Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 5, 2015

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March 4, 2015

March 3, 2015

Boehner OKs Clean DHS Vote

Over at 218, Steven Dennis and Matt Fuller delve into House Speaker John A. Boehner ‘s decision to allow a vote on a clean Homeland Security spending bill.

February 13, 2015

Administration Official Wants Congress’ Help on Some Gitmo Detainees, But Huh?

The Defense Department official who is Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure told a House subcommittee Thursday that sooner or later, the detention facility would be down to people who aren’t fit for release/transfer to other countries, or military prosecution. And then, said the official, Paul Lewis, the administration will want to “work with Congress for options on those detainees.”

Uh. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:25 a.m.

January 14, 2015

Islamic State Group Operative Behind Centcom Hack, AQAP Behind Charlie Hebdo Attack?

The two biggest stories involving terrorist activities against the West both now have plausible culprits, albeit unconfirmed.

Full story

December 11, 2014

Military Footwear at Issue in ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill

The House is set to vote Thursday on a large spending spending bill known as the “cromnibus.” Assuming it gets to the president’s desk, it will require the Defense Logistics Agency to put together a report on a matter that appropriators worry could hurt U.S. suppliers of military footwear.

Full story

November 12, 2014

Survey Finds Large Majority of Arabs Disdain Islamic State

By and large, Arab public opinion of the Islamic State and of the U.S.-led campaign against it has received scant attention even though it is Arab countries that have provided the bulk of recruits for the organization and it is Arab nations that are most immediately threatened by its territorial expansion. Full story

November 4, 2014

Senior U.S. Envoy Warns Mugabe to Pay Attention to Events in Burkina Faso

The Obama administration’s top diplomat in Africa on Monday said octogenarian strongman Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe would do well to pay attention to the recent events in Burkina Faso as he contemplates a suspected scheme to pass on power to his wife.

Recently, talk has circulated in Zimbabwe that Grace Mugabe is being groomed to take over power from her aged husband, according to an October op-ed in the New York Times. Mugabe’s second wife, she has come under international derision for her extravagant shopping habits, which earned her the nickname “Gucci Grace,” and for her doctorate in philosophy, which she earned in two months from a Zimbabwean university. At an October rally, Grace stoked the rumors about her presidential aspirations, saying, “They say I want to be president. Why not? Am I not a Zimbabwean?”

Asked for her opinion about these developments, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield responded: “I’m hopeful that the Zimbabwean people will not see that the legacy of Mugabe will be to leave his wife in a position of power.”

Speaking at a George Washington University event, the senior U.S. diplomat appeared to add a warning to the Mugabes, noting: “I think if they look at what is happening in Burkina Faso right now, I think it should give them some pause.”

She was referring to the popular uprising last week that swept Burkina Faso’s president of 27 years, Blaise Compaore, out of power. He abruptly  fled the country on Friday after two days of widespread protests that were triggered by his efforts to modify the country’s constitution so that he could continue to rule indefinitely. The West African country’s newly appointed military ruler, Lt. Col. Isaac Zida, has said he will honor constitutional requirements and quickly hand over power to a consensus government, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Thomas-Greenfield said the day when Zimbabwe is free of Mugabe’s rule is approaching.

“There will be a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe and we need to start preparing for that eventuality,” she said. “We need to engage more extensively with civil society, with the press and we need to start engaging with some government officials … to press them to bring about changes in their government so that we can be prepared for that period.”

October 31, 2014

Mark Your Calendars: CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference Next Week

Want to know the impact of the elections on the 114th Congress? Check out CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference on Nov. 6. It will be held at The Liason Capitol Hill. See below for more info and a code for 20 percent off your registration fee.


CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference is next week!  Here are 3 reasons you shouldn’t miss it:

  • Frontline perspective from our keynotes and sessions, including our newest keynote panel with Rob Collins, Executive Director, NRSC and Guy Cecil, Executive Director DSCC
  • Behind-the-scenes revelations into what happened, what’s next and what’s on the horizon for the 114th Congress
  • “You-won’t-hear-it-anywhere-else” insight from our panelists and speakers.  View our newest speakers – including Gov. John Engler, President of the Business Roundtable.

Don’t miss all the insight, perspective and networking next week at CQ Roll Call’s Post Election Impact Conference!


Register today to secure your spot! Use code SUB2014 to receive 20% off!

Register now!

October 21, 2014

Reading the Tea Leaves on North Korea After U.S. Prisoner Release

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday confirmed that North Korea has released one of the three U.S. citizens it has been holding prisoner.

Jeffrey Fowle, an American tourist and father of three, was arrested in May on accusations of leaving a Bible behind in a hotel. He was allowed to depart North Korea on a U.S. military transport plane, according to a department press release that did not say when he was released into U.S. custody. The department did not provide many details about how the prisoner release came to transpire other than thanking the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang for its “tireless efforts” as the United States’ “Protecting Power in the DPRK.”

The Kim Jong Un regime continues to hold two other Americans, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller.

Since North Korea never makes a good-faith gesture without an ulterior motive, it can be an interesting exercise to try to predict what Pyongyang has up its sleeve this time.

“We know they grab people to trade them,” said Jeffrey Lewis, who directs the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “They clearly think they’re going to get something in exchange for this release. It’s very doubtful that it is a purely humanitarian gesture.”

Lewis emphasized how difficult it is to accurately guess at the intentions of the famously closed-off Kim regime. Still, he said Pyongyang could have freed Fowle in order to give its chief benefactor, China, a “deliverable” ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Beijing next month. The North might also be seeking to build-up some goodwill ahead of its next potential provocation, Lewis said.

A number of arms control observers have speculated that the next provocation could involve the launch of another satellite. Earlier this month, 38 North, an expert website that uses satellite image analysis to track weapons development in North Korea, reported that the Stalinist state had evidently completed a key construction effort to expand its Sohae Satellite Launching Station, which was the site of a successful space launch in December 2012. Pyongyang’s development of a satellite launch program is a serious concern to the international community as rocket technology can also be used to build intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“North Korea is now ready to move forward with another rocket launch,” reads the analysis by 38 North image expert Nick Hansen. “Should a decision be made soon to do so in Pyongyang – and we have no evidence that one has – a rocket could be launched by the end of 2014.”

October 20, 2014

Transgender Military Service, Ebola, China’s Navy in the Week Ahead

It’s another slow-ish week in Washington, D.C., with elections nearing, but one House committee is back in town for a hearing, and some other hot topics — including the subjects in the headline and cybersecurity — are on the agenda.

Full story

September 19, 2014

Event Reminder: National Security, the Midterms and the 114th Congress

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 9.32.46 AM

Don’t forget to RSVP for the joint Just Security/CQ Roll Call event Monday, Sept. 22, where a panel (including yours truly) will discuss what role national security is playing in the 2014 elections — then what happens in the next Congress. Also, there are drinks afterward, in celebration of the birthday of Just Security.

September 12, 2014

Event: National Security in the 2014 Elections, Then After


There’s an event coming up here in Washington, D.C. that CQ Roll Call is co-hosting with Just Security, the excellent blog about national security law that Five By Five has been quoting almost literally since day one. The event is on Sept. 22 and it’s about the role national security is playing in the elections, then what the post-election picture looks like for Congress and national security.

Full story

July 25, 2014

Twitter Chat With Five By Five’s Tim Starks on Defense, National Security

Forgive the very, very brief lapse into first person: I’ll be doing a Twitter chat with Powell Tate for their series of conversations there with defense and national security writers and newsmakers, starting at 10:30 a.m. EST.

You can follow along on the exchange between @timstarks and @wsglobaldef via the hashtag #WSGlobalDef. Or just visit it later via the same method.

July 18, 2014

Energy Xtra, CQ Roll Call’s Latest Policy Blog

Another blog joins CQ Roll Call’s Policy Pulse roster: Energy Xtra, written by Randy Leonard, a longtime reporter on energy and environment issues. The blog will touch upon numerous topics of interest to Five by Five readers, especially where the two beats intersect on the energy supply and national security, like this post on former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen’s assessment of the role shale oil plays in U.S. energy independence.

Full story

July 14, 2014

New Health Policy Blog: Healthopolis

CQ Roll Call has launched Healthopolis, another Policy Pulse blog to join Five by Five, Technocrat and The Container. Written by Paul Jenks, it will be a platform for health policy news “from the capital and beyond,” including at least one topic of interest to Five by Five readers: veterans’ health care.

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