January 18, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Dianne Feinstein got out of her chair, grabbed a 54-page federal court opinion and poked her finger at the bullet points buried inside, insisting a visitor read each carefully as the busy senator watched and waited. The opinion described terrorist bombing plots - aimed at New York's subways and stock exchange and at a newspaper office in Denmark - that, according to the judge, had been foiled by the government's collection of data on billions of American phone calls.
January 9, 2014 |
Even if it ends up derailing Chris Christie's presidential ambitions, the scandal involving a contrived traffic jam in New Jersey is less of a story than the electronic surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden. But “Bridgegate” has something that the more consequential National Security Agency revelations so far lack - the use of government power to punish political enemies. At his marathon news conference Thursday, Christie said he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by evidence that “people on my team” had orchestrated the closing of lanes from Fort Lee, N.J., to the George Washington Bridge.
December 23, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Congress is giving only halfhearted support to a Pentagon effort to broaden military espionage operations beyond war zones. The Pentagon created the Defense Clandestine Service in April 2012 to recruit sources and steal secrets around the globe, just as the CIA does. The new service relies on several hundred operatives from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's main source of human intelligence and analysis. But senior defense officials failed to convince key members of Congress, especially those on committees that oversee Pentagon and intelligence operations, that the CIA's National Clandestine Service and the 15 other U.S. intelligence agencies aren't meeting military needs.
December 3, 2013 |
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, the Pyongyang regime's de facto No. 2 official, has probably been ousted from his posts, South Korea's state spy agency said Tuesday. In a report released at a meeting with lawmakers, the National Intelligence Service said that two close confidants of 67-year-old Jang Song Taek appear to have been publicly executed in late November for “anti-party activities. " The intelligence agency concluded that the executions of Ri Yong-Ha and Jang Soo - Kil couldn't have taken place unless Jang, holding the position of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, had lost his job. Jang is the husband of the late leader Kim Jong Il's only full sibling, Kim Kyung Hui, and held a position in the secretive family hierarchy tantamount to regent after Kim Jong Il died in December 2011, leaving the not-yet-30-year-old Kim Jong Un in charge.
December 3, 2013 |
CAIRO -- His verses spoke of the sufferings of ordinary people. And they struck a powerful chord. Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, beloved as a colloquial but eloquent voice of the nation for more than four decades, died Tuesday at age 84, his publisher said. Negm's working-class life, richly rendered in the colorful Arabic of the street, traced the country's upheavals and hardships throughout the reign of authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak, who was driven from power in 2011.
November 24, 2013 |
Remember Edward Snowden? For a while, the National Security Agency's renegade contractor seemed like the most influential man in American intelligence, even though he's been hiding out in Moscow. Snowden's disclosures touched off a wave of enthusiasm in Congress for reforming the NSA's surveillance practices - and anger overseas when he revealed that American spies were listening to foreign leaders' cellphone calls. But now, as Congress counts only a few working days remaining in its year, the momentum toward intelligence reform has slowed.