TIME Foreign Policy

29 Leading Scientists Back Obama on Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama Speaks Iran Nuclear Deal
Pete Marovich—AP United States President Barack Obama addresses American University's School of International Service in Washington on Aug. 5, 2015.

"This is an innovative agreement"

Twenty-nine of America’s leading scientists—from Nobel Prize winners to nuclear experts—co-signed a letter supporting President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal on Saturday.

“We consider that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the United States and its partners negotiated with Iran will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements,” the letter said. It went on: “This is an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework.”

The support from the scientific community comes at a critical juncture for Obama, who is facing criticism not only from the Republican party, but from also from fellow Democrats. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.—N.Y.), a leading Democrat in Congress published a piece on Medium Thursday night explaining why he was against the Iran nuclear deal.

The scientists’ letter addressed fears that the deal was weak and gave in to much to Iranian demands. “Concerns about clandestine activities in Iran are greatly mitigated by the dispute resolution mechanism built into the agreement,” the letter said. “The 24-day cap on any delay to access is unprecedented, and it will allow effective challenge inspection for the suspected activities of greatest concern.”

TIME psychology

How to Be Productive, Successful and Smart: 9 Tips From Experts

business-people-meeting
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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Expert Tip #1: How To Be More Creative

Your first idea is rarely the best. Always keep pushing and generate more possibilities.

Advice from Andrew Goldberg, writer on Family Guy:

I’m a big fan of writing “alts” (versions). If I come to a joke spot, even if I’m working on my own stuff, I’ll often write three or four or five different alts, and then I’ll show it to friends, show it to my wife, show it to my manager, show it to a director or somebody on the project, and ask them which they think is funniest. Usually the first joke you think of isn’t the funniest. One thing that I’ve learned from TV and working in a big group is, whatever joke is there, you can always beat it. There’s always a funnier joke somewhere out there. So I’m a big fan of writing different versions to find the funniest and the best version.

More from Andrew here.

 

Expert Tip #2: How To Get Promoted

Ask your boss what they want. Make sure your accomplishments are visible. Build relationships in the organization.

Advice from Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford professor and author of Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t:

First of all you need to figure out what your boss actually wants. Many people assume they know what, how they’re going to be evaluated and the criteria that other people in their organization are going to use, but unless you’re a mind reader you probably would be well served to actually check that out. That’s number one.

Number two, you should make sure that your performance is visible to your boss and your accomplishments are visible. Your superiors in the organization have their own jobs, are managing their own careers, are busy human beings. And you should not assume that they’re spending all their time thinking about you and worrying about you and your career.

And the third thing you need to do, which is, I think, even less obvious, is you need to build relationships with people in the organization. Basically, people are the name of the game. Life is really about relationships and your success in getting promoted and getting raises and getting hired, depends on the quality of the network and relationships you were able to build with a large number of other people inside your company and for that matter, outside your company.

More from Jeffrey here.

 

Expert Tip #3: How To Make Better Decisions

What would you recommend someone else do if they were in your situation?

Advice from Dan Ariely, Duke professor and author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions:

If I had to give advice across many aspects of life, I would ask people to take what’s called “the outside perspective.” And the outside perspective is easily thought about: “What would you do if you made the recommendation for another person?” And I find that often when we’re recommending something to another person, we don’t think about our current state and we don’t think about our current emotions. We actually think a bit more distant from the decision and often make the better decision because of that.

More from Dan here.

 

Expert Tip #4: How To Become An Expert At Something

Make sure you’re getting feedback. Always push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Put in the hours.

Advice from Cal Newport author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love:

What you need is a clearly identified sort of skill you’re working on. You need some notion of feedback. So you have to have some notion of, “How good am I at this now, and am I any better now that I’ve done this versus not doing it?” So that’s sort of the coaching aspect of things. And then when actually working, you have to work deeply, which means you have to sort of work on the skill with a persistent, unbroken focus, and you have to try to push yourself a little bit beyond where you’re comfortable. So you should not really be able to easily get to the next step in what you’re doing. At the same time, you should, with enough strain, be able to make some progress.

More from my interview with Cal here.

 

 

Expert Tip #5: Be A Better Networker

Take five minutes every day to do something easy for you that is very valuable to someone else.

Advice from Adam Rifkin, who Fortune Magazine declared the most networked guy in Silicon Valley:

Every day, do something selfless for someone else that takes under five minutes. The essence of this thing you do should be that it makes a big difference to the person receiving the gift. Usually these favors take the form of an introduction, reference, feedback, or broadcast on social media.

But yeah, do something that’s not for yourself, every single day. Expect nothing in return. Over time, these random acts of kindness will really add up.

More from Adam here.

 

Expert Tip #6: How To Pitch An Idea Like A Pro

Don’t try to convince them; try to get them to contribute.

Advice from Dan Pink, NYT bestselling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and To Sell is Human:

Basically, these two scholars, they started studying Hollywood pitching. They did a very exhaustive study. Basically what they found, which you know, I’m sure, from your screenwriting days, is that pitching isn’t about convincing somebody, pitching is essentially about inviting them in.

That’s essentially their view. That changed my view on it a little bit. I think pitching is like, “Are you with me?” and actually that’s not the way to do it. The way to do it is, “Here’s the pitch. What’s your contribution?” When the other side contributes, it actually builds something, and it’s usually a little bit better, but also the other side is more invested in it and so forth. The idea of pitching is to begin an engagement with somebody, not to necessarily convince them right there.

More from Dan here.

 

Expert Tip #7: How To Negotiate Like An FBI Hostage Negotiator

Pay attention to emotions and learn to listen.

Advice from Chris Voss, former head of International Hostage Negotiation for the FBI:

I compare a lot of negotiations to dealing with a schizophrenic, because a schizophrenic’s always got a voice in his head talking to him which makes it very hard for him to listen to you.

Now most people in business negotiations, they approach the negotiation, and they’ve got firmly in their mind all of the arguments that support their position. So when they’re not talking, they’re thinking about their arguments, and when they are talking, they’re making their arguments. They view negotiation as a battle of arguments.

If while you’re making your argument, the only time the other side is silent is because they’re thinking about their own argument, they’ve got a voice in their head that’s talking to them. They’re not listening to you. When they’re making their argument to you, you’re thinking about your argument, that’s the voice in your head that’s talking to you. So it’s very much like dealing with a schizophrenic.

If your first objective in the negotiation, instead of making your argument, is to hear the other side out, that’s the only way you can quiet the voice in the other guy’s mind. But most people don’t do that. They don’t walk into a negotiation wanting to hear what the other side has to say. They walk into a negotiation wanting to make an argument. They don’t pay attention to emotions and they don’t listen.

More from Chris here.

 

Expert Tip #8: How To Lead Like An Army Ranger

It’s okay not to know something. Let those who do handle that task.

Advice from Joe Asher, Army Ranger:

One company leader, socially was a buffoon and tactically he was a buffoon. But, he knew he was a buffoon. He didn’t try to be a stud like my first company commander. And when we got into the field, there were portions of the tactics that he knew. It was a signal company, a signal core company. There were portions of it that he knew very well. When it came to stuff that, tactically speaking, he didn’t know, he was okay not knowing it.

We get out there, and I had just come off from an infantry platoon leader, twice. I was a Ranger. I knew tactics. When we got to our site, he said to me – even though I was his XO – he said, “You’ve got the training to protect this site. I don’t. Protect this site.” That’s all he had to say.

So those were examples of company commanders who taught me a very valuable lesson: “It’s okay not to know something.” There are people around you who do know something, and they can teach you. If it’s too grand a knowledge base to pick up right there in the war and that fight, put them in charge. Have them report to you. Put the responsibility on them. If you do that, they will execute that to perfection, and I did.

More from Joe here.

 

Expert Tip #9: How To Be A Better Storyteller

You must surprise your audience.

Advice from Howard Suber, UCLA Film School professor emeritus and author of Letters to Young Filmmakers: Creativity and Getting Your Films Made:

Things are not what they seem.” It’s that to get people to sit on the edge of their chair or to get them involved in your story, the audience has to constantly discover something new.

One of the constants in great stories is that things are never what they seem, because if things are what they seem, why would you read it, watch it, or listen to it?

So, in “Apocalypse Now,” “The Godfather,” “Casablanca,” — you just run off the names of the memorable films — any statement you make about the central character has to be followed by the word “but.” So Michael Corleone is a cold-blooded murderer, but he does it for his family. Rick Blaine sticks his neck out for nobody, as he tells you three times, but then he does, and sacrifices the only thing he’s ever really loved for the cause.

Without the surprise, without the twist, if you don’t pull the wool over the audience’s eyes, then it’s unlikely you’re going to be memorable. It’s precisely the fact that things are not what they seem that makes a story interesting.

More from Howard.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME

U.S. Psychologists Group Could Soon Ban Involvement in Terrorism Interrogations

The American Psychological Association is reportedly considering a new ethics policy that could prohibit psychologists from helping to question terror suspects

A national psychologists group could soon adopt new ethics rules that would ban its members from participating in the questioning of terror suspects.

The New York Times reports the board of the American Psychological Association is considering a new ethics policy that would effectively prohibit psychologists from assisting in all national security investigations. A decision on whether or not the group will approve the policy could come as soon as next week.

The potential ban would come in the wake of a report that purported to detail how APA officials worked in collaboration with the Bush Administration to carry out and justify the government’s controversial interrogation program. According to the Times, the change in policy could hinder the Obama administration’s ability to hold and question some individuals suspected of terrorism.

Read more at the New York Times.

TIME privacy

Activists Flood Congress With Faxes to Protest Cybersecurity Bill

"We figured we’d use some 80s technology to try to get our point across"

Internet activists opposed to a controversial cybersecurity bill are trying to get Congress’ attention the old-fashioned way: by flooding its fax machines.

The nonprofit group Fight For the Future has set up eight phone lines to convert emails and tweets protesting the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) into faxes that will be sent to all 100 U.S. senators. Supporters can fax their own messages via FaxBigBrother.com or with the hashtag #faxbigbrother.

The legislation, first introduced last year by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would give tech companies more freedom to collect user data and share it with federal agencies in the name of cybersecurity; the data they share would then be exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.

“Groups like Fight for the Future have sent millions of emails [about the issue], and they still don’t seem to get it,” campaign manager Evan Greer told the Guardian on Monday. “Maybe they don’t get it because they’re stuck in 1984, and we figured we’d use some 80s technology to try to get our point across.”

 

 

 

TIME Hillary Clinton

Officials: Classified Emails ‘Should Never’ Have Been On Hillary Clinton Server

Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the media July 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong— 2015 Getty Images Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the media July 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

"Security referral" triggered by potential copies of classified documents on Clinton's home server, lawyer's thumb drive drive.

The Justice Department investigation into the potential mishandling of classified information was triggered by the revelation that classified information contained in Hillary Clinton’s private email account could still exist on her private home server and on the thumb drive in the control of her personal lawyer, U.S. officials confirmed Friday.

The referral was made by the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General (IC IG) to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterintelligence division, not career prosecutors at the Justice Department. “The IC IG did not make a criminal referral,” said the Inspectors General for the State Department and Intelligence Community in a joint statement Friday. “It was a security referral made for counterintelligence purposes.”

The immediate concerns are four emails culled from a limited sample of 400 emails that contained previously unlabeled classified information. “These emails were not retroactively classified by the State Department; rather these emails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to IC classification officials, that information remains classified today,” their statement said. “This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”

In response to a records request from the State Department, Clinton has turned over approximately 30,000 work emails that she had stored on her private email server since her time as Secretary of State. She has previously said that those emails contained no classified information. The four emails in question were not properly labeled as classified, according to the inspectors general.

Both inspectors general say they were required to notify the FBI by law once they found that information that should have been marked as classified was found among the former Secretary of State’s emails. Relevant congressional committees were also notified on July 23.

A Department of Justice official confirmed to TIME Friday that, “The Department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. It is not a criminal referral.”

I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general for the intelligence community, voiced concerns in a July 23 memo to Congressional lawmakers over the proper handling of information contained in Clinton’s email records. He warned there has already been “an inadvertent release of classified national security information” in a recent release of emails under the Freedom of Information Act, a contention disputed by the State Department.

Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for McCullough, confirmed that the referral was made to the FBI, in accordance with federal guidelines for the the discovery of the potential compromise of classified information.

In a March news conference, Clinton denied that she used the unsecured account for classified information. “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” she said. “There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

TIME Terrorism

Could Twitter and Facebook Stop the Next Terrorist Attack?

Social Media Illustrations
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Legislation would require them to alert law enforcement of possible attacks

Tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo are fighting another battle in Washington of late, this time to resist pending legislation that would require them to alert law enforcement of possible terrorist attacks, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The legislation, which has been proposed as a part of a larger intelligence bill, is now under review by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It’s inspired by the fact that terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State have increasingly used social media to recruit and disseminate propaganda. Nevertheless, the tech firms feel that the language in the proposed bill is too broad, and “would potentially put companies on the hook legally if they miss a tweet, video or blog that hints of an attack,” the AP said.

The firms have also reportedly said in private meetings that they are already doing their part by banning “grisly content like beheadings and [alerting] law enforcement if they suspect someone might get hurt, as soon as they are aware of a threat.”

TIME intelligence

CIA Lags in Recruiting Diverse Workforce, Reports Finds

Mission not yet accomplished on diversity

The Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts to bring more minorities into its workforce haven’t been as effective as hoped, according to a new internal report.

The report finds that since 2008, recruitment of minority officers has declined “to levels lower than what is necessary” to maintain the agency’s current levels of minority representation. Currently, racial and ethnic minorities make up about 24% of the entire CIA workforce.

The CIA says diversity and maintaining a diverse workforce is essential to its mission. Without varieties of perspective among employees, CIA Director John Brennan said Tuesday, officers can become susceptible to “group think,” which could lead to lapses in intelligence and security.

Without a diverse workforce, Brennan said, “we’re not going to be able to do our job.”

MORE The CIA’s Latest Mission: Improving Diversity

CIA Director John Brennan commissioned the Diversity in Leadership study in January 2014, shortly after a report led by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that examined women’s leadership roles across the agency. That study, released in 2013, found that women comprise about 45% of the agency’s workforce and 31% percent of senior leadership positions. The agency is currently in the process of implementing the recommendations of that report. The 2015 Diversity in Leadership study was chaired by famed Civil Rights activist and attorney Vernon Jordan.

Brennan said increased competition in the workforce has likely contributed to the decline in minority recruitment. At a recent trip to a historically black college, he said, the students he met with were impressive—but also courting several offers from private companies that have more attractive salaries and benefits than the agency.

The agency’s challenge is to become an “employer of choice” for applicants who can thrive—and make a lot of money—at private companies.

And once recruits get in the door, impediments to success remain. Only 10.8% of the senior ranks of the CIA are racial and ethnic minorities, according to the study. The number of African-Americans in the senior ranks has declined in both percentage and actual number between 2004 and 2014. The percentage of Hispanics in the CIA workforce is significantly lower than in the civilian workforce. The study also found that the agency lacks an inclusive culture and that many groups don’t have access to formal informal networks that can lead to career advancement.

A survey of officers found that many LGBT, minority, and officers with disabilities felt that they had to “hide aspects of their identity” in order to thrive within the agency. Many officers said they didn’t even feel comfortable advocating alternative viewpoints within their work groups.

In lieu of agency-led networks, African-American officials have historically hosted informal groups where they can talk freely about their experiences and assist officers in efforts to seek new positions.

In an interview with TIME earlier this year, a veteran officer said some still meet regularly for social and networking events. “We made that a point of pride,” he told TIME. “It was a thing of, ‘I may not get there but we want to position you to get to the top.’”

Brennan said he hopes the report sends a strong signal to his workforce that he takes diversity and increasing minority representation across the board seriously.

TIME intelligence

Martin O’Malley Calls For More Restrictions on NSA Surveillance

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce June 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee—Getty Images U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce June 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley said that recent reforms to the Patriot Act did not go far enough in curtailing the National Security Agency, arguing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court should include a public advocate.

“The USA Freedom act was a step in the right direction, and I’m glad that it passed and the president signed it,” said O’Malley, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president.

“I would like to see us go further in terms of a role for a public advocate in the FISA court,” he continued. “As a lawyer myself and by training, I think our national security and our rights would be better served if we had a bigger role for a public advocate in the FISA court.”

O’Malley’s remarks at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday afternoon marked the first time the two-term governor has laid out a notable policy position on mass surveillance since becoming a presidential candidate. He has thus far staked his candidacy on a progressive economic platform, including regulating Wall Street and pushing for immigration reform.

President Obama signed into law on Tuesday sweeping legislation that dissolves the NSA’s authority to monitor data on millions of Americans’ phone calls, instead requiring that phone companies store the data themselves. If the government wants to access call data, it has to first acquire a court order with FISA.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is running for the Republican nomination, has made reforming surveillance a central platform of his presidency. But O’Malley differed with Paul on how to do that.

Over the weekend in New Hampshire, O’Malley said he opposed Paul’s move on Sunday to delay a vote on to extend the Patriot Act. Paul’s delay ultimately led to the NSA surveillance authorities lapsing for nearly two full days, but paved the way for the USA Freedom Act to pass on Tuesday. “I think we could be less safe if we resort to obstructionism when it comes to something as important as protecting our homeland from the threat of terror attacks,” he said, BuzzFeed news reported.

TIME intelligence

Anti-Spying Law Wins Cautious Praise From Edward Snowden

Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is in Moscow, is seen on a giant screen during a live video conference for an interview as part of Amnesty International's annual Write for Rights campaign at the Gaite Lyrique in Paris
Charles Platiau—Reuters Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is in Moscow, is seen on a giant screen during a live video conference for an interview as part of Amnesty International's annual Write for Rights campaign at the Gaite Lyrique in Paris December 10, 2014

The USA Freedom Act limits the NSA's power to collect phone data

Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has called the USA Freedom Act “an important step” but urged further congressional limits on surveillance.

Speaking via video link at a London Amnesty International event Tuesday, Snowden said the law, which will limit the power of the NSA to access telephone data from millions of Americans with no connection to terrorism, was historic.

“For the first time in recent history we found that despite the claims of government, the public made the final decision and that is a radical change that we should seize on, we should value and we should push further,” he said from Russia, where he has been given asylum since he leaked information about Washington’s domestic spying programs to the media in 2013.

The new legislation, which President Obama signed into law on Tuesday night, requires the NSA and other intelligence agencies to obtain a warrant from a counter-terror court before accessing data from telephone companies, AP reports. “This legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs,” Obama said in a statement.

But the Act also renews still-controversial governmental powers granted by older legislation, such as roving wiretaps and tracking of so-called “lone wolf” suspects. For that reason, Snowden urged Congress to consider more limits on surveillance.

“If we collect everything, we understand nothing,” Snowden told the audience. “We’re spending resources for no benefit in terms of public safety and a real cost in terms of freedom and liberty.”

[AP]

TIME intelligence

NSA Program to Collect Phone Records Ends

After a 67-32 vote in the Senate, Obama signed the bill into law

The National Security Agency will lose the ability to collect and store virtually all of American phone records, after the U.S. Senate voted 67-32 Tuesday to reform the secret intelligence collection programs revealed in 2013 by Edward Snowden.

The Senate voted to pass a compromise version of the USA Freedom Act, a bill that has already passed the House, with the support of President Obama, who signed the measure into law Tuesday night. Under the new law, the U.S. government would stop collecting the phone records, showing date, time and numbers connected. Instead, telephone companies will be required to keep the information, which can then be queried with a court order by intelligence and law enforcement professionals.

Senate leaders, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called the vote a “resounding victory for those who plotted against our homeland,” had hoped to resist the House reforms. But McConnell failed to schedule enough time to debate a different bill before several provisions of the Patriot Act, including the phone records program, expired on Sunday night. “He put us in a position to get us something no worse than the Freedom Act,” said Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.

McConnell scheduled votes on several amendments to the Freedom Act Tuesday that would have limited the reforms, but they all failed.

Nonetheless, many civil libertarians, including Amash, also opposed the Freedom Act for not going further in limiting the ability of court orders to request large numbers of documents. Under the Freedom Act, requests for information can be made based on a “specific selection term,” which can be an individual, association or an organization, a provision that opponents fear the intelligence community will interpret to once again gather vast amounts of information.

At issue throughout the debate was the history of the specific telephone-record program. It was permitted under the 2001 U.S.A. Patriot Act under a vague provision that allowed the government to request “tangible things” including books, records, papers and documents for an investigation into international terror or clandestine intelligence. Until the Snowden leaks, U.S. officials had concealed the fact that this provision was used to collect records of virtually every phone call made in America.

Asked in 2013 if the NSA collected “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,” National Intelligence Director James Clapper falsely answered “not wittingly,” in an unclassified Senate hearing. Snowden later said this deception was a major reason for his decision to leak classified material.

The Senate vote ended a tense three days in the Senate, in which Senators arrived home over the weekend only to be forced to stand by as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, obstructed movement on a last-minute effort to pass a short term extension to several intelligence authorities so that the Senate could craft its own bill.

The rebellion of Paul, who forced the expiration of several intelligence gathering powers Sunday night in protest, forced McConnell to act fast to reinstate the authorities. Paul’s procedural moves were able to delay passage of the bill, but only for a couple days.

In the end, he voted against the final bill, along with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who are both also running for President. Republican Ted Cruz voted for the reforms.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, who was traveling at the time of the vote, said he would have voted against the reforms. Graham also criticized Paul’s tactics. “There are lines I don’t cross, within my party or without,” he told TIME. “To me, he crossed the line here. He put the country at risk unnecessarily.”

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