Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Espionage

How to Think About the Michael Flynn Scandal

A few people have asked my opinion on the Michael Flynn scandal. As I understand it, anonymous sources from within the intelligence community have leaked to the press that Flynn, President Trump’s National Security Adviser, was in contact with the Russian government prior to Trump’s inauguration and lied about his connections. Further leaks claim that Trump knew about this, and that other members of his team were also in contact with Russia. Flynn has resigned. If there was contact, this contact would be illegal under the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from conducting US foreign policy. Violators of the Logan Act can go to prison for three years. Many Democrats want to use the Logan Act to go after the Trump administration, while the Trump administration prefers to emphasize the illegality of the leaks:

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The CIA Must Be Purged

With the release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the CIA’s use of torture, many people all over the world are shocked by CIA’s willingness to use techniques that are not only cruel but remarkably ineffective. It’s long been known that torture is an ineffective means of extracting information. As I wrote back in 2012, there is a lot of evidence out there that torture is not a good strategy for obtaining reliable information. And if you think about it, that makes sense–torture can make someone talk, but why should it make a person tell you the truth? It’s not as if you have an answer key or will know the difference. If you did, you wouldn’t need to ask the question in the first place. So in this respect, the senate report confirms what we already should know, though many Americans still have not caught on, according to Pew:

There’s something else in the report that is much more shocking–the extent to which the CIA deceived congress and the Bush administration about the program.

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Edward Snowden Belongs in Prison

Today’s post is exactly what it looks like–I am arguing that Edward Snowden, the NSA surveillance-leaker, belongs in prison, not only because he has broken the law, but because he has acted in a way which harms the American interest. Read the rest of this entry »

Torture Ethics

Recently the film Zero Dark Thirty has been getting a lot of press both in the United States and abroad. It is interesting how the reviews differ–in the United States, the film is regarded as a patriotic thriller celebrating the vanquishing of an enemy, and has received mostly positive reviews. In Europe, however, it is seen to glorify torture and celebrate the various ethically dubious practises of the United States over the last decade in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to venture forth into this discussion of torture and whether or not it ought to be permissible.

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