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Showing posts with label Congress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Congress. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hot Shots: Pentagon Power Grab Edition

The Spies vs. the Brass: One of the main reasons the CIA was founded in 1947 was to give the President straight dope on enemy weapon systems, independent of the Pentagon, which had a tendency to inflate Soviet threats in order to scare Congress into funding more and bigger missiles, planes, ships and tanks for itself. 

Despite--or maybe because of--its rank conflict of interest, the Pentagon has never given up trying to muscle into the CIA’s territory. The current effort is centered on its campaign to wrest control of the drone program from the spy agency.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CIA's Madame X Waits in the Wings

“She knew her CTC work would come back to bite her, and said as much back when we were both on the 7th floor,” a former colleague says of Madame X, the undercover woman CIA Director John Brennan is considering to run the National Clandestine Service, the belfry where the spooks hang out.

“She was quite nervous when Justice was considering whether to prosecute folks involved in the interrogation program,” the colleague added.  It “will be interesting to see how this plays out.”

“She’s just an excellent officer,” the colleague said. “Very savvy and extremely competent - and would be a great choice.”

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jane Harman for CIA Director? Really?

Even in a town with memory holes as deep as dark space, the persistence of Jane Harman’s name near the top of lists for CIA director is a mystery.

Apparently, Harman’s role in an Israeli intelligence influence operation has been forgotten by Washington's Great Mentioners.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's in Grover Norquist’s Private Files?

Thanks to Helen Gandy, the world never learned of the true reach of J. Edgar Hoover’s choke-hold on American politicians. According to a congressional inquiry and other sources, the notorious FBI director amassed secret files on the sexual and other peccadillos of politicians, entertainers, writers and officials, giving him immense blackmailing powers over his real and imagined enemies on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

We'll never really know the whole story, because Miss Gandy, his longtime secretary, destroyed the files upon Hoover's death in May 1972.

It may turn out that tax maniac Grover Norquist also has his own Miss Gandy, primed to destroy the contents of his locked safe when the grim reaper comes. Until then, he's got the Republicans' cajones in his hands.

Norquist himself suggested his true grasp on power Monday night when he "took a pot shot at Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) marriage,"  according to Raw Story's Arturo Garcia, after the Long Islander suggested he might abandon his no-taxes pledge after nearly two decades.

"I hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years or something,” Norquist fumed.

What other than the possession of embarrassing details on the private lives and messy business deals of Republican legislators can explain the right-wing lobbyist’s hammerlock on tax policy over the past quarter century?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Congress Has Netanyahu’s Back as Global Criticism of Israel Rises

Longtime Middle East hand and CQ Weekly senior editor Jonathan Broder has a revealing analysis out on how militantly pro-Israel groups have tightened their hold on congressional purse strings even as Benjamin Netanyahu’s muscular policies on the Palestinian territories and the expansion of Jewish settlements has inflamed world opinion.

The prime minister arrives in Washington this week and is expected to visit the White House on Friday. At the invitation of congressional Republicans, he is scheduled to address a joint congressional session on Tuesday.

“Not that long ago, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, as the most powerful pro-Israel lobby is better known, was having an unusually difficult time in Washington,” Broder writes in the May 16 edition of the magazine (subscription required).

“First, a lingering 2005 spy scandal involving two former AIPAC officials threatened to scar the lobby with a debilitating brand of dual loyalty. Then, a 2007 book by two influential scholars openly questioned Israel’s strategic value to the United States. Finally, the 2009 election of Israel’s conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disappointed the White House and many Democrats, opening up political space for J Street, the new left-wing pro-Israel group, to challenge AIPAC’s influence among lawmakers.”

Not to worry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DNI report describes new US counter-terror tricks

U.S. intelligence agencies have launched several initiatives to improve their tools for data searching, analysis and the fusion of information, according to a new report to Congress from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Steve Aftergood at Secrecy News has the story.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mike McConnell’s Temporary Spokesman Has a Full-Time Job

Ross Feinstein ought to get a Purple Heart for all the hits he’s taken as press agent for Mike McConnell, the serial mis-stater who runs American intelligence. It’s all the more astounding that only a few years ago, the 25-year-old was vice president of the Union College student union.

CQ Homeland Security (02/29/2008)