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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

 

Outsourcing Intelligence

The numbers are classified, the dollars are classified, but there's no doubt that the number of "Green Badgers" are catching up to, and sometimes surpassing, that of "Blue Badgers" in some of the US's most sensitive national security positions. Bob Baer is talking about it. Others have been, too. R.J. Hillhouse has been writing a blog for roughly six months now on the phenomenon: The Spy Who Billed Me.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze on Jul 8, 2007 - 17 comments

Intelligence for Everyone

"Silobreaker is a groundbreaking, web-based current awareness service designed for executives, desktop researchers, and other light information professionals who are seeking contextual insights and actionable answers."

Sounds interesting enough. How about taking the system for a test drive?
(Open-Source Intelligence resource courtesy of InteLink)
posted by mystyk on Jun 23, 2007 - 23 comments

Hey Jules

Meet Jules, a new humanoid robot from Hanson Robotics, the folks who built the Einstein and Phillip K. Dick robots, (the latter's head went missing a while back.) Jules loves you, as much as his newfangled software will allow. He also seems a little awkward and angst ridden for a robot, but it's not his fault; it must be the designers who made his software.
posted by Blingo on May 4, 2007 - 58 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

Body symmetry and intelligence

Body Symmetry and Intelligence
posted by Gyan on Apr 18, 2007 - 37 comments

Arrested British sailors were gathering intelligence on Iran while on UN mandate?

Releaed British navy commander: We were gathering intelligence on Iran (Watch the interview)
Tony Blair: The sailors were on a legitimate UN mandate
The Observer: The MoD confirmed last night that the Iranians had made the claim that they had become interested in Cornwall's activities after learning about it on British television, but denied the decision to allow the ship's crew to be interviewed while on active duty had jeopardised the mission.
posted by hoder on Apr 8, 2007 - 30 comments

Darth Cheney Strikes Back

Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted. A newly declassified report (PDF) by the Pentagon's inspector general claims that Iraq was not working with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion and that the intelligence was manipulated by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. On the same day as the report came out, Dick Cheney claimed that they did have a relationship via Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi may be dead, but he's still useful. [Via TalkLeft.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 6, 2007 - 65 comments

Jeff Hawkins unleashes his brain: Numenta's new AI platform

Jeff Hawkins, co-founder of Palm and Handspring, has started a new company, called Numenta, to test his controversial theory of intelligence. Whether you find his theory plausible or not, his book, "On Intelligence" is fascinating. Numenta is attempting to build A.I.s using Hawkins' theory as a backbone. They've developed a software engine and a Python-based API, which they've made public (as free downloads), so that hackers can start playing. They've also released manuals, a whitepaper (pdf) and videos [1] [2]. (At about 30:18 into the first video, Hawkins demonstrates, with screenshots, the first app which uses his system.)
posted by grumblebee on Apr 4, 2007 - 22 comments

Smart or Stoopid?

Are you Smart or Stoopid? A quick, entertaining and (for me) reasonably challenging way to determine your level of intelligence. Be sure to post your score.
posted by JPowers on Jan 25, 2007 - 203 comments

are we just not smart enough?

The WSJ's Charles Murray on the problem with public education: not inequality, overcrowding or standardized tests, but kids just aren't smart enough. First in a three-part series.
posted by Lisa S on Jan 16, 2007 - 203 comments

Dr Kanazawa.

I find my interest piqued by some of Dr Satoshi Kanazawa's ideas. Especially regarding The conformist culture of Asia. But also: The Myth of Racial Discrimination in Pay in the United States[pdf]. He works hard thinking.
posted by econous on Nov 6, 2006 - 27 comments

You can read this but then I'll have to kill you

The NSA Bibliographies The NSA internally publishes thousands of papers every year, on every topic from spycraft to cryptography to physics & aliens (no, really!). Each year the titles of these papers gets indexed & those indexes are also published internally. The Memory Hole has made a successful FOIA request for a large number of these, spanning almost 50 years. We don't get to see the actual papers, but just the titles are fascinating - including such page turners as "Computer Virus Infections: Is NSA Vulnerable?", "KAL 007 Shootdown: A View from [redacted]", "NSA in the Cyberpunk Future", "Telephone Codes and Safe Combinations: A Deadly Duo", "Coupon Collecting and Cryptology", "Cranks, Nuts, and Screwballs" & my personal favorite, "Key to the Extraterrestrial Messages". When you're done browsing the titles, there's a sample form you can use to request some of the documents yourself!
posted by scalefree on Oct 2, 2006 - 10 comments

George: I've got rats in my tail pipe.

Meet George -- 39, single, quirky sense of humour, looking for friends to chat with online. Last year, he won the Loebner Prize, to bots who can most successfully pass the Turing Test. More here from BBC. How long before we have our own Mefibots?
posted by amberglow on Sep 16, 2006 - 49 comments

No Saddam and Osama? :(

Senate Releases Pre-War Intel Reports. The two sections of the report released by the Senate intelligence committee are: "Postwar Findings about Iraq's WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How they Compare with Prewar Assessments" and "The Use by the Intelligence Community of Information Provided by the Iraqi National Congress" (both PDFs). This seems to contradict previous evidence. [Via TPMmuckraker.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 8, 2006 - 51 comments

What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA

What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA: She was the chief of operations of the CIA's Joint Task Force on Iraq, in charge of gathering information on Iraq's supposed WMD programs, according to a new article in The Nation based on David Corn and Michael Isikoff's new book, Hubris. On his weblog, David Corn says, "She was an undercover officer in charge of running critical covert operations." Also, in the summer of 2001, "word came down from the brass: We're ramping up on Iraq."
posted by kirkaracha on Sep 5, 2006 - 31 comments

The Hiding of the President

Keep Bush away from the press. Joe Scarborough (in the news lately for asking rude questions about the President's intelligence) opines that "If George Bush has lost his ability to give a commanding presser, then stage manage him differently. Play to his strengths... Show him only in settings where he is in control." Curiously, while Bush's press conferences have become unsetllingly less coherent in recent days -- even for him -- the so-called liberal media and even the blogosphere have barely mentioned it (perhaps in the spirit of preserving the dignity of the office, like FDR's wheelchair?) Example: watch this video -- what happens at 1:34 or so, right before the President abruptly terminates the questioning? Will Bush in his twilight years, as Foxborough advises, become like Ronald Reagan, protected from public humiliation by his faithful staff?
posted by digaman on Aug 22, 2006 - 156 comments

Englandspiel - or 'Germany Game'

Secret agent Huub Lauwers was parachuted into occupied Holland in 1941 to relay intelligence back to London. His capture by the Germans marked the beginning of the Englandspiel, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse intelligence that cost the lives of over fifty agents. Lauwers frantically tried to inform the SOE that he had been caught, but the Baker Street Irregulars just didn't get it. Or did they? [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 6, 2006 - 16 comments

The Origins and Evolution of Intelligence

The origins and evolution of human intelligence: parasitic insects? viruses? mushrooms? neural darwinism? foraging? machiavellian competition? emergence? or something else?
posted by MetaMonkey on Jul 24, 2006 - 26 comments

Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook

Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook (PDF)
If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete. - Sun Tzu

In 2005 Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies & West Point's Combating Terrorism Center worked together to translate what appears to be one of the most important works defining al Qaeda's strategic goals & methods, Management of Savagery (PDF) by al Qaeda strategist Abu Bakr Naji. Then they analyzed it along with three other al Qaeda works: Knights Under The Banner of The Prophet by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Between Two Methods by Abu Qatada and Observations Concerning the Jihadi Experience in Syria by Abu Mus’ab al-Suri. The result is Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook (PDF) (also Google cached HTML). If you want to understand more of al Qaeda than the simplistic cant that "they're evil", these two books are the place to start.
posted by scalefree on Jun 27, 2006 - 26 comments

Validating Van Riper

“You are not to use electronic communication or even land lines when communicating.” Remember the Millennium Challenge '02 wargames (previously discussed here)? To refresh your memory, Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper (ret.), playing the part of the enemy, sank half the American fleet using a host of unconventional tactics including using motorcycle messengers to avoid radio interception. The embarrassed Pentagon game masters restarted the game & forced Van Riper to use more conventional tactics that guaranteed a win by the Good Guys. Well it looks like the Iraqi insurgents have picked up a play from Van Riper's book. Flyers are being distributed throughout Iraq urging fighters to stop using cellphones, landline phones & the Internet for communications because the US Army is intercepting them & tracking down the rebel cells. Score one for open source warfare. [via]
posted by scalefree on May 26, 2006 - 55 comments

The Bush Doctrine

President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket on May 24, 2006 - 55 comments

"Let the game begin..." - Tomlinson v. MI6

Richard Tomlinson is a former spy. Jailed under the Official Secrets Act in 1995 for publishing his memoirs, famed for claiming there's a cover up surrounding Princess Diana's death and allegedly leaking a list of active MI6 agents, he is still fuming about his dismissal from the Secret Intelligence Service. So he started a weblog, complete with posts containing sensitive information. The British authorities are displeased.
posted by jack_mo on May 24, 2006 - 33 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

Would the Algorithm of Fugue end with A B C?

Douglas Hofstadter says, "What troubles me is the notion that things that touch me at my deepest core -- pieces of music most of all, which I have always taken as direct soul-to-soul messages -- might be effectively produced by mechanisms thousands if not millions of times simpler than the intricate biological machinery that gives rise to a human soul.". That was prompted by his reception to the output of David Cope's project Experiments in Musical Intelligence.
posted by Gyan on Apr 11, 2006 - 22 comments

A priest, a rabbi and a Hamas leader walk into a bar. .

"If Hamas fails to agree to a permanent ceasefire, we will have to create another leadership, just as we did before with Sheikh Yassin." Former head of the double ISO (Mossad), Efraim Halevy Spoke at the Middle East Forum in Boston last week (yes, he's selling a book) and had some interesting things to say. Earlier post here. (More inside).
posted by Smedleyman on Apr 3, 2006 - 19 comments

Tell 'em Uncle Alberto Says It's Cool

'The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House," said Jay Rockefeller, vice-president of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after the committee quashed a broad inquiry into the legality of the NSA spying on Americans -- despite an increasing number of legal scholars coming forward and declaring that the program is "blatantly illegal," in the words of Yale Law School dean Harold Koh. Meanwhile, the GOP proposes giving spying on Americans the "force of law" while subjecting it to "rigorous oversight."
posted by digaman on Mar 8, 2006 - 175 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

The Conyers Files

Conyers Flies Paper Airplane into Whitehouse. Rep. John Conyers has submitted motions to censure Bush and Cheney, and to establish a select committee to investigate their offenses. He outlines the evidence in The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War. (3.8MB pdf)
posted by stonerose on Dec 20, 2005 - 139 comments

Gulf of Tonkin Intelligence 'Deliberately Skewed'

Gulf of Tonkin Intelligence 'Deliberately Skewed'
The National Security Agency has released hundreds of pages of long-secret documents on the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident that played a critical role near the beginning of the Vietnam War. ... The most provocative document is a 2001 article [PDF] in which an agency historian argued that the agency's intelligence officers "deliberately skewed" the evidence passed on to policymakers on the crucial question of whether North Vietnamese ships attacked U.S. destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964. Based on the mistaken belief that such an attack had occurred, President Lyndon Johnson ordered air strikes on North Vietnam, and Congress passed a broad resolution authorizing military action.
[more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Dec 2, 2005 - 22 comments

Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
posted by y2karl on Nov 22, 2005 - 134 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

Call Me Irresponsible

"It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." As part of the administration's "campaign-style" strategy against criticism of the decision to invade Iraq, President Bush's Veteran's Day speech, which is basically the same speech he gave last month, does a little history-rewriting of its own. The president said that "a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs," and that Democrats "had access to the same intelligence." Neither assertion is wholly accurate. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Nov 12, 2005 - 33 comments

Lies and the Lying Liars.... you know the rest.

Newsfilter: The NYTimes is reporting that the Democrats forced Congress into a closed session last week (previous MeFi discussion here) because of a recently declassified memo citing concerns by intelligence agencies over the source of information used to justify the Iraq war. Turns out the White House had been informed their source couldn't be trusted to tell the truth and were probably fabricating evidence. Knowing this, the Bush administration still presented the stories as absolute truth. The memo was apparently ignored. Of course, the administration has ignored important memos before.
This new evidence probably invalidates the conclusions (pdf) drawn by the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the Intelligence Community's pre-war work on Iraq.
posted by zarq on Nov 5, 2005 - 70 comments

FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations

FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations...Records turned over as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit also indicate that the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its use of secret surveillance operations, which have been stepped up dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but are largely hidden from public view...
posted by Postroad on Oct 24, 2005 - 14 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

MI6 online

The Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6, now has its own website. MI5 has had one for a while, and apparently now gets most of its job applications that way.
posted by Phanx on Oct 13, 2005 - 17 comments

Google starts an internal futures market

Google's Crystal Ball::NYTimes. Quite interesting...Via TechDirt:
Google has created a predictive market system, basically a way for its employees to bet on the likelihood of possible events. Such markets have long been used to predict world events, like election results. Intrade, part of the Trade Exchange Network, allows people to bet on elections, stock market indexes and even the weather, for example.
I wonder how accurate the aggregated content of blogs would be to measure the likelihood of prospective real world events? The economist they consulted, Hal R. Varian, has some interesting links on his web page as well. I think that the internet better get their anti-spam technology up to par before we have people "gaming" the future through blogspam. For an explanation of Futures Markets (charts), see this page at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
posted by rzklkng on Sep 26, 2005 - 5 comments

Brain Gain

Genes Reveal Recent Human Brain Evolution. Two important new papers in the journal Science (available here) from the evolutionary geneticist and rising star, Bruce T. Lahn (see this recent profile from The Scientist), are potentially the tips of some very large icebergs. The papers document how two genes related to brain properties that underwent strong selection during the course of hominid evolution, have continued undergoing strong selection since the emergence of anatomically modern man. The papers wonderfully illustrate how biological evolution is an ongoing process as well as the artificial distinction between “micro” and “macro” evolution, and promise to be controversial for two reasons: First, the brain genes underwent the strongest selection during two periods of cultural and technological efflorescence (roughly 37,000 and 5,800 years ago). Second, the genes are distributed very differently in modern human population groups, existing at very high frequencies in some groups and being very rare in others, ensuring that the modern function of these genes will be a source of more research and much impassioned debate. More observations from anthropologist John Hawks.
posted by Jason Malloy on Sep 8, 2005 - 54 comments

Shades of Grey in a Black & White Issue.

The Inequality Taboo - Charles Murray defends his ideas, published in the controversial book The Bell Curve.
posted by Gyan on Sep 5, 2005 - 71 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

Scientia est Potentia

The Intelligence Resource Program from the website of the Federation of American Scientists is a lovely nugget of information about the intelligence field. It has intelligence budget data, threat assessments, imagery information, and more. But, in a little-known unlisted directory you can find intelligence and security related .pdf manuals for all four combat branches of the DOD and even a few others. Check it out, and don't worry because everything there is technically unclassified, it's just hard to find.
posted by mystyk on Jul 1, 2005 - 5 comments

Spying on US

Meet the new watchers California's National Guard has formed a new unit: Known as the Information Synchronization, Knowledge Management and Intelligence Fusion program, the project is part of an expanding nationwide effort to better integrate military intelligence into global anti-terrorism initiatives. Although Guard officials said the new unit would not collect information on American citizens, top National Guard officials have already been involved in tracking at least one recent Mother's Day anti-war rally organized by families of slain American soldiers, according to e-mails obtained by the Mercury News.
posted by amberglow on Jun 27, 2005 - 74 comments

Q & A with former Israeli Mossad chief Efraim Halevy.

Q & A with former Israeli Mossad chief Efraim Halevy. Halevy fields questions from readers around the world. See also his article "The coming Pax Americana".
posted by ori on May 16, 2005 - 19 comments

The New Hows and Whys of Global Eavesdropping

The New Hows and Whys of Global Eavesdropping [book review: for access: "legion" "legion"] Remember chatter? After 9/11, it was all over the news. For months, snatches of cellphone conversations in Karachi or Tora Bora routinely made the front page. Television newscasters could chill the blood instantly by reporting on "increased levels of chatter" somewhere in the ether. But what exactly was it? Who was picking it up, and how were they making sense of it? Patrick Radden Keefe does his best to answer these questions and demystify a very mysterious subject in "Chatter," a beginner's guide to the world of electronic espionage and the work of the National Security Agency, responsible for communications security and signals intelligence, or "sigint." In a series of semiautonomous chapters, he describes Echelon, the vast electronic intelligence-gathering system operated by the United States and its English-speaking allies; surveys the current technology of global eavesdropping; and tries to sort out the vexed issue of privacy rights versus security demands in a world at war with terrorism.
posted by Postroad on Mar 2, 2005 - 16 comments

White Matter and Gray Matter a Matter of the Sexes

She may not have the grey matter, but what's that matter anymore, anyway? A recent study shows that men have more gray matter, women have more white matter and in the end these differences seem to be no matter. Apparently men have more raw computing power, while women have a more efficient infrastructure -- resulting in similar general intelligence.
posted by ThePrawn on Jan 21, 2005 - 27 comments

smart_women != married_women; smart_men == married_men

A high IQ is a hindrance for women wanting to get married while it is an asset for men, according to a study by four British universities.

The study found the likelihood of marriage increased by 35 per cent for boys for each 16 point increase in IQ. But for girls, there is a 40 per cent drop for each 16-point rise, according to the survey by the universities of Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The study is based on the IQs of 900 men and women between their 10th and 40th birthdays. (via)
posted by airguitar on Jan 3, 2005 - 205 comments

Thinking Machine 4

Thinking Machine 4 explores the invisible, elusive nature of thought. Play chess against a transparent intelligence, its evolving thought process visible on the board before you.

From Martin Wattenberg (with Marek Walczak); they have been noted here before.
posted by e.e. coli on Oct 27, 2004 - 11 comments

condi rice and pre-war intel hype

Condi Rice and pre-war intel hype
The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, explained on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.

Are these women right to be angry with the Bush administration?
posted by specialk420 on Oct 3, 2004 - 23 comments

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