Wednesday, March 09, 2011
When we think of spies in love, we might imagine the wacky but passionate Boris and Natasha. Alternatively, we might think of Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, depicting Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson in the movie “Fair Game.” But what’s life really like for an undercover couple? Robert Baer and Dayna Baer know. They are two dedicated CIA agents, who had more or less given up on their personal lives, but fell in love on a mission to Sarajevo.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
What happens when two spies fall in love? It sounds like the beginning of a riddle, but for Robert Baer and Dayna Baer, it was simply their life. Stationed in Croatia in the early 1990s, Robert was a seasoned agent biding his time and Dayna was an up and comer hoping to learn from a veteran and then get out. In The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story, the Baers recount their unlikely affair and what happened once they tried to leave The Company.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The State Department remains tight-lipped on the role of the American man recently arrested in Pakistan for murder. The man in question, Raymond Davis, was suspected of being a spy. The Obama administration claimed that Davis had diplomatic immunity and should be set free from Pakistani custody. Last Friday, P.J. Crowley, State Department Spokesman would only say to The Takeaway that Davis is a U.S. Diplomat entitled to diplomatic immunity. You can hear that interview here. But reports out yesterday confirm that Davis was working in a part of a C.I.A. team, as an independent contractor. Either way, what does the case of Raymond Davis mean for the U.S. Pakistan relationship?
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Egypt’s new vice president, Omar Suleiman, has been heading up negotiations with the opposition. He’s also been described as “the CIA’s man in Cairo.” Lisa Hajjar, associate professor at University of California at Santa Barbara, examines Mr. Suleiman’s relationship with our government and his role in controversial U.S. rendition and interrogation operations in Egypt.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Egypt has long been a crucial ally to America's program of extraordinary rendtion — the practice of sending terror suspects to other countries for interrogation. When Egypt's President Mubarak dissolved his cabinet last week, he appointed Omar Suleiman as his new vice president. Suleiman is already well known in the United States, specifically as the C.I.A.'s key Egyptian contact for extraordinary rendition.
Monday, January 24, 2011
In November, a cruise ship left Fort Lauderdale, Florida and set sail for the Caribbean. The ship had cocktails, pool parties and cabaret performances. But the 2,000 people aboard weren't ordinary cruise passengers; they were spies, former spies and their admirers. Journalist and author Tom Mangold, was a passenger on the Spy Cruise, and made the BBC radio documentary “Ship of Spies” about the trip and the changing role of the CIA.
Friday, December 10, 2010
In Pakistan, the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIViC) is calling on the U.S. to acknowledge the number of civilians killed by drone attacks. According to the group, about 1,000 civilians have died in drone-related attacks; the U.S. says few civilians have been killed. We talk with the BBC's Aleem Maqbool, in Islamabad, for more on this story.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Jim Sanborn has spent nearly 20 years watching his cryptography sculpture, "Kryptos," sit only partially-solved in the C.I.A.'s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Sanborn recently released a clue for people attempting to decipher the enigmatic and beautiful piece of sculpture (spoiler alert): one of the words in the unsolved 97-letter section is ... "BERLIN."
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Reports of a sudden up-tick of CIA drone attacks in the Waziristan region of Pakistan this morning coincide with what U.S. officials are describing as a "credible but not specific" terror threat in Europe this week. If these reports are true, it would bring the total number of drone attacks in September to 21, the highest number of drone attacks carried out in a single month yet. Information about the European threat reportedly comes from a suspected German terrorist, identified as Ahmed Sidiqi, in U.S. custody at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. The Washington Post's Greg Miller has been following this story and joins the program with the latest.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Fransisco dismissed a lawsuit brought by former prisoners of the C.I.A. who claim that they were tortured in overseas prisons. The divided 6-5 decision is the latest episode of the ongoing legal drama over extraordinary rendition, a C.I.A. program that allegedly transfers prisoners to foreign countries in order to torture them.
The decision is a legal victory for the Obama administration, which has argued that such lawsuits are dangerous as they might expose state secrets. The argument of state secrecy was also used to obstruct lawsuits during the Bush administration.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel, the investment arms of Google and the C.I.A., are both backing a start-up company called Recorded Future that monitors activity and text on the Web in real time and uses the information to spot early trends and events. The company also attempts to take current data and model what's going to happen in the future...
Google is not directly collaborating with the C.I.A., but its actions are likely to cause some unease for those already worried about whether the company can be trusted to protect consumers' privacy.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In 2003, Valerie Plame Wilson went from being an undercover CIA officer specializing in nuclear proliferation to a reluctant celebrity when members of the Bush administration outed her to the press. She has stayed mostly out of the public eye since, but now she’s lending her expertise and her voice to "Countdown to Zero," a new documentary about nuclear weapons by many of the same people who made "An Inconvenient Truth."
Monday, July 19, 2010
The Iranian scientist who said he was kidnapped by the CIA appeared in a videotaped interview on Iranian state television. In the interview he says that the U.S. wanted him to say he was a spy in order to swap him for three American hikers that are being held in Iran. The Americans maintain that he was a volunteer defector. The BBC's Jon Leyne says that the chance of a prisoner swap would have been nearly impossible due to the strained relations between Iran and U.S.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Since September 11th, the intelligence community has handed off many of its responsibilities to private contractors. The private intelligence industry has grown, and been paid billions by the government despite a culture of waste and mismanagement. Because the intelligence community and contractors now share many similar responsibilities, the line distinguishing the two is blurry.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
An Iranian nuclear scientist who says he was kidnapped by the CIA has taken refuge in the Iranian interests section of the Pakistani embassy in Washington D.C. There are conflicting stories about the man, including YouTube videos from the scientist himself. One video claims that he was drugged and woke up on a plane headed to the U.S., while another shows him saying he was studying in the U.S.
BBC correspondent Jon Leyne reports on what this means for U.S./Iran relations.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
On repeated occasions, President Obama and members of his administration have boasted not just of capturing, but of killing terrorists. We take a closer look at the implications of this “kill-over-capture” bias and what makes these targeted killings legal.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Last week's suicide bombing in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 7 CIA employees got a lot more complicated yesterday when it was revealed that the bomber was, in fact, a double agent, originally working for the Jordanian intelligence to infiltrate al-Qaida. Prior to the attack, 36-year-old Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi was a Jordanian doctor who had ingratiated himself with the CIA employees he would later kill. For more details, we speak with Anand Gopal, reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Kabul, as well as Borzou Dargahi, L.A. Times Middle East correspondent.
Friday, January 01, 2010
The Taliban claimed responsibility for an Afghan officer who blew himself up on a US military base in Afghanistan killing eight Americans. We get an update from Anand Gopal, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, who is on the ground in Kabul. And we talk with Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA Bin Laden Tracking Unit, about how the American military can train Afghan forces if they can't trust them.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The New York Times reports today that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, is on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency. The news comes as a surprise because Ahmed Wali Karzai is also allegedly a big player in Afghanistan's illegal drug trade. Times national security correspondent Mark Mazzetti gives us the story.
For more, read Mark Mazzetti's article, Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll, in today's New York Times.
Friday, September 11, 2009
It’s been eight years since the terrorist organization al-Qaida attacked the U.S., hijacking airplanes, destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center, damaging the Pentagon, and killing hundreds on Flight 93 and thousands elsewhere. Although the organization is not as robust as it was in 2001, it remains a serious security threat; its top leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, are still at large. For an insider's take on what the hunt for al-Qaida entails we are joined by former CIA agent Art Keller, who spent the last few months of his career in Pakistan, hunting top al-Qaida operatives. We also speak to Bruce Hoffman, terrorism expert and professor of security studies at Georgetown University.