The IRS “scandal” stampeded Official Washington, including much of the mainstream press which portrayed the Tea Party as the “victim” of partisan abuse. But the dust has finally cleared and it appears there never was a “scandal,” just a clunky attempt to achieve bureaucratic consistency, Beverly Bandler reports.
More than a decade ago, President George W. Bush enlisted the National Security Agency in a blackmail scheme to dig up dirt to coerce UN Security Council members to approve his aggressive war against Iraq. But the plot was foiled by a brave British intelligence officer, Katharine Gun, as Dennis J Bernstein reports.
For years, the Afghan Taliban have said they would negotiate with the U.S. once it was clear the Americans were committed to leaving, making their sudden commitment to talk less “surprising.” But Official Washington could learn other important lessons from the long Afghan War, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Many are beginning to wonder if the Internet was America’s great “Trojan horse” gift to the world, a clever way to get past barriers and into everyone’s private information. The recent PRISM spying disclosures have especially riled Europeans. But there are techniques for fighting back, says Dutch technology expert Arjen Kamphuis.
The attack line against whistleblowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – that they should have gone through “proper channels” – ignores that those oversight channels have been badly corrupted over the past several decades. That has left Americans dependent on out-of-channel leaks, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.
In lifting the curtain of secrecy only slightly, the Obama administration says U.S. surveillance of telephone and Internet communications has helped disrupt dozens of terror plots and is subjected to rigorous checks and balances. But the continued secrecy shows the need for whistleblowers, writes ex-British intelligence official Annie Machon.
Iran’s election of centrist Hassan Rowhani has confused the mainstream U.S. news media which was primed to reprise its favored narrative of “rigged” voting but now is going through contortions to explain the “surprise” result. Or one could read Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s book, says Dave Schneider.
The mainstream U.S. news media always blames Iran for the nuclear dispute, while ignoring other key facts like Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal and the failure of the West to offer Iran meaningful sanctions relief. But Iran’s election of Hassan Rouhani creates a chance for mutual concessions, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: British authorities are scrambling to justify how they – while hosting a global economic summit in 2009 – spied on their guests with help from America’s National Security Agency. Some UK media outlets seem a little spooked themselves in getting commentary on the incident, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern writes.
President Obama has alienated much of his liberal base by coming across increasingly as a toady to the Establishment, with his defense of drone strikes, his embrace of the surveillance state and his prosecution of anti-secrecy whistleblowers, as Lawrence Davidson explains.