Intelligence

Obama’s Failure to Rein in CIA and NSA

CIA Director John Brennan at a White House meeting during his time as President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser.

Despite Barack Obama’s promises during the 2008 campaign to reform the U.S. intelligence community, he has continued to tolerate its abuses, enable its excessive secrecy and indulge its bone-headedness, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman explains.

Hyping the Iranian ‘Breakout’ Threat

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sitting next to President Hassan Rouhani and addressing the cabinet.

A danger from propaganda is that its disseminators can come to believe their own exaggerations and thus damage their own interests, a situation that now exists with U.S. hardliners seeking to sabotage an Iran nuclear deal that would make everyone safer, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

An All-Seeing, All-Knowing Being

The logo for the Information Awareness Office, which oversaw the Total Information Awareness project.

A decade ago, exposure of President George W. Bush’s Total Information Awareness scheme brought assurances that it had been shelved, but its Orwellian intent was only shifted to the NSA and it now gives the U.S. government nearly god-like powers, says Norman Solomon.

NYT Protects the Fogh Machine

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Exclusive: In crises ranging from the Iraq War to civil conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, the New York Times has steadily transformed itself into a propaganda organ, promoting false U.S. government narratives rather than providing objective information to its readers, as Robert Parry observes again.

Does Cell-Phone Case Imperil NSA Spying?

U.S. Supreme Court

Though the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court often splits 5-4 on partisan and ideological issues, a consensus is emerging against the government’s electronic intrusion on personal privacy, which could portend trouble for NSA spying, says Marjorie Cohn.

Obama’s Half-Billion to Syria’s ‘Moderates’

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

President Obama’s plan to spend another half-billion dollars on Syria’s “moderate” rebels will add more fuel to the destructive violence just as the killing was finally dying down. It’s also hard to see how this investment will promote serious negotiations, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Wisdom of Lawrence of Arabia

Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, a British intelligence officer who recruited Bedouin tribesmen during World War I.

A century ago, during World War I, a British intelligence officer known as “Lawrence of Arabia” deeply understood the Mideast and saw hope for rational politics, but Western imperial ambitions intervened to ensure regional instability, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship recall.

Misreading Benghazi and Terrorism

The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, burning on the night of Sept. 11, 2012. (Photo credit: Voice of America)

The Republican case of a Benghazi terror “cover-up” never made much sense because President Obama immediately called it an “act of terror.” But now other parts of the GOP’s contorted narrative are collapsing as well, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.

Treating Snowden as a ‘Personality’

Vanity Fair graphic accompanying its profile of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The mainstream U.S. media prefers personalities over substance, so it was perhaps not a surprise that its focus at the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks was on his alleged peculiarities, not the frightening prospect of a Big Brother state, says ex-State Department official William R. Polk.

Why Take the Neocons Seriously?

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The Sunni extremist offensive into central Iraq appears to have stalled, but the political battle rages in Washington where neocons see an opening to pressure President Obama into recommitting the U.S. military in support of neocon goals in the Middle East, writes Robert Parry.