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.

Ex-NSA director: China has hacked ‘every major corporation’ in U.S. (CNN Money)

Centcom Hack

“The Chinese government — seeking to steal valuable secrets — has hacked into the computers at every major American company, according to the nation’s former spy director.

Mike McConnell, who served as director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush, made the comments during a speech at the University of Missouri on Thursday.”

See the full CNN Article here.

“Russian researchers expose breakthrough in U.S. spying program” (Reuters)

“The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.”

Read Joseph Menn’s analysis here.

N.S.A. Breached North Korean Networks Before Sony Attack, Officials Say (NYT)

James Clapper, DNI, courtesy of the NYT

James Clapper, DNI, courtesy of the NYT


This article contends that the National Security Agency gained access to North Korea internet connections through China as early as 2010. Moreover, the information gained from this act led the Federal Bureau of Investigation and President Barack Obama to blame North Korea for the Sony hack.  Moreover Director of National Intelligence James Clapper blamed the commander of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, Kim Yong-chol, whom he had dinner with in Pyongyang, as the leader behind the hacking attack,

See the full report at:

2014 Threat Assessment


‘Looking back over my now more than half a century in intelligence, I’ve not experienced a time when
we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.” – DNI James Clapper

Key points of this report include:

The dangers of the Syrian Civil War and ISIS in the Middle East

The draw down of NATO forces in Afghanistan

The militarization of the cyber sphere

The proliferation of WMDs

The tension over the NSA’s SIGINT programs and the Snowden Affair

Altogether, “I could go on with this litany, but suffice to say, we live in a complex, dangerous world. ”


See the full report at:

DNI. “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. January 29, 2014.

See Clapper’s remarks to to the Senate Armed Services Committee at:

DNI. “Remarks.” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. February 11, 2014.



The Intercept


“The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media, was created by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. It has a two-fold mission: one short-term, the other long-term.

Our short-term mission is to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Although we are still building our infrastructure and larger vision, we are launching now because we believe we have a vital obligation to this ongoing and evolving story, to these documents, and to the public.

Our NSA coverage will be comprehensive, innovative and multi-faceted. We have a team of experienced editors and journalists devoted to the story. We will use all forms of digital media for our reporting. In addition, we will publish primary source documents on which our reporting is based. We will also invite outside experts with area knowledge to contribute to our reporting, and provide a platform for commentary and reader engagement.

Our long-term mission is to produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues. The editorial independence of our journalists will be guaranteed. They will be encouraged to pursue their passions, cultivate a unique voice, and publish stories without regard to whom they might anger or alienate. We believe the prime value of journalism is its power to impose transparency, and thus accountability, on the most powerful governmental and corporate bodies, and our journalists will be provided the full resources and support required to do this.

While our initial focus will be the critical work surrounding the NSA story, we are excited by the opportunity to grow with our readers into the broader and more comprehensive news outlet that the The Intercept will become.”


The Intercept is great for:

Primary source Snowden documents

Glenn Greenwald’s analytical reviews

Jeremy Scahill’s investigative research


See The Intercept at:





See the opening video at:

Democracy Now! “Glenn Greenwald Criticizes NPR For Relying on CIA-Linked Firm in Report on Impact of Snowden Leaks.” August 13, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2014.