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Oct 14, 2013

U.S. senators would ease sanctions only after Iran concessions

WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Nine Democratic and
Republican U.S. senators said on Monday they were open to
suspending the implementation of new sanctions on Iran but only
if Tehran takes significant steps to slow its nuclear program.

Negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program are scheduled to
start in Geneva on Tuesday and will be the first since the June
election of President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who
wants to thaw Iran’s icy relations with the West to secure the
removal of punitive sanctions that have hobbled its oil-based
economy.

Oct 12, 2013

U.S. quietly observes coup law on Egypt aid, but shuns term

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.

Oct 12, 2013

Exclusive – U.S. quietly observes coup law on Egypt aid, but shuns term

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.

Oct 10, 2013

‘Captain Phillips’ torn from the headlines, but tells an old story

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.

Oct 9, 2013

U.S. withholds military, economic aid for Egypt

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.

Oct 8, 2013

Obama says U.S. to keep ‘going after’ al Qaeda-linked groups in Africa

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.

Oct 8, 2013

Republicans want Libya suspect brought to Guantanamo

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.

Oct 3, 2013

Despite shutdown, U.S. Congress saves Iraqi interpreter visa program

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.

Oct 2, 2013

U.S. spy agency tested tracking cell phone locations

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.

Oct 2, 2013

Fearing blind spots, U.S. spy agencies to recall some laid-off by shutdown

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
government shutdown.

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.

    • 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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