Susan's Feed
Aug 5, 2013

Al Qaeda intercept is just one piece of threat intelligence: U.S. sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Intercepted communication between al Qaeda leaders was one component of a broader pool of intelligence that prompted a threat alert closing numerous U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Africa, U.S. sources said on Monday.

The New York Times reported that the closure of the embassies was the result of intercepted electronic communications between Ayman al-Zawahri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as head of al Qaeda, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of Yemen-based affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Aug 2, 2013

After Snowden, no business as usual for U.S. and Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After causing weeks of embarrassment for the U.S. intelligence community, the Edward Snowden saga has now cast a shadow over international efforts to end the Syrian civil war and deal with Iran, and could also undermine White House hopes for a nuclear arms reduction deal.

Russia’s decision on Thursday to grant asylum to Snowden threatens to send already-strained relations between the United States and Russia to the lowest point in years and further complicate efforts to work out geopolitical challenges.

Jul 30, 2013

U.S. Army won’t bar contractors linked to Afghan insurgents: watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army has refused to bar 43 individuals or companies from getting U.S. contracts in Afghanistan despite information that they support the Taliban or other enemies of U.S. forces, a government watchdog said on Tuesday.

John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said he was concerned by the Army’s refusal to follow his office’s recommendations to prevent alleged supporters of the Taliban, the Haqqani network and al Qaeda from getting or keeping U.S. government contracts.

Jul 23, 2013

U.S. arming of Syria rebels could be temporary, slow: officials

By Mark Hosenball and Susan Cornwell

(Reuters) – U.S. plans to arm Syrian rebels passed one congressional hurdle but may face more when funding runs out in two months, further delaying the flow of weapons, U.S. officials and other sources said.

House and Senate intelligence panels this month agreed to a White House plan to provide arms to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, despite lawmakers’ reservations about the its chances of success.

Jul 22, 2013

Exclusive: U.S. congressional hurdles lifted on arming Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama can go ahead with a plan for the United States to arm the struggling Syrian rebels after some congressional concerns were eased, a key Republican lawmaker said on Monday.

“We believe we are in a position that the administration can move forward,” House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told Reuters.

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.