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Brennan Center Launches New Series to Tackle Intelligence Reform

The Brennan Center’s new series “Rethinking Intelligence” will feature expert commentary, interviews, and analysis of global intelligence challenges.

December 12, 2014

As the U.S. intelligence enterprise faces one global challenge after another, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is launching a new project, “Rethinking Intelligence.” The series, which addresses these issues through expert commentaries and interviews, is running on DefenseOne.comAtlantic Media’s premiere digital national security and defense publication into 2015.

In each commentary, 16-year FBI veteran and Brennan Center Fellow Michael German interviews former intelligence officials, congressional staffers, academic researchers, and advocates for an inside look at underlying structural and strategic problems in U.S. intelligence programs. 

“It’s no secret that the U.S. intelligence enterprise has experienced failures and setbacks in their attempt to keep Americans safe,” German said. “But there is a way forward. This series, through the insights and experience of these experts, is designed to inform and broaden the public debate on U.S. intelligence, identify the structural reforms necessary to repair our intelligence enterprise, and advance effective national security policies that respect our constitutional values.”

“Of all the tools of national security, the intelligence community remains perhaps the least understood — by design. That’s the nature of secrecy. But even intelligence community leaders acknowledge they have a trust problem with the public. The Brennan Center has tackled a timely issue with interesting voices making compelling arguments. We created Defense One for exactly this reason, as a forum for serious, calm ideas. I hope the issue draws equally strong reactions from our readers,” said Defense One Executive Editor Kevin Baron.

This week, the series launched with two articles. In the first, German and Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU Jameel Jaffer explore the CIA’s torture record and call for greater transparency. In the second, German interviewed former Church Committee staff, Frederick A. O. SchwarzJr. and Dr. John Elliff about the need to launch a new Church Committee to investigate government abuses of intelligence authority.

Read the “Rethinking Intelligence” series at or, and check back for weekly updates.

For more information, please contact Desiree Ramos Reiner at or 646–292–8321.