The Great Debate

If secrecy is the whole point, how do you make intelligence agencies share?

March 25, 2016
A general view shows the U.S. embassy in a thermal image taken with an infrared camera in Berlin October 27, 2013. A German newspaper said on Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel as long ago as 2010, contradicting reports that he had told the German leader he did not know. The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) denied that Obama had been informed about the operation by the NSA chief in 2010, as reported by the German newspaper. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS)

The U.S. embassy in Berlin in a thermal image taken with an infrared camera in Berlin, October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Yes, the feds can hack your iPhone. No, it isn’t easy.

February 18, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES  - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks during an Apple event in San Francisco, California, March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Why it’s so hard to root out violent extremists before they strike

February 7, 2016
FBI and police investigator are seen around a vehicle in which two suspects were shot following a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California December 3, 2015. Authorities on Thursday were working to determine why Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, who had a 6-month-old daughter together, opened fire at a holiday party of his co-workers in Southern California, killing 14 people and wounding 17 in an attack that appeared to have been planned.   REUTERS/Mike Blake

FBI and police investigators surround a vehicle in which two suspects were shot following a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, December 3, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Why you’ll always lose with drones alone

July 13, 2015
Handout of the Triton unmanned aircraft system completing its first flight from Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Palmdale

The Triton unmanned aircraft system completing its first flight from the Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California, May 22, 2013. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman/Alex Evers/Handout via Reuters

Has China learned how to build the perfect U.S. spy?

June 17, 2015
An illustration picture shows projection of binary code on man holding aptop computer in Warsaw

An illustration picture of a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer, June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

An American pattern: Seeking elusive enemies with unreliable allies

June 15, 2015
lnix-kiss-haig-top

President Richard M. Nixon (C) talks with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (L) and General Alexander M. Haig Jr. at Camp David. NATIONAL ARCHIVES/Oliver F. Atkins

Why arming U.S. allies can be like sending weapons straight to the enemy

March 25, 2015
A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Torture, deny, repeat: ‘Enhanced interrogation’ never works, the CIA never learns

December 12, 2014

A Guantanamo detainee's feet are shackled to the floor as he attends a "Life Skills" class at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base

When the United States was attacked on 9/11, every member of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine services had a rule book on the conduct of interrogations. It was clear and concise.

Details of how U.S. rebuked foreign regimes while using same torture methods

December 11, 2014

A protester dressed as a detainee of the US government demonstrates outside the White House in Washington

So the CIA doesn’t consider “waterboarding” — mock execution by near drowning — to be torture, but the U.S. State Department does.

Is the U.S. really against torture? It can be hard to tell

November 14, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Organizing for Action's "National Organizing Summit" in Washington

President Barack Obama brought the U.S. commitment against torture into sharper focus on Wednesday. For a president who prohibited torture as one of his first official acts, this shouldn’t be news. But it is.