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Oct 8, 2013

Shutdown slows aid to families of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For the families of four U.S. soldiers killed by insurgents in Afghanistan on Sunday, the partial U.S. government shutdown will take a particularly personal toll.

The Pentagon says it is not allowed to pay these families a “death gratuity,” as long as the shutdown continues. The same goes for the family of a Marine who died in Afghanistan on Saturday and any others who die during the budget impasse.

Oct 7, 2013

Elite U.S. team questions seized al Qaeda leader on Navy ship

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An elite American interrogation team is questioning the senior al Qaeda figure who was seized by special operations forces in Libya and then whisked onto a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea, U.S. officials said on Monday.

Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name Abu Anas al-Liby, is being held aboard the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock ship, the officials said.

Oct 7, 2013

U.S. elite team questions seized al Qaeda leader on Navy ship

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) – An elite U.S. interrogation
team is questioning the senior al Qaeda figure who was captured
in Libya and then taken onto a Navy ship in the Mediterranean
Sea, U.S. officials said on Monday.

Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name Abu Anas
al-Liby, is being held aboard the USS San Antonio, an amphibious
transport dock ship, the officials said.

Oct 6, 2013

U.S. says captures al Qaeda leader in Libya, also raids Somalia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. forces launched raids in Libya and Somalia on Saturday, two weeks after the deadly Islamist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, capturing a top al Qaeda figure wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, U.S. officials said.

Senior al Qaeda figure Anas al Liby was seized in the raid in Libya, but no militant was captured in the raid on the Somali town of Barawe, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Oct 5, 2013

Pentagon to recall most furloughed workers, easing shutdown pain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Saturday it would recall most of the roughly 400,000 civilian Defense Department employees sent home during the government shutdown, in a move that could greatly lessen the impact of the shutdown on America’s armed forces.

The exact number to be recalled remained uncertain. Civilian Pentagon employees comprise about half the 800,000 federal employees currently furloughed.

Oct 5, 2013

Pentagon recalling most civilian defense employees idled by shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Saturday it will recall most of the roughly 400,000 civilian Defense Department employees sent home during the government shutdown, in a move that could greatly lessen the impact of feuding in Washington on U.S. armed forces.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said a legal review of the “Pay Our Military Act,” signed by President Barack Obama on Monday on the eve of the shutdown, would allow him to bring a still-unspecified number of civilians back to work next week.

Oct 3, 2013

Gaps emerge in U.S. efforts to shield troops, vets from shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When President Barack Obama signed the “Pay Our Military Act” on Monday, the goal was to ensure that U.S. troops get their salaries on time during the federal government shutdown along with essential payments like housing allowances.

But what about enlistment bonuses, which some sailors say are being delayed? And Pentagon lawyers are also still trying to determine whether they can immediately pay benefits like death gratuities to families of any troops who might die on active duty during the shutdown.

Sep 30, 2013

Two U.S. generals ousted over failure to secure Afghan base

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the Marine Corps on Monday effectively fired two U.S. generals over their failure to defend a major base in Afghanistan from a deadly Taliban attack last year, in an extraordinary and rare public censure.

Two Marines were killed and eight personnel were wounded when Taliban insurgents breached what a military investigation determined was inadequate security at Camp Bastion, in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Sep 27, 2013

Washington Navy Yard gunman’s employers point fingers over his record

WASHINGTON, Sept 27 (Reuters) – Two defense contractors who
employed Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis are pointing
fingers at one another after keeping him on the job despite his
mental health problems.

The dispute this week led contractor Hewlett-Packard
to cancel its work with Florida-based subcontractor, The
Experts, which hired Alexis to do information technology work on
U.S. Navy bases.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S. concern grows about al Qaeda ties to Kenya mall attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Islamist militant attack on a Kenyan shopping mall increasingly appears to have been carried out by a dominant faction of al Shabaab, which has ideological and personal ties to al Qaeda, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Based on initial reporting from the scene, which is still preliminary and uncertain, U.S. officials believe al Shabaab likely spent a great deal of time planning and staging the siege in Nairobi that killed at least 72 people.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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