TIME intelligence

Report Claims American Psychological Association Secretly Supported Torture Policy

An Iraqi security officer patrols the grounds at the newly opened Baghdad Central Prison in Abu Ghraib on February 21, 2009 in Baghdad.
Wathiq Khuzaie—Getty Images An Iraqi security officer patrols the grounds at the newly opened Baghdad Central Prison in Abu Ghraib on February 21, 2009 in Baghdad.

This is the first time the A.P.A. has been investigated on the interrogation program

The American Psychological Association secretly worked with the George W. Bush administration to justify a post-9/11 torture policy, says a new report released Thursday.

The report, written by six health professionals and human rights activists, analyzed over 600 e-mails that they claim show how the group assisted in morally and ethically justifying the Bush-era interrogation program after graphic photos surfaced in 2004 showing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq tortured by U.S. Army personnel.

“The A.P.A. secretly coordinated with officials from the C.I.A., White House and the Department of Defense to create an A.P.A. ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the C.I.A. torture program,” the report concludes.

A spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association denied the accusations in the report, stating that there “has never been any coordination between A.P.A. and the Bush administration on how A.P.A. responded to the controversies about the role of psychologists in the interrogations program.”

The interrogation program has since been discontinued and was criticized by the extensive Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture last year.

[NYT]

TIME intelligence

McConnell Introduces Bill to Extend Surveillance Under Patriot Act

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the media following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on April 21, 2015.
Bill Clark—AP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the media following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on April 21, 2015.

The bill comes amid a bipartisan effort to curb the NSA's expansive collection of Americans' phone records

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday evening that would renew several sections of the Patriot Act, which grants expansive powers of surveillance to intelligence agencies, that are set to expire this summer.

Among the act’s provisions that would be renewed until 2020 rather than expiring in June is Section 215, the National Journal reports. The hotly contested authority laid the legal groundwork for the National Security Agency’s sweeping collection of metadata from millions of Americans’ phone records.

The bill appears to challenge a bipartisan effort to amend Section 215 with stricter guidelines on what information intelligence agents can collect and retain.

TIME intelligence

The CIA’s Latest Mission: Improving Diversity

CIA Headquarters
David Burnett—Pool/Getty Images

A weapons analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, Lisa was sorting resumes with a colleague when something shocking happened.

Lisa, who is black, was helping her white coworker find the best applicants for overseas posts, which are considered prestigious within the agency and can lead to more important jobs down the line. Lisa was midway through her own overseas posting and had already seen how it helped her career.

But looking at the resumes, her coworker casually said that she would not hire a black man.

“She told me that if there is a white man — doesn’t matter how capable the black man is — I’m picking the white man,” recalled Lisa. (At the request of the CIA, TIME agreed to withhold last names of agency employees, many of whom work undercover.) “As a minority, you know that, but to have someone tell you that? It’s telling.”

Like workplaces across the country, the CIA is striving to improve the diversity of its staff. And just like other companies, the agency nicknamed The Company has found that progress comes in fits and starts.

In interviews with more than a dozen black officers, TIME found that while the CIA has made diversity a top priority, it still struggles to recruit African-Americans and promote them to higher positions.

Diversity is not just important for its own sake. As an intelligence agency, the CIA lives and dies on its ability to interpret complex data about foreign countries. Black agents noted multiple times when their unique perspective as a minority within the United States led them to a breakthrough in understanding a foreign conflict.

The agency’s top leaders agree.

“Diversity is critical to the success of CIA’s mission. We need a workforce as diverse as the world we cover,” CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement to TIME. “CIA has come a long way in broadening the demographic of its senior ranks, but we still have significant work to do.”

To that end, Brennan launched the Diversity in Leadership Study to examine the current demographics of the agency’s senior ranks. A similar study on women, who make up 46% of the CIA workforce, was released in 2013.

A key part of the study, which is being directed by famed lawyer and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, will be recommendations on how to better foster an environment where people from all backgrounds can rise to the top.

That was not always a priority. According to Milo Jones and Philippe Silberzahn’s book Constructing Cassandra, in 1967 “there were fewer than 20 African Americans among the approximately 12,000 non-clerical CIA employees.”

Spenser, a black officer who oversees the Africa division, said that when he started in the 1990s, there was “not a single non-white division chief,” one of the highest-ranking positions in the agency.

The CIA would not disclose the size of its workforce nor its demographic makeup to TIME. But Spenser said that times have changed.

“We now have division chiefs that are Hispanic, that are Asian. That are black, women,” he said. “It’s completely different.”

As with other companies, a central part of the CIA’s efforts is recruiting. Intelligence experts say that the agency still has ground to make up on its reputation in the African-American community.

“The negative reputation has lingered on despite everyone’s best efforts,” says Mark Lowenthal, a former CIA officer and intelligence expert.

As the African-American community outreach manager for the CIA, Tiffany spends most of her time talking with black professional organizations about the agency. She said that she’s heard all kinds of misconceptions about the agency’s past and present, some of which she even believed herself in the past.

“When I was offered an opportunity to work for the agency, my initial response was, ‘oh hell no,’” Tiffany says. Now, she uses her story to get audiences comfortable with the idea of letting their friends and family members join the CIA.

Lowenthal remembers asking some young recruits — three black men — at their training graduation ceremony to get involved in recruiting as soon as possible.

“I said, go back to your schools and become mentors and recruiters,” Lowenthall recalls. “You’ll be much more effective than I can ever be.”

While not all officers participate in recruitment efforts, many black officers see it as part of their job. Reginald, a deputy chief of European analysis and a graduate of two historically black colleges — Howard University in Washington and Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. — makes it a point to recruit as often as possible, particularly at black schools.

Kim, who at 35 is already the chief of Africa analysis, recognizes the importance of recruiting.

“I actually went to a school not too long ago,” she says. “I saw their eyes get big when they noticed I was a young, African-American woman doing well at CIA. And I told them, you can come here and do this, too. I’m not that special.”

But recruiting is not enough. Within the agency, there are well-traveled paths to upper management that recruits need to navigate.

Lisa says she feels part of the problem is that white agents have done a better job of networking with higher ups that can recommend or “sponsor” junior officers for better positions. “They go to a different length to get positions than we do,” she said. “Often, they have an inside scoop, someone on the inside who can vouch for them.”

Michael, a 40-year veteran of the agency’s clandestine service, says a lot of black officers have felt that they have to prove they can do the work on their own. “We didn’t network,” he says.

He worked to change that, meeting with a handful of other black officers in the CIA cafeteria regularly to decompress and share advice.

“Even if we did a tour and came back three years or five years later, that roundtable was still there,” Michael says. It was important for black officers to have that space, and it’s something they continue today, gathering outside of Langley for social events and one-on-one chats.

“We made that a point of pride,” he says. “It was a thing of, ‘I may not get there, but we want to position you to get to the top.’”

TIME portfolio

See the Places of Power at the Center of Canada’s Controversial Anti-Terror Law

Ottawa's core is occupied by the federal government, coloring its inhabitants' everyday experiences

Following last year’s attacks at Ottawa’s National War Memorial, Canada’s conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced a sweeping anti-terrorism act that would extend the powers of the country’s surveillance and policing bodies.

Civil liberties organizations, from Amnesty International to the National Council of Canadian Muslims, have opposed the draft legislation, calling for it to be withdrawn.

For local photographer Tony Fouhse, these events are just the latest to tarnish the idyllic image Ottawa’s tourism board has worked hard to showcase. Already between 2007 and 2010, Fouhse portrayed the capital’s narcotic addicts, forcing people to recognize that less fortunate ones shared their “hospitable” streets.

“Because I like doing things that stand in contrast to one another, I wondered who the opposite of drug users were,” he tells TIME. “They are the disempowered, so it made sense to look at the powerful. Ottawa being the country’s seat of government, I wondered how it manifested itself throughout the city,” explains the 61 year-old who has been working on the series Official Ottawa since 2013.

He drew up a list of places and people he felt embodied power: the Department of National Defense, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters, the residence of the Prime Minister, parliament, civil servants, official mascots. He walked through the city with his 4×5 camera to reveal the idiosyncrasies that exists when memory, heritage and authority congregate, like a non-descript sign pointing towards “war” – shorthand for the Canadian War Museum – or pastoral flower blossoms in front of the secret services’ offices. He tried different avenues to get in the Conservative Party building – to no avail, no one would grant him permission – until he realized, that his standing outside looking up at this monolith structure would be a far better portrait than a picture taken from the inside.

“The core of the city is occupied by the federal government and its associates,” he says. “It colors our everyday experiences in ways that we’re barely aware of. Most of the time, we’ll only consider our environment if it’s magnificent. Ottawa doesn’t have that. It’s not Rome or Paris. It’s not grandiose. It’s grey sensibleness,” remarks Fouhse who has been living in the city for the past three decades.

At a time when most media outlets are looking for the sentimental and the sensational, Fouhse’s images are oddly quiet; dull moments frozen in time, unremarkable frigid monuments exalted on film. Yet, a sinister tension prevails. Now, in the aftermath of the October shootings and ahead of a vote that may see Canada beef up its national security apparatus, his photos strike as foreboding.

“If you pay attention to the peripheral, you might notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise,” he says. “What you’re doing in that case, is trying to go behind, beyond the public image to see what lurks in the shadows.”

Fouhse wants to compel others to do the same; to, in his own words, “take a step back and to the left.” He intends to share his offbeat view of Canada’s capital through a free newspaper-like publication, for which he is raising funds via Kickstarter. He hopes that people waiting for their turn at the dentist or going about their daily commute might stumble upon it, pick it up and be nudged to look at their surroundings a little differently.

Official Ottawa is too quiet to be an act of civil disobedience,” he says. “In fact, I’m not even sure that art can have that power nowadays. It’s more of a social service announcement, an antidote to the tax-funded Harper-distributed propaganda.”

Tony Fouhse is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Ottawa, Canada.

Laurence Butet-Roch is a freelance writer, photo editor and photographer based in Toronto, Canada. She is a member of the Boreal Collective.

TIME Research

Prolonged Breastfeeding Linked to Higher IQ and Wealth in Adulthood

107908267
Getty Images

New research suggests that breastfeeding newborns longer helps enhance brain development

Children that breastfeed for longer periods end up smarter, more educated and wealthier in adulthood, according to a new study.

According to research published in the Lancet Global Health journal, children who breastfeed for at least 12 months scored almost four points higher on IQ tests, attended school for a year longer and made 15% more money at 30 years old, when compared with their peers who suckled for less than a month.

Researchers in Brazil surveyed almost 3,500 individuals born in the state of Pelotas in 1982 about their breastfeeding habits.

The study’s authors say the uptick in intelligence is likely tied to the presence of long-chain saturated fatty acids present in breast milk that are essential for brain development.

“Our finding that predominant breastfeeding is positively related to IQ in adulthood also suggests that the amount of milk consumed plays a role,” said lead author Bernardo Lessa Horta, a professor at Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil.

[Science Daily]

TIME intelligence

CIA Director Says ISIS Not Islamic, But ‘Psychopathic’

John Brennan
Richard Drew—AP CIA Director John Brennan addresses a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York, Friday, March 13, 2015.

"We need to expose just how murderous and psychopathic these individuals are"

CIA Director John Brennan has defended the White House’s efforts to avoid using the word “Islamic” to describe extremist terror groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

At a question and answer session at the Center for Foreign Relations in New York City on Friday, Brennan said using “Islamic” or “Muslim” to describe ISIS militants gives them “the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking, but which they don’t deserve at all.”

“I do think it does injustice to the tenets of religion when we attach a religious moniker to them,” Brennan said.

President Barack Obama has come under fire from some conservative commentators and politicians for not identifying the extremists with the religion they claim to represent. Addressing the criticism head on at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism last month, Obama said that those who use the religious descriptors are peddling a “lie” that helps ISIS recruit Muslims to its cause.

An estimated 20,000 foreign fighters, including several thousand from Western countries, have traveled to the region to join ISIS, which has proven adept at using social media to reach a global audience. Brennan announced last week a sweeping reorganization of the CIA that included the creation of a new “Directorate of Digital Innovation” devoted to cyber operations.

At the talk on Friday, which was hosted by CBS News’ Charlie Rose, Brennan warned that defeating ISIS’s capabilities and appeal will “take years.”

“We need to expose just how murderous and psychopathic these individuals are,” he said.

TIME National Security

U.S. Intel Chief: Roughly 40 Americans Have Returned From Syria

Director Of Nat'l Intelligence James Clapper Speaks At Council On Foreign Relations
Bryan Thomas—Getty Images Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations on March 2, 2015 in New York City.

James Clapper said the U.S. faces more global challenges than at any time in his half-century career in the intelligence community

About 40 Americans have returned from the jihadist battlefields of Syria — but they don’t pose a threat to American security, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Monday.

Clapper said during a question-and-answer session at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City that about 180 Americans have attempted to travel or have succeeded in traveling to Syria since the ongoing conflict began. But he said the Americans who have returned went for “humanitarian purposes or some other reasons that don’t relate to plotting” and they have not shown “nefarious” intentions.

“If they come back, and they are not involved in plotting, or don’t have nefarious purpose, that’s their right and privilege as an American citizen to come back,” Clapper said. The office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

About 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 90 countries are believed to have gone to Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) has seized large swaths of territory. That has raised fears of radicalized fighters returning to carry out attacks in their home countries.

Last week, the FBI arrested three Brooklyn men and charged them with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Two of the three men allegedly planned to travel to Syria, and the FBI said the men had discussed coordinating possible domestic attacks.

On Monday, Clapper said the U.S. faces more global challenges than at any time in his half-century career in the intelligence community.

“I’ve been in one capacity or another in the intel business for 52 years, and I don’t remember a time when we have been beset by more crises and challenges around the world and the diversity of these crises and challenges than we have today,” said Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general. That comment came days after he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that 2014 was the most lethal year for global terrorism on record.

In 2014, 13,000 attacks killed 31,000 people around the world, up from 11,500 attacks and 22,000 killed a year earlier, Clapper said at the Senate hearing on Thursday. Fifty percent of those attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan — and ISIS was responsible for more of the attacks than any other group.

Clapper clarified on Monday that the terror assessment he gave Congress was not at odds with a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry, who drew criticism for telling a House subcommittee last week that global violent conflict is lower than it has ever been, saying that Americans were “safer than ever.”

Kerry “was thinking of a different context,” Clapper said. “What he was thinking about was the more cataclysmic case in point of — case with the Cold War. And he’s right; in that context we are a safer country. But I was looking at more the here and now, you know, what happened in 2014 and what kind of what we project out in the next year.”

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 25

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. The U.S. wants to hack your phone because it doesn’t have the real spies it needs.

By Patrick G. Eddington at Reuters

2. Eight universities account for half of all history professors in the U.S. How did that happen?

By Joel Warner and Aaron Clauset in Slate

3. Bill Gates is investing in low-tech impact entrepreneurs in India.

By David Bank in Entrepreneur

4. “Liquid biopsy” can detect cancer from a few drops of blood.

By Michael Standaert in MIT Technology Review

5. Let’s build the infrastructure to make microfinance institutions into true innovation hubs.

By Jessica Collier in Medium

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

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 technology

Obama’s New Plan for Online Security Faces Some Big Questions

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in Washington on Feb. 11, 2015.
Yin Bogu—Xinhua Press/Corbis U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in Washington on Feb. 11, 2015.

President Obama wants Corporate America to work more closely to fend off hackers, but his new plan won’t achieve much unless he can get Congress to work more closely with him.

At a tech conference at Stanford University Friday, Obama is expected to provide more details about a new federal cyber intelligence unit which is designed to better coordinate the analysis of various online threats.

The White House’s plan hinges on the idea that companies should unite in the face of a common threat. The basic idea is that if Anthem, Sony or Home Depot—all companies that have suffered major cyber attacks recently—shared in real-time how their defenses were breached, then other companies and the federal government would be better able to stop similar attacks.

To that end, Obama’s executive order is expected encourage companies to set up voluntary, information sharing and analysis organizations (ISAOs) to help other companies and the U.S. government disseminate information about cyber threats more quickly, according to a White House statement. (That part of the White House’s plan is not totally new. Voluntary Information Sharing and Analysis Centers, ISACs, already exist within many sectors, although in most industries, they’re flimsy at best.)

Senior industry figures as well as advocates and lawmakers concerned about consumer privacy say that while the Obama plan might sound good, it’s riddled with problems. They suggest that emphasizing rapid-fire, real-time information sharing raises a host of major legal questions ranging from privacy to anti-trust issues.

For example, analysts say that the kind of threat that companies would share at these new ISAOs are likely to include customers’ personal information. Privacy advocates say that such information would have to be carefully stripped-out or redacted before it could be shared—a process that would seriously slow down information-sharing efforts and give companies a reason not to share information that may get them in legal trouble later.

The White House, for its part, has gone the opposite route: it has proposed legislation that would legally shield companies sharing cyber threat information at ISAOs, but Congress hasn’t bitten. The executive action is expected to further that effort.

Others opposed to the Obama plan worry that the data shared at ISAOs could include highly-confidential or proprietary information about a company’s security system, which raises anti-trust questions. If two competing companies share proprietary information under the guise of sharing cyber-threat information, are they technically colluding with each other?

Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers are opposed to the president’s plan because it suggests that the federal government would play too big of a role in the private sector by encouraging companies to communicate with government-monitored clearinghouses. “Unilateral, top-down solutions will not solve America’s cyber problems,” said Speaker John Boehner’s spokesperson, Cory Fritz, in a statement.

The White House has played down concerns about the new executive action, emphasizing that participating in the ISAOs would be entirely voluntary, that protecting civil rights would be a key component of the new sharing framework, and that companies would simply be encouraged to develop a common set of standards for better combatting cyber threats. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel has said that the federal government can’t prevent cyber threats on its own and needs the private sector to take an active role in improving its own policies and sharing information.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to speak at the conference at Stanford today, although top Google, Yahoo and Facebook executives have said that they will not attend. Their cooperation, as well as Congress’, will be the key to whether Obama’s ambitious new agenda actually happens.

TIME intelligence

Obama to Limit Data Collection by Intelligence Agencies

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.
Getty Images The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

Modest reforms will also establish White House oversight over surveillance of foreign leaders

Intelligence agencies will have to delete extraneous data on private citizens and limit storage of data on foreigners to five years, the Obama administration is expected to announce Tuesday, as part of a new batch of modest restrictions on intelligence gathering efforts.

The reforms will also initiate regular White House reviews over surveillance programs targeting foreign leaders, the New York Times reports. President Barack Obama abruptly cancelled one such program targeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2013, after leaked documents revealed that the National Security Agency had tapped her cell phone records.

However, the administration stopped short of addressing the scope of the NSA’s collection of “metadata” on cell phone records, which sparked a controversy after it was revealed that the program encompassed millions of Americans’ cell phone records.

Read more at the New York Times.

 

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