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Dick Cheney’s Defense of CIA Torture Shows How Low We Can Go

December 16, 2014 BY: Michael Cohen TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

The recent release of the CIA's torture report has gained considerable criticism from the media. On a recent episode of NBC's "Meet the Press" that featured Dick Cheney as a guest, the hysteria around U.S. torture methods became further substantiated by Cheney making absurd claims regarding the large margin of tortured detainees who were discovered to be innocent and denying that water-boarding is not technically a torture tactic. TCF fellow Michael Cohen says that if anything has come out of the torture report, it is the reminder that the U.S. is capable of going to great lengths to prevent terrorist attacks on their soil.

Nowhere does Cheney express any remorse for an individual killed by the US government who was neither a terrorist, nor a threat to Americans. The ends are justification enough for the means — whatever, it appears, those means happen to be. It begs the question of whether there is anything that the US government could do to allegedly prevent a terrorist attack that would shock the conscience of Cheney.

Read Cohen's full article from Boston Globe.

Tags: torture, terrorism, dick cheney

Three Ways to Increase Gun Safety in the Home

December 12, 2014 BY: Michael Cohen TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF fellow Michael Cohen raises awareness of the importance of gun safety with some startling statistics such as, "more Americans have been killed on US soil by 3-year-olds with guns than have died from Ebola or ISIS." He offers three suggested guidelines for how gun accidents can be minimized including: a) repurpose international defense spending into domestic gun safety spending b) require gun safes in all homes where a child under age 18 is present and c) begin a nationwide public education campaign about the dangers of keeping a loaded gun at home where children are present.

Reminding Americans that guns and curious children make for a potentially deadly mix isn’t infringing on people’s freedom or their right to bear arms. Indeed, there is no good reason for the NRA to oppose any of these measures — unless it wants to try to convince us that the only thing between a bad 3-year-old with a gun is a good 3-year-old with a gun.

Read Cohen's full article.

Tags: national security, gun safety, gun reform, budget policy

KeenON: Journalist and NSA Expert Barton Gellman

December 12, 2014 BY: Barton Gellman TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

VIDEO: TCF fellow and Washington Post journalist Barton Gellman is interviewed on Techonomy with Andrew Keen speaking about Edward Snowden and how he sparked the "surveillance" conversation in the U.S.:

Tags: technology, surveillance, nsa

Why It’s Rare for Someone Like Ashton Carter to Work in Government

TCF fellow and U. of Chicago professor Harold Pollack endorses Ashton Carter who recently ascended to the post of U.S. Secretary of Defense. He lauds Carter's professional capabilities and also offers some insight regarding what can be expected of his time serving in government.

Assuming that he is confirmed, Carter will have much to contend with in a tough outside world and a tough domestic political environment. I have no idea whether he will succeed. I have no idea whether I will even agree with him. I do know that he has earned the opportunity to try.

Pollack's full article can be accessed here.

Tags: secretary of defense, obama administration, obama administration

Ten Noteworthy Moments in U.S. Investigative Journalism

October 21, 2014 BY: Barton Gellman TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF senior fellow Barton Gellman’s investigation of the NSA joins Sy Hersh’s My Lai massacre reporting, the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, and Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate story on the Brookings Institution’s list of top ten moments in American investigative journalism.

In early June 2013, The Post and The Guardian broke nearly-simultaneous stories about National Security Agency surveillance activities being conducted on U.S. citizens and foreign officials. Both sets of articles, led by Barton Gellman at The Post and Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian, along with Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill, initially relied on a confidential source who was a former NSA analyst and then-employee at a private sector consulting firm. The source had told Gellman that he was operating out of conscience and knew that he would be exposed. That person was Edward Snowden. Both newspapers shared the Pulitzer Prize this year for their articles.

Read the full article.

Tags: nsa, investigative journalism, edward snowden, brookings institution, barton gellman

Does Yosemite have a privacy problem? Not exactly

October 21, 2014 BY: Barton Gellman TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF senior fellow Barton Gellman is quoted in a Verge article on potential privacy issues with Apple’s latest operating system.

The biggest concern is that a user might accidentally search their own computer for a sensitive file—in Post reporter Barton Gellman’s example, “secret plans Obama leaked me”—and unwittingly reveal that search term to Apple more broadly.

Read the full article.

Tags: the verge, privacy, apple


Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy

In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.

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