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Dec 18, 2013

U.S. senator demands CIA report amid dispute over torture study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday disclosed the existence of a secret Central Intelligence Agency document that committee members believe supports their conclusions in a study highly critical of “waterboarding” and other harsh counterterrorism practices.

Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, demanded the document – a CIA study of the interrogation techniques – at a confirmation hearing for Caroline Krass, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the CIA’s general counsel.

Dec 16, 2013

Head of Pentagon’s effort to curb sexual assault retires

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the Defense Department’s effort to curb sexual assault in the military, Major General Gary Patton, has decided to retire and will step down in mid-January, a Pentagon spokesman said on Monday.

Patton, who heads the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, will be replaced on January 15 by Major General Jeffrey Snow, Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren said. Snow previously worked as director of strategy and plans in the office of the deputy chief of staff of the Army.

Dec 13, 2013

U.S. senators to visit Ukraine on day of opposition rally

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senators John McCain, a leading Republican voice on foreign policy issues, and Chris Murphy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate’s Europe subcommittee, will visit the Ukrainian capital on Sunday, the day the Ukrainian opposition plans a mass rally, aides said on Friday.

Also on Friday, senators issued a resolution calling for the United States to consider sanctions in case there is further violence against peaceful demonstrators.

Dec 13, 2013

U.S. House passes bill authorizing $633 billion in defense spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the annual defense policy bill on Thursday, authorizing $633 billion in spending for 2014, strengthening protections for victims of sexual assault in the military and easing some transfers from the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The House voted 350-69 to pass a slimmed-down version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which was introduced as a compromise early this week. Its passage clears the way for final consideration by the U.S. Senate, likely next week.

Dec 12, 2013

White House bid to hold off Iran sanctions gains backing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s campaign for Congress to hold off on new sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program won a key endorsement on Thursday when the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee rejected tightening measures against Iran now.

Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat, said he agrees with the Obama administration that such legislation could disrupt delicate negotiations seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The Banking Committee oversees sanctions legislation in the Senate.

Dec 12, 2013

U.S. Senate Banking chief urges no new sanctions over Iran now

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
campaign for Congress to hold off on new sanctions over Iran’s
nuclear program won a key endorsement on Thursday when the
chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee rejected
tightening measures against Iran now.

Senator Tim Johnson said he agrees with the Obama
administration that such legislation could disrupt delicate
negotiations seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The Banking
committee oversees sanctions legislation in the Senate.

Dec 12, 2013

Pro-sanctions U.S. lawmakers will introduce new Iran bill soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators will introduce legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran as soon as this week, Senate aides said on Wednesday, despite the Obama administration’s insistence that such a measure would violate terms of an interim agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s foreign minister has also said a new sanctions law would kill the agreement. In the interim agreement, Tehran agreed to limit uranium enrichment in return for an easing of international sanctions.

Dec 11, 2013

U.S. lawmakers warn of sanctions if Ukraine violence worsens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are considering legislation to deny visas to Ukrainian officials or freeze their U.S. assets if there is an escalation of violence against anti-government demonstrators.

Both Democrats and Republicans have condemned harsh measures during weeks of protests by hundreds of thousands of people protesting President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to scrap a trade deal with the European Union and steer Ukraine closer to Russia.

Dec 10, 2013

U.S. Senate banking chairman inclined to hold off on Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration’s appeal to Congress to hold off on imposing more sanctions on Iran won key support on Tuesday when the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee said he would not back new legislation at this time.

Any such legislation could jeopardize delicate negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement with Tehran to curb its nuclear program after world powers clinched an interim deal with Iran last month, President Barack Obama’s administration has argued.

Dec 9, 2013

U.S. lawmakers hope for vote on compromise defense bill this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services committees have agreed on a slimmed-down defense authorization bill and want the House to vote on the measure before it leaves on its year-end holiday recess at the end of this week, Senator Carl Levin said on Monday.

Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Senate was unable to vote on a huge range of proposed amendments to the bill in time to pass it this year, so committee leaders reached agreement on a compromise version of the legislation.

    • About Patricia

      "Patricia Zengerle covers foreign policy and national security on Capitol Hill for Reuters. She recently covered the 2012 campaign and the White House and had been an editor in Washington, D.C., an editor in London, and a correspondent in Miami, Pittsburgh and New York. You can follow her on Twitter @ReutersZengerle"
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