Intelligence

Americans still see Bush-era interrogation techniques as justified and effective

Featured image One of the nobler, if not the only noble purpose of publicly releasing the Feinsten report was to fuel public debate about the very harsh interrogation techniques used in some instances by the CIA after 9/11. Predictably, though, the rekindled debate has been as stale as the original version had become. In any event, the returns from the debate are in. A Pew Research survey shows that, by a wide »

Risen risin’

Featured image New York Times reporter James Risen is under subpoena to testify in the prosecution of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. Sterling is under prosecution for blowing a CIA program intended to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. The program was classified beyond top secret. To no discernible public good, Risen publicized the program in his book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The government thinks that »

John Brennan’s knowable “unknowables”

Featured image John Brennan spoke to the press yesterday about Dianne Feinstein’s travesty of a report on past CIA interrogation practices. It’s highly unusual for the CIA director to hold take questions from the media, but Brennan did. Unusual though Brennan’s appearance was, the Washington Post, which has devoted its front page to story after story on Feinstein’s hit-job, relegates Brennan to page 14. The Post, it appears, is only marginally more »

Who tortured what? Let’s go to the sources

Featured image John Hinderaker took a preliminary look at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Democrats’ report on the CIA detention and interrogation program here. I am still trying to get a handle on what the Democrats have done. I offer the partial list of sources and commentary below as a resource to others like me trying to understand what has happened here. Dianne Feinstein et al., Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, »

James Risen would prefer not to; Eric Holder must decide what he prefers

Featured image James Risen is the New York Times reporter who, on several occasions, has materially harmed the United States with his reporting on top secret affairs. As Scott Johnson has written, “If you are a disgruntled intelligence officer or official and want to preserve your anonymity while undermining a top secret program or aiding the enemies of the United States, Risen is your go-to guy.” Scott went on to document this »

Who tortured what? The Feinstein factor

Featured image I confess that I do not understand the rationale supporting the publication of the Democrats’ Senate Select Committee study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. On its face, it seems like ancient history (of a highly tendentious kind) in the service of a personal grudge. It is not clear to me what is new and it is not clear that what is new is reliable, given the absurd limitations »

Feinstein’s war on the CIA — what purpose does it serve?

Featured image The Obama administration has instituted special security measures to protect U.S. facilities around the world in the event of attacks prompted by the release of Dianne Feinstein’s “torture” report. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that “there are some indications. . .that the release of the report could lead to a greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world.” John Kerry was concerned enough »

Who tortured what? Let’s go to the tape

Featured image The Washington Free Beacon has compiled a set of videos commenting on the torture report issued yesterday by the Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I want to set this up with the clip below from the Media Research Center. In the clip, NBC news anchor Brian Williams asks former CIA Director Michael Hayden “How are we better than our enemies?” (and more). What a ponderous fool Brian »

Dianne Feinstein and her one-sided, self-serving report on enhanced interrogations

Featured image The big news today will be the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s interrogation policy during the Bush years, which has finally been made public. The mainstream media will see to it that the story dominates the headlines. It already dominates the Washington Post’s main page. I expect we’ll have lots to say about the report, whose contents have been leaked over the past months. For now, I’ll link »

Contradicting Dianne Feinstein’s sham report on CIA interrogation

Featured image We have written about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s forthcoming “Feinstein Report,” an attack on the Bush-era CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques. By all accounts, the report will conclude that the CIA regularly tortured terrorism suspects, lied to Congress about it, and gained no valuable information as a result. I view the report as not only a political document — the latest salvo in the war between Democrats on the Senate Intelligence »

Ishmael Jones: Panetta’s betrayal

Featured image Ishmael Jones is a former CIA case officer. He is the author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, the book that serves as the point of reference in the column below. Mr. Jones advises us that this column has been approved for publication by the CIA’s Publications Review Board. He writes: In 2008 I wrote a book that criticized CIA bureaucracy. The book contains no secrets »

“We Are Going To Win the Cold War”—A Conversation with Herbert Meyer, Part 3

Featured image In this installment of our conversations with Herbert Meyer (part one here, and part two here), we look back at the end of the Cold War, and especially Herb’s prescience in a memo he wrote in the fall of 1983, since declassified, entitled “Why Is the World So Dangerous?” (PDF link). Here he remarks that this memo was not just controversial, but also unwelcome even among many hard-liners in the »

The Risen heist comes to FOX News

Featured image New York Times reporter James Risen appeared on Greta van Susteren’s FOX News show tonight to promote his new book (video below). Van Susteren touched on the subject of Risen’s noncompliance with the subpoena requiring his testimony in the pending prosecution of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for violation of the Espionage Act. Van Susteren clearly has no idea of the issues raised by Risen’s conduct. I wrote about them »

Gabriel Schoenfeld: A Risen in the sun

Featured image Gabriel Schoenfeld has graciously responded to my invitation to comment on last night’s 60 Minutes segment publicizing the case of New York Times reporter James Risen. Mr. Schoenfeld is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the former senior editor of Commentary. He is also the author of The Return of Anti-Semitism and, most recently, A Bad Day on the Romney Campaign. In Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, »

Is James Risen a law unto himself?

Featured image Writing in an adjacent post about New York Times reporter James Risen and last night’s 60 Minutes segment on him, I link to a January 2006 column that I wrote for the Weekly Standard on Risen’s first big story blowing a critical national security program during the Bush administration. The Standard headlined the column “Exposure and it is still accessible online, but errors crept into the formatting when the Standard »

Intelligence Failure: A Conversation with Herbert Meyer, Part 2

Featured image I’m finally getting back to processing more of my wide-ranging conversation with former CIA honcho Herbert Meyer from last month.  (You can see part 1 of our conversation here.)  In this short segment, we talk more about the importance of knowing what you’re looking for, why it is important not to demand too much information, and how easy it is to go astray by sticking too closely to your own »

Ain’t got time to PDB

Featured image With President Obama blaming his intelligence functionaries for his failure to anticipate the swift advances of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the intelligence community has responded in stories such as the Peter Baker/Eric Schmitt round-up yesterday in the New York Times (discussed by Paul here). I think the fault for the ongoing catastrophes in Syria and Iraq lie with Obama’s worldview and his related action (and inaction). Nevertheless, in the »