spies, national security, espionage, counterterrorism, u.s. foreign policy, intelligence operations, CIA, special forces, counterterrorism, terrorism
Showing posts with label civil liberties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil liberties. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Cybersecurity Bill Stirs Privacy Concerns


Congress is taking another stab at protecting private industry from computer attacks. And again, it's stirring up fears about privacy.

The House Intelligence Committee overwhelmingly passed a new cybersecurity bill Wednesday aimed at increasing information-sharing between government agencies and private companies, reports CNN’s Pam Benson.  The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) will increase protection for “computer networks and intellectual property from cyber attacks.”

The two main frameworks of the bill are “a voluntary system for companies to share threat information on their networks with the government in exchange for some liability protections” and a system for “the government to share intelligence and other cyber threat information with industry,” Benson reported.

While the “the private sector is restricted from using cyber security information for marketing or any other commercial purposes,” critics of the bill argue that private information will still become too public during the data sharing process. 

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. argue that CISPA “should require companies to remove personal data not associated with cybersecurity before they share information with the government.”

The ACLU expressed its disappointment in the Bill.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Sen. Rand Paul added to Washington's snowquester misery Wednesday by launching a talkathon against the nomination of John Brennan, which the Senate Intelligence Committee tepidly approved by a 12-3 vote yesterday, to be CIA director.

You can watch it live on CSPAN.

Paul's soft-toned wrath was directed at the Obama administration's assertion, in a letter to him from Attorney General Eric Holder, that the U.S. government theoretically had the power to order drone strikes against noncombatant Americans on U.S. soil.

"In a democracy you could elect someone who is very evil," Paul warned. "That's why we don't give this power to the government." Americans can't accept their government launching such attacks on "a whim," Paul said, noting that drone strikes in the AfPak region were sometimes fueled by rumors and directed "at caravans," not known terrorists.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Who Is Lisa Monaco?

Lisa Monaco is a smart cookie, no doubt about that. And a true-blue Democrat.

The Harvard and the University of Chicago Law School grad, who turns 44 in February, has climbed so steadily through the government’s national security ranks that her new job as homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President Obama seems almost preordained. Rumors are flying that she may even replace Bob Mueller at the FBI before too long.

Yet it’s almost certain that few people outside of Washington’s insular national security world will ever have heard of her.

That’s because, unlike her predecessor John Brennan, she’s been an oiler in the machinery room of counterterrorism, not a boss man from one of the alphabet agencies -- CIA, FBI, NSA and the like.

But she has had friends in high places, starting with Joe Biden, who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Monaco worked there as research coordinator from 1992 to 1994, according to the questionnaire she filled out during her confirmation process 20 years later to be assistant attorney general for national security.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What’s the Government Hiding About Hitchens?

The day after Chris Hitchens passed away in December, I dropped a note to Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, an Arlington, Va. outfit that specializes in prying documents from the vaults of the CIA, NSA, FBI and other spook outfits.

“I feel a huge hole with the passing of my friend...” I told McClanahan. “That said, it may now be time to FOIA records on him held by the usual suspects.”

And so McClanahan did, filing Freedom of Information Act requests for me with the CIA, FBI and State Department.  I promptly forgot about it.

(Full disclosure: Last year I signed up as NSC’s “news media counselor,” an unpaid role in which I occasionally offer advice that McClanahan has no need for.)  

In February, the CIA responded.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Movies: Why Nothing Said About J. Edgar Hoover Could be Too Bad

That J. Edgar Hoover created a first-rate federal law enforcement agency from the muck of  Prohibition-era corruption cannot be denied.

Likewise, it cannot be denied that Hoover turned the FBI into an American-style Gestapo, relentlessly terrifying, blackmailing and ruining rivals, liberals, critics, politicians--including U.S. presidents--or just people he didn’t like.

One of them was Harry Belafonte, the great folk singer, one of a number of prominent African Americans who merely challenged the government to live up to its promise, as enshrined in the trumpeted first words of the U.S. Constitution: “All men are created equal.”

In contrast, the life and career of Hoover, fond of portraying himself as America’s top Boy Scout while privately trashing all its values, gives hypocrisy a bad name.

But nothing stands up the hair of many a Hoover-era FBI agent than the suggestion that The Director was gay. It's central to “J. Edgar,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and opening Nov. 9. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Updated Guantanamo Files Released

British journalist Andy Worthington, author of “The Guantanamo Files,” on Wednesday placed online a new, annotated and what he says is the “definitive” list of prisoners held in the Cuba facility. http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/the-guantanamo-files/

His new list includes links to other databases maintained by the Defense Department, The New York Times and WikiLeaks, which has published a trove of formerly secret documents related to GTMO.

“[M] y list provides the only contextual analysis of the stories of all the prisoners held at Guantánamo throughout its long and dark history,” Worthington said in an e-mail today.

“In many ways, therefore, this updated list provides crucial, relevant information –  ‘actionable intelligence,’ even — that is actively useful for those still seeking to close Guantánamo, and to bring to an end this bleak chapter in American history.”

Connect to his offering here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We Rage, Europeans Yawn, Over Domestic Counterterrorism Ops

Outside the United Kingdom, which invented civil liberties with the Magna Carta, ordinary Europeans couldn’t care less about wiretapping, national ID cards, preventive detention and police spies in mosques.

CQ Politics (06/20/2008)