Intelligence

The Mistaken Guns of Last August

The controversial map developed by Human Rights Watch and embraced by the New York Times, supposedly showing the flight paths of two missiles from the Aug. 21 Sarin attack intersecting at a Syrian military base.

Exclusive: After hundreds of Syrians died from Sarin gas last summer, Secretary of State Kerry insisted the U.S. had solid intelligence on the locations of the Syrian government’s launch sites used in the attack, thus justifying a U.S. military retaliation which was only narrowly averted. Now, those U.S. government’s claims have collapsed, writes Robert Parry.

How NSA Invites Totalitarianism

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

President Obama has unveiled some modest “reforms” of U.S. intelligence gathering, noting that just because NSA can vacuum up nearly all electronic data doesn’t mean it should. But the bigger issue is the future and how these powers may be unleashed, says Dutch tech expert Arjen Kamphuis.

US Judges Square Off over NSA Spying

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon

President Obama is expected to impose new – but fairly modest – constraints on the NSA’s vast surveillance program, leaving open the legal issue, moving through the federal courts, whether the metadata collection violates the Fourth Amendment, writes Marjorie Cohn.

US Intel Veterans Honor Pvt. Manning

U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

A group of former U.S. national security officials will bestow its annual award for integrity in intelligence on U.S. Army Pvt. Manning, honoring the imprisoned whistleblower’s release of evidence showing the human consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Is Government Inept or Sinister?

George Orwell's image of Big Brother.

The image of a bumbling government, fumbling the Healthcare.gov rollout, clashes with the image of NSA running a terrifying Big Brother dystopia. But these sharp contrasts often reflect the viewer’s opinions – or political needs – more than the shaded realities, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Israel’s Hand in Guatemala’s Genocide

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. (Photo credit: Jim Wallace of the Smithsonian Institution)

From the Archive: As world leaders struggle to praise the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, infamous for abetting the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon, another grim chapter of Sharon’s history was his role in the Guatemalan genocide, Robert Parry wrote in 2013.

If Gov. Christie Had NSA’s Metadata

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican. shaking hands of citizens. (Photo credit: Governor's office)

Exclusive: New Jersey Gov. Christie’s Bridge-gate scandal is a reminder that unscrupulous politicians can abuse their powers in unexpected and extraordinary ways, which underscores the need to put tight legal constraints on the NSA’s surveillance powers, writes Robert Parry.

Buying a Seat at Surveillance State’s Table

Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.

Internet billionaires with lucrative ties to the Surveillance State are buying up media and ignoring people who ask if $250 million may be the new price tag for a seat at the power table, as Norman Solomon wonders about the Washington Post’s new owner Jeff Bezos.

NSA’s Preference for Metadata

A slide from material leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, showing what happens when an NSA analyst "tasks" the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target.

Exclusive: The hidden ball in the debate over the NSA’s collection of phone and e-mail metadata (vs. tapping into actual conversations with a court order) is that the NSA actually prefers the metadata approach because it strips away privacy more efficiently, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.

Robert Gates’s Blame-Shifting Memoir

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

A core myth about Robert Gates was that he was an “adult” who would bring wisdom and order to the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But the reality was always different as his score-settling memoir reveals, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.