We’re now featuring three new pieces on the website. First, the editors on why, especially with new concerns about Islamist extremism, we need to be vigilant about the CIA’s actions and accountability:
It is hard to have faith in the CIA’s judgment about its own secrets, especially given the agency’s recent and flagrant violations of trust. Agents accused intelligence committee members of illegally obtaining an internal agency report, known as the “Panetta review,” that is said to confirm the committee’s findings and contradict the CIA’s official response. Attempting to validate this accusation, CIA personnel illegally searched and read the e-mail of Senate committee members and, when questioned by the agency’s inspector general, “demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities.” After Feinstein decried the intrusion, agency director John O. Brennan expressed outrage at the “spurious allegations.” “My CIA colleagues and I believe strongly in the necessity of effective, strong, and bipartisan congressional oversight,” he insisted.
The CIA’s obstructionism makes a mockery of Brennan’s stated commitment to upholding “the core values that define us as Americans,” not to mention the president’s pledge of “an unprecedented level of openness in government.” On taking office in 2009, Obama declared, “The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.” That, Feinstein and others allege, is precisely the CIA’s motivation for suppressing information in the committee report. As the Constitution Project Task Force found in 2010, “The high level of secrecy surrounding the rendition and torture of detainees since September 11 cannot continue to be justified on the basis of national security.” The price of keeping such secrets, the task force warned, is high: “Ongoing classification of these practices serves only to conceal evidence of wrongdoing and make its repetition more likely.”
Read all of “Unaccountable” here.
Also, John Wilkins’s feature on Pope Francis and the upcoming synod on the family:
In a typically shrewd pastoral stroke, [Pope Francis] has chosen for its meeting in October a subject that concerns the whole people of God—the family. This synod is not just about bishops meeting in Rome. It is about all of us—at a time when a huge gulf has opened up between the teaching of the church on sex, marriage, and the family and the practice of many Catholics. In the council’s slipstream, the conspiratio or unified breathing that according to John Henry Newman should characterize the relations between pope, bishops, priests, religious, and lay men and women has been disrupted, to the detriment of the flourishing and evangelizing power of the whole church.
Read all of “Great Expectations” here.
And, we’ve also posted Agnes R. Howard’s review of All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior, whose focus, Howard writes,
is middle-class Americans, by definition families with many things going well: parents have jobs, poverty is remote, kids go to college. But within these parameters, conditions for parents can be rough. Studies from as early as the 1950s find that parents are “considerably less happy” than nonparents. Why, then, do people have children at all, now that having them is not a necessity but a choice? Senior explains that though childrearing has disadvantages—no fun—there are some reasons—joy—to do it anyway.