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Truth To Power

Posted March 11th, 2011 at 3:01 pm (UTC+0)
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“Where have you been?” I hear you say. Well, yeah, I haven’t posted recently.  But it does get busy in the news biz these days.  It’s Egypt… Wait, no, it’s Bahrain… Wait, no, it’s Yemen… Wait, no, it’s Saudi Arabia… Wait, no, it’s Libya… And speaking of Libya… Director of National Intelligence James Clapper got […]

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Diplomat, Spy, Contractor

Posted February 22nd, 2011 at 8:19 pm (UTC+0)
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In the murky world of intelligence and diplomacy – the two often intertwine – it’s not always easy to know the truth.  The Raymond Davis case is a prime example. It has now emerged that Raymond Davis, the American held by Pakistan for shooting two alleged robbers, is a CIA contractor.  Many news organizations had […]

Iraq Inside Baseball

Posted February 16th, 2011 at 3:34 pm (UTC+0)
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At the CIA, they have the best little gift shop at which you cannot shop. It sells all kinds of trinkets with the agency logo like pens, t-shirts, glassware. (I love the sign that says that “if you are in covert status do not use a credit card” – although why anybody who was in […]

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Did CIA Say What I Think It Said?

Posted February 11th, 2011 at 2:59 pm (UTC+0)

Did CIA director Leon Panetta mislead the media on Egypt? Or did the media mislead the public on Panetta? During congressional testimony Thursday on the annual threat assessment – scant hours before Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s latest speech – Panetta responded to a question on Egypt by appearing to confirm reports that President Mubarak was […]

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The Spies Have It

Posted February 1st, 2011 at 4:34 pm (UTC+0)
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The appointment of Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as vice-president underscores both the power of the country’s intelligence services in keeping the government in power and the deep influence the military has on policymaking in Cairo. Egypt has three intelligence services: a foreign intelligence service, called the General Intelligence Service, often called the Mukhabarat; a […]

What Do We Know About Iran and When Do We Know It?

Posted January 14th, 2011 at 6:37 pm (UTC+0)
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Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense under former President George W. Bush, once had a lot of people in Washington scratching their heads in puzzlement when he described how the U.S. sizes up a potential military adversary: “As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there […]

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Plugging the Leaks

Posted January 7th, 2011 at 7:38 pm (UTC+0)
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There is a famous legend about the little Dutch boy who saves his town from flooding by plugging a leak in a dike with his finger.  Fortunately for him (and the town), there was only one leak because, well, a boy has only so many fingers.  But multiple leaks of information keep on coming out […]

Tags: Posted in intelligence, Iran

WikiLeaks: one week down, ???? to go

Posted December 10th, 2010 at 8:15 pm (UTC+0)

There is little doubt the WikiLeaks cables have been a headache for U.S. officials in general, and diplomats in particular.  To have private and very candid assessments of foreign leaders and reports on their activities aired in public is embarrassing.  It’s like knowing someone is talking about you behind your back, and then finding out […]

Tags: Posted in diplomacy, intelligence

Partying Down at the CIA

Posted December 6th, 2010 at 8:51 pm (UTC+0)

The CIA held its annual holiday reception Friday. Who would have thought that they were a bunch of party animals? OK, it’s not exactly “Spies Gone Wild.” But the annual party is always a first-class event with lots of excellent food, good wine, and fascinating company – although some of the guests may be understandably […]

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About this blog

Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is VOA senior correspondent and news analyst. He has spent more than 30 years covering a wide range of stories on political developments, war, and civil unrest. From 1990 to 1994 he was VOA’s bureau chief in Islamabad, and has made numerous trips back to the region since then. He was also Southeast Asia bureau chief in Bangkok from 1996-2001. He is now based in Washington, providing background and analysis on issues of intelligence, security, and terrorism for VOA’s worldwide audience.


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