Susan's Feed
Jul 15, 2013

U.S. lawmakers’ doubts ease on arming Syrian rebels: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration has made progress in overcoming lawmakers’ objections to its plans to arm Syrian rebels, but some details remain unresolved, a U.S. official said on Monday.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who questioned the wisdom of arming the insurgents have tentatively agreed the administration can go ahead with its plans, but asked for updates as the covert effort proceeds, a senior administration official told Reuters.

Jul 10, 2013

White House lobbies Congress to overcome Syria arms deadlock

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry are lobbying members of Congress to try to break an impasse over White House plans to send arms to Syrian rebels, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers fear the weapons will end up in the hands of Islamist militants, and will not be enough to tip the balance against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad anyway.

Jul 3, 2013

Safety investigators stand by cause of TWA Flight 800 crash

ASHBURN, Virginia (Reuters) – U.S. government safety investigators on Tuesday stood by their report on the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 that said faulty wiring likely caused the plane to explode, ahead of the airing of a documentary that suggests a missile may have brought down the plane.

The investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said they had ruled out bombs or missiles during their four-year probe into the crash. The NTSB’s August 2000 report found the Boeing 747 broke apart and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean because of an explosion in the center fuel tank, likely caused by a spark from faulty wiring.

Jun 14, 2013

Far from Iran election, former guerrillas lobby Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For decades, an Iranian dissident group has seemed to be on the wrong side of history. Suppressed by both the Shah of Iran and then the ayatollahs who deposed him in 1979, its supporters have faced prison, death and exile, and were shunned in the United States as members of a cult-like terrorist organization.

The Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MEK) former guerrilla movement began to shake off its painful past last year when the State Department took it off the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations. The European Union made a similar decision in 2009 after a prolonged court battle.

Jun 12, 2013

Snowden says he will stay in Hong Kong and fight extradition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the National Security Agency said on Wednesday that broad U.S. surveillance efforts had helped stop “dozens” of possible attacks, and the contractor who revealed details of the top-secret programs vowed to fight any effort to bring him back to the United States to face charges.

In his first public testimony since the surveillance was made public last week, General Keith Alexander defended the NSA’s broad monitoring of phone and Internet data and said it served its purpose by helping disrupt potential attacks.

Jun 12, 2013

NSA director says surveillance helped stop ‘dozens’ of attacks

WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) – The head of the National
Security Agency said on Wednesday that broad U.S. surveillance
efforts had helped stop “dozens” of possible attacks, and the
contractor who revealed details of the top-secret programs vowed
to fight any effort to bring him back to the United States to
face charges.

In his first public testimony since the surveillance was
made public last week, General Keith Alexander defended the
NSA’s broad monitoring of phone and Internet data and said it
served its purpose by helping disrupt potential attacks.

May 23, 2013

Repatriating detainees to Yemen key to closing Guantanamo

WASHINGTON/MIAMI (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s pledge on Thursday to lift a ban on transfers of detainees to Yemen from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, addresses one of the core obstacles to clearing out the detention camp.

Of the 86 detainees who have been cleared for transfer or release, 56 are from Yemen, where al Qaeda has a dangerous presence. There are 80 more prisoners who are not cleared and an unknown number of those are Yemeni as well.

May 19, 2013

Danger and separation from families changing job of diplomats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When the Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda placed a bounty on her husband’s head, Mary Feierstein learned of it from a friend who called and said, “You must be a mess!”

U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein was thousands of miles (km) away at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, without his wife and family on what is called an “unaccompanied” posting.

May 14, 2013

In uproar over U.S. seizure of AP records, focus turns to Holder

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric
Holder was likely to face a storm of questions on Tuesday over
the Justice Department’s controversial decision to seize
telephone records of the Associated Press, a move denounced by
critics as a gross intrusion into freedom of the press.

The episode has created an uproar in Washington and led to
questions over how the Obama administration is balancing the
need for national security with privacy rights.

May 14, 2013

Associated Press says U.S. government seized journalists’ phone records

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Associated Press said on Monday the U.S. government secretly seized telephone records of AP offices and reporters for a two-month period in 2012, describing the acts as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news-gathering operations.

AP Chief Executive Gary Pruitt, in a letter posted on the agency’s website, said the AP was informed last Friday that the Justice Department gathered records for more than 20 phone lines assigned to the news agency and its reporters.