Ex-CIA Robert David Steele: “Privatizing Covert Operations The Most Asinine, Unconstitutional Unethical Idea of the 21st Century”


Ex-Marine, ex-CIA Clandestine Services Officer Robert David Steele, originally a “moderate, mainstream” advocate of Open Source Intelligence (OSI), has become an outspoken reformer exposing the metastasizing corruption of today’s post-9/11 military-industrial-intelligence complex. Here is his latest piece, written expressly for VT.   –Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor

Privatizing Covert Operations

The Most Asinine, Unconstitutional Unethical Idea of the 21st Century

Robert David Steele

If Mike Pompeo wants to commit virtual suicide and end his prospects of being an effective Secretary of State, three recent articles document his death wish – championship of a rogue intelligence network proposed by Erik Prince and beloved by Oliver North – both arguably ripe for indictment for crimes against humanity.[1] If this asinine, unconstitutional, unethical idea survives the week, the President will not recover.

That such as idea would even be considered suggests to me that Mike Pompeo – the honor graduate of his West Point class – has failed completely to get a grip on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and is disqualified from any other post in the Trump Administration until he does so. It takes brains and balls to get a grip on CIA and through a revitalized CIA, the rest of the US Intelligence Community (IC). Escaping to the Department of State to herd cats and be a cocktail-sipping cookie pusher is a demotion. Pompeo needs to get a grip and demonstrate he can inspire loyalty and competence not just at CIA, but across the IC which does not now serve the President.[2]

Certainly I would support Pompeo’s call for a termination of the entire Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the expansion of the CIA to include new Directorates for Imagery, Signals, Geospatial, and Processing Intelligence, coincident with a termination “with extreme prejudice” of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Geospatial Agency (NGA). I and others who actually have a grip on the pathological dysfunctionality of these organizations – at extraordinary expense to the US taxpayer – agree that 70% of each can be shut down immediately, with the 30% worth saving being transferred to a re-named Classified Intelligence Agency (CIA).[3]

Combine this consolidation and down-sizing with an Open Source Agency (OSA) in the Executive Office of the President (EOP)[4] and the transfer of the National Intelligence Council to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Deputy Director for Management (DDM), and a tripling of the budget of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) contingent on its getting serious about leveraging NSA data to take down all traitors, all elite pedophiles, all elite white collar criminals, and you have a foundation for a Smart Nation – one that would allow our President to create infinite wealth at home and peace abroad.

CIA and the rest of the IC produce “at best” according to General Tony Zinni, USMC (Ret), 4% of what the President and major commanders need, to which I would add “and nothing for the rest of the government, Congress, or the public.” From what little I can gather on the Amyntor Group, it is a shell company that sells virtual capabilities that do not exist, and then scrambles to create those capabilities if and when it gets a contract.  I am more appalled by this stupid idea than if the President were considering giving the contract to G4S or any other Deep State front organization.  CIA should not be in the rendition and torture business; the regime change business, or the drone assassination business.[5] The sooner the President – whose instincts on the campaign trail appear to have been subverted once in office – can hear from sane balanced intelligence professionals who can show him the value of intelligence as decision-support (the outputs) on all threats, all policies, all costs; and the cost — cultural, economic, and political — of a dysfunctional IC that does nothing of substance to Make America Great Again, the sooner we can nationalize the Federal Reserve, close all of our military bases overseas, shut down 50% of the federal government starting with the Departments of Education, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Internal Revenue Service, and redirect our considerable abilities toward ending poverty, disease, and environmental degradation here at home, along with trade in women and children, banking and corporate crime, and the continued destruction of our culture – especially family values and community constructs – by Hollywood, the Mainstream Media (MSM), and #GoogleGestapo.[6]

Put most simply, CIA has to reconnect to Human Intelligence (HUMINT) which consists of two parts: clandestine HUMINT (spying, recruiting traitors) and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) which is not passive media monitoring and technical intelligence as CIA has tried hard to define it, but rather active overt HUMINT able to harvest the distributed intelligence of all humans in all languages all the time.  That CIA still does not get this is its epitaph –Pompeo can save CIA (and I absolutely want to save CIA) but his current advisors are incompetent liars lacking in both integrity and imagination. He needs a complete over-haul of his management team, starting with the immediate retirement of everyone eligible for retirement, and the rapid termination in phases of all contractors (one third of whom should be offered the option of rejoining the government and reaffirming their oath to defend and support the Constitution against all enemies domestic and foreign). The below graphic was created in 2010 when I was interviewed to be the Defense Intelligence Senior Leader (DISL) for HUMINT at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – until both CIA and DIA “get” this distribution of cost and effort, they will remain not just irrelevant to Presidential and Cabinet-level decision-making, but counterproductive.

The Directorate of Intelligence (DI) at CIA consists mostly of children and pasty-faced overweight white people completely out of touch with reality. They suffer in part from a hiring strategy that values young and cheap (and C+ minds that can be retained over A+ minds that leave within a few years) over mature proven mid-career Subject Matter Experts (SME); a complete disregard by CIA for what is called Active OSINT (overt HUMINT);[7] and a Neanderthal security mentality that prohibits analysts – who are not under “cover” – from engaging with the rest of the world. I have seen senior CIA analysts investigated – and ultimately driven from the CIA – for having the temerity to call academic experts in the country for which they are responsible. I have also seen CIA analysts laughed out of town – the young lady responsible for The Netherlands comes to mind, many years ago – when her hosts realized within five minutes of meeting her that the CIA analyst responsible for their country knew nothing, did not speak their language, had never read one of their history books, and was lacking in access to 96% of the relevant information.

CIA also has to get serious about near-real-time processing of all-source information in all mediums. I still remember the Reports Officer going home on unscheduled leave when the first batch of computer secrets was put on his desk – despite knowing in 1989 what was needed in the way of computer-aided tools for the analysis of science and technology and everything else, CIA is still today deeply retarded in its information technology architecture and concepts.[8] My report card on processing and analysis is below and extends to the entire industry, not just CIA.

Amazon is not a panacea, Amazon is a threat and an indictment. NSA is no better, leaving 99% of its collection unprocessed and failing to provide tactical intelligence support to either clandestine operations overseas or counterintelligence operations at home.[9]  We still do not have 1:50,000 combat charts for most of the world – in Somalia we are still using Russian 1:100,000 charts from over a decade ago – and no one in CIA has a clue about how to do either true cost economics or what Ellen Seidman of the National Economic Council called “compare and contrast” economics illuminating domestic US versus foreign competitor value propositions.

National Intelligence (NI) is an inherent responsibility of government — not something that should be delegated to contractors — and it is also an inherent responsibility of command — it cannot be delegated. If Donald Trump wants to be the greatest President ever, creating prosperity at home and peace for commerce abroad, he needs to get a grip on CIA and consider my ideas.

Considering, for one instant, the privatization of covert and clandestine operations is in my view a glimpse of how the Trump Administration might self-destruct in the near term even as he borders on triumph over the Deep State with his 2,500 or more sealed indictments.

CIA is where we determine if the US Government (USG) will be one that operates with intelligence and integrity — or not. Mike Pompeo is at a cross-roads, as is our President. I call.

About the Author

Robert David Steele is a former spy recently recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize, The founder of the Open Source Intelligence discipline he is also the author of The Open Source Everything Manifesto and has proposed to President Donald Trump an Open Source Agency that would create the post-Google Internet that cannot be censored or manipulated, while connecting the President to every voter directly. He is the top Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, reading in 98 categories. He served six tours at CIA, three overseas and three in counterintelligence, advanced information operations, and technical satellite futures planning, and is a graduate of the CIA “war college,” the Mid-Career Course. He was the founding senior civilian of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) in 1988-1993, resigning from government in 1993 when CIA demanded the Marine Corps shut down his open source conference. As a private citizen he sponsored twenty international conferences training over 7,500 mid-career officers, and published the bulk of the original work in OSINT from 1992 to 2006.


[1] Aram Roston, “The Trump Administration Is Mulling A Pitch For A Private ‘Rendition’ And Spy Network,” BuzzFeed, 30 November 2017; Matthew Cole and Jeremy Scahill, “Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter ‘Deep State’ Enemies,” The Intercept, 4 December 2017; Kevin Drum, “Is President Trump Building a Private Spy Network?,” Mother Jones, 5 December 2017.

[2] Michael Barry, recently named as the National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, should follow Herbert McMaster out the door if and when the President recognizes that the NSC is the Deep State’s agent in the White House; the President must abolish the NSC and replace it with a Strategy Advisory Group (SAG). My short summary with a White House floor plan for making better use of the space now wasted on the press can read at Robert Steele, “Concept for Trump Triumph in 3 Moves, Update 2,” Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 26 October 2017.

[3] William Edward Binney is my counter-part for NSA. Binney was Chief Technical Officer when he reported the unconstitutional misbehavior of NSA to the Inspector’s General with jurisdiction over that agency. He is the single most honorable technically-competent intelligence official available, and remains a strong supporter of the President in his fight against the Deep State. Erik Prince serves the Deep State and should never, ever, be trusted to be loyal to the President. On 26 May 2017 the author arranged for a letter from Binney (jointly written), to be delivered to the Attorney General outlining how the President could leverage the 99% of the unprocessed data in the Deep State to get to the names of every traitor, pedophile, and banking criminal across the 1%.

[4] All Open Source Information (OSIF) and OSINT (analytic products by the OSA’s analysts) would be provided to the IC in near-real-time. The difference is that they would also be immediately available to the White House, Cabinet, Congress, public, media, and foreign counterparts. The IC would no longer be allowed to “classify” and restrict OSINT to further its own agenda and conceal its own ignorance. OMB has approved an OSA twice, at Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of $125M and Full Operational Capability (FOC) of $2B. See also D3C Presidential Innovation Memorandum 3.3; my life’s work critical of the IC, and my new ideas for creating a prosperous world at peace under the direction of President Trump, President Vladimir Putin, and General Secretary Xi Jinping, can be accessed at http://robertdavidsteele.com, see especially the Nobel Peace Prize documents on the landing page.

[5] CIA was created by Wall Street for Wall Street – which is to say, as the “secret team” within the USG serving the Deep State and the 1%. Cf. David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (Harper Perennial, 2016); and L. Fletcher Prouty with Jesse Ventura, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011). Regime change is a banking profit center, not – as Ron Paul has so often pointed out – in the best interests of America. Cf. Ron Paul, A Foreign Policy of Freedom—Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship (Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, 2007). Most interestingly, the Chinese General Secretary appears to be channeling Ron Paul in his new grand strategy. Cf. Li Hui (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Russian Federation), “New Era of China’s Development and Prospects for China-Russia Relations,” Russian International Affairs Council, 24 November 2017. Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is the foundation for China’s Grand Strategy and must be appreciated in detail. See also James Risen, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014); and the classic by the most decorated Marine Corps officer of his time, Smedley Butler, War is a Racket (Feral House, 2003). Both rendition & torture, and drone assassination, are past-times for intellectual dwarfs and moral midgets – everyone associated with such programs should be dismissed from government service. Certainly this is not something we want private corporations doing. Cf. Robert Steele, “Review Essay: UNHINGED: drone assassination – American suicide,” Intelligence and National Security, 33/1, March 2017, pp. 145-150 and Robert Steele, “Book Reviews: Rebutttal-Lies Presented as Truth; BROKEN – The Truth as Fiction,” Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 18, Number 2, 2016, pp. 163-166.

[6] Robert Steele, “How The Deep State Controls Social Media and Digitally Assassinates Critics: #GoogleGestapo – Censorship & Crowd-Stalking Made Easy,” American Herald Tribune, November 7, 2017. For the first of six strikes against Zionist control of the USG, see Robert Steele, “War in the Middle East…, “A strategic survey of possibilities, winners, losers…,” Veteran’s Today, November 18, 2017. Strike six may be described in the following: Judy Maltz, “Divorcing the Diaspora: How Netanyahu Is Finally Writing Off U.S. Jews,” Haaretz, 23 November 2017. Any number of “black swans” could be strike seven and the end of Zionist control of the USG, the author’s personal favorite is discussed by Mongoose, “Is Arnon Milchan Zionism’s STRIKE SEVEN, Connecting Zionist Complicity in Assassination of John F. Kennedy, 9/11, Pedophilia Entrapment and Blackmail, Gold War, and More?Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 28 November 2017.

[7] CIA, for lack of integrity, has from the beginning of the OSINT revolution in 1988, insisted that the clandestine service “owns” all forms of HUMINT, and with malice aforethought fought every attempt to create global multi-lingual networks of overt human subject matter expects combined with high-value individuals at specific locations whose observations are not classified and who are not eligible for “clearances.” In 2016 the Danish Department of Defence finally acknowledged that CIA’s been forcing everyone to do OSINT wrong all these years, and commissioned a capstone briefing, Robert Steele, “OSINT Done Right,” Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 7 February 2016 (delivered in Copenhagen in April 2016, updated thereafter).

[8] The original reference is CIA’s own document created by Diane Webb and Dennis McCormick under the leadership of the utterly brilliant Gordon Oehler, CATALYST: Computer Aided Tools for the Analysis of Science & Technology, Central Intelligence Agency, October 1989. The CIA under Bill Casey with Bill Donnelly as Deputy Director of Administration (DDA) as champion, built the Artificial Intelligence Staff in the Office of Information Technology around me in 1986 – when Casey died we were the first to be executed. See also the below references, none of which anyone at CIA is capable of executing. Chapters: Robert Steele. “Augmented Intelligence with Human-Machine Integrity: Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance Integrating Holistic Analytics, True Cost Economics, and Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE),” forthcoming in Daniel Araya. Augmented Intelligence: Smart Systems and the Future of Work and Learning. Bern, CH: Peter Lang Publishing; “Foreword,” in Stephen E. Arnold, CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access, Harrods Creek, KY: Arnold Information Technology, 2015; and “The Evolving Craft of Intelligence,” in Robert Dover, Michael Goodman, and Claudia Hillebrand (eds.). Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies, Oxford, UK: Routledge, July 31, 2013. Articles: Robert Steele, “Healing the Self & Healing the World: The Open Source Way,” Defence and Intelligence Norway, September 13, 2017; “Concept for a Post-Western Economic-Engineering Paradigm: How Putin-Modi and Xi-Trump Can Save Humanity with Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE),Russian International Affairs Council, April 5, 2017; “Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) — a Nordic Manifesto,” Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, April 15, 2016; “On Defense Intelligence: Seven Strikes,” CounterPunch, July 2, 2014; “Intelligence for the President–AND Everyone Else,” CounterPunch, March 1, 2009.


[9] When I was a clandestine case office (C/O) overseas, a bottle of scotch bought me one day’s collection against names I provided from our local NSA station against my target, terrorism.  I got fifteen hits in one day – at that rate I could have been ten to a hundred times more effective in my work. On the second day the NSA station manager informed me that he had to cut me off, it was just a one-day favor, national priorities required that he focus on Nicaragua exclusively. It is my indirect understanding that NSA does not provide tactical signals intelligence support to the FBI either. Years later when I was on the Foreign Intelligence Requirements and Capabilities Plans (FIRCAP) Committee, a national-level committee, we were briefed by NSA China complaining that NSA Russia was hogging all the priorities and demanding repeat passes on old Russian signal emitters with no new original work on China allowed. That is when I conceived of gap-driven collection management instead of priority-driven collection management. Walking out of a briefing when I pitched this to Rich Shackleford, the top defense collections manager at the time, my Navy counterpart Rich Haver, looked at me as we were leaving and with a face and tone of wonderment commented “You really understand all this stuff, don’t you?” Yes, I do. And I am very tired of the dishonesty that prevails across the IC. In 1989 the Marine Corps won the Joint National Intelligence Development Staff (JNIDS) competition, proposing that we implement CATALYST (supra note 8). Years later (or I would have jammed the Admiral with the Commandant on the spot) I learned that the unethical Admiral in charge of JNIDS over-turned our win, stating “We are a Navy shop, we will do a Navy problem.” No one on his staff had the balls to call me so I could fire up the Commandant, and no one on his staff had the balls to say “No Admiral, we are a joint and national shop and if you don’t go with our selection, the next person you will be hearing from is the Inspector General.” See Editors, “Graphic: 1989 USMC JNIDS VI Workup”, Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 16 July 1989, including the original Marine Corps submission document. It’s time we achieve intelligence with integrity, as I propose in Intelligence for Earth: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Diversity (Earth Intelligence Network, 2010).


  1. Asinine: who … what is he talking about? Covert Actions… How about no patch mercenary armies, black op special tactical forces? Time is past due .. to fingerprint the organizers and financiers with accurate data on sources and flow of weapons and money. Source the culprits like Mikheil Saakashvili, Soros and the likes who are profiteering from the manufacture and sales of war machinery and Bio Lab products. Who owns the recruiting outfits? How many Vets are participating? It’s declared war without legal responsibility. A nice warm whispered nuclear world war 3. So, what’s the problem with giving information on Covert Actions? This man is full of hot smelly air. This is the kind of formula BS that can best be described as a distraction. So, who are the handlers, and where and how many mercs are dispatched to date? I saw an interview with a merc and he was explaining that before he was pulling $200,000.00 over four years but now he is receiving $400,000.00 in two …
    Where is that kind of money coming from?
    eh whoa … are we there yet?

  2. A remarkable man of vast knowledge, wide experience and one whose name solidly epitomises his persona: a man of steel. Also, just read his November 7 article in the American Herald Tribune on “How The Deep State Control Social Media and Digitally Assassinates Critics” and in line with most everything else he writes and engrossing, informative read. Hope VT continues to publish his work as he helps keep us on the cutting edge of this sharply divided country.


  3. Eduardo’s comment rings closest as to why the intelligence services are arrested intel. The Houses of Congress , global criminals, et al could not hide in clear sight any longer if these revisions are employed. The fox is now in the hen house. The US has been plucked and is being consumed, and this tail chasing needs to end.

  4. One should think that America needs ONE secret service run by American Patriots and not 100 spying agencies run by Mossad, Jewish oligarchs or bible thumping Pro Israel corporations. Though a reeducation of the people of US including “education minister Betsy” might be necessary as a first step before Prezo Trump sets the ME on fire.

  5. A couple weeks ago there was a rumor going around the internet that the Marines had invaded Langley.
    Too bad it was just a rumor. Nice thought though.
    The best thing to deal with the CIA is to shut it down entirely and start over. No more covert operations, no more international terrorism, no more drug trafficking, no more human trafficking, no more pedo rings, no more assassinations, just intelligence gathering. If they can ever get that straight.
    The CIA has done a great deal of damage not only around the world but to America as well. Time for them to go. While we’re at it, let’s rid ourselves of the TSA, DHS, NSA, FBI, DEA, BLM, DOE, IRS, Feral Reserve…..and that’s just for starters.
    The idea of private contractors like Eric “the Evil” Prince being given carte blanche is enough to make anyone nervous and angry at the same time. As for Ollie “the traitor” North his time is coming. Screw him .
    Unless we can get this mess cleaned up, America will continue on its downward spiral into the earth. Like a plane out of control, with the pilot stoned and the passengers too stupid to know what’s going on, this nation is headed for sudden impact.

  6. Eisenhower warned about the Military Industrial (Congressional – deleted from the hand written version) Complex and then Kennedy then tried to suppress the CIA. The likes of the Dulles Brothers and their ilk did not appreciate Kennedy having the “brains and balls” to try that one. He got shot dead in a Coup d’Etat, from which the USA has never recovered. I have taken a particular interest in that event and later in 9/11. My analysis shows that more than one person was involved in Kennedy’s death and yet the CIA/FBI invented the Meme “Conspiracy Theory” (now entered into the Lexicon of Weaponised Language), in order to use ad hominum attacks against anyone who dis-believed that Lee Harvey Oswald was the “Sole Assassin”. Modified to Lone Nutter Gunman for many subsequent fear-inducing Flase Flags. This Abuse of Scientific and Logical Reasoning was extended into the Collective Unconscious until most young people think that mouthing Political Correctness and then accusing someone of being a CONSPIRACY THEORIST is an actual debate. A typical example of these massive frauds would be the Event Known As 9/11 – whereby such a Huge Operation as the demolition of three buildings, purportedly by two aircraft with 16 mm aluminium wings and flown by Eleven Houdinis with Stanley Knives, which collapsed 200,000 tons of steel and 800,000 tons of concrete, in defiance of High School Physics, could be posited and propagated by the CIA et alia as plausible. As Casey said: “we will know Operation Mockingbird has succeeded when everything that the USA Public believes is a lie”. Operation Mockingbird has been such a huge success that anyone who thinks they have the brains and balls to rock the boat will be, to use an Orwellian term from “1984”, “Vapourised”. It happens all the time. The Establishment Deep State simply does not tolerate that. The Constitution of America is in tatters. The country that preaches Freedom and Democracy to the rest of the World should take a good look in the mirror, except that the mirror is broken too.

  7. Thanks for the overview, much of it is above my understanding. I’m a K.I.S.S. type. The tangled web one weaves gets too complicated for me. But the opinion of Mr. Steele should be respected as “from the source” – unadulterated. Footnote [9] is a good read, however. Which goes along with my “theory” of how the gang stalking phenom got started: targeting those higher up on the totem pole. Now, it’s base.
    Ollie North?!?!? OMIGOSH, that aging out “put it in your panties” tool. That was when he was trying to do the Israel-Iran Contra deal . . . and got popped as the low-man on the totem. I was not into “politics” at that time, but I do recall the media coverage. I’m sure he’s still seeing the south end of a north bound donkey, trying to put deals together, as if he’s relevant?!?
    Humpty Trumpty is not “open” to source, unless it’s from his whet nurse, Bibi, Inc. God only knows if the little blue pills even work anymore . . . but please watch the hand that rocks Humpty Trumpty’s cradle. He’s being soothed with his Rock a’Buy Bibi nursery rhymes. We all know how that ends, down will come baby, cradle and all.
    I hope mercenaries R. U.S. read the fine print. It’s not as if they’ll get vet care. But, if shoot ’em up is still in their blood steam . . . have out it.
    Saudi Arabia is on death watch . . . and in their “blind, close your eyes . . . see only glitter” reality/culture of the ruling elites, they should also need to be mindful of their whet nurse who is rocking their cradle. They got Baby Huey as the Clown Prince? OY VEY! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkkTbOs6pmA
    I used to know a D.A. in Los Angeles when the gang crisis began — thanks Israel-Iran Contra. YES, the drugs that poured in from Fawn Hall’s Knicker-Aqua ruined the inner cities. I was there when that happened. The D.A. I knew had a solution. He wanted to cordon off Griffith Park, and let the gangs duke it out there. His “rules” were simple: 1) Give them whatever death artillery they wanted . . . 2) the survivors/victors would be shot upon exiting the park.
    I kinda like those rules of engagement.
    In my K.I.S.S., freedumbing it down to the lowest common denominator . . . somebody’s watching you . . .
    Saudi is dancing with the devil . . . so here’s a little accompaniment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLul0LjXEBU
    I feel sorry for the death they are causing in Yemen. I’m sure all the rich poo-bahs they kidnapped recently in Saudi, and cordoned off at Griffith Park as it were, are the back-end “buyers” of things that make people dead.
    Shady as a lady in a mustache.

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