AUTHOR ARCHIVES

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Bearing Witness

August 1, 2007 Endangered villages in Darfur are protected by powerful, and relatively inexpensive, intelligence. From above, Malam al Hosh in North Darfur looks almost indistinguishable from the vast, seemingly desolate terrain surrounding it. Satellite images reveal formations that, at first, appear to be outcroppings of boulders. But look closer and you see ...

Chain of Command

July 15, 2007 Did George Tenet fail the president, or just do his job? Weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, George Tenet, then the director of Central Intelligence, was convinced that al Qaeda had planned an imminent strike on the United States, and that President Bush should authorize the CIA to take covert ...

Languishing Linguists

July 1, 2007 Why can't 2,000 Arabic speakers get jobs with an intelligence agency? When Evan Lesser hears officials lament the lack of skilled linguists in the intelligence community, he gets frustrated. That's because he knows where to find about 2,000 Arabic speakers, 475 who can speak Farsi and another 250 or so ...

TB incident highlights gaps in response to irrational behavior

June 18, 2007 As details emerge in the case of Andrew Speaker, the 31-year-old runaway groom with a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, more questions arise about whether the nation's defenses against biological agents, as well as terrorists, are in proper working order, and whether health and homeland-security officials have truly adapted to the ...

ADVICE+DISSENT: Intelligence File The Contractor Conundrum

June 15, 2007 Intelligence agencies won't say how many contractors they've hired. But we'll give it a shot. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has finished an unprecedented head count of contract employees working for the 16 spy agencies. The timing could hardly be better, given congressional uproar over outsourcing analysts, ...

Homeland Security could face transition problem

June 1, 2007 On November 2, 2004, top officials from the Homeland Security Department held a small Election Night party at a Washington restaurant to watch the presidential election returns come in on television. Nearly every leader there owed his job to the man then fighting for his own job -- George W. ...

ADVICE+DISSENT: Intelligence File Too Close to Home

June 1, 2007 Agencies' reluctance to spy on Americans is largely a management issue. Since journalists revealed in December 2005 that the National Security Agency has eavesdropped on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States without the customary court-issued warrants, the public debate over domestic spying has centered on ethics and the ...

Gimme an S-P-Y

May 30, 2007 There's a reason intelligence is called a "silent service." Spies tend to shy away from the limelight. Not that they're shrinking violets -- hardly. But in a trade that's marked by slyness, subterfuge and occasional skullduggery, publicity is something generally best avoided. Which is why the Intelligence and National Security ...

ADVICE+DISSENT: Intelligence File Gimme an S-P-Y

May 15, 2007 Intelligence cheerleaders promote solidarity in the field. There's a reason intelligence is called a "silent service." Spies tend to shy away from the limelight. Not that they're shrinking violets-hardly. But in a trade that's marked by slyness, subterfuge and occasional skullduggery, publicity is something generally best avoided. Which is why ...

L.A.’s anti-terrorism hub serves as a model

May 2, 2007 It started with a phone call. On April 23, 2004, a Friday, a man calling himself "Al" contacted the Homeland Security Department in Washington. He claimed that he knew a group of terrorists who were going to blow up a building. Al knew this, he said, because he was once ...