The Moral Torment of Leon Panetta

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a practicing Catholic, sought a blessing on Wednesday from Pope Benedict XVI. Afterward Panetta reported that the Pope said, “Thank you for helping to keep the world safe” to which Panetta replied, “Pray for me.” In seeking those prayers, Panetta knows better than the Pope what moral compromises have surrounded him … Continue reading “The Moral Torment of Leon Panetta”

Excusing Torture, Again

Would-be tough guys like former CIA torturer-in-chief José A. Rodriguez Jr. brag that “enhanced interrogation” of terrorists – or doing what the rest of us would call “torturing” – has made Americans safer by eliciting tidbits of information that advanced the search for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Rodriguez makes this case again in the … Continue reading “Excusing Torture, Again”

Expanding Covert Warfare Makes Us Less Safe

Earlier this month we learned that the Obama administration is significantly expanding the number of covert Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) agents overseas. From just a few hundred DIA agents overseas today, the administration intends to eventually deploy some 1,600 covert agents. The nature of their work will also shift, away from intelligence collection and more … Continue reading “Expanding Covert Warfare Makes Us Less Safe”

US Intelligence: Redundancy Increases as Budget Pressure Mounts

With a $16 trillion debt that is growing in yearly increments of more than $1 trillion (the annual budget deficit), the country facing future fiscal Armageddon, and talk of defense budget cuts, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is upping its game in collecting covert human intelligence — a field that has heretofore been dominated by … Continue reading “US Intelligence: Redundancy Increases as Budget Pressure Mounts”

Rights Groups Denounce Dropping of CIA Torture Cases

U.S. human rights groups have roundly condemned Thursday’s announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department will not pursue prosecutions of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers who may have been responsible for the deaths of two prisoners in their custody. The announcement appeared to mark the end of all efforts by the U.S. … Continue reading “Rights Groups Denounce Dropping of CIA Torture Cases”

The CIA and Polio in Pakistan

If this were 1951, American families would be bracing right now for another summer of the polio terror. Those younger than say, 55, may not be able to relate. The worst scare we’ve had these days is waiting ten hours in line for a shot for a swine flu plague that never came (though an … Continue reading “The CIA and Polio in Pakistan”

Proliferation Intelligence or Proliferation of Intelligence?

The one constant in American history is that government bureaucracies grow and proliferate rather than shrink and dwindle. Despite its secrecy — or perhaps because of it —  the intelligence community is no exception. After 9/11, changing over to fight against small, nimble terrorist groups, instead of the massive, ossified bureaucracies of communist countries, was … Continue reading “Proliferation Intelligence or Proliferation of Intelligence?”

Is the CIA in Your Kitchen?

If this question had been asked by a fictional character in a spy thriller, it might intrigue you, but you wouldn’t imagine that it could be true in reality. If the Constitution means what it says, you wouldn’t even consider the plausibility of an affirmative answer. After all, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was … Continue reading “Is the CIA in Your Kitchen?”

Spies in New Brunswick

On June 2, 2009, a janitor in an office building in New Brunswick, N.J., noticed what he thought was terrorist-related literature and sophisticated surveillance equipment in an office he had been assigned to clean. He told his boss, who called the local police, who notified the FBI. Later in the day, the FBI and the … Continue reading “Spies in New Brunswick”

CIA Follies Put Agents at Risk

The transformation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) into a “terrorist-killing machine” using pilotless drones has diminished its ability to perform the function for which it was created in 1947 — to collect and analyze information. Right from the beginning, there was concern that the CIA would become some kind of secretive international police force … Continue reading “CIA Follies Put Agents at Risk”