George W. Bush

Mercyhurst University’s Tom Ridge School Hosts Fourth Global Intelligence Forum

Posted on Updated on

English: Seal of the United States Department ...
English: Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GlobeNewswire

 

ERIE, Pa., Dec. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — From public health challenges like Ebola to the effect of climate change on food safety in the coming decades, international experts in public health, higher education, business and traditional intelligence will gather in Dungarvan, Ireland, for the fourth biennial Global Intelligence Forum — The Dungarvan Conference July 12-15, 2015.

 

Sponsored by the Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, the conference comes on the heels of highly successful summits that welcomed prominent intelligence leaders like Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden; former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh; and Europol Director Rob Wainwright.

 

Panelists for this year’s expanded forum — “Intelligence-Informed Decision-Making to Build a More Secure Future” — will address how leaders can effectively establish intelligence practices to enhance decision-making as they address pressing global concerns.

 

Keynote speakers include one of the world’s leading experts on cybersecurity, Howard Schmidt, who served as cyber advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He also held positions as vice president and chief information security officer for eBay Inc., and operated as chief security officer for Microsoft Corp. Currently, he is a partner with Tom Ridge in Ridge-Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cybersecurity. Read the rest of this entry »

Why U.S. Spies Get Putin Wrong

Posted on Updated on

By Eli Lake March 2, 2014 4:40 PM The Daily Beast
The last time Russian troops invaded one of its neighbors, the U.S. intelligence community was also caught off guard.

image

The year was 2008 and the country was Georgia instead of the Ukraine. And just as in 2014, back then there were early signs that Moscow was serious—it was issuing visas  to ethnic Russian speakers inGeorgia, like it’s doing now in Ukraine.  U.S. analysts just didn’t believe Russia would go as far as it did.

Today, as in 2008, American policy makers have found themselves burned after trying to make Vladimir Putin a partner when Putin himself sees America as a rival. This has often led Republican and Democratic led administrations to find themselves flat footed in the face of Russian aggression and U.S. intelligence analysts racing to explain how they misread Putin’s motivations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Convicted al Qaida operative released from Guantánamo, repatriated to Sudan in plea deal

Posted on Updated on

English: Frame grab from the Osama bin Laden v...
English: Frame grab from the Osama bin Laden videotape released by the Department of Defense on Dec. 13, 2001. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United States sent home to Sudan on Tuesday one of Guantánamo’s longest-held prisoners, a 52-year-old confessed al Qaida foot soldier and sometime driver for Osama bin Laden whose release was seen as a crucial test case of the Barack Obama-era war court.

Ibrahim al Qosi pleaded guilty to terror charges in July 2010 in exchange for the possibility of release after serving a two-year sentence.

U.S. troops spirited him from the remote base days after his war crimes sentence ran out and dropped him off in the capital city Khartoum about 8 p.m. Miami time Tuesday night, Wednesday in Sudan, U.S. government sources said.

The Pentagon has not yet disclosed the transfer — which reduced the number of foreign prisoners at the Navy base in Cuba to 168 — to give Sudanese officials time to put the returnee in a rehabilitation program in the Horn of Africa nation. But the repatriation demonstrated that the Obama administration is still in the business of deal-making and downsizing the prison camps even as the Defense Department is planning to spend $40 million on an undersea telecommunications cable to the base in southeast Cuba.

Now-grown “child soldier” Omar Khadr could go next, to a lock-up in his native Canada. The White House is also reportedly considering transferring some Taliban captives at Guantánamo to Afghanistan as part of a regional peace accord there.

The release of Qosi was the first of a convicted war criminal since the Bush administration sent home Yemeni Salim Hamdan in 2008. Qosi’s attorney argued the U.S. had no reason to fear the Sudanese man.

“He is now in his 50s, eager only to spend his life at home with his family in Sudan — his mother and father, his wife and two teenage daughters, and his brothers and their families — and live among them in peace, quiet and freedom,” said Washington, D.C., attorney Paul Reichler, who defended Qosi without charge for seven years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt raids foreign organizations’ offices in crackdown

Posted on Updated on

Three U.S. groups are among those raided. Activists say the army is using the ruse of foreign intervention to stoke nationalism and deflect criticism of abuses.

Egyptian security forces raid  nongovernmental organizations in Cairo.

Egyptian security forces raid a nongovernmental organization in Cairo on Dec. 29, 2011. Troops and police officers swept into offices, interrogated workers and seized computers in what was seen as a bid to intimidate international organizations. (Mohammed Asad, Associated Press / December 29, 2011)

By Jeffrey Fleishman and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times December 29, 2011 2:56 p.m.

Egyptian security forces on Thursday raided the offices of 17 nongovernmental organizations, including three U.S.-based agencies, as part of a crackdown on foreign assistance that has drawn criticism from the West and threatened human rights groups and pro-democracy movements.

The move appeared to be part of a strategy to intimidate international organizations. The ruling military council has repeatedly blamed “foreign hands” for exploiting Egypt’s political and economic turmoil. But activists said the army was using the ruse of foreign intervention to stoke nationalism and deflect criticism of abuses.

The military’s actions angered Washington at a time the White House is pressuring Egypt to respect civil liberties. But the Egyptian military has been increasingly agitated by democracy advocates and protests that have gripped the nation. Clashes last week between demonstrators and soldiers ended in the deaths of at least 15 people. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Basra

Posted on Updated on

Nine years ago, I drove into Iraq one spring morning. As we leave it’s worth recalling: After all the angry commissions and self-serving memoirs, the war was always more complicated than it seemed.

BY SUSAN B. GLASSER DECEMBER 15, 2011

So much has happened since that it’s a shock to go back and remember. The smell of confusion on that first day of the ground war, when we rose in the middle of the night and drove our rental cars from the Kuwait City airport through the blowing sands until we found an obliging British unit that didn’t mind letting a pack of anxious, unauthorized reporters into Iraq. When we found ourselves facing gunfire — not parades — and little boys throwing stones, and mines placed along the side of Highway 8, the main road to Baghdad, the one that U.S. troops were even then pounding north on.

This was during the period that President George W. Bush so memorably, and incorrectly, referred to as “major combat operations” in his ill-advised victory speech a few months later. Of course, with nine years of hindsight, it’s fair to say it was most likely the safest time for an American to be driving around southern Iraq in a rental car, Motown music blaring, accompanied only by a few friends and a single shared interpreter whose Beirut dialect of Arabic was hardly any help at all in Basra as it turned out.

We did not see what we expected. But then again, who did? Could anyone have imagined where we would be nine years later, as another president and another era finally bring to a close the chaos unleashed that night in the warm air of southern Iraq? Read the rest of this entry »

Divorce Is Not An Option For U.S., Pakistan

Posted on Updated on

clip_image002

U.S. President Barack Obama (left) with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the White House in May 2009

July 22, 2011

By Daud Khattak

If you’ve been following the news lately, you probably know that the relationship between Pakistan and the United States has been going through a rough patch.
Pakistani officials accuse the Americans of rampant and unauthorized spying, as dramatized in the case of the CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who shot two Pakistanis in the city of Lahore earlier this year. Protesters denounce drone attacks that kill innocent civilians as well as terrorists.

Read the rest of this entry »

US may target citizens linked to terrorism, says spy chief

Posted on

The headquarters of the Central Intelligence A...
Image via Wikipedia

AFP/Washington

US counter-terrorism officials may try to kill American citizens embroiled in extremist groups overseas with “specific permission” from higher up, the top US intelligence chief said.

“We take direct action against terrorists in the intelligence community,” director of national intelligence Dennis Blair told the House Intelligence Committee in a rare admission that Washington sometimes targets US citizens.

If “we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that,” Blair said in response to questions from the panel’s top Republican, Representative Pete Hoekstra. Read the rest of this entry »