November 18th, 2013
07:35 PM ET

A soldier fights to get a battle buddy back from Iraq

By Jake Tapper and Eric Marrapodi

It is military creed that you do not leave your battle buddies behind. But in many ways the U.S. government is doing just that.

Thousands of Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who served U.S. soldiers in those respective wars – not only translating, but serving as eyes and ears for troops – have been left behind, and in some cases were killed. Those trying to avoid this fate by pursuing visas to come to this country have been trapped in a maze of U.S. bureaucracy, weighed down by post-9/11 security.

The Washington Post last week wrote in an editorial, "We find it incomprehensible that the State Department is dragging its feet in providing these interpreters with U.S. visas."

Here is one such story.

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Filed under: Security Brief
Obama faces crucial Guantanamo votes
U.S. military guards move a detainee inside the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
November 18th, 2013
12:50 PM ET

Obama faces crucial Guantanamo votes

By Evan Perez

President Barack Obama's efforts to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are expected to face some crucial Senate votes this week, and for the first time in four years, he stands a chance to win some.

A Senate bill to authorize defense spending contains some of the loosest restrictions yet on transferring Guantanamo prisoners, including possibly to the United States for detention, trial or medical care.

The bill would still require certification from the secretary of defense that the 164 Guantanamo prisoners won't pose a danger if transferred to the United States or other countries. But the streamlined process could help the Obama administration make progress on a goal that appeared all but given up for lost.

This year, the administration is using tight budgets as part of the argument for closing the prison that Obama, in a speech at the National Defense University in May, said was a symbol of the U.S. flouting the law that "should never have been opened."
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Filed under: Congress • Detainees • Gitmo
Supreme Court allows NSA telephone surveillance to continue
November 18th, 2013
10:22 AM ET

Supreme Court allows NSA telephone surveillance to continue

By Bill Mears

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the National Security Agency's surveillance of domestic telephone communication records to continue for now.

The justices without comment Monday rejected an appeal from a privacy rights group, which claimed a secret federal court improperly authorized the government to collect the electronic records.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed its petition directly with the high court, bypassing the usual step of going to the lower federal courts first. Such a move made it much harder for the justices to intervene at this stage, but EPIC officials argued "exceptional ramifications" demanded immediate final judicial review. There was no immediate reaction to the court's order from the public interest group, or from the Justice Department.

Published reports earlier this year indicated the NSA received secret court approval to collect vast amounts of so-called metadata from telecom giant Verizon and leading Internet companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook. The information includes the numbers and location of nearly every phone call to and from the United States in the past five years, but not actual monitoring of the conversations themselves. To do so would require a separate, specifically targeted search warrant.
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