Ballad of a Thin Man (or, You Know Something’s Happening but You Don’t Know What It Is)

July 5th, 2010

Inspired by National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter’s tour-de-force on C-SPAN’s American Politics, rebroadcast yesterday from a conference last month at the Aspen Institute. And if it’s true that there are parallel universes inhabited by evil anti-twins (read Mirror, Mirror for more about that), then I have a pretty good idea who Leiter’s is…

“We are in deep tyranny, deep, deep. We have a psychopathic elite who form a global guild of psychopaths… They’re in control of the planet and they’re setting up a planetary police state to carry out an orderly extermination of at least 80% (some say 99%). They debate the numbers of us they want to kill.” – Extreme right wing radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Alex Jones knows something is happening, and thinks he knows what it is.

He’s got a view of terrorism that is uniquely his.

He says over and over that 9-11 was a US government plot

(Between his radio show, website, and movies, he says that kind of thing a lot).

Other Western governments are doing the same,

Sponsoring domestic terrorism, according to Jones’ claim.

By terrorizing their own population

To justify dictatorial domination.

If you think that our government sponsors terror,

Watching Michael Leiter will prove that’s in error.

Leiter appeared on C-SPAN yesterday;

His performance completely blew me away.

I’d never seen him speak before,

But as he continued, I wanted to hear more.

Unscripted Q&A without teleprompter or notes,

Giving real answers, not just pithy quotes.

(I missed his testimony after the Underwear Bomber near miss,

When only by the grace of God we avoided another abyss.)

Leiter spoke for over an hour with honesty and expertise,

Not just jingoist talking points, his audience to please.

He was open about counterterrorism’s difficulties

And myriad uncertainties.

But instead of inspiring apprehension

And increased public tension,

Leiter’s openness inspires confidence,

Because of what it represents:

Confidence that he knows what he’s doing

In the difficult business of terrorist subduing.

Confidence that he and others are giving there all,

Another attack on America to forestall.

Leiter was NCTC Deputy Director in 2007-08

And acting director until confirmed in June 2008.

The Bushies didn’t let him go out in public much,

Which just shows how much they were out of touch.

(Many think Leiter’s predecessor was forced door-ward

For being a little too straightforward,

So what one mostly heard was tough talk and empty bluster

In the fine tradition of General Custer.)

Obama kept Leiter on when he became Pres,

And appears to not be limiting what he says.

Now, Leiter is out in public regularly,

Speaking candidly and forcefully.

Leiter strongly opposes the view that we must choose

Between national security and American values

(A canard oft-stated by Republican politicians),

Like respecting personal freedoms and other cultural traditions.

This is what JFK meant about the brightest and best.

Watch the video clip–I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

The truth can be complex, but that’s still better than a lie.

Thank you, Mr. President, for keeping this guy.

And thank you, President Bush, for Leiter’s initial appointment,

Even though his previous isolation is a retrospective disappointment.

And NCTC Director: I’m impressed that you’re channeling Dylan,

And it fits our theme song perfectly that you’re also pretty thin.

And so what if you’re a bit of a geek

(It’s better than being an extremist freak).


Here’s Leiter on C-SPAN. The “you know something’s happening but you don’t know what it is” statement is at about the 10” mark. Leiter was open about the problems, difficulties, and uncertainties associated with counterterrorism, but instead of inspiring fear, that honesty (coupled with his obvious expertise) inspires confidence.


Here’s Leiter’s Jan. 2010 testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. He’s just reading a prepared statement here, so I don’t think he came across as impressively.


Here’s John McCain questioning Leiter about the responsibility for the Underwear Bomber (he corrects several factual misstatements by McCain).

Here’s NCTC Director Leiter in action.

Just kidding. For those who don’t and haven’t see reality through television, that was a scene at the Counter Terrorist Unit, 24’s version of the NCTC.

Here are the Alex Jones “documentaries” TerrorStorm: A History of Government Sponsored Terrorism and 9-11:The Road to Tyranny (he’s done many more along the same lines). Needless to say, Mr. Jones sees Michael Leitner as an intrinsic part of this plot (read more about that here).

Here’s your theme music, Ballad of a Thin Man by the great Bob Dylan, followed by the very interesting interpretation from the excellent I’m Not There. Watch it if you haven’t already (Cate Blanchett does a great Dylan).

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Posted in Bush Administration, National Security, What ails us | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Ballad of a Thin Man (or, You Know Something’s Happening but You Don’t Know What It Is)”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Sex Poodle Says:

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  3. Raj Says:

    Bush acted with the temperance and care of atenhor GW that day. George Washington. He was careful not to alarm those children and moved swiftly to protect his ability to lead the country from a secure location while he ascertained the level of threat the country faced that day. Bush’s military response to the attack was measured and gave fair warning to the Taliban to surrender before the bombs started falling. The 911 response was Bush’s shining moment and will be the crown jewel of his legacy. Imagine BHO’s response. He would have returned to the White House. Called CAIR and Joy Behar for their advice on how to blame Israel and had a celebrity filled pizza dinner to kick off 6 weeks of dithering.

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