POST-COLD WAR

2010s

2010 - 2012

 

Materials presented in chronological order.

Warrick, Joby, and Greg Miller. "Iranian Technocrats, Disillusioned with Government, Offer Wealth of Intelligence to U.S." Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2010, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. officials, "Iran's political turmoil has prompted a growing number of the country's officials to defect or leak information to the West, creating a new flow of intelligence about its secretive nuclear program." A National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear activities "was due last fall but has been delayed at least twice amid efforts to incorporate information from sources who are still being vetted.... U.S. officials have acknowledged that an Iranian nuclear scientist [Shahram Amiri] defected to the West in June.... But sources said there ha[ve] been ... other recent defections by diplomatic and military officials, some of which have not been made public."

Miller, Greg. "Spy Agencies Faulted for Missing Christmas Day Bomb Attempt, Senate Panel Finds." Washington Post, 19 May 2010, A2. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

An SSCI report on the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 concluded "the government had enough information to block the suspect from boarding the flight, but was hobbled by breakdowns that included human error as well as computer glitches at agencies such as the State Department, the CIA and the National Counterterrorism Center.... In addition to faulting the State Department for not revoking Abdulmutallab's U.S. visa" the report asserts that the NCTC "failed at its fundamental mission of serving as the government's nerve center for terrorist-related threats."

Priest, Dana, and William M. Arkin. "A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control." Washington Post, 19 Jul. 2010. [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/] "National Security, Inc." Washington Post, 20 Jul. 2010. [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/national-security-inc/] "The Secrets Next Door." Washington Post, 20 Jul. 2010. [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/secrets-next-door/]

These articles are the journalistic equivalent of a nuclear weapon directed against U.S. intelligence writ large. A two-year investigation by the newspaper produces the following summation: "The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work." Like all generalizations driven by hyperbole, this one -- and the evidence on which it is based -- can be picked apart (data standing alone does not necessarily speak for itself). However, there are a lot of interesting facts included here -- and some (stress the "some") not totally off the mark conclusions.

The article for 19 July 2010 "describes the government's role in th[e] expanding [intelligence] enterprise." The article for 20 July 2010 "describes the government's dependence on private contractors." The article for 21 July 2010 "is a portrait of one Top Secret America community." The Post's "extensive, searchable database ... about Top Secret America is available at washingtonpost.com/topsecretamerica."

The ODNI promptly responded to the Post's initial article. Acting DNI David C. Gompert put out a letter on 19 July 2010 arguing that "[t]he reporting [in this article] does not reflect the Intelligence Community we know." [http://www.dni.gov/content/20100719_release.pdf] The ODNI also issued press releases entitled, "Questions and Answers on the Intelligence Community Post 9/11" [http://www.dni.gov/content/Question_and_Answer_IC.pdf]; and "Key Facts About Contractors" [http://www.dni.gov/content/Truth_About_Contractors.pdf].

Washington Post. "[Editorial:] The Overgrowth of Intelligence Programs Since Sept. 11." 22 Jul. 2010, A18. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Keying off the articles by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, the Post states: "Since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has increased its spending on intelligence by 250 percent and created or revamped 263 organizations. Yet the problems that gusher of money and bureaucracy were meant to solve ... have not been alleviated. Instead,... the vast expansion of agencies, programs and personnel -- including tens of thousands of private contractors -- has overwhelmed many of the policymakers and military commanders it was meant to serve.... If the new DNI does not work to identify and eliminate the overgrowth..., legislators will have to do just that."

Miller, Greg, Greg Jaffe, and Karen DeYoung. "U.S. Deploying Drones in Yemen to Hunt for Al-Qaeda, Has Yet to Fire Missiles." Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2010. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

U.S. officials have described a major buildup of intelligence and lethal assets in Yemen, including "additional CIA teams and up to 100 Special Operations force trainers, and the deployment of sophisticated surveillance and electronic eavesdropping systems operated by spy services" including NSA. The officials "declined to provide details on the drones that have been deployed to Yemen, except to say that they are operated by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).... The Predators in Yemen are flown from a base outside the country that U.S. officials declined to identify. The most likely options include U.S. military installations in Djibouti and Qatar."

Losey, Stephen. "Online Intelligence Library Fosters Collaboration among Agencies." Federal Times, 6 Jul. 2011. [http://www.federaltimes.com]

In a 23 June 2011 interview with Federal Times, DIA Deputy Directo David Shedd said that the "government's online Library of National Intelligence is one of the most important -- and unheralded -- parts of its effort to encourage information sharing and collaboration.... The CIA began working on the library in early 2007, and within two years, all intelligence agencies were submitting their reports and other intelligence products to the online repository."

Best, Richard A., Jr. Intelligence Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 14 Sep. 2011. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/RL33539.pdf.

Issues in the 112th Congress: Christmas Bombing 2009; ISR Programs; Terrorist Surveillance Program/NSA Electronic Surveillance/FISA; Role of the CIA; Role of the FBI; The Role of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Paramilitary Operations and Defense Humint; Regional Concerns; CIA and Allegations of Prisoner Abuse; Congressional Notification Procedures; Civilian Intelligence Personnel System; Government Accountability Office and the Intelligence Community; Intelligence Agencies and Drone Warfare.

Pincus, Walter. "Clapper: ‘Double-Digit’ Cuts Coming for Intel Budget." Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Speaking at a symposium of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation in San Antonio, TX, on 17 October 2011, DNI James R. Clapper Jr.said he had just delivered to the OMB "a proposal that 'calls for cuts in the double-digit range ... over ten years.'" He added that "the government would try to find much of the savings by cutting back on contractors. In proposing reductions in what is now an $80.1 billion annual budget," Clapper "said that he was going to try to 'protect people' and that he hoped to find 'one half the savings' by reducing overlap among the myriad computer systems now operated by the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the community."

Warrick, Joby, and Greg Miller. "U.S. Intelligence Gains in Iran Seen as Boost to Confidence." Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2012. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Surveillance from "CIA stealth drones ... has been part of what current and former U.S. officials describe as an intelligence surge that is aimed at Iran's nuclear program.... The effort has included ramped-up eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, formation of an Iran task force among satellite-imagery analysts and an expanded network of spies.... Known internally as 'Persia House,' the [CIA's] Iran Operations Division was set up in the agency's Old Headquarters Building. Over time, it swelled from several dozen analysts and officers to several hundred. The division is now headed by a veteran case officer who previously served as CIA station chief in Islamabad."

Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Public Affairs Office. "Director Clapper Announces Steps to Deter and Detect Unauthorized Disclosures." ODNI News Release No. 9-12. 25 Jun. 2012. [http://www.dni.gov]

DNI James R. Clapper announced on 25 June 2012 "two immediate steps to help protect critical national security information from unauthorized disclosures.... Clapper is: (1) mandating that a question related to unauthorized disclosure of classified information be added to the counterintelligence polygraph used by all intelligence agencies that administer the examination (CIA, DIA, DOE, FBI, NGA, NRO, and NSA). (2) requesting the Intelligence Community Inspector General lead independent investigations of selected unauthorized disclosure cases when prosecution is declined by the Department of Justice."

For reportage, see Walter Pincus, "New Measures Approved to Stem Intelligence Leaks," Washington Post, 26 Jun. 2012; and Charlie Savage, "Intelligence Chief Announces New Rules to Curb Leaks," New York Times, 25 June. 2012.

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