Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 30, 2014

Posts in "Intelligence"

August 21, 2014

How Obama Could Respond to James Foley’s Murder

royce 174 042513 445x296 How Obama Could Respond to James Foleys Murder

Royce, 2013 file photo. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Full story

August 11, 2014

World War I, National Security Agency and Iran in the Week Ahead

It’s a week that’s heavy in the middle with defense and national security-related events. Full story

August 1, 2014

Space-Based Nuclear Detonation Detection Program Might Fall Short

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.)

A new Energy Department inspector general report isn’t sure it will do what it’s supposed to with its current budget. Full story

July 31, 2014

New Benghazi Report Reaches ‘Noncontroversial Conclusions,’ Congressman Says

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

Africa, Korea, Gaza in the Week Ahead

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

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in ‘The Imitation Game’ — a Timely Film

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.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ryan Pitts, 9/11 Commission, VA Secretary in the Week Ahead

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

A Senator’s Argument for Arming Syrian Rebels, After the ISIS Surge

casey002 031014 445x295 A Senators Argument for Arming Syrian Rebels, After the ISIS Surge

Casey talks with Caroline Wadhams of the Center for American Progress during a March discussion titled “Afghan Elections and the U.S. Role Beyond 2014.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

Defense Globalization, Acquisition, Nominations in the Week Ahead

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

Should Ex-Spies, Diplomats Be Able to Go Straight to Work for Shady Foreign Governments?

wolf 030 010814 445x308 Should Ex Spies, Diplomats Be Able to Go Straight to Work for Shady Foreign Governments?

Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., left, and Wolf leave the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

Al-Qaida, ISIS Like Two Chicago Mob Families, House Chairman Says (Video)

 Al Qaida, ISIS Like Two Chicago Mob Families, House Chairman Says (Video)

(Photo courtesy Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor)

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

By Tim Starks Posted at 10:08 a.m.
Intelligence, Terrorism, War

June 24, 2014

DIA Tries to Get Better, Faster, Stronger in Harder Times

reed 096 021114 445x286 DIA Tries to Get Better, Faster, Stronger in Harder Times

Flynn, left, speaks with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., before the start of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on current and future worldwide threats to the national security of the United States in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

Cybersecurity, Drones and the Marines in the Week Ahead

The schedule is too jam-packed to just highlight one or two events each day. Full story

June 13, 2014

What the Departure of Eric Cantor Means for National Security

gop002 030514 445x303 What the Departure of Eric Cantor Means for National Security

Cantor, right, and Boehner attend a news conference at the RNC after a meeting of the Republican caucus on March 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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 New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

158859200 445x233 The New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

A stealth bomber flies over the parade route during the 124th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2013 in Pasadena, Calif. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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

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