Challenges facing the IC in InfoSec

Over at TPM, I wrote a feature article about the looming cultural clash between hackers and the intel community. For the Intelligence Community, Snowden was a scary example of someone who once believed in the government’s position but had turned, suddenly it seemed, resolutely against it. Technology website Ars Technica dug up enthusiastic old posts ...

A New Platform for Writing

Starting today, the substantial analytic blogposts that normally appear here a couple of times per week will be appearing at my new perch over at Beacon. It’s a new platform where readers actually pay for the content writers produce — a novel concept! You can subscribe to me here, it’s how you can support, for ...

Poor Prospects for the War in Syria

My latest for Defense One: As the world ponders what comes next for Syria, the involvement of Iran and Hezbollah weighs heavily. And the prospect of more direct involvement by Tehran has many analysts worried. Moreover, the increasing radicalization by Syrian rebel groups, including the SMC’s decision to work directly with the local al Qaeda ...

Full Text: How Snowden’s leaks will hurt the inner workings of Washington

I wrote a piece for the Globe and Mail’s “World Insider” section where I thought out some consequences in Washington that will come from Snowden’s leaks. The feature is subscriber-only, but I secured their permission to reprint the piece in full, below. After failing to board his flight from Moscow to Havana, Edward Snowden is ...

Three Guiding Principles for Reforming the NSA

Over at the American Prospect, I have a long piece about what we need to think about for reforming the NSA. Even today, when congressmen and senators complain that the national security apparatus is too large or too powerful, they are derided as weak, loving our enemies, and wishing for America to fail. Hill staffs ...

Blame Congress

I have an op-ed over at National Memo, explaining why we must blame Congress for the NSA’s surveillance. Rather than challenging the administration’s authority to secretly interpret and enact laws, however, Congress instead twice authorized them to keep everything a secret. Last year, Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried to prohibit ...

Do Drones Work?

For the American Prospect, I ask do drones actually accomplish the goal they’re meant to? Taken as a whole, drones seem to be quite good at what they’re supposed to do: disrupting terrorist groups. But that isn’t enough to actually end the threat posed by terror groups. Are the civilian and psychological costs drones incur ...

Why Drone Autonomy Might Actually Be Good for Human Rights

Over at Foreign Policy, I have a piece suggesting autonomous drones might actually be good for us. Yet many experts are uncertain whether autonomous attack weapons are necessarily a bad thing, either. “Can we program drones well? I’m not sure if we can trust the software or not,” Samuel Liles, a Purdue professor specializing in ...

The Chechen Connection: The Boston bombers have put the region and U.S.-Russia relations in the spotlight

Over at The American Prospect, I have a brief article asking if the ethnicity of the Boston bombers will effect U.S.-Russia relations. Russian officials are quick to underscore that they are victims of Chechen terrorism, not causes of it.  As if to underscore this point, Ramzan Kadyrovv—the Moscow-approved strongman who currently governs Chechnya–left a comment on ...

Displaced: What happened to the people who fled the terror in Chechnya.

For Foreign Policy, I explained how Chechnya’s experience of war led to displacement, and that it is eventually what brought the Tsarnaev brothers to America. As a result, many Chechens who fled to Central Asia did not find refuge, just harassment and continued uncertainty. It should not be surprising that thousands moved on, as apparently the Tsarnaev ...