Saturday, March 28, 2015

Obama's Intelligence Oversight Board a Corporate Lot

Curious about the Justice Department's decision to call "state secrets" in a civil lawsuit against United Against Nuclear Iran (a nonprofit advocacy group), I wondered who provides oversight for President Obama?

The President has an Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board.  All of the Oversight Board members sit on the larger Intelligence Advisory Board.

One name jumped out at me, The Carlyle Group's Julius Genachowski.

Julius Genachowski-
Managing Director and Partner -- The Carlyle Group
Board of Directors -- MasterCard and Sonos

Carlyle's global reach and ability to entice and influence politicians are legendary.  The private equity underwriter (PEU) has nearly $200 billion in assets under management and is focused on acquiring cheap oil/energy assets

Jami Miscik
President and Vice chairman -- Kissinger Associates, Inc.
Board of Directors -- Morgan Stanley and  EMC
Global Head of Sovereign Risk at Lehman Brothers, a former investment bank (June 2005 to September 2008) when Lehman Brothers imploded

Henry Kissinger's consulting firm has long been associated with global tamperers.  It is bipartisan in nature.  I'm not sure I'd want to list a global risk job with Lehman Brothers on my resume.  The government did not bail out Lehman Brothers, which employed Jeb Bush in its private equity division.  However, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York provided $138 billion in loans to Lehman.

Mona Sutphen
Partner MacroAdvisory Partners
Board of Directors Drilling Info Holdings
Board of Advisors Patent Properties
Former UBS Managing Director
Mona Sutphen is a partner with a firm offering political risk, risk management, government relations, strategic scenario planning, and frontier markets advisory services.  Drilling Info Holdings services those in the global race for oil.  Last year Patent Properties announced it would soon offer a "disruptive licensing solution for the mass market of patent owners and users."  Patent rights sharing is timely as secret trade deals work their way through the White House and Congress.  

Shirley Jackson
President -- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Board of Directors -- Marathon Oil, FedEx Corporation, International Business Machines Corporation, Medtronic, Inc.and Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated
Former Chairman of NYSE Group, Inc.
Former Director of AT&T, U.S. Steel, KeyCorp and NYSE Euronext
Ms. Jackson has by far the most corporate board positions and director income.  Also, four of the five public companies are global. 

Neal Wolin, Chair
Retired from Interim Secretary U.S. Treasury in September 2013.  Neal planned "to take a post with a not-yet-determined think tank as he mulls other options outside government."

Unlike Secretary Tim Geithner (Council on Foreign Relations and Warburg Pincus), Neal Wolin has not announced any think tank affiliation, much less PEU employment in the eighteen months since.  His bio states about his current activities:

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, of the bar in Illinois, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, and is currently a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. 
It makes one wonder if Neal is cashing in via an off the record, black box venture.  Neal chairs the group responsible for intelligence oversight which is relatively new in composition.  Ten of its fourteen members turned over in 2013.  A board's character can be seen by who they ask to leave:

“They kicked me off,” said former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.). “I was on it a long time under Bush and under Obama. They wanted to make some changes.”

“I don’t know anything about whether they’ve brought in new members. They thanked me and that’s about all I know,” added Hamilton, widely known for his service as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

The 82-year-old former congressman — who has headed Indiana University’s Center for Congress since 2010 — said he wasn’t upset about being booted from the PIAB, although he remains in the dark about precisely why he was shown the door.

Why would Obama's intelligence oversight board remove an ethical representative with decades of historical knowledge like Lee Hamilton?  They didn't say.

What intelligence oversight does this crew provide? I'll venture they push their corporate and personal interests.  It may be subtle, but I doubt it.  America's corporatist global perspective is in your face and ready to spread.