Showing posts with label intelligence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label intelligence. Show all posts

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Comments on "Why does intelligence analysis sometimes fail?" (Science Daily)

Comments on "Why does intelligence analysis sometimes fail?" (Science Daily)

1  There are several things that are objectionable about this Science Daily piece [1] and other jobs...

First of all, the author seems not to have read the article in full. It says that Wirtz "focuses in particular on the contribution of the scholar Robert Jervis," as if this happened by no special reason.

Not so, Wirtz's article [2] is, as said in the acknowledgements, a contribution to a book [3] __in honor__ of R Jervis:
This article was previously published in a collection of essays in honor of Robert Jervis.

And second, it loads too much the conclusions. Science Daily's writer says that "The way to reduce failures Jervis believed [...] was to improve agents' analytical skills rather than endlessly reorganising the bureaucracy."

Wirt'z essay says that "Jervis focuses on analytic tradecraft, not bureaucratic reorganization, as the best way to improve intelligence. In that sense, he agrees with intelligence analysts, who often identify the quest for better tradecraft as the best guarantee against intelligence failure," which is a bit different of that statement by SD's writer. Maybe Jervis believed what SD published, but Wirtz goes not so far, he only says that Jervis focuses on analysis improvements.

To me, it is not in Wirt'z paper that Jervis is in some way against all reorganizations after intel failures or that he was skeptical of reorganization, generally speaking, as SD suggests with "rather than endlessly." Maybe both things, reorganization and analytic improvements, are needed in many occasions: First, make heads roll and dissolve some directorates or units after intel failures, and second, improve the craft.


2  Going now to Wirtz's job, maybe Jervis did focus "on analytic tradecraft, not bureaucratic reorganization, as the best way to improve intelligence" [2] because, one, he wasn't a manager and didn't have to focus in reorganizations, and was not contracted to give opinions of that field of reorganization, but in the one of analytic craft; and two, because he "is best known for his scholarship on international relations; especially the way human cognition shapes foreign and defence policies". [1] As Jervis said, as described in the presentation of his book, [4] "Give someone a hammer, everything is a nail."

This is applicable to Prof Jervis, isn't it? Like to everyone of us.


3  More generally, many scholars and professionals think like Prof Jervis: "In light of these critical intelligence failures, Jervis says, “We can do better.”" [4]

I doubt we can. And not only me. Jeffrey Cooper suggests, in a work he did for the CIA, [5] several, many ways to improve the analyst's job, but after those, he reminds us of Kahneman's suggestion of using methodologists in the teams to watch over the analysts' work, to prevent our falling in some trap of our sad, human nature, which is a way of saying there is no training or changes in our way of thinking/working that can compensate for our analytical pathologies:
Finally, the introduction of a "process watcher," as suggested by Kahneman, is intended to bring a clear and unbiased, outside expert’s eye to analytic teams. The process watcher function, unlike that of a Red Team, is intended to focus exclusively on identifying errors in the analytic process, not on alternative interpretations of the evidence or different logic chains.

Also, I infer from this recommendation that our bosses and organizations are also let's say less than capable of guaranteeing quality for the taxpayer's bucks.

Aside of the need of experts not in the contents, but in the methods, since we are not capable of working well, can anyone compute the costs of adding to the intelligence units more personnel to improve the quality of our analysis?



References

[1]  Why does intelligence analysis sometimes fail?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2013/07/130723073955.htm?goback=%2Egde_2216219_member_260803925

[2]  James J. Wirtz. The Art of the Intelligence Autopsy. Intelligence and National Security, Mar 2013; DOI: 10.1080/02684527.2012.748371

[3]  James W. Davis (ed.), Psychology, Strategy and Conflict: Perceptions of Insecurity in International Relations (Oxford: Routledge 2012).

[4] Saltzman Lecture Report. Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War New York, New York – March 9, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://www.siwps.com/events/professor-robert-jervis-why-intelligence-fails.attachment/jervis/Jervis%203-9-10.pdf

[5]  Jeffrey R Cooper: Curing Analytic Pathologies - Pathways to Improved Intelligence Analysis. Langley, VA: CIA, December 2005

Friday, November 30, 2012

INSA: Evolving Intel Sources Demand Fundamental Change for the IC



INSA: Evolving Intel Sources Demand Fundamental Change for the IC
Nov 30, 2012

ARLINGTON, VA – The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) today released its latest white paper, “Expectations of Intelligence in the Information Age.” Prepared by the INSA Rebalance Task Force, the white paper provides analysis about how evolving expectations of policy makers may impact the Intelligence Community (IC). Specifically, because policy makers now have access to rich, new sources of information and knowledge at their desktops and via mobile devices, they will expect the IC to develop techniques to quickly and accurately integrate these new sources of information with those upon which they have traditionally relied.

Chuck Alsup, INSA Acting President and Vice President for Policy, noted, “As the U.S. Intelligence Community shifts from supporting tactical operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to a more global, strategic focus associated with rebalancing, policy makers will demand timely, relevant information from the best possible sources, including new, rapidly evolving streams of information and knowledge. The Rebalance Task Force addresses this challenge for the IC and suggests that a significant cultural shift is in order for the IC to satisfy the demands of policy makers.”

The INSA Rebalance Task Force concluded that although the IC developed world-class capabilities for intelligence-driven tactical operations in the last decade, the sources for developing global situational awareness and providing strategic warning are rapidly changing. The IC will need to develop authorized and appropriate techniques that improve its ability to leverage the growing platforms and vast amounts of information that are now openly available. To successfully leverage openly sourced information, the IC will need to develop capabilities to quickly validate and analyze that information, accurately integrate it with that gleaned from traditional collection sources, and present the resulting knowledge to policy makers addressing national security issues of an urgent and critical nature.

Dr. Stephen Cambone, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and INSA Rebalance Task Force Chair, said, “The challenge moving forward will be for the IC to enlarge its sphere of collection and the foundation for its analysis beyond the information gained through traditional methods. In the new era of global access to diverse and burgeoning sources of data and information, the Congress will need to authorize appropriate techniques for use by the IC to allow it to extract value and knowledge from open sources.”

The key proposals presented at the conclusion of the white paper are:
  1. Policy makers should engage the IC to better understand the relative roles of open source and traditional intelligence in meeting the policy makers’ demand for knowledge of national security issues and events.
  2. The executive and legislative branches should act to ensure that privacy and civil liberty rights impacted by open source collection are protected.
  3. A coalition of knowledgeable experts should be formed to consider and recommend ways to resolve the practical issues associated with the collection, analysis, validation, integration and dissemination of openly sourced intelligence.
The white paper was released in conjunction with last evening’s INSA Rebalance Leadership Dinner held at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton, in Arlington, VA, which featured Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Click here to download a quick synopsis of the "Expectations of Intelligence in the Information Age."

###
About INSA
The
Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) is the premier intelligence and national security organization that brings together the public, private and academic sectors to collaborate on the most challenging policy issues and solutions. As a non-profit, non-partisan, public-private organization, INSA’s ultimate goal is to promote and recognize the highest standards within the national security and intelligence communities. INSA has over 150 corporate members and several hundred individual members who are leaders and senior executives throughout government, the private sector and academia. To learn more about INSA visit www.insaonline.org.

About the INSA Rebalance Task Force
INSA established the Rebalance Task Force to assess the implications for the Intelligence Community of the new defense strategy and the adjustments in the broader national security policy agenda which it may require. The Task Force is chaired by former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Dr. Steve Cambone. He is joined on the Task Force by former CIA and NSA Director General (ret.) Michael Hayden; INSA’s Senior Intelligence Advisor and former Undersecretary for Intelligence/DHS, Charlie Allen; former Deputy Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center/Deputy Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, Phil Mudd; former Deputy Director of Intelligence/CIA, Carmen Medina; former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, Randall Fort; Executive Vice President and COO of Invertix, Craig Parisot; and Vice President and General Manager, Cyber Systems Division, of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, John Jolly. The purpose of the Task Force is to inquire whether, and in what ways, the national intelligence enterprise might need to adjust as an evolving national security strategy increases its focus in the coming decade toward Asia and other strategic interests and on threats to the national interest that include non-terror related issues.


This white paper is intended to help focus attention on the critical role of intelligence for planners and decision makers who will be anticipating, preparing for and protecting U.S. national interests in an era of dynamic change and to identify the complex demands the IC may confront as a result. The intended audience of this paper includes agencies within the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the interested public.

Friday, January 27, 2012

China's Cyber Thievery Is National Policy—And Must Be Challenged

China's Cyber Thievery Is National Policy—And Must Be Challenged. By MIKE MCCONNELL, MICHAEL CHERTOFF AND WILLIAM LYNN
It is more efficient for the Chinese to steal innovations and intellectual property than to incur the cost and time of creating their own.WSJ, Jan 27, 2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203718504577178832338032176.html

Only three months ago, we would have violated U.S. secrecy laws by sharing what we write here—even though, as a former director of national intelligence, secretary of homeland security, and deputy secretary of defense, we have long known it to be true. The Chinese government has a national policy of economic espionage in cyberspace. In fact, the Chinese are the world's most active and persistent practitioners of cyber espionage today.

Evidence of China's economically devastating theft of proprietary technologies and other intellectual property from U.S. companies is growing. Only in October 2011 were details declassified in a report to Congress by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive. Each of us has been speaking publicly for years about the ability of cyber terrorists to cripple our critical infrastructure, including financial networks and the power grid. Now this report finally reveals what we couldn't say before: The threat of economic cyber espionage looms even more ominously.

The report is a summation of the catastrophic impact cyber espionage could have on the U.S. economy and global competitiveness over the next decade. Evidence indicates that China intends to help build its economy by intellectual-property theft rather than by innovation and investment in research and development (two strong suits of the U.S. economy). The nature of the Chinese economy offers a powerful motive to do so.

According to 2009 estimates by the United Nations, China has a population of 1.3 billion, with 468 million (about 36% of the population) living on less than $2 a day. While Chinese poverty has declined dramatically in the last 30 years, income inequality has increased, with much greater benefits going to the relatively small portion of educated people in urban areas, where about 25% of the population lives.

The bottom line is this: China has a massive, inexpensive work force ravenous for economic growth. It is much more efficient for the Chinese to steal innovations and intellectual property—the source code of advanced economies—than to incur the cost and time of creating their own. They turn those stolen ideas directly into production, creating products faster and cheaper than the U.S. and others.

Cyberspace is an ideal medium for stealing intellectual capital. Hackers can easily penetrate systems that transfer large amounts of data, while corporations and governments have a very hard time identifying specific perpetrators.

Unfortunately, it is also difficult to estimate the economic cost of these thefts to the U.S. economy. The report to Congress calls the cost "large" and notes that this includes corporate revenues, jobs, innovation and impacts to national security. Although a rigorous assessment has not been done, we think it is safe to say that "large" easily means billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

So how to protect ourselves from this economic threat? First, we must acknowledge its severity and understand that its impacts are more long-term than immediate. And we need to respond with all of the diplomatic, trade, economic and technological tools at our disposal.

The report to Congress notes that the U.S. intelligence community has improved its collaboration to better address cyber espionage in the military and national-security areas. Yet today's legislative framework severely restricts us from fully addressing domestic economic espionage. The intelligence community must gain a stronger role in collecting and analyzing this economic data and making it available to appropriate government and commercial entities.

Congress and the administration must also create the means to actively force more information-sharing. While organizations (both in government and in the private sector) claim to share information, the opposite is usually the case, and this must be actively fixed.

The U.S. also must make broader investments in education to produce many more workers with science, technology, engineering and math skills. Our country reacted to the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik with investments in math and science education that launched the age of digital communications. Now is the time for a similar approach to build the skills our nation will need to compete in a global economy vastly different from 50 years ago.

Corporate America must do its part, too. If we are to ever understand the extent of cyber espionage, companies must be more open and aggressive about identifying, acknowledging and reporting incidents of cyber theft. Congress is considering legislation to require this, and the idea deserves support. Companies must also invest more in enhancing their employees' cyber skills; it is shocking how many cyber-security breaches result from simple human error such as coding mistakes or lost discs and laptops.

In this election year, our economy will take center stage, as will China and its role in issues such as monetary policy. If we are to protect ourselves against irreversible long-term damage, the economic issues behind cyber espionage must share some of that spotlight.

Mr. McConnell, a retired Navy vice admiral and former director of the National Security Agency (1992-96) and director of national intelligence (2007-09), is vice chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton. Mr. Chertoff, a former secretary of homeland security (2005-09), is senior counsel at Covington & Burling. Mr. Lynn has served as deputy secretary of defense (2009-11) and undersecretary of defense (1997-2001).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

University studies crowdsourcing for intelligence

University studies crowdsourcing for intelligence
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/10/18/national/a005635D94.DTL&type=printable
Oct 18. 2011

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP)
--
Maybe you've got a hunch Kim Jong Il's regime in North Korea has seen its final days, or that the Ebola virus will re-emerge somewhere in the world in the next year.

Your educated guess may be just as good as an expert's opinion. Statistics have long shown that large crowds of average people frequently make better predictions about unknown events, when their disparate guesses are averaged out, than any individual scholar — a phenomenon known as the wisdom of crowds.

Now the nation's intelligence community, with the help of university researchers and regular folks around the country, is studying ways to harness and improve the wisdom of crowds. The research could one day arm policymakers with information gathered by some of the same methods that power Wikipedia and social media.

In a project that is part competition and part research study, George Mason professors Charles Twardy and Kathryn Laskey are assembling a team on the Internet of more than 500 forecasters who make educated guesses about a series of world events, on everything from disease outbreaks to agricultural trends to political patterns.

They are competing with four other teams led by professors at several universities. Each differs in its approach, but all are studying how crowdsourcing can be used.

At stake is grant money provided by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which heads up the nation's intelligence community.

Put simply, crowdsourcing occurs when a task is assigned to a wide audience rather than a specific expert or group of experts. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the most prominent examples — anyone can write or edit an entry. Over time, the crowds refine and improve the product. Crowdsourcing can range from a simple question blasted to a person's Twitter followers to amateur programmers fine-tuning open-source software.

IARPA spokeswoman Cherreka Montgomery said her project's goal is to develop methods to refine and improve on crowdsourcing in a way that would be useful to intelligence analysts.
"It's all about strengthening the capabilities of our intelligence analysts," Montgomery said.

And if analysts can use crowdsourcing to better determine the likelihood of seemingly unpredictable world events, those analysts can help policymakers be prepared and develop smarter responses. In a hypothetical example, a crowd-powered prediction about the breakout of popular uprisings in the Middle East could influence what goes in a dossier given to decision-makers at the highest levels.

The program at George Mason is called DAGGRE, short for Decomposition-based Aggregation. The researchers have used blog postings, Twitter and other means to get the word out about their project to potential participants. No specialized background is required, though a college degree is preferred.

The project seeks to break down various world events into their component parts. The stability of Kim Jong Il's regime in North Korea provides an example. One forecaster might base his prediction based solely on political factors. But what if the political experts could be guided by health experts, who might observe that Kim's medical condition is flagging?

The DAGGRE participants key their answers into forms on the project's website, and also supply information at the outset about their education and what areas they have expertise in. The scholars overseeing the project will then seek to break down the variables that influence a forecaster's prediction, and use the data in a way that people with disparate knowledge bases can help guide each other to the most accurate forecast.

Military and intelligence researchers have long studied ways to improve the ability to predict the future. In 2003, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency launched research to see whether a terrorist attack could be predicted by allowing speculative trading in a financial market, in which people would make money on a futures contract if they bet on a terrorist attack occurring within a designated time frame. The theory was that a spike in the market could serve as a trip wire that an attack was under way. But some found the idea ghoulish, and others objected to the notion that a terrorist could conceivably profit by carrying out an attack, and the research was halted.


Laskey said George Mason's research bears some fundamental similarities with the discontinued DARPA research, with the crucial difference that nobody participating in George Mason's project can profit from making accurate predictions. But participants who make accurate predictions are rewarded with a point system, and there is a leaderboard of sorts for participants to measure their success. Some can also choose to receive a small stipend for their time, but it's not tied to how they answer questions.

Another team, led by psychologists at the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania who are focused on asking questions in ways that minimize experts' overconfidence and misjudgment, said Don Moore, a professor at Cal-Berkeley.

"Small wording changes in a question can have a huge effect" on how a person answers, Moore said.

Twardy said the George Mason study has already drawn more than 500 participants, but only about half are actively participating. The study continues to recruit people as some participants drop out over the four-year course of the study.

Participants come from all walks of life. While Twardy said he'd love to have, say, agronomists, on his team to help forecast European polices and responses to mad cow diseases and the cattle trade, the overriding principle is that people from various backgrounds can contribute to the crowd's collective wisdom, so participation is not restricted by fields of expertise.

George Mason received a $2.2 million grant from IARPA to conduct the study. If the team remains in the competition for the full four years — weaker teams are at risk of being discontinued — the grant will be increased to $8.2 million.

Twardy expects to publish the results of his research and hopes it will ultimately help world leaders make more informed choices when they confront global crises.

"At some level, you cannot predict the future," Twardy said. "But you can do a lot better than just asking an expert."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Germany's Spies Refuted the 2007 NIE Report

Germany's Spies Refuted the 2007 NIE Report. By BRUNO SCHIRRA
'Work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003'
WSJ, Jul 20, 2009

President Obama has committed to trying diplomacy to stop the Iranian bomb. Time, though, is on the mullahs' side, not least because so much of it was wasted after the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate made the improbable case that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. This assessment not only contradicted previous U.S. intelligence consensus but -- as recent court documents show -- also the conclusions of a key U.S. ally with excellent sources in Iran -- Germany.

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, has amassed evidence of a sophisticated Iranian nuclear weapons program that continued beyond 2003. This usually classified information comes courtesy of Germany's highest state-security court. In a 30-page legal opinion on March 26 and a May 27 press release in a case about possible illegal trading with Iran, a special national security panel of the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe cites from a May 2008 BND report, saying the agency "showed comprehensively" that "development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003."

According to the judges, the BND supplemented its findings on August 28, 2008, showing "the development of a new missile launcher and the similarities between Iran's acquisition efforts and those of countries with already known nuclear weapons programs, such as Pakistan and North Korea."

It's important to point out that this was no ordinary agency report, the kind that often consists just of open source material, hearsay and speculation. Rather, the BND submitted an "office testimony," which consists of factual statements about the Iranian program that can be proved in a court of law. This is why, in their March 26 opinion, the judges wrote that "a preliminary assessment of the available evidence suggests that at the time of the crime [April to November 2007] nuclear weapons were being developed in Iran." In their May press release, the judges come out even more clear, stating unequivocally that "Iran in 2007 worked on the development of nuclear weapons."

The judges had been asked to consider an appeal in the case of a German-Iranian businessman accused of brokering supplies for Iran's nuclear weapons program. The Federal Prosecutor had charged the defendant, identified by the authorities only as "Mohsen V.," with violating Germany's War Weapons Control Law and the Foreign Trade Act. A lower court in Frankfurt refused to try the case on the grounds that it was unlikely that Iran had a nuclear program at the time of the defendant's activities in 2007, citing the NIE report as evidence.

That's why the Supreme Court judges had to rule first on the question of whether that program exists at all. Having answered that question in the affirmative, the court had to rule next on the likelihood of the defendant to be found guilty in a trial. The supreme court's conclusions are unusually strong.

"The results of the investigation do in fact provide sufficient indications that the accused aided the development of nuclear weapons in Iran through business dealings."

The supreme court thus annulled the lower court's decision to throw out the case, demanding that the Frankfurt-based judges try the defendant on the original charges.

The case itself sheds light on how these networks function. According to the supreme court judges, the businessman has brokered "industrial machines, equipment and raw materials primarily to Iranian customers," for Iran's nuclear weapons program.

According to the same decision, the defendant's business partners in Tehran "dealt with acquiring military and nuclear-related goods for Iran and used various front companies, headquartered for example in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, to circumvent existing trade restrictions." According to the judges, Mohsen V. also tried to supply to Tehran via front companies in Dubai "Geiger counters for radiation-resistant detectors constructed especially for protection against the effects of nuclear detonations."

Defendant Mohsen V.'s various business contacts in Iran, Russia, Germany, and the Near and Middle East are listed in the prosecutor's files and in the judges' decision. So is information related to the secret supply of "two high-speed cameras needed to develop nuclear warheads. The delivery of the cameras to the final customers in Iran occurred on November 1, 2007 at the latest." The Karlsruhe judges wrote that, by his own admission, Mohsen V. was "aware of the cameras' possible use in the military arena."

The court's decision and the BND's reports raise the question of how, or why, U.S. intelligence officials could have come to the conclusion that Iran suspended its program in 2003. German intelligence officials wonder themselves. BND sources have told me that they have shared their findings and documentation with their U.S. colleagues ahead of the 2007 NIE report -- as is customary between these two allies. It appears the Americans have simply ignored this evidence despite repeated warnings from the BND. This suggests not so much a failure of U.S. intelligence but its sabotage.

The politicized 2007 NIE report undermined the Bush Administration's efforts to rally international support for tough action against Iran. The world's best hope is that the Obama Administration is not being fed the same false sense of security.

Mr. Schirra is an investigative reporter in Berlin and author of "Iran -- Sprengstoff für Europe," Iran -- Explosives for Europe (Econ, 2006). Belinda Coopers translated this article from the German.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Assassins Debate - Why Seymour Hersh is still wrong about Cheney's hit squad

The Assassins Debate. By Michael C. Moynihan
Why Seymour Hersh is still wrong about Cheney's hit squad
Reason, July 17, 2009

A few months ago on this website, I cast doubt on a claim by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that former Vice President Dick Cheney was running “an executive assassination ring” out of his West Wing office. Urging caution when repeating such claims—predictably, outside of the conspiracy-friendly websites like Raw Story and Digg, only MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reported this dubious "scoop"—I argued that because Hersh had previously admitted exaggerating stories in order to “convey a larger truth,” a healthy dose of skepticism was warranted.

The story quickly disappeared, only to be reanimated this week by CIA director Leon Panetta’s revelation that the Bush administration deliberately obscured an unnamed secret CIA program from Congress. A flood of stories from the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The New York Times followed, revealing that the CIA plan involved the targeted assassination of al-Qaeda targets. Many observers quickly connected the dots back to Hersh. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein wondered if the CIA, with whom the Bush administration famously battled, was “hiding Cheney's executive assassination ring." A handful of indignant emailers, claiming vindication on behalf of Hersh, demanded a retraction of my blog post.

Not a chance.

Let's briefly revisit Hersh’s bombshell assassination claims. Last March, during a speech at the University of Minnesota, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist revealed that the CIA "was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state (emphasis added)." He offered the following as evidence: "[T]here was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command—JSOC it's called...They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office...It's an executive assassination ring essentially."

But this is a non-sequitur. Hersh first references a secret, as-yet-unreported CIA program focusing on domestic targets after 9/11—which, as of this writing, hasn't been uncovered by those investigating the Panetta story, though it certainly doesn’t strain credulity—and quickly shifts gears to a discussion of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a special unit of the United States Special Operations Command known for tracking and assassinating the Jordanian al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

As pointed out by sources familiar with the program, Panetta cancelled the CIA operation before it became "fully operational,” though Hersh claims the Cheney “executive assassination ring” has been “going on and on and on” for years. Here is Newsweek's Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, describing the lumbering and troubled evolution of the program:

Top CIA officials ultimately concluded the program posed an unacceptable risk of failure or exposure, according to another former official. As a result, the initial plans proposed by officers of the Directorate of Operations—now known as the National Clandestine Service—were put on hold by CIA Director George Tenet before he left office in 2004, former officials said. Tenet's two successors, Porter Goss and Gen. Michael Hayden, kept the plans in the deep freeze. But a former official said that until Panetta killed the program outright last month, the CIA never totally abandoned the plans for kill teams...

One journalist looking into the program—a person, it is worth noting, deeply critical of Bush and Cheney's terrorism policies—suggested a more logical explanation. Hersh, he informed me, might have stumbled across the program exposed this week but perhaps "didn't understand what his sources were telling him." When asked if these revelations vindicated the "executive assassination ring" claim, another journalist working on the story told me that those who connect the Panetta revelations to Hersh's breathless talk in Minneapolis "have no idea what they are talking about."

Simply put, Hersh’s narrative of an operational, domestic cadre of assassins doesn’t fit with what we know about the plan scuttled by Panetta.

Nevertheless, The Daily Beast’s Benjamin Sarlin huffed that Hersh "was mocked in March when he referred to Dick Cheney’s secret squad of CIA assassins" but now it appeared that Hersh was "prescient," the "man who knew Cheney’s secret." Those who distrusted Hersh would soon be forced to eat crow: "Yesterday, the New York Times reported the hidden program in question was a death squad authorized by Dick Cheney without Congressional approval—almost exactly what he described."

But as The Daily Beast editors soon realized, the Times story said nothing about domestic operations, didn't mention JSOC, a group not even under CIA command, and told a very different story than Hersh. An editor’s note was tacked on to the piece, telling readers that the article "was updated to reflect differences between Hersh’s story and The New York Times'." The claim that Hersh’s story was "exactly" what the Times reported vanished (though it can be viewed via Google’s cache), replaced with a more equivocal sentence: "Now, there are key differences between Hersh's reporting and the Times' latest piece."

In an attempt to keep the "executive assassination ring" angle in play, Sarlin’s updated story concluded gamely that "The Times and Hersh could conceivably be reporting two distinct squads." MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann offered a similar conclusion, telling a guest that "Seymour Hersh's hint of the story in Minnesota in the spring was about stuff run out of the Pentagon and specifically not tied to the CIA," though there might be "two secret assassination squads."

The desire to eschew these contradictory facts in pursuit of a political point spread throughout the blogosphere. Soon after Cheney's former national security adviser John Hannah told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that it was “certainly true” that the there was a “well-vetted process, interagency process” targeting “those that have committed acts of war against the United States,” Center for American Progress blogger Satyam Khanna wrote that "a former Cheney aide suggests that Hersh’s account of [an] 'executive assassination ring' is 'certainly true.'" Well, no he didn’t.

My concern here is not with the efficacy, legality, or existance of Dick Cheney’s program to rub out members of al-Qaeda, but with those who warn us that journalism in the run up to the Iraq War failed the American people because its practitioners placed furthering a political agenda over the supremacy of truth. If the mainstream media in 2002 was hamstrung by sloppy and biased reporting, thereby necessitating a counterrevolution in blogging and online reporting, have the Enragés, the young bloggers who demanded higher standards and an upending of the old order, already become Robespierres? Is it now OK to engage in sloppy and lazy journalism, provided that the stakes are smaller and your target is widely considered to be a bastard?

In reporting the Panetta story, it was “old media” print journalists like Siobhan Gorman, Eli Lake, Joby Warrick, and Scott Shane that informed and illuminated, while the partisans of the new media took up the rear, pounding round pegs into square holes.

During the 2008 election, one writer praised the new breed of online journalists while cautioning that in rushing to scoop the mainstream media, Internet upstarts often risk missing “nuance and context,” valuing quantity over quality. Web journalists, he continued, often settle “for a timely article rather than a complete one,” though this is “an avoidable problem.”

Indeed it is. And the author, Huffington Post political reporter Sam Stein, might want to start taking some of his own advice.

Michael C. Moynihan is a senior editor of Reason magazine.

Monday, June 8, 2009

WSJ Editorial Page: Intelligence Mudd Bath

Intelligence Mudd Bath. WSJ Editorial
WSJ, Jun 08, 2009

President Obama and CIA Director Leon Panetta have been at pains to say they don't want to punish intelligence officials and agents who had a role in "enhanced interrogation" after 9/11. But tell that to Philip Mudd, who withdrew his nomination late Friday to be the intelligence chief at the Homeland Security Department under pressure from Democrats in Congress.

Mr. Mudd is a well-regarded career intelligence officer who has worked in senior positions at the FBI and CIA, including deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Mr. Obama nominated him on May 4 amid fulsome praise from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. But in a statement issued by the White House on the eve of a late spring weekend, Mr. Mudd said he was withdrawing so as not to become "a distraction to the president and his vital agenda."

The truth is that he risked being a distraction to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrats, who suddenly don't want to talk about what they knew about the interrogation techniques they once endorsed and long funded but now denounce. So Ms. Pelosi doesn't have to answer any questions about her changing claims about her CIA briefings, but a foot soldier like Mr. Mudd who did what his country asked him to do to keep the country safe is blackballed.

The White House said Mr. Obama accepted Mr. Mudd's withdrawal "with sadness and regret," but it's clear the President wasn't willing to fight for him. The message that will be heard loud and clear across the intelligence services is that you better not take any risks to keep America safe, because if you get into political trouble Mr. Obama will throw you over the side, albeit with "regret."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Message from the CIA Director on Pelosi's Controversy

Message from the Director: Turning Down the Volume
Statement to Employees by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon E. Panetta
CIA, May 15, 2009

There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I’m gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.

Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.

My advice—indeed, my direction—to you is straightforward: ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission. We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country.

We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication. Our task is to tell it like it is—even if that’s not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it.

Leon E. Panetta

Posted: May 15, 2009 02:46 PM
Last Updated: May 15, 2009 02:46 PM
Last Reviewed: May 15, 2009 02:46 PM

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NATO Intelligence: A Contradiction in Terms - Report dated in 1985

NATO Intelligence: A Contradiction in Terms. By Edward B. Atkeson

CIA, Center for the Study of Intelligence > Studies in Intelligence > Vol 53 No 1 > From the Archives-1984: Design for Dysfunction

Monday, April 27, 2009

Misconceptions About the Interrogation Memos

Misconceptions About the Interrogation Memos. By William M McSwain
Their goal was to allow the CIA and military to stay within the parameters of a murky area of the law.
WSJ, Apr 26, 2009

President Barack Obama has reinvigorated the critics of George W. Bush's antiterror policies by opening the door to prosecuting or sanctioning those who crafted interrogation policy in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. These critics -- including the president -- are laboring under numerous misconceptions. Many of them have no experience with or understanding of military or CIA interrogation, the purpose of which is to gain actionable intelligence to safeguard our country. The recently released memos by lawyers in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel were written to assist interrogators in that critical mission. The memos cannot be fairly evaluated without that mission in mind.

Military and CIA interrogators are trained to use creative means of deception, and to play on detainee emotions and fears. This can be a nasty business. People unfamiliar with it, therefore, might even view a perfectly legitimate interrogation of a prisoner of war that is in full compliance with the Geneva Conventions as abhorrent by its very nature.

But military interrogation is not akin to a friendly chat across a conference table -- nor is it designed to gather evidence in a criminal trial, as an FBI interview might be. There is a fundamental distinction between law enforcement and military interrogations that we ignore at our peril.

Second-guessers can also fail to appreciate the increased importance of interrogation (and human intelligence in general) in the post 9/11 world. We face an enemy that wears no uniform, blends in with civilian populations, and operates in the shadows. This has made eliciting information from captured terrorists vital to the effort of finding other terrorists. As interrogation has become more important, drawing out useful information has become more difficult -- because hardened terrorists are often trained to resist traditional U.S. interrogation methods.

Fortunately, aggressive interrogation techniques like those outlined in the memos to the CIA are effective. As the memos explain, high-value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of 9/11, and Abu Zubaydah, one of Osama bin Laden's key lieutenants, provided no actionable intelligence when facing traditional U.S. methods. It is doubtful that any high-level al Qaeda operative would ever provide useful intelligence in response to traditional methods.

Yet KSM and Zubaydah provided critical information after being waterboarded -- information that, among other things, helped to prevent a "Second Wave" attack in Los Angeles, according to the memos. Similarly, the 2005 report by Vice Adm. Albert Church on Defense Department interrogation policies, the "Church Report" -- of which I served as the executive editor -- documented the success of aggressive techniques against high-value detainees like Mohamed al Kahtani, 9/11's "20th hijacker."

The aggressive techniques in the CIA memos are also undeniably safe, having been adopted from Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) training used with our own troops.

I have personally been waterboarded, put into stress positions, sleep deprived, slapped in the face. While none of this was enjoyable, I am none the worse for wear.

While such techniques are used in U.S. military training, some apparently consider them too brutal, too abusive, too inhumane -- in short, too much like "torture" -- to be used on fanatics like KSM who are bent on the mass murder of innocent American civilians. And if legal advisers such as Steven G. Bradbury, Jay S. Bybee and John Yoo are to be prosecuted for having sanctioned their use under careful controls, who's next? Every commander who ever implemented a SERE course?

Many critics also play the Abu Ghraib "trump card": The abuses of prisoners at that facility in Iraq allegedly "prove" the Bush administration's supposed policy of abuse, first codified in its legal memos. This ignores all relevant evidence.

As the Church Report concluded, after a thorough review of all Defense Department interrogation policies, the pictured abuses at Abu Ghraib bore no resemblance to approved policies at any level, in any theater. The 2004 Independent Panel to Review Department of Defense Detention Operations -- whose four members included two former secretaries of defense under President Jimmy Carter -- also stated that "no approved procedures called for or allowed the kinds of abuse that in fact occurred. There is no evidence of a policy of abuse promulgated by senior officials or military authorities."

Similarly, the critics like to default to Guantanamo as a symbol of the kind of abuse that Mr. Bush's antiterror policies allowed. Yet, at the time of the Church Report, there had been more than 24,000 interrogation sessions at Guantanamo and only three cases of substantiated interrogation-related abuse. All of them consisted of minor assaults in which military interrogators had exceeded the bounds of approved interrogation policy. Notably, the Church Report found that detainees at Guantanamo were more likely to have been injured playing recreational sports than in confrontations with interrogators or guards.

Mr. Bush's advisers were public servants with the memory of 9/11 still fresh in their minds, doing their best to give legitimate legal advice in a murky, largely undefined area of the law. Is this the stuff of which federal prosecutions, or even sanctions, are made?

As a former federal prosecutor, I know a good case from a bad one. I know a case based on solid evidence and even-handed application of the law versus one based on scoring political points. Mr. Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, have professed their desire to take politics out of the Justice Department, to restore integrity to a department that they believe had gone astray under Mr. Bush. Their recent actions, however, speak otherwise.

The bottom line is that any attempt to prosecute or sanction lawyers such as Messrs. Bradbury, Bybee or Yoo would be a fool's errand. And whatever our new president and his attorney general are, they aren't fools. Or at least I don't think they are. For the good of the country, I hope they don't prove me wrong.

Mr. McSwain, a former scout/sniper platoon commander in the Marines and assistant U.S. attorney, was executive editor of the 2005 Review of Department of Defense Detention Operations and Detainee Interrogation Techniques (The Church Report). He is an attorney in private practice in Philadelphia.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Let the Senate Investigate the Interrogations

Let the Senate Investigate the Interrogations. By Dianne Feinstein
It's the only way we'll understand the program.
WSJ, Apr 26, 2009

President Barack Obama's release of memos detailing CIA interrogation policies under the Bush administration has ignited a political firestorm that continues to dominate the nation's front pages and news programs. The pressure is intense -- on Capitol Hill and elsewhere -- for Congress to "do something," and do it fast.

It's time to step back, take a breath, and set the record straight.

Here are the facts:

We already are doing something. Last year, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence began reviewing CIA materials on the first two high-value detainees to be captured, and is finalizing a classified report on their detention and interrogation.

Last month, we launched a comprehensive, bipartisan review of CIA interrogation and detention policies. Since then, we have identified and requested from the CIA, among other things, a voluminous amount of materials and records related to conditions of detentions and techniques of interrogations.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is the appropriate body to conduct this review, because it is responsible for the oversight of America's 16 intelligence agencies -- most specifically, the CIA. The committee has access, on a regular basis, to classified materials and is supplementing its existing professional staff to carry out the investigation with bipartisan oversight.

All of this will be done in a classified environment, and the results will be brought to the full committee for its careful consideration. The committee will make a determination with respect to findings and recommendations.

It's important to note the fundamental realities underpinning this effort. First, it's vital that our work be structured in such a way as to avoid a "witch hunt" or a "show trial." That's easy. We do the vast bulk of our work behind closed doors -- precisely because the subject matter is highly classified. This allows us to examine the entire, unvarnished record in our search for the truth.

Second, for our review to succeed, it simply must be bipartisan, as is our tradition. This committee's last major investigation, in 2004, into prewar Iraq intelligence, was both bipartisan and critical in providing public understanding of the failed intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Democrats and Republicans on the committee came together with shared purpose in this latest endeavor. And we announced the committee's action, in a joint statement issued March 5.

Here's part of what we said: "The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has agreed on a strong bipartisan basis to begin a review of the CIA's detention and interrogation program. The purpose is to review the program and to shape detention and interrogation policies in the future."

We went on to explain that the review would specifically examine:

- How the CIA created, operated and maintained conditions of detention and interrogation.
- Whether the CIA accurately described the detention and interrogation program to other parts of the U.S. government, including the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- Whether the CIA implemented the program in compliance with official guidance, including covert action findings, Office of Legal Counsel opinions and CIA policy.
- The intelligence gained through the use of enhanced and standard interrogation techniques.

Our objective is clear: to achieve a full understanding of this program as it evolved in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

So amid all the quarreling and confusion, I say this: Let's not prejudge or jump to conclusions. And let's resist the temptation to stage a Washington spectacle, high in entertainment value, but low in fact-finding potential.

Let the Senate Intelligence Committee do its job.

Mrs. Feinstein is chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Porter J. Goss: Security Before Politics

Security Before Politics. By Porter J. Goss
WaPo, Saturday, April 25, 2009

Since leaving my post as CIA director almost three years ago, I have remained largely silent on the public stage. I am speaking out now because I feel our government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage. We can't have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets. Americans have to decide now.

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation's intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA's "High Value Terrorist Program," including the development of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

-- The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.
-- We understood what the CIA was doing.
-- We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.
-- We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.
-- On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed "memorandums for the record" suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately -- to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president's national security adviser -- and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.

Circuses are not new in Washington, and I can see preparations being made for tents from the Capitol straight down Pennsylvania Avenue. The CIA has been pulled into the center ring before. The result this time will be the same: a hollowed-out service of diminished capabilities. After Sept. 11, the general outcry was, "Why don't we have better overseas capabilities?" I fear that in the years to come this refrain will be heard again: once a threat -- or God forbid, another successful attack -- captures our attention and sends the pendulum swinging back. There is only one person who can shut down this dangerous show: President Obama.

Unfortunately, much of the damage to our capabilities has already been done. It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day "I have your back" only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation.

We must not forget: Our intelligence allies overseas view our inability to maintain secrecy as a reason to question our worthiness as a partner. These allies have been vital in almost every capture of a terrorist.

The suggestion that we are safer now because information about interrogation techniques is in the public domain conjures up images of unicorns and fairy dust. We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate. The terrorists captured by the CIA perfected the act of beheading innocents using dull knives. Khalid Sheik Mohammed boasted of the tactic of placing explosives high enough in a building to ensure that innocents trapped above would die if they tried to escape through windows. There is simply no comparison between our professionalism and their brutality.

Our enemies do not subscribe to the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury. "Name, rank and serial number" does not apply to non-state actors but is, regrettably, the only question this administration wants us to ask. Instead of taking risks, our intelligence officers will soon resort to wordsmithing cables to headquarters while opportunities to neutralize brutal radicals are lost.

The days of fortress America are gone. We are the world's superpower. We can sit on our hands or we can become engaged to improve global human conditions. The bottom line is that we cannot succeed unless we have good intelligence. Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that our secrets are not secret and that our intelligence is destined to fail us.

The writer, a Republican, was director of the CIA from September 2004 to May 2006 and was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997 to 2004.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Conservative views: The Uighurs and the 'Torture' Memos

The Uighurs and the 'Torture' Memos, by Jed Babbin
Human Events, Apr 20, 2009

White House lawyers are refusing to accept the findings of an inter-agency committee that the Uighur Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to release inside the U.S., according to Pentagon sources familiar with the action.

This action -- coupled with the release of previously top secret legal opinions on harsh interrogation methods -- demonstrates the Obama administration’s willingness to ignore reality.

President Obama’s decision to close the terrorist detention facility (known as “Gitmo” to the military) was made despite Bush administration determinations that there were no realistic alternatives to it.

Gitmo holds three classes of terrorist detainees: first, those that are held for prosecution of terrorist acts such as Khalid Sheik Muhammed; second, those who cannot be prosecuted and will be released or transferred to another country for trial or incarceration; and third, those who cannot be prosecuted (because the information against them is intelligence information inadmissible in court) but who pose such a danger that they cannot be released.

The last category encompasses a large number of the Gitmo detainees. The Supreme Court has held -- in the Hamdan decision -- that “administrative detention” is permissible in time of war.

After Obama’s promise to close Gitmo, the White House ordered an inter-agency review of the status of all the detainees, apparently believing that many of those held would be quickly determined releasable. The committee -- comprised of all the national security agencies -- was tasked to start with what the Obama administration believed to be the easiest case: that of the seventeen Uighurs, Chinese Muslims who were captured at an al-Queda training camp.

The Uighurs sued for release under the Supreme Court’s Boumediene decision, which gave Gitmo prisoners the Constitutional right to habeas corpus. Last October, a federal court ordered their release into the United States, but an appeals court overturned the decision, saying the right to make that determination rested entirely with the president. Since then, Attorney General Eric Holder has said that some of the Gitmo inmates may be released into the United States.

That, apparently, is what the White House plans for the Uighurs and others.

Reviewing the Uighurs detention, the inter-agency panel found that they weren’t the ignorant, innocent goatherds the White House believed them to be. The committee determined they were too dangerous to release because they were members of the ETIM terrorist group, the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement,” and because their presence at the al-Queda training camp was no accident. There is now no ETIM terrorist cell in the United States: there will be one if these Uighurs are released into the United States.

According to Defense Department sources, the White House legal office has told the inter-agency review group to re-do their findings to come up with the opposite answer.

The White House already came up with the opposite answer in declassifying and releasing the so-called “torture memos,” the previously top-secret legal opinions which found, under the law as it was written at the time, that interrogation techniques which ranged from the mildest to the toughest -- from open-fingered face slapping to waterboarding -- were permitted under the law.

The legal opinions were correct. Under the law in 2002, threats and mild physical abuse -- which were not likely to cause lasting psychological harm -- were legal. Waterboarding, the harshest technique which triggers the autonomic reaction of the sense of drowning, was deemed legal because of extensive experience in training pilots and special operations troops who didn’t experience lasting harm.

But now, having released the details of the techniques, the Obama administration -- through Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair -- has said that none of these techniques will be used again. Coupled with the publication of the Army’s guide to interrogation of prisoners, al-Queda and all other terrorists now know what to expect if captured by Americans. And, as they have in the past, they can use this knowledge to train to resist the techniques we can use.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel excused the release of the memos because, he said Sunday, that information about the techniques revealed was already public and that they have been banned. Which begs the question of how successful interrogations can ever again be performed.

The Obama administration’s action has given terrorists what may be a decisive advantage. If a detainee knows what to expect, his confidence cannot be shaken. He cannot be forced out of his comfort zone into doubt. And he can withhold information that may be critical to saving American lives.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder have embarked on a course that denies our intelligence agencies and military forces the ability to gather intelligence needed to interdict and prevent future terrorist attacks. Releasing the Uighurs into the United States as free men creates a specific terrorist threat within our borders.

The administration is now under pressure to constrain the NSA’s terrorist surveillance program -- what the media and liberal pressure groups insist on calling “warrentless wiretapping” -- because it allegedly gathered more information from more sources than it was supposed to do in the last few months.

The heated debate over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- the law under which that program functions -- resulted in a new law that provides specific and effective protections of American civil liberties that are Constitutionally sufficient. If President Obama continues his current course, he will go farther in limiting how this program functions.

In his dissent in the Boumediene case, Justice Scalia said that it gave the power to detain enemy combatants to the branch of government that had the least expertise in national security, the courts. He added that the decision would probably cost American lives.Scalia was correct on the latter point, but the advent of the Obama administration makes the former at least questionable. How many more advantages is President Obama willing to grant our enemies?

Mr. Babbin is the editor of Human Events and HumanEvents.com. He served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush's administration. He is the author of "In the Words of our Enemies"(Regnery,2007) and (with Edward Timperlake) of "Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States" (Regnery, 2006) and "Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think" (Regnery, 2004). E-mail him at jbabbin@eaglepub.com.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

CIA has been ordered to get rid of contract interrogators and secret locations overseas

Blame The Messenger
Strategy Page, Apr 11, 2009

The CIA has been ordered to get rid of contract interrogators, and secret locations overseas where terrorist suspects were imprisoned and interrogated. This is all because, during the past eight years, opposition politicians in the U.S. accused the CIA of torturing terrorist suspects, to obtain information about attacks being planned. The interrogations worked, and there was very little of what one could call torture. However, the matter became a political issue, and the definition of torture was broadened to include things that are done regularly by Western police, including those in the United States.

The contract interrogators were people who had special language, cultural awareness and interrogation skills needed to get the job done. Most were former military, CIA or police interrogators, and a few were from foreign countries. These skills were particularly useful, because most of the terrorist suspects were from exotic, for most American interrogators, cultures. Having specialized knowledge was key to getting information out of many of these terrorists.

The CIA has put a brave, and career preserving, face on all this and declared that they have sufficient CIA employees to replace all the contract interrogators. They don't, and are hoping they can quietly slip into Congress or the White House and, in a classified briefing, scare the politicians sufficiently to bring in a contract interrogator for crucial situations. If not, and there's another attack in the United States that could have been provided by a competent interrogation, the blame will be shifted or, as a last resort, the CIA will have to take the blame. Thus the cycle that began in the 1940s when, right after World War II, the predecessor of the CIA, the wartime OSS (Office of Strategic Services) was disbanded for being politically incorrect and stepping on the wrong toes, repeats itself. When the Soviet threat was realized shortly thereafter, the OSS was quickly resurrected as the CIA. But it all happened again in the 1970s, when the CIA was punished and reformed for real or imagined misbehavior during the Vietnam war.

In the aftermath of these cleansing events, competent people stay away from the CIA, more problems arise, and desperate politicians demand something be done, no questions asked. But many potential espionage professionals will remember, and only the most courageous and self-sacrificing will step forward.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let's Put Bylines on Our 'National' Intelligence Estimates. Anonymity leads to mediocrity and politicization

Let's Put Bylines on Our 'National' Intelligence Estimates. By Reuel Marc Gerecht
Anonymity leads to mediocrity and politicization.
WSJ, Mar 28, 2009

Charles Freeman's withdrawal from his appointment as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) offers an opportunity to assess whether personal views should have any role in intelligence analysis. Mr. Freeman's opinions on Israel, the Middle East and China proved too strong for critics. Yet the NIC's National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are often politicized and debased precisely because their anonymous authors need take no personal responsibility for their opinions.

No one knows if the upcoming new Iran estimate will be as politicized as was its 2007 predecessor, which damaged the diplomacy of both the U.S. and our European allies. In any case, the Obama administration likely will have one day a politically convulsive NIE that will make the president wonder why these estimates are ever drafted.

Anonymity is the byword of the intelligence profession. In operations, it is usually mandatory. In analysis, however, a collective effort that hides individual authorship is a dubious approach.
In theory, anonymity gives analysts protection from political pressure. And a collective judgment -- NIEs are the most consensual intelligence products that the executive branch puts out -- is supposed to be more reliable and convincing than the views of a particular analyst or agency.

In practice, however, this anonymous, collective approach has guaranteed that mediocre analysis goes unchallenged, and that analysts and senior officials within the NIC go unscarred when they're wrong. No one would want to invest money with a stockbroker who consistently gives bad advice. No one would want to retain a coach who loses more than he wins. Yet obtaining an analytical score card on analysts and their managers within the NIC, the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence or the office of the Director of National Intelligence is nearly impossible.

NIEs rarely offer insights not available elsewhere at far less cost. They have often been egregiously wrong -- my personal favorites were the NIEs written before Iran's Islamic Revolution that predicted the Pahlavi dynasty's survival into the 21st century -- and when right, often unspectacularly so (seeing enmity among the Serbs, Croats and Muslim Bosnians in post-Cold War Yugoslavia wasn't particularly perspicacious). Yet where once NIEs attracted little attention, they now can become political footballs even before they are finished.

In part, this is because the nature of Washington has changed. Estimates were once either closely guarded or easily forgotten -- the secrecy of estimates was better kept and no one expected presidents or members of Congress to accept them as guides for foreign policy. Today, Americans have unprecedented access to secret information. And within the State Department and Congress, where partisan policy battles are fierce, members feel no hesitation in using NIEs as political battering rams. At dizzying speeds, politicians and their allied journalists can denigrate an NIE for its "group think," as was the case with the 2003 report on Iraqi WMD. Or they can applaud another for its supposed willingness to speak truth to power -- as we heard with the Iran "no-nuke" NIE of 2007. With the system we have, this isn't going to change.

President George W. Bush missed an enormous opportunity to reassess the CIA's operational and analytical branches -- the vital center of the American intelligence community -- after 9/11. He embraced the status quo, putting it on steroids by increasing its funding, adding more personnel, and canning no one.

Identifying the primary drafters of NIEs -- or any major analytical report requested by Congress -- could significantly improve the quality of these analyses and diminish the potential for politicians, the media and the intelligence community to politically exploit the reports. Senior managers at the CIA, the NIC or in any of America's other intelligence agencies should have their names appended to an assessment if they've had any substantive role in writing its conclusions. Although everyone in the intelligence community likes to get their fingers into an NIE, there are usually just a small number of individuals who do the lion's share of the work. They should all be known, and should be expected to defend their conclusions in front of Congress and senior executive-branch officials.

Contrary to what some journalists suggested about the prelude to the Iraq war, good analysts live to be questioned by senior officials. Intrepid analysts want to get out of their cubicles.
Think tankers can generally run circles around government analysts and managers on substance, and especially in "strategic" vision, because they operate in more open, competitive and intellectually rigorous environments. Anonymous collective official analysis tends to smother talent and parrot the current zeitgeist in Washington. Liberating first-rate analysts from the bureaucratic disciplining and expectations of their own agencies by allowing them to build public reputations is probably the most efficient and inexpensive way to introduce "contrarian views," an oft-stated reason for Mr. Freeman's appointment.

Mr. Freeman's strongly held personal views proved to be his appointment's stumbling block. If Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence, believes that views such as those held by Mr. Freeman would help the intellectual mix at the NIC, then he should allow these views to be heard and argued in an open environment.

In an environment where analysts have publicly tracked reputations, we are likely to see people take their tasks more seriously instead of hiding behind their agencies. Those who are confident in their assessments won't fear change. But those who are fence-sitters, more concerned about melding their views into what is bureaucratically palatable and politically acceptable, will likely drift to the rear as they grope for what is accepted orthodoxy.

A more open system still may not make the intelligence community's product competitive with the best from the outside on the big issues ("Whither China, Russia and Iran?"). But it will certainly make estimates more interesting to read than what we have now. Denied the imprimatur of saying "the intelligence community believes," estimates will come down to earth. And from that angle, it will be much harder for anyone again to use an NIE to damage their political opponents.

Mr. Gerecht, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Conservative views on Charles "Chas" Freeman Jr

Obama's Intelligence Choice. By Gabriel Schoenfeld
The president picks a China apologist and Israel basher to write his intelligence summaries.
The Wall Street Journal, Feb 25, 2009

During the presidential campaign, a constant refrain of Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates was that the Bush administration had severely politicized intelligence, resulting in such disasters as the war in Iraq.

The irony of course is that, if anything, President Bush badly failed at depoliticizing a CIA that was often hostile to his agenda. Witness the repeated leaks of classified information that undercut his policies. It now appears Mr. Obama has appointed a highly controversial figure to head the National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for producing National Intelligence Estimates. The news Web site Politico.com yesterday reported that it could confirm rumors that a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles "Chas" Freeman Jr., has been appointed chairman. (My calls to the White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence produced neither confirmation nor denial.)

Without question, Mr. Freeman has a distinguished résumé, having served in a long list of State and Defense Department slots. But also without question, he has distinctive political views and affiliations, some of which are more than eyebrow-raising.

In 1997, Mr. Freeman succeeded George McGovern to become the president of the Middle East Policy Council. The MEPC purports to be a nonpartisan, public-affairs group that "strives to ensure that a full range of U.S. interests and views are considered by policy makers" dealing with the Middle East. In fact, its original name until 1991 was the American-Arab Affairs Council, and it is an influential Washington mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia.

As Mr. Freeman acknowledged in a 2006 interview with an outfit called the Saudi-US Relations Information Service, MEPC owes its endowment to the "generosity" of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. Asked in the same interview about his organization's current mission, Mr. Freeman responded, in a revealing non sequitur, that he was "delighted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has, after a long delay, begun to make serious public relations efforts."

Among MEPC's recent activities in the public relations realm, it has published what it calls an "unabridged" version of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. This controversial 2006 essay argued that American Jews have a "stranglehold" on the U.S. Congress, which they employ to tilt the U.S. toward Israel at the expense of broader American interests. Mr. Freeman has both endorsed the paper's thesis and boasted of MEPC's intrepid stance: "No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it."

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Freeman has views about Middle East policy that differ rather sharply from those held by supporters of the state of Israel. More surprisingly, they also differ rather sharply from the views -- or at least the views stated during the campaign -- of the president who has invited him to serve.

While President Obama speaks of helping the people of Israel "search for credible partners with whom they can make peace," Mr. Freeman believes, as he said in a 2007 address to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, that "Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians; it strives instead to pacify them." The primary reason America confronts a terrorism problem today, he continued, is "the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation that is about to mark its fortieth anniversary and shows no sign of ending."

Although initial reaction to Mr. Freeman's selection has focused on his views of the Middle East, that region is by no means Mr. Freeman's only area of interest. He has pronounced on a wide variety of other subjects, including China, where he has attempted to explain away the scale and scope of the starkly intensive buildup of the People's Liberation Army. The specter of a Chinese threat, he remarked during a China forum at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in October 2006, is nothing more than "a great fund-raiser for the hyper-expensive advanced weaponry our military-industrial complex prefers to make and our armed forces love to employ."

On the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, Mr. Freeman unabashedly sides with the Chinese government, a remarkable position for an appointee of an administration that has pledged to advance the cause of human rights. Mr. Freeman has been a participant in ChinaSec, a confidential Internet discussion group of China specialists. A copy of one of his postings was provided to me by a former member. "The truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities," he wrote there in 2006, "was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud." Moreover, "the Politburo's response to the mob scene at 'Tiananmen' stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action." Indeed, continued Mr. Freeman, "I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be."

We have already seen a string of poorly vetted appointments from the Obama White House, like those of Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson, that after public scrutiny were tossed under the bus. The chairmanship of the National Intelligence Council differs from those cases, for it does not require Senate confirmation. If someone with such extreme views has been appointed to such a sensitive position, is this a reflection of Mr. Obama's true predilections, or is it proof positive that the Obama White House has never gotten around to vetting its own vetters?

Either way, if those complaining loudest about politicized intelligence have indeed placed a China-coddling Israel basher in charge of drafting the most important analyses prepared by the U.S. government, it is quite a spectacle. The problem is not that Mr. Freeman will shade National Intelligence Estimates to suit the administration's political views. The far more serious danger is that he will steer them to reflect his own outlandish perspectives and prejudices.

Mr. Schoenfeld, a resident scholar at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J., is writing a book about secrecy and national security.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Survey of Life Scientists' Views on 'Dual Use' Research and Bioterrorism

Survey Samples Life Scientists' Views on 'Dual Use' Research and Bioterrorism; Some Respondents Already Taking Action to Avert Misuse of Research
National Academies, Feb 05, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Rapid advances in the biological sciences over the last several decades have yielded great benefits such as medical therapies and vaccines. But some of these same scientific advances could also be used for malicious purposes, a threat that has become more salient to the science and policy communities since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

The National Research Council and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) surveyed a sample of AAAS members in the life sciences to assess their awareness of and attitudes toward such "dual-use" research – studies undertaken for beneficial purposes that could also have harmful applications such as bioterrorism. The survey also explored actions the scientists might support to reduce the risk of misuse of research, as well as steps that scientists may already be taking in response to these concerns. The results of the survey, conducted in 2007, are summarized in a new report from the Research Council, which includes recommendations for next steps.

The survey yielded some of the first empirical data on U.S. life scientists' views about biosecurity and the potential misuse of legitimate scientific research. The survey results offer insights and generate hypotheses that can be tested in future efforts, said the committee that wrote the report. However, a low response rate and uncertainties about whether the sample reflects the broader life sciences community limit the ability to generalize from the responses about the full U.S. life sciences community. Nevertheless, even with this limitation, the survey results are useful and informative, noted the committee.

The results suggest that survey respondents perceive a potential but not overwhelming risk of a bioterror attack in the next five years, a risk they believe is greater outside the U.S. Most respondents do not believe it is likely that dual-use knowledge, tools, or techniques will facilitate a bioterror attack in that time period.

Survey results also indicate that some respondents -- more than the committee had expected -- have been so concerned about dual-use issues that they have already taken action to try to avert misuse of research in the life sciences, even in the absence of guidelines or government restrictions. Some respondents reported that they had broken collaborations, not conducted some research projects, or not communicated research results.

Many of respondents' precautionary actions were taken during design, collaboration, and initial communication stages of research, before reaching the publication stage, the report notes. Of particular interest and concern to the committee, a few respondents offered comments about foreigners as potential security risks, which may be reflected in the reported avoidance of some collaborations.

"The fact that some scientists are changing their research activities may indicate that the life sciences community is responsibly responding to reduce the risk of misuse of science," said committee chair Ronald Atlas, professor of biology and public health at the University of Louisville. "But it is also possible that some scientists are overreacting to the perceived threat, for example by breaking collaborations and excluding foreigners from their laboratories. Our committee feels that it's important to further investigate how research activity is being changed in response to dual-use concerns."

With regard to future actions that the life sciences community would support to reduce the threat of misuse of research, the survey results indicate that life scientists in the U.S. may be more willing to consider mechanisms to reduce risks if they are developed and implemented by the scientific community itself. Most respondents favor their professional societies prescribing a code of conduct to help prevent misuse of life science research, for example, while a minority supported greater federal oversight. Among possible government restrictions, respondents were more supportive of restrictions on access to biological agents and certification of researchers than of any control of scientific knowledge generated from the research.

In addition, respondents showed support for mandatory training by institutions for practicing life scientists regarding dual-use concerns, as well as education materials and lectures for students.

The survey results also highlight the need to better define the scope of research that is of concern, the report notes. Fewer than half the respondents who reported carrying out dual-use research activities felt that their work falls into one of the seven categories of research of concern identified by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which was created in 2004 to advise federal agencies about dual-use research.

Based on the survey results, the committee urged further exploration of ways to provide guidance to the life sciences community about appropriate actions that could protect against misuse of dual-use research. The committee also recommended further research to examine the effectiveness of educational programs on these topics and find ways to enhance them.

In addition, the report recommends surveys and interviews that can reach additional life scientists or begin to probe more deeply into life scientists' attitudes. And surveys of scientists outside the U.S. would increase knowledge and help facilitate international discussions of potential measures to address concerns about dual-use research.

The report was sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the National Academies' Presidents' Circle Communications Initiative.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

On BHO's executive orders on detainee treatment

Obama’s Torture Loopholes, by Prof. James Hill
Global Research, January 26, 2009

On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed a number of executive orders purporting to end the Bush administration’s abusive practices in dealing with treatment of terrorism suspects. Before Americans get too elated, however, they should look carefully at the inhumane interrogation practices these orders may still permit.

When first announced, the new president’s executive orders seemed cause for celebration, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union to feature a link on its website encouraging visitors to email the president and “Send Him Thanks!”

The ACLU summarized the new orders:

President Obama . . . ordered the closure of the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay within a year and the halting of its military commissions; the end of the use of torture; the shuttering of secret prisons around the world; and a review of the detention of the only U.S. resident being held indefinitely as a so-called “enemy combatant” on American soil. The detainee, Ali al-Marri, is the American Civil Liberties Union’s client in a case pending before the Supreme Court.

Like many reacting to the president’s orders, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero expressed unbridled enthusiasm:

These executive orders represent a giant step forward. Putting an end to Guantanamo, torture and secret prisons is a civil liberties trifecta, and President Obama should be highly commended for this bold and decisive action so early in his administration on an issue so critical to restoring an America we can be proud of again.[1]

Torture by US officials has long been illegal, but the president’s executive order entitled “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations” seems to clarify, to some extent, what activities are proscribed. Disappointingly, though, this order contains loopholes big enough to drive a FEMA camp train through them.

Loophole 1: Torture is prohibited only of persons detained in an “armed conflict.”

The executive order applies only to “armed conflicts,” not counterterrorism operations.

The order states in part:

Consistent with the requirements of the Federal torture statute, . . . the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, . . . the [United Nations] Convention Against Torture, [the Geneva Conventions] Common Article 3, and other laws regulating the treatment and interrogation of individuals detained in any armed conflict, such persons shall in all circumstances be treated humanely and shall not be subjected to violence to life and person (including murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture), nor to outrages upon personal dignity (including humiliating and degrading treatment), whenever such individuals are in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States [emphasis added].

This sounds salutary: America should not torture people detained in armed conflicts. But are such conflicts the only situations in which the US military, federal agencies, and private security companies can detain people today in the name of the war on terror?

Hardly. Many US and foreign citizens have been detained in counterterrorism operations, which another of Obama’s January 22 executive orders carefully differentiates from armed conflicts.

In that other executive order, entitled “Review of Detention Policy Options,” a special task force is commissioned to review procedures for detention suspects. This order clearly distinguishes between “armed conflicts” and “counterterrorism operations”:

The mission of the Special Task Force shall be to conduct a comprehensive review of the lawful options available to the Federal Government with respect to the apprehension, detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations, and to identify such options as are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.

As the president has made this distinction, so should we.

To date, counterterrorism operations have resulted in hundreds of arrests of persons in America and abroad, having nothing whatever to do with any armed conflict. Does President Obama wish limits on what is done to these people when detained and interrogated? His executive order on torture is silent on the issue.

Moreover, we know that many Guantanamo detainees from Pakistan and Afghanistan were sold to US officials by bounty hunters paid up to $25,000 per detainee, regardless of innocence.[2] Are these persons to be considered “individuals detained in [an] armed conflict”? Or must they be arrested while fighting on the battlefield to fit this qualification? Put differently, are blameless, uneducated goat herders who were sold into detention by warlords and mercenaries exempted from the president’s clarified prohibition of torture, simply because they never stepped foot on a battlefield?

Another concern is the US military’s deployment in American cities, which began on October 1, 2008, according to the Army Times.[3] Perhaps this deployment is in preparation for social unrest in the event of an economic collapse. If martial law were declared in America , how would citizens be treated? What if they were detained in FEMA detention facilities? Could they be tortured under the umbrella of “counterterrorism operations” because that is different from “armed conflict”?

To Americans wishing to remain free of torture, a far greater threat than detention during armed conflict is that resulting from what the federal government labels as counterterrorism operations, conducted both on US soil and overseas. Unfortunately, President Obama has not yet clearly addressed torture in this category.

Loophole 2: Only the CIA must close detention centers.

President Obama has ordered the CIA to close detention centers, except those “used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis,” which can stay open indefinitely. Exactly how long a duration is “short-term” and “transitory” is unclear.

The executive order states:

The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.

This sounds wonderful, but what about other federal agencies? Can the FBI, National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and Defense Intelligence Agency maintain detention facilities where torture may occur? Can private military contractors like Blackwater do so? Under one interpretation of Obama’s executive order on torture, those facilities may still operate and even expand, provided the CIA doesn’t control them. Is it cynical to suspect this could be window dressing?

Loophole 3: Officials may still hide some detainees and abusive practices from the Red Cross.

On the Red Cross’s monitoring of detainees, the executive order reads:

All departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with notification of, and timely access to, any individual detained in any armed conflict in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States Government, consistent with Department of Defense regulations and policies.

Here again, if a detainee is not one captured on the battlefield by US soldiers in an armed conflict, Obama’s order provides no guidance as to his fate. Government and private thugs may evidently still brutalize detainees obtained in counterterrorism operations and hide them from the Red Cross, unless and until the president issues a further executive order, or Congress passes a law, closing this loophole.

Loophole 4: Abuses not labeled “torture” may continue.

Obama’s executive order on torture does not label any particular practice “torture,” but instead requires that future interrogation practices conform to those outlined in the Army Field Manual. This may be in deference to Bush administration officials who authorized procedures like waterboarding while simultaneously declaring, “ America does not torture.” Debate in some circles will doubtless continue, therefore, over whether waterboarding; deprivation of food, water, and sleep; humiliation; and infliction of severe bodily pain and injury indeed constitute torture.

The executive order imparts the following limitations:

Effective immediately, an individual in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, in any armed conflict, shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2-22.3 (Manual). Interrogation techniques, approaches, and treatments described in the Manual shall be implemented strictly in accord with the principles, processes, conditions, and limitations the Manual prescribes [emphasis added].

By this language, waterboarding and other harsh interrogation procedures are prohibited by implication because they are not authorized by the Army Field Manual. But like other parts of Obama’s order, this prohibition apparently applies only to persons detained in an armed conflict. As discussed above, we are left to wonder whether detainees grabbed in counterterrorism operations can continue being tortured.


Conclusion

The loopholes in President Obama’s executive order on torture may permit cruel abuses of prisoners to continue, using a legal parlor trick. Labeling detainees the product of counterterrorism operations rather than of armed conflict, or holding detainees in detention facilities operated by entities other than the CIA, may allow government agents and private contractors conforming to the letter of the president’s order to continue practices most would consider torture. The president should close these loopholes or explain to Americans why he won’t.

James Hill is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, and a clinical assistant professor of radiology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. The views expressed are solely his own.


Notes

[1] ACLU Press Release: President Obama Orders Guantánamo Closed And End To Torture; at http://www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/38455prs20090122.html?s_src=RSS
[2] See: Andy Worthington: The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 759 Detainees in America 's Illegal Prison. Pluto Press, 2007; and: Jeffery Rosen: Voices of Victims (a review of My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me, by Mahvish Rukhsana Khan). The New York Times, August 10, 2008, at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/books/review/Rosen-t.html?fta=y
[3] Gina Cavallaro: Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1. Army Times, September 30, 2008, at http//www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w