Legal and policy experts to discuss accountability and decisions in Middle East

Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

Foreign policy is often shrouded in mystery behind the closed doors of Washington’s intelligence agencies. But members of Congress — the officials we elect and imbue with power — also play a role in deciding U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Beth Cate

Beth Cate

And with civil war wreaking havoc in the Levant, the rise of ISIS destroying borders and the international community struggling to respond to a refugee crisis, questions about ethical foreign policy and U.S. engagement with the Middle East are looming large.

On Friday, Oct. 2, Beth Cate, associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington, and Nicholas Connon, SPEA alumnus and Mideast legal expert, will lead a discussion on these power structures that decide policy and factors such as ISIS, Iran, torture, drones, data leaks and non-government actors that influence the decision-making of both Congress and intelligence agencies.

In the wake of the American backlash to foreign policy set by Congress and presidents, such as the invasion of Iraq and operation of Abu Graib, questions of who decides foreign policy and who audits its ethical guidelines remain hazy, if not unanswered. The panel will tackle these issues of transparency, accountability and struggles for control that cloud the decision-making process, all of which make responsibility difficult to establish in domestic and foreign politics.

Cate and Connon will be joined by John Rizzo, former CIA chief counsel; Lee Hamilton, IU Distinguished Professor of Practice and former congressman and 9/11 commission co-chair; and Jeffrey Spears, former Baghdad judge advocate, for a panel discussion titled “Question Authority: Congress, the CIA and You” at 4 p.m. in SPEA room 167.

In addition to unpacking nuanced foreign policy dynamics and implications, the panel will offer students advice on preparing for and pursuing professional careers in related fields.

Rizzo, author of “Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA” will sign books following the panel, with free books available to the first 50 students.

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