Rice bowls

“To the leaders of the Defense Intelligence Agency: the dogged resistance to substantive organizational improvement you have displayed during these past two years has, and will forever, confound me.” 

 -Letter to supporters and DIA leadership upon the closure of the DAS case.

These words were not hyperbole.  I will forever be flummoxed by many of the leadership’s decisions and reactions over the course of the two-year DAS case.  I posted the February 2022 Wall Street Journal article online and one of my friends, “Switch” Barker, responded.  It’s worth quoting him here: “we’ve all seen it…everyone has their rice bowls and will go to great lengths to defend them.”  Switch was spot on.  Everyone has their rice bowls: the thing, or things, that they hold so dear to them that they identify them as fundamental facets of their existence and self-identity.  There are some rather obvious and universal ones: friends, family, loved ones.  But there are also the non-tangible rice bowls as well which fascinate me; and the DIA case only accentuated the apparent role they play in a person’s psyche and thus their actions. 

Take a minute now and think about what your “buttons”’ are.  Framed somewhat differently: what, when threatened, would cause you to switch on the “fight” mode of your “fight-or-flight” system?  Maybe it’s maintaining a certain image, maybe it’s retaining power, maybe it’s always being right.  If I reflect on my personal experience, I think the reason I was pushed into “attack mode” was not because the cabal derailed my career, which they did, not because they attacked my reputation and character, which they also did, but because I was rendered powerless.  When Tanya rolled her fat bureaucratic ass into our office on her fraudulent assassination trip to Europe and, in the blink of an eye, undid all the work and effort I had invested to get to the point I was at, it was shocking.  But even more infuriating was that any avenue of recourse that a person in the government or the military can typically count on (chain of command, Inspector General, etc.) would subsequently fail me as well.  And that left me feeling very powerless.  I was, and still am, ashamed to admit that I was victimized and embarrassed I was powerless to stop it.  When I try to come to terms with it all, which is still very difficult for me, I always return back to the fundamental question: “why?”  

I spent about 27 months working on the DIA case in some form or fashion.  I would estimate I spoke to well over 100 witnesses during that time.  A lot of those people, well, I can’t say it in any more of a refined manner than: they just got fucked.  Good, decent, hard-working people got railroaded.  They didn’t break any rules, didn’t violate any regulations or laws; they just crossed the DAS’s cabal, the cohort of government civilians who have wedged themselves in management positions in DIA, at the wrong time and they paid a significant price for their “transgressions.”  What were their “crimes”?  From what I could ascertain from the witness’ accounts, the vast majority threatened somebody’s rice bowl.  In general, the pattern was this:


1.  Person X “rocked the boat” (in someone’s mind)


2.  Cabal member identified and targeted Person X for retribution


3.  Retribution was carried out


4.  Person X appealed for redress with (chain of command, IG, EO, etc.) and that entity, just as complicit as the cabal, failed them


5.  Repeat


It boils down to this sad, but very real fact: people were character and career assassinated simply for “rocking the boat.”  But why such extreme and disproportionate reactions?  If you think about the disproportionality of the reaction, it was almost like you cut someone off on the highway and they pull out a shotgun and shoot you in the face.  When the police arrive on-scene and question them they say “of course I shot them, they cut me off.”  (Concluding the parallel, in this scenario, the police would feign some sort of investigation and quickly exonerate the culprits.)

Now for the crux of the entire DAS affair: what about officers “rocking the boat” would pose such an existential threat to DIA that they would go to such extremes to stop it?  The answer: the foundation of the DAS cabal’s authority is simply illegitimate.  It is just a patchwork of courses of performance and word of mouth.  The power the cabal enjoys with such almost sadistic pleasure, doesn’t, in reality, exist at all.  And the only way to maintain the charade is by preventing anyone from scratching at the thin veneer of legitimacy.  In other words: oppress any officers that start asking any questions, thereby threatening the big rice bowl.