Intelligence

Surveillance State Takes Offense

President Obama proclaims his love of “transparency” but has an odd idea what the word means. He generally defines it as sharing some information with Congress and the Courts but keeping the public in the dark and punishing those who ask too many questions, as William Blum explains.

Feinstein’s Phony Excuse for NSA Spying

After 9/11, the excuse for missing clues was too much data – trying to sip from a fire hose – but with the priority now excusing NSA spying, the metaphor is for more data – you can’t find a needle in a haystack without a haystack – a shift ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley dissects.

How Shutdown Hurts National Security

The Republican-induced shutdown of the federal government underscores the Right’s populist contempt for the nation’s democratic institutions. But the fiasco also has undercut America’s standing in the world and thus undermines U.S. security and global leadership, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Comparing Obama to Kissinger

Neocons and other war hawks criticized President Obama for not launching a military assault on Syria, but his decision to apply coercive diplomacy instead fits with many other U.S. precedents and showed a much defter touch than heavy-handed tactics used by Henry Kissinger, writes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

Brazil’s Challenge to US Dominance

Exclusive: Brazil’s President Rousseff lashed out at U.S. spying during her UN speech, but there was a deeper message – the days when South America was Washington’s compliant “backyard” are over. The U.S. government now has the choice of forging a more equal relationship with the region or facing damaging isolation, writes Andrés Cala.

Syrian Rebels Embrace al-Qaeda

Exclusive: The leading Syrian rebel groups have declared their intent to transform Syria into a Taliban-style state that would collaborate with al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the heart of the Middle East. This lifting of the veil presents President Obama with an even trickier policy dilemma, reports Robert Parry.

Dangerous Addiction to Secrecy

Exclusive: After decades of mutual suspicions, the U.S. and Iranian governments appear headed toward face-to-face contacts. But mutual trust still awaits truth-telling about important facts that defined the relationship — and that may require breaking a dangerous addiction to secrecy, says Robert Parry.

Should Cruise Missiles Target Saudis?

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia – confident in its leverage over energy and finance and emboldened by a de facto  regional alliance with Israel – is throwing its weight around with threats against Russia. But this muscle-flexing is drawing a tough reaction from President Putin, reports Robert Parry.

Israel Sides with Syrian Jihadists

Exclusive: Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, has confirmed suspicions that Israel has taken the side of Syrian rebels in their bloody civil war and wants President Assad to fall even if that turns Syria over to al-Qaeda-connected jihadists, a disclosure that may change how recent events are viewed, reports Robert Parry.

Murky Clues from UN’s Syria Report

Exclusive: The focus of the Syrian crisis has shifted to diplomatic moves for eliminating the government’s chemical weapons stockpile, but the whodunit over the Aug. 21 gas attack outside Damascus remains to be solved after a UN report offered a murky account of what happened, reports Robert Parry.