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HOPE X (2014): "Unmasking a CIA Criminal" (Download)

HOPE X (2014): "Unmasking a CIA Criminal" (Download)

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Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:00 pm (Manning): "Her name is Alfreda Frances Bikowsky." While those six words may seem innocuous, according to the Central Intelligence Agency, if made publicly, they might have sent Ray and his journalist colleagues to prison. On September 8, 2011, they received the first in a series of phone calls and emails from CIA's media rep Preston Golson. "We strongly believe it is a potential violation of federal criminal law [the IIPA Intelligence Identities Protection Act] to print the names of two reported undercover CIA officers whom you claim have been involved in the hunt against al Qa'ida." They had used this approach successfully several times in the past to persuade some of America's most respected journalists - Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo of the Associated Press, among others - to withhold her name from the public. Seeking advice from the ACLU's National Security Project, its lead attorney Ben Wizner made them aware that she had become something of an open secret in his world. They had stumbled onto a hornet's nest. Bikowsky, as it turned out, was the person credited internally with the greatest PR coup of the Obama White House, the successful assassination earlier that year of Osama bin Laden. As chief of the Global Jihad Unit, she reportedly runs the nation's drone strikes program. She is a through-line running from the failure to prevent 9/11 to the push for war in Iraq to the development of the CIA's renditions, black sites, and torture program and continuing to today's targeted assassinations in countries around the world. Through her story, we can see the details of a devolution in the rule of law and the justice system in America, as well as the impetus for and birth of what some call the "war on whistleblowers and journalists." For 20 years, she has been at the center of history, yet the covert nature of her job has prevented that history from ever before being told to the public in one place. Doing so is necessary for a democratic citizenry to have an informed discussion about national security and intelligence policy in America's continuing fight against terrorism.

Ray Nowosielski