Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 19, 2014

Posts in "Intelligence"

September 15, 2014

Presidential Politics and Defense, ISIS Hearings in the Week Ahead

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Rubio, July 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The first order of business this week on the Hill is passing a stopgap spending bill, which is of course of interest to the defense and national security world. You could also throw a rock and hit any given Iran nuclear event in D.C., so we’ll mostly focus on other things… Full story

September 11, 2014

Rhetoric Aside, Signs of Bipartisanship After Obama ISIS Speech

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Portman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If you were just judging by the tone of the GOP response to Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday night about the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State, you might get the impression that Republicans were on very opposite pages with the Democratic president.

Look a little closer and you’ll see some similarities. Full story

September 8, 2014

Security Clearance Contractor USIS Rebuffs Edward Snowden Attack (and More)

452723352 445x586 Security Clearance Contractor USIS Rebuffs Edward Snowden Attack (and More)

A man holds up a placard during a protest march outside the American NSA facility “Dagger Complex” in Griesheim near Darmstadt, central Germany on July 26. (Boris Roessler/AFP/Getty Images)

USIS, the biggest federal contractor for background checks for security clearances, had to be happy to get a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services contract worth $190 million recently, because the company had been on a bad news streak. All the contract seemed to do, though, was give ammunition to its critics — including a chorus of them from Capitol Hill — prompting USIS to issue a “myth vs. fact” declaration Monday. Full story

Police Militarization, Congressional Comeback in the Week Ahead

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Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is back in town for a little while, with a blend of housekeeping and rowdiness on the national security front. That means a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until December, including some national security programs; a House resolution criticizing President Obama over the “Taliban Five”/Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap; and maybe a new war authorization stemming from the uptick of military action in Iraq.

Congress’ return also means Washington, D.C. will be humming again, and Five By Five will be back to its regular publishing schedule… Full story

September 3, 2014

Obama Official on Defeating ISIS: Get More International, Fix Syria

[UPDATED 3:02 p.m. Sept. 4]

A day after a video surfaced showing the beheading of a second American journalist held captive by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), the director of the National Counterterrorism Center suggested that a key to defeating the group was assembling an international coalition and looking toward a political transition in Syria as a long-term strategy.

Full story

September 2, 2014

Advice for the New NATO Chief

As President Barack Obama preps for a visit this week to a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Wales, and as Russia readies a revised military doctrine in response to NATO, a think tank is offering advice to incoming secretary general Jens Stoltenberg of Norway.

The Center for a New American Security policy brief, released Tuesday, includes steps for the new NATO chief in reckoning with Russia and the group widely known as ISIS. Full story

August 21, 2014

How Obama Could Respond to James Foley’s Murder

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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

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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

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