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McConnell: Hurdles Facing U.S. Intelligence

Interviewee: Michael McConnell
Interviewer: Eben Kaplan
June 28, 2007

Michael McConnell, the top U.S. intelligence official, speaks about some of the challenges facing the U.S. intelligence community. In particular, McConnell cites the challenge of balancing security and civil liberties when confronting homegrown terrorism. He hopes pending legislation can help to clarify the proper use of surveillance when investigating terrorists on U.S. soil.

On Iran, McConnell cites “overwhelming evidence” that Tehran is supporting insurgents in Iraq and “compelling” evidence that the same is happening in Afghanistan. McConnell cites insurgents’ increasing use of effective roadside bombs known as Explosively Formed Projectiles that are clearly traceable to Iran.

McConnell puts much stock in the ability of information technologies to aid intelligence work. Adopting the use of wikis and blogs, as the private sector has done, is a “matter of survival,” he says.

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