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Jun 13, 2013

Lawmakers tire of playing ’20 questions’ in surveillance briefings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some members of the Congress say that getting straight answers from intelligence agencies about top-secret surveillance is like playing the game “20 Questions,” where answers come only if a questioner knows exactly what to ask.

They say quality of closed briefings depends largely on who conducts the sessions and whether members go in with a working knowledge of programs and pointed questions.

Jun 13, 2013

U.S. lawmakers tire of playing ’20 questions’ in surveillance briefings

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Some members of the U.S.
Congress say that getting straight answers from intelligence
agencies about top-secret surveillance is like playing the game
“20 Questions,” where answers come only if a questioner knows
exactly what to ask.

They say quality of closed briefings depends largely on who
conducts the sessions and whether members go in with a working
knowledge of programs and pointed questions.

Jun 7, 2013

Lawmakers mostly support surveillance programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The strongest criticism of President Barack Obama normally comes from the U.S. Congress, but reports the government engaged in sweeping surveillance of Americans’ phone and Internet activity left even many of his critics uncharacteristically supportive.

A few lawmakers called for probes or closed-door hearings after the reports surfaced this week and a small group introduced a bill seeking to “stop the National Security Agency from spying on citizens of the United States.”

Jun 6, 2013

Lawmakers act to limit military authority in sex assault cases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers, reacting to a spate of sexual violence seen as a “cancer” in the armed forces, backed a measure on Wednesday that would strip military commanders of their ability to overturn convictions for rape and other sexual assaults.

The House of Representatives Armed Services Committee voted to include the plan in the National Defense Authorization Act, a $638 billion bill that sets defense policy and authorizes spending levels for the Pentagon.

Jun 5, 2013

U.S. lawmakers act to limit military authority in sex assault cases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers, reacting to a spate of sexual violence seen as a “cancer” in the armed forces, backed a measure on Wednesday that would strip military commanders of their ability to overturn convictions for rape and other sexual assaults.

The House of Representatives Armed Services Committee voted to include the plan in the National Defense Authorization Act, a $638 billion bill that sets defense policy and authorizes spending levels for the Pentagon.

Jun 4, 2013

U.S. military chiefs face grilling over sexual assault

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – America’s top military officers told Congress on Tuesday that sexual assault represented a crisis in the armed forces but warned lawmakers against going too far with legislation stripping commanders of power within the military justice system.

The hearing comes after a wave of sexual assault scandals and new Pentagon data showing a steep rise in unwanted sexual contact, from groping to rape, that have deeply embarrassed the military.

Jun 4, 2013

U.S. military chiefs to draw line on sexual assault law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – America’s top military officers are likely to advise Congress not to go too far overhauling the U.S. military’s justice system to address the problem of sexual assault when they testify at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and top officers from each branch of the military will comment on legislation meant to stem a rise in sexual assault cases.

Jun 3, 2013

Top lawmaker looks to rein in military contractors’ pay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A powerful lawmaker said on Monday he was including a provision seeking to rein in the amount corporate executives can make from military contracts in the fiscal 2014 defense spending bill that Congress is expected to finalize in the coming weeks.

Republican Representative Howard McKeon of California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, included the plan on Monday in his version of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization act. The full committee will review the act on Wednesday.

May 28, 2013

House committee issues subpoena for Benghazi documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican chairman of a congressional oversight committee ordered the U.S. State Department on Tuesday to provide documents related to “talking points” used to discuss September’s Benghazi attacks during subsequent television appearances.

U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House of Representatives panel, issued a subpoena ordering 10 current and former State Department officials to hand over “documents and communications” related to the attacks in Libya last September 11, when four Americans were killed.

May 24, 2013

Obama wants to end ‘war on terror’ but Congress balks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama wants to roll back some of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. “war on terror,” but efforts to alter the global fight against Islamist militants will face the usual hurdle at home: staunch opposition from Republicans in Congress.

In a major policy speech on Thursday, Obama narrowed the scope of the targeted-killing drone campaign against al Qaeda and its allies and announced steps toward closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.

    • 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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