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Open-source intelligence

By Tom Nuttall  

Lawrence Wright’s epic profile of US intelligence supremo Mike McConnell in the New Yorker—not available online, unfortunately, but there’s an abstract here—is well worth trawling through. Wright is particularly skilful at reviving what can seem a very tired privacy vs security debate by taking us through the dilemmas faced by McConnell as a federal law seems to restrict his ability to eavesdrop on the conversations of the captors of three kidnapped soldiers in Iraq. McConnell tells Wright that he believes the laws governing surveillance by intelligence agencies are ill-suited to the age of hyper-communication, and are jeopardising the lives of…

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