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Containing the National Security State represents more than 100 editorials that assess the militarization of U.S. governance and U.S. foreign policy.

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Flynn, Russia and the World of Conspiracy Thinking

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has a well deserved reputation for conspiracy thinking. Presumably he will assume that the U.S. intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the former director of National Intelligence, conducted a campaign to force his removal from the Trump administration. Ironically, the Kremlin, which has lived historically in a world of conspiracy thinking, will view the ouster of Flynn as part of a campaign by the U.S. establishment to prevent any improvement in Russian-American relations.

Trump vs. the CIA

The unanimous rejection of the Trump administration’s efforts to reinstate the ban on travel from seven Muslim countries will lead to the first test between this White House and the intelligence community, particularly the CIA. The three-judge panel indicated that the travel ban did not bolster national security in the United States and that there was “no evidence” that anyone from the seven countries had committed terrorism in the United States.

Return of the Torturers: Back to the Crime Scenes of the Past

The Trump administration has signaled that it is willing to return to the heinous crimes of the past two decades, including torture and abuse, secret prisons, and extraordinary renditions. The appointment of Gina Haspel as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency clearly indicates that the use of torture, including the use of waterboarding, which has been endorsed by the President, the national security advisor, and the CIA director, could once again be a major part of the U.S. campaign against international terrorism.

“Mad Dog” Mattis Just Another Pussycat

Donald Trump pointedly drove to the Pentagon on Friday to close U.S. borders to refugees from around the world; to block families indefinitely fleeing the slaughter in Syria; and to suspend immigration from seven Muslim countries. With Secretary of Defense James Mattis smiling over his shoulder, Trump established a religious test for refugees from Muslim countries and ordered that Christians and others from minority religions would be granted priority over Muslims.

Speaking Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 3-5:30 pm at the UDC Law School in DC

Our next meeting of the Nation Magazine Discussion Group in DC will focus on the history of US-Russian relations, and how the Cold War between capitalism and communism appeared to end, but now seems to have resumed and is intensifying between two nuclear super-powers who both threaten democracy in an increasingly multi-centered world which could easily escalate into a hot war over Syria, Ukraine or somewhere else.

David Ignatius, the CIA’s Apologist-in-Chief

There is universal agreement that President Donald Trump’s “advertisement for himself” in front of CIA’s memorial wall on Saturday was an unmitigated disaster for both the vainglorious president and the Central Intelligence Agency. But there are always favorable reviews to be found.

Trump and the Militarization of National Security

Appearing on the Real News program Jan 25th, 2017:
Former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman and whistleblower Coleen Rowley have few kind words for Trump’s picks to head intelligence and national security

Trump at the CIA: the Orwellian World of Alternative Facts

There have been presidential administrations (Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush) that have worked to politicize intelligence, and there have been CIA leaders (William Casey and Robert Gates as well as George Tenet and John McLaughlin) who have cooperated with these efforts. In doing so, these intelligence officials created integrity and credibility problems for the CIA, which are once again at hand.

America’s Russian Problem

Russian-American relations over the past several years have taken on some of the most familiar aspects of the Cold War. The conventional wisdom is extremely one-side, concluding that Russian President Vladimir Putin is entirely responsible for the setback as a result of his actions in Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine and Syria, and that the Russian leadership is not trustworthy on any diplomatic or political level. This is a simplistic view.

The Dark Side of Obama’s Legacy

There is a dark side to President Barack Obama’s legacy on national and international security matters that will enable President-elect Donald Trump to damage America’s political institutions as well as its standing in the global community. President Obama, a Harvard-trained lawyer and an expert in constitutional law, was insufficiently scrupulous in protecting our moral obligations, creating an ironic and unfortunate page in U.S. history. Instead of making the “world safe for democracy,” the clarion call of President Woodrow Wilson one hundred years ago, President Obama contributed to the furtherance of a national security state and a culture of secrecy.