Capitol Ink | Intelligence Community

Podcast: Congress Aims to Rein In Government Snoops
The Week Ahead, Episode 76

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has a bill that aims to protect Americans' privacy from government surveillance of foreigners.

A bipartisan cast of lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Wyden, plan to curtail the government's surveillance powers that must be renewed by the end of the year, says CQ intelligence reporter Gopal Ratnam.   

Show Notes:

Ep. 36: Spooked by Russia
The Week Ahead

CQ Roll Call’s intelligence reporter Ryan Lucas separates fact from fiction on all the Russia-related reports that have thrown the nation’s capital into a tizzy. 

Trump’s Dispute With CIA Puts Pompeo in a Bind
Director-designee must convince boss that agency’s analysis is valuable

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meets with CIA Director-designee Mike Pompeo in his Capitol Hill office on Dec. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the extraordinary public dispute between Donald Trump and the CIA, one man finds himself in a particularly tricky position: the president-elect’s nominee to lead the agency, Rep. Mike Pompeo.

The tea party Republican from Kansas, who is expected to win Senate confirmation, will have to repair a relationship between Trump and the CIA that has been battered by the president-elect’s repeated disparagement of the agency’s capabilities and competence.

Reviving Torture Under Trump Would Be Tricky but Not Impossible
President-elect has favorable views about Bush-era harsh interrogation methods

With a soft southern drawl and a neatly trimmed salt-white beard, the architect of the CIA’s torture program captivated his audience with stories of personally waterboarding al-Qaida operatives at secret prisons and interrogating 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Trump Cabinet Picks Incite Liberal Backlash
Democrats, civil liberties groups sound alarm on choices of top advisers

Demonstrators from People for the American Way hold a protest in Washington on Friday against the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions President-elect Donald Trump’s attorney general. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump’s picks for three key Cabinet positions incited a chorus of denunciations from Democrats and liberal groups Friday.

After announcing former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon would be a top adviser earlier this week, Friday’s selections further confounded conjectures that Trump would return to his moderate roots as he assembled his Cabinet.

Evan McMullin Says He's Not a Trump Spoiler
But with a majority of filing deadlines passed, his opportunities are limited

Donald Trump challenger Evan McMullin says, "We are going to fight and scrap and crawl all the way to the end," But there might not be many places to do that. (

Evan McMullin wants to be the face of the #NeverTrump movement, although his path to that is narrow. 

McMullin, a former CIA operative and foreign policy adviser for the House Republican Conference, entered the race on Monday as an independent and said that he wants to be an alternative for people who don't like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. 

Reid Says Trump Should Get Fake Intel Briefings
Senate minority leader suggests GOP nominee might have skirted the law

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says the intelligence community shouldn't give Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump "anything that means anything." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday morning that the intelligence community should give phony information to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.  

"I had a number of people come to me yesterday about the Logan Act, and he may have done that. He may have violated a law," Reid said. "But you know, this is not the first time."  

CIA: Anti-ISIS Efforts Have Not Reduced Group's Global Reach
Militant group planning more attacks like Paris and Brussels

CIA Director John O. Brennan told senators that while the Islamic State had suffered setbacks in Iraq and Syria, its influence was growing in Egypt and Libya. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

CIA Director John O. Brennan said Thursday the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State has dealt the extremist group battlefield loses and chipped away at its finances, but he cautioned that coalition efforts have not diminished the group’s global reach or its ability to carry out terrorist attacks.  

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan also warned that the Islamic State is trying to deploy operatives to carry out more attacks in the West like the recent ones in Paris and Brussels. He said the terrorist group is exploring way of slipping its fighters into European countries, including in refugee flows and smuggling routes.  

Torture Report Disappearance Raises Ire of Senate Democrats
Dianne Feinstein concerned it was no 'accident'

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has more questions for the CIA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new revelation about a deleted copy of the Senate report on George W. Bush administration torture practices is raising concerns about the fate of the document.  

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee in December 2014 when the panel released public findings of the classified report on the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation practices, has fired off a letter to Director John Brennan seeking a new copy of the report for the CIA inspector general, after a copy there was apparently misplaced or deleted.