“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.

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.

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.

Sisi’s Way Tom Stevenson on Egypt’s prisons (LRB)


It’s no secret that Hosni Mubarak’s regime was repressive. Yet although in its treatment of prisoners and many other ways besides, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s is worse, statesmen around the world praise its role in Egypt’s ‘democratic transition’. When John Kerry visited Cairo last year he reported that Sisi had given him ‘a very strong sense of his commitment to human rights’. These issues, he said, were ‘very much’ on Sisi’s mind. For more than thirty years it was US policy to support autocratic government in Egypt as a route to ‘regional security’. The US backed Mubarak’s regime until its very last days; even during the mass protests of January 2011, the US hoped Mubarak could survive if he made political concessions. Mubarak is gone, but the US Defense Department’s links with the Egyptian military – long-standing and solid – have remained. Officials are steadily restoring the flow of aid and equipment that was temporarily suspended in the wake of the coup: there is no serious ‘human rights’ issue for Washington.”

Read the full article at: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n04/tom-stevenson/sisis-way?utm_campaign=Brookings+Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=16165260&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8s8sUbTrMNefXKBSZjvz2YD9BxXP9y_JIt-5hwOr50rLzJNV4COgd02wScPLz4uydtk3VAM8LaqvEh5ozgvkOd-u54_A&_hsmi=16165260

U.S. delivers arms to Lebanon, says fighting ‘same enemy’ (Reuters)

"Lebanese Brigadier General Manuel Kirejian (2nd R) chats with U.S. ambassador to Lebanon David Hale (C) as they review weapons donated by the U.S. government to the Lebanese army during a ceremony at Beirut's port February 8, 2015." Courtesy of Reuters

“Lebanese Brigadier General Manuel Kirejian (2nd R) chats with U.S. ambassador to Lebanon David Hale (C) as they review weapons donated by the U.S. government to the Lebanese army during a ceremony at Beirut’s port February 8, 2015.” Courtesy of Reuters

The U.S. delivered $25 million worth of arms to Lebanon in order to combat the Nusra Front.

Read the article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/08/us-mideast-crisis-lebanon-usa-idUSKBN0LC0LT20150208