Peter Baker

Baker, Peter. "Obama Acknowledges U.S. Is Fighting Groups Tied to Al Qaeda in Somalia and Yemen." New York Times, 15 Jun. 2012. []

In an unclassified letter to Congress, President Obama said U.S. "forces had engaged in 'a limited number' of operations against members of the Shabab in Somalia and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen... The disclosure formally confirmed what had long been known here and abroad, that the American war on Al Qaeda has spread far from the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan."


Baker, Peter. "Obama Aide Gets Waiver to Investigate Airline Plot." New York Times, 1 Jan. 2009. []

"The White House has granted a special ethics waiver to allow" John O. Brennan, the deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, "to conduct a review of the intelligence and screening breakdown that preceded the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt on an American passenger plane over Detroit." See also, Karen DeYoung, "Bombing Reports Start Trickling in to Obama," Washington Post, 1 Jan. 2010.


Baker, Peter. "Russian Researcher Convicted of Spying; Defense Says Information Was Public." Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2004, A11. []

Igor Sutyagin, a researcher at the Institute for the Study of the United States and Canada in Moscow, "was found guilty of treason and espionage [on 5 April 2004] for selling information on nuclear submarines and missile warning systems to a British company [Alternative Futures] that prosecutors alleged was a front for U.S. intelligence."

On 7 April 2004, Sutyagin was sentenced to 15 years in prison. At the sentencing, Sutyagin continued to protest his innocence. "The data he gave to the British firm, he said, were publicly available.... [D]efense attorneys vowed to appeal the conviction on grounds that the judge tilted the closed proceedings toward the prosecution." Peter Baker, "Russian Researcher, Asserting Innocence, Given 15 Years," Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2004, A17.


Baker, Peter, and Charles Babington. "General Formally Named to Lead CIA; Official Who Quit Under Goss Would Be Hayden's No. 2." Washington Post, 9 May 2006, A1. []

On 8 May 2006, the White House moved "to defuse concern over the nomination of Gen. Michael V. Hayden for CIA director, promising to balance the leadership of the nation's premier civilian spy agency with a well-known and popular veteran of the organization in the No. 2 position.... Under the plan, Vice Adm. Albert M. Calland III would be replaced as deputy director by retired CIA official Stephen R. Kappes."

Kappes is a "low-key former Marine and 23-year CIA veteran who served in the Near East, South Asia and Europe." He "had risen to chief of the agency's clandestine service and was seen as a future director." Kappes "traveled secretly to Libya in 2004 to persuade its leader, Moammar Gaddafi, to renounce weapons of mass destruction. But Kappes clashed immediately with Patrick Murray, the former Capitol Hill aide whom Goss installed as his chief of staff at the CIA. After one month on the job, Murray demanded that Kappes fire his deputy, Michael Sulick, for challenging Murray's authority. Kappes refused and he and Sulick resigned, triggering an unprecedented flood of resignations."

[CIA/00s/06/Gen; CIA/DCIAs/Hayden/Confirmation]

Baker, Peter, and Helen Dewar. "Clinton Pushes Senate to Confirm Lake in Sign He'll Fight for CIA Choice." Washington Post, 14 Feb. 1997, A9.


Baker, Peter, and Carl Hulse. "U.S. Had Early Signals of a Terror Plot, Obama Says." New York Times, 30 Dec. 2009. []

"President Obama was told [on 29 December 2009] about more missed signals and uncorrelated intelligence that should have prevented a would-be bomber from boarding a flight to the United States, leading the president to declare that there had been a 'systemic failure' of the nation’s security apparatus." See also, Carrie Johnson, Karen DeYoung, and Anne E. Kornblut, "Obama Vows to Repair Intelligence Gaps Behind Detroit Airplane Incident," Washington Post, 30 Dec. 2009, A1.

[GenPostCW/00s/09; Terrorism/00s/09]

Baker, Peter, and Walter Pincus. "Bush Signs Intelligence Reform Bill: President Now Must Find an Experienced Hand to Guide 15 Agencies." Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2004, A1. []

On 17 December 2004, President Bush signed into law "the broadest reorganization of the nation's intelligence community in more than half a century.... [T]he legislation left many recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission still unfulfilled, including restructuring congressional oversight as well as broader strategic efforts to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Nor did it address commission recommendations to rethink U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia or to expand diplomatic efforts to win friends in the Muslim world."


Baker, Peter, and Eric Schmitt. "Obama to Name Retired General to Top Spy Post." New York Times, 4 Jun. 2010. []

President Obama has picked Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. as DNI, and will announce this in the Rose Garden on 5 June 2010. As director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Clapper "clashed with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and was pushed out of office as a result, only to return to the Pentagon as a top lieutenant to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates." See also, Anne E. Kornblut and Greg Miller, "Senators Question Obama's Choice of Clapper as National Intelligence Director," Washington Post, 5 Jun. 2010, A3; and Anne E. Kornblut and Joby Warrick, "James R. Clapper Jr. Nominated as National Intelligence Chief," Washington Post, 6 Jun. 2010.

Clark comment: It is a mystery to me why anyone would want what is truly an impossible job. The DNI's responsibility for "coordinating" organizations over which the position exercises no line authority or programmatic control (except possibly for the CIA and the units -- essentially redundant bureaucracy -- established by the initial DNI) creates an untenable situation. The DNI is little more than a DCI removed from a well-established base -- thus the perceived need to create a whole new bureaucracy. The DNI's ability to order anything done in the greater part of the organizations for which he/she will be held responsible by Congress and probably the President is extremely limited. It is interesting that Clapper lost his job as Director/NGA for being correct in supporting (or, at least, not opposing) the concept of a DNI with genuine authority over multiple Intelligence Community elements, specifically in his case one controlled by the Defense Department.


Baker, Peter, Eric Schmitt, and Michael S. Schmidt. "U.S. Seizes Suspect in Deadly Assault in Benghazi in '12." New York Times, 18 Jun. 2014, A1. []

"[A]ccording to officials briefed on the operation," just after midnight local time on 16 June 2014 "about two dozen Delta Force commandos and two or three F.B.I. agents descended on the outskirts of Benghazi...; grabbed ... Ahmed Abu Khattala; stuffed him into a vehicle and raced away.... No shots were fired, and the suspect was spirited out of Libya to a United States Navy warship in the Mediterranean." See also, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, "Meet the Elite FBI Unit Likely Involved in the Benghazi Capture," Washington Post, 17 Jun. 2014, on the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team.

[FBI/10s/14; MI/SpecOps/10s/14]

Baker, Peter, and Benjamin Weiser. "Russian Spy Suspects Plead Guilty as Part of a Swap." New York Times, 8 Jul. 2010. []

The United States and Russia agreed on 8 July 2010 "to trade 10 Russian agents arrested last month for four men imprisoned in Russia for alleged contacts with Western intelligence agencies.... The 10 long-term sleeper agents pleaded guilty to conspiracy before a federal judge in Manhattan after revealing their true identities. All 10 were sentenced to time served and ... were to be taken by bus [on 8 July 2010] to a New York-area airport and flown out of the country....

"Within hours of the New York court hearing, the Kremlin announced that President Dmitri A. Medvedev had signed pardons for the four men Russia considered spies after each of them signed statements admitting guilt. The Kremlin identified them as Igor V. Sutyagin, an arms control researcher held for 11 years; Sergei Skripal, a colonel in Russia's military intelligence service sentenced in 2006 to 13 years for spying for Britain; Aleksandr Zaporozhsky, a former agent with Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service who has served seven years of an 18-year sentence; and Gennadi Vasilenko, a former K.G.B. major who was arrested in 1998 for contacts with a C.I.A. officer."


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