Warren's Feed
Apr 28, 2014

White House casts Russia sanctions strategy as battle of attrition

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama
calls his sanctions policy against Russia “calibrated”, while
his Republican rivals dismiss it a “slap on the wrist” and
Russia condemns it as “illegitimate.”

As the White House embarks on what experts agree is a
cautious approach to penalizing Russia for its intervention in
Ukraine, the strategy behind the seemingly light penalties is
being cast by Obama administration officials as a slow battle of
attrition, chipping away at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s
credibility while keeping U.S. policy in lockstep with Europe.

Apr 25, 2014

As Iraq violence grows, U.S. sends more intelligence officers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is quietly expanding the number of intelligence officers in Iraq and holding urgent meetings in Washington and Baghdad to find ways to counter growing violence by Islamic militants, U.S. government sources said.

A high-level Pentagon team is now in Iraq to assess possible assistance for Iraqi forces in their fight against radical jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a group reconstituted from an earlier incarnation of al Qaeda, said two current government officials and one former U.S. official familiar with the matter.

Apr 17, 2014

U.S. special forces struggle with record suicides: admiral

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) – Suicides among U.S. special operations forces, including elite Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, are at record levels, a U.S. military official said on Thursday, citing the effects of more than a decade of “hard combat.”

The number of special operations forces committing suicide has held at record highs for the past two years, said Admiral William McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command.

Apr 15, 2014

Despite tough patch, U.S. intelligence chief says he is staying

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) – Despite enduring “a perfect storm” of troubles for U.S. spy agencies over the last 18 months, the director of national intelligence announced on Tuesday that he plans to stay on the job through the end of President Barack Obama’s term.

Speaking to an industry conference in Tampa, James Clapper detailed a litany of challenges he said have hit the $45 billion-per-year U.S. intelligence-gathering effort, from U.S. budget turmoil and the Syrian war to leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Apr 15, 2014

U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid to sell sharper images

TAMPA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. intelligence community has thrown its support behind a bid by commercial space imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc (DGI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to sell higher resolution images from its satellites, the leading U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday.

DigitalGlobe has pressed the government for years to allow it to sell such imagery but U.S. government agencies worried that giving public access to them could undermine the intelligence advantage they have from even higher resolution satellite images.

Apr 14, 2014

After success on Iran, U.S. Treasury’s sanctions team faces new challenges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – This is what the modern American war room looks like: the clocks on the wall show the times in Kabul, Tehran and Bogota. The faces around the conference table are mostly young. There is talk of targets, and of middle-of-the-night calls to Europe.

But the meeting one recent morning convened deep within the Treasury Department, not the Pentagon. The weapons at hand were not drones or cruise missiles, but financial sanctions, aimed with similar precision at U.S. rivals’ economic interests.

Apr 14, 2014

More U.S. sanctions likely if Russian actions in Ukraine continue

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is prepared to step up sanctions against Moscow if pro-Russian military actions in eastern Ukraine continue, a senior U.S. envoy said on Sunday, but it is unclear whether new measures will win European support or slow the Russian-backed separatist revolt.

The next round of U.S. sanctions are expected to target Russian business sectors such as mining, banking and energy. But U.S. officials said it was uncertain that Europe would go along with penalties that would affect Russia’s economy and powerful energy sector.

Apr 13, 2014

Washington slams Moscow with another ‘false claims’ list over Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is prepared to step up sanctions against Moscow if pro-Russian military actions in eastern Ukraine continue, a senior U.S. envoy said on Sunday, but it is unclear whether new measures will win European support or slow the Russian-backed separatist revolt.

The next round of U.S. sanctions are expected to target Russian business sectors such as mining, banking and energy. But U.S. officials said it was uncertain that Europe would go along with penalties that would affect Russia’s economy and powerful energy sector.

Mar 22, 2014

Wielding sanctions as scalpel, Obama aimed for Putin’s inner circle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. sanctions this week against Russia were carefully crafted in an attempt to target President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle without provoking a backlash from Moscow against U.S. businesses, senior U.S. officials said.

Concerns about possible Russian retaliation “helped shape the discussions about appropriate sanctions” within the White House, said a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There’s an awareness that even targeted sanctions can have broad effects.”

Mar 19, 2014

U.S. lawmakers urge Hagel to end Pentagon contracts with Russian firm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers who oppose the Pentagon’s dealings with Russia’s state-owned arms exporting firm are using Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine to press the argument that contracts with Rosoboronexport should be ended.

“Given Russia’s recent actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including its support of the illegal referendum for Crimean separation, we strongly urge you to terminate these contracts,” a bipartisan group of five lawmakers from the House of Representatives wrote to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday.