FROM Tim Starks
The CIA Torture Tapes In 2005, the CIA destroyed videotape that showed interrogations of terrorist suspects. Today's New York Times reports that CIA lawyers gave written permission--despite advice from the White House and the Department of Justice, and without asking their own boss. CIA Director Michael Hayden says the objective was protecting the identities of the interrogators themselves. Today, Hayden was called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee —behind closed doors, about why the videotapes, despite advice from the White House. Outside the closed hearing, Democrats and Republicans are among those suggesting possible crimes of torture and obstruction of justice. Might the tapes have made a difference to the 9/11 Commission , trials of accused terrorists and enactments by Congress? Are there any new lessons about the CIA and the quality of US intelligence?
Senate Votes to Open Debate on Iraq President Bush wound up his Latin American tour today at a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, but was dogged by questions about domestic politics. He said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales can still be effective despite admitting mistakes in firing US Attorneys. Meantime, in an 89-to-9 vote, the Senate broke a deadlock and agreed to debate the war in Iraq for the first time since the Democrats took control. Tim Starks reports for Congressional Quarterly .
McConnell Sworn-in as New 'Top Spy' Retired Admiral Mike McConnell was sworn in today as the second Director of National Intelligence , a job created after intelligence failures before 9/11 and the Iraq invasion. One of his jobs will be briefing the President on a daily basis. The President, speaking at McConnell's swearing-in , reaffirmed that he values the "intelligence products" created by the military, calling them an "important part of my strategic thought." Tim Starks reports on intelligence for Congressional Quarterly .
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.