Fred Fleitz on Iran's Weapons Program Fred Fleitz, recently retired from a career at the CIA, DIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee staff, writes in The Wall Street Journal that the American intelligence community is ignoring Iran's nuclear ambitions. The amount of enriched uranium in the country and the design of new centrifuges indicate that Iran wants to make weapons, he says. Still, U.S. intelligence maintains that Iran halted its nuclear weapon program in 2003. Fleitz says this is because the community downplays controversy, fearing the release of provocative information in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion. Also, outside reviewers, whose names Fleitz says have been censored from the column, "tend to share the views of senior intelligence analysts, and they also want to maintain their intelligence contacts and high-level security clearances." As a result, Fleitz says, "Iran is on the brink of testing a nuclear weapon while our intelligence analysts continue to deny that an Iranian nuclear weapons program exists."
Ryan Linkof on the Importance of Tabloids Ryan Linkof, an historian of tabloid photojournalism, writes that the House of Commons debated the indecent reporting tactics of tabloid journalists at length in the 1930s. "As recent events have shown," he says in The New York Times "the tabloids have not lost their grip on indecent reporting, especially when it comes to breaches of privacy. Yet this is, I think, for the better." Linkof condemns illegal reporting methods but defends "intrusive reporting" as a practice often separate, legal, and important. Most tabloid journalists, he claims, are "above the board" and they do a service by feeding "a popular desire to see behind the facade of public life. They rely on the appeal (a very human one) of seeing elements of our societies that are often shamefully hidden away from view." Tabloids often report on trivialities, but they also break important stories like the John Edwards scandal, and they break down barriers between the elite and the rest of us, he argues. "They play a fundamental role in democratic cultures, especially in societies characterized by the pull between the demands of a mass society and the persistence of social and economic inequality."