11:06 AM, Mar 11, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper is disputing the conventional wisdom on Russian incursion into the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. In an interview with WTOP Radio that is also posted on the DNI's website, Clapper insisted that the intelligence community's reading of the situation prior to Russia's military intervention was "not a failure by any stretch":
"I have lived through some genuine intelligence failures in my career and this was not a failure by any stretch," Clapper said. "We tracked (the situation in Ukraine) pretty carefully and portrayed what the possibilities were and certainly portrayed the difficulties we'd have, because of the movements of Russian troops and provided anticipatory warning of their incursion into Crimea," Clapper added.
During an expansive interview in his office, Clapper pointed out that, "We were following closely the political and economic developments in Ukraine. We spoke to it in our statement for the record at the time and as the situation unfolded with the Russians."
On February 27, Secretary of State John Kerry was publicly expressing optimism that calm would prevail. The following day, the day of Russia's invasion of Crimea (as the State Department would later refer to it,) State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked about Russia's military intentions towards Crimea:
QUESTION: So talking about reports – sorry. Do you have any independent confirmation yourselves within the Administration that there is yet any Russian intervention in [Crimea]?...
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything – any more details to share with you. We’re concerned about the same reports that you have seen, and obviously, we’re closely watching this internally as well.
QUESTION: So nothing – no independent knowledge of any Russian intervention in Crimea?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any independent information to share with you.
The WTOP report notes that "[d]uring a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, McCain, a Republican, said it was a "massive failure" that the U.S. intelligence agencies did not predict Russia's activities."
How the CIA’s No. 2 misled CongressMar 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 24 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Two leading Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence say that Michael Morell, then acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, gave an account of his role on Benghazi that was often misleading and sometimes deliberately false.
Feb 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 20 • By GARY SCHMITT
In the wake of all the “leaks” by Edward Snowden of the National Security Agency’s collection programs and the resulting debate over those programs, one constantly hears from elected officials and the commentariat about the need to strike the right balance between privacy and security. More often than not, this is followed by a suggestion that, as a country, since 9/11, we haven’t.
5:36 PM, Jan 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Florida senator Marco Rubio says that "some" of President Obama's proposed changes to the way the NSA collects date "go too far."
“Our intelligence collection programs are vital tools used by the government to defend the security of the U.S. homeland. I am concerned that some of President Obama’s suggestions today go too far and may make it more difficult for the government to carry out its constitutional responsibility to keep Americans safe," reads a statement released by Rubio's Senate office.
2:01 PM, Jan 17, 2014 • By GARY SCHMITT
Thankfully, President Obama is not a doctor. If he was and you happened to visit him in his office and mentioned that you were worried about the potential for lung cancer, he’d immediately put you under, open you up, and pull out a lung—or, at least, that’s the logic that seems to be guiding his decisions on NSA’s collection programs. Yes, no one has found any evidence that NSA has broken the law, invaded constitutionally-protected privacy rights, or is about to. But never mind, it’s the very possibility that someday, somehow, NSA will jump the tracks that requires the president now to unduly complicate the use of what he admits has been an important counterterrorism tool.
Writes 'Isreal.'9:12 AM, Jan 15, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The office of the Director of National Intelligence released its interactive 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar this week on the website of the National Counterterrorism Center. The map provided with the calendar contains an embarrassing error, misspelling the name of the U.S.'s closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, as "Isreal." The error can be seen by hovering over the tiny country with a computer mouse:
2:22 PM, Jan 9, 2014 • By GARY SCHMITT
For all those civil libertarians of both the left and the right who think we ought to thank Edward Snowden for his actions in revealing NSA’s secret metadata collection program—or, at a minimum, believe the U.S. government should show leniency toward him should he ever come back to these shores—they might want to just stop for a moment and consider what else Mr. Snowden has revealed.
3:01 PM, Dec 21, 2013 • By GARY SCHMITT
When the “President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology” issued its report (Liberty and Security in a Changing World) this past week, an honest and objective newspaper headline the next day would have read: “Rogue Panel Reports on Non-Rogue NSA Program.”
The NSA in Europe. Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
It is often remarked that espionage is the second-oldest profession. Written records from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Iran suggest that spying and civilization sprang up together. In antiquity, spies could be the hidden bureaucrats of tyranny or good governance (a ruler needed to know whether a satrap was cheating the crown and its subjects) or, less often, camouflaged itinerants writing home about the machinations of rival city-states, empires, or barbarian tribes. In modern times, espionage went Orwellian, becoming primarily a tool to buttress police states.
It takes a certain intelligence to comprehend the CIA. Nov 4, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 08 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
There is probably no harder beat in Washington than intelligence.
Forget chess, Turkey is failing at geopolitical checkers. Nov 4, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 08 • By LEE SMITH
A recent spate of newspaper articles suggests a concerted media campaign targeting Turkey’s foreign intelligence service, the MIT, its director, Hakan Fidan, and almost surely his boss as well, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a piece published by the Wall Street Journal and another by the Washington Times, Fidan is said to be supporting al Qaeda affiliates in Syria fighting against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
7:43 AM, Aug 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with Mara Liasson and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
7:19 PM, Aug 3, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sent a letter to each of the CIA employees who were on the ground during the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012, inviting them to share information with Congress, according to three sources familiar with the missive. Brennan sent the letter in late May at the behest congressional intelligence committees, whose members remain interested in hearing from the survivors of those attacks.
Top spooks gathered Friday for joke telling at annual intelligence banquet. 10:11 AM, Jun 11, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Last Friday night, upper management of the country's national security establishment gathered for dinner, speeches, and an evening of conviviality at the annual banquet of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. The event followed hard on the heels of the revelations about the NSA's collection of metadata and the public furor that followed. With that elephant conspicuously in the room, the question was ... how to deal with it.
7:27 AM, Jun 7, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper defends the recently revealed metadata mining government intelligence programs: