The CIFA trough still beckons

To the CIFA trough, comes John Murtha. The Hill reports that the chairman of the supremely powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, is continuing in the proud tradition of his former colleague, Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

A decorated Marine colonel, the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress, Murtha is one of the House’s great porkers. He passed on a $50,000 bribe during the FBI’s undercover ABSCAM investigation, but signaled that he might warm to the offer somewhere down the road.

Earmark foe Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., calls our attention to a murky, $3 million earmark Murtha is shepherding through the 2008 intelligence funding bill. It’s for something called “Joint Intelligence Training & Education with Advanced Distributed Learning Technologies Phase II.”

A Murtha flak described the JITEADLTP2 as a continuation of “efforts to enhance the training capabilities of the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA). With the massive hiring over the past few years within U.S. intelligence agencies, this program will provide advanced training for military and civilian personnel on human intelligence practices (in effect getting years of experience in a year of training).”

Fifty-one words; nothing said.

The Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy is off Route 100 in Elkridge, Maryland. Since October 1999, it has offered introductory and advanced training to civilian spooks and military intelligence personnel in classes like Counterintelligence Fundamentals, Research and Technology Protection and Joint Terrorism Task Force Seminar. People who attend generally have good things to say.

JCITA is an arm of CIFA. You’ll recall that CIFA is a new intelligence agency that Cunningham attatched himself to, ramora-like, to suck out appropriations for a defense contractor who was bribing him with a mansion, boats, antiques, etc.

Enter Murtha. The real beneficiary of his earmark isn’t JCITA of course, but a favorite defense contractor in his district, the Concurrent Technology Corporation (CTC) in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Murtha created CTC in 1987 with the help of earmarks years ago, and the company and its employees are among biggest campaign contributors.

CTC was the recipient of the $1 million “mystery” earmark for the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure, which may or may not even exist.

Murtha’s JCITA earmark involves “advanced distributed learning,” which is DoD gibberish for learning over the Internet. So the congressman is earmarking $3 million to teach counterintelligence classes over a network.

We could all have a good laugh if this were $550,000 to the Skirball Cultural Center in LA for development and construction of Noah’s Ark, but look at what’s going on here: Murtha’s friend is getting a contract to teach our spies how to detect enemy spies and terrorists over the Internet. Putting earmarks in the intelligence bill isn’t just wasteful. It’s dangerous.

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