It is encouraging to hear both candidates speak of reequipping the Intelligence Community (IC)—weakened by restrictive policies, diminished resources, and a climate of distrust surrounding IC organizations and personnel—to effectively confront the multiplying challenges and threats to U.S. national security. Both candidates, however, could go further in laying out specifics. Clinton’s “intelligence surge” in response to international and domestic acts of terrorism sounds appealing but falters on some specifics. An “intelligence surge” must necessarily include a mission to persuade Congress to restore and stabilize statutory authorities, funding, broad support for the intelligence community, and investment into the technologies and personnel that will serve as the nation’s first line of defense. It must also lean more “offensive” in nature by expanding the collection of human intelligence and revitalizing covert action as a foreign policy tool.
The John Hay Initiative’s Intelligence and Cyber working groups recently convened a dialogue on U.S. law enforcement access to personal devices and new encryption technologies. This paper captures the diverse views that ran though the discussion and presents a balanced assessment of calls for access and the associated risks. Despite varying opinions on the wisdom of mandating access for U.S law enforcement, our working group members agreed unanimously that the public and private sectors need to jointly identify a solution that strikes a sufficient balance between privacy and security. The paper closes with policy recommendations.
The Senate begins debate this month on renewal of the FISA Amendments Act, particularly Section 702, which authorizes our intelligence agencies to access the communications of foreign terrorists from a U.S. company with a valid court order. Congressional debates and media analysis of the laws that govern electronic surveillance frequently cite—and mischaracterize—Executive Order 12333, the framework by which presidents of both parties have organized the worldwide activities of U.S. intelligence for more than three decades. This paper outlines the history and main features of E.O. 12333 and describes the significant constraints it imposes on U.S. intelligence as well as the safeguards for Americans’ civil liberties that have always been part of its fabric.