James Risen

G - L


Risen, James. "Getting Back to Basics: C.I.A. Is Hiring More Spies." New York Times, 27 Jun. 1998, A9.


Risen, James. "Gore Rejected C.I.A. Evidence of Russian Corruption." New York Times, 23 Nov. 1998, A8.

"[S]everal intelligence officials familiar with the incident" report that "evidence of the personal corruption of [Russian] Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin" sent to the White House by the CIA was "rejected" by Vice President Al Gore, "and sent back to the CIA with a barnyard epithet scrawled across its cover.... As a result, CIA analysts say they are now censoring themselves.... [A]dministration officials contend that the CIA reports never contained enough evidence to prompt them to distance themselves from Chernomyrdin, Chubais or other senior Russian officials who had become important counterparts in diplomatic and economic relations."

A follow-on report by the Associated Press, "CIA Denies Watering Down Reports," 23 Nov. 1998, quotes "administration and intelligence officials" for the view that "U.S. intelligence pulls no punches in its secret reports to the White House despite a flap three years ago over a highly critical agency assessment of Vice President Al Gore's chief Russian negotiating partner.... 'The notion that we pull any of our punches is simply wrong. We call them as we see them,' said CIA spokesman Bill Harlow. 'The vice president is one of our most ardent consumers of intelligence. He asks a lot of questions and he demonstrates an in-depth interest in a variety of subjects.'"


Risen, James. "How Pair's Finding on Terror Led to Clash on Shaping Intelligence." New York Times, 28 Apr. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The SSCI "is investigating whether" the two-person Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, created by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, "exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq to justify the war.... Whether its findings influenced the thinking of policy makers or merely provided talking points that buttressed long-held views, the unit played a role in the administration's evolving effort to define the threat of Iraq -- and sell it to the public."


Risen, James. "Informant for F.B.I. Had Contacts With Two 9/11 Hijackers." New York Times, 25 Jul. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to the House-Senate committee report released on 24 July 2003, "[t]he F.B.I. may have missed its best chance to prevent the Sept. 11 plot when one of its informants developed close ties to two of the hijackers [Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi] living in San Diego, yet never alerted the bureau to the impending attacks.... The F.B.I. missed the opportunity in large part because the C.I.A. had failed to share information with the bureau about the two hijackers, who had attended a meeting of al Qaeda in Malaysia."


Risen, James. "In Hindsight, C.I.A. Sees Flaws That Hindered Efforts on Terror." New York Times, 7 Oct. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

DCI George J. Tenet "issued a secret directive shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks" that called for "an immediate end to peacetime bureaucratic constraints on the C.I.A." and demanded "improved coordination and information sharing throughout the government's national security apparatus." The DCI's "directive did not address the controversy surrounding the C.I.A.'s guidelines that require high-level approval before the C.I.A.'s American officers can recruit foreign spies with unsavory backgrounds." But a U.S. intelligence official said that since 9/11, the CIA."has streamlined the guidelines in order to speed the approval process for the recruitment of new agents. Now, new agents can be approved by the C.I.A.'s Deputy Director of Operations..., and the requests no longer have to be sent further up the agency's organization chart, including all the way to the director himself."

[CIA/00s/01/Gen; Terrorism/01/WTC]

Risen, James. "Intelligence Agencies Not Up to the Job, Lawmakers Report." New York Times, 18 May 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A HPSCI report issued on 17 May 2000 says that "[p]oor organization, inadequate funding and a lack of aggressive leadership have eroded the ability" of the U.S. intelligence community "to face new threats."


Risen, James. "Jailed Agent Says He Voiced Suspicion about Spy Suspect." New York Times, 28 May 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Interviewed at the federal prison in Ashland, KY, where he is serving a 27-year sentence for spying for Moscow, Earl Pitts said that he told FBI investigators in June 1997 "that he knew of suspicious activity by his fellow agent Robert P. Hanssen that indicated he might also be spying."

[FBI/00s/Hanssen; FBI/90s/Pitts]

Risen, James. "Jailing in Russia Is a Reminder That Spy Wars Still Smolder." New York Times, 16 Jun. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Moscow revealed last week that former SVR colonel Aleksandr Zaporozhsky "has been sentenced to 18 years in jail for spying for the United States.... Zaporozhsky had been living in Maryland but in November 2001 was somehow induced to return to Moscow, where he was quietly arrested and jailed.... Russian news reports of his sentencing last week suggested that he had been drawn into an ambush because he was suspected of helping the United States identify and arrest Robert P. Hanssen."


Risen, James. "Keep Pollard Locked Up, Clinton Aides Recommend." New York Times, 12 Jan. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Administration officials say that President Clinton's key national security advisers have recommended denying clemency to Jonathan Pollard. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says "there is no compelling foreign policy reason to release Pollard." DCI George Tenet has urged that Pollard remain in federal prison. Secretary of Defense William Cohen "made the same recommendation.... Attorney General Janet Reno ... has not yet responded.... But the [FBI] has urged her to ask the president not to free Pollard." See also, Walter Pincus, "Albright Finds No Major Foreign Policy Gain in Offering Clemency to Pollard," Washington Post, 12 Jan. 1999, A2.


Risen, James. "K.G.B. Told Tall Tales About Dallas, Book Says." New York Times, 12 Sep. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to a new book by Christopher Andrew, based on files supplied to British intelligence by defecting KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, the KGB "took several steps designed to link the CIA to the [John F.] Kennedy assassination."

These activities included "forging a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald to a CIA officer, E. Howard Hunt, asking for information 'before any steps are taken by me or anyone else'.... The Oswald letter was supposed to have been written about two weeks before Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas ..., but was actually created by the KGB in the mid-1970s.... The letter was then passed anonymously to three conspiracy buffs and entered circulation in the United States when it was picked up by one writer of self-published assassination books.... [A] congressional panel that re-investigated the Kennedy assassination in the late 1970s later concluded that the letter was probably a forgery."

[CIA/90s/Gen; CIA/Accusations/90s; Russia/Disinformation]

Risen, James. "Lawmakers See Need to Loosen Rules on C.I.A." New York Times, 16 Sep. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The Congressional leaders who oversee the nation's intelligence system have concluded that America's spy agencies should be allowed to combat terrorism with more aggressive tactics, including the hiring of unsavory foreign agents. The [9/11] attacks ... also revived discussion of reversing the United States' 25-year ban on using covert agents to assassinate foreigners."

[Overviews/Legal/Assassination; Terrorism/01/WTC]

Risen, James. "Los Alamos Scientist Admits Contacts With Chinese, U.S. Says." New York Times, 16 Mar. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"During three days of interviews with the [FBI] beginning on March 5, Wen Ho Lee ... admitted that he had failed to report his contacts with Chinese scientists to his supervisors at Los Alamos, as government regulations required, several officials said. His admissions helped cement the decision by Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to fire him on March 8, the officials said. Lee's statements did not provide enough evidence to lead to his arrest, however."


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