Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 2, 2014

Posts in "Terrorism"

July 31, 2014

Administration Security Message Pre-Africa Summit: Not Just Military

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Obama meets with members of Congress on foreign policy Thursday in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Clockwise from left: Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Rice, and lawmakers. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the past couple days, including again Thursday, Obama administration officials previewing next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit have been reinforcing the following message about a continent with a number of national security hotspots right now: The answer isn’t just the military. Full story

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 25, 2014

U.S. Nuclear Material Vulnerable to Theft, Panel Fears

The Senate Appropriations Committee is perturbed at a whole host of things contributing to large quantities of nuclear and radiological materials — including in the United States — being “still unsecure and vulnerable to theft.”

That’s the word from John M. Donnelly, writing for CQ.com subscribers. He details how the panel, in its fiscal 2015 Energy-Water bill committee report, restores nuclear non-proliferation funding and chides the administration for abandoning a 2025 goal of securing 2,900 buildings, such at medical facilities and universities, where there is “little or no security.”

Also from the committee report, by this author for the Energy Xtra blog, is another nuclear-related buildings issue: the fact that the National Nuclear Security Administration is sitting on 450 unused facilities, and has a maintenance backlog that has made some of the buildings still being used dangerous.

Banana Terrorism Case Thrown Out

A seven-year legal battle to hold Chiquita responsible for killings in Colombia stemming from payments to a U.S.-labeled terrorist group might have come to an end late Thursday when a court dismissed a suit against the banana and produce giant. Full story

July 21, 2014

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 18, 2014

After MH17, Senator Revives Commercial Airliner Anti-Missile Defense Idea

kirk008 011414 445x296 After MH17, Senator Revives Commercial Airliner Anti Missile Defense Idea

Kirk talks with reporters Jan. 14. after the Republican Senate luncheon in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told the Washington Post Friday that, in the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 disaster and with shoulder-fired missiles proliferating in places like Libya in Iraq, he would press the Federal Aviation Administration to install anti-missile defenses on commercial airliners.

It probably won’t be an easy sell. Right after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the idea had some real momentum. But it eventually suffered a long, slow death over cost, reliability and need. Full story

July 16, 2014

Senate Chops Request for New Counterterrorism Partnership Fund, White House Still Happy

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Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., whose Appropriations subcommittee scaled back the new counterterrorism partnership fund, arrives in the Capitol for a vote on June 24. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In a high-profile move earlier this year, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $5 billion for a new Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund that would be used to help other countries get better at fighting terrorist organizations. On Tuesday, a Senate panel agreed to give the administration less than half of what it sought. Yet the White House still welcomed this in an evening blog post. Full story

July 14, 2014

Constitutionality Debate Over Guantanamo Provision Sets Up House-Senate Fight

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A sign showing support for Bergdahl sits along Main Street in Hailey, Idaho, on June 2. He was released from captivity on May 31 in exchange for the freedom of five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The American Civil Liberties Union and a national security law professor say that when the GOP-controlled House added an amendment to the annual defense spending bill to prevent overseas prisoner transfers from the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base — a response to the prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — it endorsed language that was unconstitutional. The amendment was offered by a tea party-aligned lawmaker who has vowed to fight unconstitutional laws.

It’s not true that the Guantanamo provision is unconstitutional, though, answer a pair of GOP aides, as a Senate panel prepares to vote on its own take on the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill Tuesday morning. Full story

Can (or Should) the U.S. Train More Countries to Handle Their Own Threats?

450656810 445x263 Can (or Should) the U.S. Train More Countries to Handle Their Own Threats?

Army soldiers stand guard at a square in Bogota during the runoff presidential election on June 15. Colombians went to the polls in an election that had become a referendum on peace talks with leftist guerrillas, and reelected president Juan Manuel Santos. (Diana Sanchez/AFP/Getty Images)

War is expensive, and the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, has a default disinclination against both foreign military intervention and government spending. So, on Monday, Cato hosted a panel that asked whether a better option in a time of declining defense budgets would be training more countries to deal with their own insurgencies.

The answer? It depends. Full story

Killer Robots, Outer Space and Defense Spending Bill in Week Ahead

There are three hearings this week on the president’s war-related spending account budget request and two committee votes on the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill. But, yes, killer robots and outer space are also on the agenda. Full story

July 3, 2014

ISIS Hitting a Wall in Iraq?

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Iraqi forces and mainly Shiite Muslim volunteers arrive in the predominantly-Sunni Muslim city of Samarra, 77 miles from Baghdad on July 2 to protect the Shiite Muslim Al-Askari shrine. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

On the propaganda and recruitment front, there are growing signs that the Islamic State (aka ISIS aka ISIL) has hit a wall. On the military front on the ground in Iraq, a top U.S. military leader said Thursday that Baghdad was holding up under the threat. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 1:32 p.m.
Terrorism, War

July 2, 2014

Watch Mike Mullen Describe Awkward Call to Pakistan, Post-Bin Laden Mission

Mike Mullen was in the White House Situation Room the night of the Osama bin Laden raid into Pakistan. As the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he got an awkward assignment: Call Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and tell him what happened.

One of the takeaways from the above video, from the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival this week: Full story

Poll: Obama, Worst President Since World War II, Worst at Foreign Policy

Updated 2:10 p.m. A new poll found that voters consider President Barack Obama the worst president since World War II — and his handling of foreign policy scored worse than any other issue on which he he was measured.

He also hit lows during his presidency for his handling of foreign policy and terrorism. Full story

July 1, 2014

Sway Moderate Sunni Tribes to Begin Iraq Victory, Paper Suggests

“There is no security without us,” Iraqi tribes are fond of saying, according to a paper released Tuesday by CNA Corp., a nonprofit research and analysis organization.

That’s a lesson the United States learned in turning back al-Qaida in Iraq and would be wise to heed again now that its successor, the Islamic State (aka ISIS aka ISIL), is gaining ground in the country, Patricio Asfura-Heim writes. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:06 p.m.
Marines, Terrorism, War

Iraqi Ambassador: ‘Desperately Need U.S. Assistance,’ but Without It, Taking Iran’s, Russia’s

450830202 3 445x296 Iraqi Ambassador: Desperately Need U.S. Assistance, but Without It, Taking Irans, Russias

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, greets Faily before taking part in a discussion on the unfolding violence in Iraq on June 18 at the American Enterprise Institute. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Iraq’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that the march of the Islamic State — the new name of the extremist group referred to as ISIS or ISIL — has forced the government to make choices it did not want to make. Full story

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