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Airstrikes Hit Mosul, Crunch Time for VA Deal, Ordinary Web Users Caught Up in NSA Net Airstrikes Hit Mosul, Crunch Time for VA Deal, Ordinary Web Users Caug...

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Airstrikes Hit Mosul, Crunch Time for VA Deal, Ordinary Web Users Caught Up in NSA Net

By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)

Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, today's best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage. To contact us, email


In NSA Net, Ordinary Web Users Eclipse Legal Targets
(The Washington Post: Barton Gellman, Julie Tate, Ashkan Soltani)
A cache of agency-captured messages illustrates the extent that untargeted individuals get caught in the surveillance net — and shows Edward Snowden had access to FISA content.

Remember the Veterans Health Care Crisis?
(National Journal: Stacy Kaper)
Here's what Congress needs to do to push reform legislation over the final hump before campaign season hits.

Airstrikes Slam Into Mosul, Iraq
(The Washington Post: Abigail Hauslohner)
Bombings come a day after posting of a video showing Islamic State leader speaking at city's main mosque.



Crunch Time for VA Deal
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
Pressure is building on House and Senate lawmakers to reach a deal this month on legislation to reform the troubled Veterans Affairs Department.

Inside Lindsey Graham's Iraq Battle Plan: Would It Work?
(Defense News: John Bennett)
Sen. Lindsey Graham says he would launch a three-tiered military campaign against a violent Sunni group in Syria and Iraq "tomorrow."

DoD Once Again Riding a Budget Bow Wave
(Politico: Austin Wright)
The Pentagon budget term "bow wave" is back in vogue — and could have big implications for procurement programs now in their initial stages.


Insurgents in Iraq Seizing Advanced Weaponry
(The Wall Street Journal: Matt Bradley)
Arms turning up in battles and military-style parades in Iraq and Syria.


Militant Leader in Rare Appearance in Iraq
(The New York Times: Alissa Rubin)
The leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, took the all but unprecedented step of delivering a videotaped sermon at a mosque in Mosul.

Why The White House Ignored All Those Warnings About ISIS
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
Team Obama was told, over and over, that the Iraqi army couldn't stop a terror group that was ready to pounce.

Iraqi Premier to Run for a Third Term
(The New York Times: Alissa Rubin)
Despite nearly universal criticism in Iraq, and pressure from friendly nations to step down, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announced, "I will not give up my candidacy."

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Iraq's Probably Going to Need Help Taking Back Its Country
(National Journal: Jordain Carney)
But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said no U.S. troops will perform combat missions.

Iran Pursues Subtle Strategy on Iraq
(The Wall Street Journal: Bill Spindle)
Country trying to support Shiites without pushing sectarian conflict.


Diplomats: Iran Nuke Talks Make Little Progress
(Associated Press: George Jahn)
Two diplomats say that a draft agreement still contains large blanks, reflecting disagreement on constraints Iran can accept in exchange for an end to sanctions.

Syria Rebel Chief Warns of 'Disaster' Without Aid
(Associated Press: Diaa Hadid)
The military chief of Syria's main Western-backed rebel group warned that the country risked a "humanitarian disaster" if allies do not send more aid to help his moderate forces.

U.S. Asks Israel to Probe Beating of American Teen in Jerusalem
(Reuters: Ori Lewis)
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that the teen, Tariq Khdeir, was being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem and said a consular officer visited him.

With Arrest of Six Jews in Arab Teen's Killing, Israel Confronts Its Own Extremists
(The Washington Post: Ruth Eglash, Sufian Taha, Griff Witte)
The arrests shocked those on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

Hamas Vows Revenge After Seven Members Killed
(Associated Press: Ian Deitch)
The group said its men were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a tunnel used by the militants.


Afghan Candidates in Last Minute Talks to Defuse Election Crisis
(Reuters: Mirwais Harooni, Maria Golovnina)
Afghanistan is due to announce preliminary results of the run-off vote at 2 p.m.

Afghan Troops Struggle to Retake Parts of Key Province from Taliban
(The Wall Street Journal: Nathan Hodge, Habib Khan Totakhil)
Success of counterattack in Helmand is seen as critical to preserving Kabul's hold in south.

Afghan Election Dispute Forcing Western Officials to Take a Stand
(The New York Times: Azam Ahmed)
Afghanistan election dispute draws more calls for vote audit.

Afghan Presidential Candidate Rejects Results
(The Washington Post: Erin Cunningham)
Abdullah Abdullah accuses election authorities of being involved in fraud in last month's runoff election.

Taliban Cut Hair and Beards to Flee Pakistan Army Assault
(Agence France-Presse: Shaukat Khattak)
Hundreds of Taliban fighters rushed to disguise themselves with new haircuts in the weeks before a Pakistani army assault.


China Gives Rare Glimpse at Naval Ships During RIMPAC
(Associated Press: Marco Garcia)
China is participating for the first time in the exercises, despite tensions with the United States and other countries.

China's Navy in Frenzy to Build New Nuclear-Powered Attack Subs
(The Washington Times: Bill Gertz)
China's military is investing heavily in advanced submarines, including both ballistic and cruise missile firing vessels and attack subs. 

In Post-Dictator Burma, U.S. Hits Roadblocks to Fostering Democracy
(The Washington Post: Annie Gowen, David Nakamura)
What was intended to be a model for transition has encountered setbacks including a media crackdown and repressed Muslims.


Pro-Russia Rebels Prepare Last Stand in East Ukraine
(The Wall Street Journal: Alan Cullison, Philip Shishkin)
Separatist leaders say evacuation from Slovyansk was strategic.

Pro-Russian Fighters Routed From Stronghold, Ukraine Says
(The New York Times: David Herszenhorn)
The Ukrainian government said Saturday that it had pushed pro-Russian fighters out of Slovyansk, a long-blockaded rebel stronghold where some of the fiercest fighting has occurred during the more than three-month separatist insurrection.


Security Fears Loom Over CIA Report
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
While an August release seems unlikely, putting the report out in early September might not be an option.

German Leader: U.S. Spy Reports Serious, If True
(Associated Press)
The comments marked Merkel's first public remarks on the arrest last week of a 31-year-old man suspected of spying for foreign intelligence services.

Germans Demand U.S. Response to Spy Allegation
(The New York Times: Alison Smale)
There was anger but also caution, suggesting thhhat the scandal over the arrest of a German intelligence employee might not be as serious as feared.

Push for Disclosure 'Destroyed My Entire Career' at CIA
(The Washington Post: Greg Miller)
Jeffrey Scudder's FOIA request led to accusations, an FBI raid and his departure from the agency.


Defense Department Wants to Avoid Paying $48 for a Hammer. Submit Bids Now.
(The Washington Post: Christian Davenport)
The Pentagon is tightening its belt and pushing contractors to be competitive with their prices.


U.S. Navy To Retire 17 Ships in 2015
(Seapower Magazine: Richard Burgess)
Many of the ships will be made available for transfer to other navies under the Foreign Military Sales program.

Shipyard: Contract Certainty Reduces Navy Sub Costs
(Associated Press: Brock Vergakis)
The $17.6 billion contract calls for the construction of 10 Virginia-class submarines to begin over the next five years.

U.S. Navy's Cruiser Problem
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
Service struggles over modernization, replacements.

Overhauling an Aircraft Carrier: A Complex Challenge
(Newport Daily News: Hugh Lessig)
When Edward Shields joined the Navy 10 months ago, the recruiter didn't mention jackhammer duty.


That Time an Air Force F-16 and an Army Missile Battery Fought Each Othe
(War Is Boring: David Axe)
Fighter pilots feared flawed air-defense system.


18 Bases Test Recreation Program
(Air Force Times: Oriana Pawlyk)
Eighteen installations will participate over the next four months while the Air Force considers whether to take the program servicewide.


U.S. Military Grounds F-35 Fighter Jets Amid Probe
(The Hill: Rachel Huggins)
Air Force and Navy officials ordered the suspension of all 97 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets after initial findings in the June 23 fire at Eglin Air Force Base.

Global Competition Opens For F-35 Sustainment Deals
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
It marks the first details of how the fighter jets will be maintained on a global scale.

Engility CEO: Low-Cost Model Works
(Politico: Leigh Munsil)
Two years in, the company is now under pressure to prove that it can boost its sales and profit.

Saab Deal Raises Prospects For Domestic Sub Orders
(Defense News: Gerard O'Dwyer )
Saab's U.S. $50.7 million acquisition of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AB from Germany's ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions will help maintain Sweden's submarine-building capabilities.


Veterans Turn to American Legion in Wake of VA Scandal
(Associated Press)
Nearly 1,800 people have turned to the American Legion, which has held town-hall meetings and opened temporary crisis centers.

Doctor Visit Means Hundreds of Miles for Some Vets
(Associated Press: Susan Montoya Bryan)
For anything worse than a common cold, local clinics are often helpless.


First Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Set to Begin
(The Wall Street Journal: Jon Kamp)
The trial of Azamat Tazhayakov is one of five that could reach federal court.

Charges Against Bombing Suspects' Pals Questioned
(Associated Press: Denise Lavoie)
Some defense attorneys and others are criticizing the extent to which federal prosecutors have charged the men.

Man Convicted On Terror Charges Files Appeal
(Associated Press: Paul Elias)
The new appeal has revived debate over whether Hayat had a "jihadi heart" and was intent on leading a terrorist attack.


TSA: Some on U.S.-Bound Flights Must Turn on Phones
(Associated Press: Will Lester)
Passengers at some overseas airports that offer U.S.-bound flights will be required to power on their electronic devices in order to board their flights.


Top General Says Mexico Border Security Now 'Existential' Threat to U.S.
(Defense One: Molly O'Toole)
Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has asked Congress this year for more money, drones and ships for his mission – a request unlikely to be met. 


Report: More Than 60 Nigerian Girls Escape Boko Haram Captors
(Time: Stephanie Burnett)
The daring escape comes after days of heavy fighting in northeast Nigeria.


Why We Stuck With Maliki and Lost Iraq
(The Washington Post: Ali Khedery)
An ex-diplomat explains how he helped convince the U.S. that Nouri al-Maliki was the answer.

How Iraq Became Obama's War
(The Daily Beast: Jeff Greenfield)
The Iraq War helped Obama win the presidency, but now the problems we left behind endanger his legacy.

Reining In the Drones
(The New York Times)
There are grave moral and legal questions going unanswered in the government's use of armed drones to kill people considered terrorist threats.

VA Scandal: How to Fix a Broken System
(The Arizona Republic)
Robert McDonald faces three big challenges as the VA's new secretary.

A Little Bit of Honesty at the VA, Please
(Military Times)
A shift to a more corporate style of management might be what the VA needs at this critical juncture.

India's Role in the Nuclear Race
(The New York Times)
The country has yet to prove that it is willing to take a leading role in halting the spread of the world's most lethal weapons.

America's Relationship with Poland: Military Alliance or Social Club?
(The National Interest: Doug Bandow)
America should maintain alliances only when doing so makes Americans safer. Backing Poland against Russia does not.

The Overkill in Homeland Security
(Bloomberg: Albert Hunt)
With their petty turf fights, Republicans and Democrats alike have put parochial politics ahead of security.

The Next Act of the Neocons
(The New York Times: Jacob Heilbrunn)
Are Neocons getting ready to ally with Hillary Clinton?

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

Senior Military Officer

The best!"

Mark, Compensation Analyst

Timely and informative."

Dave, HR specialist

I can browse over breakfast or while on the metro."

AJ, US Army Officer

Sign up form for the newsletter