Mark's Feed
Aug 15, 2014

Iraq’s Islamic fighters profit from oil sales: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq are selling oil from oilfields and refineries they control to local communities and smugglers, augmenting their existing ample finances, U.S. intelligence officials said on Thursday.

At least some of the oil is used to fuel a power plant they seized after the radical Islamists captured large tracts of Iraq including the country’s second city Mosul, killing thousands and causing hundreds of thousands to flee, the officials said.

Aug 11, 2014

U.S. begins direct arms shipments to Kurdish forces

WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. government is
directly supplying weapons to Peshmerga fighters from Iraq’s
semiautonomous Kurdish region to help them fight Sunni
militants, in a deepening of America’s military involvement in
Iraq, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The Kurdish fighters are struggling to stem advances by
militants from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot.

Aug 11, 2014

U.S. begins direct arms shipments to Kurdish forces: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is directly supplying weapons to Peshmerga fighters from Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region to help them fight Sunni militants, in a deepening of America’s military involvement in Iraq, U.S. government sources said on Monday.

The weapons shipments to Arbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, come as Kurdish fighters struggle to stem advances by militants from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot.

Aug 7, 2014

Kurds use well-oiled lobbying to plead for help in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When radical Islamic forces threatening to dismember Iraq unexpectedly captured several towns from the Peshmerga Kurdish fighters last weekend, the Kurds’ public relations machine quickly seized on the setback to boost their case in Washington.

“This justifies all the reasons why the Pentagon should help beef up the Peshmerga forces by providing such sophisticated arms,” Karwan Zebari, the Kurdish government spokesman in the United States, told Reuters.

Aug 6, 2014

U.S. heightens embassy security, anticipating report on CIA interrogations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department is increasing security at some American embassies in anticipation of the public release of a long-awaited Senate report detailing the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the additional security measures reflected concerns that the report could prompt protests in countries where the CIA operated secret prisons that were used to conduct interrogations.

Aug 5, 2014

U.S. intelligence officials looking into suspected new spy leak

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence officials
were considering on Tuesday whether to ask the Department of
Justice to open a criminal investigation into the suspected leak
of a classified counter-terrorism document to a website, a U.S.
official familiar with the matter said.

The intelligence officials were preparing a criminal
referral over the publication on “The Intercept” website of a
document that provides a statistical breakdown of the types of
people whose names and personal information appear on two
government data networks listing people with supposed
connections to militants, the official said.

Aug 5, 2014

U.S. heightens embassy security in anticipation of ‘torture’ report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department is increasing security at some American embassies in anticipation of the public release of a long-awaited Senate report detailing the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the additional security measures reflected concerns that the report could prompt protests in countries where the CIA operated secret prisons that were used to conduct interrogations.

Aug 1, 2014

U.S. Senate report to suggest harsh CIA interrogations were unnecessary: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate committee report will conclude that the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks yielded no critical intelligence on terrorist plots that could not have been obtained through non-coercive methods, U.S. officials familiar with the document said.

Foreshadowing the impending release of a report expected to suggest that the “enhanced” techniques were unnecessary and also to accuse some CIA officers of misleading Congress about the effectiveness of the program, President Barack Obama said on Friday that the CIA “tortured some folks.” He had banned the practices soon after taking office in 2009.

Jul 31, 2014

CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The CIA conceded on Thursday that it had improperly monitored computers used by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in an investigation of CIA interrogation tactics and secret prisons for terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Central Intelligence Agency spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement that the agency’s inspector general had determined that “some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent” with an understanding between the agency and the Senate panel.

Boyd said CIA Director John Brennan had informed Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate committee’s chair, and its senior Republican, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, of the finding and apologized.

Jul 29, 2014

U.S. Senate CIA ‘torture’ report summary to be declassified in a few days: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House in the next few days is expected to declassify the long-awaited summary of a U.S. Senate committee study of a CIA program that used “enhanced interrogations” and secret prisons to extract information from captured militants, several officials familiar with the matter said.

Over the last two weeks, former directors and deputy directors of the CIA have been invited by the Obama administration to review a still-secret version of the 600-page Senate Intelligence Committee summary at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.