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Aug 26, 2013

U.S. lawmakers call on Obama to consult them on Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers urged President Barack Obama on Monday to consult them as he decides how to respond to last week’s apparent poison gas attack in the Damascus suburbs, with some complaining that they have not been fully informed.

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a tough statement on Monday, saying that the suspected chemical weapons attack was a “moral obscenity” and accused Syria’s government of covering it up.

Aug 23, 2013

Senior U.S. Democrat urges air strikes against Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee urged President Barack Obama on Friday to order air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government after the apparent gassing deaths of hundreds of civilians.

Representative Eliot Engel cited Obama’s statement that the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces would cross a “red line” and cause the United States to act to halt such violations of international law.

Aug 22, 2013

Obama faces growing calls to act over Syria gas attack claims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday faced growing calls at home and abroad for forceful action against the Syrian government over accusations that it carried out a massive deadly chemical weapons attack.

While the White House said it was “appalled” by reports of hundreds of people gassed near Damascus on Wednesday, it made clear that any U.S. response must await confirmation of the attack and again demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad give U.N. inspectors immediate access to the sites of the alleged attacks.

Aug 20, 2013

U.S. takes tougher line with Egypt but denies aid cut

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday adopted a harder line toward Egypt’s military-backed government, stressing that its bloody crackdown on protesters could influence U.S. aid to Cairo but denying reports that it has suspended the assistance.

The army’s clampdown on supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi over the past week, the “suspicious deaths” of 37 prisoners in custody and the detention of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie on Tuesday have worsened relations between Washington and Egypt’s new rulers.

Aug 2, 2013

Obama open to making changes to surveillance, lawmakers say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday told lawmakers he is open to changing controversial surveillance programs in order to restore public confidence and provide assurance the government is not violating citizens’ privacy, participants at the meeting said.

“We understand the American people really do need to know what’s going on now and what’s going on in the past and get the right kind of assurances that their privacy has not been breached,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss, who attended the meeting.

Jul 31, 2013

New Snowden leak upstages U.S. move to declassify documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New revelations from former security contractor Edward Snowden that U.S. intelligence agencies have access to a vast online tracking tool came to light on Wednesday as lawmakers put the secret surveillance programs under greater scrutiny.

The Guardian, citing documents from Snowden, published National Security Agency training materials for the XKeyscore program, which the newspaper described as the NSA’s widest-reaching system that covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet.

Jul 31, 2013

U.S. releases documents on phone surveillance programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As Congress increasingly scrutinizes U.S. surveillance programs, the government on Wednesday released declassified documents on the mass collection of telephone data in a rare glimpse into the world of intelligence gathering.

The U.S. Director of National Intelligence released three declassified documents that authorized and explained the bulk collection of telephone data, one of the surveillance programs revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Jul 30, 2013

Obama asks Republican Senators McCain, Graham to visit Egypt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has asked two senior Republican senators to travel to Egypt to meet with its military leaders and the opposition, as Cairo’s allies struggle with how to address the turmoil convulsing the country.

Senator John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, hope to travel to Egypt next week, Graham said on Tuesday.

Jul 29, 2013

Republican lawmakers push Senate leaders over aid to Egypt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican senators pushed for more transparency on aid to Egypt, if not an outright end to the $1.3 billion per year in military assistance, as U.S. officials struggled on Monday with how to respond to the crisis in Cairo.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced an amendment to a Senate transportation funding bill that would end military aid to Egypt under a U.S. law banning aid to countries that have experienced military coups, and redirect the money to domestic infrastructure projects.

Jul 26, 2013

U.S. intends to send two Guantanamo detainees to Algeria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration said on Friday it plans to repatriate two inmates to Algeria from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, resuming the transfer of detainees from the controversial prison for the first time in nearly a year.

The step is the latest by President Barack Obama’s administration to show his commitment to closing the prison, which has held dozens of prisoners – most without charge – for more than a decade.

    • 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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