1. It’s understandable, of course, that so many Americans are scared: We are consistently told that we should be.

    If we must have a hugely invasive national security state, let’s at least listen to it

    America’s intelligence agencies agree: ISIS isn’t that big of a threat. So why are we all freaking out about ISIS?



  3. Watch The Daily Show catch up with Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, post-CIA report

    With the Senate Intelligence Committee on the cusp of releasing a blockbuster report detailing what it (and the dictionary, probably) calls torture by the CIA, Jon Stewart took a moment on Monday night’s Daily Show to check in on how the three men in charge of the wars during the period in question — President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — are “dealing with their twisted legacy.”


  4. Torture is good for two things: intimidation and extracting false confessions. As an intelligence-gathering mechanism, it’s much worse than worthless. You get no good intelligence, while what you do get is decidedly bad, including a corrosion of the legitimacy of security agencies and a weakening of the foundation of liberal democracy itself.

  5. Check out this week’s cover!


  6. Justifying everything “because of terrorism” is sad.
    — Marc Ambinder explains that the majority of NSA resources aren’t devoted to counter-terrorism.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile.

  7. Why the U.S. military outlaws adultery

    There’s a good reason friends and confidantes of retired Gen. David Petraeus are insistent that his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell began in November 2011, two months after he resigned from the Army to take the top job at the CIA. Under the Unified Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and its Manual for Courts-Martial, adultery is a crime, with punishments as severe as dishonorable discharge, loss of all benefits (including pension), and even a year in jail. 

    Unfortunately for Petraeus, though, retired officers are “subject to the UCMJ, for life,” and he could still be stripped of his $200,000-a-year pension, Yale military law expert Eugene Fidell tells TIME. Chances are that officials won’t go after Petreaus this way, although the Army has chosen to prosecute retired generals for adultery and other misconduct in recent years, so Petraeus certainly isn’t out of the woods. And the criteria for military courts to decide if an extramarital affair is “of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces” don’t balance out in Petraeus’ favor: He was his generation’s most celebrated four-star general and both he and Broadwell are married.

    But why is consensual sex between two adults even considered a crime for military personnel? asks Daniel Burke at Religion News Service. “The rules may seem archaic to modern Americans, but they are essential to the military” — and contrary to what you might think, they “are not based on religion, biblical or otherwise.”

    "It has nothing to do with a religious version of what morality is and everything to do with maintaining good order and discipline," says Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale. Officers and soldiers entrust their lives to one another, and if, say, a general was sleeping with the wife of an enlisted solider, “his decision-making would rightly be second-guessed,” causing “a ripple-effect through the unit.”

    Let’s take a worst-case scenario: Imagine King David, which just happens to be what some in the military called Petraeus, says Burke. The Israeli king was famously disgraced after his affair with Bathsheba, who was married to a man named Uriah. “Bible readers may remember that King David ordered his troops to abandon Uriah on the battlefield so that the cuckolded husband would be killed.” 

    That’s all fine and good for ancient Israel, or even for 1775 — the year most of the relevant UCMJ language was written, says William Galston atThe New Republic. But let’s face it, “throughout our history, leading generals — in all probability including Dwight Eisenhower while he was Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces — have engaged in adulterous affairs,” and the Army is no worse off for it. The idea that infidelity brought down Petraeus in 2012 is simply “madness.” 

    Can anyone seriously argue that public norms have remained unchanged for the past 300 years? The U.S. military is not — and should not be treated as — a hermetically sealed world. It is part of our society. Adultery is not per se a disqualification for the presidency (Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Clinton); nor is it more generally for positions of military and civilian leadership. It’s time to update our military code, not to subject our leaders to the dead hand of the past.

    Thanks to Petraeus, the question of punishing infidelity is actually the subject of a heated, though “quiet discussion in military-spouse circles,”says Alison Buckholtz at Slate. One military wife whose husband cheated on her several times on overseas assignments argues that "the military has a moral responsibility to spouses to enforce rules forbidding adultery." For her, entire military families are “literally at the mercy of military commanders,” so its up to them to look after her best interests.

    (Source: theweek.com)


  8. “I mean, every day there is something new.” And every new thing is stranger than the last. As we enter Day 6 of the Petraeus scandal, here are seven of the oddest twists and subplots — so far:

    1. The Broadwells romanced as we learned of Paula’s infidelity — “The most amazing detail about the Petraeus affair, which continues to serve up bizarre amazing details by the hour,” says Hannah Rosin at Slate, is that as the world was learning of Broadwell’s affair with Petraeus, she was having a romantic birthday dinner with husband Scott at Virginia’s Inn at Little Washington, a veritable “factory of ‘romantic.’” Assuming Mr. and Mrs. Broadwell didn’t have their smartphones on during dinner, “it’s possible, and maybe probable… that her husband found out along with the rest of the world.” What we do know, says Carol Ross Joynt at the Washingtonian, is that the couple were in “good” and “upbeat” moods on Thursday night and Friday, and suddenly “not in very good moods” late Friday. By the time they checked out, earlier than expected on Saturday morning, Scott was described as “not talkative.” The plan was to head to Washington for Paula’s 40th birthday party, which was abruptly canceled. “A source close to the intelligence community said General Petraeus was scheduled to attend that party.”
    2. The Broadwells live near John Edwards’ mistress — Lots of people have been to the Broadwells’ house, in the upscale Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., since the scandal broke: Reporters, the FBI, gawkers. Everyone, it seems, but the Broadwells. But Paula Broadwell isn’t the only notorious “other woman” in Dilworth — just 1.6 miles away lives Rielle Hunter, the “all-too-public mistress” of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), says Diane Dimond at The Daily Beast. Seriously, “what are the odds that the mistresses of two of America’s most disgraced civil servants live in the same state, in the same city, and even in the same neighborhood?” 
    3. A rogue FBI agent and his shirtless photos — We probably wouldn’t know anything about Petraeus and Broadwell’s affair if it weren’t for a Tampa FBI agent “obsessed” with the case — and probably the woman who got the ball rolling, Tampa socialite Jill Kelley. The unidentified agent was friends with Kelley — he had once sent her shirtless pictures of himself — and at her request, set the FBI looking at harassing, anonymous emails from a sender who turned out to be Broadwell. The agent had no formal role in the case, but continued to “nose around” until his superiors “told him to stay the hell away from it,” an official tells The New York Times. When he thought the FBI was sitting on the affair to help President Obama politically, he tried to leak the story to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “So basically this entire scandal, both at the outset and in the denouement, was driven by Freakshow FBI Agent X who both wanted to bed the victim of the alleged harassment” and take down Obama, says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. “Please let us meet this awesome example of American law enforcement.”

    See all 7 strange details of the David Petraeus affair