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Intel Chair Accuses CIA of Hacking Congress But Brennan Denies It, NSA Nominee Warns On Cyberthreats Intel Chair Accuses CIA of Hacking Congress But Brennan Denies It, NSA...

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Intel Chair Accuses CIA of Hacking Congress But Brennan Denies It, NSA Nominee Warns On Cyberthreats

By Sara Sorcher (@SaraSorcherNJ) and Jordain Carney (@jordainc)

Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a morning assembly of the best national security, defense, and foreign policy coverage from around the Web.


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Senate-CIA Dispute Erupts Into a Public Brawl
(The Wall Street Journal: Kristina Peterson,Siobhan Gorman,Dion Nissenbaum)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the CIA spied on Congress. CIA Director John Brennan rebutted the claim.


Sen. Feinstein: CIA Hacked Congress and Possibly 'Violated' Constitution
(National Journal: Dustin Volz)
The Senate Intelligence Committee leader accused the CIA of interfering with its investigation into the agency's old interrogation programs.

NSA Nominee Warns Cyberthreats Will Only Increase
(The New York Times: David Sanger)
But Vice Adm. Michael Rogers declined to be specific about how he might change the collection of telephone metadata or other information about the communications of Americans.

A Court's Secret Evolution Extended Spies' Reach
(The New York Times: Charlie Savage, Laura Poitras)
Leaked documents add new details to a secret body of law developed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Ukraine's Interim Leader Seeks Aid in Washington
(The New York Times: Peter Baker)
Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk's visit with President Obama and congressional leaders comes at a critical time for Ukraine.



NSA Nominee Rogers Sees Cyberwarfare as a Norm in Conflicts
(Bloomberg: Gopal Ratnam)
Rogers said Ukraine is the target of cyberattacks now and said Internet warfare "will be an element of any crisis we're going to see in the future."

Navy Admiral Relays Concerns About NSA Changes
(Associated Press: Lolita Baldor)
The NSA nominee is expressing concerns about the U.S. government turning over the bulk collection of telephone data to an independent third party, saying it could result in higher costs and delays identifying potential threats.

NSA Nominee Backs Obama on Shifting Responsibility for Phone Data Collection
(The Washington Post: Ellen Nakashima)
But, he said, some form of bulk collection can be preserved "that ensures the protection of our citizens while also providing us insights that generate value" in finding clues to terrorist plots and networks.

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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad NSA Job Mike Rogers Actually Wants
(National Journal: Sara Sorcher)
If President Obama had posted a classified ad for the job he asked Vice Adm. Mike Rogers to take, it might look something like this…

Obama's NSA Nominee Aims to Build Trust in Beleaguered Agency
(Reuters: Patricia Zengerle, Phil Stewart)
Rogers pledged to look for ways to build confidence in the beleaguered spy agency and, in a possible shift, stopped short of calling former contractor Edward Snowden a traitor.

Leon Panetta Reacts to CIA-Senate Flap
(Politico: Josh Gerstein)
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said he's disappointed with the dispute that has erupted in which senators are accusing the agency of subverting congressional oversight.

Snowden Inc.
(Politico: Josh Gerstein)
Three top advisers to Snowden said they're pleased with and somewhat surprised by his relative popularity—a popularity that persists despite the fact that U.S. officials regularly accuse him of being a traitor and a spy.


CIA Accused: Senator Sees Torture Probe as Meddling
(Associated Press: Donna Cassata)
In an extraordinary public accusation, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee declared on Tuesday that the CIA interfered with and then tried to intimidate a congressional investigation into the agency's possible use of torture in terror probes during the Bush administration.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein Lays Out a Timeline of CIA-Intelligence Committee Interactions
(The Washington Post)
Here is her version of what happened.

Hoyer Cautious on Feinstein's CIA Charges
(Roll Call: Emma Dumain)
The House's No. 2 Democrat spoke carefully on Tuesday when addressing Sen. Dianne Feinstein's accusations that the CIA tapped into Senate Intelligence Committee computer files.

Tumult Over Military Sexual Assaults Far From Over
(Associated Press: Richard Lardner)
The turmoil over how to end an epidemic of sexual assaults in the U.S. military is far from over as Congress haggles over legislative remedies and new details emerge about a high-profile case.

Senate Panel 'Very Close' to Cyber Bill
(The Hill: Julian Hattem)
Lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee are getting "very close" to a new cybersecurity bill, according to the panel's top Republican.

New SASC AirLand Chairman on F-35 Remedy: Fully Fund It
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The incoming chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Pentagon's troubled F-35 program says there's one thing Congress can do to avoid more problems: Ffully fund it.

Legislators Call on DOD to Fully Accommodate Sikh Troops
(Stars and Stripes: Chris Carroll)
A group of legislators is asking the Pentagon for a policy change to ensure Sikh troops are never forced to violate their religion by shaving their beards, cutting their hair, or getting rid of their turbans.

Interview: Rep. Randy Forbes
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas, John Bennett)
Rep. Randy Forbes could be called the House's dean of Navy shipbuilding, and he is attempting to become its top Asia-Pacific strategist.

Inhofe Wants More Info on Confusing DOD Budget 'Now'
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the Pentagon to clear up lingering confusion about its 2015 spending blueprint. And he wants it to do so "now."


Pentagon Official: We Need to 'Re-Look' AUMF
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
A top defense official said he thought it was time to reconsider the legal authority used by the military to target terrorists around the world.

Pentagon's Disposal of $15 Billion in Items Questioned
(Bloomberg: Tony Capaccio)
The Pentagon discarded almost $15 billion in excess parts and material from warehouses over three years, according to two senators who said the "wasteful spending" can be curbed by ordering less.


Obama Team Debates How to Punish Russia
(The New York Times: Peter Baker)
His team finds itself torn over just how far to go using the economic weapons in America's arsenal.

West Readies Sanctions on Russia, Warily
(The Wall Street Journal: Jay Solomon, Carol Lee, William Mauldin)
Move Threatens to Undo Years of Work to Get Moscow to Cooperate in Fighting Financial Crimes.

U.S. Black Sea Naval Drills Start After One-Day Delay
(Reuters: Angel Krasimirov)
A joint naval exercise of U.S., Bulgarian and Romanian naval forces in the Black Sea has started, the Bulgarian navy said on Wednesday.

U.S. Says Russia Hasn't Created Environment for Ukraine Diplomacy
(Reuters: Arshad Mohammed, Will Dunham)
Russia's bloodless seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region has brought U.S.-Russian relations to one of their lowest points since the Cold War.

Obama Receives Middling Support From Americans on Ukraine Crisis
(The Huffington Post: Stephen Calabria)
The American public approves of imposing sanctions on Russia for its role in the crisis.

Ukraine's Crimea Seeks to Become Independent State
(Associated Press: Maria Danilova)
The Crimean parliament said it would declare itself independent if its residents approve a referendum to split off from Ukraine.

E.U. Eyes New Travel, Asset Sanctions Against Russia
(Associated Press)
European Union countries are preparing tougher new sanctions against Russia that they could impose by Monday.


Air Force to Eliminate Nearly 500 Aircraft in 25 States, D.C., and Overseas
(Stars and Stripes: Jon Harper)
The Air Force plans to cut nearly 500 planes from its inventory over the next five years if the Defense Department's fiscal 2015 budget request is approved by Congress.

U.S. Air Force Sticks to $550 Million Target for New Bomber
The U.S. Air Force is "holding tight" to a target of $550 million for each new long-range bomber in a fleet of up to 100 aircraft, excluding research and development costs.

Air Force Sets Plan to Launch Sixth-Gen Fighter Program in 2018
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force is requesting $15.7 million for a next-generation, air-dominance research and development project that would lay the groundwork for an acquisition program in fiscal 2018.

Air Force Details Force Structure Plans
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force in its fiscal 2015 budget proposes cutting 500 aircraft through 2019, including as many as 164 A-10s in fiscal 2015 and 117 MQ-1 Predators between fiscal 2015 and '17.

Sequestration Means Fewer F-35s
(The Standard-Examiner: Mitch Shaw)
For the Air Force in particular, the fiscal 2015 budget includes $4.6 billion for 26 F-35s, which is four less than previously expected.

Air Force Hoping to Preserve New Investments Pending Aircraft Divestment, Sequestration Future
(Inside Defense)
The Air Force's fiscal 2015 budget has been designed so that new investments do not all reach their peak costs at once, helping the service stagger its procurement timelines.

Re-Up, Retention Bonuses for Select Few, Budget Documents Show
(Air Force Times: Stephen Losey)
Competition for bigger, but fewer, reenlistment bonuses will be much tighter this year and next.


Vets Battle VA on Post-Vietnam Agent Orange Claims
(Navy Times: Patricia Kime)
Say C-123 "spray birds" caused illnesses long after war.


New U.S. Navy Counting Rules Add Up To More Ships
(Defense News: Christopher Cavas)
A shift to the new rules has been contemplated for some time


Judge: U.S. General Sexual-Assault Trial 'Improperly Influenced' by Politics
(Associated Press)
Attorneys for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair will try to renegotiate a plea bargain with a new set of military officials.


Large U.S. Contingent to Take Part in South Korean Exercise
(Stars and Stripes: Ashley Rowland)
Nearly 10,000 U.S. troops will join the South Korean military later this month in the peninsula's largest joint amphibious landing drill.


Rouhani Has Not Increased Freedoms in Iran, U.N. Chief Says
(Reuters: Stephanie Nebehay)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has failed to fulfil campaign promises to allow greater freedom of expression and there has been a sharp rise in executions since his election.


TRANSCOM Nominee: U.S. Reviewing Options Out of Afghanistan if Russia Doesn't Assist
(Defense News: Brian Everstine)
The military is reviewing alternate routes to get people and equipment out of Afghanistan, should Northern Distribution Network routes through Russia become disrupted.

Top General to Testify About Afghanistan Amid Impasse Over U.S. Troop Presence
(Air Force Times: Jeff Schogol)
Gen. Joseph Dunford will testify about the situation on the ground amid a continuing standoff with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.


Defense Contractor To Plead Guilty
(Associated Press: Audrey McAvoy)
Benjamin Bishop was expected to plead guilty in federal court to one count of transmitting national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans.

USAF, Sikorsky Begin to Gear Up for Rescue Helo
(Air Force Times: Aaron Mehta)
Supporters of the Air Force's Combat Rescue Helicopter program should thank Congress for its late entry into the five-year budget plan, according to the service's undersecretary.


Venezuela 'Sham' Resolution Renews U.S. Scorn for Organization of American States
(Fox News: Judson Berger)
The Obama administration complained that the supposed peace talks are supported only by the government and blasted the OAS for sticking to a platform of nonintervention.


Q&A: U.N. Disarmament Head 'Confident' on Syrian Chemical-Elimination Timing
(National Journal: Rachel Oswald)
A senior U.N. disarmament official says Syria likely will meet a mid-April timeline for surrendering all its chemical arms, barring any surprises.


Special Ops Moves from 'Perpetual War to Perpetual Engagement'
(Defense One: Ben Watson)
Special operations forces are currently working in more than 70 countries.

Special Operators Will Confront More Threats With Fewer Forces
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
As Obama aims to get the U.S. off "permanent war footing," U.S. special operators will maintain "perpetual engagement."


U.N. Drone Investigator: U.S. Must Explain Civilian Deaths
(The Atlantic: Conor Friedersdorf)
After a yearlong study of the use of drones to kill people, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Ben Emmerson has released his final report.


Mideast Ally Blasts U.S. Over Accused Terrorist Story
(The Daily Beast: Eli Lake)
In a rare rift between two close allies, the usually discreet United Arab Emirates has gone public over its exasperation with the State Department.


National Guard Commanders Rise in Revolt Against Active Army; Rossi Questions Guard Combat Role
(Breaking Defense: Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
The regulars have broken a 13-year taboo: Army Quadrennial Defense Review director Maj. Gen. John Rossi questioned aspects of the Guard's much-lauded combat performance since 9/11.


Guantanamo Hunger-Strikers Endure 'Water Cure' Torture, Federal Court Hears
(The Guardian: Ed Pilkington)
Lawyers say inmate Emad Hassan has been force-fed 5,000 times as practice gets first legal challenge at U.S. federal level.

U.S. Now Calls Guantanamo Hunger Strike 'Long Term Non-Religious Fasting'
(Miami Herald: Carol Rosenberg)
The Defense Department has released its 3-month-old Guantanamo forced-feeding protocol, a 24-page how-to document that rhetorically recasts the yearlong hunger strike in the remote prison camps as "long term non-religious fasting."


DARPA Hopes to Build Plug-In Satellites in Space
(Breaking Defense: Colin Clark)
Since the program, known as Phoenix, is expected to consume a tiny $40 million to $50 million this year (in its third year), don't expect miracles any time soon.


The CIA Torture Cover-Up
(The New York Times)
The lingering fog about the CIA detentions is a result of Obama's decision when he took office to conduct no investigation of the interrogations.

Penalties for Mr. Putin
(The New York Times)
Russia's occupation of Crimea, Ukraine, and its phony referendum, demand a strong response from Europe and the United States.

Russia's Aggressive Behavior Can't Go Unchecked by the U.S.
(The Washington Post: Sen. Robert Menendez)
The Russian invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine is the most recent example in a series of events involving disruptive Russian behavior throughout the world.

Why Russians Back Putin on Ukraine
(The New York Times: Boris Kolonitskii)
It is important not to underestimate the strength of his domestic mandate.

Will Weaponized Drones Eventually Replace Soldiers?
(Quartz: Noah Smith)
The human race is on the brink of momentous and dire change.

The Leaderless Doctrine
(The New York Times: David Brooks)
We live in a country in which many people act as if history is leaderless.

David Brooks Is Not Making Sense
(New Republic: Isaac Chotiner)
Surely Brooks knows that by almost any calculation the world is much, much more peaceful than it was during the 20th century, and certainly during his beloved Cold War.

The Decline of the American War Hawk
(The Atlantic: Conor Friedersdorf)
There's been a backlash in the United States against foreign interventionism—but David Brooks and others just don't get it.

Carriers, Cruisers, and LCS: CNO Speaks
(Breaking Defense :Sydney Freedberg Jr.)
Thinking for the long term may be a luxury that sequestration won't afford us anymore.

Ukrainian Lessons for an American President
(New Republic: Leon Wieseltier)
History is playing another trick on Obama. It is testing, and hopefully thwarting, his centripetal inclinations.

The White House Needs to Shut Up
(Foreign Policy: Kori Schake)
Every time the administration opens its mouth, it's only making things worse in Ukraine.

Russia's Plans for Crimea Were Long in the Making
(The Christian Science Monitor: Dan Murphy)
And the US knew that Russia was laying the ground to make a move on the strategically useful peninsula. Doing something about it is another matter.

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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

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