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Benghazi Suspect Captured, to Be Tried in U.S. Civilian Court; Hill Leaders, Obama to Meet on Iraq Benghazi Suspect Captured, to Be Tried in U.S. Civilian Court; Hill Le...

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Benghazi Suspect Captured, to Be Tried in U.S. Civilian Court; Hill Leaders, Obama to Meet on Iraq

By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)

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


U.S. Captures Benghazi Suspect in Secret Raid
(The Washington Post: Karen DeYoung, Julie Tate, Adam Goldman)
Abu Khattala's apprehension is a major victory for the Obama administration, which has been criticized for having failed so far to bring those responsible for the Benghazi attacks to justice.

Suspect in Benghazi Attacks, Snatched by U.S. Military, Will Be Tried in Civilian Court
(McClatchy: Lesley Clark, Nancy Youssef)
It was the first time that U.S. forces have detained any of the scores of suspects in the attacks, which have been the source of congressional investigations and angry recriminations.

Obama to Meet With Congressional Leaders on Iraq
(Reuters: Patricia Zengerle)
Sen. Mitch McConnell said that President Obama had invited the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting on Iraq.


U.S. Sanctions Al-Qaida Operative in Yemen
(Associated Press: Lara Jakes)
The official designation freezes all U.S. assets of Shawki Ali Ahmed al-Badani and bans any Americans or U.S. businesses from dealing with him.


Meet the Elite FBI Unit Likely Involved in the Benghazi Capture
(The Washington Post: Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
The FBI HRT, a domestic counterterrorism unit prior to the 9/11 attacks, has become a de facto Special Operations force in its own right.

Capture Renews Debate Over What to Do With Terrorism Suspects
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan, Sean Sullivan)
Hawkish Republicans swiftly called for Abu Khattala to be held and interrogated at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

White House: U.S. Federal System Can Handle Benghazi Suspect
(Reuters: Jeff Mason)
"We have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists," White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.


U.S. Holding Captured Benghazi Suspect on a Ship: Official
(Reuters: Phil Stewart)
The official said the suspect was apprehended on the outskirts of Benghazi in a secret operation.

Meet the Elite FBI Unit Likely Involved in the Benghazi Capture
(The Washington Post: Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
The FBI HRT, a domestic counterterrorism unit prior to the 9/11 attacks, has become a de facto Special Operations force in its own right.

The Benghazi Suspect: What's Next
(Politico: Josh Gerstein)
The handling of Ahmed Abu Khatallah is likely to unfold according to an established administration script followed in other terrorism cases.

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Who Is Benghazi Suspect Ahmed Abu Khatallah?
(USA Today: Kevin Johnson)
Khatallah, a key suspect in the attack, was famously spotted just weeks after the deadly assault that left four Americans dead.

Capture of Benghazi Suspect Thrusts U.S. Special Operations in Africa Into Spotlight Again
(The Washington Post: Dan Lamothe)
This weekend's raid follows other similar operations in northern Africa, including in Libya.

U.S. Raid Deepens Libyans' Fears of Instability, Highlights Government's Weakness
(The Washington Post: Erin Cunningham)
The move appeared to slight Libya's fledgling security institutions, which have failed to rein in the powerful militias and Islamist extremists that have plagued Benghazi.

Too Many Questions Remain About Benghazi Attacks, Hillary Clinton Says
(The Washington Post: Anne Gearan, Philip Rucker)
Her remarks appeared to lend credence to a central claim by Republicans that there is more to learn about the Benghazi tragedy.


Senate, House Expected to Name Conferees for VA Legislation Wednesday
(National Journal: Stacy Kaper)
Lawmakers argue that the veterans health care mess qualifies as an emergency, and therefore is deserving of emergency funds to address it.

House VA Bill Advances
(Politico: Lauren French)
The House moved closer to giving veterans stuck on federal wait lists for medical care the freedom to visit private providers.

Senator Presses FBI for Information About Americans in Syria
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte is pressing the FBI about the possibility of American citizens joining Islamic extremist groups in Syria and then returning to the United States to launch attacks.

Levin Blocks Resolution to Investigate Prisoner Swap
(The Hill: Ramsey Cox)
Sen. Rob Portman's resolution would have allowed Congress to investigate Obama's decision to release five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo in exchange for Bergdahl.

Senators Push Ahead With Cybersecurity Legislation
(Reuters: Alina Selyukh)
The Intelligence Committee is expected to consider a bill next week.

House Panel Weighs Limit on Guantanamo Transfers
(Associated Press: Donna Cassata)
The move is a reflection of congressional anger over President Obama's swap of five Taliban leaders for an American soldier held captive for five years in Afghanistan.


CIA Facing Gaps in Iraq as it Hunts for Militants
(Associated Press: Ken Dilanian, Julie Pace)
The CIA and other agencies are scrambling to close intelligence gaps as they seek ways to support possible military or covert action.

U.S. Rules Out Iraq Airstrikes for Now
(The Wall Street Journal: Carol Lee, Julian Barnes, Dion Nissenbaum)
Obama decided against immediate airstrikes on Sunni extremists in Iraq, opting instead to pursue strategies such as providing intelligence and addressing the country's political divisions.

Steny Hoyer: Iraq Airstrikes Should Be Considered
(Politico: Lauren French)
"I certainly think we should be considering them, yes," he said.

Senate Republicans to Obama: Give Us an Iraq Plan
(Associated Press: Bradley Klapper)
McConnell says the administration must act quickly to provide the Iraqi government with assistance before "every gain made by the U.S. and allied troops is lost."

Most Lawmakers MIA When It Comes to How to Deal With Iraq
(National Journal: Stacy Kaper)
Many members are quick to point fingers at Obama, but solutions are scarce on Capitol Hill.

Return of the GOP Hawks
(Politico: Burgess Everett)
John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio are dominating the congressional debate on how to respond to the growing crisis in Iraq.

John McCain Feeling Reassured on Iraq
(Politico: Burgess Everett)
Sen. John McCain said he spoke with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Pentagon: Iraqi Security Forces, Militias Stiffening Resistance to ISIS
(Stars and Stripes: Jon Harper)
However, the U.S. government doesn't appear to be counting on the Iraqi forces to be able to fend off an assault on the capital by themselves.

Biden: Iraq Needs 'Urgent Assistance,' Unity
(Associated Press)
Vice President Joe Biden says that "Iraqis have to put together and hold together" to end increasing sectarian violence wracking the country as Sunni insurgents overrun key cities.

Obama's Favorite Think Tank: We Should Prepare to Bomb Iraq
(The Daily Beast: Josh Rogin)
A Washington think tank deeply connected to the Obama administration is recommending that the United States start getting ready now for U.S. airstrikes.


Huge U.S.-Iran Gap on Nukes as Target Date Nears
(Associated Press: George Jahn)
Any thaw in relations between Iran and the United States under the pressure of Iraq's turmoil is unlikely to hasten progress in difficult negotiations seeking limits on Tehran's nuclear program.

Menendez: Iran Nuclear Deal Unlikely by Deadline
(The Hill: Martin Matishak)
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he didn't believe the U.S. would reach a deal on Iran's nuclear program before a self-imposed deadline.

British Embassy Reopens in Tehran as Iraq Crisis Helps Thaw Iran Relations
(The Guardian: Mark Tran, Patrick Wintour)
William Hague says diplomatic base in Tehran to be restored as west looks to Iran to help tackle ISIS-led insurgency in Iraq.

U.S. Suggests Getting Tougher With Syria on Chemical Weapons Deadline
(The New York Times: Rick Gladstone)
The U.S. representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said a simple condemnation of Syria wasn't enough as the country is about to miss a deadline for the destruction of its chemical munitions.

Chlorine-Gas-Like Chemicals Likely Used in Syrian Conflict: Watchdog
(Reuters: Thomas Escritt)
Inspectors who came under attack while investigating claims of chlorine gas attacks in Syria found information suggesting that similar chemicals had indeed been used.


Pakistan Sets for Drawn Out Antiterrorist Conflict
(Defense News: Usman Ansari)
Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif "emphasized that all terrorists along with their sanctuaries must be eliminated without any discrimination."

U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan at 2,185
(Associated Press)
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 19,798 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action.


Report: Chinese Phone Comes Preloaded With Spyware
(Associated Press: Raphael Satter, Frank Jordans)
A cheap brand of Chinese-made smartphones carried by major online retailers comes preinstalled with espionage software, a German security firm said.

China Dominates U.S. Naval Strategy Discussion
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
Concerns about China's ambitions clearly dominate those thinking about strategies for the U.S. Navy

U.S. Condemns Sri Lanka Violence, Says Minorities Must Be Protected
(Reuters: David Brunnstrom)
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki said Washington was concerned by inflammatory rhetoric that had incited the violence.


Putin and Poroshenko Discuss Possible Cease-Fire in Ukraine
(The New York Times: David Herszenhorn)
In a late-night telephone conversation, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine also touched on the deaths of two Russian journalists in Ukraine.

Pro-Russia Militia in Ukraine Seeks Urgent Help from Moscow
(The Wall Street Journal: James Marson)
The Kremlin hasn't responded to the request that comes as Ukrainian forces retake borders areas.


As Wars End, Military Cuts Enlistment Goals
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Brian Bowling)
For the people who make it, joining the Army can seem too easy.

IG: Cash Incentives, Closer Tracking Could Cut PCS Costs
(Navy Times: Karen Jowers)
The military services are paying millions more than they should for expenses associated with permanent change-of-station moves—including some costs that should be paid by troops.

PsyOps Primer: The Battle for Minds and Hearts
(Breaking Defense: Colin Clark)
Some of the less often-covered aspects of the military art that can heavily influence the outcome of both wars and and battles.


Navy's Top Officer Revising U.S. Maritime Strategy
(Associated Press: Jennifer McDermott)
U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told an audience at the college he needs their suggestions before he signs off this year on a new maritime strategy for the 21st century.

SEALs Want More 'Don't Tread on Me' Patches, Eight Months After Controversy
(The Washington Post: Dan Lamothe)
U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command's contracting office in Virginia Beach, Va., quietly announced its intent to buy more patches.

New Navy Report Dissects Wreck at Sea
(The Virginian-Pilot: Corinne Reilly)
As war games go, it was supposed to be a basic one.


Army: Bergdahl on a Routine, Reading Media Reports
(Navy Times: Michelle Tan)
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has adjusted to a "regular" routine, officials said.


Marine Killed in Afghanistan Awarded Bronze Star for Bravery
(Los Angeles Times: Tom Perry)
Lance Cpl. Stevens P. Stevens died after saving the life of a Marine who was wounded by a grenade.


The FBI Maintains an 83-Page Glossary of Internet Slang
(The Washington Post: Caitlin Dewey)
Minor gaffes could be forgiven, however, if the glossary itself was actually good.


Lawyer Not Entitled to See Classified Surveillance Material, Court Rules
(The New York Times: Charlie Savage)
A federal appeals court said that the government need not show a defense lawyer classified materials related to the surveillance of a client, reversing a groundbreaking ruling by a lower court.


ULA Lays Groundwork for Next-Gen Engine
(Defense News: Aaron Mehta)
The United Launch Alliance has signed agreements with "multiple" American firms to help develop a next-generation engine replacement.

Defense Giants Score Poorly on Arms Development
( Brendan McGarry)
The acquisition document compared the Pentagon's top contractors in terms of their ability to develop and produce weapons systems on time and on budget.

Prosecutor Details 14 Killings in Blackwater Trial
(Associated Press: Pete Yost)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Martin said some of the victims were "simply trying to get out" of the way of gunfire from Blackwater guards.


Acting VA Secretary Begins Search for Health Care Chief
(Stars and Stripes)
The Veterans Affairs Department has hung out the "help wanted" sign, announcing the beginning of the process to select a new head of the embattled Veterans Health Administration.

Phoenix VA Doled Out $10M in Bonuses for Three Years
(Associated Press)
Documents from the VA indicate than 2,100 employees got bonuses over the course of a three-year period.


Brazil: Biden and Rousseff Meet
(The New York Times: Simon Romero)
President Dilma Rousseff met Tuesday with Vice President Joseph Biden as Brazil and the United States moved to improve relations.


An Ideal Candidate for Guantanamo
(The Wall Street Journal)
The captured combatant from the Banghazi attack doesn't deserve civilian legal protections.

A Balancing Act on Iraq
(The New York Times)
As President Obama considers his options, he has struck just the right cautious note so far.

Building an Inclusive Iraq
(The Washington Post)
The U.S. can't abandon its goals in a crucial Mideast country.

Our Friends the Mullah
(The Wall Street Journal)
Tehran and the U.S. don't have a shared interest in the Mideast.

The Case for Doing Nothing in Iraq
(Politico: Barry Posen)
The same people who got us into this mess want America to "do something." Ignore them.

Torn Between Competing Perspectives on Iraq
(The New York Times: Brian Castner)
Is this what 1975 felt like?

Is a U.S. Airstrike in Iraq Legal?
(National Journal: James Oliphant)
For a White House that claims to hold the rule of law above all else, it's an important question. But Obama's inconsistent foreign policy makes it a tough one to answer

Iraq Isn't Ours to Save
(The Atlantic: David Frum)
The government in Baghdad is not an American friend, and action against ISIS will not advance U.S.interests.

When America's Enemies Are Also Its Friends
(The National Interest: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Jonathan Schanzer)
U.S. attempts to coordinate with Iran in Iraq are a reminder of the growing role of allies that are adversaries, too.

How to Pass Time on an Aircraft Carrier
(The New Republic: Geoff Dyer)
Find the places that resemble bars, play dominoes, imagine a fated connection.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Keeps me informed about national leadership concerns."

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

AJ, US Army Officer

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