Intelligence

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.

How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Though the NSA says its mass surveillance of Americans targets only “terrorists,” the spying may turn up evidence of other illegal acts that can get passed on to law enforcement which hides the secret source through a ruse called “parallel construction,” writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

An Ignored Pre-9/11 Warning on Spying

internet-address

One year after NSA contractor Edward Snowden began exposing the U.S. government’s surveillance capabilities, Europe and other targets are still reeling from the revelations. But a little-noticed report in summer 2001 offered an early warning, says Dutch IT expert Arjen Kamphuis.

How Snowden Changed the World

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

Globe-rattling disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden began a year ago and have shaken how the world understands the capacity of the U.S. government and its allies to pry into almost every facet of the lives of almost anyone, as former British intelligence official Annie Machon recalls.

Hillary Clinton’s Hawkish Legacy

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

To the surprise of some, the U.S. State Department has emerged as the Obama administration’s most hawkish branch, out-toughing the Pentagon which has urged restraint at times as State pushes for war. This shift dates back to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary, reports JP Sottile.

The Real Villains of the Bergdahl Tale

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

Exclusive: The right-wing media is denouncing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a “deserter” who wasn’t worth ransoming from the Taliban, but the real villains are the architects of the disastrous Iraq and Afghan wars who frivolously put the many Bergdahls in harm’s way, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Obama’s Collapsing Syria Policy

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of a poster of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Syria has long been on the neocons’ “regime change” list, so they eagerly supported a violent insurgency to topple the Assad regime even as it veered into extremism. Now, that policy is collapsing but President Obama won’t admit the failure, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.