Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Russia Undermining International Order, Says U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter

Russia Undermining International Order, Says U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter

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U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter accused Russia of undermining the international order and said Washington wouldn’t ignore ‘efforts to interfere with our democratic processes.’

U.S. Warns Russia Over Alleged Hacks

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One of the suspected hackers in the intrusions into Democratic Party computer files told The Wall Street Journal his alleged Russia ties are ‘nonsense.’

AP Explains: Why do US, Iran often face off in Persian Gulf?

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The U.S. Navy again has accused Iranian patrol boats of harassing an American warship in the Persian Gulf, this time with a Revolutionary Guard vessel nearly causing a collision with the USS Firebolt. Why does this keep happening?





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Obama, Duterte meet despite Filipino leader’s crude language

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Philippine officials say their president, Rodrigo Duterte, has met informally with President Barack Obama in a holding room before attending a gala dinner at a regional summit.
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4 Puerto Rico police officers face civil rights charges

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Four Puerto Rico police officers have been charged with civil rights violations and obstruction of justice in the latest hit against a department undergoing a federally mandated overhaul.

Puerto Rico legislator ends re-election bid under pressure

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A federal corruption trial in Puerto Rico has dealt another blow to the U.S. territory’s ruling party.

Israel: Rise of social media linked to rising anti-Semitism

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Israel’s U.N. ambassador says there is a clear link between the rise of social media and the rise of anti-Semitism and is demanding that media companies “stop providing a platform for hate sites.”

President Obama Meets Informally With Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte After Insult 

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(VIENTIANE, Laos) — Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay says President Barack Obama has met briefly with new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of a summit in Laos.
There was no immediate confirmation from the White House.
Yasay says the two met in a holding room used by leaders attending a summit dinner. He says the interaction shows that the relationship between the two allies is strong.
Details about what they discussed weren’t immediately available.
Obama and Duterte had been scheduled to hold their first meeting Tuesday. But Obama canceled it after Duterte called Obama a “son of a bitch” and threatened to swear at him if he brought up concerns about extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and users in the Philippines.


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A Glimmer of Hope Opens for Syrian Rebels As Peace Talks Intensify 

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When Turkish tanks and warplanes crossed into Syria to help rebels retake the town of Jarabulusfrom ISIS on August 24, Syrian refugees at a camp just north of the border celebrated. A man named Abdel Wahab Shobak even shaved his beard, mirroring celebrations by other Syrian men freed from restrictive jihadi rule. Stranded in Turkey, Shobak hadn’t been living under ISIS, but he was still elated. “I was so happy at the liberation of these areas, and in hope of going back home soon,” he says. “The operation actually gave us some hope.”
Now sporting a neat trimmed mustache, Shobak runs a small concrete shop across the road from the walled refugee camp. The camp lies in fields of pistachio trees outside the border town of Karkamis, not far from the banks of the River Euphrates. He sells soda, ice cream, nuts, and cigarettes to a stream of refugees, many of whom buy on credit that Shobak records by hand in a ledger. Just a few miles away, Turkish tanks and armored vehicles massed on the side of the road into the town.
Shobak holds court as he works, talking about his family’s flight from the town of Kafr Naya, north of Aleppo. “Six people in my family have been killed. Three were my nephews and three were my brothers. And still I shaved my beard in celebration,” he says. “This is the first step toward victory.” A moment later, a young man strode into the shop and asked him, “Where’s your beard?”
The two-week-old Turkish military incursion unsettled the already chaotic battlefield in Syria, strengthening the hand of the Syrian opposition and angering the regime of President Bashar Assad and his key backer, Russia. The operation expelled Islamic State forces from the last stretch they controlled on the Syrian-Turkish border, depriving the jihadists of an important smuggling route to Turkey’s major cities and to Europe, potentially cutting off the path for new jihadis. The stakes of the offensive are high, as Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies now risk confrontation with rival Kurdish-led forces or the regime.
But the operation also provides a glimmer of hope to some of the nearly three million Syrian refugees who remain stranded in Turkey, among a total population of 4.8 million people scattered across the region and beyond. A few are already aspiring to return to their homes in what Turkish officials are calling a “de facto safe zone” in northern Syria. Even those whose homes are not directly affected expressed relief at seeing ISIS eliminated from the border area. The operation also emboldened some of the embattled forces of the Syrian opposition, who stand to take control of the newly-liberated areas.
The operation has unfolded with remarkable speed. It began on August 24 when rebels and Turkish forces rolled into the town of Jarabulus, just south of the border. On September 3, Turkey opened a second front in the town of al-Rai, West of Jarabulus, sweeping ISIS from its border in a pincer action. Rebel forces now say they are pressing south toward the key ISIS-held town of al-Bab, northeast of the major city of Aleppo. It is unclear how far Turkey’s forces will go into Syria, but regardless, opposition officials say they have a sense of momentum.
“The situation is very good. The Syrian opposition is advancing backed by Turkish forces,” says Zaki Amin, a local council official from the newly-freed town of Ghandoura, speaking by phone from Syria. “They’re advancing every minute, thank God, and hopefully in the coming days we’ll liberate al-Bab.”
The opposition-affiliated local councils are in the early stages of setting up governance and aid distribution in the newly-freed areas. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim, a lawyer and head of the Ghandoura local council, said he is preparing to return to the town after years in which his town suffocated under ISIS rule. “Ghandoura has been neglected for more than three years. The people of the world don’t know where Ghandoura is and what a strategic town it is,” he said in an interview in the city of Gaziantep in Turkey.
If Turkish forces proceed south, the risk of quagmire will likely increase. Standing in the rebels’ path is the ISIS-held town of al-Bab, with a pre-war reported population of more than 60,000. Taking the town would place Turkish forces in closer proximity to the forces of the regime and the Russian air force, as well as nearby pro-Kurdish forces who are allied with Kurdish separatists in Turkey. The military announced on September 6 that two Turkish soldiers had been killed in an ISIS attack.
“You need a coherent, clear timeline, and also a clear roadmap,” says Metin Gurcan, a former Turkish military officer and columnist for the news site Al Monitor. “The thing that I’m saying is, Ankara has no clear timeline and roadmap.”
The results on the battlefield will also depend partly on the outcome of negotiations among the world powers backing opposing sides in the conflict. U.S. secretary of State John Kerry is set to hold talksin Geneva with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in an effort to negotiate a ceasefire in Syria. A Russian and American-backed ceasefire declared in February collapsed within a few months as Russian-backed regime forces advanced. Those advances included imposing a siege on the key rebel stronghold in the city of Aleppo in June. Briefly interrupted by an Islamist-led counterattack in August, the siege of eastern Aleppo is now back in place, trapping an estimated 300,000 civilians in the rebel enclave.
Back in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, another refugee named Ahmed Dallal, 45, sits in his living room where he lives with his family of seven. He had lived in Aleppo before fleeing intense shelling by the regime in 2012. He returned with his family to his hometown of Jarabulus, on the Turkish border. They lived there happily until 2013, when ISIS began infiltrating the town, preparing the way for a takeover that would come later that year. In February of 2013, he denounced ISIS during a relative’s funeral and had to flee after a jihadi official threatened him. Following the Turkish incursion, Jarabulus now falls in the so-called “safe zone.” He says, “I support this action. It should have come sooner.” He has no plans to return for now, but that may change. “I will go back to Jarabulus if I feel it is safe.”


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What was behind Philippine president's 'son of a whore' remark to Obama? – video report 

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Diplomatic tensions between the Philippines and the US have risen after Rodrigo Duterte called Barack Obama the ‘son of a whore’ in a press conference on Monday, ahead of a regional summit in Laos. This video reports the fall out over the issue of US criticism of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines’ bloody drug war, and how the two presidents have responded
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Trump turns defense hawk - Politico

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Politico

Trump turns defense hawk
Politico
For months, Donald Trump has blasted Congress for excessive defense spending, calling for buying fewer of the newest fighter jets and scaling back weapons purchases pushed by “special interests." But on Wednesday, he was singing from the traditional ...
Trump calls for higher defense spending after months of isolationist talkWashington Post
Donald Trump Vows to Bolster Nation's Military CapacitiesNew York Times
Trump calls for military spending increaseCNN
Wall Street Journal -NBCNews.com -Los Angeles Times -The Fiscal Times
all 77 news articles »

Trump's Pentagon Plan Would Add More Troops, Ships Than Planned - Bloomberg

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Trump's Pentagon Plan Would Add More Troops, Ships Than Planned
Bloomberg
Donald Trump is proposing an Army as big as the one President George W. Bush sent into Iraq and Afghanistan and a Navy with dozens more ships than the service is aiming for. The Republican presidential nominee detailed his plans for the military for ...

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U.S. warns Russia against interfering with Western politics

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OXFORD, England (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday warned Russia against interfering with Western "democratic processes" and accused Moscow of aggressive behavior aimed at eroding the international order.
  

Obama administration arms sales offers to Saudi top $115 billion: report

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, other military equipment and training, the most of any U.S. administration in the 71-year U.S.-Saudi alliance, a report seen by Reuters has found.
  

U.S., Russia 'not there yet' on Syria deal: State Department

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Russia have not reached a ceasefire deal for Syria, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday, saying it could not confirm Moscow's announcement that the U.S. and Russian foreign ministers would meet in Geneva on Thursday.
  

Maoists push back against modernizing China

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Tears well up in Wang Shiji's eyes as he describes the first time he saw Mao Zedong, waving to a crowd of Red Guards in Beijing at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 when Mao declared class war.
  
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Iran and Saudi Arabia Squabble as Millions of Muslims Begin Pilgrimage 

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Pilgrims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for the world’s Muslims to reconsider Saudi control of the holy sites.

Days After Slur, Obama and Rodrigo Duterte of Philippines Meet Briefly 

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President Obama and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, right, on the podium before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations dinner on Wednesday in Vientiane, Laos.

Pressing Asia Agenda, Obama Treads Lightly on Human Rights

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Some advocates fear the topic has fallen off the American list of priorities in the region amid Beijing’s rise as a geopolitical power.

Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT offers Nigel Farage his own show 

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Trump faces national security test with speeches, forum

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Republican Donald Trump is unveiling a plan for a major increase in defense spending as he works to convince skeptics in both parties that he's ready to lead the world's most powerful military....

Philippines shows photos of Chinese ships in disputed sea

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VIENTIANE, Laos (AP) -- The Philippine government on Wednesday released what it says are surveillance pictures of Chinese coast guard ships and barges at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, in an apparent diplomatic gambit to publicize its concerns at a regional summit being attended by China's premier and Southeast Asian leaders....
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AP Explains: Why do US, Iran often face off in Persian Gulf?

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The U.S. Navy again has accused Iranian patrol boats of harassing an American warship in the Persian Gulf, this time with a Revolutionary Guard vessel nearly causing a collision with the USS Firebolt. Why does this keep happening?...

Stalin's victims painted from history

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The Russian artist whose work remembering the victims of Stalin has been vandalised.

Israel strikes Syrian positions after shell lands in Golan-army

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli aircraft attacked targets in Syria on Thursday, for the second time in five days, after an errant mortar shell from fighting among factions in Syria struck the Golan Heights, the Israeli military said.
  

Donald Trump wants bigger military, bigger defense budget

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Donald Trump on Wednesday called for a major expansion of the U.S. military and to scrap the "sequester" budget caps, and he vowed to offset the additional costs through a combination of savings elsewhere in the federal budget and more economic growth.
Outlining his vision for the military, the Republican ...

U.S. struggling to contain al Qaeda in Yemen 

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The United States is struggling to contain al Qaeda's formidable terror cell in Yemen, despite a devastating aerial campaign coupled with an extended American military presence on the ground, according to the White House's top counterterrorism official.
The battle against the jihadi terror cell, known as al Qaeda in the ...

Report: Soviet Docs Show Palestinian President Was Once KGB Agent in Syria 

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was a Soviet agent working for the KGB in Damascus, Syria in 1983, Israel’s Channel 1 reported Wednesday.
Channel 1’s foreign news editor Oren Nahari reported that documents from the Mitrokhin Archive, upheld by KGB defector Vasily Mitrokhin, show Abbas was once a Soviet spy.
The documents were obtained by Israeli researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez and reportedly reveal that Abbas, with the code name Krotov (which means “mole”), worked for Vladimir Putin’s current envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, who was stationed in Damascus in 1983, the Times of Israel reported.
The Mitrokhin Archive is known for being one of the best sources of information on Soviet intelligence operations. Mitrokhin has said that the KGB recruited the “then-head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Wadi Haddad, as an agent in the 1970s,” according to the Times of Israel.
It is unclear from the documents if Abbas was an agent before or after 1983.
Abbas did have ties to Russia before becoming part of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, attending the People’s Friendship University of Russia in Moscow in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He wrote a doctoral thesis that denied the scope of the Holocaust, titled “The Secret Relationship between German Nazis and Zionists,” the Times noted.
The KGB was the former Soviet Union’s primary security organization from 1954 until its disintegration in 1991.
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Federal Appeals Court Limits When Individuals’ Gun Rights Can Be Stripped 

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A federal appeals court limited the government’s ability to strip a person’s gun rights in relation to certain misdemeanor crimes in a ruling on Wednesday.
The case involved two Pennsylvania men who had been convicted of misdemeanors in the 1990s and were subsequently prohibited from owning firearms. Julio Suarez was convicted of carrying an unlicensed firearm in 1990 and received a six-month suspended sentence and a $500 fine. Daniel Binderup was convicted of corrupting a minor for a relationship he had with a 17-year-old girl in 1996 and received three years of probation and a $300 fine.
Neither received any jail time.
The U.S. Third District Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in the combined cases of Binderup v. the U.S. Attorney General and Suarez v. the U.S. Attorney General that it is unconstitutional to permanently bar the plaintiffs from owning firearms since they were convicted of relatively minor offenses and the government failed to prove they represent a hightened risk to society.
“Where the Second Amendment’s guarantees apply, as they do for Binderup and Suarez, ‘certain policy choices’ are ‘necessarily’ taken ‘off the table.’ Forever prohibiting them from possessing any firearm is one of those policy choices,” the court said in its ruling.
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which filed the suit, said the ruling was a victory for gun rights.
“Today’s victory confirms that the government can’t simply disarm anyone it wishes,” SAF attorney Alan Gura said. “At an absolute minimum, people convicted of non-serious crimes, who pose no threat to anyone, retain their fundamental rights. That this is even controversial is a matter of some concern.”
“In an era where government officials want to disqualify as many people as possible from gun ownership, this ruling is monumental. This case will lead to the restoration of people’s civil and constitutional right to own a firearm that is long overdue,” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb added.

Air Force, Running Low on Drone Pilots, Turns to Contractors in Terror Fight 

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The Pentagon is increasingly relying on private contractors to operate drones for reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Obama Acknowledges Scars of America’s Shadow War in Laos 

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President Obama did not formally apologize for the bombs that the United States had dropped on the country but said that it would raise its aid to Laos.

Hillary Clinton Says Donald Trump Doesn’t Measure Up on Foreign Policy 

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Her emphasis on her experience in global stagecraft comes a week after Mr. Trump tried to bolster his foreign policy credentials with a trip to Mexico.

Punishing Dissent in Bahrain 

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The latest bogus charges against Nabeel Rajab, a human rights activist in Bahrain, illustrate how repressive its rulers have become.

Australia Needs the United States to Keep China in Check

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Australia’s relations with China will be influenced significantly by how America conducts itself in the region.
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Donald Trump Vows to Bolster Nation’s Military Capacities

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In a speech at the Union League of Philadelphia, Mr. Trump called for an end to the military spending sequester and contrasted his views with those of Hillary Clinton.

Fact-Checking Donald Trump’s National Security Speech

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In his speech on security and the military, Mr. Trump included some misleading claims, and some plans that were little different from current policy.

EmailGate and the Mystery of the Missing GAMMA

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘unclassified’ email included highly classified NSA information—why didn’t the FBI mention this fact?
Last week’s Federal Bureau of Investigation release of materials relating to their investigation of Hillary Clinton has reignited the political firestorm surrounding EmailGate. How the Democratic nominee mishandled her emails while she was secretary of state is again front-page news, which is bad news for Hillary. Particularly because the FBI’s data dump demonstrates clearly that Clinton is either dumb or dishonest—and perhaps both.
Although Team Clinton has responded in their customary fashion, with lawyerly lies and evasions—nothing was “marked” classified, this is really about over-classification, classification is too complex for anybody to understand anyway—the FBI’s assessment has thoroughly debunked all of them. Hillary’s professed inability to even recognize classified information, thinking the C (for Confidential) meant alphabetical order, will now enter the pantheon of laughable Clinton infamy, alongside her husband’s debating the meaning of “is” while under oath.
The Bureau’s assessment establishes once and for all that there was classified information—and lots of it—on Hillary’s email server and bunches of Blackberries, many of which she lost. In fact, the FBI concluded that roughly 2,000 of her “unclassified” emails included information that was Confidential, the lowest level of classification.
The FBI examined 81 Clinton email chains, determining that they included classified information relating to the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, NSA, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency or NGA. In other words, Hillary compromised classified materials representing the full range of American espionage: human intelligence or HUMINT from CIA, signals intelligence or SIGINT from NSA, and imagery intelligence or IMINT from NGA.
Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageUSG  

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Saudi Arabia and Iran accuse each other of not really being Muslim

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The Middle East's two great geopolitical adversaries entered into a war of words ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, which starts this weekend. Their rivalry, shaped by sectarian Sunni-Shia divisions, can be seen in numerous bloody proxy conflicts across the region. But it also flares up in heated rhetorical broadsides.
     

Proposal to create board of directors to help run VA draws widespread opposition

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A proposal to establish a board of directors for the Department of Veterans Affairs drew opposition Wednesday from a House committee intent on changing the VA’s culture.
     

FBI-recovered Clinton emails contain only one new related to 2012 Benghazi attacks

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The revelation of the existence of as many as 30 potentially related emails briefly roiled Clinton's campaign last week — but further investigation revealed only one of those emails was previously undisclosed.
     
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National Security-Related Congressional Hearings, September 5–9 

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Wednesday, September 7
2:00pm   House Oversight & Government Reform Committee – Subcommittee on National Security  Oversight of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General’s Military Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations (here)
2:30pm   Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – The Administration’s Proposal for UN Resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (here)
Thursday, September 8
10:00am  House Oversight & Government Reform Committee – Examining FOIA Compliance at the Department of State (here)
10:00am  House Homeland Security Committee – Subcommittee on Counterterrorism & Intelligence – State and Local Perspectives on Federal Information (here)
10:00am – House Foreign Affairs Committee – Reforming the National Security Council: Efficiency and Accountability (here)
10:00am  Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs – Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management – Reviewing Independent Agency Rulemaking (here)
10:00am  Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – Pakistan: Challenges for U.S. Interests (here)
2:00pm – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – Briefing: Intelligence Matters – closed meeting(here)
Read on Just Security »

The Early Edition: September 7, 2016 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
IRAQ and SYRIA
A detailed democratic transition plan for Syria was unveiled today by the High Negotiations Committee, an alliance of moderate opposition groups, reports Patrick Wintour at theGuardian. The unveiling took place at a meeting in London, at which UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson and his US, EU, Gulf States and Turkey counterparts were present.  Johnson, writing in the Times today, urged Russia to stop supporting the Assad regime – a change of tone from March this year, when hepraised the Kremlin for aiding Assad after Syrian government troops retook the Syrian world heritage site of Palmyra.
Assad must leave power after six months of negotiations on a transitional government, opposition negotiator Riyad Hijab said as he presented the road map for peace in Syria today. [Reuters]
Syrian government forces have been accused of dropping barrel bombs containing chlorine on a suburb of Aleppo, reports the BBC. Assad’s government denies the accusation, made by activists, reports Al Jazeera. At least one person has died and dozens have been suffocated.
Clashes with Islamic State fighters near the northern Syrian town of al-Rai have left three Turkish soldiers dead and four wounded, according to Turkey’s armed forces. [AP’s Zeynep Bilginsoy]
Ankara would not object to President Obama’s idea of a joint Turkey-US action to capture the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan has said. [Reuters]  Erdoğan made the suggestion that high-ranking military officials from both parties could come together to discuss the issue, he told the Hürriyet Daily News’ Vahap Munyar.
What comes next after the Islamic State is defeated in Iraq and Syria? More war, writes Liz Sly at theWashington Post. This is partly because the US strategy for defeating the terrorists relies on regional allies and armed groups who are often bitterly at odds.
US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out seven airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on September 5. Separately, partner forces conducted seven strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command
IRAN
A further $1.3 billion-worth of Swiss Francs was sent to Iran by the Obama administration in the 19 days after its January payment of $400 million in cash, report Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee at theWall Street Journal. All payments were in settlement of a decades-old dispute over a failed 1979 arms deal.
The revelation that the administration chose to send an advance payment – in US dollars – to Iran, coinciding with the release by Iran of four American prisoners, has prompted renewed accusations from Congressional Republicans that the $400 million was a “ransom” payment, the Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian reports.
Seven Iranian fast-attack boats undertook an unsafe encounter with the USS Firebolt over the weekend, one Iranian craft coming to a stop in front of the American ship, according to a US defense official. [CNN’s Barbara Starr and Olivia Beavers]
TURKEY
The US was not complicit in the July 15 failed coup, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Munam Kurtulmus said yesterday, adding that he still expected the US judicial process to result in the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen. Rick Gladstone reports at the New York Times.
Another 73 personnel have been expelled from Turkey’s armed forces as the post-coup purge of so-called Gulenists continues. [AP]
SAUDI ARABIA and YEMEN
The US military announced counterterrorism strikes in Yemen yesterday, conducting three strikes against al-Qaeda between Aug. 24 and Sept. 4 it said killed 13 militants. [BBC]
The UK’s Committee of Arms Export Controls has produced a draft report calling for billions of dollars in UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia to be halted due to risks that Saudi Arabia will use such transfers to commit violations of the law of armed conflict in Yemen, writes Just Security’s Co-Editor-in-Chief, Ryan Goodman. The UK government said it has received assurances from Saudi Arabia that the weapons would not be used to violate international humanitarian and human rights laws, but the Committee said this was not sufficient. [BBC]
A group of mainly Conservative Members of Parliament are likely to press for amendments to water down any criticism of Saudi Arabia in the report, suggests Patrick Wintour at the Guardian. Conservative Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson sought to preempt the Committee in a statementearlier this week in which he asserted that the UK would continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and that the “key test” of serious risk of breach of international humanitarian law had not been met.
CHINA
Surveillance pictures apparently depicting Chinese coast guard ships and barges at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea have been released by the Philippine government today.[AP’s Jim Gomez]  The Philippines is “gravely concerned” that the Chinese boats were preparing to build structures at the shoal, it said today. [Reuters]
Increasingly assertive action by China’s coast guard ships risk destabilizing the South China Sea,according to new research tracking maritime law enforcement incidents in the region by Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies. [Reuters’ Greg Torode]
Syria-based Uighur militants were behind the suicide bombing of the Chinese agency in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek last Tuesday, according to Kyrgyzstan state security. [Financial Times.]
China seeks to undermine the US and emphasize its own growing stature with “small insults, minor aggressions” behind the “big set pieces of diplomacy,” suggests Andrew Browne at the Wall Street Journal.
NORTH KOREA
President Obama has vowed to work with the UN to tighten sanctions against North Korea following its latest missile launches, reports Josh Lederman at the AP.
The UN Security Council strongly condemned the missile launches and threatened “further significant measures” if North Korea launches any more missiles, yesterday, in an agreed statement following a closed-door emergency meeting called by the US, Japan and South Korea. [AP’s Edith M. Lederer]
GUANTANAMO BAY
The USS Cole attack trial resumed at Guantánamo Bay Tuesday after an 18-month pause while the higher courts sorted through a series of prosecution and defense challenges, reports Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald. Saudi Arabian defendant Abd al Rahim al Nashiri is expect back in court today for a three-day hearing.
Hunger striking ex-Guantánamo Bay detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab was briefly hospitalized yesterdayand then released. He said he will keep up the strike to the death if he has to. [AP]
HILLARY CLINTON EMAIL INVESTIGATION
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz asked a federal prosecutor to investigate whether Hillary Clinton or her aids were behind the deletion of a cache of emails from her personal email server a few weeks after the New York Times revealed publicly that she had been using it throughout her time as Secretary of State. [The Hill’s Katie Bo Williams]
Several technology companies tied to Clinton’s private email server have been pressed to comply with subpoenas issued as part of a House Science Committee investigation by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) after revelations in the FBI’s report on its investigation, released Friday, “reinforce the importance of the materials” subpoenaed, reports the Hill’s Katie Bo Williams.
The most disturbing aspect of Clinton’s continuing email drama is that no one in government stopped her using her personal email, William McGurn writes at the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Increased sanctions on Russia are not consistent with ongoing talks on possible cooperation between Russia and the US in other areas, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said today. [Reuters]
The US conducted two strikes in on al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia early this week, killing four fighters, a military spokesperson said today. [Reuters’ Phil Stewart]
Poland is to seek US approval to buy eight Patriot missile defense systems from weapons maker Raytheon in a $5 billion deal central to Warsaw’s large-scale military modernization program, accelerated in response to increasing Russian assertiveness, reports the Guardian.
Australia wants to expand its counter-terrorism arrangements with Indonesia, Malaysia and other neighboring countries, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said. He is set to discuss security with other leaders at the ASEAN summit in Laos. [BBC]
A car containing gas cylinders was found near the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Saturday and its owner – who is on an intelligence watchlist of people suspected of radicalization – taken into custody, according to police officials. [Reuters]
Two people have been detained by police in Brazil for allegedly pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, reports the AP.
UK Islamist activist Anjem Choudary was sentenced to five and a half years in jail yesterday for encouraging support of the Islamic State, reports the New York Times’ Stephen Castle.
Read on Just Security »
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Intelligence agencies probe Russian 'covert operation' to cause chaos during US election - Daily Mail

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Daily Mail

Intelligence agencies probe Russian 'covert operation' to cause chaos during US election
Daily Mail
Director of national intelligence James RClapper Jr is spearheading the investigation, the Washington Post, reported. Charles Allen, a former CIA officer, said: 'This is something of concern for the DNI. It is being addressed. There is no definitive ... 
Intelligence community investigating covert Russian influence operations in the USStars and Stripes

US Intel Agencies Investigating Covert Russian Influence Before ElectionDaily Caller 
Is Vladimir Putin Rigging US Elections? Intelligence Officials Discover Covert Russian MovesMorning News USA
Washington Post
all 76 news articles »

US investigating possible Russian attempts to disrupt upcoming election - AOL News

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AOL News

US investigating possible Russian attempts to disrupt upcoming election
AOL News
The U.S. is investigating the possible existence of a Russian plan to disrupt the upcoming election. On Monday, the Washington Post revealed James RClapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, is leading the effort.
Barack Obama meets Putin for one-on-one meeting at the G20 summit in ChinaDaily Mail 
It's the Democrats and not the Russians who are enemies of the RepublicCanada Free Press
Obama and Putin unable to reach cease-fire agreement for SyriaWashington Post
新华搜索 - 新华网
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Is Vladimir Putin Rigging US Elections? Intelligence Officials Discover Covert Russian Moves - Morning News USA

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Morning News USA

Is Vladimir Putin Rigging US Elections? Intelligence Officials Discover Covert Russian Moves
Morning News USA
James RClapper Jr., director of national intelligence, is the person conducting the investigation into the Russian covert operations. A senior intelligence official stated that Vladimir Putin's covert operation in the United States was something they ...

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FBI trying to be 'cooler' to attract hacking talent - Independent Online

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Independent Online

FBI trying to be 'cooler' to attract hacking talent
Independent Online
Or, as FBI Director James BComey recalled his daughter's explanation of the issue at a recent speech: "Dad, the problem is you're 'the Man,' " she said. "Who would want to work for 'the Man?' " His daughter was right, he said. But the agency is ... 

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The folly of fighting terrorism by lawsuit - American Enterprise Institute

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American Enterprise Institute

The folly of fighting terrorism by lawsuit
American Enterprise Institute
James Comey listens to the 9/11 Commission. FBI Director James BComey listens during a news conference on the release of the 9/11 Review Commission report in Washington March 25, 2015. Reuters. Jasta would create an exception to sovereign ...

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Now in Previews: Presidential Campaign Drama - New York Times

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New York Times

Now in Previews: Presidential Campaign Drama
New York Times
And she can still be less-than-straightforward, as in her brief insistence that the F.B.I. director,James BComey, had called her statements about her private email server “truthful.” At her best she can come off like the resilient and resourceful ...

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FBI director: Clinton email case 'was not a cliff-hanger' - Washington Post

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Newsmax

FBI director: Clinton email case 'was not a cliff-hanger'
Washington Post
FBI Director James BComey said in a memo to the bureau's employees that the decision not to charge Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state was “not a cliff-hanger” and, “despite all the chest beating by people ...
Utah Republican Becomes Hillary Clinton's Latest Congressional AdversaryNew York Times
Inside the Ring: Clinton email compromised in hostile cyberattacksWashington Times
FBI Director Released Clinton Email Documents to Avoid 'Game-Playing'ABC News
The Hill -MyAJC -Newsmax
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FBI warns against alleged Russian campaign to destabilize US elections 

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is among several intelligence agencies in the United States that have expressed concerns about an alleged Russian campaign to destabilize November’s presidential elections. 



National intelligence and Science 

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Title:                      National intelligence and Science
Author:                  Wilhelm Agrell
Agrell, Wilhelm (2015) and Gregory F. Treverton.; National intelligence and Science: Beyond The Great Divide in Analysis and Policy. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press
LCCN:    2014024770
JF1525.I6 A4325 2015

Summary

  • “Intelligence is currently facing increasingly challenging cross-pressures from both a need for accurate and timely assessments of potential or imminent security threats and the unpredictability of many of these emerging threats. We are living in a social environment of growing security and intelligence challenges, yet the traditional, narrow intelligence process is becoming increasingly insufficient for coping with diffuse, complex, and rapidly-transforming threats. The essence of intelligence is no longer the collection, analysis, and dissemination of secret information, but has become instead the management of uncertainty in areas critical for overriding security goals—not only for nations, but also for the international community as a whole. For its part, scientific research on major societal risks like climate change is facing a similar cross-pressure from demand on the one hand and incomplete data and developing theoretical concepts on the other. For both of these knowledge-producing domains, the common denominator is the paramount challenges of framing and communicating uncertainty and of managing the pitfalls of politicization National Intelligence and Science is one of the first attempts to analyze these converging domains and the implications of their convergence, in terms of both more scientific approaches to intelligence problems and intelligence approaches to scientific problems. Science and intelligence constitute, as the book spells out, two remarkably similar and interlinked domains of knowledge production, yet ones that remain traditionally separated by a deep political, cultural, and epistemological divide. Looking ahead, the two twentieth-century monoliths—the scientific and the intelligence estates—are becoming simply outdated in their traditional form. The risk society is closing the divide, though in a direction not foreseen by the proponents of turning intelligence analysis into a science, or the new production of scientific knowledge”– Provided by publisher.

Contents

  • Machine generated contents note: — 1. Introduction: The Odd Twins of Uncertainty — 2. Framing the Divide — 3. What Is Analysis? Roads Not Taken — 4. Intelligence Challenges in Scientific Research — 5. Exploring Other Domains — 6. Common Core Issues: Intelligence Analysis, Medicine, and Policy Analysis — 7. Challenges for Intelligence — 8. Politicization: Disseminating and Distorting Knowledge — 9. Beyond the Divide: Framing and Assessing Risks under Prevailing Uncertainty.

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 6, 2016
Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]
Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[2]
Wilhelm Agrell served with Swedish intelligence in the Middle East and is now a professor of intelligence analysis at Lund University, Sweden. Gregory Treverton, formerly with RAND Corporation, is a visiting scholar at the Swedish National Defense College and also Chairman of the National Intelligence Council in the United States. In National Intelligence and Science the authors discuss a factor common to intelligence and science—”remarkably similar and interlinked domains”—knowledge production. This is not to say the two domains have identical objectives. Scientists seek knowledge for knowledge’s sake without considering practical applications. Intelligence analysts, on the other hand, pursue knowledge to answer questions relating to global threats. Yet both function in an atmosphere of uncertainty, balancing constant demands for transparency while working to minimize failures and gain public confidence. However, the authors suggest that academia and intelligence are also “separated by a deep political, cultural, and epistemological divide… and another problematical divide… caused by overstated uncertainty and loss of trust”; (p. 3) these are considered in detail.
Put another way, while many forces stimulating scientists and analysts in the production of knowledge differ, those methods employed by the scientist are worth considering for use by the analyst. The authors, therefore, look beyond the traditional intelligence model and investigate analysis “as one of several modes of knowledge production for action, modes not limited to intelligence but increasingly transcending other fields including… the public role of science.” Following this path, they suggest, may lead “far beyond traditional boundaries and definitions… to the discovery of approaches and methods” that could fundamentally “alter the existing security intelligence domain.” (p. 4) The authors envision “a less distinct dividing line between collection and analysis” and even a possibility in which “collection becomes analysis and separate roles cease to have any meaning.” (p. 5)
In less elevated rhetoric, the authors explain the “aim of the book is how the concepts of relevance and uncertainty in intelligence and science to policy have developed and converged.” (p. 9) They see intelligence analysis as a system in transition; the book’s subsequent chapters deal with examples in intelligence analysis and various scientific disciplines that indicate that a process of convergence is occurring. These include the role of social media, and the problems of failures, uncertainty, client relations, and politicization. Looking to the future, they foresee “the need for the development of hybrid organizations” where experts “interact on a more continuous and integrated basis.” (p. 197)
National Intelligence and Science is an intellectual challenge. It offers new thinking for those concerned with how analysis needs to evolve while meeting the demands of the present.
[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]
[2] Peake, Hayden in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, pp. ). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence, Other reviews and articles may be found online at http://www.cia.gov

 

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The World’s Greatest Spies 

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Title:                      The World’s Greatest Spies
Author:                  Charles Wighton
Wighton, Charles (1962, 1965). The World’s Greatest Spies; True-Life Dramas of Outstanding Secret Agents. New York: Taplinger Pub. Co.
LCCN:    66010332

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 7, 2016
Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[1]
A journalistic review of fifteen spy cases from Mata Hari to Colonel Abel, preceded by an introductory chapter, “Espionage Through the Ages.”
[1] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., pp. 143-144

 

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The New Spymasters 

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Title:                      The New Spymasters
Author:                  Stephen Grey
Grey, Stephen (2015). The New Spymasters: Inside The Modern World of Espionage from The ColdWar to Global Terror
LCCN:    2015011888
JF1525.I6 G74 2015

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 7, 2016
Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]
Reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden[2]
British journalist Stephen Grey’s investigations of spies and secret agents have uncovered some new truths about an old profession—at least that is the message he seeks to convey in The New Spymasters. The book begins with a summary of the CIA catastrophe in Khost, Afghanistan, where a double agent suicide bomber killed seven CIA officers, a Jordanian intelligence officer, and an Afghan driver. It was, writes Grey, “a proof-of-life signal” that “the spy game was not over.” (p. 2) Returning to this theme later, he writes, “The secret agent is not dead—far from it. For all his faults, attempts to write off the agent were misguided and misinformed. As will become clear, the nature of spies and the value of human intelligence, had {sic] been misunderstood from the beginning. First rule of intelligence: forget everything you know.” (p. 16) Contemplating these pronouncements one might reasonably ask, “Who said ‘the spy game was over’, the `secret agent was dead’, and where did the ‘first rule’ come from?” Grey doesn’t elaborate, but he does use the term “spymasters” frequently as if it were part of the professional lexicon, which it is not.
As a first step to make things clear and establish what spies do, Grey reviews some classic MI6, MI5, and CIA espionage cases from the Bolshevik Revolution to the end of the Cold War. He includes the exploits of Sidney Reilly; Cambridge spies—incorrectly calling Philby and Blunt double agents; the ‘Steak Knife’ (sic) (actually STAKEKNIFE) case against the IRA; an operation in Cyprus; and some exemplars from Markus Wolf’s East German foreign intelligence agency. He suggests that these cases and others indicate that “the nature of the spy business is frequently portrayed wrongly [and] so, too, is the character of the Cold War’s real warriors—the intelligence officers at the heart of the business.” (p. 49) Just what Grey meant by “character of the Cold War warrior” is never made clear. As an example of the incorrect portrayal of the nature of the business, he considers the recruitment process often depicted in memoirs and novels as the slow, careful development of potential agents until they consent to cooperate.
Citing former CIA officer Milt Bearden, Grey argues that since most agents were walk-ins (though he does cite some exceptions), “The heart of the business was not recruiting, but rather running spies and the handling of active agents… to securely handle people in Moscow under the noses” of the KGB. (p. 53) Few would argue with Bearden’s assessment, but Grey’s conclusion that it constitutes a real change in “the nature of the spy business” is questionable and unsubstantiated.
With this pre-9/11 background, The New Spymasters takes a look at the post-9/11 world of espionage. He discusses the difficulties associated with recruiting and handling terrorist agents, and what happens when one is a fabricator, as in the CURVEBALL case. He also adds a more detailed account of the Khost incident, and then comments on the controversial rendition and drone programs, pointing out how technology has influenced the war on terror.
By way of comparis on, he mentions the improvements in technical intelligence since WWII. Before the digital age, he writes, “over several, decades, the CIA were sent a copy of every telegram in and out of the United States. All overseas phone lines were at one point tapped.” (p. 259) With modern technology, he suggests, this is no longer necessary. This out-of-the-blue unsourced allegation suggests his comprehension of CIA’s mission and capabilities needs some major fine tuning. This is not the only questionable, if not inaccurate, statement in the book. For example, William Donovan did not “found the CIA”—though he did propose such an agency. (p. 35) Then Grey’s quote of what was said about Kim Philby at St. Ermin’s Hotel; it is at best literary license, since there is no evidence that it happened. (p. 38) Also the statement that Blunt was spying on MI5 for the Soviets in the 1930s is inaccurate; he didn’t join MI5 June 1940. (p. 44) And MI5 officer Michael Bettany never tried “to sell secrets to the Soviet embassy in London.” He offered the secrets for free, as Gordievsky explained. (p. 68)
In general, uncertain sourcing is a problem throughout The New Spymasters. Grey frequently cites anonymous intelligence officers, some making astounding claims. For example, the “former CIA chief of station” who told Grey that “before the Yom Kipper War of 1973, an agent had obtained for him all of Egypt and Syria’s invasion plans” but his superiors refused to accept the report, though after the war he was proved correct. (p. 42)
The New Spymasters concludes with some rambling observations on why “spies and spymasters had to become a different breed, because the world is changing.” (p. 276) Just what he means by this is unclear, though it invokes globalization, greater cultural understanding, technology, social diversity, and universal values as considerations. While these factors may influence how the intelligence officer does his job, Grey does not seem to understand that these factors are not new and the fundamentals of the business remain unchanged. Sometimes Grey’s observations amount to non sequiturs: “When intelligence is absent, spying and spies are the last thing you need.” (p. 289) He adds, “If spying is the only way to get a secret, what secrets are really worth stealing?” (p. 292)
For those seeking one man’s introductory perspective on intelligence in today’s world, The New Spymasters meets that need. But it should be treated as the first, not the last, word.
[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]
[2] Goulden, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, pp. 123-124). Joseph C. Goulden’s 1982 book, Korea: The Untold Story of the War, was published in a Chinese-language edition in 2014 by Beijing Xiron Books. He is author of 18 nonfiction books. Goulden is a long-time reviewer of espionage and spy books for The Washington Times, for AFIO’s Intelligencer, for law journals, and other publications. Some of the reviews appeared in prior editons of The Washington Times or The Washington Lawyer (DC Bar Association) and are reprinted by permission of the author. Goulden’s most recent book [as of 2016] is Goulden, Joseph C. (2012).The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

 

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How the American unity forged after Sept. 11 broke apart

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After Sept. 11, signs of newfound unity seemed to well up everywhere but as the 15-year anniversary approaches that unity has been diluted.

Suing the Saudis: House GOP pressed to pass 9/11 bill - Politico

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Politico

Suing the Saudis: House GOP pressed to pass 9/11 bill
Politico
“Ryan said so long as Goodlatte approves it, he would approve it. And I spoke to Goodlatte, and [Goodlatte] said he approves it and supports it,” King told POLITICO. “There is no reason now for it not to come to a vote. The House Judiciary Committee ...
Justice Against State Sponsors of Terror—But Not Iran?Daily Caller

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Britain to Begin Construction on Calais Wall to Contain Migrants

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Britain plans to start building a wall in the northern French port of Calais as part of measures to contain migrants, junior Home Office Minister Robert Goodwill said Wednesday.

Future Agents in Training Get Inside Look Into the FBI 

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From: fbi
Duration: 02:24

Since 2008 the FBI's Washington Field Office has been sponsoring an annual weeklong program geared toward providing area high school juniors and seniors with the experience of what it's like to be an FBI special agent. This year students visited the Bureau's Explosives Unit on Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, where they learned investigative techniques during a post blast scenario.

Generational Change in Central Asia about More Than Just Leaders