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[VIDEO] Mike Rogers: Intelligence Community Was Ready to Respond to North Korea Hack Attack, Didnt Get Decision from Obama

“The problem here was not the fact that we didn’t have the capability to do something nearly in immediate time, we just didn’t get a decision from the president of the United States.”

Ryan Lovelace writes: Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the intelligence community is ready to respond to the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment by hackers that had the support of North Korea. “Our intelligence services, the folks who would be responsible for at least the first wave of trying to make sure they don’t have the capability to do this again, were ready, they have the capability, they were ready to go,” Rogers said on Fox News Sunday….(read more)

National Review Online

 

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[VIDEO] ‘American Sniper’ Official Trailer #2

 


Jonah Goldberg on the Sony Fiasco: ‘No Superheroes in The Interview Cave-In’

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The first issue of Captain America came out on December 20, 1940. It shows Cap slugging Adolph Hitler in the mouth.tyranny-cliche

[Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, is a few keystrokes away, at Amazon]

Good stuff, but note the date. America wouldn’t enter World War II for about another year. At the time, many Americans wanted to stay out of another European war. And here was an American superhero punching the leader of a sovereign nation in the kisser. Subsequent issues kept pitting Captain America against Hitler and his goons.

“A theater chain caved. The movie studio caved. As of now, The Interview will never be theatrically released. In theory, Sony could release it online, via on-demand and streaming channels.”

The angriest reaction came from the German-American Bund, Hitler’s stooges in the U.S. They harassed Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America, with hate mail and telephoned death threats.

“The theme was ‘death to the Jews,’” Simon wrote in his memoir. “At first we were inclined to laugh off their threats, but whoop-assthen, people in the office reported seeing menacing-looking groups of strange men in front of the building on 42nd Street, and some of the employees were fearful of leaving the office for lunch.”

[read the full text at National Review]

Simon called the cops, and as soon as the police showed up, the phone rang. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia wanted to speak to the creators of Captain America. Simon got on the line. “You boys over there are doing a good job,” the voice squeaked. “The city of New York will see that no harm will come to you.’”

That is how it’s supposed to work in a democracy. Read the rest of this entry »


Too Easy: How the West Was Lost

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Unknown

A few days ago, the first reviews began to trickle in for the comedy The Interview, which depicts a shambolic attempt to assassinate the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Unfortunately, they were less than enthusiastic. One critic called it a ‘non-stop sledgehammer … bereft of satiric zing’, while the Hollywood industry paper Variety called it an ‘alleged satire that’s about as funny as a communist food shortage’.

“Trains could crash, pipelines explode, the financial markets risk going into meltdown, the National Grid might crash, hospitals could fall dark, cash dispensers might go dead and ordinary life might come grinding to a halt. Last year, the People’s Liberation Army’s Shanghai-based cyber unit was caught hacking into major American corporations such as the nuclear power company Westinghouse Electric and the United States Steel Corporation.”

Even the film’s makers probably imagined that having earned back its budget from its target audience of American teenagers, their picture would soon disappear into well-deserved obscurity.

Climb-down: Randall Park as North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un in The Interview, which has been pulled from release after Sony Pictures was hacked and confidential material leaked across the Internet

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Terrorists:Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju remembered the three year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong-il. If North Korea was to launch a cyber attack it could bring the West to its knees in 15 minutes

How wrong they were. For it now seems certain that The Interview will go down in history not as an indictment of Hollywood’s obsession with the lowest common denominator, but as a chilling symbol of the future of international conflict.

When, two days ago, the film’s parent company Sony announced it was cancelling its Christmas Day release, the decision was widely seen as an abject surrender to foreign pressure.

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All week, North Korean hackers have been leaking secrets found in Sony’s emails, from insider gossip about the star Angelina Jolie to the script of the next James Bond film.

In an attempt to shore up wavering cinema chains who were uncertain as to whether to screen the film, Barack Obama recommended that ‘people go to the movies’.

But as pressure mounted, it became clear Sony’s American bosses lacked the courage to stand up to Kim Jong-un’s cyber bullies. And when the hackers issued a terrifying warning to American audiences, telling them to ‘remember September 11, 2001’, Sony simply lost its nerve.

Thus, The Interview has vanished from the schedules, and it seems unlikely it will ever return.

In the meantime, Hollywood figures have been queuing up to denounce Sony’s decision as an awful setback for free speech. ‘Today, the U.S. succumbed to an unprecedented attack on our most cherished bedrock principle,’ said the director Judd Apatow.

The actor Rob Lowe went further: If Sony had been in charge of the Allied war effort in World War II, he said, then the Nazis would have won.

In many ways the story could hardly be a better metaphor for American foreign policy in the past few years.

After almost a decade of reckless, ham-fisted over-stretch under George W. Bush — typified by this month’s appalling revelations about the CIA’s torture programme — the U.S. has turned inwards.

Obama’s policy in Syria and Ukraine has been a shambles, his attitude to Russia is dithering and pusillanimous, and he seems entirely bereft of ideas about how to fight back against the jihadists of Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama: Sony Made Mistake Pulling ‘The Interview'; U.S. Will Respond Proportionally At Time And Place We Choose — Update

Originally posted on Deadline:

Sony made a mistake caving to North Korean hackers, President Obama said bluntly this morning at his annual year-end news conference. The United States “will respond proportionally”  to the cyber attack on the studio, that included threatening to harm theater goers, “at a place and time we choose,”  he said, declining to elaborate. The studio’s handling of the hack was the very first question White House press corps asked Obama at the annual year-in-review, which speaks to how seriously the situation is being taken in Washington.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like, or a news report that they don’t like,” he said in an extremely strong answer to a question…

View original 769 more words


Here’s One Way to Turn the Cyberattack on Sony Back on North Korea

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Drop ‘The Interview’ on Pyongyang

Sony might fear retribution if it did this, but an alternative would be for the U.S. government to buy the movie rights from Sony and release it into the public domain. 

U.S. officials are saying they think North Korea is responsible for the hacking of Sony Pictures, and perhaps also the threats that led the studio to cancel release of “The Interview.” Outsiders aren’t so sure, but the U.S. presumably has evidence others don’t. If the Obama Administration believes the evidence, the question is what it will do about it.

“Chinese netizens love to mock Kim, and North Koreans like to watch movies smuggled across the border from China. Perhaps the CIA could dub the movie into Korean to make sure it gets to its target audience.”

Park Sang Hak, a North Korean defector now living in the South, has an idea. Mr. Park, whom we profiled last year, puts information about the outside world along with movies and television programs on USB drives, which he floats into the North on balloons. The Kim Jong Un regime has labeled him “enemy zero” and sent an assassin to kill him with a poison-tipped pen. For real.

Mr. Park wants to include “The Interview” on future balloon launches. But there is another way to make sure that the movie gets the giant audience that Kim fears, even in North Korea: Make it free. Read the rest of this entry »


Sony Pictures Presents: Wag the Dog 2

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Mike Gonzales: ‘Nobody in Cuba sees the United States as a former colonizer, namely because the United States never colonized Cuba’

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Mike Gonzales continues: “When I came into office, I promised to re-examine our Cuba policy,” Obama said, proving once again that last month’s midterm shellacking seems to have had an odd effect on our president. Rather than make him humble, rejection at the polls has liberated him to do all the things he wants in his “legacy.”

“The Castros are still in power not because of the embargo, but because they practice state terror.”

His rationale for acting was instructive, too. In essence, for 15 minutes Obama reeled off a list of talking points one could hear anywhere from the Left Bank of the River Seine to, say, any dusty classroom in Cuba. The only thing missing was the picture of Che so omnipresent in Paris or Havana. The image his platitudes sought to create was the following: the embargo, not Communism’s internal insanity, has left Cuba a pauperized police state; our relations have been frozen by ideology, not principles or national interests; and the United States used to be Cuba’s colonial power.

Now, the one thing all these views have in common is that they are A, untrue, and B, favorite talking points of the international Left.

President Obama Versus Reality

Obama: “I was born in 1961, just over two years after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and just a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which tried to overthrow his regime. Over the next several decades, the relationship between our countries played out against the Cold War and America’s steadfast opposition to communism. We are separated by just over 90 miles. But year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between the two countries.” Read the rest of this entry »


Rock Star: Rolling Stone Cover Boy Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Appears in Federal Court Today

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Dzhokhar  appeared in court under heavy security Thursday ahead of his trial next month for the bombing of the Boston Marathon, telling the judge he was satisfied with his lawyers.

Tsarnaev, wearing gray pants, a black sweater-vest and a tie, was led in handcuffs into a federal courthouse in Boston for a pretrial hearing. It was his first appearance since July 2013.

Tsarnaev

Asked by the judge whether he had been kept up to speed on the court proceedings, Tsarnaev answered: “Yes, Your Honor.” Asked whether his lawyers were representing him adequately, he said, “They are.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Former Anonymous Hacker: ‘North Korea Doesn’t Have Capability’ For Sony Attack

“For something like this to happen, it had to happen over a long period of time. You cannot just exfiltrate one terabyte or 100 terabytes of data in a matter of weeks.”

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A former hacker for Anonymous doesn’t believe North Korea has the infrastructure to be behind the Sony hack attack.

“Do you really think a bunch of nerds from North Korea are going to fly to New York and start blowing up movie theaters? No. It’s not realistic. It’s not about ‘The Interview.’ It’s about money. It’s a professional job.”

Hector Monsegur told CBS This Morning that the communist regime doesn’t have the technical capabilities to pull off the hack.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

“In my personal opinion, it’s not. Look at the bandwidth going into North Korea. I mean, the pipelines, the pipes going in, handling data, they only have one major ISP across their entire nation. That kind of information flowing at one time would have shut down North Korean Internet completely…They don’t have the technical capabilities.”

– Hector Monsegur

He continued, “They do have state-sponsored hackers very similar to China, very similar to Russia and very similar to our good, old USA.”

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Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.”

A former CIA official, though, believes that North Korea could pull of this type of cyberattack.

“North Korea has significant cyber capabilities. They use them quite frequently against South Korea. For a backwards state that might be a little surprising but they also have a nuclear weapon. They are capable of achieving things when they focus on them.”

– Mike Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA

The cancellation announced Wednesday was a startling blow to the Hollywood studio that has been shaken by hacker leaks and intimidations over the last several weeks by an anonymous group calling itself Guardians of Peace.

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“This attack went to the heart and core of Sony’s business — and succeeded. We haven’t seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history.”

– Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at research firm Gartner

A U.S. official said Wednesday that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hacking to North Korea and may make an announcement in the near future. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to openly discuss an ongoing criminal case.

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“It doesn’t tell me much. I’ve seen Russian hackers pretending to be Indian. I’ve seen Ukrainian hackers pretending to be Peruvian. There’s hackers that pretend they’re little girls. They do this for misinformation, disinformation, covering their tracks.” 

Monsegur stated that Sony’s hacking had to have happened over a long period of time. Read the rest of this entry »


Bureau 121: Defector Says North Korea is Running a Vast Hacker Network

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SEOUL, South Korea — A defector who once worked as a computer expert for Pyongyang says North Korea is running a vast network of hackers committing cyber warfare against the perceived enemies of the Stalinist state.

“Raising cyber agents is fairly cheap. The world has the wrong view of the North Korean state. With that incorrect world view, North Korea was able to increase its ability to launch cyberattacks.”

Jang Se-yul, who defected from North Korea seven years ago, told CNN that he thinks there are 1,800 cyber warriors in the agency in place around the world, but he says even the agents themselves don’t know how many operatives work for the secretive group, labeled Bureau 121.

The South Korean government thinks Bureau 121 is the agency at the heart of the cyberattacks that North Korea conducts against foreign countries, a government official who requested to be anonymous told CNN on Thursday.

“This silent war, the cyber war, has already begun without a single bullet fired.”

An unknown number of agents and operatives work with Bureau 121, the official said, adding that South Korean intelligence thinks the group is responsible for the “Dark Seoul” hacks on South Korean banks and media companies in March and June 2013. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Man Who Waterboarded 9-11 Terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Megyn Kelly Interviews Dr. James Mitchell

“It shows al Qaeda and the al Qaeda 2.0 folks, ISIL, that we’re divided and that we’re easy targets, that we don’t have the will to defeat them because that’s what they know. In fact, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told me personally, ‘Your country will turn on you, the liberal media will turn on you, the people will grow tired of this, they will turn on you, and when they do, you are going to be abandoned.”

Dr. James Mitchell, a former U.S. Navy psychologist reportedly involved in the interrogation of suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, interviewed on The Kelly File, December 15, 2014.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Mitchell described Sheikh Mohammed in initial interrogations as “immensely arrogant” and “disdainful.”

“He had a propensity at that particular point to be confrontational without being physical,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell touched on waterboarding, telling Kelly, “Those techniques are so harsh that it’s emotionally distressing to the people who are administering them. Even though you don’t want to do it, you’re doing it in order to save lives in the country, and we would just have to man up for lack of a better term.”

Mitchell recalled how he initially did not want to do interrogations, and he remembered the instant that he decided to “pony up.”

“The 911 victims are the reason that I’m here,” he said.

Daniel Pearl, murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Daniel Pearl, murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is shown in this file photograph during his arrest on March 1, 2003. Accused Sept. 11 mastermind Mohammed and four suspected co-conspirators were referred to trial before a Guantanamo war crimes tribunal on charges that could carry the death penalty, the Pentagon said, April 4, 2012.  REUTERS/Courtesy U.S. News & World Report

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is shown in this file photograph during his arrest on March 1, 2003. Accused Sept. 11 mastermind Mohammed and four suspected co-conspirators were referred to trial before a Guantanamo war crimes tribunal on charges that could carry the death penalty, the Pentagon said, April 4, 2012. REUTERS/Courtesy U.S. News & World Report

Mitchell remembered the heroes on Flight 93, telling Kelly that if ordinary people were willing to give up their lives to save the Capitol building, then he should be able to give up his moral high ground to save more lives.

“What we forget is al Qaeda tried to decapitate the United States on 9/11,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell recalled how waterboarding was not effective against Sheikh Mohammed, and he told Kelly that other enhanced interrogation techniques finally led the terrorist to divulge useful information.

He cautioned that Americans shouldn’t trust Senate Democrats who Mitchell claimed went in with an agenda on this report. Instead, they should trust the men and women of the CIA who wrote reports which were released back when ex- Vice President Dick Cheney requested them.

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Mitchell told Kelly that this ordeal “is like being caught in a bad spy novel.”

He said that those who released the CIA report knew the results they wanted beforehand.

“They didn’t give us a chance to explain anything.”

Now, Mitchell said that interrogators are getting death threats, and he fears for his life.

“I do not mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults.”

Mitchell alleged that no one from the Senate committee has ever asked him a single thing about the interrogations. Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday’s Australian Newspaper Front Pages

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 – via Twitter


Daniel Greenfield: The Sydney Hostage-Taker, Rapist, Murderer and Terrorist, Should Never Have Been in Australia

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 writes: Sheikh Haron moved to Australia from Iran in 1996. During that time he was involved in murder, sexual assault and support for terrorism in the most blatant ways possible.

In two decades, he wasn’t expelled from the country despite a laundry list of crimes and horrible behavior like sending Jihadist letters to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

The core problem is that Haron and all the others like him should…

1. Never have been allowed into Australia

2. Should have been forcibly deported after their first crime, their first act of support for terrorism

The media’s official narrative is that Sheikh Haron is mentally ill. Just another lone wolf. Just more workplace violence. There’s no point in even wasting time debating that. Read the rest of this entry »


Sydney Siege: Live Updates

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Armed police shut down central Sydney after a suspected gunman took people hostage in a cafe on Monday and placed an Islamic flag in the window, sparking concerns that a terrorist attack was under way. So far, five people have safely exited the cafe and police are preparing to negotiate through the night with the gunman…(more)

Follow WSJ’s live blog

 


BREAKING: Sydney siege: Hostages Taken in Lindt Cafe, Islamic Flag Reportedly Flown

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Hundreds of armed police have sealed off Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district

At least one gunman has taken several people hostage at a cafe in the Australian city of Sydney.

Pictures on Australian television show at least three people with their hands up against a window, and a black flag with Arabic writing.

“All Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner.”

– Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Hundreds of armed police have sealed off Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district.

Armed police patrol the vicinity at Lindt Cafe, Martin Place on Dec. 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Don Arnold/Getty Images

Armed police patrol the vicinity at Lindt Cafe, Martin Place in Sydney, Australia. Don Arnold/Getty Images

[Also see – Police Operation Under Way in Sydney Financial District – ABCNews.com]

New South Wales police have asked people to avoid the area.

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter said that gunfire had been heard at the scene, the Lindt chocolate cafe – but this has not been confirmed.

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Police have also said that they are dealing with an “incident” at the Sydney Opera House which has been evacuated.

Local media are reporting that a suspicious package was found there on Monday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the incident as “deeply concerning” in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »


Enhanced Interrogation: The Verdict is In

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CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program, and Senate Democrats’ 9/11 Amnesia

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Louis J. Freeh writes: Seventy-three years ago this week, on a peaceful, sunny morning in Hawaii, a Japanese armada carried out a spectacular attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,403, wounding 1,178 and damaging or destroying at least 20 ships. Washington immediately declared war and mobilized a peaceful nation.

“The RDI program was not some rogue operation unilaterally launched by a Langley cabal—which is the impression that the Senate Intelligence Committee report tries to convey. Rather, the program was an initiative approved by the president, the national security adviser and the U.S. attorney general…”

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In another unfortunate Washington tendency, the government launched an investigation about who to blame for letting the devastating surprise attack happen. A hastily convened political tribunal found two senior military officers guilty of dereliction of duty, publicly humiliating them, as some political leaders sought to hold anyone but themselves accountable for the catastrophe.

“The Senate committee’s new report does not present any evidence that would support the notion that the CIA program was carried out for years without the concurrence of the House or Senate intelligence committees, or that any of the members were shocked to learn of the program after the fact.”

With the Democratic members of the SenateIntelligence Committee this week releasing a report on their investigation holding the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency accountable for the alleged “torture” of suspected terrorists after 9/11, some lessons from the Pearl Harbor history should be kept in mind.

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First, let’s remember the context of the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when President George W. Bush and Congress put America on a war footing. While some critics in and out of government blamed the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to prevent the terrorist attack, the 9/11 Commission later concluded that part of the real reason the terrorists succeeded was Washington’s failure to put America on a war footing long before the attack. Sept. 11, 2001, was the final escalation of al Qaeda’s war-making after attacking the USS Cole in 2000 and U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.

“CIA leaders and briefers who regularly updated this program to the Senate Intelligence Committee leadership took what investigators call ‘copious, contemporaneous notes.’ Without a doubt, the Senate Intelligence Committee and congressional staffers at these multiple briefings also took a lot of their own notes…”

The Intelligence Committee’s majority report fails to acknowledge the Pearl Harbor-esque state of emergency that followed the 9/11 attack. One week after the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history, President Bush signed into law a congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which granted the president authority to use “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

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“…Will the committee now declassify and release all such notes so that Americans will know exactly what the senators were told and the practices they approved?”

This joint congressional resolution, which has never been amended, was not a broad declaration of a “war on terror,” but rather a specific, targeted authorization to use force against the 9/11 terrorists and to prevent their future attacks. Read the rest of this entry »


Spooks of the Senate

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The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogations is a moment for reflection, but not for the reasons you’re hearing. The outrage at this or that ugly detail is politically convenient. The report is more important for illustrating how fickle Americans are about their security, and so unfair to those who provide it.

“The report’s greatest offense is its dishonest treatment of political accountability. The authors portray a rogue CIA operating without legal authority and hiding information from Congress, the public and even President Bush. This charge is rebutted even by current CIA director John Brennan , who otherwise dries his predecessors out to hang.”

After the trauma of 9/11 and amid the anthrax letters in 2001, Americans wanted protection from another terror attack. The political class fired up a commission to examine what went wrong so it “would never happen again.” So the CIA, blamed for not stopping 9/11, tried to oblige. It captured the plotters, detained and interrogated them—sometimes harshly. There hasn’t been another successful al Qaeda plot on the homeland.

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“Ms. Feinstein has had an admirable career, so it is a shame to see her mar her legacy with this one-sided report. Mr. Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are also not profiles in courage, issuing everyone-has-a-point statements while endorsing release of the report. Better leaders would have resigned for the morale of their agencies…”

But political memories are short. As the Iraq war became unpopular, the anti-antiterror left fought back. Democrats who sensed a political opening began to fault the details of how the CIA and Bush Administration had protected the country—on surveillance, detention and interrogation. Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin, the lead Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, unleashed their staff to second-guess the CIA.

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“Then there is President Obama, who issued his own have-it-both-ways statement that condemned the Bush-era practices but extolled our intelligence services. He could have taken executive responsibility by having Mr. Brennan issue his own report or release the one done by former CIA director Leon Panetta , but that would have meant more personal political risk. Better to leave the public wet work to Senate staff.”

That’s the context in which to understand the Senate report, which reads like a prosecutor’s brief. It devotes 6,000 pages to marshalling evidence to indict the CIA program, and nothing was going to interfere with its appointed verdict. Read the rest of this entry »


Today in History: Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor

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