The Rise of Secret Wars

By: Sunday August 7, 2011 6:14 pm

There’s a lot of talk about defense budgets, and some internal squabbling between Congressional liberals and Leon Panetta over balancing cuts to the military with cuts to the safety net. But I think some of this misses the larger point, that the budget that needs to be put under control is the largely secretive one, the budget of the intelligence agencies. Because it’s pretty clear that warmaking capabilities are being moved out of the Defense Department and into covert ops.

 

The New, Old Mission in Afghanistan

By: Wednesday June 22, 2011 7:18 pm

In other words, the goal in Afghanistan is to attack safe havens in Pakistan. And that’s backed up by Spencer Ackerman’s reporting. There will be no movement of troops east, where the Taliban is dug in. Instead, the strategy will be “drones, drones, training Afghans, commando raids, and drones,” to quote Spencer. The mission has shifted to counter-terrorism, only with far more troops that you need for that mission (Sen. Coons didn’t see such a shift, but the refusal to go into the east is the tell). And the special ops forces, the JSOC guys, are being used to selectively take out Taliban to keep them at the negotiating table.

This is why the permanent bases are so important.

JSOC Decides It’s Ready to Return to Shadows … Soon

By: Friday May 13, 2011 4:42 pm

Most of the leaking so far has fit under the Bob Woodward rule that says no secret is too sensitive if it makes the high level person who authorized the leak look good. Or if it makes the country’s nemesis look like a dirty old man (though doesn’t our country already know that religious conservatives tend to be dirty old men?)

Killing Afghanistan Democracy with Bad Intelligence

By: Wednesday May 11, 2011 6:05 pm

Some of us have been having fun on Twitter discussing the reported power struggle in al Qaeda to replace Osama bin Laden in terms we’d use to discuss an American election. Which made this report–which Frontline linked as part of their Kill/Capture program that aired last night–all the more chilling. The author, Kate Clark, consulted “survivors, witnesses, police, senior Afghan officials – and, crucially, senior officers in the Special Forces unit which carried out” a September 2, 2010 bombing strike. She concluded that rather than killing a senior Taliban official, as Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) still maintains, the airstrike killed a group of men campaigning for parliament.

Narrative on Bin Laden Raid Collapses

By: Thursday May 5, 2011 6:16 am

The official narrative on the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout has completely unraveled. First it was a hard-core firefight with precision Navy SEAL commandos encountering human shields and a hail of bullets, deftly avoiding harm and hitting their targets. Now this has devolved into a scene where the SEALs took the compound completely by surprise, and nobody had the opportunity to fight back.

US Intelligence Operatives in Libya Before President Signs a Finding? Sounds Like a Job for JSOC

By: Friday April 1, 2011 6:15 am

Mark Hosenball, who yesterday broke the news that Obama had issued a Finding authorizing the CIA to operate covertly in Libya in the last 2-3 weeks, today says “intelligence operatives” were on the ground before Obama signed that Finding.

Themis Applies Counterterror Techniques to Fight First Amendment Activity

By: Thursday February 17, 2011 7:55 am

I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of these posts, showing how Hunton & Williams asked “Themis” (the three firm team of HBGary, Palantir, and Berico Technologies) to apply counterterrorism approaches to combat First Amendment activities.

This particular installment comes from an early presentation and accompanying proposal Themis prepared for Hunton & Williams. These documents were attached to an email dated November 2, 2010 sent out by Berico Technologies’ Deputy Director. He explains that the presentation and proposal would be briefed to H&W the following day.

Cargo Bomb Investigation: Pentagon’s Denial on Yemen Misses the Point

By: Tuesday November 2, 2010 6:55 am

As Marcy discussed here, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Obama administration was looking at giving the CIA control over secret operations – including JSOC assassination teams and drones – in Yemen, supposedly in response to the still rather mysterious printer cartridge bombs announced last week. Today, the Pentagon was eager to deny these reports.

Yemen: Let the Drones Begin

By: Monday November 1, 2010 6:04 am

Fresh off exempting Yemen from any sanctions for its use of child soldiers and partly in response to this week’s attempted package bombings, the government appears to be ready to let the CIA start operating drones in Yemen.

US Soldier Arrested, Criminal Investigation of Afghan Prisoner Death Underway

By: Wednesday October 20, 2010 6:04 am

Details are beginning to emerge in the death of an Afghan prisoner on Sunday night. According to ISAF, a US soldier is in custody and a criminal investigation is underway. Hamid Karzai issued a short statement calling the death a killing by coalition forces. The New York Times recounts that one version of the story suggests the prisoner may have been trying to escape, but other Afghans who were present at the prison disagree on that point.

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