February 13 - Intelligence Chiefs Warn That Russia Will Meddle in the 2018 Elections; The Broken Security Clearance System; Pakistan's Secret Unit That Thwarted the US at Every Turn in Afghanistan

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with today’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee from America’s top intelligence officials who sounded the alarm on Russian interference in this year’s election following Russia’s successful manipulation of our 2016 election, and speak with Justin Levitt, a Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. An expert on election law and voting systems, he joins us to discuss whether there is the political will to follow up on the dire warnings from intelligence chiefs, particularly in the White House where President Trump continues to deny Russian meddling in our politics which continues to this day. We also assess whether the threat to our democracy and the 2018 elections could be seen as an opportunity to fix our broken election systems since the Department of Homeland Security has found that the Russians probed the election systems of 21 states in 2016 and could easily go much further to manipulate results or sow confusion in 2018.


Part 2

Then we examine another aspect of testimony today from the intelligence chiefs with the Director of National Intelligence describing a broken system for issuing security clearances that has a current government-wide backlog of 700,000 applications.  There is also a clear double-standard in which White House officials and relatives of Donald Trump are quickly given clearances for access to the nation’s most secret information, even if the FBI has concerns that arise in background checks.  Josh Gerstein, a senior White House reporter for POLITICO specializing in national security joins us to discuss his article at Politico “FBI director puts responsibility for Porter on White House” and how a top White House aide like Rob Porter who is accused of being a wife-beater, could be vulnerable to blackmail.


Part 3

Then finally Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steve Coll joins us in the studio. He is the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and a staff writer for The New Yorker and his latest book, just out is “Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan”. We discuss how this secret unit within the ISI, Pakistan’s Military Intelligence, Directorate S, has been thwarting the U.S. at every turn in its 17 year-long slow motion military and political disaster in Afghanistan.

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