WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Despite withholding most military aid to Egypt until it makes progress on democracy and human rights, the U.S. government is still tying itself in knots over whether to describe July’s army overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi as a “coup.”
The administration’s latest rhetorical gymnastics came to light when U.S. officials briefed Congress this week on their decision to withhold deliveries of fighter planes, tanks, helicopters and missiles – as well as $260 million in budget aid to Egypt.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Paul Greengrass’ new thriller, “Captain Phillips,” is torn from the headlines, but the British director sees the story of an American ship captain’s ordeal with Somali pirates as a timeless tale of poverty-stricken criminals and a run-in with the law.
“These young men get involved for the same reason that young men got involved in organized crime in the major cities of America in the ’20s and ’30s … or Britain’s highwaymen in the 18th century,” Greengrass said in an interview.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles as well as cash assistance from Egypt’s military-backed government pending progress on democracy and human rights.
The decision, described by senior U.S. officials and a congressional source, is a signal of U.S. unhappiness with the course that Egypt has taken since its army on July 3 ousted the country’s first democratically elected president, Islamist Mohamed Mursi.
WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on
Tuesday staunchly defended his decision to order commando raids
in Libya and Somalia last weekend, saying the United States
would keep targeting al Qaeda-linked groups in Africa but had no
intention of going to war there.
Speaking at a news conference, Obama said the United States
was justified in seizing a senior al Qaeda figure in Tripoli and
whisking him out of the country, and he made clear that it
likely would not be the last operation of its kind.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three Republican U.S. senators said on Tuesday that an al Qaeda suspect seized in Libya should be brought to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, so he can be subjected to long-term interrogation.
Senators Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Saxby Chambliss said they hoped to urge President Barack Obama, via a congressional resolution or an amendment to an upcoming defense authorization bill, to adopt a policy for long-term detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers took a break from bitter debate over government spending to save a program granting special visas to civilian interpreters who risked their lives to work for the American military in Iraq, sending it to the White House on Thursday for President Barack Obama’s signature.
The House of Representatives and the Senate passed by unanimous voice votes a measure that extended the Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa program for three months. Lawmakers said they expected Obama would sign the extension into law shortly.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency has tested its ability to collect Americans’ cellular telephone location data but does not have a program to collect that information, the NSA’s director, General Keith Alexander, said on Wednesday.
Alexander told a Senate Judiciary committee hearing on the government’s electronic eavesdropping that the NSA received data samples in 2010 and 2011 to test its ability to handle such information, but the data were never used for any other purposes.
WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Fearing they could miss
important intelligence, U.S. spy agencies are planning to call
back to work some of the thousands of civilian workers who have
been temporarily laid off as a result of this week’s federal
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has already
authorized chiefs of the 16 U.S. spy agencies he supervises to
make revisions in their furlough arrangements, Clapper’s
spokesman Shawn Turner said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence community leaders warned on Wednesday that the government shutdown, now in its second day, is an “insidious” threat to national security that will increase the longer thousands of workers are off the job.
“I’ve been in the intelligence business for about 50 years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the eavesdropping programs.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Under pressure not to squeeze Iran too hard, the U.S. Senate is unlikely to impose a fresh round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic until after Tehran holds nuclear talks with world powers later this month, lawmakers and congressional aides said.
The Senate Banking Committee had been due in September to look at a new package of sanctions passed in July by the House of Representatives, but now it will not do so for at least a few more weeks, an aide said.