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

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Frank Archibald is a nice guy in a killer job--literally. Last May the affable, hulking former Clemson University football player, 57, was named head of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, which is home to the agency's spies and hunter-killer teams, like the ones dispatched to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere in search of al Qaeda and other terrorist spore.

Not that you've seen his name all over the news.  Read more about Archibald in my debut column for the new Newsweek.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

National Security Reporting Under Fire

A federal appeals court's decision last Friday compelling New York Times reporter James Risen to identify the source for a chapter in his 2006 book, State of War, about a CIA operation that went awry, is just the latest big blow in the government's assault on press freedom--a pillar of the Constitution.  Read more here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hot Shots: Slippery Slopes Edition

More Fruits of Our Iraq Invasion: Among other things, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee  Tuesday that Al-Qa’ida in Iraq’s “Syria-based network, the Nusrah Front, is one of the best organized and most capable of the Sunni terrorist groups," Clapper added in his prepared remarks that "Since the 2011 withdrawal of US forces, AQI has conducted nearly monthly, simultaneous, coordinated country-wide attacks against government, security, and Shia civilian targets.” The BBC reports, meanwhile, that the “militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq has said it was behind the killing of 48 Syrian soldiers and nine Iraqi guards in Iraq last week.”  Considering its long term consequences, the 2003 invasion of Iraq is beginning to make the Vietnam War look like a foreign policy hiccup.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

AQ 2.0: The Limits of Intervention

Bad choices in 2013.

David Ignatius has an interesting piece today on the perilous options for the West in countering the “cancerous” spread of al-Qaeda in places like Mali.

“Striking at these local nodes — as the French are doing now in Mali — can disrupt the new terrorist cells," he writes. "But analysts stress that there will be consequences: The cells may metastasize further, drawing new jihadists into the fight and potentially threatening targets in Europe and the United States.”

Indeed, they’re everywhere, and nowhere, an annoyance that has become a public menace, like small time hoods hoping to become "made men.”

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CIA's Kiriakou To Be Honored With Potrtrait By Whistleblower Group

John Kiriakou never set out to be anybody’s hero. And he’ll be in a dubious spotlight Wednesday when he’s honored with a formal portrait  sponsored by a prominent Washington whistleblowers support organization.

Two days later, he’s scheduled to start serving a 30-month prison term for providing reporters with details about the CIA’s waterboarding program. 

The portrait, the latest in a series of “American’s Who Tell the Truth” by Robert Shetterly, a Maine-based artist who has rendered paintings of civil rights and anti-corruption icons ranging from Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman to Frank Serpico and Howard Zinn.     

The series, Shetterly says, is "dedicated to the belief that a profound sense of citizenship is the only safeguard of democracy and the best defense of our social, economic, and environmental rights."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Australia Whitewashes FBI Undercover Probe of US Navy Whistleblower

A Pink Panther-style undercover FBI operation last year against a former U.S. Navy whistle-blower living in Australia was proper, Canberra’s defense ministry says--a finding promptly rejected by the country’s own federal police.

The rare public row erupted after the redacted defense ministry report was obtained and published over the weekend by Australia’s Fairfax Media organization, owner of the Sidney Morning Herald and several other prominent news outlets.

The defense ministry report claims that the Australian Federal Police, or AFP,  had given permission for an FBI agent to visit the Canberra home of Gwenyth Todd, a former Pentagon, White House and U.S. Navy national security adviser, and question her.

Todd, now married to an Australian military officer, had blown the whistle on a secret plan by top US navy admirals in 2007 to spring a confrontational fleet maneuver on Iran.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

China Hardly Needs Spies When It's Allowed into Our Computers

An brief story buried in the New York Times business pages suggests that China could be piping your personal data into its computers back in Beijing.

Monday night’s story by Nicole Perlroth and John Markoff, which appeared in print today, was innocuously headlined “Symantec Dissolves a Chinese Alliance,” suggesting it was run-the-mill industry news.

Maybe it is in Silicon Valley, but it astonished me.

“Less than four years after Huawei Technologies and Symantec teamed up to develop computer network security products, the joint venture is being dismantled because Symantec feared the alliance with the Chinese company would prevent it from obtaining United States government classified information about cyberthreats.”

Now, I may be the last person outside Silicon Valley to know it, but I was startled to learn that the world’s dominant supplier of software to protect home consumer and business computers from unauthorized entry was in cahoots with a company in China, the world’s nest of hacking vipers.

And Huawei is not just any Chinese company, it turns out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

With Bin Laden Gone, U.S. Can Leave Afghanistan

With Osama Bin Laden dead, President Obama should find it far easier to justify withdrawing U.S. ground troops from Afghanistan.

After all, that’s why U.S. troops went there in the first place. 

Now that he’s gone, the rationale for staying evaporates.

No matter that the war was increasingly unpopular in America,  leaving Afghanistan was always a practical political problem for Obama with the elusive al Qaeda leader alive. A troop withdrawal presented Obama with the unpalatable prospect of leaving Bin Laden the last man standing.

To all but the hardiest true believers now, Afghanistan’s endemic corruption has made nation-building a mirage.  It's time to let them do it themselves.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Panetta: We’ve Got Qaeda Hemmed In

In his farewell announcement to employees Thursday, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta maintained  that the agency was “severely” crimping al Qaeda's operations.

“We are conducting our most aggressive operations against al-Qaeda and severely constraining their operational ability,” Panetta said in a goodbye note to the agency’s workforce.