The CIA Director Should Not be Part of the Policy Process

Presidents typically announce controversial personnel and policy decisions on a Friday to ensure that the Saturday papers, which are not widely read, are charged with informing the general public.  This was the case this past Friday, when President Joe Biden appointed CIA director William Burns to the Cabinet.  President Harry S. Truman, who created the CIA in 1947, favored the depoliticization of the agency and its directors, which is why he initially chose professional military officers to be the director of central intelligence.  No CIA director was appointed to the cabinet until the Reagan administration several decades later.

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U.S. Cluster Bombs to Ukraine: An Act of Desperation

The United Nations convention that banned the use of cluster munitions was signed in 2008, but three of the most militarized nations in the world refused to sign: the United States, Russia, and Israel.  The United States used these munitions against Iraq in 2003, and supplied them to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.  Israel violated understandings with the United States and used cluster munitions against Palestinians. Russia  has used them extensively in Ukraine with substantial civilian fatalities and casualties.

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Netanyahu Takes Aim At U.S. Diplomacy Again

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s leading anti-American protagonist, is at it again.  The Israelis, presumably at Netanyahu’s direction, are leaking sensitive information regarding secret talks between the United States and Iran.  The talks are designed to curtail Tehran’s nuclear program, liberate three American prisoners; and end proxy attacks on U.S. forces in Syria.  Netanyahu…

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Honor Daniel Ellsberg by Abrogating the Espionage Act

Daniel Ellsberg’s courage and contributions should be honored by abrogating the Espionage Act of 1917, which was designed to stifle his example of dissent and whistleblowing.  Ellsberg’s resolve and tenacity were unusual.  He exposed the mendacity of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, giving the New York Timesand the Washington Post  the Pentagon Papers, which they published.  The Times’…

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The Strategic Nightmare That Follows the “Forever War”

One of these days, the “forever war” between Russia and Ukraine will be over, and the serious challenge of dealing with the strategic triangularity of the United States, Russia, and China will begin.  The Biden administration has complicated this task by pursuing a strategy of “dual containment,” believing that the United States can “contain” both Russia and China.  Unlike the Soviet Union of the Cold War era, China cannot be “contained.”  It is a global economic and political power as well as a formidable military power in the Indo-Pacific region.

When Difi Took on the CIA Over Torture

Very few senators have been willing to tackle the excesses within the intelligence community, but Senator Dianne Feinstein (D/CA) has been a heroic exception to that rule.  Liberals and civic libertarians were a major part of Barack Obama’s constituency when he ran for president in 2008, and they had a right to expect his administration to investigate the CIA’s program of torture and abuse.