The Week In Intelligence

on February 9 | in CIA, cyber, surveillance

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Here is what caught our eye in the world of intelligence this week:

Politico has the inside account of the media’s interactions with the Central Intelligence Agency over the recent Imad Mughniyeh assassination story. Newsweek reportedly held the story for a year until the Washington Post decided to publish its own description of the assassination. Regardless of what one thinks of the newsworthiness of this story, discount viagra advice the race-to-the-bottom account of the circumstances of publication seems troubling and is all too familiar in the post-Snowden era.

President Obama’s budget proposal for 2016 includes almost $54 billion set aside for the National Intelligence Program (NIP). The funds are intended to “support national security goals” by backing “counterterrorism, sildenafil prescription counterintelligence, cialis and counterproliferation” efforts. The NIP proposal is a big jump from last year’s $50 billion request and, if passed by Congress, would reverse five years of stagnant or declining intelligence funding.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report detailing their efforts to reform collection activities as well as their attempts to improve public relations. According to the report, the intelligence community has made “significant progress” in implementing reforms which has resulted in “strengthened privacy and civil liberty protections; new limits on signals intelligence collection and use; and increased transparency.” The document also listed goals the ODNI has in order to continue to make progress; including enhancing transparency, seeking independent advice, and protecting whistleblowers.

Anthem Inc., the nation’s second-largest health care insurer, revealed on Wednesday that they have been victims of a “very sophisticated external cyberattack.” The breach exposed the personal information of up to 80 million customers, including their social security numbers making it the largest healthcare breach in history. The White House cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel called the hack “disturbing” as it raises concerns for other healthcare sites; especially HealthCare.gov. Early investigations into the breach have pointed towards Chinese state-sponsored hackers as the perpetrators of the attack.

The House committee charged with investigating the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya plans to interview at least twenty more high-ranking officials including Leon Panetta and David Petraeus. The interviews are expected to begin in April, though the top Democrat on the panel said it is not clear what additional questions need to be asked, or have not already been answered. Committee Democrats also expressed their concern with what they consider a “secretive, unlimited budget” for the committee, which spent nearly $1.8 million last year and is on track to spend another $3 million this year.

President Obama is expected to announce details of a plan intended to increase and improve information sharing between the government and private sector at a cybersecurity summit being held at Stanford University next week. The plan, which is being called an executive action, is likely to clarify how private companies can share information regarding cyber threats with the DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). However, some companies haves expressed concern that sharing information with the government could lead to lawsuits, while privacy advocates are concerned it could create another venue for the government to collect personal information.

photo: A Mongolian typewriter used on the Central Eurasia Program of FBIS during the 1950s. (CIA Flickr)

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