by Jason Hanson
On May 1, 2018
If you think all this prepper stuff won’t make a difference when a large-scale disaster hits, I urge you to think again. Today, check out one reader’s account of surviving the powerful 8.8 quake that occurred in Chile in 2010 — you’ll see it’s a lot easier to prepare than you realize.
by Jeff Anderson
On Apr 30, 2018
The Atlantic hurricane season starts in a little over a month (on June 1), which means there is still time to prepare if you live in an at-risk area. Take a look at these three survival lessons and factor Jeff’s advice into your emergency plans.
by Jason Hanson
On Apr 24, 2018
Turns out California’s Bay Area is overdue for a MAJOR earthquake. This week’s roundup of must-read articles looks at how much damage a disaster of that magnitude (pun intended) would do to major population centers — plus what you must do to prepare.
On Mar 26, 2018
Today we’re back with the final installment of “The Ultimate Doomsday Prepping List” compiled by our friends over at 4Patriots. The second half runs down 51 more survival items in categories ranging from toiletries and cleaning supplies to documents and more.
On Mar 19, 2018
Nowadays, even bigwigs in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street are getting into the prepping game. When the wealthiest people in America are worried, you should be too. Take a look at this “Doomsday Prepping List” put together by our friends over at 4Patriots. It’s the most comprehensive prepping list we’ve posted to date.
by Jason Hanson
On Mar 14, 2018
Chemical weapons can be fatal in incredibly small doses, which is one of the reasons they are so hazardous. If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of a chemical attack, it is critical that you take the following steps to minimize the risks.
by Jason Hanson
On Mar 13, 2018
This week’s roundup of must-read articles covers all manner of threats from environmental to chemical to digital — and what you can do to protect yourself. Plus, learn how to keep your prepping under wraps to avoid drawing unwanted attention in a disaster scenario.
by Barbara Hauck
On Mar 7, 2018
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board recently moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock to 11:58 — two minutes to catastrophe. For a detailed breakdown of what this means, what’s in store and what major threats contributed to the time change, check out this article.
Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
After taking office, President Trump met with CIA officials to analyze the U.S. fight against terrorism. As a result of this meeting, the president gave the CIA authority to conduct lethal drone strikes against ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Under the previous administration, national security officials or the president himself had to authorize drone strikes. However, the new guidelines give the CIA jurisdiction to carry out drone attacks without the president’s approval.
Passing the Buck
The previous administration conducted over 500 drone strikes, but because of the controversy of some those missions, President Obama turned over the responsibility for these strikes to the military.
In assigning drone operations to the military, under the rules of war, every drone strike had to be reported to Congress. Additionally, in 2013, the Obama administration limited drone strikes only to situations where military action was deemed impossible.
Basically, the previous administration created a policy that limited the power of covert drone strikes. The current president has restored most of the CIA’s authority to carry out covert drone strikes without the U.S. government having to confirm or deny any military action against our enemies.
The fact is giving this authority back to the CIA will allow intelligence officials to make decisions that can eliminate terrorists when the opportunity is presented without having to wait for approval from the president or one of his advisers. (I can personally tell you that waiting for this approval has allowed terrorists to escape in the past.)
Who’s in Charge Here?
The example above is just one of many policy changes Trump has authorized to allow the agency to be more aggressive in their operations. According to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the CIA is slow to make decisions and not agile enough to deal effectively with rapidly changing methods of intelligence collection.
In other words, Pompeo wants to give decision-making power to officials at the lowest level so that CIA station chiefs around the world can make critical decisions on the spot without having to consult their supervisors back in the U.S. I believe this is absolutely a good thing.
In addition to allowing station chiefs to make decisions, Pompeo also emphasized the need to increase the number of CIA officers stationed abroad, where they can be more effective gathering intelligence on specific targets.
A World of Difference
Another example of changes made by the CIA under the current administration is the establishment of a special mission center focused on North Korea. This center was created with the intention of working more closely with South Korean intelligence officials to monitor North Korea’s missile capabilities and gather as much information as possible about their ongoing tests.
Obviously, North Korea is one of the biggest threats facing U.S. security, and with every new missile launch, the threat to the U.S. increases. Frankly, this is why it’s so critical for U.S. intelligence-gathering personnel to work with our allies in Asia to compare intelligence and to take appropriate action.
As far as other threats to our national security, Pompeo has recently authorized more aggressive tactics when dealing with the Taliban. For example, the CIA has been sending out small paramilitary units with Afghan forces to hunt down suspected Taliban members.
One particular group the CIA is trying to gain intelligence on is Taliban bomb-makers. According to President Trump, “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms.”
The Bottom Line
Undoubtedly, CIA operations have experienced drastic changes since Trump took office. If you remember, former CIA Director John Brennan once said, “We don’t steal secrets.” Frankly, I find that statement alarming because it shows how restricted the CIA became under his watch. I imagine most CIA officers would say that is exactly what we do to help keep America safe.
In my opinion, having a Republican president in office makes our country safer because Republicans allow the CIA to be more aggressive and do what they do best. Anytime we have a Democrat in office, they pull in the reigns, are extremely risk-averse and don’t let the CIA do their job to the best of their abilities.
And that is a something any CIA officer will attest to.