Intelligence

The Serious Costs of Weak CIA Oversight

In her angry broadside at the CIA on the Senate floor last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman, said, “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search … may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.”

She is right.

Congress has the constitutional authority to do robust oversight of executive branch activities.

Saddam Husayn and Islam, 1968–2003: Ba'thi Iraq from Secularism to Faith

Saddam Husayn and Islam, 1968–2003: Baʿthi Iraq from Secularism to Faith offers an intellectual history of the Baʿth Party from the 1940s through 2003. Amatzia Baram focuses on the transition from its early insistence on “unity, freedom, and socialism” to its Islamization by the time it was toppled by US forces in 2003, a change largely impelled by the need to rally Iraqis against Iran during their war of 1980–88. Baram reveals signs that Saddam Husayn himself became some sort of born-again Muslim, though these signs are inconclusive.

A Conversation with Jeh Johnson

During a forum hosted by Wilson Center Director, President, and CEO, Jane Harman, Jeh Johnson delivered his first major speech since becoming Homeland Security Secretary. Following his formal remarks he joined Congresswoman Harman for a wide ranging discussion on important issues such as cyber security, immigration, and cooperation with the private sector.

Jane Harman Discusses Government Surveillance on "Real Time With Bill Maher"

Jane Harman was a guest on "Real Time with Bill Maher" to discuss issues in American politics including the minimum wage, intelligence and surveillance, and terrorism.

"We should win the argument with the kid trying to strap on the suicide vest. That's the right way to do it," Harman said.  

Government Task Force Recommends NSA Stop Collecting Phone Records

Jane Harman was interviewed on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports regarding the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's new report, which called the NSA's data collection program illegal.

"My own view was and still is that the program is constitutional, but that’s only one piece. The second piece is, politically does it make sense, and in terms of U.S. security, to have a program which is creating so much dissension in our own country?" Harman said. 

Future Terrorists

What turns people into terrorists? That question might sound simplistic, but it's at the heart of the struggle to prevent terrorist attacks.

Take a look at some of the people who have tried to do us harm in the last few years.

Broaden the German-U.S. Dialogue About Snooping

Germans are not naive: They know that states spy, and that attempts to listen in to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conversations were to be expected. But they didn’t expect that the United States would do this, for a decade.

Trust needs to be rebuilt. We must go beyond an exchange of accusations and counter-accusations over this issue. As allies and democracies, the United States and Germany can do this, with some imagination and effort, and the relationship can be improved as a result.

Do Friends Spy on Friends? What We Have Learned From the “Summer of Snowden”

Tension is high between the U.S. and its European allies over revelations about NSA spying. Former Wilson Center Scholar Georg Mascolo is a former Editor-in-Chief of the German news weekly Der Spiegel. He recently met with Edward Snowden and has also co-authored an article about the need to rebuild trust between allies. We asked him to provide CONTEXT on the situation during his recent visit to the Wilson Center. 

Security Policies for a Post-Snowden Age

The hemorrhaging leaks by Edward Snowden — possibly aided by countries that have exploited his stolen classified information — have left the U.S. government reeling. That many media reports are inaccurate compounds the problem.

Endlessly playing defense is a poor strategy. Former National Security Agency director Bobby Inman, whose tenure ran from 1977 to 1981, recently suggested that the agency ought to “take everything you think Snowden has and get it out yourself. . . . [B]ad news doesn’t get better with age.”

Lessons from the Summer of Snowden: The Hard Road Back to Trust

Georg Mascolo, former Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar, and Tyson Barker, director of Transatlantic Relations at the Bertelsman Foundation, will discuss the necessity of a political solution that resolves US and European disputes over NSA surveillance programs. The panel will offer a comprehensive account of US intelligence practices in post-9/11 world and the resulting disconnect between expectations of personal privacy and the logic of mass surveillance technologies. According to Mascolo and Scott, the U.S.

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