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Posts tagged ‘Central Intelligence Agency’

Hayden: NSA Will Have to Be More Transparent.


The federal government will have to be more transparent in the collection of data by the National Security Agency, Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden, the agency’s former director, said Tuesday.

“I actually think for the continued success, the continuation of these programs, the government and NSA are just going to have to be a bit more transparent, not just with Congress, where I think they actually have gotten pretty good marks, but with the American people,” Hayden told MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe.”

Hayden’s remarks follow a decision Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruling the NSA’s mass collection of phone records of American citizens unconstitutional. The judge put his decision on hold pending a ruling by a higher court, should there be an appeal.

Hayden, who also directed the Central Intelligence Agency, maintained the judge might not have been privy to as much information as previous rulings by FISA judges who deemed the program as constitutional. He admitted the newest ruling “is what it is.”

“It’s a limited ruling, applies only to the plaintiffs, and that itself was stayed by Judge Leon,” Hayden said.

Story continues below video.

Hayden was director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005. His time in office included 9/11. He then went on to be Director of National Intelligence under President George W. Bush and CIA director from 2006-2009.

David Axelrod, former adviser to President Barack Obama, told “Morning Joe” that when he was working in the White House, there were instances where the data collection thwarted potential catastrophic events. He said he believes the president will come forward to address the issue with the American people.

“I think that when (Obama) . . . brings his reforms forward, he’s going to have to speak to the American people in some detail about these programs, about the necessity of these programs, and about how they can be changed and altered and reformed to give people greater confidence,” Axelrod said.

Hayden said there are current NSA employees who may feel uncomfortable with some of the actions of the federal government. He wanted to assure people the employees aren’t “alien bodies out there at Fort Meade doing this program. They are Americans.”

“I would ask the American people, don’t view this as them versus us. I would ask them to become knowledgeable about the specifics of the program,” he said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

Kerry: US Has Not Abandoned Levinson in Iran.


Image: Kerry: US Has Not Abandoned Levinson in Iran
 
 

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States has not abandoned a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran six years ago, and that he personally has raised the issue, according to an interview with ABC News.

Robert Levinson, a private detective and former ederal agent, disappeared during a trip to an Iranian island in 2007. The White House says he was not a government employee at the time.

His lawyer, David McGee, told Reuters on Friday Levinson was investigating allegations of corruption by well-connected people in Iran. Levinson’s family believes the U.S. government has “not acted to its full capacities” in trying to free him, he said.

“There hasn’t been progress in the sense that we don’t have him back. But to suggest that we have abandoned him or anybody has abandoned him is simply incorrect and not helpful,” Kerry said, according to excerpts from ABC television’s “This Week.”

“The fact is, that I have personally raised the issue not only at the highest level that I have been involved with, but also through other intermediaries,” he said in the interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported that Levinson was in fact working for a rogue CIA operation when he disappeared. Kerry rejected that claim, according to ABC.

The top U.S. diplomat met with Levinson’s family on March 8, the day before the sixth anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance. Last year, the FBI offered a rare $1 million reward for information that could lead to his safe return.

Iran has said it does not know where Levinson is, but Kerry told ABC he thinks the Iranian government can help find him.

“We’re looking for proof of life,” Kerry said. “There are a number of different channels that are being worked aggressively.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Eric Walsh)

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

CIA Benghazi Team Clash Led to ‘Stand Down’ Report.


CIA officers who testified privately to Congress about the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, revealed a disagreement about how quickly they could help the besieged U.S. ambassador and others.

That’s according to a congressman and others who heard or were briefed on the testimony. The CIA officers also revealed a standing order to avoid violent encounters.

Complaints that the White House, Pentagon, and State Department may not have done enough to save U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other men, along with accusations that it engaged in a cover-up after the attack, have continued to dog the Obama administration.

None of those who testified said that a quicker response would have saved the lives of Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glenn Doherty.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

White House Declines to Discuss Levinson CIA Ties.


The White House is declining to talk about any CIA ties of an American who has been missing since a 2007 trip to Iran.

An Associated Press investigation has found that retired FBI agent Robert Levinson was a contractor for the CIA, though the U.S. government has said he was on private business when he disappeared.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response to questions Friday that Levinson was not a U.S. government employee when he went missing, but he wouldn’t comment on whether the man was on contract with the CIA.

He said he was limited in what he could say and criticized the AP report as “highly irresponsible to publish.” He said he wouldn’t say anything that could harm the government’s continued efforts to find Levinson.

“He was not a U.S. government employee when he made that trip,” said Carney, responding to questions about an Associated Press story that said Levinson was working for the Central Intelligence Agency when he disappeared.

“As there is an ongoing investigation into his disappearance, I’m not going to comment further on what he may or may not have been doing in Iran,” Carney said, calling the story “highly irresponsible.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Obama Won’t Release Senate Report on CIA Torture.


Image: Obama Won't Release Senate Report on CIA Torture

By Lisa Barron

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence adopted a 6,300 page report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program a year ago — but it remains classified, meaning nobody else has seen it.

That’s because the Obama administration has yielded to pressure from a faction in the CIA to keep the agency’s rendition, detention, and interrogation tactics secret, The Atlantic reports.

Senators from both parties, however, have pushed the White House to make the contents of the report public.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona has said the report “confirms for me what I have always believed and insisted to be true—that the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners is not only wrong in principle and a stain on our country’s conscience, but also an ineffective and unreliable means of gathering intelligence.”

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the intelligence committee, said she thinks releasing the information “will settle the debate once and for all over whether our nation should ever employ coercive interrogation techniques such as those detailed in this report.”

In addition, the study contradicts the belief that these techniques were what led to finding Osama bin Laden‘s courier, suggesting that “the CIA detainee who provided the most accurate information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques,” according to McCain, Feinstein, and Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, reports Politico Magazine.

And Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told the publication that the reports details how “the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information about its interrogation program to the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress.”

The CIA reportedly sent a response to the report to Congress, criticizing many of its findings, but has apparently addressed just the bullet points that come before the executive summary.

Meanwhile, the Center for Victims of Torture is pressing not only for the release of the study but also for a response from the government.

“The Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-plus page report, containing more than 35,000 footnotes, is a serious and comprehensive review of the CIA’s past torture program. The report is a significant step to making sure the U.S. government does not return to official policies of torture and cruel treatment,” said Curt Goering, executive director of CVT.

“The Administration needs to get right its response to it. While the CIA certainly has a role in reviewing the report and providing feedback to the Intelligence Committee, given the agency’s large hand in policies of torture and cruel treatment, their comments should not be allowed to pass through without an independent assessment from other relevant agencies, including the White House.”

“Not doing so would be like letting the fox guard the henhouse,” he added.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Former CIA Chief Hayden: Assad Win May Be Syria’s Best Option.


Image: Former CIA Chief Hayden: Assad Win May Be Syria's Best Option

WASHINGTON — The sectarian bloodbath in Syria is such a threat to regional security that a victory for Bashar Assad‘s regime could be the best outcome, former CIA chiefMichael Hayden said Thursday.

Washington condemned Assad’s conduct of the conflict, threatened air strikes after he was accused of targeting civilians with chemical weapons and has demanded he step down.

The United States is also supplying millions of dollars in “non-lethal” aid to some of the rebel groups fighting Assad’s rule.

But Hayden, the retired U.S. Air Force general who until 2009 was head of the CIA, said a rebel win was not one of the three possible outcomes he foresees for the conflict.

“Option three is Assad wins,” Hayden told the annual Jamestown Foundation conference of terror experts. “And I must tell you at the moment, as ugly as it sounds, I’m kind of trending toward option three as the best out of three very, very ugly possible outcomes,” he said.

The first possible outcome he cited was for ongoing conflict between ever more extreme Sunni and Shiite factions.

The rebel groups are dominated by Sunni Muslims, while Assad is generally backed by Syria’s Alawite, Shiite, and Christian minorities.

And the second outcome, which Hayden deemed the most likely, was the “dissolution of Syria” and the end of a single state within the borders defined by a 1916 treaty between the French and British empires.

“It means the end of the Sykes-Picot [Agreement], it sets in motion the dissolution of all the artificial states created after World War I,” he said.

The British diplomat Mark Sykes and a French counterpart Francois Georges Picot divided the Middle East into zones of influence that later served as the frontiers of independent Arab states.

A breakdown in the century-old settlement could spread chaos in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, Hayden warned.

“I greatly fear the dissolution of the state. A de facto dissolution of Sykes-Picot,” Hayden said. “And now we have a new ungoverned space, at the crossroads of the civilization.

“The dominant story going on in Syria is a Sunni fundamentalist takeover of a significant part of the Middle East geography, the explosion of the Syrian state and of the Levant as we know it,” he said.

Fighting erupted in Syria in early 2011, when Assad launched a crackdown on pro-democracy protests and has since evolved into a full-blown civil war that has claimed an estimated 126,000 lives.

Assad, backed by Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, is locked in combat with a diverse group of Sunni rebel factions which are increasingly dominated by hardline jihadist groups.

© AFP 2013

Source: Newsmax.com

Lawyer Tied to bin Laden Raid Flees Pakistan.


The lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who played a pivotal role in helping the U.S. track and kill Osama bin Laden has fled to Dubai, Pakistan‘s Express Tribune reports.

A relative of Samiullah Afridi said terrorists threatened to blow up the lawyer’s car and kill his family.

“We cannot disclose the country he left for due to security threats to his life,” the relative said, asking for anonymity, according to The New York Post.

“Militants warned him to stop pleading the case, or else he and his family would face the consequences.”

Afridi is one of three attorneys representing Dr. Shakil Afridi — the two are not related — a surgeon who helped the CIA carry out a phony hepatitis vaccine campaign that allowed Dr. Afridi to collect the DNA of bin Laden’s children from the family compound in Abbottabad.

The Pakistani government arrested Dr. Afridi as he tried to cross the border days after the May 2011 raid. He was purportedly taken into custody for his involvement, though it was later stated that it was for alleged ties to Islamist terror group Lashkar-e-Islam, something Dr. Afridi denies.

He was serving a 33-year sentence that in August was overturned for procedural errors. While awaiting a retrial, Dr. Afridi was charged with murder related to the death of a patient eight years ago.

His lawyers recently received a hand-written letter smuggled from Dr. Afridi’s prison cell — their first contact with him in 15 months — saying he was being denied his right to a fair trial, the BBC reports.

Qamar Nadeem, who also represents Dr. Afridi, told the BBC that Samiullah Afridi left Pakistan on Wednesday.

“I had met him a day earlier but he did not indicate he had any plans to leave the country. I have now been told he is gone,” Nadeem said. “I didn’t ask and he never told me who was threatening him, or what was the nature of those threats.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Melissa Clyne

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