Obama’s Hawkish Policy on Leaks Was Adopted to Make an Example Out of Someone

By: Sunday July 21, 2013 12:00 pm

President Barack Obama’s administration has developed a reputation for aggressively prosecuting whistleblowers or individuals responsible for national security leaks. The policy adopted by the administration was influenced by former director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, who requested a “tally of the number of government officials or employees who had been prosecuted for leaking national security secrets.”


New Document Details Arguments About Torture at a JSOC Prison

By: Tuesday January 29, 2013 2:40 pm

Journalist Michael Otterman, author of the excellent book, American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and Beyond, was kind enough to forward to me some months ago a document he obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. The document consists of the after-action reports made by Colonel Steven Kleinman and Terrence Russell, two of the three team members sent by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) to a top-secret special operations facility in Iraq in September 2003.

The Horrors of the US Drone War in Pakistan

By: Monday August 15, 2011 2:00 pm

The findings led Sam Zarifi of Amnesty International to declare, “The Obama administration must explain the legal basis for drone strikes in Pakistan to avoid the perception that it acts with impunity. The Pakistan government must also ensure accountability for indiscriminate killing, in violation of international law, that occurs inside Pakistan.” In fact, that is what Akbar, whom the CIA calls a spy, is trying to do: challenge the legality of drone strikes. And, clearly establishing what is legal and not legal about drone strikes is exactly what the US does not want to do, preferring to keep courts from deliberating on the issue in the same way the Bush administration worked to keep courts from deliberating on the issue of torture.

In First Act as DNI, James Clapper Adds to Redundancy Competitive Analysis

By: Friday August 20, 2010 3:15 pm

When James Clapper testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he rejected one of the central criticisms in the WaPo’s Top Secret America series–that the redundancy in the Intelligence Community contributed to waste and intelligence failures.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that his first act as DNI is to add to the redundancy.

The Real “Top Secret” Story: Obama Fails to Tackle Unwieldy, Opaque National Intelligence Structure

By: Monday July 19, 2010 7:45 am

Every single one of the issues that has led to tomorrow’s confirmation hearing is an issue that goes to the heart of the problems identified in the WaPo piece: the ongoing lack of real value-added analysis to make sense of all the intelligence collected, the opacity and potential waste and fraud of the entire IIC, and the turf battles that contribute to that waste.

So while I’m grateful that this story (and more importantly, the issues behind the story, since the content of today’s installment has largely already been reported by Tim Shorrock) is getting as much attention as it is, I’m aghast that the WaPo didn’t try to contextualize it by framing the issues in it in terms of Clapper’s nomination to be DNI.

White House Won’t Tell DNI It Should Be More Powerful

By: Monday June 14, 2010 1:30 pm

Now for your latest installment of the Defense Department’s expanding intelligence authorities, the Director of National Intelligence’s increasing irrelevance, and the White House’s efforts to make sure those trends continue.

The Inexplicable Timing of Dennis Blair’s Ouster

By: Friday May 21, 2010 6:00 am

I’m thoroughly unsurprised by the news of Dennis Blair’s ouster. After all, it’s an impossible job that appears to serve one purpose: to provide a deck chair you can rearrange every two years as a scapegoat for our continuing inability to detect terrorists even with all the surveillance toys we’ve got.

White House Asks DNI Dennis Blair to Take Hit for Why Terrorists Keep Trying to Harm US

By: Thursday May 20, 2010 7:20 pm

ABC’s Jake Tapper is reporting (h/t Spencer) that President Obama has accepted the resignation of Adm. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence.

Obama Admin Continues Prisoner Shell Game to Avoid Scrutiny on Detainees

By: Monday March 22, 2010 7:05 pm

A troubling aspect of the shell game being played with the U.S. Army Field Manual’s Appendix M is that it appears to be applicable to those who we can label an illegal enemy combatants even though they have not engaged in any act of war against us. Which sounds like the kind of people we might want to throw into Gitmo. This apparent ongoing shell game with detainees also makes clear that we really need someone (like SCOTUS) to insist that the same access to some review process now available to Gitmo detainees be available to Bagram detainees. Until that happens, our government seems intent on holding people in arbitrary detention.

Obama’s Intelligence Leaders: For GAO Oversight Before They Were Against It

By: Wednesday March 17, 2010 7:15 pm

Obama’s two intelligence heads, Leon Panetta and Dennis Blair, supported GAO oversight of intelligence activities before–presumably–they supported yesterday’s veto threat of GAO oversight.

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