Tag Archive for Barack Obama

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Neocons Take Aim at Syrian Peace Talks

Washington Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Exclusive: Syrian peace talks have finally begun, but many powerful interests – including U.S. neocons – are determined to see the talks fail. The Washington Post’s neocon editorial page is urging President Obama to give up on “feckless diplomacy” and threaten war, writes Robert Parry.

Bob Gates’s Mean, Misguided Memoir

Former CIA Director (and later Defense Secretary) Robert Gates.

Like many Washington memoirs, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s Duty seeks to settle scores and spin a legacy. But Gates also penned a book filled with contradictions and showing little regard for the U.S. principle of civilian control over the military, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

Human Rights Watch’s Syria Dilemma

The cover photo of the Human Rights Watch's annual report.

Exclusive: Human Rights Watch, which has pushed for a U.S. military intervention in Syria, continues to blame the Assad government for the Aug. 21 Sarin attack even though the group’s high-profile map supposedly proving the case has been debunked, reports Robert Parry.

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.

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.

Keeping War Hopes Alive on Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry arriving in Paris on Jan. 12, 2014, for diplomatic meetings on the Middle East. (State Department photo)

The Israel Lobby and the many U.S. politicians in its thrall keep trying to sink President Obama’s negotiations limiting Iran’s nuclear program and thus keep hope alive for another Mideast war. But progress toward an agreement keeps moving forward, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

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.

‘Gaming’ Obama on Afghan War

Gen. David Petraeus, as commander of allied forces in Afghanistan in 2010.

As President Obama grappled with the Afghan War in 2009-10, he faced insubordination from Gen. Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Gates, a reality that Gates leaves out of his new memoir, as Gareth Porter writes for Inter Press Service.