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8/14/2015

The CIA vs. the Senate: Inside the shadowy turf war at the center of American government



Πηγή: The Salon
By MARCY WHEELER
Aug 14 2015

CIA chief John Brennan refuses to acknowledge surveillance conducted on the Senate's intelligence committee.

It’s funny what our CIA Directors will apologize for — or not.

Back in May, Senators Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich and Mazie Hirono, all members of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI), sent two letters to CIA Director John Brennan asking him to apologize. One — a classified letter not made public — “asked Brennan to correct the public record regarding inaccurate public statements that he made in March on a separate topic.” It was fairly obvious the public statements referred to Brennan’s address to the Council on Foreign Relations on March 13. In response to an audience question, Brennan had claimed the CIA doesn’t work with human rights abusers, a patently false claim.

The unclassified, public letter the senators sent on the same day asked Brennan “to acknowledge” that a CIA search of a server that was supposed to be dedicated to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of CIA’s torture program “was improper.” The senators also asked for a commitment that the CIA will not conduct such searches in the future.

At issue in this request was a fight over an internal CIA review of its own torture program, usually called the Panetta Review, because Leon Panetta had asked for it early in his tenure as CIA Director. Back in January 2014, Senator Mark Udall pressured the CIA to turn over the review, which offered proof that the agency had agreed with most conclusions that the SSCI Torture Report had reached. In response, the CIA launched an investigation into how SSCI staffers had obtained that review. Brennan had made an impassioned defense of the CIA’s investigation of the committee tasked with overseeing his agency in March 2014.

Now, over a year later, the Senators on SSCI were asking Brennan to admit he had been wrong.

Almost three months passed after the senators sent the letters, with nary a peep from the CIA to either one of them. Finally, on August 6 of this year, Brennan finally responded — but to just one of them. In his response, he corrected the lie he had told at CFR, notably acknowledging in the process that the secret request (the one that had asked that he correct a public statement) pertained to his claim that CIA “will not work with entities that are engaged” in human rights abuses. And while Brennan didn’t admit to having lied — at least in part, to protect the Saudis — he did say he understood the senators “concerns about my brief, extemporaneous remarks.”

In his letter correcting his lie, however, Brennan made no mention of the request on the same day that he acknowledge the CIA shouldn’t have spied on its Senate overseers.

Brennan’s ongoing refusal to admit the CIA shouldn’t investigate the Senate is all the more inexcusable given that — according to reporting from Vice’s Jason Leopold — Brennan considered apologizing for the improper search of SSCI’s server over a year ago. The CIA even drafted a letter on July 28, 2014, stating that Brennan had recently learned that the CIA’s Inspector General had “found support for your concern that CIA staff had improperly accessed the SSCI shared drive.” Brennan’s draft letter apologized “for the actions of CIA officers.”

But Brennan never sent that letter.

Instead, days later, he sent an entirely different letter informing SSCI Chair Dianne Feinstein and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss that he would establish an Accountability Board to review what the IG had concluded. That Accountability Board rejected what the IG had found, and instead focused largely on incriminating Senate staffers. Feinstein issued a list of 15 factual problems with the Accountability Board, problems she had identified before its release but which were not corrected in the report, including that the Board had incorrectly accused a Senate staffer of something which, in actuality, a Director of National Intelligence staffer had done.

Translation: Having already drafted a letter admitting CIA was wrong, Brennan changed course and instead doubled down on attacking the Senate.

No wonder Wyden and others are still calling on Brennan to correct the record. His ongoing silence — his refusal to admit what he effectively already did last year — that the CIA was wrong — just serves as an opportunity for him, for his agency, to keep attacking those that oversee the agency.

So while Brennan can admit, indirectly, that our partners the Saudis behead dissidents and abuse journalists, he’s still not going to give up the chance to double down against those who might oversee his own work.

Or, perhaps more importantly, he’s unwilling to meet the other request the senators made: “a commitment that CIA will not conduct such searches in the future.”


Russia to Engage US in Space Wars With New Electronic Warfare Technology



Πηγή: Sputnik news
Aug 14 2015

The Russian Defense Ministry has developed new technology to counter US battle stations in space, said Igor Nasenkov, the first deputy head of Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (RETC), according to Russian media sources.

"If the United States starts developing and launching its battle stations into space, Russia will have to respond in kind — namely with the development of high-performance Electronic Warfare (EW) tools on different types of bases; the use of these tools will be a distinct advantage [for Russia]," Nasenkov said, as quoted by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.



© PHOTO: NASA

Whatever the Rhetoric, US Needs Russia in SpaceDefense industry enterprises already have the necessary scientific and technological foundation, including layout models for future EW tools, the high-ranking RETC official said.

All Russia needs right now is a political decision and appropriate funding to kick start the project, Nasenkov said.

Last week, US media reported about Washington's plans to militarize space, as in future conflicts between major superpowers Earth's orbit will become a new battlefield.

Laser-armed satellites, long-range anti-aircraft missiles and other deadly weapons of destruction would attack and destroy enemy orbital forces.


NATO refutes report on active preparations for war with Russia

U.S. Army helicopters transport soldiers during the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Πηγή: Washington Post
By Kellan Howell - The Washington Times
Aug 14 2015

NATO refuted claims recently that it was gearing up for a war with Russia in response to reports comparing military exercises the two powers have staged.

Reacting to a nato-actively-preparing-war-report/” target=”_blank”>report from a London-based think tank alleging NATO and Russia were “actively preparing for war,” NATO on Wednesday defended the number of military exercises it has staged as a response to “growing Russian aggression,” nato-refutes-comparison-of-alliance-and-russian-miltary-exercises?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter” target=”_blank”>according to the Atlantic Council.

NATO military exercises are not, as the reports suggest, making war in Europe more likely,” NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero said after the European Leadership Network published its report, the Atlantic Councilreported.

“They are intended precisely to have the opposite effect: to enhance security and stability in Europe in response to growing Russian aggression,” Ms. Romero said in a statement.

She added that all NATO military exercises are “proportionate, defensive and fully in line with our international commitments.”

Ms. Romero said the report “misleadingly puts NATO and Russiaexercises on a par.”

Russia has announced 4,000 exercises for this year, more than 10 times what the allied powers have planned, she said.

“Moreover, Russia has incorporated nuclear and nuclear capable forces in its recent exercises,” Ms. Romero said, The Atlantic Council reported.