Mark's Feed
Mar 23, 2015

U.S. to stop collecting bulk phone data if Congress lets law expire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence agencies in June will stop bulk collection of data documenting calls by U.S. telephone subscribers, unless Congress extends a law authorizing the spying, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The disclosure that the National Security Agency was collecting metadata generated by domestic telephone users was one of the most controversial revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden nearly two years ago.

Mar 20, 2015

U.S. fears Islamic State is making serious inroads in Libya

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is increasingly concerned about the growing presence and influence of the Syria-based Islamic State movement in Libya, according to U.S. officials and a State Department report.

The officials said what they called “senior” Islamic State leaders had traveled to the country, which is whacked by civil war, to help recruit and organize militants, particularly in the cities of Derna and Sirte.

Mar 19, 2015

Assange likely to remain in embassy pending U.S. Wikileaks probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is likely to remain at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has taken refuge as long as U.S. authorities pursue a criminal investigation of his anti-secrecy group, one of his lawyers said.

Speculation rose that he might leave the embassy after Swedish authorities last week offered to question him there over allegations of sexual misconduct, dropping their insistence that he go to Stockholm for questioning about a 2010 incident.

Mar 17, 2015

Republicans to probe Iranian role in Latin America

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressional Republicans who oppose President Barack Obama’s pursuit of a nuclear deal with Tehran and are eager to portray Iran as untrustworthy will use a hearing in Congress on Wednesday to air complaints about Iran’s actions in Latin America.

A congressional aide said the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere would discuss what Republicans say are cases of Iran’s involvement in Argentina, Venezuela and elsewhere.

Mar 13, 2015

Human rights concerns limit U.S. intelligence, military aid to Nigeria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is limiting its intelligence and military aid to Nigeria during Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency due to concerns over the country’s human rights record, U.S. officials say.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in northeastern Nigeria in its six-year insurgency and has also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which has created a self-declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

Mar 9, 2015

U.S. offers $5 million for missing American, appeals to Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States offered $5 million on Monday for help in finding an American who disappeared in Iran eight years ago and appealed to Tehran to cooperate in the search for the former FBI agent, Robert Levinson.

“We ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to work cooperatively with us on the investigation into Robert Levinson’s disappearance so we can ensure his safe return,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

Mar 6, 2015

Detainee traded for Bergdahl may have contacted Taliban: officials

By Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – U.S. spy agencies are examining intelligence reports that one of five Taliban leaders released from Guantanamo prison and sent to Qatar as part of a deal to free U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl last year may have re-established contact with a militant group, U.S. officials said on Friday.

So far, only one of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies has formally concluded that the Taliban leader is suspected of re-engagement, two U.S. officials told Reuters. But other agencies will be closely monitoring him for further corroboration, said the officials, who asked not to be identified.

Mar 6, 2015

CIA to make sweeping changes, focus more on cyber ops: agency chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Central Intelligence Agency is launching one of the biggest reorganizations in its history, aimed in part at sharpening its focus on cyber operations and incorporating digital innovations into intelligence gathering, CIA director John Brennan said.

In a presentation to reporters this week, Brennan said he also is creating new units within the CIA, called “mission centers,” intended to concentrate the agency’s focus on specific challenges or geographic areas, such as weapons proliferation or Africa.

Mar 3, 2015

Ex-CIA chief Petraeus to plead guilty in affair-related case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former CIA Director David Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to a single charge relating to mishandling classified information in a case arising from the ex-U.S. Army General’s extramarital affair with a female Army Reserve officer, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

Documents disclosing Petraeus’s guilty plea were filed in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina. The retired four-star general agreed to plead guilty to a charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.

Feb 27, 2015

Islamic State must keep expanding to survive: financial report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – International investigators said on Friday that in order for the Islamic State to remain financially viable it would have to further expand territory it controls in Iraq and Syria and take over more resources.

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said in a report that the Islamist group’s need for large amounts of money to govern areas it has conquered meant it was uncertain how long it could finance its current level of activity.