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Mark Riebling


Mark Riebling is a U S historian, essayist, and policy analyst.
Mark Riebling
Appearance is not reality, except in Washington.
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The history of the CIA brims with inquiries that cowed our spies and ruined their careers.
Riebling
Riebling succeeds brilliantly... in persuading the reader that the FBI-CIA conflict was a more important piece of the cold war mosaic than heretofore noted by historians.




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A Moral Reckoning is, among its other faults, a 352-page exercise in intellectual bad manners. Reading it is like listening for three days to Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe.
Riebling Mark
The executive branch has sometimes abused its mandate -- most famously, with the surveillance of Dr. King -- but not as much as the Church Committee would have us believe. The FBI's political spying was not the creation of right-wing reactionaries, and it was not systematically targeted at the innocent grassroots left. It was begun by our most liberal of presidents, FDR, who ordered the surveillance of fascist sympathizers in 1936. The most controversial domestic Counterinteligence Programs (Cointelpro) were actually born in the Kennedy administration, as an attempt to disrupt the Ku Klux Klan. The FBI also disrupted "Black Nationalist Hate Groups," including the Black Panthers. This was not political repression; it was a largely successful effort to deal with violent militant groups.
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Globalization is a trend with many gurus; not all have been wise. Some, writing during the economic euphoria of the Clinton years, predicted that global trade would translate into global peace. In The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, Thomas Friedman even dismissed terrorists like Ramzi Youssef, architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as ineffectual "Yahoos" who were not the wave of the future. We know now that the Ramzi Youssefs of the world are not ineffectual; that they will threaten us for decades to come; and that they will seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction and use them against us.
Mark Riebling
One would think that agents charged with protecting us from "dirty nukes" would enjoy the same discretionary search authority as partrolmen who make traffic stops. In fact, they have less. If a patrolman pulls you over for weaving between lanes, and smells bourbon on your breath, he does not need a warrant to give you a breath test. But if an FBI agent learns that you are a member of a known terrorist group, and that you behaved suspiciously at a flight school, he must jump through bureaucratic hoops of fire to search your laptop computer.
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The military mind tends to be conservative, realistic and historical. The civilian mind tends to be liberal, idealistic and Utopian. Journalists, obviously, are civilians, and they tend to distrust, and to suspect, the militaryís motives.
Riebling
Military intelligence officers cannot afford to be celebrators of diversity, Utopians, game-theorists, apostles of negotiation, or purveyors of the idea that the Internet will bring us all together.
Riebling Mark
He was the outlier of a new type: the first twentieth-century personality to be famous for being famous. If he toured Africa with 17 pieces of matched luggage, or got hit by a car crossing Fifth Avenue in New York, he wrote about it. His life became a forerunner of reality TV; in todayís terms, he did everything to seek celebrity but release a sex tape. A great question of Churchill biography, therefore, is how this Paris Hilton of British politics became the second coming of King Arthur.
Mark Riebling
Rieblingís concern for the rivalry and competitive nature of the relationship between the intelligence community is frequently commented upon in studies of intelligence estimates.




Mark Riebling quotes
The United States has never actually wanted one true spy service, on the model of Englandís MI6. Instead, it has tried to create a first-rate spy community. That community reflects the character of our culture: itís a crazy-quilt of checks and balances, division of labor, specialization, decentralization, friendship with free nations, civilian control of the military, and a distrust of secrecy dating to the Salem witch trials. The result is an over-managed yet under-coordinated system, spanning not just dozens of U.S. agencies, but dozens of other governments, and even nongovernmental organizations. It includes not just the CIA, the FBI, and the Pentagon, but functional partners in British and Israeli intelligence, treaty alliances such as NATO and SEATO, and even information sharing with transnational entities such as the United Nations, the Vatican, and Google.
Mark Riebling
France showed as a nation less strength than Churchill showed as a man.
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The flaw in the work is the flaw in the man.
Riebling Mark
Personal responsibility is a big idea about which little is known. It has received far less study than other key conservative tenets, like economic choice. This lack of attention is striking because personal responsibility is a defining assumption in American thought.
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Goldhagen does not say it, but one has the sense that he would affix, to every Christian Bible, the warning label: "This text contains hate speech."
Mark Riebling
There was, sometimes, a de facto alliance between this president and pope. But relations were not so close that they could be taken for granted by the president's men. In fact, the documents reveal a continuous scurrying to shore up Vatican support for U.S. policies.
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Though the words "personal" and "personality" date to the 1380s, "responsibility" emerged only in the 1640s, as England began its great democratic ferment. This linguistic lag marked an arrested moral development. Our civilization developed personality early and responsibility late. Only the duties of democratic governance required a word to express the abstract principle, "a state of being responsible."
Mark Riebling
If movement conservatism is less about hating the state than about fighting Godless modernism, this might explain why conservatives have always found actual or cultural wars to fight, but have never got around to shrinking or controlling the growth of government (though centrists like Eisenhower and Clinton did).
Riebling Mark
Though espionage is supposed to be thrilling, CIA memoirs are often boring. Usually written decades after the fact, always sanitized by government censors, the typical "autospyography" has the vague, approximate effect of a police sketch drawn from the memory of a traumatized witness.


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