National Security

Disrupting the Intelligence Community

Some 40 years have passed since the Church Committee’s sweeping investigation of U.S. intelligence practices, fresh on the heels of the Watergate scandal. And ten years have gone by since the last major reorganization of the country’s spy agencies, enacted in the wake of 9/11. Both efforts led to a host of reforms—among them, the creation of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the adoption of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which I helped shepherd through Congress.

What the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism Can’t Fix

The problem that Barack Obama’s summit to counter violence and extremism is meant to address isn’t one that community activism can resolve. The president’s message about the need for tolerance, understanding, and  inclusiveness to prevent and preempt radicalization of American youth is well suited to our historic notion of the “big tent.” But the world confronts a radicalized version and vision of Islam that requires a military and political approach. This isn’t something that Washington can fix quickly or comprehensively.

Violent Extremism the White House Doesn’t Want to Talk About

The stories expected to dominate the agenda at the White House summit on countering violent extremism are the headline-grabbing incidents of recent months: relentless attacks from Peshawar to Paris, from Africa to the Arab world, by the Taliban, al Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram. The tactics—beheadings, bombings, burnings, and gun-and-grenade massacres—have been brutal.

Have the Iran Nuclear Talks Reached an Impasse?

The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the group of six world powers bear out Einstein’s observation that politics is more difficult than physics.

At this point in the diplomatic process, the talks focus on technical details of a prospective agreement. But the politics of nuclear diplomacy loom large.

High Stakes: How This Year’s Climate Negotiations Will Impact National Security

Expectations for the upcoming UN climate change summit in Paris are higher than they’ve been in years. Experts expect it will be the best chance to achieve a binding, universal agreement to limit carbon emissions.

What should America do with Guantanamo’s high-risk detainees?

In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama reiterated his determination to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Some in Congress are resolved to stop him. Even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has supported closing the prison in the past, joined a recent congressional effort to slow releases from Guantanamo on the grounds that the president has never presented Congress with a “concrete or coherent plan.”

Book Talk: "US Foreign Policy and Defense Strategy: Evolution of an Incidental Superpower"

Does the United States have a plan for how it hopes to achieve its objectives on the global stage? Or is its position in the world an accident of history? Perhaps it is better to understand the United States as an incidental superpower—responding and adjusting to changes in the international system. If that is the case, given the instability and flux of current events, what might the future pattern of U.S. foreign and defense policy look like?

A Conversation with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson

Please join the Wilson Center for a major address by Secretary Jeh Johnson, the fourth Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Johnson oversees the third largest Cabinet department and leads the nation’s efforts to secure our country from a myriad of threats from terrorism to natural disasters. The address will be followed by a question and answer session with Wilson Center President Jane Harman.

Follow the conversation live on Twitter at #DHSin2015.

 

Why Al Qaeda Poses a Greater Terror Threat to the U.S. Than ISIS

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has long posed a direct threat to the West, a threat arguably more serious than that posed by Islamic State. Yet many seem surprised by this after news reports that one of the suspects in Wednesday’s attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris may have had links to AQAP.

The suspect, Said Kouachi, reportedly received training in Yemen in 2011. During that trip, he allegedly met with Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born preacher closely associated with AQAP until he was killed by a U.S. drone strike later that year.

The Most Underreported News Stories of 2014

Every year there are major events around the world that fly under the mainstream media’s radar despite their seminal impact. Four Wilson Center scholars who are also leading journalists from some of the world’s largest media organizations tell us what they consider to be the most underreported news stories of 2014.

The playlist above features video excerpts from each of the panelists:

Pages