October 19, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi last month appears to have been an opportunistic attack rather than a long-planned operation, and intelligence agencies have found no evidence that it was ordered by Al Qaeda, according to U.S. officials and witnesses interviewed in Libya. The circumstances of the Sept. 11 attack have become a matter of heated political debate, with President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney clashing in their debate Tuesday about when Obama termed the assault an act of terrorism.
January 17, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama proposed new safeguards for the government's vast surveillance of communications in the U.S. and abroad, adding more judicial review and disclosure requirements, but largely leaving in place programs that he said were needed to "remain vigilant in the face of threats. " In a speech Friday meant to quell concerns about U.S. spy practices, Obama said he recognized the unease many Americans have felt in the seven months since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden began to reveal details about the NSA's activities.
June 6, 2011 |
The men in police commando uniforms sat silent, recalled investigative journalist Umar Cheema, as he nervously repeated that he was a reporter and he wanted to see their supervisor. Blindfolded after being kidnapped last fall and thrown into a Toyota Land Cruiser, Cheema said, he was taken to a safe house outside Islamabad, stripped naked, forced to lie facedown on the floor, and beaten on his shoulders and hips, first with a leather strap, then with a long wooden rod. At one point, they threatened to sodomize him. "They said, 'When you cannot avoid rape, just enjoy it,'" Cheema recalled.
April 25, 2013 |
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - U.S. intelligence agencies now believe that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons in its struggle to hold onto power, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday. Hagel said that the White House sent a letter to members of Congress on Thursday morning disclosing that intelligence agencies had made that assessment, which followed a series of similar conclusions reached by Britain, France and most recently Israel. “The U.S. intelligence community assesses with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin,” Hagel told reporters in Abu Dhabi, where he was wrapping up a weeklong Mideast trip that has been dominated by questions over Syria's alleged chemical weapons use. A day earlier, Hagel said that U.S. intelligence agencies were studying the issue and would not rush to make a determination.
July 22, 2010 |
The U.S. government's intelligence agencies are out of control again. Not in the old, rogue-elephant sense of covert operatives running private wars. Not even in the bureaucratic sense of spending money in unauthorized ways or launching programs Congress didn't know about. This time, the loss of control happened in plain sight, with full approval from on high. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. intelligence spending has more than doubled. The country's 16 major intelligence agencies are poorly coordinated and often duplicate one another's work.
April 24, 2008 |
CIA Director Michael V. Hayden announced he would retire from the Air Force in July after 39 years in uniform but will continue in his intelligence post as a civilian. Hayden, who holds the rank of four-star general, said he was taking the step because of "practical considerations related to military retirement." He joined the CIA in 2006 but has continued to be paid by the Air Force. Hayden's decision to remain in uniform when he took the top CIA position raised some concern in Congress and the intelligence agencies that he might favor the tactical military agenda.
May 21, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider blocking a constitutional challenge to the government's secret wiretapping of international phone calls and emails. At issue is whether Americans who have regular dealings with overseas clients and co-workers can sue to challenge the sweep of this surveillance if they have a “reasonable fear” their calls will be monitored. The case, to be heard in the fall, will put a spotlight on a secret surveillance program that won congressional approval in the last year of President George W. Bush's presidency.
December 10, 2013 |
If you've made a Christmas gift list that includes online gaming this year, you may want to be checking that twice. Intelligence agencies in both Britain and the U.S. have been paying attention to how you play games online - not for the sporting interest but to look for potential terrorists, and to recruit some likely candidates for spycraft. Classified documents from Edward P. Snowden's filched trove were combed by the Guardian, ProPublica and the New York Times, which found that the online games that make a fortune for gaming companies are also a target-rich environment for intelligence agencies, which say they're looking for terrorist behavior cloaked behind fun and games.
January 30, 2011 |
The FBI disclosed to a presidential board that it was involved in nearly 800 violations of laws, regulations or policies governing national security investigations from 2001 to 2008, but the government won't provide details or say whether anyone was disciplined, according to a report by a privacy watchdog group. The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation sued under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain about 2,500 documents that the FBI submitted to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board.