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Iraq Confidential

Iraq Confidential

By Scott Ritter
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Tag: Security

‘Kip Hawley Is an Idiot’

An air traveler wrote the above phrase—a reference to the head of the Transportation Security Administration—on his carry-on bag, and the traveler ended up being detained by TSA personnel who told him that his free speech ends at the security gate.

Posted on Sep 27, 2006 READ MORE


Robert Scheer: A War on Intelligence

All 16 U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Bush’s war in Iraq “has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists” worldwide, but that won’t deter a president who puts no stock in intelligence.

Posted on Sep 26, 2006 READ MORE


Iraq War Responsible for Increased Terror Threat

The latest National Intelligence Estimate blames the Iraq War for the expansion of terrorist threats.  According to the consensus gathered from 16 intelligence agencies, “jihadism” has increased since Sept. 11, 2001, due especially to the war in Iraq.

Posted on Sep 24, 2006 READ MORE


Marie Cocco: ‘Scare Tactics’ on Social Security

“One could reasonably ask why talking about Social Security is a scarier tactic than the White House campaign slogan, which amounts to ‘elect Democrats and die at the terrorists’ hands.’ But never mind.”

Posted on Sep 18, 2006 READ MORE


Cheney and Condi
Illustration: Peter Scheer/Photos: Wikipedia.org/artlex.com

Cheney and Condi Defend Their Debacles

Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice each went on TV Sunday to perform CPR on the administration?s legacy.  Though both admitted to more dogged resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan than expected, the pair defended the administration?s decision-making and claimed we are safer now thanks to Bush?s policies.

Posted on Sep 10, 2006 READ MORE


Airport police
scotsman.com

The Cash Cost of London?s Airline Scare

BAA, which operates London?s Heathrow Airport, is set to announce losses of 20 million pounds due to the recent terror alert.  British Airways has already announced 40 million pounds in losses, following the cancellation of flights?thousands at Heathrow alone?and restrictive security measures.

Posted on Sep 10, 2006 READ MORE


Puffer
securityinfowatch.com

Airport Security Beset by Technology Failures

The Transportation Security Administration has suspended the installation of trace-detection portals, the machines that detect explosives on passengers.  The move comes amid criticism that the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security have been unable to develop and implement effective airport security tools.

Posted on Sep 2, 2006 READ MORE


UN Plane in Sudan
flickr/spangleddrongo

U.N. OK’s Peacekeeping in Darfur

The U.N. Security Council has approved plans to create a peacekeeping force in Darfur, but will not deploy the troops until Sudan agrees.  The force of up to 22,500 would “replace or absorb” the 7,000 African Union soldiers whose mandate expires Sept. 30.  (h/t: Think Progress)

Posted on Aug 31, 2006 READ MORE


Italy Bails Out France

Italy’s prime minister has tentatively offered to take the leadership role in Lebanon’s peacekeeping mission with a deployment of 3,000 troops.  France, which was to lead the mission, has offered only 200 troops after expressing concern over the force’s mandate.

Posted on Aug 22, 2006 READ MORE


Judge Orders End to Bush’s Warrantless Wiretapping

A federal judge in Detroit ruled that the government’s eavesdropping program is illegal and unconstitutional, and ordered an immediate halt to it.

  • Check out constitutional scholar and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald’s stellar analysis and opinion roundup.

  • Posted on Aug 17, 2006 READ MORE


    Michael Gallagher
    From ThinkProgress

    Crazy Conservative Watch

    Speaking on Fox News on Tuesday, conservative radio host Mike Gallagher proposed installing a Muslims-only line at U.S. airports. (Watch it) Even scarier, the studio audience broke into applause.
    This is happening in real-life America, folks.

    Posted on Aug 16, 2006 READ MORE


    As U.S. Shifts Policing Power, Baghdad Strife Rises

    As U.S. forces have given Iraqi security officers responsibility for policing Baghdad, violence has notably increased, undercutting America’s premise that Iraqis are capable of securing their own country.

    Posted on Aug 6, 2006 READ MORE


    Airbus

    Europe’s Hijack-Proof Plane

    Airbus, Siemens and dozens of other European companies are working on a system that would reroute control of hijacked aircraft to the ground.  The system would then safely land the plane at the nearest airport.

    Posted on Jul 26, 2006 READ MORE


    Alberto Gonzales
    From ThinkProgress

    Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked DOJ Probe of Spy Program

    Testifying before Congress this morning, Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales said that Bush halted the investigation into the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program by personally denying security clearances to Department of Justice lawyers investigating the case. (article or video)

  • Pardon us for being reflexively cynical about Bush’s motives in this one, but the president doesn’t have a shred of credibility on this issue.

  • Posted on Jul 18, 2006 READ MORE


    U.S. Terror Targets: Petting Zoo and Flea Market?

    The official anti-terrorism database is so flawed that it lists 8,591 potential terrorism targets in Indiana—50% more than in New York and twice as many as in California. Examples: “Old MacDonaldÂ’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory and the Mule Day Parade.”

    Posted on Jul 11, 2006 READ MORE


    Iraq to America: We Need Security—Against Your Soldiers

    Iraq will ask the United Nations to end immunity from local law for U.S. troops, reports Reuters. Iraq’s human rights minister says the lack of enforcement of U.S. military law has led to crimes like the rape-murder allegedly committed by five U.S. soldiers.

    Posted on Jul 11, 2006 READ MORE


    The face of the occupation

    The Occupation of Iraqi Hearts and Minds

    Truthdig contributor Nir Rosen, an American reporter who has lived for the last three years in Iraq and who can pass as Middle Eastern, describes what it’s like to live under the boot of a culturally callous—and sometimes criminal—occupying force in Iraq.

    Posted on Jun 27, 2006 READ MORE


    NSA mining social networking sites
    Faces: from smartmobs.com / NSA seal: from isoc.org

    NSA Wants to Mine Data From Social Networking Sites

    The National Security Agency is funding research into ways to collect personal information from social networking websites like MySpace and Friendster, according to New Scientist magazine. The agency reportedly aims to combine the information with details from banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.

    Posted on Jun 9, 2006 READ MORE


    Joe Conason: Fire Chertoff, for Starters

    Department of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff may have again revealed his incompetence by slashing New York’s anti-terror funding, but the problems plaguing that agency reach far deeper than one man. 

    Posted on Jun 8, 2006 READ MORE


    Feds Cut Anti-Terror Funding in NYC, D.C.

    The Department of Homeland Security slashed anti-terrorism money for Washington and New York in favor of cities like Jacksonville and Sacramento. Stunner: “A DHS risk scorecard for the city asserted that the home of the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge has ‘zero’ national monuments or icons.”

    Posted on Jun 1, 2006 READ MORE


    Bush Increases Use of ‘State Secrets’ Privilege to Quash Lawsuits

    The administration is using this tactic at a rate of three lawsuits per year—purportedly to keep national security information safe. But one expert says that in cases like these, “the principal concern of the classifiers is not with national security, but with governmental embarrassment of one sort or another.”

    Posted on May 25, 2006 READ MORE


    N.Y. Times: Hold the Applause in Iraq

    The national unity cabinet that Iraq presented this weekend will remain impotent unless Iraq can reform its “corrupt, brutal and highly partisan security forces”—the death squads that now range the country with impunity—argues the Times’ editorial board.

    Posted on May 22, 2006 READ MORE


    Gonzales: We May Prosecute Journalists

    Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales says that the Bush White House may go after journalists who report on national security-related matters. “There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility.”
    Funny: There are lots of FISA statutes that you don’t have to read particularly carefully to learn that spying on Americans without warrants is illegal.

    Posted on May 22, 2006 READ MORE


    Hayden Denounces Media Coverage of CIA Activities

    Gen. Michael Hayden bemoaned the “endless picking apart” of CIA operations in the news media during today’s confirmation hearing on his nomination to head the intelligence agency.
    If the architect of the NSA domestic wiretapping program gets this promotion, it will be like a Jon Stewart joke gone horribly wrong.

    Posted on May 18, 2006 READ MORE


    BellSouth: We Didn’t Give Data to NSA

    The phone company says that, despite the claims made in the USA Today story, it never provided phone records to the NSA.

    Posted on May 15, 2006 READ MORE


    Leslie Cauley
    Images: From "The Charlie Rose Show"

    Truthdigger of the Week: Leslie Cauley

    Truthdig salutes Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who broke the blockbuster story about the NSA’s program to amass the records of every phone call made in America. Her scoop laid waste to President Bush’s assertion that his domestic spying targets only a handful of suspected terrorists living in the U.S. In the wake of her story, GOP Sen. Arlen Specter is calling for congressional hearings.

    Posted on May 12, 2006 READ MORE


    Presidential Ears

    Share
    Posted on May 12, 2006 READ MORE


    Cryptokids
    From NSA.gov

    The NSA: Fostering a New Generation of Code Breakers

    The presumed next head of the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, once ran the National Security Agency. Fine. It’s got a cartoon picture that leads to a kid-friendly site called Cryptokids: America’s Future Codemakers and Codebreakers. It’s filled with decryption games and NSA employment resources.
    Huh? Cartoons appeal to 7-year-olds. How many of them are going to be surfing the NSA’s website? And if the agency is trying to recruit high school students, why use a cartoon turtle as a roper?

    Posted on May 6, 2006 READ MORE


    U.S. Soccer
    From Brooks Parkenridge / ussoccer.com

    U.S. Soccer Team Bus Will Show No Flag

    If you want an idea of America’s image in the world, consider this: Of the 32 official buses transporting teams competing in soccer World Cup, only America’s will not bear its national flag—for security reasons.

    Posted on May 5, 2006 READ MORE


    Claim: Ridge Forced a Whitewash of Security Criticisms

    The former inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security says he was confronted by then-Secretary Tom Ridge ?to intimidate me, to stare me down, to force me to back off” from criticizing security failures in advance of the 2004 presidential election.

    Posted on May 1, 2006 READ MORE


    Joe Conason: Washington Leaking: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Determining which leaks are bad and which are good can be a murky process.

    Posted on Apr 28, 2006 READ MORE


    Robert Scheer: Top Spys Story on Prewar Intel Is Finally Told

    A jaded media ignores CBS’ well-documented revelation that the CIA clearly informed Bush that Saddam Hussein had no WMD program.

    Posted on Apr 25, 2006 READ MORE


    Robert Scheer: Now Powell Tells Us

    Colin Powell told me that he and his department’s top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the president followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim.

    Posted on Apr 11, 2006 READ MORE


    Province by Province: A Picture of Worsening Conditions in Iraq

    The U.S. Embassy and military in Baghdad issued a revealing province by province report of Iraq’s political, economic and security situation. The “Provincial Stability Assessment” paints a gloomy picture of intensifying sectarian and ethnic frictions and growing instability in many of the provinces profiled.  Funny, our leaders always say how well things are going…

    Posted on Apr 8, 2006 READ MORE


    Drone Aircraft May Prowl U.S. Skies

    The Congress hears from police agencies that envision using unmanned military drones for surveillance—in one troubling example, high above American cities.

    Posted on Apr 4, 2006 READ MORE


    Ibrahim al-Jaafari
    From Christoph Bangert/Polaris/NY Times

    Iraqi Leader to U.S.: Stop Meddling

    Jafaari rebuffs Bush’s alleged call for him to step down, telling Washington to stop interfering in Iraq’s politics.

    Posted on Mar 29, 2006 READ MORE


    Dept of Defense seal
    From Federal Computer Week

    Defense Dept. Removes Critical Report from Website

    The report, by the DoD’s inspector general, found security flaws in the “Star Wars” missile defense system. After a magazine did a story on the report, the DoD scrubbed the document from its website, and won’t say why it did so. Luckily for us curious types, the magazine saved a digital copy. (h/t: ThinkProgress)

    Posted on Mar 22, 2006 READ MORE


    Healing_Iraq_bio_cartoon
    From healingiraq.blogspot.com

    Iraqi Blogger Writes of Harrowing Existence

    The Washington Post ran a week’s worth of postings by a young, UK-raised Iraqi dentist who describes the unnerving experience of living “between the hammer of terrorists and the anvil of American, British and Iraqi security forces.”
    (Also, check out his blog, Healing Iraq, with his bio.)

    Posted on Mar 20, 2006 READ MORE


    Gunmen Seize 50 at Iraq Security Firm

    This incident—coming on the heels of the discovery of 20 bodies dumped in Baghdad—is the face of urban civil war on the model of the Battle of Algiers.

    Posted on Mar 8, 2006 READ MORE


    Burning Bridges in Asia

    The N.Y. Times says that Bush, on his Asia trip, not only squandered a fine opportunity to shore up alliances and generate goodwill, but probably made things much worse by embarrassing Pakistan’s leader.

    Posted on Mar 7, 2006 READ MORE


    Ports Deal to Close by Monday?

    A Bush official claims that the Dubai ports deal will close Friday or Monday, despite a 45-day review by the U.S. government.
    Uhhh, can anyone help us figure this one out? It seems ludicrous, but then again, so was Bush’s immediate response to Sept. 11.

    Posted on Mar 3, 2006 READ MORE


    oreilly_olbermann
    Thismodernvoice.com

    O’Reilly Threatens Caller re Olbermann

    Bill O’Reilly and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann have been feuding for a while now (background story here, a video example, and another clip), and on Thursday, when a caller to O’Reilly’s show merely mentioned Olbermann’s name, Bill cut the line and said, “We have your phone number and we’re going to turn it over to Fox security, and you’re going to get a visit”—as though the caller was threatening O’Reilly—when in fact O’Reilly was threatening the caller!
    UPDATE: FOX security calls back

    Posted on Mar 3, 2006 READ MORE


    Al Qaeda in 2002: We Infiltrated UAE

    The terrorist organization wrote that it had infiltrated the United Arab Emirates government four years ago, and that the emirates were “well aware” of the infiltration. This is the country that is angling to take over control of major U.S. ports. (Hat tip: Think Progress and Scripps Howard, which broke the news.)

    Posted on Mar 1, 2006 READ MORE


    Armed Cheney to Guard Ports

    Attempting to defuse the controversy over the decision to place the operation of several key American ports in the hands of a company based in Dubai, Vice President Dick Cheney said today that he would personally patrol those ports with a 28-gauge shotgun.

    Posted on Feb 24, 2006 READ MORE


    Iraq, Three Years Later

    One month shy of the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, United Press International asks the following: Is Iraq better off? Is the United States any safer? Are its allies in Europe and elsewhere more secure? Its answer: Hardly.

    Posted on Feb 21, 2006 READ MORE


    Committee Head Wary of Arab Control Over U.S. Ports

    With a company owned by the United Arab Emirates set to take control over six U.S. ports, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is urging the White House to reconsider approval of a sale.
    It was news to us at Truthdig that a foreign power could even do such a thing in the first place.

    Posted on Feb 16, 2006 READ MORE


    Yuval Diskin
    AP

    Israel Security Chief in Secretly Made Tape: We May ‘Miss Saddam’

    Remember when the neocons boasted that invading Iraq would be good for Israel? The chief of Israel’s domestic security agency, Yuval Diskin, begs to differ. Diskin said in a secretly taped speech that a “strong dictatorship would be preferable to the present ‘chaos’ in Iraq.” So much for making the Middle East more stable.

    Posted on Feb 9, 2006 READ MORE


    Top Counter-Terrorism Official Removed Amid Turmoil at the CIA

    The departure “comes at a time when the agency is bleeding top talent, robbing the CIA of institutional memory and damaging morale among case officers and analysts.” | story

    Posted on Feb 7, 2006 READ MORE


    The Banality of Intelligence

    Walter Pincus, one of the best-informed national security reporters in the country, offers a video critique of the Senate appearance of the nation’s new spy chief.  | video

    Posted on Feb 3, 2006 READ MORE


    Gov’t Agency Paints Dire Picture of ‘Out-of-Control’ Iraq

    This official U.S. assessment is much darker than what the Pentagon is peddling to the public. It was drawn up for contractors bidding on rehab projects.  | story
    Call us cynical, but why exactly are they getting different intel than the rest of us?

    Posted on Jan 18, 2006 READ MORE


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