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'that's so stupid that one can only cry at the foolishness of it.'

In the past week, Germany has found and fired an American mole in their intelligence agency, investigated another suspect in their defense ministry, and asked the CIA station chief to leave the country. Media reports offer an interesting view of a post Cold War world grappling with the unexpected* - spy vs spy among friends and allies, while traditional intelligence targets Russia and China play the part of bemused bystanders. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jul 11, 2014 - 56 comments

"Usually I just do a Google search"

Studying the "wisdom of the crowd" the Good Judgement Project has been asking average citizens to predict global events over the last 3 years. A weighted average shows these participants, who do not have access to classified materials, are more accurate than the Intelligence community. And the projects "elite" forecasters are 30% more accurate.
posted by fontophilic on Apr 2, 2014 - 30 comments

OSINT

Inside The One-Man Intelligence Unit That Exposed The Secrets And Atrocities Of Syria's War
He had no formal intelligence training or security clearance that gave him access to classified documents. He could not speak or read Arabic. He had never set foot in the Middle East, unless you count the time he changed planes in Dubai en route to Manila, or his trip to visit his in-laws in Turkey. Yet in the 18 months since Higgins had begun blogging about Syria, his barebones site, Brown Moses [previously], had become the foremost source of information on the weapons used in Syria's deadly war. Using nothing more sophisticated than an Asus laptop, he had uncovered evidence of weapons imported into Syria from Iran. He had been the first person to identify widely-banned cluster bombs deployed by Syrian forces. By The New York Times' own admission, his findings had offered a key tip that helped the newspaper prove that Saudi Arabia had funneled arms to opposition fighters in Syria.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 9, 2014 - 12 comments

USG Black Budget Revealed.

Using documents obtained from whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Washington Post reports on the United States' $52.6 billion "black budget" for 2013.
posted by anemone of the state on Aug 29, 2013 - 77 comments

TP-AJAX

In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 19, 2013 - 33 comments

"A culture of dissent must be nurtured and protected if it is to thrive"

The United States' National Security organization has many parts, from the famous (NSA, CIA) to the mundane (OCI, NGA) to the more esoteric (NRO, CSS). But even the most dedicated Washington insider may not have heard of INR. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 26, 2013 - 21 comments

"Bin Laden cowered & hid. Mughniyeh spent his life giving us the finger"

It's been five years since the death of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus. No one ever claimed responsibility for killing him. Hezbollah publicly blames Israel's Mossad, a charge they unsurprisingly deny. So, who killed The Driver? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 30, 2013 - 18 comments

The "50-50" Proposition

Inside Osama Bin Laden's final hours
posted by Artw on Oct 29, 2012 - 103 comments

The Permanent War

The Permanent War (video). "This project, based on interviews with dozens of current and former national security officials, intelligence analysts and others, examines evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing." Part 1: Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists. Part 2: A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy. Part 3: Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 25, 2012 - 68 comments

In the name of Defense.

In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
posted by zarq on Mar 26, 2012 - 29 comments

Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke Speculates on a CIA 9/11 Cover-Up

Double or Nothing: 9/11 Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke Speculates That the CIA Tried and Failed to Recruit the Hijackers, and Then Engaged in a Cover-Up. Admitting that he has no proof, he nonetheless alleges that CIA Director George Tenet and others concealed their knowledge that the suspected Al-Qaeda members were inside the country, which in turn prevented the FBI and other agencies from thwarting the 9/11 attack. Tenet et al. have responded to this charge via a prepared statement.
posted by darth_tedious on Aug 14, 2011 - 91 comments

"An institution full of intelligence but devoid of wisdom"

Whose side is Pakistan's ISI really on?
posted by Artw on May 12, 2011 - 44 comments

Giving "The Devil" His Due

Emmanuel "Toto" Constant led a paramilitary organization called FRAPH that terrorized Haiti after the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. When FRAPH's fortunes declined, Toto mysteriously appeared in New York City, where he was scorned by the Haitian community. Justice eventually caught up to Toto, who is now imprisoned in New York state. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Apr 27, 2011 - 6 comments

Open Sourcing Intelligence Analysis

In an age of information wealth, how do we decide what's true & what's not? Allow me to introduce the world of discussion mapping. First up we have zest (demo here), a simple tool for threading mailing lists for easier navigation. It lacks the advanced features of the others but it's an easy starting point for structuring your discussions. [more inside]
posted by scalefree on Jan 10, 2011 - 6 comments

Japan's Media Environment

Japan -- Media Environment Open; State Looms Large (August 2009, PDF) [more inside]
posted by armage on Sep 1, 2009 - 8 comments

Leon Panetta and the C.I.A.

The Secret History: Can Leon Panetta move the C.I.A. forward without confronting its past?
posted by homunculus on Jun 14, 2009 - 42 comments

Cyberbattles in the shadows

Hacking Al-Qaeda's websites: Hacker wars are the latest front in the fight against Al Qaeda. CNN says here that AQ may be unable to post propaganda videos as a result. But who is attacking? As far back as 2002, people speculated that Western intelligence agencies had compromised them, and a pornographer claimed he did. More recently, there are Shiite vs. Sunni battles, as when Ayatollah Sistani's website was cracked. In 2004, Zarqawi's site was breached.
posted by msalt on Oct 23, 2008 - 11 comments

If at first (or second) you don't succeed...

Operation PLIERS. An internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a plan to destabilize Venezuela during the upcoming constitutional referendum. The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. The full text of the memo will be released soon for verification purposes. Many previously.
posted by scalefree on Nov 28, 2007 - 42 comments

Valerie Plame v. The CIA

Wilson et al v. McConnell et al. This site has all the legal documents surrounding Valerie Plame's legal case against the CIA over her new book. CIA censors blacked out 10 percent of the copy, as can seen in this excerpt from the book, and Plame is not allowed to speak freely in her interviews. [Via No Quarter.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 22, 2007 - 87 comments

The man who knew too much

The man who knew too much. "He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
posted by homunculus on Oct 13, 2007 - 21 comments

"We're the ones that stand up and tell you the truth when we're wrong."

"It's a great thing about this government... the only people that ever stand up and tell the truth are who? Intelligence officers." George Tenet told his side on 60 Minutes tonight. In case you missed it. [via]
posted by scblackman on Apr 29, 2007 - 60 comments

Homeland Security

You can't write anything honest, only fairy tales." "This administration," Bob Graham, the former Senator and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me, "does not seek the truth as a basis for its judgments, but tries to use intelligence to validate judgments it has already made."

"I spent 30 years at the CIA," said one former official, "and no one was ever interested in knowing whether I was a Republican or a Democrat. That changed with this administration. Now you have loyalty tests."
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket on May 18, 2006 - 40 comments

Porter Goss Resigns at CIA

Newsfilter: CIA director Porter Goss resigns. After taking some of the fall heat for bad intelligence in the months before 9/11, Cheney's "cat's paw" finally gets out of the kitchen.
posted by digaman on May 5, 2006 - 200 comments

Cherry-Picking on the Road to War

"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
posted by digaman on Feb 10, 2006 - 49 comments

wmd intelligence

Curveball's motive, CIA officials said, was not to start a war. He simply was seeking a German visa.
You would think that there would be some serious repercussions for "mishandling" intelligence used to start a war.
Then again it's not like this is really news (dated 4/2004)
A different angle previously discussed here on Metafilter
posted by threehundredandsixty on Nov 20, 2005 - 12 comments

NOC, NOC, Who's There

Why outing Plame mattered. If you wonder what's really at stake behind all the media buzz around the Fitzgerald indictments, read this lengthy and cogent analysis by Stratfor's no-nonsense George Friedman. "Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a 'bodyguard of lies' -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities... The minimal story -- that they talked about Plame with a reporter -- is the end of the matter."
posted by digaman on Oct 18, 2005 - 89 comments

James Marcinkowski on the Plame Affair

Testimony of former CIA case officer James Marcinkowski on the Plame Affair, via David Corn. Now that the US government has exposed a CIA case officer and endangered her contacts, it will be much more difficult for CIA officers to recruit informants in the future. Any undercover officer, whether in the police department or the CIA, will tell you that the major concern of their informant or agent is their personal safety and that of their family. Cover is safety. If you cannot guarantee that safety in some form or other, the person will not work for you and the source of important information will be lost. ... What has suffered perhaps irreversible damage is the credibility of our case officers when they try to convince our overseas contact that their safety is of primary importance to us.
posted by russilwvong on Jul 22, 2005 - 79 comments

Anonymous

Everyone's favorite unidentified 22-year CIA veteran who used to hunt Osama bin Laden, Anonymous, is back with a new book, "Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror," and suggests that al-Qaida may try to reward Bush before the election. Last year, Anonymous created a stir with another book and was interviewed on Nightline. If only he had a scramble suit, he could do a book tour.
posted by homunculus on Jun 23, 2004 - 19 comments

A Temporary Coup

"A Temporary Coup" -- after a brief commercial, read Salon's interview with CIA historian Thomas Powers, who wrote The Trouble with the CIA and The Failure previously for the NYRB, and herein relates a tale of terror and truly Byzantine intrigue.
posted by y2karl on Jun 14, 2004 - 6 comments

CIA Warned of Attack 6 Years Before 9-11

CIA Warned of Attack 6 Years Before 9-11 Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA warned in a classified report that Islamic extremists likely would strike on U.S. soil at landmarks in Washington or New York, or through the airline industry, according to intelligence officials.
posted by Postroad on Apr 16, 2004 - 41 comments

Iraq Lacked Atom Whack

At least four times in the fall of 2002, the president and his advisers invoked the specter of a "mushroom cloud," and some of them, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, described Iraq's nuclear ambitions as a threat to the American homeland... Among the closely held internal judgments of the Iraq Survey Group, overseen by David Kay as special representative of CIA Director George J. Tenet, are that Iraq's nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991, that facilities with suspicious new construction proved benign, and that equipment of potential use to a nuclear program remained under seal or in civilian industrial use.

So in regards to Iraq's possession of the one weapon we can be certain causes mass destruction: the atomic bomb, as Gregg Easterbrook put it, the verdict is the unsurprising (and unsurprisingly closely held) nope, not, zero, zip, nada...
posted by y2karl on Oct 27, 2003 - 21 comments

Are you down with OSP. Yeah, you know me.

Team B (from Outer Space) Gordon Mitchell, author of Strategic Deception, has recently penned a paper that investigates the process by which decisions about the quality of American intelligence are made. He highlights the role of Team B, a group of far-right conservatives who routinely debated against Team A, usually consisting of mid-level intelligence analysts. These debates were a commonplace during the cold war, and through a series of enthymemetic narratives that altered the conditions of proof, Team B was able to successfully beat Team A (time and time again) and move foreign policy further and further to the right. The cold war ended, and Team B ended with it. But now Team B is back in the form of the OSP, and the same movements are happening, this time challenging and compromising moderate foreign policy, including the more moderate portions of the Bush Doctrine. Is this structural device possibly to blame for the Iraq intel snafu, rather than some overt desire to lie and deceive? Your thoughts?
posted by hank_14 on Aug 5, 2003 - 12 comments

It's not censorship if it doesn't work

GOP Warns TV Stations Not to Air Ad Alleging Bush Mislead the Nation Over Iraq They claim that the ad itself is dishonest, and cite the obligation of broadcast outlets to be free of misleading information. “Such obligations must be taken seriously. This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.” Despite the implicit threats, only one station has refused to run the ad, a Fox station.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly on Jul 23, 2003 - 74 comments

An unbearable stench?

Cooked intel revolts spooks - Spooks revolt : elements of the US intelligence community are between outrage and open revolt, and Veterans for Intelligence Sanity, a group of ex - CIA professionals led by Ray McGovern, a 27 year veteran of the CIA who used to brief George Bush Sr., has called for Dick Cheney's resignation in an open letter to GW Bush, reports Nick Kristoff. "You may not realize the extent of the current ferment within the intelligence community and particularly the CIA" they have warned Mr. Bush. At the heart of the matter is the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) under the leadership of Abram Shulsky. Meanwhile, "It's like, duh, the net doesn't forget. Get it?" : a blogger compiles a chronological list of Bush Administration statements on Iraq's WMD's - from "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." (George W. Bush Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003) to "They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer." (Donald Rumsfeld, Remarks to Council on Foreign Relations, May 27, 2003) and "U.S. officials never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction. (Condoleeza Rice, Reuters Interview, May 12, 2003) Also in above link: scroll to bottom for memorandum to GW Bush.
posted by troutfishing on Jul 15, 2003 - 105 comments

Bush Lied, People Died

The First Casualty. The New Republic is one of the few left-leaning political journals who supported the war on Iraq. Now it seems like they've come to their senses and have written a very exhaustive story on how exactly Team Bush manipulated evidence to support the war on Iraq: "Rather, interviews with current and former intelligence officials and other experts reveal that the Bush administration culled from U.S. intelligence those assessments that supported its position and omitted those that did not. The administration ignored, and even suppressed, disagreement within the intelligence agencies and pressured the CIA to reaffirm its preferred version of the Iraqi threat. Similarly, it stonewalled, and sought to discredit, international weapons inspectors when their findings threatened to undermine the case for war."
posted by owillis on Jun 19, 2003 - 11 comments

There's just too much here to even begin to cope with.

An official Q&A with the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, alludes to some extremely scary/interesting tidbits-- the Office of Strategic Influence is still alive, John Poindexter can do anything he pleases with DARPA, we just might renew nuclear weapons testing. Don't worry, though. Rummy sez: "Anyone who is concerned ought not be. Anyone with any concern ought to be able to sleep well tonight. Nothing terrible is going to happen."
posted by LimePi on Nov 23, 2002 - 7 comments

Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans

Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans And this is justified because of National Security. We will lose much that is personal, private, but in turn we will be protefted against the bad guys. Or will we? When NASA and CIA claim they need to spy domestically, and computers gather all data on Americans, what is left that is not what Orwell had suggested might our future be like?Or, as Morth Sahl once labelled a comic record: TheFuture Lies Ahead."
posted by Postroad on Nov 9, 2002 - 97 comments

How the U.S. Missed the Clues

How the U.S. Missed the Clues Time magazine assessmeznt of what went wrong in evaluation of intelligence pre-9/11. I am not yet sure why I find the conclusions a bit evasive but it seems to me the article tries to satisfy differing perspectives rather than taking a stand for a specific point of view. But then that may be my reading and wrong headed.
posted by Postroad on May 27, 2002 - 7 comments

Was the Venezuela coup another Chile 1973?

Was the Venezuela coup another Chile 1973? Two months ago, Narco News called attention to the striking similarities between the situation in Venezuela and CIA plots against leftist Chilean president Salvador Allende in the early 1970s. The CIA's own version of what happened in Chile discusses its "sustained propaganda efforts, including financial support for major news media, against Allende and other Marxists." Hmm. Chavez shut down five private TV stations after they repeatedly aired what he called misleading footage of the protest deaths last week, after months of relentless attacks against his government. Sure makes you wonder.

On another note, did eyewitness accounts widely disseminated over the Web help doom the White House spin that "government supporters, on orders from the Chavez government, fired on unarmed, peaceful protestors"? If the Web didn't exist, would the final word have come from articles like this now out-of-date, pro-business analysis in yesterday's Washington Post?
posted by mediareport on Apr 14, 2002 - 47 comments

On flight simulators, Tetris, and the CIA

On flight simulators, Tetris, and the CIA The Sunday Times Mag has a feature on Gilman Louie, popularizer of Tetris who was recruited by the CIA in 1998. " Louie's marching orders were to provide venture capital for data-mining technologies that would allow the C.I.A. to monitor and profile potential terrorists as closely and carefully as Amazon monitors and profiles potential customers."
posted by brookish on Apr 12, 2002 - 13 comments

What really happened in the week before the attacks in reguards to a Pakistani Inteligence visit with CIA officials.
posted by bas67 on Nov 7, 2001 - 29 comments

What did we know?

What did we know? And what are we doing now? The best background summary I've yet seen, and the concrete info on the difficulties the intelligence agencies are facing is sobering.
posted by rushmc on Sep 23, 2001 - 3 comments

Realism Urgently Needed - Or Not?

Realism Urgently Needed - Or Not? David Ignatius's column today in The Washington Post addresses the question of effectiveness in the war against terrorism. He tells the sobering story of the CIA's collaboration with the terrorist Ali Hassan Salameh. The downside: "The most obvious (lesson) is that collecting intelligence about terrorists is a truly dirty business. This world cannot be penetrated without help from members or friends of the terrorist network". The upside: "Paradoxically, these tragic days have probably been an ideal time for the CIA to be recruiting new sources of intelligence about terrorism. The barbaric attacks Tuesday aroused disgust around the world --- not least among civilized Muslims. Some of these disgusted Muslims will surely want to help the United States and its allies put the terrorists out of business." The crucial moral question: It's really a classic means/ends debate. Is it right - or just acceptably expedient - to collaborate with known terrorists in order to strike out at those we don't yet(or otherwise will never) know about?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 16, 2001 - 12 comments

bin Laden has a mentor?
posted by redhead on Sep 14, 2001 - 5 comments

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