Intelligence

Op-Ed

The Self-Contradictory 'Stand' Against the PATRIOT Act

Author: Max Boot
Commentary

“Had the program been in place more than a decade ago, it would likely have prevented 9/11. And it has the potential to prevent the next 9/11.”So wrote Mike Morrell, the CIA’s former acting director, about section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the National Security Agency to search telephone “metadata” (i.e., connections between telephone numbers not the content of calls) to ferret out terrorists. Now section 215 is no more.

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Primary Sources

USA FREEDOM Act of 2015

This legislation was introduced to Congress on April 28, 2015, as H.R. 2048 Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015. President Obama signed it into law on June 2, 2015. The act is an overhaul of the National Security Council's intelligence gathering program, the largest reform of the program since the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): Final Report of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Network Agency Accountability Board

The CIA accountability board produced this report in response to accusations from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the CIA had accessed without authorization the Committee's shared computer drive and removed some files, potential violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Wiretap Act. The computer drive contained files related to the Committee's investigation of the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" practices. The CIA's report overturned the CIA inspector general's July 31 report that agents had acted improperly in accessing the shared drive.

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CIA Fact Sheets and Statements on the Senate Intelligence Committee's Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program

The Senate Intelligence Committee began investigating the use of torture by the CIA to obtain information from detainees about terrorist plots. Their study was completed in December 2012 and was released December 9, 2014, after the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee debated how much information should be released. The CIA released its redacted June 2013 response to the study and the Director of the CIA John Brennan gave a new statement on December 9, 2014. The CIA also prepared a fact sheet on the history of the program and its responses to the Senate Intelligence Committee's main findings.

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Senate Intelligence Committee: Study on the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program

The Senate Intelligence Committee began investigating the use of torture by the CIA to obtain information from detainees about terrorist plots. The report covers the history of the interrogation program, the value of information obtained from torture techniques, and the CIA's and other government officials public statements about the "enhanced interrogation" program. The Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the torture program was ineffective and that some techniques were harsher than admitted previously. The report was completed in December 2012 and was released December 9, 2014, after the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee debated how much information should be released. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who led the investigation, stated that the classified, unredacted version of the report could be released later if necessary. The CIA released its own fact sheet and response.

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Op-Ed

The Problem With the Torture Report

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Though the release of the executive summary of the Senate’s report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program is a worthwhile effort, this report will cover little new ground, Micah Zenko argues. Rather, a more public account, including interviews with torture victims and interrogation technique used by the Department of Defense, is needed. Zenko provides guidelines for and questions to think about while reading the report.

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Press Briefing by Rear Admiral Kirby on Secretary Hagel's Middle East Trip and U.S. Response to Kidnappings in Nigeria

On May 09, 2014, Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby previewed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's travel to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. Rear Admiral Kirby also provided details on U.S. participation in a coordination cell in Nigeria, to help Nigerian authorities analyze intelligence regarding Boko Haram's kidnapping of school girls.

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Foreign Affairs Article

Reforming the NSA

Authors: Daniel Byman and Benjamin Wittes

The long-running debate over the tradeoffs the United States should make between national security and civil liberties flared up spectacularly last summer, when Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, handed journalists a huge trove of heavily classified documents that exposed, in excruciating detail, electronic surveillance programs and other operations carried out by the NSA. Americans suddenly learned that in recent years, the NSA had been acquiring the phone and Internet communications of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, as well as collecting massive volumes of bulk telephone records known as "metadata" -- phone numbers and the time and length of calls.

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