Senator says Obama employs Bush tactics on spy secrecy

Russ Feingold

Russ Feingold

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A Democratic senator has alleged that the Obama Administration is copying the Bush Administration’s tactics by “stonewalling and road blocking” Congress on intelligence issues. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), the only Senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act during its first vote, said during a nomination hearing on Tuesday that he suspects the White House is still withholding information from Congressional intelligence panel members. Feingold voiced the allegation during the nomination hearing in Congress of David Gompert, incoming deputy director of national intelligence, who will serve under director of national intelligence Dennis C. Blair. In recent months, Senator Feingold has emerged as one of the most vocal Democratic critics of the Obama administration’s policies on intelligence and security. Read more of this post

Total US intelligence budget revealed for the first time

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The US Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair, has revealed the total amount of America’s military and civilian intelligence budget for the first time in history. Blair, who oversees all 16 American intelligence agencies, said the country’s intelligence program costs $75 billion annually. This number includes funds for military intelligence agencies, which have previously been classified. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Blair argued that the “old distinction between military and non-military intelligence is no longer relevant”. The DNI was referring to the traditional budgetary distinction between the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) and the National (civilian) Intelligence Program (NIP), which make up the US intelligence budget. Read more of this post

Comment: Daring US Raid in Somalia is Risky Policy

Saleh Nabhan

Saleh Nabhan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The political aftereffect of a recent raid by US Special Forces in southern Somalia may be more significant than its outcome. The operation, which took place in the early hours of Monday, killed a number of al-Qaeda-linked militants and captured at least two, according to local witnesses. Unnamed US officials said that among the dead is Saleh Ali Nabhan, a 30-year-old Kenyan al-Qaeda operative who is said to have participated in the 2002 attack on an Israeli-owned resort in his homeland, among other acts. Read more of this post

DNI responses to Senate questions declassified

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Don’t bother reading through the 40 pages (.pdf) of responses given last February by the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to questions by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. There’s not that much new information in it, and it turns out DNI Dennis C. Blair even resorted to plagiarizing part of an article on an alleged Russian attack on US satellites originally printed in Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, with no attribution. Instead, you can save time by taking a look at the observations made on the 40-page document by Steven Aftergood, editor of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News bulletin. It was, in fact, a Freedom of Information Act request by Aftergood that prompted the release of the document in the first place. Read more of this post

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US spy services hiding true employee numbers, says Senate panel

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has voiced disapproval of the high numbers of contractors employed by America’s intelligence organizations, and has censured US intelligence agencies for hiding their actual personnel numbers. The criticism follows a Congressional testimony last week by Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair, who claimed that the intelligence community has come up with its own definition of inherently governmental. The term refers to government jobs that are too sensitive to be outsourced. In his presentation, Blair revealed that private contractors now constitute 25% of the entire US intelligence force in all 16 agencies of the US intelligence community, but he said this share shrunk by 3 % last year, as the intelligence agencies revised their definition of jobs that cannot be outsourced. Read more of this post

Senate intelligence panel takes sides in DNI-CIA dispute

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
In a report issued last Thursday, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has come out in support of the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in its dispute with the CIA over who should appoint CIA station chiefs abroad. This blog has kept tabs on the bureaucratic turf war, which erupted last May, when DNI Dennis Blair argued in a still classified directive that his office should have a say in certain cases over the appointment of CIA’s senior representatives in foreign cities. Former CIA officials have denounced the directive, which would allow the appointment of non-CIA personnel to the position, as “simple insanity”. Read more of this post