James Risen

S - T


Risen, James. "Scientist's Lawyers Seek Better Access to Classified Material." New York Times, 7 Jan. 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Lawyers for Wen Ho Lee have asked a federal court in New Mexico to ease restrictions on their access to classified information."


Risen, James. "Secret C.I.A. Site in New York Was Destroyed on Sept. 11." New York Times, 4 Nov. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to government officials, the CIA's "clandestine New York station was destroyed in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.... The ... station was in the 47-story building at 7 World Trade Center.... All of the agency's employees at the site were safely evacuated soon after the hijacked planes hit the twin towers, the officials said."

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

Risen, James. "Security at Los Alamos Has Improved, Review Finds." New York Times, 21 Sep. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The Energy Department said 20 September 1999 "that a new review had found that security at Los Alamos National Laboratory had improved in recent months, but that security procedures at the nation's two other weapons laboratories [Lawrence Livermore and Sandia] still lagged."


Risen, James. "Security of Los Alamos Data Could Delay Trial U.S. Says." New York Times, 7 Aug. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The Energy Department is seeking a delay in the decision on whether to pursue an indictment against Wen Ho Lee "in connection with the mishandling of nuclear secrets," officials said on 6 August 1999. The officials added that "[m]ore time is needed ... to decide whether to release highly classified information for use as evidence."


Risen, James. "Spy Agencies' Ex-Analyst Charged With Selling Secrets to Soviets." New York Times, 14 Oct. 1998. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A former NSA analyst was charged on 13 October 1998 with spying for the former Soviet Union. "David Sheldon Boone, a 46-year-old former enlisted man who worked for both Army intelligence and the NSA during his 21-year Army career, was arrested by FBI agents on [10 October 1998] .... The government charged that from 1988 until 1991, Boone passed top secret documents to a KGB officer ... revealing, among other things, what the United States knew about the capabilities of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons. In return, he was paid more than $60,000 by the KGB, the government said." See also, Sylvia Moreno and Vernon Loeb, "Ex-Army Cryptologist Accused of Spying: FBI Says He Sold Secrets to Soviets," Washington Post, 14 Oct. 1998, B1.


Risen, James. "Spy in F.B.I. Is Said to Have Given Secrets to 2 Soviet Agencies." New York Times, 8 Aug. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Hanssen has told counterintelligence debriefers that at different times he spied for both the GRU and KGB.


Risen, James. "Spy-Hunt Team Followed Trail to F.B.I. Agent." New York Times, 24 Feb. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to officials on 23 February 2001, a joint FBI-CIA "mole hunting" unit "established in 1994 to identify the source of a series of damaging intelligence losses played a crucial role in the counterespionage probe that led to the arrest" of Robert Philip Hanssen.


Risen, James. "The Spymaster: Spy Handler Bedeviled U.S. in Earlier Case." New York Times, 22 Feb. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to an FBI affidavit, KGB colonel Viktor Cherkashin "was instrumental in handling" both Aldrich H. Ames and Robert Philip Hanssen. "Cherkashin was chief of counterintelligence in the K.G.B.'s Washington station in 1985 when Mr. Ames and, according to the F.B.I., Mr. Hanssen also volunteered to spy for Moscow.... To ensure his security, Mr. Hanssen never met with Mr. Cherkashin or any other K.G.B. officers, and did not tell the K.G.B. his name or where he worked in the United States government, federal officials said."


Risen, James. State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. New York: Free Press, 2006.

Clark comment: This is the author's version of the war on terrorism. In part because it was preceded by the articles in the New York Times on NSA's domestic surveillance activities, the book has been causing ripples since day one of its publication.

Ensor, CNN, 4 Jan. 2006, reports that according to State of War "[s]everal U.S. agents in Iran were rounded up after the CIA mistakenly revealed clues to their identities to a covert source who turned out to be a double agent.... [W]hile confirming the mistake, knowledgeable current and former officials told CNN that the allegations that agents were lost as a result are not true.... CIA Director of Public Affairs Jennifer Millerwise Dyke issued this statement [on 3 January 2006] about Risen's book: [Excerpt] 'Readers deserve to know that every chapter of "State of War" contains serious inaccuracies. The author's reliance on anonymous sources begs the reader to trust that these are knowledgeable people. As this book demonstrates, anonymous sources are often unreliable.'"

Peake, Studies 50.3 (Sep. 2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), concludes that "[w]hat we have ... is a collection of newspaper columns in book form that leaves the readers either wondering how much is true or rather satisfied that it proves the preconceived notions they have long held.... On the continuum of journalistic and societal value, State of War is less typical of the contributions of former New York Times reporter James (Scotty) Reston and more like those of author Kitty Kelly."

For Freedman, FA 85.3 (May-Jun. 2006), the author has produced "a short and at times disjointed book, packed with startling stories, a number of which appear to be true." [Clark comment: What about the others?] Risen "focuses on the 'secret history" without bothering to explain the known history that would provide context."

Shafer, Slate, 3 Jan. 2006, argues that the newspaper version of Risen's NSA surveillance story is "more accurate and disciplined" than the book version. "The fundamental difference between good book chapters and good newspaper articles boils down to this: The highest journalistic standard in New York book publishing is one of liability. 'Did we libel anybody?' At newspapers like the Times it is, 'Is it true?'"

To Prados, I&NS 23.5 (Oct. 2008), this book proved to be a "disappointment.... [It] contains nuggets of interest but does not rise to the level of a 'history,' secret or otherwise." Byman, Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2006, finds this work "fascinating and frustrating." The author "delivers a series of anecdotes that, while entertaining, often lack sufficient nuance, sourcing or context." And Risen "doesn't help readers understand the tradeoffs and constraints that policymakers and intelligence professionals face.... Good war stories, however colorful, do not make a great book."

Ratnesar, Time, 9 Jan. 2006, comments that while the book "covers ground that is broadly familiar," it also "is punctuated with a wealth of previously unreported tid bits about covert meetings, aborted CIA operations and Oval Office outbursts." The author's "reporting isn't bulletproof.... [H]e relies heavily on anonymous sources, and several anecdotes ... are attributed to a lone leaker."

[CIA/00s/06/Gen; NSA/00s/Gen; Terrorism/00s/Gen]

Risen, James. "Suspect Scientist Led Key Los Alamos Program." New York Times, 24 Mar. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

In 1997, Los Alamos National Laboratory chose Wen Ho Lee, "who was already under investigation as a suspected spy for China[,] to run a sensitive new nuclear weapons program.... Once in the new position, in charge of updating computer software for nuclear weapons, Lee hired a post-doctoral researcher who was a citizen of China, intelligence and law-enforcement officials said."


Risen, James. " A Top Intelligence Post Goes to C.I.A. Officer in Spy Case." New York Times, 14 Mar. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The White House announced on 13 March 2003 that Paul Redmond, former CIA counterintelligence chief, has been named DHS assistant secretary for information analysis. His unit will process and analyze intelligence provided by the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) and other agencies and will process intelligence collected by agencies within DHS, like the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, and Immigration and Naturalization Service. John Brennan, newly named chief of TTIC, which begins operations on 1 May 2003, "told reporters that he believed his center would be a hub in the government's efforts to integrate terrorist-related information" gathered by the FBI, CIA, DHS, and other agencies.


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