WASHINGTON -- Capitol Hill celebrated the time honored tradition Tuesday of the annual World Threat Assessment hearings, in which the nation's spy chiefs -- often appearing annoyed at having to subject themselves to hours of congressional prodding -- parade in front of their Senate overseers and tell the American public how much scarier the world is this year.
This year, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee that "[u]npredictable instability has become the new normal." And, he said, across his decades of service, the U.S. has never seen as complex of a threat an environment as it faces in 2016.
That, as it turns out, is pretty much the theme of every worldwide threat hearing since they started two decades ago. The world just keeps getting worse, the way the spies tell it -- it's complicated and complex and the "internet of things" is going to get really scary and also we're going to have wars in space. So here, the uncontrollable spiral of global destruction, chronicled over the last two decades of Worldwide Threat Assessment Hearings.