Sunday, January 23, 2011

"The Usual Suspects": Global Warming and Climate Change

"Environmental issues have long been recognized as key to understanding what might happen in unstable countries. In the 1990s, while spies studied such things as North Korean crop yields, attempting to anticipate where shortages could lead to instability, the CIA also shared a trove of classified environmental data with scientists through a program that became known as Medea.

'The whole group (of scientists) were patriots and this was an opportunity to help the country do something about the train wreck (we) saw coming' from climate change, said Robert Bindschadler, a glaciologist at NASA who received a security clearance when Medea started in 1992.

Cleared scientists also helped the CIA interpret environmental data and improve collection methods, former CIA Director John Deutch said in a 1996 speech."---McClatchy (1-10-11)

The Director of the CIA's Center on Climate Change and National Security recently gave a briefing at the Pew Charitable Trusts on the CIA's efforts to meet the national security challenges posed by global warming and climate change. The briefing was limited to the policy community and reporters.

Still, the public can learn about the views of the CIA's Director of the Center on Climate Change and National Security by reading an interview he gave journalism students Charles Mead and Annie Snider, who are researching global warming.

According to the CIA's Director on Climate Change and National Security, Pakistan's catastrophic floods are a harbinger of climate change.
In an article titled "Why the CIA Is Spying on a Changing Climate" (McClatchy, 1-10-11) the journalism students report:
"[Pakistan's torrential floods have] the exact same symptoms you would see for future climate change events, and we're expecting to see more of them," he said later, agreeing to talk only if his name were not revealed, for security reasons. "We wanted to know: What are the conditions that lead to a situation like the Pakistan flooding? What are the important things for water flows, food security … radicalization, disease" and displaced people?
As intelligence officials assess key components of state stability, they are realizing that the norms they had been operating with — such as predictable river flows and crop yields — are shifting. [Read the full text and watch the video interviews.]

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