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Jun 28, 2013

The Snowden affair: Whatever happened to the blame game?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Edward Snowden’s revelations about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs and his globe-trotting flight from prosecution have created an international furor, but there is one place the outcry has been muted: Capitol Hill.

Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate, who have attacked President Barack Obama’s administration over the 2012 Benghazi attacks and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups, have so far largely held their fire over the Snowden case.

Jun 26, 2013

U.S. senator says Snowden case risks Ecuador trade status

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Wednesday he would seek to end preferential treatment for Ecuadorean goods if the South American nation offers political asylum to fugitive former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the foreign relations panel, warned in a statement that accepting Snowden “would severely jeopardize” preferential trade access the United States provides to Ecuador under two programs that are up for renewal in Congress.

Jun 25, 2013

Republicans blast Obama over Snowden as case turns partisan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican lawmakers criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the Edward Snowden case on Tuesday, calling President Barack Obama weak for failing to persuade Russia and China to return the fugitive intelligence contractor to the United States.

Snowden’s weekend departure from Hong Kong to Moscow angered and frustrated members of Congress, especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Tuesday that Snowden was at a Moscow airport. He ruled out handing him over, dismissing U.S. criticism as “ravings and rubbish.”

Jun 25, 2013

U.S. angry about Snowden’s protectors, but will it get even?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials and lawmakers have made it clear they’re furious at the governments that have played a role in enabling fugitive security contractor Edward Snowden’s globe-trotting, but the United States is expected to take a restrained approach to any retribution.

President Barack Obama’s administration has been trying to track Snowden since he slipped out of Hong Kong and flew to Moscow on Sunday, but his whereabouts remained a mystery amid a blizzard of speculative reports that he could be headed to Cuba, Ecuador, or Iceland.

Jun 20, 2013

Four U.S. senators seek to bar military aid to Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Four U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday that would bar President Barack Obama from providing military aid to Syria’s rebels, saying the administration has provided too little information about what they see as a risky intervention.

Introduced as Obama’s administration pushes Congress to support its plan to arm the Syrian opposition, the bill would bar the Department of Defense and U.S. intelligence agencies from using any funds to support military, paramilitary or covert operations in Syria, directly or indirectly.

Jun 19, 2013

NSA head, lawmakers defend surveillance programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the National Security Agency said U.S. surveillance programs had helped disrupt more than 50 possible attacks since September 11, 2001, as sympathetic members of Congress also defended the use of the top-secret spying operations.

In the first public hearing dedicated to the programs since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed them this month, members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee showed little will on Tuesday to pursue significant reforms.

Jun 18, 2013

NSA head, lawmakers jointly defend U.S. surveillance programs

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) – The head of the National
Security Agency on Tuesday said U.S. surveillance programs had
helped disrupt more than 50 possible attacks since Sept. 11,
2001, as sympathetic members of Congress also defended the use
of the top-secret spying operations.

In the first hearing dedicated to the surveillance programs
since former NSA contactor Edward Snowden revealed them earlier
this month, members of the House of Representatives Intelligence
Committee showed little will for significant reforms.

Jun 18, 2013

NSA head says U.S. surveillance thwarted more than 50 attacks

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) – The head of the U.S.
National Security Agency on Tuesday defended the broad
surveillance of Americans’ phone and Internet data as a vital
security tool and said it had helped disrupt possible attacks
more than 50 times since Sept. 11, 2001.

Justifying the surveillance programs that were disclosed by
an NSA leaker earlier this month, General Keith Alexander said
he would give lawmakers classified details of all of the
thwarted incidents within 24 hours.

Jun 14, 2013

House votes to block Obama plan to close Guantanamo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive defense bill on Friday that includes measures to block President Barack Obama’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, underscoring the tough fight ahead for the White House as it seeks to shutter the controversial detention camp.

The Republican-controlled House voted, 315-108, for the $638 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes money for weapons, troops and the war in Afghanistan. But it also addresses a range of policy matters, including this year’s efforts to combat sexual assault in the military and provisions intended to prevent the closure of the prison camp at the base in Cuba.

Jun 13, 2013

FBI says U.S. will hold Snowden responsible for NSA leaks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Thursday that authorities would move aggressively to track down Edward Snowden and hold him accountable for leaking the details of extensive and top-secret U.S. surveillance efforts.

Mueller confirmed that a criminal investigation had been launched into the leaks and said public reports about the National Security Agency’s efforts to monitor Internet and phone data had hurt U.S. national security.

    • 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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