Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"The Interview"

It can be difficult to break new ground in the motion-picture industry, but Sony Pictures managed to stumble upon something that no major production company has done – much to their chagrin, it’s beginning to appear. Producing a major film with big-name actors and a multi-million dollar budget that depicts the assassination of a living national leader is not really something Hollywood has attempted before. When that head of state is the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, one might expect bombastic rhetorical threats. What Sony did not anticipate was that the regime (or at least its supporters) would inflict actual harm in response to the film’s release.

Sony Pictures seems to have been well aware that The Interview was going to be contentious – when the film was being cast early scripts included the death of a fictionalized North Korean ruler. It was not until they showed up at auditions that actors discovered the character was actually the current head of the DPRK. Sony executives in Japan, who traditionally allow the company’s Hollywood studio free reign, intervened during the production process, asking that the assassination scene – in which Kim’s head explodes – be toned down for the U.S. release and excluded from versions distributed internationally. In June of this year, according to the North Korean official news agency, government officials threatened “resolute and merciless” responses against the US if it did not ban the film. They also filed a complaint with the U.N. about the film, calling it an “act of war” that encouraged and sponsored terrorism.

In some ways, North Korea’s anger is understandable. As Justin Moyer notes, the fact that no major film has depicted the assassination of a living national leader would suggest that, until this time, some tacit understanding existed that doing so was a step too far. Hollywood has hated on and humiliated living “bad guys” for quite some time (Moyer offers up the example of 1988’s “The Naked Gun”), but never has it actually assassinated them. This even extends to non-government figures such as Osama Bin Laden (“Zero Dark Thirty” did not emerge until well after he was killed by American Navy SEALS). After all, love them or hate them, national leaders do have a number of tools at their disposal to retaliate against such productions – as Sony has found out.

A few weeds ago hackers, a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony’s servers and leaked troves of information, including email correspondences, salary and other personal information for 6,000+ Sony employees, unreleased films etc. Some observers believe it is entirely possible that the North Korean leadership is behind the attack, pointing to the Bureau 121, which is an elite cyber unit or patriotic hackers. A spokesman for the DPRK claimed ignorance, but noted that supporters and sympathizers of the government may have carried it out. The group released another “packet” of information yesterday, including with it an ominous sounding threat:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ to be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to…Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time

Such a message is worrisome for more than its bizarre grammar, but not necessarily in an obvious way. First of all, the references to the film in the threat suggest a DPRK government-backed message – no one but the North Korean leadership has much reason to be upset about this. This is concerning in part because opaque governance structures and the closed nature of North Korean society mean outsiders have very little understanding of how and why decisions are made. Historically the United States has not been able to apply pressure to the DPRK effectively (consider their possession of a nuclear weapon), so determining how they might react and what might be done to mitigate that reaction will be a challenge.

Second, while there is little reason to believe that North Korea has the capacity to launch an actual, physical attack on the United States (or its movie theaters), this is not necessarily true of American allies such as South Korea and Japan. And a military/terrorist or other attack may not (or should not) even be the primary concern. The DPRK has been implicated in a number of cyber incidents in the past, including in March 2013, when an attack paralyzed computer networks running three major South Korean banks and the country’s two largest broadcasters. Such attacks are damaging in economic terms as well as for political/prestige reasons. Costs resulting directly from Sony’s breach are estimated to be somewhere between $70 and $80 million (to replace computers, hire forensic investigators, etc.). Depending on how the situation evolves, some are suggesting it could ultimately cost the company anywhere from $150-$300 million. Sony’s and others’ experiences suggest that private companies in the U.S. and elsewhere are vulnerable, and this will need to be addressed.

Finally, allusions to 9/11 in the context of a threat are a surefire way to gain American attention, and represents the most likely path if one hopes to induce panic and force Sony to pull the film (which is not to say that they will succeed). The New York City premiere of the film was canceled following the threat, and Sony executives have apparently informed theater owners that they wouldn’t object if they decided to cancel screenings (although Sony also noted they were not pulling the film). AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, Regal Entertainment, and Cineplex – the top five theater circuits in the U.S. – have all apparently decided against showing the movie. While understandable, such decisions may induce other groups to believe that launching cyber attacks and issuing far-fetched threats are an effective tool in getting American media to censor itself. And that is problematic (especially if it proves true).

That being said, all this hullaballoo has brought increased attention to The Interview. It may end up that in trying to keep the movie from being released, the Guardians of Peace (and presumably their North Korean sponsors) have given people – who might otherwise avoid what is by all accounts supposed to be a raunchy and somewhat ridiculous comedy – a reason to go see this film.

Sanctions Are Right for Venezuela

They would add pressure on Maduro.  He is dealing with crises all around: a crumbling economy, collapsing oil prices, and a public that is turning on him.  Though he was handpicked by Chavez to be his successor, Maduro doesn’t have the charisma Chavez displayed in keeping people thinking that his well being is their well being.  He has the same L’ état c’est moi attitude but is utterly unconvincing. 

Some say Sanctions might boost Maduro’s support if he could use the US as a scapegoat and rallying cry.  Russia could be pointed to as an analogue to say this, but this argument breaks down when examined.  Venezuela is not Russia, and Maduro is not Putin.  Russia has a history of enduring misery, and it’s people view prosperity as the exception rather than the norm.  The Russian people have a perseverance that most do not.  More importantly, Putin’s approval rating is over 70%, and even at its worst has never been below 53%.  Maduro’s is sitting at 30%.  And not only is the opposition gaining popularity, but there are cracks in the Chavismo that are widening and may lead to an internal challenger. 
People tend to be swayed more by their pocketbooks than by politicians in the long term.  In Venezuela 80% of food is imported and this poses a huge problem with a falling currency.  Basic goods are also scarce.  Maduro can blame the US if he wants, but it won’t keep him afloat forever.
Sanctions directed at officials involved in human rights violations are a good start, but these will do little to cause regime change.  That they freeze any assets that may be held in the US is the strongest effect.  But revoking visas causes little pain except to ruin vacations.
If regime change is the goal, energy sanctions are the way to go.  Oil accounts for half the government’s revenue and 96% of the precious foreign currencies that could slow the fall of the Bolívar.  The price of oil since June has been nearly cut in half to $60/bbl, a far cry from the $100/bbl that most exporting countries planned their budgets on, so the nation is already facing a crisis.
And what better time than when prices are low?  Low oil prices make it easier for the US to palate energy sanctions.  The US can purchase oil elsewhere for a negligible premium but Venezuela has a hard time selling its heavy crude to anyone but the US because there are few nations capable of refining it.  Simply put, the US has other options, Venezuela doesn’t.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fall 2014 Final Exam

National Security Policy
Diplomacy 742
December 16, 2014

 Please answer one of the following three questions. Your answers are due by 3:15pm today.

  1.  The collapse in global oil prices has sent shock waves through the international system. How will this collapse affect US national interests, and how should it affect US grand strategy? 
  2. Does the President need to seek another Authorization for the Use of Military Force from Congress in order to conduct the war against ISIS? If so, what limits should that AUMF include? 
  3. Has the war in Ukraine significantly undercut the credibility of NATO? Why or why not? What steps could NATO take to restore (or increase) its credibility?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Political Crisis

Haiti, a Caribbean, western one-third island of Hispaniola, that borders Dominican Republic, and slightly smaller than Maryland. A nation still recovering from a calamitous earthquake of five years ago, where more than a quarter of a million people were killed. The very poor nation and weak state has found themselves in a deepening political crisis. 

This past Sunday, Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe announced his resignation with a chance of clearing the way for elections. President Michel Martelly will now have to appoint a new government that can oversee legislative and municipal elections, that have been delayed by more than three years. 

January 12, is when elections are to be held, if not parliament will be forced to shut down. This may result in Martelly ruling by decree, which might bring back memories of the dark days of dictatorship that dominates Haiti’s history. Lamothe, in a resignation speech on Sunday, said he was proud of his administration and that Haiti had been put on a positive course. “I am leaving the post of prime minister,” “with a feeling of accomplishment.” Lamothe added that he was stepping down with the hope that the move would “unblock the political crisis.” Since a special presidential commission had recommended that Lamothe be removed as part of a series of measures aimed at easing tensions. 

The process of replacing Lamothe could open a period of conflict and instability. It is hard to see Parliament approve Martelly’s choice by Jan.12. It took Martelly three choices and several months to get Lamothe approved back in 2012. 

Andre Michel, a young opposition protester and lawyer, called Lamothe’s departure “too little, too late” and searched for more demonstrations against the ruling elite. Opposition parties have also boycotted recent talks initiated by the government aimed at resolving the crisis before the end of the year. 

Angry demonstrations are demanding the resignations of Martelly and Lamothe have spread from Port-au-Prince, to other Haitian cities. Reports of a man shot to death in the protests near the ruins of the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince last week, while other demonstrators were targeted by tear gas. Even the UN peacekeepers have also opened fired on demonstrators in at least one incident which is currently under investigation. 

The political instability has also threatened Haiti’s slow recovery and ability to attract FDI. Despite some economic growth in recent years, the government is seen as corrupt and self-serving. 

US officials have been active in defusing the crisis. Special Haiti Envoy Bill Clinton, defended Lamothe and Martelly in a recent interview with the Miami Herald. “The one thing that Haiti does not want to get out of this process is looking like ‘OK, we had four great years, we were growing like crazy so you think we’ll throw it all away and go back to the old war,” he told the paper. “It won’t be good for the country.” The apparent support for the Haitian administration has angered many citizens, giving the current wave of protests an anti-American tinge. 

Negotiations on a new prime minister and government more reflective of the political parties in parliament are expected to begin this week. Historically these have been protracted political battles in Haiti where the departure of a prime minister in the past has sometimes left month-long political void and further instability.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's All About That Money

With the recent rise of the Islamic State (IS), many questions have been raised about the finances of extremist groups.  The most common question is: where do they get their funding?

The BBC recently reported an estimation of five different groups' annual incomes and their primary sources.
  • Islamic State: $2 billion
    • sale of oil, tolls, and 'taxes'
  • Afghan Taliban: $400 million
    • donors, sale of drugs
  • Al-Shabab: up to $100 million
    • sale of charcoal and 'taxes'
  • Boko Haram: $10 million
    • kidnap for ransom, fundraising
  • Al Nusra Front: unknown
    • donations, kidnap for ransom
Donations, sale of natural resources and drugs, kidnap for ransom, and 'taxes' are the primary money-raisers for these extremist groups.  There are several things one must keep in mind while considering these sources.
  1. Donations are likely to continue.
    • They are provided by those sympathetic to the cause, often from Gulf state countries or the diaspora community.
    • Like-minded terrorist groups send money to each other.  In 2012 al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) sent Boko Haram $250,000.
  2. The sale of natural resources is at a discounted rate and therefore likely to be affected by factors such as lower oil costs.
    • For example, IS was selling oil at $40-$60/barrel when barrels were selling at around $100/barrel.  Prices are now closer to $60/barrel, so IS is likely to be earning much less per barrel.
  3. 'Taxes' include taxation of businesses, people, and transport routes.  Islamic State has forced religious minorities to pay a special tax, convert to Islam, or leave.
Islamic State is particularly notable because it has become fairly self-reliant for funding.  While it still receives donations, IS has internal funding to rely upon in the event of the disruption of donations by the international community.  It's oil sale is the primary source of its funding, but other sources complement it.  The aforementioned 'taxes' are a significant contribution, as well as its receiving some donations.  IS also robs banks, loots and sells antiques, and sells crops and livestock.  Kidnap for ransom also provides IS with funding, an estimated $20 million in 2014.  It has been alleged that IS has sold abducted girls and women as sex slaves.

Al-Shabab is a similar case.  The group controls territory and population, and, like IS, it taxes its people, businesses, and transport.  It has also established a charcoal export business that generates up to $80 million annually.

The Afghan Taliban benefits from the sale of drugs, particularly opium poppies, to earn up to $150 million annually.

AQIM raises its money two ways:
  1. The kidnap of foreign tourists and workers for ransom (est. $100 million over 5 years)
  2. Control of drug smuggling routes
The Haqqani Network also relies on smuggling.

From these data, it's clear that extremist groups get their funding from a variety of high-paying sources.  It's important to remember, however, that if their costs are higher than their income, it does not necessarily matter how much that income is.  For example, IS and Al-Shabab raise a subtantial amount annually.  But both groups control territory and people and provide these people with services like security, justice, and food.  These groups are responsible for maintaining their populations, as well as the operations of the groups themselves.  This can be very expensive and poor management could prove destructive.

External disruption of funding has proven ineffective thus far in stopping the rise of extremist groups like IS.  It has been argued that this is because we waited too long.  By the time we realized the threat imposed by IS, the group already had a foundation of internal funding.  A proposed counter suggestion: patience.  Al-Qaeda in Iraq identified poor money management and irregular income as critical contributors to its failure.  We can hope, then, that IS and other extremist groups struggle under the burdens of territorial management and their group operations and other factors like the dropping oil prices and fall as a result.  In the meantime, attempts at disruption wouldn't be a bad idea.

Lima Climate Change

Delegates at the UN climate change summit in Lima have agreed to set national pledges to be submitted by next year.  The EU claims this is a step toward achieving a global deal on climate change while environmental groups claim it is an ineffectual compromise.  take more responsibility while developing countries blame developed countries for not having the situation in their own country under control.
The divisions between developed and developing countries caused many problems over the course of the climate change talks.  Developed countries want developing countries to

One major win of the text developed over the past two weeks is that it points toward a new classification of nations.  Instead of dividing the world simply between rich and poor, it attempts to reflect the more complex world of today with the bulk of emissions coming from developing countries.  The fact that 194 countries agreed to this document means that the possibility of a deal in Paris still remains.

The document developed in Lima calls for an ambitious agreement in 2015 that reflects differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of each nation, developed countries to provide financial support to developing nations, national pledges to be submitted by those states ready to do so, countries to set targets that go beyond current undertaking, and the UN climate change body to report back on national pledges by November 2015.  Many environmental groups provided harsh criticism saying the proposal were not drastic enough and tougher measure were required.

While officials are pleased with the agreed upon text, there is still much left to discuss in Paris.  Many contentious issues were left unresolved and according to some environmental groups this places the Paris negotiations behind before they have even begun.  Todd Stern, the US State Department's climate change envoy, said the entire summit was contentious but it fundamentally accomplished what it set out to do.  As a new Congress begins it term, it will be interesting to see how they react to the deadlines set out in this new agreement and the necessary changes the President makes to US national pledges due to be submitted in early 2015.

Friday, December 12, 2014

South Stream Pipeline Goes Down the Drain; Now What?

With Vladimir Putin deciding to scrap the South Stream pipeline venture over a week ago, leaders from former eastern European nations are scrambling to come up with a strategy to diversify energy supplies. The heads of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland met on Tuesday to discuss plans for more comprehensive energy security. Without a new strategy, these nations will continue to be almost exclusively reliant upon receiving gas to heat homes through the current pipeline that runs through Ukraine, which understandably raised concerns that instability in the region will cause gas deliveries to be stopped or slowed down.

 Furthermore, with Russia owning and operating the pipeline, some in Brussels claimed it would be violating European competition laws, as well as sowing corruption throughout development. The latter was evidenced by Bulgaria’s projected cost being risen from 1.2 billion euros initially to 4 billion, simply to benefit companies involved in the project.

Nevertheless, this comes as good news to battered Ukraine, as South Stream would have given Russian a different pathway into Europe, decreasing its leverage against its giant neighbor. Now, for the foreseeable future Ukraine will be the main avenue for Russian gas into Europe. Additionally, it is an important win for nations within the EU who have supported the Ukrainian plight and spoke out harshly against the installation of a pipeline, saying that it would only further solidify Russia as the dominating supplier of gas to the EU.

In addition, not everyone within the EU was unhappy about the news of South Stream’s demise. Eastern European nations viewed the pipeline as a way to increase energy security, as well as a way to fill government coffers with pipeline transit fees. Additionally, Italy and Austria, who both had companies with significant stakes in the project, expressed support for the project and attempted to help Gazprom overcome EU obstacles. This division led to delays in responding to the Ukraine crisis, as it was difficult for nations to decide on the level and type of sanctions to impose on Russia.

In any case, it seems that for now, the EU will be pursuing a different strategy in its attempt to meet the goals of the proposed Energy Union. Russia will definitely continue to play an important role in the EU’s overall energy future, and although unlikely, it is possible the South Stream project could be revived down the road. Nevertheless, it seems for now that the EU will be looking increasingly to other nations to diversify its energy supply, such as Azerbaijan and the US, as well as further expanding the pipeline system that exists at the moment. Russia, on the other hand, will be scrambling to find ways to stymie it tumbling and heavily energy-dependent economy. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oops, We Missed

In early November, the US military made an announcement saying that its five air strikes had "intended effects."  These air strikes targeted the Khorasan Group in Syria.  The Khorasan Group is made up of senior al Qaeda leaders who have moved into Syria.

 The air strikes hit a vehicle believed to be carrying David Drugeon.  Drugeon is a French jihadist who is a skilled bomb maker.  He has been connected to core al Qaeda members in Pakistan.

 While Drugeon was not mentioned by name in the announcement, it was implied that his death was part of the "intended effects."

American intelligence reported that the Khorasan Group was plotting against Western targets, including the American homeland.  Part of these plans included developing bombs that could beat airport security.  Connections were also made between Drugeon and al Qaeda's master bomb maker Ibrahim al Asiri in Yemen.

Drugeon is also believed to be deeply involved in facilitating the movement of fighters to and from Europe and in planning attacks in Europe.

US officials announced today that they have reason to believe Drugeon survived the November air strikes.  Intelligence reports have indicated that Drugeon was seriously injured in the strike that hit his vehicle and then immediately driven away for treatment at a secure location.

This information has been revealed by the monitoring of al Qaeda and Khorasan communications and human intelligence.

Drugeon is considered to be one of the most dangerous operatives in the global al Qaeda network because of his knowledge of explosives, European background, and access to Western fighters. With that in mind, we've got our fingers crossed that next time we send an air strike after him, he won't be so lucky.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Olive Farmers and Fletchers

               The proposed winter offensive operations against ISIS, in Mosul, will once again raise the issue of the nature of U.S. military support to the Iraqi Army. Specifically, discussions about the involvement of U.S. troops in combat operations against the Islamic State will illustrate the civil-military dynamic in the American government’s attempt to grapple with the challenge of Iraq’s partial collapse. Since the beginning of official U.S. involvement in the fight against ISIS, the discussion about strategy has spilled over into the public sphere.

                The conversation on the features of U.S. military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq has always revolved around the type of asymmetric warfare that has characterized American 21st century military intervention and the prosecution of the War on Terror. From the beginning, air power would be a dominant tool in the anti-ISIS arsenal and American sea power would supplement the air campaign. Not only were ground forces conspicuously absent from the Obama White House’s proposal for countering the Islamic State, but it was explicitly stated by the executive that there would be “no boots on the ground”, even though American military advisors would be an integral part of rebuilding the Iraqi Army to fight ISIS.

                While the Administration’s position has been articulated as terrestrial, all-terrain footwear averse, the U.S. Military has been vocal about limited ground force options not being off the table. This has been presented in many ways, most notably by Gen. Martin Dempsey, who was relaying the recommendations of U.S.Central Command (CENTCOM). Gen. Dempsey’s comments were public, and some commentators believe that the presentation of the option, in a prominent position in his opening statement before Congress, was calculated to send a strong signal as to the U.S. military’s active stance on the issue.

                  Since September, the discussion concerning ground troops has remained background noise to the extensive bombing campaign (as of the writing of this blog, numbering more than 660 air strikes) taking place in Iraq. The executive’s political objectives remain opaque to most foreign policy analysts, while former generals, secretaries of defense, and secretaries of state call for more extensive U.S. involvement in the campaign against ISIS. With one of the largest National Security Council complexes in U.S. history, the Obama administration has drawn the ire of some observers, like David Rothkopf, who suggest that the insular nature of national security policy has isolated the defense bureaucracy. This has narrowed real decision making processes, relegating the institutions that have been well-tuned over the course of the past-decades to the demands of limited warfare (creating a frugal culture with regards to political and monetary capital), to positions of federal think tanks for the National Security Council.

                Interestingly, the military’s plan for the introduction of U.S. ground forces to the fight against ISIS bucks the 20th century stereotype of a military preoccupied with maintaining a preponderance of power. The operational outline is essentially a classic deployment of the “Afghan model”, which has its origins in civilian urging to trim the force projection required to carry out the War on Terror. It’s been an effective tool with regards to eliminating opposing forces, not only in its eponymous conflict, but also in Libya.
                The real issue here might be that Huntington’s objective model of the civil-military divide has revealed the root problems of the current war in Iraq, which are all political. The Obama Administration is reluctant to use the most effective and expedient tool for the job, because there is little confidence in the fact that, after the job is done, there will be anything left to maintain the work. Unsurprisingly, the administration is not enthusiastic about the prospect of re-deploying combat troops to Iraq, which will be a move that reeks of failure in one of the White House’s cornerstones in its narrative of foreign policy success.

                What are the options then? According to the former Iraqi defense minister Abdul Qader Obeidi, the Iraqi army is almost completely incapable of taking care of its medical needs, and might be ill prepared to fight the Islamic State, a far more capable foe than the loose militias and terrorist squads it has fought in the past, without some type of real fire support. The military is prepared to do its job. The Obama White House must begin to genuinely articulate why its plan is so long-term, in order to effectively address its critics, and leave a workable policy legacy for the next administration. This will also put the military’s viewpoint in the proper perspective. 

Politicizing CIA Interrogation Techniques

Today the U.S. Senate released nearly 500 pages of the 6,000 page confidential report on the CIA’s conduct and actions after the 9/11 attacks. The torture report brings to light more extensive waterboarding and interrogation techniques to elicit intelligence. The report also asserts the CIA misled the Bush administration about the value of the information obtained as well as the extent of the activities at the black sites. Certainly details of the CIA’s actions emerged well before this report as Obama dismantled the program in 2009, but why issue this report now?

Al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees captured in Afghanistan after the 2001 terror attacks were transferred to the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Prior to the report coming out this morning, concerns over backlash and reprisals dominated the headlines. Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned the Democratic chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee to update her on the most recent security assessments. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, also mentioned these concerns during his briefing with Intelligence Committee members over the weekend. These concerns are real even though the world is well aware of the interrogation methods employed by the CIA during this time. Some form of reprisal is to be expected especially as ISIL already borrows techniques and sentiments from this CIA program.

While Obama alerted diplomatic facilities and military bases to the possible heightened security risks a repeat of Benghazi is not expected. However, diplomats were not informed about the extent of the report prior to publication. Diplomats in volatile areas should have least been properly briefed about the details of the report as well as likely implications for their region. U.S. allies that housed the black sites could receive political reprisals as their role is further exposed.

So why release this report well before the standard 25 year declassification period? The move seems politically motivated as opposed to protecting national security interests or the public’s well-being. The information in the report brings to light new details and questionable acts on the part of the CIA. However, this is hardly earth shattering information as it simply confirms what was largely believed in the U.S. and abroad. So Congress is likely trying to distance itself this stain on the U.S. global image and once again throw the intelligence community under the bus. There also appears to be some division along party lines with Republicans seeing this exercise as a waste of time with concern over the repercussions. And neither Clapper nor the White House can afford to openly oppose releasing the report. So cautious support of transparency is the only alternative for both entities while involving themselves in the process of declassification of the report. 

The long term ramifications of the report will be more important and less obvious than the immediate after effects. This torture report will likely be the millennial’s version of the Church hearings from the 1970s that dramatically changed the role and purpose of the CIA. Since individuals were already cleared of criminal charges for the interrogations it is unclear just how the report will affect members of the CIA. However, it would be reasonable to assume that the purview of the CIA will change once again with more Congressional oversight and/or new legislatively determined limits. 

The battle between the CIA and the executive and legislative branches rages on. Partisan divisions continue to deviate and dictate national security interests. The implications of this report are yet to be understood but the nature of intelligence gathering abroad is likely to be affected and suffer somewhat as the CIA is once again under the microscope for misdeeds that were sanctioned by the previous administration. Relations between the CIA and the White House will take time to heal after Obama blamed the intelligence community earlier this year for underestimating ISIL and now this torture report.