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Intelligence

The Duck Quacks but are We at Cyber War?

You have heard the saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be a duck. News sources and government officials tell us we live in a world of constant cyber attack, so we must be at war, right? In cyber world, this kind of talk is harmful and obscures the new world in which we really exist. We are not at war – we are in conflict, and some of the tools we are using cross interesting and controversial 20th-century political lines.

The Al Qaeda Threat – Diminished Capacity or Deliberate Concealment?

National security scholar Dr. Joshua Sinai has just published a new analysis on the evolving threat to US interests by Al Qaeda and their associated adherents. The underlying premise is that the serious threat to U.S. interests from Al Qaeda has not diminished, but it has changed. Testimony provided Tuesday by ODNI director General James Clapper suggests the threat of the core al Qaeda is severely weakened, though associated groups remain an issue. Which viewpoint will prevail?

India's Public Transport Security Wake-Up Call

By Alex Sorin
The news of the violent gang rape of a young Indian woman on a public bus and her subsequent death has shocked the world and led to protests and unrest. While increased security is by no means the sole solution, certain security measures can help alert law enforcement of similar incidents and assist in catching the perpetrators. While surveillance technology can help, just as critical is an Incident Management System.

Homeland Security – What Next?

By Doug Doan
So far, none of the presidential candidates have mentioned much about Homeland Security. With so many other problems, issues surrounding how best to organize, manage and lead the vast DHS bureaucracy are just not that important. Too bad. I would have liked to see the candidates talk about what they might do. Here is an agenda that I happily provide.

FBI/DHS Inaccuracy Could Lead to Police Over-Reaction

There has been a great deal of media coverage relating to an FBI/DHS document detailing likely anarchist activity during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The vast majority of that coverage has related to the threat of anarchists using Molotov cocktails, acid filled eggs, or even IEDs and IIDs. It appears an FBI/DHS report over-states and sensationalizes some of the likely threats from anarchists, as most recently expressed in their Joint Intelligence Bulletin released August 21, 2012.

Locking Private Sector Shields Against Cyber Attacks

Information travels through America’s cyber networks at the speed of light. The legislation that will be used to govern some aspects of network security is traveling at the speed of bureaucracy. The Senate has been debating two cybersecurity bills that will impact U.S. cybersecurity standards, but whatever Congress eventually decides, the onus is on U.S. citizens and businesses to step up their individual security efforts.

Presidential Elections in Egypt and the "Arab Spring"

When looking at the developments of the last year and a half in the Middle East, it seems quite clear that the media was too quick to coin the term “Arab Spring” to describe the popular unrest and overthrow of regimes in significant parts of the Arab World. It would be more appropriate to refer to what is happening in the region as the “Islamist Spring” because it is creating unprecedented opportunities for Islamist political movements to finally grasp the reins of power, such as with the elections in Egypt. All of this, of course, has implications for the region and the United States.

The Dangers of Talking Too Much

People talk. That’s a fact. Whether at the water cooler, the fence post or on Facebook, people talk about almost anything and everything. Eventually though we all reach a point where what we really should do is just shut up. We’ve long crossed that point when it comes to intelligence and national security operations in this country. Lately there have been a truly disturbing number of very public examples that bring these conditions to light.

Protect Sources and Methods – The Threats from Intel Leaks

Like many Americans, I am concerned about the major intelligence leaks that have taken place over the past weeks and months. It i disturbing to see this kind of activity, particularly in time of war. The unmasking of Dr. Skakil Afridi, who helped bring Bin Laden down in Pakistan, and the significant reporting of the intricacies of cyber attacks against Iran’s nuclear program, makes me cringe.

Professional Education Seems to be Everywhere

This past weekend, I participated in an educational experience that was exceptional in many ways, but was also typical of many programs ongoing in the Washington area. The class I attended was part of the Intelligence Analysis Course run by Johns Hopkins University. The students were a pretty exceptional group. They were interested, engaged, challenging, and open to learn. Watching these fine young men and women give up their precious free time to better prepare themselves for their jobs was a bit awe inspiring.