Intelligence

Dartmouth alum provides clarity on “torture”

Featured image Robert Grenier served in the CIA for 27 years. In 2001, as station chief in Islamabad, he developed a CIA war plan for southern Afghanistan that relied on Afghans to drive Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from Kabul and install Hamid Karzai as the country’s new president. He describes these events in a new book called 88 Days to Kandahar. Grenier also helped coordinate covert operations in support of the »

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz move to the left of Lindsey Graham on terrorist rights

Featured image Earlier this week, the Senate passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that limits the entire U.S. government to only the interrogation and detention techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual. The vote was 78-21. The Army Field Manual does not permit physical contact with detainees, not even a slap. The harshest method it permits the “Fear-Up (Harsh).” In this approach, “the interrogator behaves in an overpowering »

Massive Government Data Breach Exposes Information on Four Million Americans

Featured image Chinese hackers have invaded computers at the federal Office of Personnel Management, accessing personal information relating to at least four million current and former government employees. The New York Times reports: The Obama administration on Thursday announced what appeared to be one of the largest breaches of federal employees’ data, involving at least four million current and former government workers in an intrusion that officials said apparently originated in China. »

FBI Should Come Clean on Surveillance Aircraft

Featured image Here in the Twin Cities, it started when a man described as an aviation buff noticed a small airplane acting oddly. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on May 29: Aviation buff John Zimmerman was at a weekly gathering of neighbors Friday night when he noticed something peculiar: a small plane circling a route overhead that didn’t make sense to him. It was dark, so a sightseeing flight didn’t make sense, »

Brennan’s bromides

Featured image The Obama administration national security apparatus has to leave a knowledgeable man feeling a little queasy. You’ve got national security advisor Susan Rice, a knave or a fool with credibility somewhere south of zero. You’ve got assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic communications Ben Rhodes. What is this man doing here? You’ve got Secretary of State John Kerry, the man whom Obama has entrusted to »

Nine years later, Tom Cotton’s letter to the Times

Featured image We have written a lot over the years about the repeated violations of the Espionage Act by New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. They gave me a lot to work with in 2006. I wrote a January 2006 column for the Weekly Standard, for example, that the Standard titled “Exposure.” (I reposted it on Power Line last year under the heading “Is the Times a law unto »

Why spy

Featured image Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s Adam Entous reported in a page-one story leaked by the Obama administration that “Israel spied on Iran talks with US” (accessible here via Google). John commented on the story here. I want to offer a few additional notes on the story: • This “spying” story was leaked to Entous by “senior White House officials.” The leak complements the Obama administration’s public campaign against the Netanyahu »

John Brennan assesses

Featured image CIA Director John Brennan appeared for an interview on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace (video below, 22 minutes). At the outset of the interview, Wallace asked tough questions related to the deal in process with Iran. In context, despite the gravity of the questions, Brennan’s expressions of comfort and assurance on the part of President Obama and Secretary Kerry come across almost laughable. At 5:00, Wallace asks Brennan which »

What the Shiite?

Featured image Iran and Hezbollah have gone missing from the Terrorism section of this year’s Worldwide Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community. In recent years, the threats raised by Iran and/or Hezbollah were duly noted in the assessment of terrorist threats presented to Congress by DNI James Clapper. This year we need to send out an APB. The subject is important. Subject to correction, I tentatively offer the following in the spirit »

Iran goes missing

Featured image Appearing on Greta Van Susteren’s FOX News show last night, Catherine Herridge and John Bolton followed up on the disappearance of Iran and Hezbollah from the list of terror threats 2015 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community issued by the Director of National Intelligence (video below, also posted here along with a partial transcript). I believe the disappearance was first reported here by the Times of Israel. Ambassador Bolton »

U.S. relies on Iraqis to interrogate ISIS fighters

Featured image Eli Lake reports that ISIS fighters captured in Iraq — of whom there reportedly are almost 100 so far — are being interrogated by Iraqis, not by U.S. intelligence officers. Thus, we’re left to rely on reports from Iraqis to obtain information from the captives. This may not be all bad. U.S. interrogation policy severely limits what we can do to extract information from terrorists. It’s likely, moreover, that ISIS »

Resist this

Featured image Steve Coll is dean of the Columbia Journalism School and an accomplished reporter in his own right. He is a staff writer for the New Yorker and the author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Soviet Invasion, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2011, among other books. He reports on issues of intelligence and national security and in the journalism »

Risen at large

Featured image Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine counts alleging violation of the Espionage Act; Sterling blew a highly classified Clinton-era operation intended to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. He did so to no discernible public good; the crimes of which he now stands convicted are truly heinous. Here is how reporter Matt Apuzzo describes Sterling’s conviction in the lead paragraph of his page-one New York Times story: “Jeffrey A. »

Jeffrey Sterling convicted; his accomplice remains free

Featured image Jeffrey Sterling, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, was convicted of espionage today. He was charged with telling a journalist about a secret operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. The journalist was James Risen of the New York Times. Scott has written extensively about this case, focusing on Risen’s disclosure of Sterling’s secrets and the government’s unwillingness to require the journalist to testify in the case. Fortunately, Sterling was convicted »

A backgrounder for Matt Apuzzo

Featured image New York Times reporter Matt Apuzzo joined the Times in 2012. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, but his article on the testimony of Condoleezza Rice at the trial of Jeffrey Sterling last week suggests he doesn’t know much about the Times. During her tenure as Secretary of State, Rice met with Times editors to persuade them not to publish James Risen’s draft article disclosing the highly classified, Clinton-era CIA »

At the Sterling trial

Featured image Last week the government commenced its prosecution of former CIA official Jeffrey Sterling for violation of the Espionage Act. The government alleges that Sterling leaked the details of a program intended to undermine Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen. The program was subject to a security classification indicating its extreme sensitivity. Sterling did not publicly disclose the details of the CIA program; he laundered them through »

Domestic surveillance — we need it now more than ever

Featured image In his observations on terrorism in Belgium, John writes that electronic surveillance of some sort very likely played a role in enabling the authorities to strike before the terrorists could carry out their planned attack. John is right. But we don’t need to look to Belgium to see the critical role such surveillance plays in protecting against terrorism. Recently, authorities here in the U.S. were able to prevent an attack »