August - December

Materials presented chronologically.

Khan, Ismail, and Declan Walsh. "U.S. Drone Strike Kills 6 in Pakistani Tribal Area." New York Times, 6 Aug. 2014. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A U.S. drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal district on 6 August 2014 "killed at least six people, Pakistani officials and local residents said. It was the latest in a series of strikes by C.I.A.-operated drone aircraft to coincide with a major offensive by the Pakistani military in the area."

Whitlock, Craig, and Greg Jaffe. "U.S. Sending Weapons Directly to Kurdish Forces, Officials Say." Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

U.S. officials said on 11 August 2014 the the "U.S. government has begun to funnel weapons directly to Kurdish forces fighting Islamist militants in northern Iraq." Washington has opened a covert "pipeline to the Kurds via the CIA, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

Miller, Greg. "U.S. Strikes in Syria against Islamic State Would Be Hindered by Intelligence Gaps." Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. officials, a U.S. offensive in Syria against ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State "would likely be constrained by persistent intelligence gaps and an inability to rely on fleets of armed drones.... The Pentagon has conducted daily surveillance flights along Iraq's border with Syria in recent weeks.... The CIA has also expanded its network of informants inside Syria, largely by recruiting and vetting rebel fighters who have been trained and equipped at clandestine agency bases in Jordan over the past two years, U.S. officials said."

Associated Press. "CIA Ramps Up Cooperation with Jordan Amid Islamic State Attack Fears." 9 Sep. 2014. [http://usmarines.einnews.com]

"The U.S. is stepping up its intelligence cooperation with Jordan,... concerned that the Arab country could be vulnerable to the Islamic State militant group." According to two former agency officials, "[t]he CIA has approached" Robert Richer, "a retired former agency official with close ties to King Abdullah II[,] about setting up a special task force to help Jordan deal with the threat from the Islamic State group."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Director John Brennan Considering Sweeping Organizational Changes." Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, "CIA Director John Brennan is considering sweeping organizational changes that could include breaking up the separate spying and analysis divisions that have been in place for decades to create hybrid units focused on individual regions and threats to U.S. security.... U.S. officials emphasized that the proposal is in its preliminary stages, and could still be scaled back or even discarded."

Levine, Adam. "Republican-led Report Debunks Benghazi Theories and Accusations." CNN, 21 Nov. 2014. [http://www.cnn.com]

An investigative report released by House Intelligence Committee "Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, concludes there was no intelligence failure prior to the attack, no stand-down order to CIA operatives trying to go assist at the besieged consular building, and found conflicting intelligence in the wake of the attack about the motive and cause, which were reflected in early public comments by the administration." See also, Greg Miller, "House Panel Finds No Intelligence Failure in Benghazi Attacks," Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2014; and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2014, A14.

Nakashima, Ellen. "National Archives Backing Away from CIA E-mail Destruction Plan." Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The National Archives is rethinking its preliminary blessing of a CIA plan to eventually destroy all e-mail messages sent by non-senior officials.... The CIA sought permission in January [2014] to destroy e-mail communications of all but 22 top CIA officials within three years of their leaving the agency -- 'or when no longer needed, whichever is sooner.' ... NARA on [26 November 2014] informed the committee and others who had commented on the proposal that it will hold a public meeting in the coming months to address the issue."

Rodriguez, Jose A., Jr. "Today's CIA Critics Once Urged the Agency To Do Anything To Fight al-Qaeda." Washington Post, 5 Dec. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The leaked conclusion of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report "that the interrogation program brought no intelligence value is an egregious falsehood.... I'm bemused that the Senate could devote so many resources to studying the interrogation program and yet never once speak to any of the key people involved in it, including the guy who ran it (that would be me)....

"I'm confident that my former CIA colleagues who are still on the job will do what is necessary to protect the nation from new Islamic State and continuing al-Qaeda threats. But in the back of their minds will be the nagging thought that, as they carry out legal, authorized and necessary actions, they may be only a few years away from being criticized and second-guessed by the people who today are urging them onward to the 'gates of hell.'"

Miller, Greg, Adam Goldman, and Julie Tate. "Senate Report on CIA Program Details Brutality, Dishonesty." Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/]

The 528-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's secret interrogations of terrorism suspects concludes that "harsh interrogation measures ... didn't work.... The investigation was conducted exclusively by the Senate committee's Democratic staff.... [T]he report is unlikely to lead to new sanctions or structural change. The document ... does not ... offer any formal recommendations. It steers clear of scrutinizing the involvement of the White House and Justice Department." See also Scott Shane, "Report Portrays a Broken C.I.A. Devoted to a Failed Approach," New York Times, 9 Dec. 2014.

Click here for access to the SSCI Report, the CIA's response, and associated documents.

Wall Street Journal. "Ex-CIA Directors: Interrogations Saved Lives." 9 Dec. 2014. [http://www.wsj.com]

"The Senate Intelligence Committee has released its majority report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation in the wake of 9/11. The following response is from former CIA Directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden (a retired Air Force general), and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes:"

The Committee's report "is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation.... In no way would we claim that we did everything perfectly, especially in the emergency and often-chaotic circumstances we confronted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.... [T]here were undoubtedly things in our program that should not have happened. When we learned of them, we reported such instances to the CIA inspector general or the Justice Department and sought to take corrective action....

"How did the committee report get [so many] things so wrong? Astonishingly, the staff avoided interviewing any of us who had been involved in establishing or running the program.... The excuse given ... is that CIA officers were under investigation by the Justice Department and therefore could not be made available. This is nonsense. The investigations referred to were completed in 2011 and 2012 and applied only to certain officers. They never applied to six former CIA directors and deputy directors, all of whom could have added firsthand truth to the study....

"We can only conclude that the committee members or staff did not want to risk having to deal with data that did not fit their construct. Which is another reason why the study is so flawed. What went on in preparing the report is clear: The staff picked up the signal at the outset that this study was to have a certain outcome.... The staff members then 'cherry picked' their way through six million pages of documents, ignoring some data and highlighting others, to construct their argument against the program's effectiveness."

See also the Website at http://www.ciasavedlives.com/. "This website was created by a group of former CIA officials with hundreds of years of combined service. They all have first-hand knowledge that the CIA's interrogation program was authorized, legal and effective. They also have in common that during its 5+ year investigation, the SSCI did not bother to contact them and seek their views."

DeYoung, Karen. "Obama Moves to Normalize Relations with Cuba as American Is Released by Havana." Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 17 December 2014, "[t]he United States and Cuba ended more than a half-century of enmity, with the announcement by President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced "they would reestablish diplomatic relations and begin dismantling the last pillar of the Cold War. "In addition to [U.S. AID contractor Alan] Gross, who the Obama administration said was freed on humanitarian grounds after five years," the United States exchanged three Cubans imprisoned in the United States since 1998 for "an unnamed U.S. intelligence asset said to have been held in Cuba for two decades."

See also, Adam Taylor, "Meet the 'Cuban Five' at the Center of the Blockbuster U.S. Announcement on Cuba," Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2014.

DeYoung, Karen, and Greg Miller. "CIA's No. 2 Tapped To Be Deputy National Security Adviser." Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to administration officials on 18 December 2014, Avril D. Haines will become deputy national security adviser, "returning to the White House just 18 months after she left to be ... second in command" at the CIA. "Haines will succeed Antony Blinken, confirmed by the Senate this week as deputy secretary of state." Haines had previously been "deputy White House legal counsel and counsel to the National Security Council." Candisates to replace Haines "could include Glenn Gaffney, head of the agency's science and technology directorate, and Michael Vickers, a former CIA officer serving as the top intelligence official at the Pentagon."

Mazzetti, Mark, Michael S. Schmidt, and Frances Robles. "Crucial Spy in Cuba Paid a Heavy Cold War Price." New York Times, 19 Dec. 2014, A1. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The information Rolando Sarraff Trujillo gave the CIA "paid dividends long after Cuban authorities arrested" and imprisoned him. He "has now been released from prison and flown out of Cuba as part of the swap for three Cuban spies imprisoned in the United States" announced by President Obama on 17 December 2014. Before his November 1995 arrest, "Sarraff worked in the cryptology section of Cuba's Directorate of Intelligence and was an expert on the codes used by Cuban spies in the United States to communicate with Havana."

In his speech on 17 December, Obama said Sarraff "provided America with the information that allowed us to arrest the network of Cuban agents that included the men transferred to Cuba today, as well as other spies in the United States." A statement from the ODNI's said that information from "Sarraff -- the statement did not name him -- had helped the government arrest and convict several Cuban spies inside the United States." The convictions included DIA senior analyst Ana Belén Montes; former State Department official Walter Kendall Myers and his wife, Gwendolyn Myers; and members of the Red Avispa or Wasp Network [the "Cuban Five"] in Florida.

See also, Adam Goldman and Missy Ryan, "Spy Helped Unmask 3 Cuban Spy Networks, U.S. Officials Say," Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2014.

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