Friday, October 23, 2015

Spy vs. Spy: Inside the Fraying U.S.-Israel Ties - WSJ

Spy vs. Spy: Inside the Fraying U.S.-Israel Ties

1 Share
The U.S. closely monitored Israel’s military bases and eavesdropped on secret communications in 2012, fearing its longtime ally might try to carry out a strike on Fordow, Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facility.
Nerves frayed at the White House after senior officials learned Israeli aircraft had flown in and out of Iran in what some believed was a dry run for a commando raid on the site. Worried that Israel might ignite a regional war, the White House sent a second aircraft carrier to the region and readied attack aircraft, a senior U.S. official said, “in case all hell broke loose.”
The two countries, nursing a mutual distrust, each had something to hide. U.S. officials hoped to restrain Israel long enough to advance negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran that the U.S. had launched in secret. U.S. officials saw Israel’s strike preparations as an attempt to usurp American foreign policy.
Instead of talking to each other, the allies kept their intentions secret. To figure out what they weren’t being told, they turned to their spy agencies to fill gaps. They employed deception, not only against Iran, but against each other. After working in concert for nearly a decade to keep Iran from an atomic bomb, the U.S. and Israel split over the best means: diplomacy, covert action or military strikes.
Personal strains between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erupted at their first Oval Office meeting in 2009, and an accumulation of grievances in the years since plunged relations between the two countries into crisis.
This Wall Street Journal account of the souring of U.S.-Israel relations over Iran is based on interviews with nearly two dozen current and former senior U.S. and Israeli officials.
U.S. and Israeli officials say they want to rebuild trust but acknowledge it won’t be easy. Mr. Netanyahu reserves the right to continue covert action against Iran’s nuclear program, said current and former Israeli officials, which could put the spy services of the U.S. and Israel on a collision course.
A shaky start
Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu shared common ground on Iran when they first met in 2007. Mr. Netanyahu, then the leader of Israel’s opposition party, the right-wing Likud, discussed with Mr. Obama, a Democratic senator, how to discourage international investment in Iran’s energy sector. Afterward, Mr. Obama introduced legislation to that end.
Suspicions grew during the 2008 presidential race after Mr. Netanyahu spoke with some congressional Republicans who described Mr. Obama as pro-Arab, Israeli officials said. The content of the conversations later found its way back to the White House, senior Obama administration officials said.
Soon after taking office in January 2009, Mr. Obama took steps to allay Israeli concerns, including instructing the Pentagon to develop military options against Iran’s Fordow facility, which was built into a mountain. The president also embraced an existing campaign of covert action against Iran, expanding cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.
Mossad leaders compared the covert campaign to a 10-floor building: The higher the floor, they said, the more invasive the operation. CIA and Mossad worked together on operations on the lower floors. But the Americans made clear they had no interest in moving higher—Israeli proposals to bring down Iran’s financial system, for example, or even its regime.
Some covert operations were run unilaterally by Mossad, such as the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, according to U.S. officials.
The first Oval Office meeting between Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu, in May 2009—weeks after Mr. Netanyahu became prime minister—was difficult for both sides. After the meeting, Mr. Obama’s aides called Ron Dermer, Mr. Netanyahu’s adviser, to coordinate their statements. Mr. Dermer told them it was too late; Mr. Netanyahu was already briefing reporters. “We kind of looked at each other and said, ‘I guess we’re not coordinating our messages,’ ” said Tommy Vietor, a former administration official who was there.
In 2010, the risk of covert action became clear. A computer virus dubbed Stuxnet, deployed jointly by the U.S. and Israel to destroy Iranian centrifuges used to process uranium, had inadvertently spread across the Internet. The Israelis wanted to launch cyberattacks against a range of Iranian institutions, according to U.S. officials. But the breach made Mr. Obama more cautious, officials said, for fear of triggering Iranian retaliation, or damaging the global economy if a virus spread uncontrollably.
Israel questioned whether its covert operations were enough, said aides to Mr. Netanyahu. Stuxnet had only temporarily slowed Tehran’s progress. “Cyber and other covert operations had their inherent limitations,” a senior Israeli official said, “and we reached those limitations.”
Mr. Netanyahu pivoted toward a military strike, raising anxiety levels in the White House.
The U.S. Air Force analyzed the arms and aircraft needed to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and concluded Israel didn’t have the right equipment. The U.S. shared the findings, in part, to steer the Israelis from a military strike.
The Israelis weren’t persuaded and briefed the U.S. on an attack plan: Cargo planes would land in Iran with Israeli commandos on board who would “blow the doors, and go in through the porch entrance” of Fordow, a senior U.S. official said. The Israelis planned to sabotage the nuclear facility from inside.
Pentagon officials thought it was a suicide mission. They pressed the Israelis to give the U.S. advance warning. The Israelis were noncommittal.
Iranian students in a November 2013 demonstration defending their country's nuclear program outside the Fordow Uranium Conversion facility in Iran.ENLARGE
Iranian students in a November 2013 demonstration defending their country's nuclear program outside the Fordow Uranium Conversion facility in Iran. Photo: CHAVOSH HOMAVANDI/AFP/Getty Images
“Whether this was all an effort to try to pressure Obama, or whether Israel was really getting close to a decision, I don’t know,” said Michéle Flournoy, who at the time was undersecretary of defense for policy.
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, was moving toward diplomacy. In December 2011, the White House secretly used then-Sen. John Kerry to sound out Omani leaders about opening a back channel to the Iranians.
At the same time, the White House pressed the Israelis to scale back their assassination campaign and turned down their requests for more aggressive covert measures, U.S. officials said.
The president spoke publicly about his willingness to use force as a last resort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon—“I don’t bluff,” Mr. Obama said in March 2012—but some of Mr. Netanyahu’s advisers weren’t convinced.
In early 2012, U.S. spy agencies told the White House about a flurry of meetings that Mr. Netanyahu convened with top security advisers. The meetings covered everything from mission logistics to the political implications of a military strike, Israeli officials said.
Warning signs
U.S. spy agencies stepped up satellite surveillance of Israeli aircraft movements. They detected when Israeli pilots were put on alert and identified moonless nights, which would give the Israelis better cover for an attack. They watched the Israelis practice strike missions and learned they were probing Iran’s air defenses, looking for ways to fly in undetected, U.S. officials said.
New intelligence poured in every day, much of it fragmentary or so highly classified that few U.S. officials had a complete picture. Officials now say many jumped to the mistaken conclusion that the Israelis had made a dry run.
At the time, concern and confusion over Israel’s intentions added to the sense of urgency inside the White House for a diplomatic solution.
The White House decided to keep Mr. Netanyahu in the dark about the secret Iran talks, believing he would leak word to sabotage them. There was little goodwill for Mr. Netanyahu among Mr. Obama’s aides who perceived the prime minister as supportive of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign.
Mr. Netanyahu would get briefed on the talks, White House officials concluded, only if it looked like a deal could be reached.
The first secret meeting between U.S. and Iranian negotiators, held in July 2012, was a bust. But “nobody was willing to throw it overboard by greenlighting Israeli strikes just when the process was getting started,” a former senior Obama administration official said.
Israeli officials approached their U.S. counterparts over the summer about obtaining military hardware useful for a strike, U.S. officials said.
At the top of the list were V-22 Ospreys, aircraft that take off and land like helicopters but fly like fixed-wing planes. Ospreys don’t need runways, making them ideal for dropping commandos behind enemy lines.
The Israelis also sounded out officials about obtaining the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the U.S. military’s 30,000-pound bunker-busting bomb, which was designed to destroy Fordow.
Mr. Netanyahu wanted “somebody in the administration to show acquiescence, if not approval” for a military strike, said Gary Samore, who served for four years as Mr. Obama’s White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction. “The message from the Obama administration was: ‘We think this is a big mistake.’ ”
White House officials decided not to provide the equipment.
Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu spoke in September 2012, and Mr. Obama emerged convinced Israel wouldn’t strike on the eve of the U.S. presidential election.
By the following spring, senior U.S. officials concluded the Israelis weren’t serious about a commando raid on Fordow and may have been bluffing. When the U.S. offered to sell the Ospreys, Israel said it didn’t have the money.
Former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who championed a strike, said Mr. Netanyahu had come close to approving a military operation against Iran. But Israel’s military chiefs and cabinet members were reluctant, according to Israeli officials.
While keeping the Omani talks secret, U.S. officials briefed the Israelis on the parallel international negotiations between Iran and major world powers under way in early 2013. Those talks, which made little headway, were led on the U.S. side by State Department diplomat Wendy Sherman.
Robert Einhorn, at the time an arms control adviser at the State Department, said that during the briefings, Mr. Netanyahu’s advisers wouldn’t say what concessions they could live with. “It made us feel like nothing was going to be good enough for them,” Mr. Einhorn said.
U.S. spy agencies were monitoring Israeli communications to see if the Israelis had caught wind of the secret talks. In September 2013, the U.S. learned the answer.
Yaakov Amidror, Mr. Netanyahu’s national security adviser at the time, had come to Washington in advance of a Sept. 30 meeting between Messrs. Netanyahu and Obama.
On Sept. 27, Mr. Amidror huddled with White House national security adviser Susan Rice in her office when she told him that Mr. Obama was on the phone in a groundbreaking call with Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani.
Mr. Amidror had his own surprise. During a separate meeting in the Roosevelt Room, he told several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers that Israel had identified the tail numbers of the unmarked U.S. government planes that ferried negotiators to Muscat, Oman, the site of the secret talks, U.S. officials said.
Mr. Amidror, who declined to comment on the White House discussions, said that it was insulting for Obama administration officials to think “they could go to Oman without taking our intelligence capabilities into account.” He called the decision to hide the Iran talks from Israel a big mistake.
U.S. officials said they were getting ready to tell the Israelis about the talks, which advanced only after Mr. Rouhani came to office. During the Sept. 30 meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, the president acknowledged the secret negotiations. The secrecy cemented Israel’s distrust of Mr. Obama’s intentions, Israeli officials said.
Mr. Samore, the former White House official, said he believed it was a mistake to keep Israel in the dark for so long. Mr. Einhorn said: “The lack of early transparency reinforced Israel’s suspicions and had an outsize negative impact on Israeli thinking about the talks.”
Israel pushed for the U.S. to be more open about the Iran negotiations. Ms. Rice, however, pulled back on consultations with her new Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, who took over as Mr. Netanyahu’s national security adviser, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.
Secretary of State John Kerry, left, huddled with Iranian officials, including Hossein Fereydoun, center, the brother of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, right, before addressing a news conference about a nuclear agreement reached in Vienna in July.ENLARGE
Secretary of State John Kerry, left, huddled with Iranian officials, including Hossein Fereydoun, center, the brother of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, right, before addressing a news conference about a nuclear agreement reached in Vienna in July.Photo: US State Department/REUTERS
In exchanges with the White House, U.S. officials said, Mr. Cohen wouldn’t budge from demanding Iran give up its centrifuges and uranium-enrichment program. Israeli officials said they feared any deviation would be taken by the U.S. as a green light for more concessions.
In one meeting, Mr. Cohen indicated Mr. Netanyahu could accept a deal allowing Iran to keep thousands of centrifuges, U.S. officials said. Soon after, Mr. Cohen called to say he had misspoken. Neither side was prepared to divulge their bottom line.
In November 2013, when the interim agreement was announced, Mr. Samore was in Israel, where, he said, the Israelis “felt blindsided” by the terms. U.S. officials said the details came together so quickly that Ms. Sherman and her team didn’t have enough time to convey them all. Israeli officials said the Americans intentionally withheld information to prevent them from influencing the outcome.
Listening in
As talks began in 2014 on a final accord, U.S. intelligence agencies alerted White House officials thatIsraelis were spying on the negotiations. Israel denied any espionage against the U.S. Israeli officials said they could learn details, in part, by spying on Iran, an explanation U.S. officials didn’t believe.
Earlier this year, U.S. officials clamped down on what they shared with Israel about the talks after, they allege, Mr. Netanyahu’s aides leaked confidential information about the emerging deal.
When U.S. officials confronted the Israelis over the matter in a meeting, Israel’s then-minister of intelligence said he didn’t disclose anything from Washington’s briefings. The information, the minister said, came from “other means,” according to meeting participants.
Ms. Sherman told Mr. Cohen, Israel’s national security adviser: “You’re putting us in a very difficult position. We understand that you will find out what you can find out by your own means. But how can we tell you every single last thing when we know you’re going to use it against us?” according to U.S. officials who were there.
Mr. Netanyahu turned to congressional Republicans, one of his remaining allies with the power to affect the deal, Israeli officials said, but he couldn’t muster enough votes to block it.
U.S. officials now pledge to work closely with their Israeli counterparts to monitor Iran’s compliance with the international agreement.
But it is unclear how the White House will respond to any covert Israeli actions against Iran’s nuclear program, which current and former Israeli officials said were imperative to safeguard their country.
One clause in the agreement says the major powers will help the Iranians secure their facilities against sabotage. State Department officials said the clause wouldn’t protect Iranian nuclear sites from Israel.
Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA, said the U.S. and Israel could nonetheless end up at odds.
“If we become aware of any Israeli efforts, do we have a duty to warn Iran?” Mr. Hayden said. “Given the intimacy of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, it’s going to be more complicated than ever.”
Write to Adam Entous at adam.entous@wsj.com
Read the whole story
 
· · · · · · · · · · · · ·

President Obama Vetoes NDAA 

1 Share
President Barack Obama has followed up on his promise to veto the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual defense policy bill. Defense One reports that the veto is only the president's fifth and coincidentally, is only the fifth time the NDAA has been vetoed since it was first introduced 53 years ago. Other presidents to have vetoed the NDAA include Presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush. 
The president had repeatedly promised to send the legislation back to Congress on the grounds that it exceeds budget caps by providing funding through an Overseas Contingency Operations fund and includes restrictions that make it more difficult to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. 
At a rare veto signing ceremony with reporters, the White House issued the following veto message:
THE PRESIDENT:  As President and Commander-in-Chief, my first and most important responsibility is keeping the American people safe.  And that means that we make sure that our military is properly funded, and that our men and women in uniform get the support, the equipment, the support for their families that they need and deserve when they protect our freedom and our safety.
The bill that has been presented to me authorizing our defense -- excuse me -- the bill that’s before me, authorizing our defense spending for this year, does a number of good things.  It makes sure that our military is funded.  It has some important provisions around reform for our military retirement system, which is necessary to make sure that it is stable and effective.  It’s got some cybersecurity provisions that are necessary for an increasing threat. 
Unfortunately, it falls woefully short in three areas.  Number one, it keeps in place the sequester that is inadequate for us to properly fund our military in a stable, sustained way and allows all of our armed forces to plan properly.  I have repeatedly called on Congress to eliminate the sequester and make sure that we’re providing certainty to our military so they can do out-year planning, ensure military readiness, ensure our troops are getting what they need.  This bill instead resorts to gimmicks that does not allow the Pentagon to do what it needs to do.
Number two, unfortunately it prevents a wide range of reforms that are necessary for us to get our military modernized and able to deal with the many threats that are presenting themselves in the 21st century.  We have repeatedly put forward a series of reforms eliminating programs that the Pentagon does not want -- Congress keeps on stepping back in, and we end up wasting money.  We end up diverting resources from things that we do need to have the kind of equipment and training and readiness that are necessary for us to meet all potential threats.
And the third thing is that this legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world.  Guantanamo is one of the premiere mechanisms for jihadists to recruit.  It’s time for us to close it.  It is outdated; it’s expensive; it’s been there for years. And we can do better in terms of keeping our people safe while making sure that we are consistent with our values.
So I’m going to be vetoing this authorization bill.  I’m going to be sending it back to Congress.  And my message to them is very simple:  Let’s do this right.  We’re in the midst of budget discussions -- let’s have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security.  Let’s make sure that we’re able, in a constructive way, to reform our military spending to make it sustainable over the long term, and let’s make sure that, in a responsible way, we can draw down the populations in Guantanamo, make sure that the American people are safe, and make sure that we’re not providing the kinds of recruitment tools to terrorists that are so dangerous.
The text of the 2016 NDAA as it currently exists can be found here
Read the whole story
 
· · ·

Today's Headlines and Commentary

1 Share
An American soldier has been killed in action during a raid while attempting to free hostages held at an Islamic State compound in Iraq. The New York Times reports that the commando is “the first American soldier killed in action in Iraq since the withdrawal in 2011.” The joint raid, led by Kurdish special forces and supported by American commandos,” freed over 70 hostages, including 20 Iraqi security personnel, and left dozens of ISIS militants dead. According to the Pentagon, the captives faced “imminent mass execution.” ABC News has more on the raid.
Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s recent visit to Russia highlights the latter’s critical role in propping up the failing leader and suggests that Assad may just survive the war after all, writes the Associated Press. Reflecting on the Syrian leader’s trip to Moscow, the Times writes that the alliance between Syrian and Russian forces “reflects not only the urgent priority of salvaging the crumbling central government in Syria, but also each man’s eroded standing on the international stage.” Yet the Timesalso notes that Assad received a “chilly” reception in Moscow, and during the visit, Vladimir Putin “appeared to lay groundwork for a political settlement.”
In that vein, Defense One reports that the Russian president claimed that “any coordination on a political process in Syria would be done ‘in close contact with the other global powers and with the countries in the region that want to see a peaceful settlement to this conflict.’” Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are scheduled to meet on Friday for the first time since Russia commenced operations in Syria. Kerry is expected to condemn Russian strikes and push for a political solution. And in a sign of the changing facts on the ground, two days ago, Turkey, a strong opponent of the Assad regime, expressed willingness to allow Assad to stay for six months if there is a guarantee of his eventual departure.
About those facts on the ground: Reuters tells us that 80% of the 780 Russian sorties flown in Syria have targeted non-Islamic State actors. For a visual, the AFP tweeted a map showing the targets of Russian airstrikes. But lest Russia should get all the credit for Assad’s resurgence, the Guardianreports that Iran has sent more military advisers to Syria in efforts “to help defeat ‘terrorism.’” Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian confirmed the role of the Iranian military advisors but curiously denied the presence of Iranian troops in Syria despite reports to the contrary. McClatchy writes that “the recent influx of foreign fighters – mostly from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shiite Muslim communities in Iraq [...] comes at a time that the Syrian government has found itself short of the manpower needed to reconquer vast areas of its country.”
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin as violence continued to ripple across Israel. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kerry pushed for de-escalation, declaring that “it is absolutely critical to end all incitement and all violence” in order to create the possibility for “a larger process.” Following the meeting, Kerry expressed “a cautious measure of optimism” despite having previously limited expectations, the Times writes. Kerry will visit Amman to speak with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday. U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon expressed a pessimistic outlook on the prospect of peace in the region after his own visit to Israel.
The Times reports that UNESCO adopted a resolution criticizing “Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their holy site, Al Aqsa Mosque.” The Israeli government, in turn, condemned the resolution as “yet another step in the continuous Palestinian endeavor to rewrite history.” Al Aqsa Mosque has been at the center of the recent tensions. The BBC has more.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Reuters tells us that the Taliban’s presence in the outskirts of Kabul has raised questions about the threat the group presents to the capital itself following the fall of Kunduz, an attack that “highlighted the vulnerability of major urban centres.” Following the brief Taliban takeover last month, the Washington Post highlights the difficulty that Kunduz has faced recovering in the wake of mass looting and damage left by the insurgents. As the country faces a rising threat from the Taliban, Afghan security forces have launched offensives against the militant group in both the north and south of the country.
Across the Durand line, a bombing of a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan has killed 10. The APreports that no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
And with Washington set to greet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif this week, Voice of Americapredicts talks between Sharif and Obama are not likely to get very far. While the Times tells us that the Obama administration is planning to sell Pakistan eight F-16 fighter jets in order “to bolster a tenuous partnership,” Pakistan is expected to reject American attempts to limit its nuclear arsenal. The Journal writes that next month’s visit by Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif will eclipse the prime minister’s visit, as Sharif’s authority “on critical security-policy matters, including the fight against Islamic extremists, the Afghan peace process, and the country’s nuclear-weapons program” is largely curtailed by the army. Analysts say that the military's hold on power has grown, particularly in issues related to foreign policy and national security.
Struggling to cope with the influx of refugees, Slovenia has turned to the European Union to for additional police forces. Tens of thousands of refugees have entered the country since Friday. TheBBC reports that refugees in the French port city of Calais will receive new tents to deal with the impending cold weather.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Britain, Foreign Policy discusses the dilemma facing the United Kingdom as it attempts to deepen relations with China without pushing away Western allies. Yesterday, China announced that it will invest almost $40 billion in a nuclear power plant in the island nation, prompting fears from the United States that London and Beijing may be growing too close.
Yet the allies are united at the United Nations, where the United States, France, Britain and Germanyhave urged the Security Council to investigate Iran's ballistic missile test from last week, which they argue violated the terms of a 2010 UNSC resolution banning Iran from conducting such tests. OnLawfare, Yishai Schwartz discussed the legal issues at play in the potential violation.
Russia announced plans to build five military bases, including  four Arctic bases and another base on the contested Kurile Islands. Japan and Russia have disputed who has control over the island chain since the end of the Second World War.
The Department of Homeland Security informed Congress yesterday that it will choose not to get a warrant to use stingrays, or “secret cellphone-scanning technology,” in cases where it is protecting the president. That said, presidential security will be the only exception to the new rules released by the department about how it will use the devices moving forward. As the Wall Street Journal notes, those new rules largely mirror ones released by the Department of Justice in September, and in almost all cases will require law enforcement to get warrants to use the devices.
New charges were filed against five Minnesota men who had previously been indicted on charges of material support for terrorism after they attempted to join the Islamic State. The five are now also charged with conspiracy to commit murder overseas. The men were part of a larger group of nine Minnesotans, three of whom have already pled guilty.
Yesterday, FBI Director Jim Comey told Congress that fewer Americans are defecting to ISIS. TheHill suggests that the decline in defectors could be a sign that policies to prevent people from joining ISIS are working or, alternatively, that U.S. officials are not aware of the people who are still joining.  
The Wall Street Journal reports that President Barack Obama is expected to veto the $612 billion NDAA today based on objections to how the military is funded and measures designed to block the closure of the detention facility on Guantanamo Bay. The move will likely spark another round of contentious wrangling on Capitol Hill.
We certainly do hope Julian Assange is comfortable in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Yesterday, Wikileaks chose to doxx CIA Director John Brennan and his family, releasing the entirety of his SF-86 security clearance application and all corresponding personal information, including his social security number, his home address, and the addresses of his friends and family. Shane Harris of the Daily Beast notes that the dump “had no obvious public policy value” while Foreign Policy tells us the release was a “snoozefest.” But perhaps the the CIA says it best, “the hacking of the Brennan account is a crime.”
The Post’s Craig Whitlock carries a piece on the pending promotion of Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, an admiral in charge of elite SEAL teams who Pentagon investigators have determined illegally retaliated against whistleblowers. Instead of punishing him though, the Navy has thrown out the findings, determining that none of the allegations “rose to the level of misconduct.” Some activists, such as Mandy Smithberger, a military reform analyst at the Project on Government Oversight, have said that the move proves whistleblower protections have “no teeth” and instead essentially function as “a trap.”  
In Foreign Affairs, Julius Taranto previews the Supreme Court’s hearing of Bank Markazi v. Peterson, noting that such cases complicate the executive branch’s ability to conduct foreign affairs and proposing a mechanism for limiting the damage done to the president’s negotiating powers.
Today’s long read: Richard Posner review’s Justice Stephen Breyer’s book The Court and The Worldin the latest edition of Foreign Affairs.
Parting shot: Beating the likes of Bill Gates and South Korean President Park Geun-hye,Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been award a peace prize! No joke. The chairman of an award dubbed China’s peace prize has come under fire for recognizing Mugabe---who has been accused of systematic torture and violence---for his efforts to “bring political and economic order” to Zimbabwe.
ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare
Ben reiterated his challenge to Vladimir Putin, declaring that he will fight him any time and in any place where he can’t have him arrested.
Francesca Procaccini continued her coverage of this week’s hearings in the 9/11 trial at the Guantanamo military commissions, explaining how the question of pro se representation has opened a pandora’s box.
Ingrid Wuerth walked us through the foreign relations and national security cases on the Supreme Court’s October Term docket.
Stewart Baker shared episode #85 of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with General Michael Hayden.
Herb Lin looked into claims that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act would prevent law enforcement from legally hacking back as part of an authorized investigation.
Cody linked to the video from a Q&A with Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor, on the state of play following the ECJ’s decisions in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner.
Finally, Tim Edgar explained how standing issues complicate the United States’ potential to accommodate European demands for judicial redress for data collection.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
Read the whole story
 
· · · · · · ·

Испанский военный вертолет рухнул в Атлантическом океане - РБК

1 Share

Московский комсомолец

Испанский военный вертолет рухнул в Атлантическом океане
РБК
Вертолет ВВС Испании, направлявшийся из Мавритании на Канары, потерпел крушение в Атлантическом океане, сообщает AP со ссылкой на заявление Минобороны Испании. Вертолет упал на расстоянии в 280 морских миль (519 миль) от места назначения на острове ...
Над Атлантическим океаном потерпел крушение вертолет ВВС ИспанииИА REGNUM
Вертолет ВВС Испании упал в Атлантический океанLenta.ru
Испанский вертолет потерпел крушение в Атлантическом океанеФедеральное агентство новостей No.1
Пронедра -Русская Служба Новостей
Все похожие статьи: 20 »

Islamist Rebel Fighters Unite in Damascus Suburb

1 Share
Three major Islamist rebel groups have launched a joint operations center in an eastern suburb of the Syrian capital in a concerted effort to fight the Syrian government and its allied Russian forces. The al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, is one of the groups that have signed the new agreement, according to a statement the groups released Thursday on social media. The other two are Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic Union of Jund al-Sham, according to their websites. This announcement came as the Russian military continued its air campaign in support of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia entered the war in Syria three weeks ago with the stated intent of destroying Islamic State militant operations. But the U.S. and rebel groups say Russian airstrikes have instead hit rebel groups and are actually meant to prop up Assad. “It is no secret that the Muslim nation, especially in the Levant, is being brutally targeted. The Russians are officially here and the Crusaders [U.S.-led coalition] and their allies have been here already,” a joint statement by the three Islamist groups said. The newly established command center in eastern Damascus, called Jund al-Malahem or the Soldiers of Epics, will be operating in areas that have been under the rebel control. The aim is “to interlace efforts in order to counter this ruthless campaign on Muslim lands,” the statement read. The formation of such an alliance is not only to fight regime forces but also to launch attacks on Russian forces and the international coalition and their allies in Syria. Seeking a foothold The largest of the three groups, al-Nusra Front, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., has been planning to establish such a center for a while, reports say. The group is trying to strengthen its foothold in the Damascus area after losses to the regime forces elsewhere in the northwestern province of Idlib. However, many locals are afraid the implications of this alliance will only be bad for them, because its presence could lead to fierce battles between rebel groups and pro-government forces. A local journalist, who insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution, told VOA “this new development” would have an immediate impact on the course of the battle “with the Syrian regime forces." “I only hope it won’t exacerbate the human crisis here, because the regime’s reaction in these kinds of situations is unpredictable,” he said.   “Al-Nusra [Front] and Ahrar al-Sham don’t care about people as much as they do about territorial gains in their fight against the regime,” he added. Regime forces have besieged the region since June 2014. The blockade has resulted in massive shortages of food and other goods. The Army of Islam, another extremist group that operates in eastern Damascus — also known as Eastern Ghouta — has been accused by the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham of taking advantage of the dire situation to exploit the civilian population by controlling prices and not allowing people to get out of the area. The Syrian military has regularly conducted airstrikes there, while opposition groups such as al-Nusra Front and the Army of Islam have controlled large parts of the area. Islamic State militants briefly took control of parts of Eastern Ghouta last year, but local armed groups and other Islamist forces in the area expelled them.

Read the whole story
 
· · ·

Obama Vetoes $612 Billion Defense Bill 

1 Share
From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:44

President Barack Obama vetoed a sweeping $612 billion defense policy bill Thursday in a rebuke to congressional Republicans, and insisted they send him a better version that doesn't tie his hands on some of his top priorities. (Oct. 22)
Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Get updates and more Breaking News here: http://smarturl.it/APBreakingNews
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 2

Obama Vetoes $612 Billion Defense Bill 

1 Share
From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:44

President Barack Obama vetoed a sweeping $612 billion defense policy bill Thursday in a rebuke to congressional Republicans, and insisted they send him a better version that doesn't tie his hands on some of his top priorities. (Oct. 22)
Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Get updates and more Breaking News here: http://smarturl.it/APBreakingNews
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

Israelis Up In Arms Against Palestinian Attackers

1 Share
In a recent episode of the popular Israeli parody show Eretz Nehederet, “Wonderful Land,” an actor posing as a hardware shop owner laments the current shortage of pepper spray on store shelves and offers alternatives to defending against knife attacks:  Nunchucks fashioned from candlesticks and body armor, made out of wooden cutting boards “for full stabbing protection.” The skit makes light of growing fears among Israelis after a series of attacks by Palestinians in what is being...

Mexico police find US drugs tunnel

1 Share
Mexican police find an 800m-long tunnel used to smuggle drugs into the US city of San Diego, authorities say.

VIDEO: China's human rights record questioned

1 Share
China's President Xi Jinping has been dining at David Cameron's country home this evening.

Refugee Surge Forces Spending Cuts, More Borrowing by Sweden 

1 Share
Sweden will make across-the-board spending cuts and raise borrowing to cope with as many as 190,000 refugees fleeing war in countries such as Syria and Iraq this year, the government said Thursday. The Migration Agency more than doubled its forecast for asylum-seekers and said it needed an extra 70 billion Swedish crowns ($8.41 billion) over the coming two years. Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said asylum costs were unsustainable in the longer term and called on other European countries to do more to share the burden. "Clearly, the budget shortfall is going to be bigger this year than in our most recent forecast," Andersson told reporters. "It is going to take longer for us to get back to balanced public finances. It is also going to mean that we are going to need to borrow money." The government had set aside around 40 billion crowns — or 4 percent of its overall budget — for asylum and integration in 2016, but its figures were based on the Migration Agency's previous forecast of 74,000 asylum-seekers this year. Savings measures Andersson said planned savings would include reducing the cost of sick leave and making the asylum system more cost-effective as well as other measures. Some money will also be redirected from Sweden's foreign aid budget. Spending on health, schools and jobs will be protected, Andersson said. Sweden will also speed up the expulsion of around 6,000 people whose asylum applications were rejected. Sweden's AAA credit rating will be unaffected by the extra borrowing, said Jesper Hansson, chief economist at the National Institute for Economic Research. The country's public finances are among the most solid in Europe, and government debt, at around 36 percent of GDP, is among the lowest. The fiscal stimulus could also help the Riksbank push up consumer prices, which have been flat or falling for much of the last three years. "It will speed up recovery in the economy," Hansson said. In the September budget, the government forecast it would run a deficit of 36 billion crowns this year with finances returning to balance in 2018. Violence in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and parts of Africa has produced a wave of refugees seeking shelter in Europe. Thousands have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean in rickety boats. The burden to take them in has at the same time fallen heavily on just a few countries. Germany reckons it could take in 800,000 to 1 million asylum-seekers this year. Generous rules Sweden's generous asylum rules — Syrians, for example, are given automatic permanent residency — have led a record 100,000 to seek refuge in the Nordic country so far in 2015. Nearly 10,000 arrived in the past week, straining the country's ability to house the newcomers. "We have seen pictures of people who are literally walking from Greece across the Balkans to Germany and on to Sweden," Anders Danielsson, head of the Migration Agency, told reporters. "Last night all the our places were full." The agency estimated that it would face a shortage of accommodation for 25,000 to 45,000 asylum-seekers by the end of the year. Tens of thousands may spend the cold Swedish winter in heated tents. The Migration Agency, which has often been forced to increase its estimates for refugee arrivals, gave a range of  140,000 to 190,000 asylum-seekers for this year. Of those, 33,000 were expected to be unaccompanied children. The previous record for a single year was during the war in the Balkans in the early 1990s, when Sweden took in around 84,000 people. The agency said it expected the flow to ease next year, but numbers could still reach as high as 170,000. Polls show most Swedes still welcome refugees, but the influx has caused tensions. A number of asylum centers were attacked in the past week, and the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party is set to begin an advertising campaign in foreign media aiming to warn off asylum-seekers.

Read the whole story
 
· · ·

Обама официально наложил вето на оборонный бюджет США на 2016 год - Газета.Ru

1 Share

Вести.Ru

Обама официально наложил вето на оборонный бюджет США на 2016 год
Газета.Ru
Президент США Барак Обама официально наложил вето на проект оборонного бюджета страны на 2016 год, сообщает Reuters. «Я собираюсь отправить его обратно в конгресс, и мое обращение к ним очень простое: «Давайте сделаем это правильно», — сказал глава государства.
Обама наложил вето на проект оборонного бюджета США на 2016 годРИА Новости
Обама наложил вето на проект военного бюджета СШАИА REGNUM
Барак Обама наложил вето на законопроект, позволяющий начать поставки оружия УкраинеИнформационное агентство России ТАСС
Московский комсомолец -Вести.Ru -НТВ.ru
Все похожие статьи: 22 »
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 3

Working Enigma machine fetches world record price at New York auction 

1 Share
Fully operational device which was eventually cracked by Bletchley Park codebreakers sold to private collector for $365,000











Read the whole story
 
· ·

Bickering at Benghazi hearing 

1 Share
From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 01:45

Fireworks comes from panel at Benghazi hearing as Congressmen Gowdy and Cummings bicker. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/reuterssubscribe
More updates and breaking news: http://smarturl.it/BreakingNews
Reuters tells the world's stories like no one else. As the largest international multimedia news provider, Reuters provides coverage around the globe and across topics including business, financial, national, and international news. For over 160 years, Reuters has maintained its reputation for speed, accuracy, and impact while providing exclusives, incisive commentary and forward-looking analysis.

Hillary Clinton's Benghazi Opening Statement

1 Share
From: WSJDigitalNetwork
Duration: 02:48

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi saying "we need leadership at home to match our leadership abroad." Photo:AP
Subscribe to the WSJ channel here:
http://bit.ly/14Q81Xy
More from the Wall Street Journal:
Visit WSJ.com: http://www.wsj.com
Follow WSJ on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wsjvideo
Follow WSJ on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+wsj/posts
Follow WSJ on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WSJvideo
Follow WSJ on Instagram: http://instagram.com/wsj
Follow WSJ on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/wsj/

Russian fighter jet has close encounter with drone 

1 Share
From: CNN
Duration: 01:01

The Russian Defense Ministry released video showing one of its military jets flying close to an unidentified drone over Syria.

James Bond Tells Sky News There Is Too Much Surveillance

1 Share
From: skynews
Duration: 04:25

Daniel Craig has told Sky News he thinks there is "too much surveillance and too much information gathering" in the world. Read more: http://news.sky.com/story/1574490/james-bond-says-there-is-too-much-surveillance
SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more great videos: http://www.youtube.com/skynews
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skynews
For more great content go to http://news.sky.com and download our apps:

Two killed, two injured in sword attack on Sweden school

1 Share
From: AFP
Duration: 00:45

A masked man brandishing a sword killed a teacher and a student and seriously wounded two other people at a school in Sweden before being shot and killed
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 4

Hillary Clinton: I don't think it's a relevant ... 

1 Share
From: CNN
Duration: 01:52

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions on Capitol Hill in the Benghazi hearings.

Clinton Recalls Night Of Benghazi Attack 

1 Share
From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 02:11

Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton described the night of the Benghazi attack as she came face-to-face Thursday with the Republican-led special investigation of the 2012 violence in Libya. (Oct. 22)
Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Get updates and more Breaking News here: http://smarturl.it/APBreakingNews
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

AP Top Stories 22 p 

1 Share
From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 00:56

Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Here are the top stories for Thursday, October 22nd: Clinton testifies before Benghazi committee; Pentagon confirms raid on ISIL prison; Knife-wielding man attacks Sweden school; Indian festival marks victory over evil.
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

Hillary Clinton testifies on Benghazi 

1 Share
From: CNN
Duration: 02:18

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before a special committee investigating the Benghazi attacks. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports on the latest.

Hillary Clinton recalls the night of Benghazi attacks 

1 Share
From: CNN
Duration: 06:14

Addressing the Congressional panel, Hillary Clinton details what happened the night of the Benghazi attacks.

Raw: Drone Footage of Damascus Fighting 

1 Share
From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:15

Video of a Damascus neighborhood filmed by a Russian drone has provided a rare glimpse into the staggering scale of destruction that years of fighting has inflicted around the Syrian capital, seat of President Bashar Assad's power. (Oct. 22)
Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Get updates and more Breaking News here: http://smarturl.it/APBreakingNews
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 5

Obama Defends Black Lives Matter Movement

1 Share
From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:05

Obama Defends Black Lives Matter Movement
Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Get updates and more Breaking News here: http://smarturl.it/APBreakingNews
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

Clinton Defends Response to Request for More Security

1 Share
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Amb. Chris Stevens, killed in the Benghazi attack, never raised concerns with her staff about security in Libya, instead taking concerns to State security experts. "I know that's not the answer you want to hear," she told Rep. Trey Gowdy. Photo:AP

Police find drug tunnel under U.S.-Mexico border

1 Share
From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 00:45

Mexico's federal police discover a tunnel from which drugs were transported into the U.S. from northern Mexico, and seize 10 tons of marijuana and arrest 16 suspected drug traffickers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/reuterssubscribe
More updates and breaking news: http://smarturl.it/BreakingNews
Reuters tells the world's stories like no one else. As the largest international multimedia news provider, Reuters provides coverage around the globe and across topics including business, financial, national, and international news. For over 160 years, Reuters has maintained its reputation for speed, accuracy, and impact while providing exclusives, incisive commentary and forward-looking analysis.

Putin: Not worried about democracy coming to our borders, but about NATO coming to our borders 

1 Share
From: RussiaToday
Duration: 05:12

FULL SPEECH https://youtu.be/-W923PAexwU
The 12th annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Russia's Sochi has focused on international armed conflicts. Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking part in its final plenary session devoted to the crisis in the Middle East.
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com
Follow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rt
Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT
Listen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttv
RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

US Prosecutor to Drop Insider Trading Cases Against Seven - New York Times

1 Share

New York Times

US Prosecutor to Drop Insider Trading Cases Against Seven
New York Times
The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan moved on Thursday to dismiss insider trading charges and convictions against seven people, including Michael Steinberg, formerly of SAC Capital Advisors, a onetime close associate of the billionaire investor ...
UPDATE 2-US prosecutor abandons insider trading case against SAC's SteinbergReuters
7 more insider trading convictions up in smokeUSA TODAY
White-Collar Wipeout As Bharara Drops Charges Against Steinberg, Six OthersForbes
Business Insider -Wall Street Journal -Financial Times
all 39 news articles »

Photos of the Day: Oct. 22

1 Share
In photos chosen Thursday by Wall Street Journal editors, police escort migrants in Slovenia, Hillary Clinton takes a break from Benghazi testimony, and more.

Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 6

British trainee bankers at JP Morgan sacked after cheating at 'basic' maths test 

1 Share
Nearly a dozen junior bankers, some of them British graduates, told to pay for their own flights home from New York after cheating discovery











Read the whole story
 
· ·

Years after CBS scandal, answers to Bush questions elusive

1 Share
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rushing to meet a deadline proved to be the downfall of Dan Rather and his CBS News team when their story questioning former President George W. Bush's military record collapsed in 2004, a media scandal that is the basis of the current film "Truth."...

No comments:

Post a Comment