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Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film two out of four stars, writing, "If you're expecting the story threads to cohere, you're in the wrong multiplex. Central Intelligence always takes the lazy way out. You go along for the ride because Hart and Johnson promise something they can't deliver: a movie as funny as they are." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized the film as a "shambolic high-concept farce that doubles as a cautionary tale of where studio comedies go wrong," writing, "In spots as indifferent and self-indulgent as any latter-day Adam Sandler production ... , [Intelligence] switches back and forth from snail-paced to incoherently over-stuffed on a moment's notice, with no in-between mode." Keith Phipps of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, saying, "It all adds up to the sort of breezy, undemanding comedy that fits nicely into the summer months, and plays beautifully in endless cable repeats."
President Obama is expected this week to name Leon E. Panetta, the director of central intelligence, as defense secretary and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, as director of the C.I.A., administration officials said Wednesday.
TW: This is what happened. And then Colin Powell went to the United Nations and the world, with George Tenet sitting over his shoulder, I think we all remember that, and said these are hard facts. This is our best intelligence. Iraq is teeming with chemical and biological weapons. And we went to war, and George Tenet had to come back to Colin Powell, not once, not twice, but several times and say you know this central pillar of the argument we made? It looks like it might not be so solid.
Did John Steinbeck Spy for the CIA? Google handed over its homepage Thursday to a short, interactive e-book honoring John Steinbeck. The author wrote several American classics, including The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, and Travels With Charley. Mr. Steinbeck achieved great fame within his lifetime, winning the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize for Literature. But one of his most interesting actions only became public after his death. In 2012, the Central Intelligence Agency released documents indicating that Steinbeck had offered to spy for his country. The author planned a tour of Europe in 1952 and asked the agency if it needed anyone on the ground. At the time, America and the Soviet Union had locked horns in a global cold war. The US needed smart men and women to gain the upper hand, and Gen. Walter Smith, director of the CIA, apparently was eager to recruit the author. [Read more: Gaylord/ChristianScienceMonitor/27February2014] Hotel Watch: In the Thick of It. St. Ermin's Hotel in the heart of central London has a colorful history of espionage tales and much more. After a recent $50 million renovation, this gracious four-star retreat beckons guests with a charming mixture of Victorian grandeur, eclectic design and up-to-date furnishings and amenities. In the heart of St. James's directly across from New Scotland Yard and within walking distance of Parliament Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, the Royal Parks, shopping and theaters, the hotel is only a few minutes' walk from the St. James's Park underground and Victoria mainline stations. The only London hotel closely associated with the history of espionage, St. Ermin's intriguing past sets it apart from any other. In 1940, Sir Winston Churchill invited an elite group there to establish the SOE (Special Operations Executive) which formulated intelligence operations that helped win World War II (they initially occupied an entire floor). The Caxton Bar was used regularly by SIS, MI5, MI6 and Naval Intelligence Division case officers to meet their agents. The notorious double agent Guy Burgess frequently met his Russian counterpart there to hand over top secret files. Parents travelling with children will appreciate the "Double, Double Rooms" that include two queen-sized beds, an additional sofa bed and two separate bathrooms. Young "007" fans will enjoy the hotel's "Top Secret Briefing Pack" containing codes and tips to help "Budding Bonds" develop their observational and investigative skills. The kit takes them on a London Spy Walk Challenge that ends with their very own shaken-not-stirred non-alcoholic cocktail. [Read more: Chaffee/WashingtonLife/26February2014]
James Jesus Angleton, Was He Right? James Jesus Angleton was not only a master spy in the CIA, he was the most remarkable intellectual I ever knew in the U.S. government. His subject was deception. He founded the counterintelligence staff in the CIA in 1955, which raised a question: Is the U.S. government vulnerable to deception by a foreign adversary? It is a question that is just as relevant today. It was also a question that many of his peers in the CIA did not want to hear, much less answer, as it undermined much of the intelligence they were eliciting from sources in Russia. So Angleton was fired in 1975, and, through well-placed "leaks" to the press, discredited as a paranoid man pursuing nonexistent KGB moles in the CIA and FBI, and ridiculed as a modern Captain Ahab willing to wreck his ship to hunt a figment of his imagination. This legend soon became the stuff of fiction, and provided the basis for the obsessed spy hunter in movies such as The Good Shepherd (in which Angleton is played by Matt Damon), TV mini-series such as The Company (in which Angleton is played by Michael Keaton), and novels such as Norman Mailer's Harlot's Ghost. All these depictions in both fact and fiction evade the central fact that, as it turns out, Angleton was right. [Read more: Epstein/HuffingtonPost/27February2014] Drones Are Finally Driving the U-2 Spy Plane Out of Business. When US president Obama unveils his 2015 spending proposal in March, it is expected to be the first in more than a decade to shift defense spending off its post-9/11 war footing. That means cutting the number of active-duty soldiers to 440,000, slightly fewer than in the late nineties, limiting new naval vessels and freezing pay for top officers. The move has defense officials fearful of creating "a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations," but Americans might actually prefer such an armed force. The best metaphor for the whole plan is a proposal to end the use of the U-2 spy plane, in service since 1955...and replace it with a flying robot called the Global Hawk. Lockheed Martin's U-2 spy plane was originally designed to fly at the edge of space, above Soviet radar and fighter jets, to surveil Russia during the Cold War. One was famously shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 and its pilot, Francis Gary Powers, captured, leading to an early diplomatic contretemps in the proxy conflict. The plane would prove its usefulness in virtually every American conflict since that time, despite improvements in satellite reconnaissance and attempts to replace it with newer technology - at least, reportedly, until now. [Read more: Fernholz/Quartz/24February2014] Why We Need a Defense Clandestine Service. I was a CIA spy from 1979 to 1988, leaving when invited to be a co-creator of the Marine Corps Intelligence Center from 1988 to 1993. Since 1993, I have been one of the more persistent published proponents of intelligence reform around the world. In 2010, I was among those interviewed for the position of defense intelli�gence senior leader for human intelligence (HUMINT). I made two points during that interview: First, in a declining fiscal environment, the best way to pay for a defense spy program would be by cutting in half the Measurements and Signatures Analysis Intelligence program, which is under the oversight of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director. It is the most over-hyped and underperforming national collection program. Second, micro-pockets of excellence notwithstanding, no one serving in the Pentagon (or CIA) was qualified by mindset or experience to create the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). I was particularly pointed about the complacency and ineptitude of the entrenched civilian cadre, and the inexperience and uncertainty of their constantly changing uniformed counterparts. Here are my observations on whether there should be a DCS, and if so, how it should be trained, equipped and organized. [Read more: Steele/DefenseNews/3March2014]
The guest speaker is Jim Ohlson. Jim is a retired FBI Special Agent with over 28 years of service to the FBI, primarily in the counterintelligence and counterterrorism programs. On 20 February 2001, Mr. Ohlson's phone began to ring early in the morning and continued without letup throughout the day. He was stunned to learn that Robert Hanssen, a co-worker he had formed close ties with during assignments in D.C. and New York, was under arrest for espionage. The media frenzy that followed the Robert Hanssen spy case can be used to judge its impact. No modern spy has been the focus of so much attention as fast as Robert Hanssen. By 2003, five books had been published and numerous articles written and by 2007 several films had been produced. Jim Ohlson had come to know Bob Hanssen fairly well over the years and felt the books and movies had done a mixed job at solving the essential mystery. To explain why, it will be helpful to address a series of questions: Who is Bob Hanssen? What made him a good FBI agent? What made him a good KGB agent? What was the damage? Why did he do it? Where is he now? Early in his career he studied Arabic at the Defense Language Institute and then put the language to use in the Bureau's New York Field Office. He spent over 14 years in the New York Office working counterterrorism, counterintelligence and directing FBI support to the National Foreign Intelligence programs for the U.S. Intelligence Community. Following that assignment Jim was awarded the DCI's National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. Jim retired from FBI Headquarters as the Security Program Manager. In 13 years since leaving the FBI, he has worked with the Center for Public Justice, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive [NCIX]; and, since 2004, with NSA's Office of Counterintelligence. Prior to his years in the FBI, Jim served in the U.S. Army, to include a tour in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. Event Location: L-3 Communications located at 2720 Technology Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701, Tel 301-575-3200. Lunch will be served 1200-1300. To join us for this exciting program mail your registration fee in the enclosed envelope or register online at www.cryptologicfoundation.org. The fees are $20 for members and $50 for guests (includes a guest membership). Deadline for registration is 07 March 2014. If you wish to register by sending a check via U.S. mail, do so by making it payable to NCMF and send to PO Box 1682, Fort George G Meade, MD 20755-3682. Questions? Contact Mary J. Faletto, Senior Administrator, National Cryptologic Museum Foundation, Office: 301-688-5436 Cell: 443-250-8621. E-mail: email@example.com 2b1af7f3a8