Intelligence program in dire need of oversight committee

Freedom Newspapers An ancient Roman proverb asks, “Who watches the watchman?” We might update that to: “Who spies on the spies?” That is, who makes sure they’re doing the right thing and not abusing their budgets, authority and powers? The question arises after a recent three-part series in The Washington Post, “Top Secret America.” Some […]

Seniors prepare to embark on new journey

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Freedom New Mexico: Tony Bullocks Clovis High School seniors, from left, CJ Goodrich, 18, Tori Bailey, 17, and Carmella Caltagirone, 18, talk about their future plans Friday at the Java Loft. By Clarence Plank: Freedom New Mexico For Portales High School senior Katie Montiel, 18, the road to graduation has been a long journey. She […]

AFSOC officials proposing new squadron at Cannon

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Courtesy photo The MQ-1 Predator is currently assigned to Cannon Air Force Base. Air Force Special Operations Command officials are proposing to create a new intelligence squadron at Cannon Air Force Base later this year, according to AFSOC officials. Plans are developing to stand up a new squadron at Cannon similar to the 11th Intelligence […]

Surveillance act sets dangerous future precedent

Freedom New Mexico The Senate passed Wednesday the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act of 2008 as a “compromise” between Democrats and Republicans, although it was by and large a victory for the Bush administration. President Bush signed it into law on Thursday. Twenty Democrats voted for the bill, including Sen. Barack Obama, who […]

America needs to eliminate its use of torture

Freedom New Mexico So it’s out in the open now. Central Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Hayden admitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that the CIA used the coercive interrogation technique known as waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, on three al-Qaida operatives in 2002 and 2003. The technique is widely viewed as […]

Iran report sign officials will hold back on attack

By Freedom New Mexico An obvious question arises in the wake of a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program. The report judges “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” If the 2005 NIE assessed “with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons” was […]

New intelligence director has odd idea of privacy

By Freedom New Mexico The whole point of gathering intelligence is to learn what others don’t want you to know. Using satellites, computers and real-time analysis, it’s never been easier to track down the bad guys — along with U.S. citizens who presumably count themselves among the good guys. Presume no more, citizen. Your privacy […]

Last-minute surveillance law lacks restraint

By Freedom Newspapers The National Security Agency surveillance authorization law passed in the frantic final hours before Congress took its August recess turns out to be much more expansive in its grant of power to spy on Americans without warrants or judicial oversight than had been widely understood at the time of its passage. House […]

Military action not always best terror defense

By Freedom Newspapers Any discussion of a threat estimate from the vaunted U.S. intelligence community must begin with an acknowledgment that U.S. intelligence often, perhaps more often than not, has gotten things wrong. Even before the failure to “connect the dots” prior to 9/11 and the “slam dunk” on Saddam’s supposed WMDs, U.S. intelligence missed […]

Iraqi reports overshadowed

By Freedom Newspapers There’s a certain air of second-guessing from people who, quite frankly, are not in a strong position to be able to say “I told you so” in the 229-page report released Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee on pre-Iraq war intelligence assessments made in January 2003. Only a few critics outside the […]

Penny provides grand exit in pinch

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The pledge: Explain the copper/sweat bonding, and how it’s improved by intelligence. Demonstrate by affixing the penny to your forehead, then hit the back of your head to knock the penny off. Raising your eyebrows will help loosen the penny. By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer I write this column against better judgment, because it […]

Intelligence guidelines aren’t sure-fire solution

By Freedom Newspapers John Negroponte, who is leaving as national director of intelligence to return to a State Department position, may have performed a signal service to his country in an unusually detailed policy directive for intelligence analysis. However, as constructive as his guidelines are, they do not provide a foolproof protection against misuse of […]

Symbolic actions waste of valuable time, energy

By Freedom Newspapers The Senate is debating whether to debate — in its characteristically deliberative manner — on a nonbinding resolution to disapprove of what the stubborn man in the White House has said he wants to do in Iraq. The Republicans delayed consideration for a while, but the Democratic majority might come up with […]

New Iraq strategy banks on influence we may not have

By Freedom Newspapers In his State of the Union message, President Bush made it clear that his current strategy in Iraq is not up for negotiation. “Our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options,” he said. “In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success.” […]

U.S. intelligences needs lessons from Godfather

By Freedom Newspapers Some Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have released a 29-page staff report lambasting the “intelligence community” for not issuing more explicit warnings about the threat Iran poses to the United States. However true it is that intelligence agencies are downplaying the Iranian threat, one criticism the report gets right is […]

Hoekstra plea shows need for oversight

Rep. Peter Hoekstra wasn’t a likely candidate to complain about Bush administration secretiveness. The Michigan Republican is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and supported the administration when the New York Times published reports about warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens and clandestine surveillance of international banking transactions. He has even hinted that he wouldn’t be […]

Attempted remake of CIA indicates confusion, stasis

Freedom Newspapers They don’t call it cloak and dagger for nothing. Someday, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, a behind-the-scenes history of the Bush administration’s attempts to remake America’s intelligence community will be written. But an early draft of that history, based largely on suppositions, since secrecy shrouds not just the community’s clandestine activities but its […]

CIA nominee’s hearing will bring needed discussion

By Freedom Newspapers Whether Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden can bring the Central Intelligence Agency out of its doldrums is a question whose answer we may not have until long after he has left his post as CIA director — assuming he is confirmed. His appointment has raised questions that are worth discussion as the […]

Secrecy can easily overwhelm freedoms

By Steve Chapman: Syndicated columnist Secrecy is one of those virtues, like candor, that can easily be overdone. A strong commitment to safeguarding sensitive national security information is a good thing. A blind insistence on concealing anything and everything is not. Whether the CIA had good reason to fire Mary McCarthy depends on what sort […]

Investigation could have shed light on spying

Freedom Newspapers The Senate Intelligence Committee, in deciding last week not to conduct a full investigation of President Bush’s long-secret program authorizing warrantless surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency, has abdicated its responsibilities. In agreeing to a compromise that would allow a few more senators and House members to be briefed on the […]