“Did the New Spooks on the Block Really Fix U.S Intelligence?” (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“For decades intelligence reformers sought to centralize the U.S. intelligence community in a single office with real power over budgets, personnel, and operations. Ten years ago they finally got their wish. Following an intense congressional fight, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) set up shop in April 2005 with high expectations. The office was supposed to ensure the kind of inter-agency coordination that was supposedly missing before the 9/11 attacks. It was to be the fulcrum of sharing and collaboration among agencies with long histories of mutual suspicion and occasional disdain. Ultimately it sought to unify a sprawling constellation of civilian and military agencies into “fully integrated intelligence community” that would “inform decisions made from the White House to the foxhole.”

See the article here.

The Untouchable John Brennan (Buzzfeed)

John Brennan CIA

How did the candidate of hope and change turn into the president of secret kill lists, drone strikes hitting civilians, and immunity for torturers? The answer may lie in his relationship with the CIA director, a career bureaucrat turned quiet architect of a morally murky national security policy who isn’t going to let a little thing like getting caught spying on the Senate bring him down.”

See the full article here.

To Catch a Spy (Foreign Policy)

John Brennan CIA

“In the age of iris scans and facial recognition software, biometrics experts like to point out: The eyes don’t lie. And that has made tradecraft all the more difficult for U.S. spies.”

Read the full article here.

Disrupting the Intelligence Community America’s Spy Agencies Need an Upgrade (Foreign Affairs)

John Brennan CIA

“Some 40 years have passed since the Church Committee’s sweeping investigation of U.S. intelligence practices, fresh on the heels of the Watergate scandal. And ten years have gone by since the last major reorganization of the country’s spy agencies, enacted in the wake of 9/11. Both efforts led to a host of reforms—among them, the creation of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the adoption of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which I helped shepherd through Congress.”

See the full article by Jane Harman.

C.I.A. Cash Ended Up in Coffers of Al Qaeda (NYT)

Al-Qaeda Global Map, courtesy of the Economist.

Al-Qaeda Global Map, courtesy of the Economist.

“WASHINGTON — In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million — and senior security officials were scrambling to come up with the money.

They first turned to a secret fund that the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul, according to several Afghan officials involved in the episode. The Afghan government, they said, had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund.”

Read the NYT article here.

DNI James Clapper on What Keeps Him Up at Night (Mar. 2, 2015) | Charlie Rose

“James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence and the President’s senior advisor on intelligence and espionage issues, tells Charlie Rose about the one issue he loses sleep over. The full interview airs March 2, 2015 on PBS.”

CIA looks to expand its cyber espionage capabilities (WaPo)

John Brennan CIA“CIA Director John Brennan is planning a major expansion of the agency’s cyber-espionage capabilities as part of a broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work, current and former U.S. officials said.

The proposed shift reflects a determination that the CIA’s approach to conventional espionage is increasingly outmoded amid the exploding use of smartphones, social media and other technologies.”

Read the full article here.