Read selected letters, opinion pieces, or articles by the Council on Intelligence Issues or current and former intelligence officers, as well as other announcements and items of interest relating to intelligence and national security.
Protecting Defectors is a Moral Obligation
Following recent media allegations, a former official points out that there is a "moral" obligation to help protect foreign spies who have risked their lives to help the CIA. View this YouTube video of Rachel Maddow's interview with Joe Augustyn, former head of CIA's defector resettlement center, on how CIA takes steps to protect defectors and others whose assitance put them at risk:
Open Letter To the American People About the Importance of Protecting IC Whistleblower
An Open Letter to the American People:
We are former national security officials who proudly served in a wide array of roles throughout the U.S. Government. We are writing about the Intelligence Community whistleblower’s lawful disclosure, which was recently made public. While the identity of the whistleblower is not publicly known, we do know that he or she is an employee of the U.S. Government. As such, he or she has by law the right—and indeed the responsibility—to make known, through appropriate channels, indications of serious wrongdoing. That is precisely what this whistleblower did; and we applaud the whistleblower not only for living up to that responsibility but also for using precisely the channels made available by federal law for raising such concerns.
A responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers. What’s more, being a responsible whistleblower means that, by law, one is protected from certain egregious forms of retaliation. Whatever one’s view of the matters discussed in the whistleblower’s complaint, all Americans should be united in demanding that all branches of our government and all outlets of our media protect this whistleblower and his or her identity. Simply put, he or she has done what our law demands; now he or she deserves our protection.
Review the List of 88 Officials who signed the open letter.
Whistleblower Complaint Dispute: Legal Analysis
Read two separate pieces with the analysis of Robert Litt, former General Counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about the dispute between the ODNI and the House intelligence committee over access to a whistleblower complaint on a matter of "urgent interest."
CII Panel Attracts Broad Interest
Former intelligence officers, government and private sector officials, lawyers, academics, and members of the press attended the CII's expert panel on "Intelligence Operations in a Digital Age" held June 24.
Panelists agreed that cyber has fundamentally changed how we think about intelligence and how we conduct intelligence operations. As one panelists noted, “Cyber changes everything. Everywhere today, everything is out there, and there are lots of opportunities for getting it.”
The panel was part of CII’s efforts to educate the public about the practical, policy, and legal factors that influence the planning and conduct of clandestine intelligence operations. Participants addressed how technological advances can affect operations in an increasingly transparent world, and the challenges and risks that confront intelligence officers, their agents, and others who assist them to support U.S. national security objectives.
Moderated by former CIA head of the national clandestine service Michael Sulick, the panel included former government officers with extensive public and private sector experience --
- NSA Director of Information Assurance Daniel Ennis,
- DNI General Counsel Robert Litt,
- CIA Deputy and Acting General Counsel John Rizzo,
- DHS Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding, and
- CIA Information Operations Center chief Kevin Zerrusen.
Participants addressed how technological advances can affect operations in an increasingly transparent world, and the challenges and risks that confront intelligence officers, their agents, and others who assist them to support U.S. national security objectives.
For more about the panelists and the event, READ PANEL HIGHLIGHTS
Also Quandaries: Deep Fakes and Cyber Conflict (The Duelfer Blog, July 12, 2019 posting provides an attendee's perspective on issues raised during the June 24 panel) (See http://www.charlesduelfer.com/blog/)
Remembering Mike Spann
(excerpts from https://www.wsj.com, 25 May 2019)
". . . . .Johnny “Mike” Spann, a CIA officer who deployed to Afghanistan early in the war was killed on November 25, 2001 . . . . . when Taliban prisoners rioted. He was 32 years old.
"Spann was the first American killed in combat in Afghanistan. Before joining the CIA, Spann was a Marine, leaving with the rank of captain. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery alongside other American men and women who have served their nation in war. He is further honored with a black star on the CIA’s Memorial Wall at its Virginia headquarters, along with 132 other fallen agency colleagues.
"So this weekend, as we enjoy our barbecues and kick off the summer, let us not forget how extraordinarily blessed we are to have men and women such as Mike Spann, who willingly placed themselves in harm’s way to preserve our freedom—and paid the ultimate price." Appeared in the May 25, 2019, print edition. ©2019 https://www.wsj.com. All Rights Reserved.
WORLDWIDE THREAT ASSESSMENT
The Director of National Intelligence testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Intelligence Community's World Wide Threat Assessment. (See DNI Statement on WWT, January 29, 2019)
CII Board of Directors
We are updating our CII website and recently expanded theBoard of Directors as part of the exciting steps being taken to become a vibrant and effective voice to support CIA and other intelligence officers for their good faith service to the Nation. The new Board consists of John Gannon (Chairman), George Jameson (President), Bill Murray (Vice President), Chuck Campbell, Mary Corrado, Dawn Eilenberger, John Nelson, and Alan Wade. Darlene Connelly is stepping down from her position as CII's Corporate Secretary, to be succeeded by Francie Schilling effective June 1. (See more about CII's mission, vision, and directors and officers.)
CII on Federal News Radio
Listen to Federal News Radio's interview with CII's co-founders about CII (broadcast September 7, 2018, here's how FNR characterized CII: "Occasionally intelligence practitioners find themselves caught in legal trouble not totally of their own making. That’s the idea behind a new legal referral service called Council on Intelligence Issues.").
Gina Haspel outlined CIA priorities in her first major speech (click for link to full text).
CIA's then-chief information officer and now the deputy chief operating officer stresses the need for a data-savvy CIA workforce (December 4, 2018).