Archive | September 16th, 2014

Ska-p – INTIFADA (Video English Subs)

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Who is Behind the Islamic State (ISIL) Beheadings? Probing the SITE Intelligence Group

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Global Research

image: Foley beheading video

Since mid-August 2014 major news organizations have conveyed videos allegedly found online by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Unsurprisingly the same media have failed to closely interrogate what the private company actually is and whether the material it promotes should be accepted as genuine.

[Image Credit: i24news.tv]

beheading2

The Search for International Terrorist Entities Intelligence Group (SITE) was co-founded by Rita Katz in 2001.

In 2003 Katz authored a book, Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America, which she published using the pseudonym, “Anonymous.”

In the book Katz explains how she took on the trappings of a Muslim woman to infiltrate the meetings of radical Muslim terrorists. The plot is unlikely, especially when one considers that such secret fundamentalist gatherings are almost always segregated along gender lines and no woman, however elaborate her costume, would be granted entry without her identity being firmly established.

SITE Intelligence Group consists of Katz and two “senior advisers,” one of whom is Bruce Hoffman, the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and former director of the RAND’s Washington DC office.

The SITE Intelligence Group “constantly monitors the Internet and traditional media for material and propaganda released by jihadist groups and their supporters,” the company’s website announces.

“Once obtained, SITE immediately translates the material and provides the intelligence along with a contextual analysis explaining the source of the material and its importance to our subscribers.”[1]

In 2003 and 2004, SITE received financial support from the US government. Also in the early 2000s SITE was on contract providing consulting services to the FBI.[2]

It would appear that SITE has abandoned its non-profit status and now relies on corporate and individual subscriptions for revenue. In 2005 the private mercenary contractor Blackwater hailed SITE as “an invaluable resource.”[3]

The majority of “jihadist groups” operate one or more media outlets that produce and publish “the group’s multimedia, and in some cases, communiqués and magazines,” SITE explains on its website.

“These media units involve production teams and correspondents who report directly from the battlefield, and craft propaganda to indoctrinate and recruit new fighters into the group’s ranks.” SITE provides no direct links to the jihadist groups’ websites or multimedia productions from its own platform.[4]

Katz describes SITE as geared toward international Islamic jihad. “[W]e at SITE for over a decade monitor, search, and study the jihadists online,” she explains.

We have been studying and monitoring the jihadists online, which also as they get more sophisticated, we follow their techniques and study them. And based on that, we could predict where they will be uploading their video.

After all, we have to remember that much of this propaganda is being posted online. Their releases are released online [sic]. So they have to be able to use certain locations to upload their releases before they are published.[5]

Though routinely overlooked in the flurry of front-page coverage corporate media have allotted the three beheading videos–the most recent of which featured Scottish aid worker David Cawthorne Haines–it is common knowledge that SITE uncannily secures terrorist statements and videos well before the US’s wide array of lavishly-funded intelligence services.

For example, as the Washington Post reported in 2007,

[a] small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 … It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release. Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.[6]

The video later proved to be fraudulent.

With the above in mind, one may ask, If parties within a US presidential administration or the State Department sought to bypass the potential scrutiny of a wide-ranging intelligence community concerning such matters, while simultaneously providing itself with the means to effectively propagandize the American public toward a broader end, what better way than to contract the services of an entity such as SITE?

beheading

If there is some merit in the above appraisal, the arrangement is now being pushed to an extreme by the Obama administration to pave the road toward a long-sought goal: war with Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime. Indeed, services such as SITE’s are a potent and valuable means for moving public opinion, as they have done in recent weeks concerning military action against the Islamic State. Along these lines, a decade ago both John Kerry and George W. Bush credited the latter’s re-election to a surreptitious appearance by Osama bin Laden via video tape several days before the vote.[7]

[Image Credit: ibtimes.co.in]

Playing a role similar to SITE, IntelCenter acts as an intermediary between Al-Qaeda’s supposed media arm, As-Sahab, and major media. In other words, “they acquire the tapes and pass them on to the press, and have occasionally even predicted when tapes would be released beforehand,” Paul Joseph Watson reports.

“IntelCenter is run by Ben Venzke, who used to be the director of intelligence at a company called IDEFENSE, which is a Verisign company. IDEFENSE is a web security company that monitors intelligence from the Middle East conflicts and focuses on cyber threats among other things. It is also heavily populated with long serving ex-military intelligence officials.[8]

As noted, news outlets seldom see fit to closely analyze SITE or Katz concerning their research and function as conduits for terrorist propaganda. A LexisNexis search for SITE Intelligence in the article content of US newspapers and major world publications over the past two years produces 317 items—an admittedly low figure given the prominence of SITE’s recent disclosures. Yet a similar search for “Steven Sotloff” alone yields over 1,000 newspaper stories and 600 broadcast transcripts, suggesting the sensationalistic usage and effect of SITE’s data and how neither SITE nor Katz are called upon to explain their specific methods and findings.

Indeed, a similar search for “SITE Intelligence” and “Rita Katz” yields only 26 entries over a two year period. Of these, 14 appear in the Washington Post, a publication with well-established links to US intelligence. Four New York Times articles feature the combined entities.

In a CNN on the heels of the Sotloff beheading, Katz explains how again SITE curiously surpassed the combined capacities of the entire US intelligence community in securing the Sotloff footage.

“The video shows the beheading of Steven Sotloff,” Katz cautiously begins after being queried on the document’s authenticity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aNUm0Z_lXs

The location from where the video was obtained from is the location where ISIS usually uploads their original videos to [sic]. The video shows a clear message from ISIS that follows the same message that it had before. And in fact within a short time after our release, ISIS’ account on social media indicated that within a short time they would be releasing the video, only we actually had that video beforehand and were able to beat them with the release. (emphasis added)

This unusual statement alongside SITE’s remarkable abilities, should put news outlets on guard concerning the reliability of SITE statements.

Undoubtedly this is a great deal to ask from a news media that all too frequently participate in orienting public opinion toward war, a feat it has once again accomplished with the aid of SITE.

The interests and alliances of the transnational entities owning such media make them poised to profit from the very geopolitical designs drawn up by SITE’s corporate and government clients–the most important of which may be those seeking to broaden Middle Eastern conflict. No doubt, the wide-scale acceptance of such propaganda is also the result of the vastly diminished critical capacities of the broader public, now several decades in the making.

Notes

[1] Services,” SITE Intelligence Group, , accessed September 15, 2014,

[2] Berni McCoy, “So, a ‘Charitable Organization’ Released the bin Laden Video,” Democratic Underground, September 10, 2007, http://journals.democraticunderground.com/berni_

[3] SITE Institute,” Sourcewatch.org, Center for Media and Democracy, n.d.

[4] Media Groups,” SITE Intelligence Group, n.d., accessed September 15, 2014.

[5] Karl Penhaul, Pamela Brown, Alisyn Camerota, Don Lemon, Paul Cruickshank, “Joan Rivers on Life Support; Chilling Words From ISIS Terrorist; How to Fight Radical Recruitment” (transcript), CNN, September 2, 2014.

[6] Joby Warrick, Leak Severed a Link to Al Qaeda Secrets,” Washington Post, October 9, 2007.

[7] Paul Joseph Watson, Another Dubious Osama Tape Appears When the Neo-Cons Need It Most,Prisonplanet.com, July 16, 2007.

[8] Ibid. See also, Kurt Nimmo, Sotloff Video Found by Group Responsible For Releasing Fake Osama Bin Laden Video,” Infowars.com, September 3, 2014.

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Illuminati, Islam & Terrorism with David Livingstone ”VIDEO”

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MEDIA SHOULD BE CHALLENGING ARGUMENTS FOR WAR, NOT BAYING FOR BLOOD

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BY DAN FROOMKIN 
Featured photo - Media Should Be Challenging Arguments for War, Not Baying for Blood

Washington’s elite media, as usual, is doing its job exactly wrong.

They are baying for war.

Pundits and reporters are seemingly competing for who can be more scornful of President Obama for his insufficiently militaristic response to the brutal Sunni militants who call themselves the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

They are  gleefully parsing Obama’s language for weakness, and essentially demanding a major military assault — while failing to ask the tough questions about what if any good it could actually accomplish.

It’s not just that the lessons of the abject failure of the press corps in the run-up to war in Iraq seem to have been forgotten. Watching post-invasion reality in the region should have made it clear to anyone paying any attention at all that America is not omnipotent, and that military action kills not just enemies but innocent civilians, creates refugee crises, can spawn more enemies than it destroys, further destabilizes entire regions, and alters the future in unanticipated and sometimes disastrous ways.

(Indeed, as noted author Robert W. Merry wrote in the National Interest recently, the “ominous turn of events in the Middle East flows directly from the regional destabilization wrought by President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.”)

In a nation that considers itself peaceful and civilized, the case for military action should be overwhelmingly stronger than the case against. It must face, and survive, aggressive questioning.

There is no reason to expect that kind of pushback from within Congress — leading figures from far right to far left are falling into line with thehawkish consensus for some sort of action, virtually begging Obama to ask for their authorization so they can give it to him. And Vice President Joe Biden, the one guy inside the White House who’s been a consistent voice of military restraint, said Wednesday that the U.S. will follow ISIS “to the gates of hell“.

In the absence of a coherent opposition party or movement, it’s the Fourth Estate’s duty to ask those questions, and demand not just answers, but evidence to back up those answers.

The press corps shouldn’t be asking: Why isn’t Obama sounding tougher? It should be asking: What is he considering, and why the hell does he think it has any chance of working?

I asked a few experts who I respect and trust to propose some of the specific questions that the Obama administration should have to answer. (As I wrote in my inaugural blog post, one of my goals here it to serve as a megaphone for people who a) know what they’re talking about and b) have gotten things right in the past.)

Here are three responses. As more come in, I’ll add them to the bottom. And I’ll hoist good ones up from comments, too. Or maybe I’ll make it all into a second post.

Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, now a military scholar and author, summed up his questions in three words: “Purpose? Method? Endstate?”

He argues that ISIS isn’t the threat some make it out to be, and that it’s only one part of a proxy war against Iran that will continue as long as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar continue to fund it:

ISIS is a contemporary version of Mohammed’s 7th Century force with pickup trucks instead of horses, but with the same brutality. Its successful conquest of largely Sunni Arab areas in irrelevant desert is evidence for the weakness in those areas and their surroundings rather than strength on the part of ISIS.

Frankly, I think lots of Westerners with either no personal experience on the ground fighting and killing Arabs or with agendas (ideological or self-enrichment) are making a mountain range out of very small hills at best. Also, keep in mind if ISIS in Syria presented any real threat would the Israelis stand by and do nothing about it? Of course not.

Finally, we created the conditions for ISIS through our intervention and installation of Iranian power in Baghdad, but Riyadh, Ankara and Doha are now the recruiting and financial centers for ISIS. As long as they and their surrogates want to wage this proxy war against Iran and its satellites/allies the conflict will continue.

After the 1991 failure to remove S[addam] H[ussein] from power, we wasted two decades, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives on Iraq and the region. It’s time to stop.

Iconoclastic retired diplomat and Middle East expert Chas W. Freeman Jr., whose appointment to chair Obama’s National Intelligence Council was quashed in early 2009 by the pro-Israel lobby, notes the inherent conflict between Obama’s casual admission last week that “We don’t have a strategy yet” and the fact that we are already actively bombing ISIS.

There have been 124 air strikes across Iraq as of September 2, according to the Guardian; the White House has described the mission thus far as “to protect U.S. personnel and facilities and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.”

Freeman asks:

What are the missing elements of a strategy for dealing with ISIS and whose cooperation do we need to produce one? What is being done to secure that cooperation?

Our military tell us that the use of force cannot effectively counter ISIS, yet we’re bombing ISIS as if it can. What can counter ISIS? What sort of diplomacy is needed to keep ISIS from carrying out its threats to extend its operations to our homeland?

How can we fight ISIS in Iraq while allowing it safe haven in Syria? Would opposing ISIS in Syria require us to cooperate with the Assad government? With Hezbollah? With Iran? If we cannot cooperate with these enemies of ISIS, can we coordinate policy with them? If so, how?

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf Arab states have been major sources of international financial support for radical Islamists in Syria. Saudi Arabia, in particular, has adopted a sectarian religions approach to its foreign policy, countering Iran theologically as well as geopolitically. Does Saudi Arabia have a role in turning Salafi Muslim rebels in Syria against their more extreme co-religionists in ISIS? If so, what?

Should we be working with Iran against ISIS? How would doing so be reconciled with our deference to Israeli and Saudi paranoia about Iran?

Compared to al Qa’ida, how do you rate ISIS as a threat to Americans abroad? Israelis? Americans at home?

How is a base area defended by hundreds of U.S. troops an embassy under the Vienna Convention? How does our embassy at Baghdad differ from the norm?

How afraid of ISIS are the Saudis? How much should they be concerned about it?

Who are the foreign fighters in ISIS? Where and how are they recruited? Is there any non-coercive program to counter the ideological appeal of ISIS?

Why is ISIS not an appropriate means of expressing the defiant resentment of Arab youth against the United States and American policies in the Middle East? If the U.S. and Israel can kill large numbers of civilians with impunity, why can’t citizen militias do the same to Americans and the United States?

How do you see the role of Russia in the contemporary Middle East, given the rise of ISIS and the siege of Syria?

Paul R. Pillar, formerly the CIA’s top Middle East analyst, wrote an influential op-ed in the Washington Post during a particularly intense period of saber-rattling toward Iran in 2007 called “What to Ask Before the Next War”.

Last week, he wrote a brilliant article in the National Interest, attempting to put “ISIS in Perspective”.

In the piece, he wrote that “Americans, following a long tradition of finding monsters overseas to destroy, are now focusing their attention and their energy on a relatively new one.”

He also noted that “We also are reacting quite understandably to the group’s methods, which are despicably inhumane, and to its objectives, which are disgustingly medieval.” But, he wrote, “we also should bear in mind that an emotional reaction to such an incident produces the wrong frame of mind for debate, and cool-headed deliberation, about public policy.”

He warned about the danger of absolutism in assertions that ISIS “must be destroyed”:

We have heard similar absolutism before, and we have seen the results. We heard it with the post-9/11 false syllogism that if terrorism is considered a serious problem then we must recognize that we are at “war,” and if we are at war then that means we must rely principally on military force. We heard it also in the dictum that if there is even a one percent chance of something awful happening to us, then we must treat that as a certainty.

The absolutist approach leads to inappropriate derision and dismissal of policy steps as “half measures” when they may in fact be—considering the costs, benefits, and other U.S. interests at stake—the most prudent steps that could be taken. Some actions that would set back ISIS may be, given the circumstances, sensible and cost-effective. Other possible measures may seem aimed more directly at the goal of destroying ISIS but, given the circumstances, would not be sensible.

In an interview, Pillar marveled at the “kind of mass emotional phenomenon” based in part on the recent barbaric beheadings of captured free-lance journalists and the scary maps that make it seem like ISIS is about to take Baghdad. But, he said, the press is “getting excited in a way that I think has been blown well out of proportion.”

Here are the questions he thinks the press should be raising instead:

What do you expect the response of ISIS to be, given especially that these killings that have gotten so much attention have been couched by the group as revenge for military action we’ve already taken? Why shouldn’t we expect more of the same if we do more of the same?

Have we considered whether part of the group’s purpose is to provoke more U.S. intervention, and therefore show themselves as the group standing up to the U.S.? Would we not indeed be playing into their hands by doing so?

Given that Matthew Olsen, the outgoing director of the NCTC [National Counterterrorism Center] made a statement the other day that we do not face the prospect of attacks by this group against the homeland, why are we focusing as much attention as we are against this one group? They’ve done certain dramatic things that have gotten our attention, and the press’s attention, but what exactly are the U.S.’s interests at stake?

Given that this group’s advances in Syria and Iraq have had a great deal to do with the larger sectarian conflict in those countries… how do we intervene without effectively taking sides in a sectarian conflict in which the United States has no interest? Why should we favor Shiites or Sunnis? Because that’s exactly how it will be seen. Have you considered the downside of being seen as taking sides in a sectarian conflict, in terms of the enemies that you make?

With particular regard to the question of intervening in Syria: What exactly would be our broader political objective? Do we still believe that [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad] must go? And if we do, how do we square this with an intervention against ISIS, given that the regime and ISIS are the two most powerful interests in the Syrian civil war?

How effective would air strikes be against a group most of whose strength is closely intermingled with civilian populations? It does not consist of large military formations out in the desert. How do you do something effective militarily without causing casualties among innocent civilians?

Pillar said the air strikes thus far have largely involved “the few targets of opportunity there have been,” including advancing troops. “But the larger the operation, and the more extensive it becomes, the more the question of collateral damage becomes pertinent.”

Here are a few other notes of skepticism I’ve run across. (Send me more!)

New York Times reporter James Risen notes:

 

And in a story about the lack of fulsome debate on the issue, Huffington Post’s Sam Stein finds a critic asking questions:

“It seems unlikely that U.S. military action, even if assisted by surrogates on the ground, can ‘kill’ ISIS. At best, we will be able to significantly reduce its capabilities. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but then what?” said. “If the basic problem is instability — a problem extending far beyond Iraq/Syria, of course — then the big question is what if anything the U.S. and its allies can do to restore stability to the region. That’s where the debate ought to focus. I don’t get much sense of people taking on that issue, perhaps because it is truly a daunting one.”

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White House should release 9/11 documents

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<br />
American jihadist Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, who eventually burned his passport, died in May after blowing up a truck in Syria.</p>
<p>
American jihadist Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, who eventually burned his passport, died in May after blowing up a truck in Syria.
BY HELEN AGUIRRE FERRÉ

The death of American jihadist Douglas McArthur McCain in Syria raised few eyebrows. It is no secret that there are about 7,000 foreigners fighting alongside the terrorists known as the Islamic State of Islam (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, of which perhaps 150 to 300 are American.

McCain was a Christian who converted to Islam and many times posted his religious beliefs on social media, which may have connected him to ISIS terrorists overseas.

Some fear that terrorist groups are recruiting and working within the United States. Growing evidence seems to point to that conclusion, enough for the federal government to be investigating more than a few cases. One hits close to home.

Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha died in northern Syria earlier this year, having taken part in a suicide bombing as a member of al-Nusra Front, an al Qaida-linked terrorist organization. Abu-Salha died in May after detonating a truck full of explosives outside a restaurant that was popular with soldiers.

He was from Florida; some reports indicate that he lived 130 miles from Miami, though others pin him further north. The Sunshine State is no stranger to terrorists — some of Osama bin Laden’s most militant fighters, such as Mohammed Atta, lived low-key, unassuming lives in Coral Springs with other terrorists using simulators to learn how to pilot airplanes. Oddly, they had no clear means of support, nor did they speak English even at a passing grade.

None of this information is new except that we, as a nation, have a tremendous capacity to turn the page on events and sometimes forget what we have seen. That is not the case with Florida’s former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who has been fighting both the Bush and Obama administrations to declassify 28 pages of a 9/11 intelligence report that may detail and expose the efforts of members of the Saudi Arabian royal family in aiding and abetting these terrorists in Florida, many who were themselves Saudi.

Graham is befuddled as to why the Obama administration does not release these documents, which he read when he was chair of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and co-chair of a congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. As a result, he has joined a Freedom of Information Act request alongside others, asking that 80,000 pages of information on a Saudi family that disappeared just before the attacks be made public.

“It isn’t credible that 19 people — most that could not speak English well and did not have experience in the United States — could carry out such a complicated task without external assistance,” Graham insists in an interview on WPBT2’s public affairs show Issues, which I host. The Saudi family living in Sarasota fled to Saudi Arabia just prior to the 9/11 attacks. Were they tipped off that they should leave? If so, by whom?

Graham believes that there was a deliberate effort to cover up Saudi involvement in the tragedy of 9/11 by the Bush administration, one, he says, that the Obama administration appears to support.

One thing is clear: The United States has a complex relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is our strategic ally, while at the same time tolerant of members of government or the royal family who support terrorists.

In the past, both countries agreed on economic and political issues that led to regional stability, but over the years mistrust and misunderstanding have cast a shadow over this relationship.

The Saudis were not pleased when the United States distanced itself from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, for example. At the same time, the United States is concerned about Saudi Arabian support of Islamic extremists around the world.

The relationship between the two is entering a new phase, one that is not heavily based on U.S. reliance on Saudi oil but, rather, a more regional partnership to achieve certain goals. Graham has catalogued this as “a perfidious relationship.” Given the suspicious Saudi link with 9/11 terrorists, why the United States did not rethink this alliance before?

The American public needs to know. The families of those who were lost to the 9/11 attacks or those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq deserve an answer as well.

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THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S SECRET PLANS TO SPY FOR AMERICAN CORPORATIONS

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Featured photo - The U.S. Government&#8217;s Secret Plans to Spy for American Corporations

Throughout the last year, the U.S. government has repeatedly insisted that it does not engage in economic and industrial espionage, in an effort to distinguish its own spying from China’s infiltrations of Google, Nortel, and other corporate targets. So critical is this denial to the U.S. government that last August, an NSA spokesperson emailed The Washington Post to say (emphasis in original): “The department does ***not*** engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

After that categorical statement to the Post, the NSA was caught spying on plainly financial targets such as the Brazilian oil giant Petrobraseconomic summitsinternational credit card and banking systems; the EU antitrust commissioner investigating Google, Microsoft, and Intel; and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. In response, the U.S. modified its denial to acknowledge that it does engage in economic spying, but unlike China, the spying is never done to benefit American corporations.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, for instance, responded to the Petrobras revelations by claiming: “It is not a secret that the Intelligence Community collects information about economic and financial matters…. What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of—or give intelligence we collect to—U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

But a secret 2009 report issued by Clapper’s own office explicitly contemplates doing exactly that. The document, the 2009 Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review—provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—is a fascinating window into the mindset of America’s spies as they identify future threats to the U.S. and lay out the actions the U.S. intelligence community should take in response. It anticipates a series of potential scenarios the U.S. may face in 2025, from a “China/Russia/India/Iran centered bloc [that] challenges U.S. supremacy” to a world in which “identity-based groups supplant nation-states,” and games out how the U.S. intelligence community should operate in those alternative futures—the idea being to assess “the most challenging issues [the U.S.] could face beyond the standard planning cycle.”

One of the principal threats raised in the report is a scenario “in which the United States’ technological and innovative edge slips”— in particular, “that the technological capacity of foreign multinational corporations could outstrip that of U.S. corporations.” Such a development, the report says “could put the United States at a growing—and potentially permanent—disadvantage in crucial areas such as energy, nanotechnology, medicine, and information technology.”

How could U.S. intelligence agencies solve that problem? The report recommends “a multi-pronged, systematic effort to gather open source andproprietary information through overt means, clandestine penetration (through physical and cyber means), and counterintelligence” (emphasis added). In particular, the DNI’s report envisions “cyber operations” to penetrate “covert centers of innovation” such as R&D facilities.

cyber_ops

In a graphic describing an “illustrative example,” the report heralds “technology acquisition by all means.” Some of the planning relates to foreign superiority in surveillance technology, but other parts are explicitly concerned with using cyber-espionage to bolster the competitive advantage of U.S. corporations. The report thus envisions a scenario in which companies from India and Russia work together to develop technological innovation, and the U.S. intelligence community then “conducts cyber operations” against “research facilities” in those countries, acquires their proprietary data, and then “assesses whether and how its findings would be useful to U.S. industry” (click on image to enlarge):

The document doesn’t describe any previous industrial espionage, a fact the DNI’s office emphasized in responding to questions from The InterceptA spokesman, Jeffrey Anchukaitis, insisted in an email that “the United States—unlike our adversaries—does not steal proprietary corporate information to further private American companies’ bottom lines,” and that “the Intelligence Community regularly engages in analytic exercises to identify potential future global environments, and how the IC could help the United States Government respond.” The report, he said, “is not intended to be, and is not, a reflection of current policy or operations.”

Yet the report describes itself as “an essential long-term piece, looking out between 10 and 20 years” designed to enable ”the IC [to] best posture itself to meet the range of challenges it may face.” Whatever else is true, one thing is unmistakable: the report blithely acknowledges that stealing secrets to help American corporations secure competitive advantage is an acceptable future role for U.S. intelligence agencies.

In May, the U.S. Justice Department indicted five Chinese government employees on charges that they spied on U.S. companies. At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder said the spying took place “for no reason other than to advantage state-owned companies and other interests in China,” and “this is a tactic that the U.S. government categorically denounces.”

But the following day, The New York Times detailed numerous episodes of American economic spying that seemed quite similar. Harvard Law School professor and former Bush Justice Department official Jack Goldsmith wrotethat the accusations in the indictment sound “a lot like the kind of cyber-snooping on firms that the United States does.” But U.S. officials continued to insist that using surveillance capabilities to bestow economic advantage for the benefit of a country’s corporations is wrong, immoral, and illegal.

Yet this 2009 report advocates doing exactly that in the event that ”that the technological capacity of foreign multinational corporations outstrip[s] that of U.S. corporations.” Using covert cyber operations to pilfer “proprietary information” and then determining how it ”would be useful to U.S. industry” is precisely what the U.S. government has been vehemently insisting it does not do, even though for years it has officially prepared to do precisely that.

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Does Theresa May really want this child sex abuse inquiry to see the light of day?

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The appointment of Fiona Woolf is another wrong step in a series of mistakes the home secretary has made on this issue

Theresa May at a Conservative forum
‘We’ve come a long way in understanding child abuse in our communities. But Westminster still lags a long way behind the public view.’ Photograph: Wpa Pool/Getty

Just when it looked as though the inquiry into child sex abuse could finally get under way, it once again has to face whitewash accusations. After the absurd appointment of Lady Butler-Sloss, which ensured the inquiry got off to a farcical start, Theresa May has made the equally dubious appointment of a replacement chair in Fiona Woolf. This time it emerges the chair has close links with Lord Brittan. Yes, Leon Brittan, the former home secretary who has been accused of covering up a massive child abuse scandal.

May’s inquiry was supposed to reflect the change in attitudes to these crimes, showing a willingness to bring perpetrators to justice and face failings that have destroyed lives. Above all, it was about telling the story of people who have been ignored for far too long.

Until now I’ve not questioned the home secretary’s judgment on the inquiry. I was pleased she resisted calls from within her party against the need for a child abuse inquiry. And I accepted that perhaps a genuine mistake was made in the appointment of Butler-Sloss. But I’m beginning to wonder if she doesn’t want this inquiry to ever really see the light of day. After all, even the most basic of checks would have revealed glaring problems with Woolf that were always going to cause difficulties and ensure victims had no confidence in the process.

I spoke to the home secretary last week about the appointment, and she politely went through the people she wanted to lead what will be a victim-oriented inquiry. I was a little unsure of the chair, given her obvious lack of knowledge about the matters she would be investigating, but I accepted there was a robust panel in place to guide her.

I hoped we could move forward and get on with the difficult but necessary work of dragging this dark secret out of the shadows. And I sincerely hoped we could do it in a way that united people across the political spectrum – if we’re going to really come clean on how we’ve failed victims of abuse for decades then we need political consensus.

I’m pleased to have worked with the likes of Conservative MPs Zac Goldsmith and Tim Loughton and Lib Dem Tessa Munt to persuade the home secretary that a national inquiry was needed. I readily accept there have been ideological blindspots preventing politicians from all parties getting to grips with this issue – whether it was occasionally excessive political correctness in my party, or thinly disguised contempt for poor working class kids by the Tories. And slowly but surely the scales are falling from the eyes of the political classes. Or so I thought.

Events of the past few weeks suggest that, where tackling sex abuse is concerned, victims remain an afterthought for the government. Rather than send the message that this investigation is ready to take on the establishment, everything about this appointment conveys careful political management, a strategy of containment.

There’s no point trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle and going through the motions of an inquiry that won’t rock the establishment boat to deliver the “right” conclusions. The days when the public would tolerate Lord Hutton-type inquiries are long gone. On such a sensitive and raw issue as child abuse, the faintest whiff of whitewash will do untold damage.

We’ve come a long way in recent years in understanding the scale and nature of child abuse in our communities. But Westminster still lags a long way behind the public view. That’s why the home secretary has to demonstrate that the government finally gets it. There are only two options before her. She either deals with child abuse or covers it up. May has already shown she’s fearless enough to stand up to the police. So why can’t she now stand up to child abusers?

Posted in UKComments Off on Does Theresa May really want this child sex abuse inquiry to see the light of day?

Rotherham child sex abuse files ‘missing from archive’

NOVANEWS
Rotherham Council Meeting
Deputy leader Paul Lakin announced the council cabinet would be dissolved

Key reports detailing child sexual exploitation have disappeared from the archives, the outgoing chief executive of Rotherham Council has told MPs.

Martin Kimber said he had not seen a full copy of a 2002 report, had never seen a 2003 report and only saw a 2006 report on Sunday.

report published earlier this month found at least 1,400 children were abused in the town from 1997 to 2013.

The council was heavily criticised by Professor Alexis Jay.

In her report, Professor Jay said: “Further stark evidence came in 2002, 2003 and 2006 with three reports known to the police and the council, which could not have been clearer in their description of the situation in Rotherham.”

‘Change will come’

Addressing MPs, Mr Kimber said he did not know whether the archives had been destroyed, but he told the Local Government Committee: “They are not within the council’s archives.”

Director of children’s services Joyce Thacker told MPs the first two reports did not appear to have been referred to in any existing council minutes.

Asked whether there had been a “deliberate attempt to suppress information”, she said she could not answer.

Meanwhile, Rotherham council announced plans to dissolve the cabinet and invest £120,000 in counselling services for victims of child sexual exploitation.

Deputy leader Paul Lakin said the money would come from cutting two cabinet posts and banning overseas travel by members.

Mr Lakin said he would begin choosing a new cabinet later.

The Labour councillor also announced he had asked the Local Government Association to establish an “independently-chaired improvement board”.

Paul Lakin
Paul Lakin has been the councillor for Rotherham’s Valley ward since 1999

The board would include a serving or recently retired chief executive and director of children’s services, and an external peer of each of the parties represented on the council – Labour, Conservative, UKIP and independent.

At the start of the meeting the Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor John Foden, apologised to victims and their families.

The council has also approved an emergency motion calling for the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Shaun Wright to resign.

‘Critical time’

Mr Wright, who was cabinet member for children’s services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010, has faced repeated calls to stand down including from Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

On Tuesday, Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said he would ask the home secretary about the possibility of legislation to remove Mr Wright.

Mr Wright is to face a meeting of the county’s police and crime panel on Thursday.

Mr Kimber, who joined the authority in 2009, announced on Monday he would leave his post in December.

He said: “I believe that new leadership will enable the town to recover more quickly from the events of the last two weeks, and strongly signal a new beginning at this critical time in its recovery.”

Posted in UKComments Off on Rotherham child sex abuse files ‘missing from archive’

CIA ‘tortured al-Qaeda suspects close to the point of death by drowning them in water-filled baths’

NOVANEWS

Exclusive: As the US Senate prepares to release a report documenting US torture programme after 9/11, Telegraph reveals new details about the scope of CIA excesses

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

The torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding Photo: AP

By , Washington

The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close “to the point of death” by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph.

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or “simulated drowning” so far admitted by the CIA.

“They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,” said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. “They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.”

The account of extreme CIA interrogation comes as the US Senate prepares to publish a declassified version of its so-called Torture Report – a 3,600-page report document based on a review of several million classified CIA documents.

Publication of the report is currently being held up by a dispute over how much of the 480-page public summary should remain classified, but it is expected to be published within weeks.

A second source who is familiar with the Senate report told The Telegraph that it contained several unflinching accounts of some CIA interrogations which – the source predicted – would “deeply shock” the general public.

Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee that authored the report has promised that it will expose “brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation”. The Senate report is understood to accuse the CIA of lying and of grossly exaggerating the usefulness of torture.

It is being angrily opposed by many senior Republicans, former CIA operatives and Bush-era officials, including the former US vice president Dick Cheney, who argue that is it poorly researched and politically motivated.

The CIA has previously admitted that it used black sites to subject at least three high-value al-Qaeda detainees to “enhanced interrogation” – namely Mohammed, the alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al Rahim al Nashiri and alleged senior Bin Laden aide Abu Zubaydah.

An internal report in 2004 by the CIA’s own Office of Inspector General admitted that Mohammed had been “waterboarded” 183 times and Abu Zubaydah 83 times – but actual details of how the interrogations were administered have never been provided.

When the 109-page CIA report was made public in 2009 following a freedom of information lawsuit, large portions of it remained redacted – or blacked out – including all 23 pages that followed the factual admission that interrogators “applied the waterboard technique” to Mohammed.

An official CIA description of waterboarding in the 2004 report says that a cloth is used to cover a subject’s nose and mouth and is saturated with water for “no more than 20 seconds” before being removed. A stream of water is then “directed at the upper lip” in order to prolong “the sense of suffocation”.

However the report also admits that waterboarding was being carried in a “manner different” from that prescribed in the US military’s standard SERE training manual, but details were not revealed, beyond the frequency of the treatment, which was admitted to have broken guidelines.

Among the additional difficulties for investigators seeking the truth about what happened is the fact that in November 2005 the CIA destroyed some 92 video tapes of its waterboarding and interrogation of Mohammed and the others.

The officer responsible, Jose Rodriquez, was reprimanded but justified his actions by arguing that he feared the tapes would eventually leak to the media, provoking a backlash that would endanger officers’ lives.

The White House and the State Department fear that the Senate report could still cause a backlash and have made preparations for increased security at sensitive sites when it is eventually published.

Despite the destruction of video evidence, however, a third source familiar with the still-classified accounts of the most severe of the CIA interrogations, said that the practices were much more brutal than is widely understood.

“They got medieval on his ass, and far more so than people realise,” the source told The Telegraph referring to the treatment of Mohammed and Nashiri, but declined to provide further details because of the still-classified nature of the material.

Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative and the author of Administration of Torture, a book detailing the Bush administration’s torture policy, said the new details of the CIA excesses should not come as a surprise.

“Given the lengths that Bush-era CIA officials went to cover up the truth, including destroying videotapes depicting waterboarding of prisoners, it comes as no surprise that the torture was more brutal than previously revealed.

“It is, however, something that the American public has a right to know about, and an obligation to reckon with, and these revelations only underscore the urgent need for release of the Senate intelligence committee report,” she said.

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on CIA ‘tortured al-Qaeda suspects close to the point of death by drowning them in water-filled baths’

The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication

NOVANEWS

THE CIA’S MOP-UP MAN: L.A. TIMES REPORTER CLEARED STORIES WITH AGENCY BEFORE PUBLICATION

BY KEN SILVERSTEIN

 

 

 

Featured photo - The CIA&#8217;s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication

A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in theTimes.

“I’m working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys,” Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be “reassuring to the public” about CIA drone strikes. In another, after a series of back-and-forth emails about a pending story on CIA operations in Yemen, he sent a full draft of an unpublished report along with the subject line, “does this look better?” In another, he directly asks the flack: “You wouldn’t put out disinformation on this, would you?”

Dilanian’s emails were included in hundreds of pages of documents that the CIA turned over in response to two FOIA requests seeking records on the agency’s interactions with reporters. They include email exchanges with reporters for the Associated Press, Washington PostNew York TimesWall Street Journal, and other outlets. In addition to Dilanian’s deferential relationship with the CIA’s press handlers, the documents show that the agency regularly invites journalists to its McLean, Va., headquarters for briefings and other events. Reporters who have addressed the CIA include the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius, the former ombudsmen for the New York Times, NPR, and Washington Post, and Fox News’ Brett Baier, Juan Williams, and Catherine Herridge.

Dilanian left the Times to join the AP last May, and the emails released by the CIA only cover a few months of his tenure at the Times. They show that in June 2012, shortly after 26 members of congress wrote a letter to President Obama saying they were “deeply concerned” about the drone program, Dilanian approached the agency about story that he pitched as “a good opportunity” for the government.

The letter from lawmakers, which was sent in the wake of a flurry of drone strikes that had reportedly killed dozens of civilians, suggested there was no meaningful congressional oversight of the program. But Dilanian wrote that he had been “told differently by people I trust.” He added:

Not only would such a story be reassuring to the public, I would think, but it would also be an opportunity to explore the misinformation about strikes that sometimes comes out of local media reports. It’s one thing for you to say three killed instead of 15, and it’s another for congressional aides from both parties to back you up. Part of what the story will do, if you could help me bring it to fruition, is to quote congressional officials saying that great care is taken to avoid collateral damage and that the reports of widespread civilian casualties are simply wrong.

Of course, journalists routinely curry favor with government sources (and others) by falsely suggesting that they intend to amplify the official point of view. But the emails show that Dilanian really meant it.

Over the next two weeks, he sent additional emails requesting assistance and information from the agency. In one, he suggested that a New America Foundation report alleging that drone attacks had killed many civilians was exaggerated, writing that the report was “all wrong, correct?”

A number of early news accounts reported that more than a dozen people died in the June 4, 2012, drone strike that killed Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi in Pakistan. But in a June 20 email to the CIA, Dilanian shared a sentence from his story draft asserting that al-Libi had died alone. “Would you quibble with this?” he asked the CIA press officer.

On June 25, the Times published Dilanian’s story, which described thorough congressional review of the drone program and said legislative aides were allowed to watch high-quality video of attacks and review intelligence used to justify each strike. Needless to say, the agency hadn’t quibbled with Dilanian’s description of al-Libi’s solitary death. Video provided by the CIA to congressional overseers, Dilanian reported, “shows that he alone was killed.”

That claim was subsequently debunked. In October of 2013, Amnesty International issued a report, based on statements from eyewitnesses and survivors, that the first missile strike targeting al-Libi killed five men and wounded four others. Al-Libi was not even among those victims; he and up to fifteen other people died in a follow up attack when they arrived at the scene to assist victims. Some of those killed were very likely members of al Qaeda, but six were local tribesmen who Amnesty believed were there only as rescuers. Another field report published around the same time, this one by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, also reported follow-up drone strikes on civilians and rescue workers — attacks that constitute war crimes.

Dilanian has done some strong work and has at times been highly critical of the CIA. For example, in July 2012 he wrote a piece about sexual harassment at the agency that angered the press office. In reply to an email from a spokesperson, Dilanian said that complaints about his story were “especially astonishing given that CIA hides the details of these complaints behind a wall of secrecy.”

But the emails reveal a remarkably collegial relationship with the agency. “I am looking forward to working with you, Ken,” a newly hired agency flack wrote him in a March 1, 2012, email.

“Hooray!” Dilanian replied. “Glad to have you guys.”

On March 14, 2012, Dilanian sent an email to the press office with a link to a Guardian story that said Bashar Al-Assad’s wife had been buying a fondue set on Amazon while Syrian protesters were gunned down. “If this is you guys, nice work,” he wrote. “If it’s real, even better.”

The emails also show that Dilanian shared his work with the CIA before it was published, and invited the agency to request changes. On Friday April 27, 2012, he emailed the press office a draft story that he and a colleague, David Cloud, were preparing. The subject line was “this is where we are headed,” and he asked if “you guys want to push back on any of this.”

It appears the agency did push back. On May 2, 2012, he emailed the CIA a new opening to the story with a subject line that asked, “does this look better?”

The piece ran on May 16, and while it bore similarities to the earlier versions, it had been significantly softened.

Here’s the original opening, from Dilanian’s email:

Teams of CIA officers, private contractor and special operations troops have been inserted in southern Yemen to work with local tribes on gathering intelligence for U.S. drone strikes against militants, U.S. officials and others familiar with the secret operation said.

Here’s the version that was published:

In an escalation of America’s clandestine war in Yemen, a small contingent of U.S. troops is providing targeting data for Yemeni airstrikes as government forces battle to dislodge Al Qaeda militants and other insurgents in the country’s restive south, U.S. and Yemeni officials said.

In another case, Dilanian sent the press office a draft story on May 4, 2012, reporting that U.S. intelligence believed the Taliban was growing stronger in Afghanistan. “Guys, I’m about to file this if anyone wants to weigh in,” he wrote.

On May 7, 2012, the AP, Dilanian’s current employer, broke a story about a secret CIA operation that “thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner.” The next day, Dilanian sent the CIA a detailed summary of a planned piece that followed up on (and took issue with) the AP story. “This is what we are planning to report, and I want to make sure you wouldn’t push back against any of it,” he wrote.

Dilanian also closely collaborated with the CIA in a May 2012 story that minimized the agency’s cooperation with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal on their film about the assassination of Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty. Republicans had been criticizing the Obama Administration for revealing classified details about the operation to Boal and Bigelow while withholding them from the public.

“My angle on this is that…this is a pretty routine effort to cooperate with filmmakers and the sort of thing the CIA has been doing for 15 years,” Dilanian wrote in an email to Cynthia Rapp, the head of the agency’s press office. “This is a storyline that is in your interest, I would think, to the extent you could provide information about how routine it is to offer guidance to entertainment people who seek it out—including ones who are Democrats!—it would show that this latest episode is hardly a scandal.”

Dilanian’s pitch appears to have worked. His subsequent story included an on the record comment from CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz. One year later,internal CIA documents released under the FOIA showed that the agency’s office of public affairs—the same people Dilanian had been working with–had asked for and received changes to the Zero Dark Thirty script that portrayed the agency in a more favorable light.

Reached by The Intercept for comment, Dilanian said that the AP does not permit him to send stories to the CIA prior to publication, and he acknowledged that it was a bad idea. “I shouldn’t have done it, and I wouldn’t do it now,” he said. “[But] it had no meaningful impact on the outcome of the stories. I probably should’ve been reading them the stuff instead of giving it to them.”

Dilanian said he was not sure if Los Angeles Times rules allow reporters to send stories to sources prior to publication. The Time’s ethics guidelines, however, clearly forbid the practice: “We do not circulate printed or electronic copies of stories outside the newsroom before publication. In the event you would like to read back quotations or selected passages to a source to ensure accuracy, consult an editor before doing so….”

Bob Drogin, the Times deputy bureau chief and national security editor, said he had been unaware that Dilanian had sent story drafts to the CIA and would have not allowed him to do it. “Ken is a diligent reporter and it’s responsible to seek comment and response to your reporting,” he told me. “But sharing story drafts is not appropriate.”

AP spokesman Paul Colford told The Intercept that the news organization is “satisfied that any pre-publication exchanges that Ken had with the CIA before joining AP were in pursuit of accuracy in his reporting on intelligence matters,” adding that “we do not coordinate with government agencies on the phrasing of material.”

Dilanian’s emails were included in a FOIA request that sought communications between the CIA and ten national security reporters sent from March to July 2012. That request turned up correspondence between the press office and Dilanian, Adam Goldman, then at the AP and now atThe Washington Post, Matt Apuzzo, then at AP  and now at The New York Times, Brian Bennett of The Los Angeles Times, Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal, Scott Shane of the New York Times, and David Ignatius, aWashington Post columnist.

It’s impossible to know precisely how the CIA flacks responded to reporters’ queries, because the emails show only one side of the conversations. The CIA redacted virtually all of the press handlers’ replies other than meager comments that were made explicitly on the record, citing the CIA Act of 1949, which exempts the agency from having to disclose “intelligence sources and methods” or “the organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency.” The contents of off-the-record or background emails from CIA press handlers clearly don’t disclose names, titles, or salaries (which can easily be redacted anyway); they may disclose sources and methods, depending on whether you view manipulation of American reporters as an intelligence method. (The Intercept is appealing the redactions.)

The emails also show that the CIA asked the Post‘s Ignatius to speak at a May 2012 off-the-record conference, “Political Islam’s Future: Challenges, Choices, and Uncertainties,” for U.S. government intelligence analysts and policymakers. The invitation was extended in an email from the press office, which said that the conference organizers “would like you to draw upon the insight from your field experience, reporting, and broad network of contacts during the lead up to the Arab Spring to share how journalists sense that major political, social, or religious changes are in the making.”

Ignatius replied that he would be “pleased and honored to do this,” but unfortunately he would be traveling in Europe on the day of the conference. The CIA then proposed “a smaller round table with our…folks sometime in the future.”

“Smaller round table would be great,” Ignatius replied.

Ignatius told The Intercept that the round table never took place. But he confirmed that he had previously spoken to the CIA twice since 2005. “I talked to them about how journalists collect information,” he said. “It was meant as an admonition and a caution about the need to get things right and not to bend to political pressure and to have systems in place to catch errors.”

Ignatius said he had gotten approval of his editors before he spoke to the CIA, and didn’t see any conflict or problem with addressing the agency. “There’s a very sharp line between our profession and the intelligence business and it shouldn’t be crossed,” he said. “I talked to them about what I’d learned as an editor and the importance of getting it right. I wasn’t sharing any [sensitive] information with them.

Records released in response to another FOIA request, seeking information about journalists who had been invited to address or debrief CIA employees, show that several Fox News reporters have visited the agency.

Fox News’ Bret Baier gave an address about the importance of charity in 2008 (which was reported at the time), and the then-ombudsmen for NPR,The Washington Post, and The New York Times (Jeffrey Dvorkin, Michael Getler and Daniel Okrent, respectively), appeared together on a CIA panel. The event description said that journalism “shares some of the same missions that intelligence analysts have—presenting information in an unbiased fashion and challenging prevailing opinions.” The ombudsmen, the invitation said, could help the CIA “see how journalists deal with some of our common professional and ethical difficulties.” (It’s not clear from the documents when the ombudsmen event was held, but it would have been in 2009 or before.)

In 2007, Juan Williams, then at NPR in addition to his role at Fox News, gave a “standing-room-only” speech sponsored by the agency’s Office of Diversity Plans and Programs. During his speech Williams praised CIA personnel as “the best and brightest,” and said Americans admired the agency and trusted it “to guide the nation and the nation’s future.”

Williams also spoke about Nelson Mandela, saying he was an example of a leader who “came from outside the system.” There was a certain irony here—the CIA played a key role in Mandela’s 1962 arrest by the South African apartheid regime, which resulted in him spending 28 years in prison—which Williams was either unaware of or politely chose not to note.

 

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