Latest in Covert Action


Hersh's Account of the Bin Laden Raid is Journalistic Malpractice

When a journalist writes a tell-all story about a classified operation, and he suspects the story will catalyze anti-American anger, provide fuel for terrorist groups, and cause severe friction with foreign governments, the act of publication is morally fraught. When the story is based on obscenely thin sourcing and careens into conspiracy theories, the decision to publish becomes indefensible. Seymour Hersh has had a long and distinguished history as one of America’s finest investigative journalists. In recent years, he has gone a bit kooky.

Targeted Killing

New AP Poll on U.S. Targeted Killing Program

A new AP-GFK poll released today finds broad swaths of the American public continue to strongly support the U.S. targeted killing program. The poll was conducted in the days immediately following President Barack Obama's announcement that the United States had mistakenly killed an American and Italian hostage in a drone strike on a suspected al Qaeda compound.

Media Criticism

Another Response to the New York Times Flap

An intelligence community reader writes in with the following response to my post this morning on Dean Baquet's interview with Jack:

The issue is not [only] whether the true name and affiliation [of the covert officer] are known to the editors and reporters of the New York Times, and to the persons in their professional and social circles.  It is [also] whether that true name and affiliation are known to vast number

Covert Action

Interview With Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of New York Times, on Publication Decisions About Intelligence Secrets, and More

On April 25, two days after President Obama announced that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two innocent hostages, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo published a story in the New York Times about congressional and White House support for the CIA’s “targeted killing program.” A major point in the story was that some of the CIA officers who built the CIA’s drone program also led the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

Targeted Killing

The Latest Erosion Of Norms Against Publishing Classified Information

Director of National Intelligence General Counsel Bob Litt says the NYT “disgraced itself” by “publishing an article in which it purported to name three covert CIA officers.” The article in question identified the “chief of operations during the birth of the agency’s detention and interrogation program [who] then, as head of the C.I.A.

Covert Action

Waiving the "Imminent Threat" Test for CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan?

[Update: Ryan Goodman has an excellent post here noting that a January 2013 WaPo article anticipated that CIA would get a waiver for Pakistan ops, albeit not necessarily a waiver specific only to the imminent-threat-to-US-persons rule.]

Adam Entous has an important story in the Wall Street Journal tonight, one that I suspect will get a lot of attention Monday morning.

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