Kresta in the Afternoon – June 9, 2009

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    First Topic – Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare

    The pressure for Catholic medical institutions and healthcare workers is mounting at an alarming rate as individuals struggle to uphold their faith in an industry that is confronting new bioethical dilemmas in a political and cultural environment that is increasingly hostile to traditional Catholic teachings. The choice to provide or not provide contraception, abortion, controversial fertility procedures, and even euthanasia have now begun to take on legal ramifications, as Catholic facilities seek to maintain their tax-exempt status and their eligibility for federal funding. It is an all too real danger that Catholic medical centers even those in communities where medical care is scarce may be forced to either shut down or provide immoral procedures, while tens of thousands of Catholic doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals could be forced to quit their jobs or violate their religious beliefs. Leonard J. Nelson III explores all the relevant topics.

    Second Topic – Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda

    Today's CIA is regularly criticized for emphasizing technology at the expense of human intelligence. In this history of the agency's Office of Technical Services, Robert Wallace, its former head, refutes the charge with exciting content and slam-bang style. From WWII through the Cold War and up to the present, he says, technical equipment—for clandestine audio surveillance, for example—has been an essential element of agent operations. In the post–Cold War information society, technology plays an even more significant role in fighting terrorism. Agents remain important, along with their traditional skills. Increasingly, however, they support clandestine technical operations, especially infiltrating and compromising computer networks. He is here to argue that employing and defending against sophisticated digital technology is the primary challenge facing U.S. intelligence in the 21st century.

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