C.I.A.

A Brief History of 'Bags of Cash'
The CIA's Afghanistan bribes join a long and storied genre
April 30, 2013

The CIA's Afghanistan bribes join a long and storied genre.

Don't Look to Argo for a Nuanced Portrait of Iran
November 10, 2012

A few weeks ago on this site, Mark Bowden said the movie Argo was “brilliant” and “captures the moment [of the Iranian hostage crisis] perfectly. It is a movie about a small charade played out in the middle of the larger one, the rescue of six Americans who walked away from the [American] embassy on the day of the takeover and hid inside the Canadian embassy.

What I Will (and Won't) Miss About Living in Moscow
September 24, 2012

Reminiscing about gypsy cabs, drinking, and overused emoticons as a writer prepares to move home from Russia.

Bin Laden
May 02, 2011

Monday morning update: Elsewhere at TNR Paul Berman, Jonathan Chait, and David Greenberg have more to say. Also well worth reading are the National Journal's Marc Ambinder and the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright. By now, you have heard the news: Osama bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced in a nationally televised speech on Sunday night.  According to the president and senior administration officials, bin Laden was killed in a "targeted raid" that U.S.

John Brennan: No to Waterboarding, but Maybe Yes to Some Rough Stuff
January 04, 2010

Peter Baker's splashy new NYT magazine piece focuses in part on Obama's newly-visible counterterrorism chief: Most of those people, of course, were in the moderate camp inside the Bush administration, not the Cheney cadre, or like Brennan they present themselves as simply career professionals who followed orders or who even quietly dissented from the most extreme policies of the last eight years. “I was somebody who did oppose waterboarding,” Brennan told me. “I opposed different aspects of the enhanced interrogation program.

You Think the American Relationship With Pakistan Is Fraught Now...
December 03, 2009

...but just imagine if this scenario had played out: Shortly after 9/11, President Bush had issued a “lethal finding,” giving the C.I.A. the go-ahead to kill or capture al-Qaeda members. (Under an executive order issued by President Gerald Ford, it had been illegal since 1976 for U.S.

Budapest, The Berlin Wall, and Iran: What Obama Does Not Grasp
November 08, 2009

It is just about 30 years since the wall around Iran went up. And it is a few days away from fully 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The Berliner Mauer had been up for more than a quarter century, and its surface facing east, grim gray, was a metaphor for life in the German Democratic Republic. On its western face graffiti evoked the freer spirit of the half-city whose heart had nonetheless been broken by the Soviet goose step that divided it. And the Cold War was won on the very day the authorities of the D.D.R.

Rahm on the CIA vs. Holder
August 28, 2009

This morning's lede story in The New York Times about the divisions between Leon Panetta's C.I.A. and Eric Holder's Justice Department has a couple of interesting nuggets. Now that Justice is going to be conducting an investigation into detainee abuse, Langley is angry. Rahm Emanuel, when asked by the Times, said of the dispute: “Leon’s representing his institutional building,” Mr. Emanuel said. “Eric’s representing his institutional responsibilities.” Translation: One is doing his job, the other is doing what he has to do, politically speaking.