Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 26, 2014

Posts by Tim Starks

271 Posts

November 25, 2014

NSA Telephone Data Collection Program Not Based on ‘Secret Law,’ Says Former Intel Staffer

fisa 004 100213 445x278 NSA Telephone Data Collection Program Not Based on Secret Law, Says Former Intel Staffer

Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, followed by chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., arrives to testify during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Continued Oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” in 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All that talk about “secret law” as the foundation for the allegedly illegal National Security Agency telephony metadata program? Hogwash, writes a former House Intelligence Committee staffer in the National Security Law Journal. Full story

Roundup: All Things Chuck Hagel

We’ve written a number of things here at Five By Five about the departure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Here’s a smattering of key articles from elsewhere.

  • At CQ.com, Megan Scully weighed potential successors; Paul Hendrie warned of how hard it might be to find someone willing; and I forecasted a confirmation fight that would be as much about administration policy as the person chosen, and some difficulties in getting anyone through an angry GOP Senate.
  • Politico offered a kind of tick-tock, behind-the-scenes of how the decision went down and why.
  • Both Politico and the New York Times wrote that a larger national security team shake-up wasn’t imminent. The Times explained what that means for foreign policy under this administration.
  • Bloomberg posited that Hagel’s departure showed a continued weakening of the Pentagon under President Obama.
  • The Daily Beast also predicted a hard confirmation battle, but made some different points than I did.
  • And Foreign Policy surveyed the landscape at the Pentagon in a post-Hagel world.

Iran Is Being Too Stubborn in Nuclear Talks, Experts Say

495453915 Iran Is Being Too Stubborn in Nuclear Talks, Experts Say

Rouhani delivers a speech under a portrait of Iran’s Khamenei on June 3. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

The consensus of a panel at the Brookings Institution Tuesday: The reason Iran nuclear talks have been extended is because Tehran is being overly rigid in the face of a very generous offer from the United States and its negotiating partners. Full story

How the Departure of Chuck Hagel Affects the Defense Agenda

On one level, the exit of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel represents a break from what was before. On another level, nothing on the agenda will change, at least not because of his departure. Full story

November 24, 2014

Intentionally or Not, Hagel News Distracts From Other Administration News

syria hearing029 090413 445x296 Intentionally or Not, Hagel News Distracts From Other Administration News

Hagel, left, and Kerry, right, at a September House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Over the weekend, news broke of a change in the administration’s policy on Afghanistan. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced an extension of Iranian nuclear talks. Yet it is the newly announced departure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that has sucked up most of the news energy today. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:22 p.m.
Foreign Policy, War

Who Will Replace Chuck Hagel?

[Update 11:32 p.m.] The blockbuster news about Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel being pushed out by the White House is going to ripple for a long while. One of the ripples has already started with this question: Who’s going to replace him? Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 10:19 a.m.
Personnel

Afghanistan, China, Turkey in the Week Ahead

133977112 Afghanistan, China, Turkey in the Week Ahead

(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s a short week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Congress is gone. There are still a few worthwhile national security and foreign policy events around D.C., though, at least during the early part of the week. Full story

November 21, 2014

Weekly Recap: F-35, Iraq Weapons, Congress, Uber

Let’s review the week that was. Would you say we would be venturing into a zone of danger? The zone will be one of danger. Full story

November 20, 2014

Former CIA Chief: Intel Community Can’t, on Its Own, Track Iranian Nuclear Development

dw110512 intelligence overhaul187 445x295 Former CIA Chief: Intel Community Cant, on Its Own, Track Iranian Nuclear Development

Hayden at an undated hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

With a deadline nearing for Iranian nuclear talks next week, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency warned Thursday that without an “invasive inspections regime” attached to any deal, “I am unwilling to guarantee American intelligence can sufficiently verify the agreement on its own.” Full story

Nurses, Psychologists Step Up Responses to Detainee Treatment

179681003 445x295 Nurses, Psychologists Step Up Responses to Detainee Treatment

Protester Andrés Thomas (right, bottom) is force-fed by Dr. Terry Fitzgerald (left) during a 2013 demonstration in front of the White House in solidarity with hunger-striking inmates at Guantanamo. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Two associations representing health care professionals have, in the the past coupe weeks, gotten more active on the question of their roles in the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere. Full story

Which House National Security Committee Leadership Posts Are Settled, Which Aren’t

granger 322 072914 445x276 Which House National Security Committee Leadership Posts Are Settled, Which Arent

Granger speaks with reporters as she leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on July 29. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

[Updated Thursday, 11:38 a.m., 1:55 p.m.]

Most of the blood to be spilled in national security and foreign policy-related House committee leadership races has now been spilled. Here’s the landscape as a result, with notes in some cases. Full story

November 19, 2014

House Intelligence Chairman Fears ISIS Could Buy a Nuke

rogers002 090814 445x294 House Intelligence Chairman Fears ISIS Could Buy a Nuke

Rogers makes his way to the Capitol across the east front plaza, Sept. 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Outgoing House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said Wednesday that he worried that ISIS could be amassing enough cash to buy a nuclear device. Full story

A Republican Senator’s Missile Defense Wish List Post-Election

ayotte 05 030311 445x318 A Republican Senators Missile Defense Wish List Post Election

Kelley Ayotte listens to opening statements during a 2011 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

With Republicans in charge of the Senate, it could be a new day for missile defense, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire predicted Wednesday. Full story

Foggy Future for Surveillance Overall Legislation After Failed Senate Vote

KYPOL14 177 110414 445x295 Foggy Future for Surveillance Overall Legislation After Failed Senate Vote

Paul talks with reporters after voting on Election Day at Briarwood Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ky., November 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Critics of the National Security Agency’s bulk telephony record collection program say they won’t give up the fight even after a Senate vote Tuesday blocked legislation that would ban the practice.

It won’t be easy. Full story

November 18, 2014

Military Benefits Feud Holds Up Defense Policy Bill

A dispute over military benefits is complicating efforts to complete a fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, one of the big ticket items of the lame-duck congressional session currently underway.

Per Megan Scully (@CQMeganScully), writing for CQ.com subscribers Tuesday on talks between the House and Senate Armed Services panel:

Committee leaders had hoped to finalize the negotiated bill early this week, but they have reached an impasse over differences in the two measures on cost-saving Pentagon proposals to increase some TRICARE pharmacy co-pays and reduce the basic housing allowance for military personnel.

The House basically said “no” to those proposals and the Senate basically said “yes.” You’ll have to read the full story for the details on how this all might be resolved. There’s still hope, though, according to the negotiators.

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