Richard Clarke Assesses Obama's Intel Team
January 10, 2009

Counterterrorism expert John O. Brennan was reportedly Obama's original choice for director of the CIA, but he withdrew from consideration after complaints about his past involvement in Bush-era interrogation programs. Now, Obama has appointed Brennan as deputy national security adviser for homeland security--a White House position best described as "counter-terrorism czar"--and has selected Leon Panetta to head the CIA, where he will be subordinate to the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair.  To get some perspective on these appointments, I contacted Richard A.

Slaughter On The Obama Doctrine
January 09, 2009

Hillary Clinton has made it known that she plans to appoint Anne-Marie Slaughter as the State Department's director of policy planning. Last summer, Slaughter blogged about the Obama Doctrine for TNR, responding to an Eli Lake piece that called Obama's foreign policy vision ‘Reaganesque.' --Barron YoungSmith

The Secret History Of Leon Panetta And Dianne Feinstein
January 07, 2009

When Senator Dianne Feinstein heard that Leon Panetta was nominated to be the next CIA director, she wasn't just caught off guard in her capacity as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She also found herself confronting an old political colleague--even, at times, a rival--who had suddenly re-emerged on her turf. The two northern California politicians have long overlapped in the context of both state and national politics. In 1995, Feinstein led a fight against the closure of several large military bases in the state, contending that it would have a devastating economic impact.

Is Panetta Experienced Enough?
January 06, 2009

With controversy swirling around Obama's selection of Leon Panetta for CIA chief, we approached a few respected intelligence experts for perspective. Those we spoke to were supportive of the choice and the theory that intelligence experience is not an absolute prerequisite for a good director. Paul Pillar, a professor at Georgetown University and former CIA officer, explained why he feels so confident: I think he'll do fine. ... The director is not a line officer; he's not running cases and doing detailed analyses.

Unpleasant Truths
December 30, 2008

There is an ungainly German word, Vergangenheitsbewältigung, that has no equivalent in the English language. It means "coming to terms with past," and it was coined to refer to the efforts of German intellectuals, journalists, and even some politicians who, over the past half century, insisted that facing unpleasant truths about their country's history was both a moral and political necessity.

Write Now
December 08, 2008

Barack Obama sounds like he wants to reach back to the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration to jump start the economy with an economic stimulus proposal featuring infrastructure repair.

Seven Years Later: Complacency
September 11, 2008

Benjamin Wittes is a Fellow and Research Director in Public Law at The Brookings Institution and a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. America has grown complacent, and how could it have done otherwise? For years, we have not felt the war our government insists remains a reality. We keenly feel two related wars, the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the war on terror has certainly persisted as a legal reality, and in some sense also as a civic reality. But it has long since ceased to be a practical and emotional reality.

The Fantastic Five
September 02, 2008

With Mitt Romney slated to speak at the Republican convention tonight, the question on (at least some) people’s minds is what a certain Romney quintet has been doing since Mitt’s White House hopes dimmed.   During the race for the Republican presidential nomination, you’ll remember, Romney’s five sons--by descending age: Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben, and Craig--livened up the campaign trail with their gee-whiz antics, fraternal banter, and out-of-this-world bone structure. Their rise to fame began in early 2007, when they launched a blog, Five Brothers, on their dad’s campaign website.

Did FEMA Really Learn The Lessons Of Katrina?
September 02, 2008

  Unlike Katrina in 2005, the government--as well as the aspiring governments of John McCain and Barack Obama--dropped everything for Hurricane Gustav. But how good was the response this time? TNR spoke with Jane Bullock, FEMA's chief of staff during the Clinton administration under James Lee Witt, who is considered the agency's best director, to assess: I think a few things made this response better than Katrina: I think that DHS and FEMA knew that they would be under the microscope, so they pulled out all the stops.

A Tick-tock Of The Big Palin Scandal
August 29, 2008

In Alaska, it's known as Troopergate and, sometimes, Wootengate. Newly selected GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Alaska's first female governor, has been dogged by controversy since July 11, when she fired Public Safety Commissoner Walter Monegan. At the time, a spokesperson for Palin said the 44-year-old governor wanted to take the public safety department in a new direction. Monegan said any complaints from the governor about his job performance had "never been communicated" to him. Then things started to get messy.