Michael Hirsh

Stories by Michael Hirsh

  • Where's the Oversight?

    From his earliest days in office, George W. Bush has talked a good game about transforming the military. He even hired a corporate turnaround specialist, Donald Rumsfeld, to accomplish the task. But after Bush proposed a nearly half-trillion dollar defense budget for fiscal 2007 earlier this month -- one that doesn't include many of the costs of the Iraq war -- even some of the president's loyalists were appalled. One of them, Kori Schake, who until recently was director of defense strategy on Bush's National Security Council, last Thursday wrote a blistering op-ed in The New York Times headlined "Jurassic Pork." She noted that Rumsfeld's supposedly transformational Quadrennial Defense Review looks little different from four years ago, and that the latest budget "continues programs and practices that have been made obsolete by technology, innovation and field experience."But that's only part of the story. The untold tale is the wastage and overpricing that continue to lard up the...
  • Wanted: Competent Big Brothers

    Sen. Joseph Biden was uncharacteristically succinct. "How will we know when this war is over?" Biden asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday at a Senate hearing on the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program. Biden never really got a good answer, but his question still resonates. The Bush administration calls the war on terror "the long war." But if we are to take the president and his aides at their word, it is more like a permanent war, one that by definition can never end. Having identified the enemy as Al Qaeda and its "affiliates"--at a time when angry young Muslims are boiling up all over, to be recruited by terror cells yet unborn--the administration surely knows it will be a long, long time until all the Islamist bad guys are eliminated. And that means the extraordinary powers that George W. Bush has arrogated to himself "during wartime"--including the surveillance of Americans--could become permanent as well.It all sounds frighteningly Orwellian....
  • George Bush, Diplomat

    After Eugene "Bull" Connor, the sheriff of Birmingham, Ala., turned dogs and fire hoses on black protesters in May, 1963, John F. Kennedy observed that "the Civil Rights movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He's helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln." It was the perfect putdown. Connor had been a hero to Southern bigots. JFK, with one withering remark, condemned him to that most ignoble form of immortality for a Southerner. He would forever be remembered as the butt of a Yankee joke.Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may someday qualify for a similar kind of historical ignominy among his own countrymen. Iran's president is probably the last one to realize it, but the joke is on him. Though he is rabidly anti-American, Ahmadinejad has done more to help the Great Satan than anyone since the fellow Iranian he most despises--that great toady of Washington, the Shah.In fact, Ahmadinejad, who has piled idiocy upon idiocy in a series of offensive remarks that have alarmed the world, has achieved a...
  • Air Safety: Cockpit Smoke Concerns

    The government spends a lot of time and money protecting America's air passengers from terrorist attacks and water landings. But the Federal Aviation Administration has been less attentive to a flying danger that occurs far more often: smoke in the cockpit, which can be caused by electrical failures, fluid leaks and cargo fires. Forced landings from smoke or fumes happen nearly once a day on average. But pilots still lack an effective way of dealing with fires and smoke-flooded cockpits, which were blamed in the crashes of ValuJet 592 and Swissair 111 in recent years. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card had a glimpse of the problem Nov. 26 when his Gulfstream made an emergency landing in Nashville because of mysterious fumes. The FAA has begun to address the issue, circulating advisories on onboard fires to airlines; on Nov. 23 it proposed a new rule to keep fuel tanks safe. But a senior Bush administration official with oversight over transportation issues, who was granted...
  • Qaeda Prison Break

    Bagram Airbase is home to one of the most heavily fortified military prisons in the world. Located in the shadow of the Hindu Kush about 30 miles north of Kabul, the facility holds hundreds of alleged jihadists at the center of three tight rings of security, surrounded by U.S. and Afghan troops. To enter and leave Bagram one has to pass through a labyrinth of concrete and dirt-filled-wire barriers that are overlooked by two-storey-high observation posts. The prisoners, dressed in orange jumpsuits, are kept in wire cages in the middle of an old warehouse, somewhat like Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs." The warehouse in turn is ringed by razor wire and finally the fences and guard posts of the airbase itself.Yet in the early morning hours of July 11, 2005, U.S. officials say, four of these brightly attired men somehow penetrated each of the three security cordons and slipped through a Soviet-era minefield just outside the base, one purposely left active. Then the escapees...
  • 'Failure Is Not an Option'

    Zalmay Khalilzad has been America's troubleshooter on the most important challenges facing the country. He recently finished a stint as the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, and now he's ambassador to Iraq. He spoke last week to NEWSWEEK's Michael Hirsh in Washington. Excerpts: ...
  • Truth About Torture

    Army Capt. Ian Fishback is plainly a very brave man. Crazy brave, even. Not only has the 26-year-old West Pointer done a tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, he has had the guts to suggest publicly that his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, lied to Congress. After making headlines a month ago for alleging that systematic interrogation abuses occurred in Iraq--and that the Pentagon was not forthright about it--the plain-spoken Fishback went back to Fort Bragg, N.C. He is now practicing small-unit tactics in the woods for a month as part of Special Forces training. After that, he hopes to fight for his country once again overseas.Fishback's courage in taking a lonely stand may be paying off. Inspired by his example, "a growing critical mass of soldiers is coming forward with allegations of abuse," says Marc Garlasco of Human Rights Watch, the New York-based activist group that first revealed Fishback's story. One of them is Anthony Lagouranis, a Chicago-based Army specialist who recently left...
  • EXCLUSIVE: CIA COMMANDER: WE LET BIN LADEN SLIP A

    During the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Bush, Kerry charged, "didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down and kill" the leader of Al Qaeda. The president called his opponent's allegation "the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking." Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border.But in a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora--intelligence operatives had tracked him--and could have been caught. "He was there," Berntsen tells NEWSWEEK. Asked to comment on Berntsen's remarks, National Security...
  • THE MILITARY: A MOVE FOR CLEAR RULES FOR GITMO

    John McCain learned about interrogation abuses as a POW in Vietnam. And since the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal broke, the Arizona senator has grown increasingly angry over the Pentagon's failure to state clearly what its rules of interrogation are, especially at Guantanamo Bay. McCain got tough last week with Army Gen. Bentz Craddock, the head of U.S. Southern Command (under which Gitmo falls). After questioning Craddock at a Senate hearing, McCain said U.S. policy on the treatment of prisoners was still a "morass."Now McCain and fellow Senate Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, with the help of Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John Warner, are drafting a bill that would take matters out of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's hands and create clear rules for wartime detention, interrogation and prosecution. McCain, says spokeswoman Andrea Jones, "plans to introduce legislation that will set uniform standards for detainees." He is discussing legal language that would...
  • Two Cheers for Bremer

    In his speech to the nation Tuesday night, the president never mentioned his name. Very few people do these days, except to bash him. L. Paul Bremer III is still harshly criticized in most popular accounts of the Iraq occupation as an American viceroy who never understood the country he was trying to reconstitute and who made serious mistakes that helped to foment the insurgency, such as disbanding the Iraqi Army. So it's no surprise that as George W. Bush marked the one-year anniversary of the handover of Iraqi sovereignty, the man who orchestrated that transfer of power--and who, more importantly, created the government structure that will likely spell success or failure for America in Iraq--was nowhere to be seen.But oddly enough, this might be Bremer's greatest moment of triumph in Iraq. As violence continues to rage, most of the media coverage has focused on the out-of-control insurgency. Yet Bremer was never wholly in charge of the security issue; Defense Secretary Donald...
  • Diplomatic Dance

    In the long run of history, a president's success is often defined by foreign policy. And for George W. Bush, the stakes are now clearer than ever: it's democracy or bust. Condoleezza Rice's sweep through the Mideast and Europe this week is providing dramatic evidence of just how much Bush understands that his reputation as president is riding largely on the success of his Arab democracy crusade. Almost since 9/11, Bush has made the spread of liberty a central theme of his presidency. But as the secretary of State told reporters traveling with her today, there is now "a new kind of urgency" to the campaign.It's fairly clear why that is. Now slogging into its third year, the Iraq war has been a devastating, draining experience. Bush has lost much of his political standing and capital at home, polls show, and his Army is almost certain to remain occupied with this task for the remainder of his term. American credibility abroad is badly damaged; the tally of American lives and limbs is...
  • TERROR AND DEMOCRACY

    Tim Rothermel has spent the past nine years in Gaza and the West Bank trying to make life better for Palestinians. As the local head of the U.N. Development Program, he seeks out competent and honest Palestinian officials who will find good uses for the millions of dollars in aid--some of it U.S. government funds--that he directs to building roads, schools, clinics and government institutions. Rothermel, a native North Carolinian and a registered Republican, doesn't use a political litmus test. "I'm sure I've met many Hamas officials, but I don't know who they are," he says. "It's not a question I ask." The recent election of municipal councils in Gaza, he adds, was based "not so much on whether the candidate was Hamas or Fatah or communist or whatever. It's more the person who is your neighbor, whom you know. And who's best going to fix the potholes in the street."Perhaps unwittingly, Rothermel was giving voice last week to George W. Bush's "pothole theory" of democracy. In recent...
  • The Hyde Factor

    For all the controversy over John Bolton--President George W. Bush's fiery nominee to be United Nations ambassador--U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is more worried about another threat from Washington, says his chief of staff, Mark Malloch Brown. Annan is so worried, in fact, that he believes Bolton and the Bush administration could prove to be his allies in what is shaping up to be another titanic battle over U.N. finances.In an interview with NEWSWEEK on Wednesday, Malloch Brown said that while Bolton was not the candidate one would "ideally choose," he may be the right ambassador "to represent the U.N. to Washington." Why? Because a bill sponsored by House International Relations Committee chairman Henry Hyde, the Illinois Republican, is threatening to withhold U.S. dues to the world body if major reforms do not occur--reforms that most U.N. observers believe it will be impossible for Annan to deliver.And Bolton, Malloch Brown said, may be the man who can persuade the...
  • A TROUBLED HUNT

    He was a legendary jihadi leader who preached holy war, took on the greatest power of his day and caused thousands of deaths in terror strikes. But as British imperial forces hunted for him year after year in the 1930s and '40s, Mirza Ali Khan simply disappeared into the folds of what are now the Pakistani tribal regions. The search for Khan, who was better known to his British pursuers as the Fakir of Ipi, petered out as the decades passed and people lost interest. "The fakir was never captured," says Pakistani scholar Husain Haqqani. "People say he died of natural causes in 1960."Is this to be Osama bin Laden's fate as well--an enduring case of justice denied? As the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks draws closer, some critics fear that bin Laden too could slip into the mists of history unless U.S. policy--and luck--changes. "Our teams are getting nowhere," says Gary Schroen, a highly decorated former CIA officer who oversaw CIA operations in the region until August 2001 and...
  • GOING NUCLEAR ON BOLTON

    Richard Lugar is a senior statesman with a manner so dry and cautious that when he ran for president in 1996, crowds couldn't tell if he was delivering a stump speech or a civics lecture. But there's one subject that really riles the Indiana senator: nuclear proliferation. Lugar has long championed the $1 billion Nunn-Lugar threat-reduction program, which he created with the then Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn in 1991 to dispose of old Soviet weapons of mass destruction and fissile material. He has repeatedly urged that the Bush administration make Nunn-Lugar a priority to keep WMD from falling into the hands of terrorists.Yet for several years, the disposal of Russia's 134-ton hoard of plutonium has been stymied by an obscure legal issue. Washington has sought to free U.S. contractors of any liability for nuclear contamination during cleanup. The holdup has angered Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his associates say. And government sources tell NEWSWEEK that the...
  • BOLTON'S BRITISH PROBLEM

    Colin Powell plainly didn't like what he was hearing. At a meeting in London in November 2003, his counterpart, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, was complaining to Powell about John Bolton, according to a former Bush administration official who was there. Straw told the then Secretary of State that Bolton, Powell's under secretary for arms control, was making it impossible to reach allied agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Powell turned to an aide and said, "Get a different view on [the Iranian problem]. Bolton is being too tough."Unbeknownst to Bolton, the aide then interviewed experts in Bolton's own Nonproliferation Bureau. The issue was resolved, the former official told NEWSWEEK, only after Powell adopted softer language recommended by these experts on how and when Iran might be referred to the U.N. Security Council. But the terrified State experts were "adamant that we not let Bolton know we had talked to them," the official said.The incident illustrates a key...
  • FOLLOW THE MONEY

    By many accounts, Custer Battles was a nightmare contractor in Iraq. The company's two principals, Mike Battles and Scott Custer, overcharged occupation authorities by millions of dollars, according to a complaint from two former employees. The firm double-billed for salaries and repainted the Iraqi Airways forklifts they found at Baghdad airport--which Custer Battles was contracted to secure--then leased them back to the U.S. government, the complaint says. In the fall of 2004, Deputy General Counsel Steven Shaw of the Air Force asked that the firm be banned from future U.S. contracts, saying Custer Battles had also "created sham companies, whereby [it] fraudulently increased profits by inflating its claimed costs." An Army inspector general, Col. Richard Ballard, concluded as early as November 2003 that the security outfit was incompetent and refused to obey Joint Task Force 7 orders: "What we saw horrified us," Ballard wrote to his superiors in an e-mail obtained by NEWSWEEK.Yet...
  • Bush Bends

    Among George W. Bush's many talents as a politician is his sense of timing. Having planned his trip to Europe last fall in an icy atmosphere of ill will, Bush arrived on the continent with the fresh wind of the Arab Spring at his back. Faced with democratic stirrings throughout the Middle East, European leaders who had opposed the Iraq war suddenly had reason to question their smug certainties. Bush, meanwhile, blew into Brussels and Paris without an army (he'd left it in Iraq, where it will stay for most of his tenure) or much second-term money to spend (huge budget deficits have tied his hands), ready to acknowledge that he might need some help abroad. So between the newly diplomatic Bush and the newly self-doubting Europeans, there seemed a lot of room for a meeting in the middle.That's just what happened, of course. And none too soon. If ever the world's richest and most powerful nations needed to present a united front, it's now. Whatever you might have thought about the...
  • Tough Diplomacy

    Through it all only one shadow of suspicion has passed over Negroponte's behavior in public life: the question of what he knew, and when he knew it, about America's secret association with so-called death squads in the Reagan-era fight against Soviet-allied insurgencies in El Salvador, Honduras and other Central American nations.No proof ever emerged that Negroponte was aware of the notorious Battalion 316 in Honduras when he was ambassador there in the early 1980s. But Negroponte is still so sensitive about such allegations that, when NEWSWEEK mentioned him last month in a web story about a "Salvador option" being considered for Iraq, he phoned this reporter from Baghdad, defending his integrity and fuming over what he called the "utterly gratuitous" inclusion of his name.Yet ironically enough, this long-denied reputation for ruthlessness may now help Negroponte more than any other quality in his new post as America's first director of national intelligence.Despite doubts about how...
  • Penetrating a Totalitarian Fog

    Speculation was immediately rife in Washington. Could it be that North Korea's "Dear Leader," the pouf-haired Kim Jong Il, wanted to rattle his rusting saber a bit because his birthday was coming up soon? Perhaps the ministry's statement was a reaction to the recent trip by Michael Green, the National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs, who traveled to the region to get China, Japan and South Korea to increase the pressure on Pyongyang in the "six-party" (the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and North Korea) disarmament talks. Was Pyongyang anticipating the backlash to come after last week's leaks of scary, if still very flimsy, evidence that North Korea might have been selling nuclear material to Libya?The best guess is that we should simply take Pyongyang at its word. The few times American officials have been able to penetrate the totalitarian fog of North Korea and talk with Kim Jong Il, they have found him to be strange but rational. And Thursday...
  • Closing the Neocon Circle

    Bush, in his Jan. 20 address, did prove himself a dissident in one sense. When the president declared that "the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," he was delivering a dissent from traditional U.S. foreign policy, one that could have been lifted whole from the pages of Sharansky's new book, "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror." (Public Affairs; New York). Bush, in fact, has been pressing the book on aides and friends in recent weeks and urging them to read it. And it is clear that Bush's speech--as well as Sharansky's influence--could have huge consequences for America in the coming years.In Bush's speech, drafted by chief White House speechwriter Michael Gerson with input from an old Sharansky ally dating to the Reagan years, National Security Council official Elliott Abrams, Bush in effect declared an end to a three-decade-old debate in foreign-policy circles. Fittingly, it is a...
  • IRAQ: NEW WAR, OLD TACTICS?

    The army may have closed the books on Spc. Charles Graner, the alleged chief torturer at Abu Ghraib who was convicted last Friday. But a new Red Cross report concludes that abusive practices were still occurring last fall at Guantanamo Bay, well after Graner was charged, NEWSWEEK has learned. The confidential report, delivered to U.S. officials last month, is based on a Red Cross visit to Gitmo in September. Despite some improvements--like tribunals mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court--the report reaffirms a previous finding from June that practices at Gitmo were "tantamount to torture," according to sources who have seen it. (The Red Cross declined to comment on the report.) The latest Red Cross visit occurred a month after two major probes authorized by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reprimanded the military for such practices. Another one of these probes, led by Brig. Gen. Richard Formica and focused on Special Forces-led interrogations in secret facilities, has been held up...
  • PUTIN'S PRATFALL

    To Vladimir Putin, the cheers ringing through Kiev's aptly named Independence Square must have sounded like catcalls from hell. Only three weeks before, in a ham-handed display of Kremlin bullying, Putin had championed his own dubious candidate for Ukraine's presidency, ex-convict Viktor Yanukovych. A fraud-tainted election followed, and the Russian leader haughtily dismissed calls for a recount, warning against Western "interference." But after a long, tense standoff in which tens of thousands of Ukrainians thronged the streets in protest--and only a day after Putin again rejected the idea of a runoff--Ukraine's Supreme Court last Friday ordered a new election for Dec. 26. When the news was broadcast live on the giant television screens in central Kiev, more than 30,000 supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko went wild, kissing, hugging and blowing noisemakers. Then the pro-Western Yushchenko appeared, declaring: "Today Ukraine is a democratic country."Why is that bad...
  • STILL ON TOP

    Gregory Mankiw's intellectual honesty has occasionally landed him in trouble. Not long after he became chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in Washington, Mankiw suggested that the "outsourcing" of jobs, a hot-button issue in the presidential campaign, was actually good for America's economy. Mankiw, a top Harvard economist, recently shared other thoughts on George W. Bush's second-term agenda with NEWSWEEK's Michael Hirsh. Excerpts:HIRSH: Are you worried about the large U.S. trade deficit? Is the dollar likely to continue to fall?MANKIW: The trade deficit is a symptom of other developments in the world economy and should not be viewed in isolation. To some extent our trade deficit is a symptom of slow growth abroad. If Japan and Europe were to start growing more rapidly, they would buy more U.S. goods, which would reduce the U.S. trade deficit. The president has engaged other countries on promoting faster growth around the world, and has worked to open foreign markets to U...
  • BEHIND BUSH'S BACK

    George W. Bush did get one big thing right in the post-9/11 era. His campaign to spread democracy and freedom to a part of the world that the great transformations of the 20th century had bypassed--the Middle East--was in the honored tradition of American global leadership going back to Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. It's just that Bush seemed to get so much else wrong in his first term. Part of the problem--in addition to the trumped-up evidence against Iraq--was his tone, many people said. Even some supporters cringed at the insults the U.S. president kept firing off, quite gratuitously, at the rest of the world, each of them a shot in his own foot.Combined with his trademark smirk and strut--reminiscent of "a sullen, pouting, oblivious and overmuscled teenager," as Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis put it--and what many abroad saw as a scary blend of simple-mindedness and certainty, Bush went over like a Visigoth at a garden party. And, not surprisingly, when...
  • Inner Circle No More?

    It wasn't very long ago that the Bush administration saw L. Paul Bremer III as a true-blue loyalist, a favorite of the president's who had a good chance at a senior position in a second term, perhaps even as secretary of State. So there was considerable surprise and distress inside the White House this week when Iraq's former administrator let loose with what he intended to be off-the-record comments criticizing the administration's handing of Iraq-remarks that were quickly picked up by the Kerry campaign.Bremer was playing Monday-morning quarterback on Iraq, suggested one White House official. Another described teeth gnashing among Bush aides when the comments became public. Some viewed Bremer as seeking to absolve himself of responsibility for the mistakes made in Iraq, the first official said, many of which could be traced back to decisions made by Bremer himself, particularly the decision to disband the Iraqi Army.On Tuesday-the same day after Bremer's critical remarks were made...
  • To Torture Or Not?

    President Bush today distanced himself from his administration's quiet effort to push through a law that would make it easier to send captured terror suspects to countries where torture is used. The proposed law, recently tacked onto a much larger bill despite the fallout from last spring's interrogation scandal, is seen as an attempt to counter a recent Supreme Court decision that would free some terror detainees being held without trial.In a letter published in The Washington Post, White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales said the president "did not propose and does not support" a provision to the House bill that removes legal protections from suspects preventing their "rendering" to foreign governments known to torture prisoners. Gonzales said Bush "has made clear that the United States stands against and will not tolerate torture."But John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who introduced the bill last Friday, said the provision had actually been requested by...
  • Seeing Red

    Back in the United States, George W. Bush was delivering thumping speeches to ecstatic crowds about how "the world is becoming more free" thanks to his administration's policies. But in central Moscow last week, on a narrow street outside the general prosecutor's office, a handful of demonstrators took a different view of the status of freedom in Russia under Bush's close ally and friend Vladimir Putin. "Our society is now lurching toward a dictatorship," said one protester, Vladimir Ulas. "Putin is making a mockery of democracy." Who was this brave voice, defending the principles that America holds dear? Ulas is the first secretary of the Moscow city committee of the Communist Party.Such is the ironic trajectory of post-Soviet Russia these days. As President Putin continues to move his country away from democracy--putatively in an effort to stop future terrorist attacks--the Russian people's former oppressors, the Communist Party, are among the few voices still speaking out against...
  • Back To The U.S.S.R.?

    Back in the United States, George W. Bush was delivering thumping speeches to ecstatic crowds about how "the world is becoming more free" thanks to his administration's policies. But in central Moscow last week, on a narrow street opposite the general prosecutor's office, a handful of demonstrators took a different view of the status of freedom in Russia under Bush's close ally and friend Vladimir Putin. "Our society is now lurching towards a dictatorship," said one protester, Vladimir Ulas. "Putin is making a mockery of democracy." Who was this brave voice, defending principles that America holds dear? Ulas is first secretary of the Moscow city committee of the Communist Party.Such is the ironic course of post-Soviet Russia these days. As President Putin continues to move his country away from democracy--putatively in an effort to stop future terrorist attacks--the Russian people's former oppressor, the Communist Party, is among the few voices still speaking out against his actions...
  • Taking Aim At Our Enemies

    For a year and a half, A.T. Smith lived, ate and slept the ultimate security nightmare. On Sept. 2, 2004, the president of the United States would speak in the middle of Madison Square Garden. George W. Bush would be standing directly above Penn Station, a vast hub funneling thousands of anonymous people every hour--each a potential terrorist, in the view of Smith, the Secret Service officer in charge of planning for the Republican National Convention. The Madrid train bombing in March, Smith says, sent a big shiver down his spine. Tens of thousands of police stopping trucks at security checkpoints throughout the region would help. But they would be just the visible tip of the security iceberg. What turned out to be really new, say Smith and other officials, was the covert network of surveillance made possible by a slew of new homeland-security technologies.The RNC, of course, like the Democratic convention in Boston before it, was a high-priority "national-security event." But the...