. Now is the time to remember, and to act, to stop the vicious cycle of rewarded failure.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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