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Posts in "Intelligence"
August 21, 2014
President Barack Obama sent a tough message after an American journalist was murdered by the extremist group, Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), but the actions that the administration will take in response to the murder, and the timeline for them, are still not fully known.
But what are his options? Many of them range from vague to unlikely.
August 11, 2014
It’s a week that’s heavy in the middle with defense and national security-related events. Full story
August 1, 2014
The National Nuclear Security Administration dedicated $300 million from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2013 for a space-based Nuclear Detonation Detection Program, used for, among other purposes, monitoring nuclear treaty compliance. (That’s kind of a hot issue with Russia right now.)
July 31, 2014
Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., said Thursday that a House Intelligence Committee investigative report on Benghazi that the panel voted to approve reaches “noncontroversial conclusions” and that it should be declassified swiftly. Schiff serves on the Intelligence panel as well as the new Republican-created select committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya. Full story
July 28, 2014
With the United States-Africa Leaders Summit starting Aug. 4, there is a preponderance of events about the continent this week in advance. President Barack Obama himself will kick off some of the pre-Summit activities. Africa has been a growing national security concern, given events in Nigeria, Libya and elsewhere.
It’s also the last week Congress is in town for a while. The schedule is a bit ambiguous, but before everyone leaves, there could be action at various levels on a new secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs; legislation addressing the VA’s health care backlog; a bill overhauling the National Security Agency’s bulk record collection programs; and declassification of a report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation and detention practices under President George W. Bush. Full story
July 21, 2014
Alan Turing is renowned for his work during World War II, but he could hardly be a more relevant figure in the national security world today. He cracked the “Enigma” code and was a pivotal figure in cryptanalysis, a subject at the heart of the current debate over the National Security Agency. He is considered the father of artificial intelligence, in a time when the autonomy of computers and robots is a topic of ongoing debate. (He’s also relevant to modern discussions about social issues.)
Above is the first trailer for the film “Imitation Game,” about his life, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It will open the BFI London Film Festival in October.
Former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Pitts will be at the White House on Monday to receive a Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama. His story is both heroic and a tale of missteps by superiors, as he fought to fend off a wave of insurgents in Afghanistan in a patrol base in the bloody Battle of Wanat, all while badly wounded by shrapnel himself. Obama is awarding more Medals of Honor to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than his predecessor, but the process has become slower.
The week’s offerings also include a confirmation hearing for a new leader at the Department of Veterans Affairs, a review of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 Commission report and discussions on the cyber threat, the shape of U.S. Combatant Commands, Iraq and the Navy budget. Full story
July 9, 2014
Back in 2011, Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey was the first senator to say that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go. Much has changed since then. A rebellion against Assad has given rise to the group that now calls itself the Islamic State, and concerns have deepened about whether U.S. aid aimed at “good” Syrian rebels could end up in the wrong hands. Some have gone as far as to suggest that the United States has arrived at a common cause with Assad.
But Casey said now it is more important than ever to deliver arms and assistance to the Syrian rebels the United States can trust — and he’s also confident we can determine who exactly they are. Full story
July 7, 2014
Congress is back in town after the July Fourth holiday, and not entirely coincidentally there’s a great deal of Afghanistan on the schedule this week, from nominations to hearings to events off the Hill. Full story
June 27, 2014
Two members of Congress — Republican Reps. Frank Wolf and Mike Rogers — have tried to make moves this year toward creating a “cooling off” period for former diplomats and intelligence officials before they can take jobs with shady foreign governments. But there’s some mystery in both efforts. Full story
June 25, 2014
There is a popular sentiment about ISIL (also known as ISIS), the radical group tearing across Iraq, that it was the brutality of the group’s tactics that led to a divorce with al-Qaida. Not so, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers said Wednesday. Full story
June 24, 2014
Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn has a three-fold problem: “We are in persistent conflict,” with ever-changing kinds of conflicts and ever-changing needs for what the DIA provides all over the world, he said Tuesday. Also: “Our defense programs and frankly our intelligence community programs operate at such a turtle’s pace that we have a challenge staying ahead of the adjustments that need to be made.” Also: Money is drying up as the federal government tries to rein in its budget.
What’s a spy/defense agency to do? Full story
June 23, 2014
The schedule is too jam-packed to just highlight one or two events each day. Full story
June 13, 2014
Everyone is still digesting the fallout from this week’s surprise primary election defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., but the part related to its effect on national security and foreign policy is pretty well-chewed, enough to examine it as a whole. Full story
The Air Force’s top acquisition chief said Friday that the department is “days away” from seeking proposals from industry on the mostly classified new Long-Range Strike Bomber, one of its three top procurement priorities. Unless it isn’t: “I’m learning in the Pentagon, ‘days away’ can go on for a long time,” William LaPlante joked.
Speaking at the Atlantic Council, LaPlante shared additional information on the timeline and expectations for the bomber that the Air Force plans to buy 80-100 of by 2026 at a cost of as much as $550 million each (although affiliated costs could drive the price up, and analysts suggest the total price could near $81 billion). Full story