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.
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.
The neocon exploitation of the 9/11 attacks led to the disastrous Iraq War but also unleashed anti-Muslim bigotry within the American political/media system and even within the U.S. courts, as the ugly persecution of Sami Al-Arian reveals, reports Lawrence Davidson.
Violent counterterrorism rides the wave of public outrage over the cruel behavior of terrorists, which is often exactly what the terrorists want, a downward spiral into more killing and mayhem. Some experts see the need for a more constructive approach, says Erin Niemela.
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.
After the 9/11 attacks, narrow “counterterrorism” operations gave way to the blunderbuss “war on terror,” opening the way to more traditional practices of war including prisoner exchanges, like the one for Sgt. Bergdahl, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.
President Obama’s fateful decision – after winning the 2008 election to seek “continuity” rather than “change” and “to look forward, not backward” – has trapped him in a web of constitutional abuses that began in the Bush-43 presidency and extended into his own, as Coleen Rowley describes.
More than five years into his presidency, Barack Obama has yet to undertake a major reform of U.S. intelligence, even letting CIA Director John Brennan, who was implicated in Bush-Cheney abuses, block reports on those offenses. That must change, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.
President Obama has stumbled into a scandal created by his determination to protect dirty secrets on torture and other CIA crimes committed by the Bush-43 administration. The unlikely “whistleblower” is another Democratic defender of CIA abuses, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, notes Norman Solomon.
Across the Western world, there has been a clamping down on meaningful dissent, including secret information that is withheld from the public in the name of national security. And there has been a failure to contest this assault on democracy, writes ex-UK intelligence officer Annie Machon.