News & Events

The American Interest, Episode 45: The Torture Report in the Age of Fear (Podcast)

The American Interest
Episode 45: The Torture Report in the Age of Fear (Podcast)
Host: Richard Aldous

Link to podcast

Good evening, podcast listeners! We have a truly excellent episode for you today, as we welcome to the show two expert guests ready to discuss the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recent report on the CIA’s use of torture.

First, we speak with Mark M. Lowenthal, president and CEO of the Intelligence & Security Academy and former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis & Production from 2002 to 2005, about the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report. He points out that political machinations were very much at play in the writing and release of the Committee’s report, and notes that many members of Congress had been briefed on the CIA’s activities. He notes that by not talking to many of the people involved, and by relying so extensively on documents as evidence, the report’s objectivity has been called into question.

He plays down the possibility of prosecution of those involved, pointing out the Administration’s careful avoidance of using the word torture, but notes that many of the people named in the report will be very careful about traveling outside of the United States for fear of extraterritorial indictment. He also reminds us that it’s difficult to recapture the atmosphere of fear that gripped the U.S. intelligence community in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.


Senate Report not about openness: Opposing view (Mark M. Lowenthal)

USA TODAY, OPINION, December 9, 2014

One of the inherent contradictions of running an intelligence service in a democracy is the inevitable clash between openness and secrecy. Both are necessary for different reasons at different times. But neither openness nor secrecy can constantly trump the other as the absolute and ultimate virtue.

In recent years, the call has arisen for “transparency” across a range of intelligence operations. Simply put, we cannot conduct necessarily secret operations with a view to making them transparent.

Some operations, such as the raid against Osama bin Laden, can succeed only if they are kept secret until after their completion. And some must remain secret even after completion.

As it is, the U.S. intelligence community operates in a more transparent atmosphere than most other democratic services. Budgets and operations are shared in excruciating detail with the congressional oversight committees.

That certainly was the case with the rendition and interrogation programs. Their existence and conduct was not kept from Congress. There was transparency within the rules and laws governing U.S. intelligence.

Aside from the fact that there is no “public right to know” enumerated in the Constitution (freedom of speech and the press are not the same thing), we must acknowledge that there was also no public outcry for the release of this report.

The public wants to know that intelligence operates under law and with oversight and that intelligence seeks to keep them safe. All those conditions have been met.

At core, the debate over releasing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report is less about openness than about the Congress attempting to divest itself of its role in urging and authorizing a range of activities that are not viewed in the same light as they were in the aftermath of 9/11.

This is not a debate about openness. It is about the washing of hands like Pontius Pilate.

Mark M. Lowenthal, president of the Intelligence & Security Academy, was assistant CIA director for analysis and production during the Bush administration, and staff director to the House Intelligence Committee.


Cyberforce Superiority™ – Secure your seat now!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity this Fall to take one of our
Cyberforce Superiority™ courses!

New location: Arlington, Virginia

Executive/Managers Course
October 27-31, 2014 (Arlington, Virginia)

White Belt Course
November 17-21, 2014 (Arlington, Virginia)

Cyberforce Superiority™, training cyber operators to be more broadly based, integrating offense, defense and forensics into a holistic program.  Select courses above to link to detailed course learning objectives and content.

These courses are offered in partnership with Raytheon Solipsys. 


Intro to Intel & Analyst Training: Seats still available – don’t miss out!

Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, author of Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (now in its 6th edition), and internationally recognized intelligence authority, will teach two courses this Fall. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from one of the leading experts in intelligence.

Courses will be held at the Academy’s new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, just two blocks from the Ballston Metro Rail.

Register now!


Partnership with Auburn University – courses being offered in Alabama & the Southeast!

The Intelligence & Security Academy is pleased to announce its partnership with Auburn University’s Center for Governmental Services to provide education and training through its Intelligence & Security Institute. The Institute will offer courses for individual enrollment held throughout Alabama and the Southeast. Course participants may earn continuing professional education credits to maintain their credentials.

Don-Terry Veal, director of the Center for Governmental Services, an agency of University Outreach, said governments and businesses have operated under a heightened awareness of intelligence and security since the events of 9/11. He said the need to secure data and information and protect resources is essential for the urban and rural communities within Alabama and across the United States. “The center has recognized this need and has been able to identify and engage resources at the highest level to provide training that is designed to provide tools that, when properly utilized, will protect the interests of governments and businesses,” Veal said.“This type of information should not be used to protect only Washington, D.C., and the larger metropolitan areas, but it also has application to the more rural communities.”

The Institute will offer two courses this October at Auburn University with instruction provided by Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, author of Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (now in its 6th edition), and internationally recognized intelligence authority.  Dr. Lowenthal said, “We are very pleased to enter into this partnership with Auburn’s Center for Governmental Services. National and homeland security has a strong state and local component and we are looking forward to this partnership.”

Dr. Lowenthal also noted that Lt. Gen. Ron Burgess, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and senior counsel for national security programs, cyber programs and military affairs at Auburn, will serve as a consultant to the partnership.

Course registration is handled directly through Auburn University’s Center for Governmental Services.  More information can be found here.


Cyber-future is murky


Mark Lowenthal, who spoke at Germanna Community College on Wednesday, was the Jeopardy! grand champion in 1988.

But the former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official says even he doesn’t have all the answers about the future of cyberspace.

“We really don’t know what it’s going to do to us as individuals or as a society,” he said at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association networking breakfast hosted by Germanna’s Center for Workforce & Community Education.

Lowenthal, who has written several books and was vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, did offer some predictions during his presentation on cybersecurity.

A person’s sense of privacy will eventually be lost completely, he said in response to a question.

“There’s this total compulsion to share the most banal moments of your life with everybody else,” said Lowenthal, now president of the Intelligence & Security Academy, which provides national security education and training. “I was saying to a class the other day, ‘You know, some of your private thoughts are probably not worth posting in 140 characters.’”

Another issue is the uncertainty of who has carried out cyberattacks, he said.

“Pearl Harbor, there were these big circles on the aircraft,” Lowenthal said. “We know who they are. It’s not the Germans, it’s not the Italian fascists, it’s the Japanese. You get a cyberattack,” the culprit isn’t so obvious.

And, he said, not enough people are being trained in cybersecurity.

As an example, Lowenthal mentioned the Target CEO who resigned this year after a massive data breach.

“The problem is that those people are not being trained to do cyber,” he said. “These are IT people who know how to set up a really large IT infrastructure so the Target runs. But they don’t have people sitting there saying, ‘Whoa, what’s that, what does that mean?’”

Germanna has partnered with Lowenthal’s Intelligence & Security Academy to develop a national security program that will offer courses on cybersecurity and other issues.

David Broadhurst, a Germanna consultant and former intelligence official, said the program will be able to customize courses for individual businesses.

“We’ve got these courses within the program ready to go,” Broadhurst said. “Now we’re looking for an audience.”

On a lighter note, Lowenthal admitted that he got into the profession because, simply put, he needed a job.

“I graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in military history during the Vietnam War,” he said. “How’s that for career planning?”


Additional Cyberforce Superiority™ courses offered at Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University, the Intelligence & Security Academy and Raytheon Solipsys continue to team together to offer Cyberforce Superiority™ training as part of JHU’s Advanced Academics Programs’ curriculum for their Certificate in National Security Studies and Masters degrees in Government and Global Security Studies. Courses are held at JHU’s Krieger School of Arts & Sciences in Washington, DC and are currently scheduled for the Summer and Fall terms.  More information can be found here (see Summer & Fall schedules).

Cyberforce Superiority

Johns Hopkins University Krieger School


September 2014 – Intro to U.S. Intelligence & Analyst Training – Registration Open!

Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, author of Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (now in its 6th edition), and internationally recognized intelligence authority, will teach two courses this Fall. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from one of the leading experts in intelligence.

Courses will be held at the Academy’s new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, just two blocks from the Ballston Metro Rail.

Enrollment is capped at 24 seats, register now!


International SPY Museum: Why Intelligence Fails


A video of this session can be found here.

Who lives in caves, only holy men or primitive cavemen? Dr. Milo Jones, visiting professor at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, thinks that the answer to that question helps explain the intelligence failure of 9/11. He comes to the International Spy Museum to argue that the CIA’s repeated intelligence failures are a result of the fact that the CIA thinks that intelligence analysis is science while it is really a social process in which identity and culture play a major role. Also joining us for the evening will be Dr. Mark Lowenthal, CEO of the Intelligence and Security Academy and former assistant director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production. He will engage with Dr. Jones on the provocative conclusions of the book Constructing Cassandra: Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947–2001, that Jones co-authored with Philippe Silberzahn of EMLYON Business School in France.   

This event took place May 13, 2014. Published on June 16, 2014.


CIA Holds First Public National Security Conference

Georgetown University

June 12, 2014 – CIA Director Speaks at Agency’s First Public National Security Conference

The 67-year-old Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is facing historic challenges that affect national security and the transparency of intelligence collection, the agency’s director said at Georgetown yesterday.

“Today – and certainly not for the first time in our history – America’s intelligence community is at a crossroads,” said CIA director John O. Brennan at the agency’s first public national security conference. “The transformational impact of technology and enhanced scrutiny and skepticism of the value, legality and appropriateness of our mission have prompted a reexamination of the work of intelligence agencies, understandably and rightly so.”

The all-day conference in Georgetown’s historic Gaston Hall, “Ethos and Profession of Intelligence,” was co-sponsored by the university’s Security Studies Program. 

Dr. Mark Lowenthal, the Academy’s President & CEO, participated in the Roles of Intelligence in the 21st Century panel with Arif Alikhan, John McLaughlin and Ambassador John Negroponte. A video of this panel and others can be found here.