“I think we all need answers…. I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.” Those are the words not of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Tom Perez or any other partisan Democrat but of former President George W. Bush, speaking Monday, and the questions pertain to Russia’s role in trying to rig the 2016 presidential election.
It is perhaps too much to hope for, but it would be a pleasant surprise if Republicans treated Kremlingate as seriously as they treated the issue of Clinton’s email server or the Benghazi attack. There is a desperate need for a credible, bipartisan investigation to get to the bottom of this murky business, and the president should welcome such an inquiry if he has nothing to hide.
“Over the course of the war, U.S. bombing of Laos would become so intense that it averaged one attack every eight minutes for nearly a decade,” observes Joshua Kurlantzickin his new book, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA. Kurlantzick, a Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia, mines extensive interviews and recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) records to give a definitive account of the secret war in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of Laos, which lasted from 1961 to 1973, and was the largest covert operation in U.S. history. The conflict forever changed the CIA from a relatively small spying agency into an organization with vast paramilitary powers.
If Mr. Trump’s slavish devotion to Putin persists in office, it will continue to raise questions about the exact nature of their relationship. If the president-elect wants to put such suspicions to rest, he should get as tough with the Kremlin as he vows to do with America’s other enemies.
Last October, the European Court of Justice struck down the Safe Harbor agreement, a 15-year-old transatlantic arrangement that permitted U.S. companies to transfer data, such as people’s Google-search histories, outside the EU. In invalidating the agreement, the ECJ found that the blurry relationship between private-sector data collection and national security in the United States violates the privacy rights of EU citizens whose data travel overseas.
Micah Zenko, senior fellow at CFR, discusses the use of red teams—groups enlisted to identify weaknesses and anticipate threats—by the military, intelligence community, and private sector, and outlines best practices for employing these teams effectively.
Millennium Challenge 2002, a U.S. military red teaming exercise, was doomed to fail from the start. In an excerpt from his book, Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy, Micah Zenko tells a more comprehensive version of the story than has ever been told, featuring interviews with numerous leaders of the military exercise.
Though employees may think their company’s office building is secure, the outward appearance of security is rarely correlated with the actual protection of that building, or the people and contents within. In an excerpt from his book, Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy, Micah Zenko details how penetration tests are used to identify vulnerabilities in a building’s physical security.
Micah Zenko gives the first, ever look inside the CIA’s Red Cell—a unit tasked with conducting alternative analyses to anticipate threats and challenge conventional thinking. This is an excerpt of his book, Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy.
This bill would require websites and technology firms to share user information with the government if the government wants the information to response to a cyber threat. Critics of the bill say it is similar to Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which did not pass the Senate two years ago.
At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom built memorials to every military branch save one: the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. The group had skillfully carried out its mission, leveling German cities in raids that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. But by 1945, the British public had developed second thoughts about the morality and efficacy of that mission.
Intelligence analysts have labored for years to identify the factors that make countries unstable. For those wanting to anticipate the next failed state, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory Treverton (“The Calm Before the Storm,” January/February 2015) offer a counterintuitive insight: “Disorderly regimes come out as safer bets than commonly thought—and seemingly placid states turn out to be ticking time bombs.”
“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.
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.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »