Authors: Eric M. O'Neill, Burton Gerber, John J. Devine, Mark Stout, and Peter Brookes
The arrest of ten alleged Russian agents in U.S. suburbs raises questions about the nature of spying in the twenty-first century. Former U.S. spies discuss the enduring need for intelligence collected by humans and the motives for this latest round of espionage.
The payoff of huge investments in security precautions mean better intelligence collection, surveillance, and other security infrastructure that combine to make the likelihood of an al-Qaeda attack today very slim.
The unauthorized release of a trove of U.S. diplomatic documents, while revealing little new, could harm vital U.S. national security interests in Pakistan and Yemen, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Recent revelations about U.S. surveillance activities in Latin America have provoked a range of negative responses from regional leaders, but the practical consequences will be marginal, says expert Christopher Sabatini.
While the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has granted U.S. agencies broad legal authority to collect sensitive information, it is hardly a "rubber stamp" for government surveillance requests, says CFR's Matt Waxman.
The WikiLeaks' controversy reveals inconsistencies in the U.S. government's approach to Internet speech and the responsibilities of private companies in control of what is now considered public space, says CFR's Adam Segal.
Failures to stop the recent U.S. airliner bomb plot and the destruction of a CIA base in Afghanistan illustrate inherent problems in intelligence gathering, and al-Qaeda's impenetrability, says CFR's Richard K. Betts.
The Justice Department's decision to review past CIA interrogation tactics may be legally justified, but Burton Gerber, a former CIA station chief, says the move could have a chilling and detrimental impact on the nation's counterterrorism efforts.
President Obama's decision to release information on CIA interrogation techniques has sparked furious debate over U.S. handling of terror suspects. CFR's Daniel Prieto says the new details indicate the "contorted" logic used by the Bush administration to justify harsh questioning.
Thomas Fingar, who leads the agency that produced the most recent Iran National Intelligence Estimate, says conclusions about Tehran’s weapons program are sound, but the report’s delivery could have been framed differently.
A former deputy director of the CIA, Richard J. Kerr, says the agency needs a strong leader who can restore its role as the leading source of intelligence analysis. Kerr says the new head of the CIA must clarify the relationship with the new director of national intelligence and the military.
Richard K. Betts, a CFR expert on the intelligence community, says that he sees no reason that the nomination of General Michael V. Hayden to head the Central Intelligence Agency should be blocked by Congress because of his military background. But he says that "there's a powerful reason to consider opposing the nomination," citing Hayden's role in domestic wiretapping without proper warrants by his National Security Agency.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 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 »