Browsing: Intelligence

Fed Times on the air: Intel pay and the politics of raises

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Shameless self-promotion time: I’ll be on News Channel 8’s Federal News Tonight program this evening at 7:30 to talk about a few controversial issues we’ve been covering lately. I’ll first talk about Federal Times’ exclusive look at an upcoming report on problems with the intelligence community’s pay-for-performance system. And then we’ll discuss the growing controversy about federal pay raises and the Republican push to cut them to help balance the budget.

CIA's Iraq propaganda apparently run by 14 year old boys

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The Washington Post’s SpyTalk blog reports today that the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group was mulling some hairbrained schemes for discrediting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein before the 2003 invasion. Their most outlandish idea was to play the homophobia card and create a phony video that appeared to show Saddam having sex with a teenage boy, two CIA officials told the Post. The Post said that and other psychological operation, or PSYOP, ideas went nowhere, partly because the CIA didn’t have the money and expertise to carry them out and partly because they were, well, stupid. What they should have done was buy a few…

DNI Blair's resignation statement

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Adm. Dennis Blair is officially stepping down as Director of National Intelligence. Here’s the statement he just sent out to the intelligence community: It is with deep regret that I informed the President today that I will step down as Director of National Intelligence effective Friday, May 28th.  I have had no greater honor or pleasure than to lead the remarkably talented and patriotic men and women of the Intelligence Community.  Every day, you have worked tirelessly to provide intelligence support for two wars and to prevent an attack on our homeland.  You are true heroes, just like the members…

Intel community gets new CHCO

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Paula Roberts, the head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s human development directorate, will be the next chief human capital officer of the intelligence community. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said Roberts will oversee the design, development and execution of human resource strategies and policies to support the 16 agencies in the intelligence community. “Paula will continue our efforts to build a diverse workforce with the technical and linguistic skills and cultural understanding necessary to help us meet our wide-ranging mission requirements,” Blair said in a statement released today. Roberts has worked at NGA since 1978, and joined the Senior…

CIA Director Panetta on his way out?

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ABC News today reported that strife is growing between CIA Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, and the White House, and said Panetta might not be at Langley for much longer. The CIA and Obama administration are officially denying any shakeup, but ABC says Panetta let loose a profanity-laced tirade at the White House last month over the Justice Department’s possible investigation into CIA torture of terrorism suspects and threatened to quit. And that’s not all: In addition to concerns about the CIA’s reputation and its legal exposure, other White House insiders say Panetta has been frustrated by…

WSJ: "Democratized intelligence" through Google Earth

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The intelligence community has talked about using open-source data for years, but a George Mason University doctoral candidate and his cohorts are taking the concept to the next level. The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Curtis Melvin and about a dozen other “citizen snoops” — some of whom are former military analysts — have spent the last two years using Google Earth’s satellite images to map out the infrastructure of North Korea. It’s not easy, since North Korea is perhaps the most secretive country on the planet. Melvin and others sift through news reports, photographs and eyewitness accounts,…

Controversial intel appointee withdraws

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Charles Freeman, who was President Barack Obama’s pick to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council, is blaming a so-called “Israel lobby” for orchestrating strong online opposition to his appointment. Freeman was criticized for his connections to the Saudi-funded Middle East Policy Council, past statements critical of Israel, and his perceived leniency on the Chinese government’s repression of political dissent. Freeman released a statement Tuesday after taking himself out of the running: I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy…

Blair, Panetta officially tapped to run intelligence

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President-elect Barack Obama just formally named Dennis Blair and Leon Panetta as his picks to be the next Director of National Intelligence and Director of Central Intelligence, respectively. The choice of Panetta has been especially controversial, since he has no experience inside the intelligence world. In his comments today, Obama said that Panetta, a former White House chief of staff and Office of Management and Budget director, was chosen for his management skills and to restore the CIA’s clout: He has handled intelligence daily at the very highest levels, and time and again he has demonstrated sound judgment, grace under fire…

Brennan bows out of CIA consideration

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MSNBC is reporting that John Brennan has just taken his name out of the running to be the next Director of Central Intelligence. Speculation that Brennan, a member of president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, was a leading candidate to run the CIA sparked serious criticism from some who believed Brennan supported torturing terrorism suspects. In today’s letter to Obama, Brennan firmly denied those accusations: It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush Administration such as the preemptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding. The…