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Kerry Promises U.S. Will Get Surveillance Right, Morsi Denounces Trial, Thousands Protest in Iran Kerry Promises U.S. Will Get Surveillance Right, Morsi Denounces Trial...

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Kerry Promises U.S. Will Get Surveillance Right, Morsi Denounces Trial, Thousands Protest in Iran

By Sara Sorcher (@SaraSorcherNJ) and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to NJ's Early Bird, a morning assembly of the best national security, defense and foreign-policy coverage from around the web. Get this by forward? Click here to sign up directly.

 

KERRY: U.S. WILL GET SURVEILLANCE RIGHT
(Associated Press; Matthew Lee)
Secretary of State John Kerry is vowing that a review into NSA surveillance activities will ultimately result in the "right" balance between security and privacy and says outrage over alleged espionage and eavesdropping should not disrupt key trade talks between Europe and the United States.

KERRY REASSURES SAUDIS, SAYS U.S. WILL STEP UP CONSULTATIONS
(The Washington Post; Karen DeYoung)
During his two-hour meeting with the king, and in separate sessions with Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, Kerry sought to explain President Obama's decision to limit direct U.S. military involvement in Syria and repeated assurances that the U.S. remains committed to strong support of Egypt.

MORSI CALLS TRIAL IN EGYPT 'ILLEGITIMATE'
(The New York Times; David Kirkpatrick, Mayy El Sheikh)
The deposed president went on trial on Monday, facing charges of inciting the murder of protesters. The trial got a late start, and the case was soon adjourned until Jan. 8.

 

HOW WE KNOW THE NSA HAD ACCESS TO INTERNAL GOOGLE AND YAHOO DATA
(The Washington Post; Barton Gellman, Ashkan Soltani, Andrea Peterson)
The Post offers new evidence demonstrating that the NSA accessed data traveling between the private links that connect Google and Yahoo data centers around the world.

THOUSANDS PROTEST AT FORMER U.S. EMBASSY IN IRAN
(Associated Press)
Tens of thousands of demonstrators packed the streets Monday outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran in the biggest anti-American rally in years, a show of support for hard-line opponents of President Hassan Rouhani's historic outreach to Washington.

AS U.S. WEIGHS SPYING CHANGES, OFFICIALS SAY DATA SWEEPS MUST CONTINUE
(The New York Times; David Sanger)
For now, President Obama and his top advisers have concluded that there is no workable alternative to the bulk collection of huge quantities of "metadata," including records of all telephone calls made inside the United States.

INTELLIGENCE

GOOGLE'S ERIC SCHMIDT LAMBASTS NSA OVER SPYING
(The Wall Street Journal; Deborah Kan)
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt reacted to reports that the U.S. government allegedly spied on the company's data centers, describing such an act as "outrageous" and potentially illegal if proven.

 

U.S. OFFICIALS OFFER FEW CONCESSIONS ON NSA SPYING TO PRIVACY BOARD
(Reuters; Alina Selyukh)
The U.S. government is open to changes to how it conducts phone and Internet surveillance programs as long as they do not undermine the programs' effectiveness, U.S. officials told a privacy oversight board on Monday.

BRAZIL ACKNOWLEDGES SPYING ON DIPLOMATIC TARGETS
(The New York Times; Simon Romero)
Brazil's Institutional Security Cabinet, which oversees the nation's intelligence activities, contended in a statement on Monday that the spying operations, involving relatively basic surveillance about a decade ago, were "in absolute compliance" with legislation governing such practices.

HOLDER: U.S. CONCERNED WITH EUROPEANS' PRIVACY
(Politico; Josh Gerstein)
Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that U.S. officials are taking account of European privacy concerns as a broad review of American surveillance practices proceeds.

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PATRICK LEAHY: U.S. CAN'T KEEP OUR SECRETS
(Politico; Tal Kopan)
Sen. Patrick Leahy said Monday that the NSA shouldn't be trusted with Americans' secrets when it can't even keep them safe from "a 29-year-old subcontractor."

NSA CHIEF LIKELY TO LOSE CYBER WAR POWERS
(The Hill; Brendan Sasso)
Senior military officials are leaning toward removing the National Security Agency director's authority over U.S. Cyber Command.

STANDARDS GET REVIEW AFTER CRYPTOGRAPHERS CRY FOUL
(ProPublica; Jeff Larson)
The federal institute that sets national standards for how government, private citizens and business guard the privacy of their files and communications is reviewing all of its previous recommendations.

MIDDLE EAST

REPORT: TOP IRANIAN COMMANDER KILLED IN SYRIA
(The Hill, Carlo Munoz)
Commander Mohammad Jamali was killed during an attack in Syria, according to the state-run Iranian news outlet Mehr.

U.S. HAILS SAUDI ARABIA AS MAJOR ARAB PLAYER IN MIDDLE EAST
(The Wall Street Journal, Ellen Knickmeyer)
Secretary of State John Kerry huddled with Saudi Arabia's king and praised the country as a "senior player" in the Middle East during a visit Monday.

ISLAMIST REBEL USE FACES OF THE DEAD TO REEL IN THE LIVING
(The Washington Post; Joby Warrick) 
The deaths of hundreds of Islamist veterans of the Syrian conflict are heralded in Web postings, many of which feature bloody — and, occasionally, smiling — portraits of the newly deceased.

U.N.: 40 PERCENT OF SYRIANS NEED HUMANITARIAN AID
(Reuters; Louis Charbonneau)
The United Nations estimates that about 9.3 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance.

SHIITE, SUNNI CEASEFIRE IN NORTH YEMEN APPEARS CRUMBLING
(Reuters; Mohammed Ghobari)
A ceasefire between Yemeni Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims fighters intended to end days of clashes that have killed at least 100 combatants and civilians appeared to be failing Monday after Sunnis reported a resumption of fighting.

TUNISIA'S RULING ISLAMISTS, OPPOSITION SUSPEND TALKS
(Reuters; Tarek Amara)
Tunisia's ruling Islamists and opposition parties suspended talks on Monday over forming a new caretaker government to end the country's crisis after the two sides failed to agree on naming a prime minister.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

KERRY, KARZAI AT ODDS OVER TALIBAN LEADER'S DEATH
(The Hill; Carlo Munoz)
Karzai criticized the timing of Washington's decision to take out Hakimullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban's top leader, just as Meshud was reportedly beginning peace talks with Kabul and Islamabad.

PAKISTANI PARTY VOTES TO BLOCK NATO SUPPLY LINES IF DRONE STRIKES PERSIST
(The New York Times; Declan Walsh, Ismail Khan)
The party, Tehrik-i-Insaf, which governs Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, passed a resolution that threatened to block the supply lines through the region in response to a C.I.A. missile strike that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, on Friday.

MUSHARRAF GRANTED BAIL IN RED MOSQUE MURDER CASE
(The Washington Post; Shaiq Hussain)
The court decision brings Musharraf a step closer to being able to move freely about Pakistan after more than six months of house arrest.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

FOOD STAMP CUTS HIT ABOUT 5,000 TROOPS
(USA Today; Tom Vanden Brook)
About 5,000 troops are among those affected by cuts to the federal food stamp program, according to the Pentagon.

PENTAGON BUILDING SECURITY CHIEF ACCUSED OF ABUSING AUTHORITY
(Government Executive; Charles Clark)
The chief protector of Defense Department facilities in the Washington area abused his authority and some of his subordinates, according to an inspector general report made public on Monday.

BUDGET UNCERTAINTY COULD DERAIL EXPANSION OF U.S. SPECIAL OPS FORCES
(Defense News; Paul McLeary, Hope Hodge Seck)
Ambitious plans to expand the US military's elite special operations command are in jeopardy as the Pentagon considers whether to freeze force levels amid widespread budget cuts.

IG REPORT SLAMS PENTAGON SECURITY CHIEF
(The Hill; Jeremy Herb)
The head of the Pentagon security force promoted a subordinate over more qualified candidates and allowed a relative unauthorized access to the agency's firing range and two firearms instructors, according to an inspector general report.

SEXUAL ASSAULT REFORM 

GILLIBRAND FACES 60-VOTE BAR ON ASSAULT REFORM
(Politico; Darren Samuelsohn and Anna Palmer) 
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bid to overhaul the military's sexual assault policies took a big hit Monday after two key opponents said she's going to need 60 votes for a win.

ASSAULTS NOT SCARING OFF RECRUITS 
(Politico; Anna Palmer and Darren Samuelsohn) 
Even as the problem of military sexual assault has gotten more attention, there's been no drop-off in women signing up to serve.

DETAINEES

HOLDER SAYS HIS PLAN TO TRY 9/11 SUSPECTS WAS 'RIGHT ONE'
(The Washington Post; Sari Horwitz)
Attorney General Eric Holder appeared to criticize the pace of military commission trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

REPORT: MILITARY DOCTORS HAVE ABUSED DETAINEES, BREACHED ETHICS
(Military Times; Patricia Kline)
A three-year review of physicians' participation in force-feedings and detainee interrogations has concluded that military doctors engaged in abusive practices in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba and continue adhering to Defense Department policies that breach medical ethics.

INDUSTRY

AIRLINES, PILOTS, MANUFACTURERS LOOK TO EASE FAA PERMITTING BACKLOG
(Roll Call; Nathan Hurst)
Aircraft manufacturers, airlines and pilot groups are hoping congressional action will help speed up Federal Aviation Administration certification processes for aircraft, operators and repair stations, all severely backlogged as tight budgets have kept staffing thin.

NAVY

POLAND, U.S. SIGN FRIGATE MODERNIZATION DEAL
(Defense News; Jaroslaw Adamowski)
The Polish Ministry of Defense has signed a contract with the US government to modernize the Polish Navy's Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate.

TRAINING AIRCRAFT CRASHES IN PENSACOLA, 2 PILOTS HOSPITALIZED
(Navy Times; Mark Faram)
A Navy T-45C Goshawk aircraft from Training Squadron 86 crashed Monday morning while making an approach to Sherman Field at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.

KEARSARGE ARG TO RETURN AFTER 8 MONTHS AT SEA
(Navy Times; Staff)
The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group — and it's 4,000 sailors and Marines — will return to their home ports on Thursday, the Navy announced.

ARMY

VIETNAM VET WINS DISCHARGE UPGRADE IN PTSD LAWSUIT
(Associated Press; John Christoffersen)
A Vietnam veteran who received the Bronze Star and later was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder will have his discharge status upgraded under a settlement with the U.S. Army.

AIR FORCE

REPORT DETAILS HOW OFFICERS TOLERATED HOSTILE WORKPLACE
(Air Force Times; Kristin Davis)
The 328-page report stems from a highly publicized Inspector General complaint filed last year by Tech.Sgt. Jennifer Smith, an aviation resource management specialist at Shaw, who said that she had quietly endured sexual harassment and assault during her 17-year Air Force career.

CLUELESS: HOW CIVILIANS GET THE AIR FORCE ALL WRONG
(Air Force Times; Oriana Pawlyk)
The idea that everyone in the Air Force is a pilot is the No. 1 misconception that airmen hear.

MARINE CORPS

CALIFORNIA: MARINE CORPS RESERVISTS ACCUSED OF TRAVEL SWINDLE
(Associated Press)
More than two dozen Marine Corps reservists stationed in Southern California have been charged in a scheme of submitting fake travel vouchers.

KOREA

NORTH KOREAN SAILORS REPORTED KILLED IN OCTOBER SINKING; SOUTH SAYS THERE WAS NO CLASH
(The New York Times; Choe Sang-Hun)
A North Korean naval vessel sank last month, killing an unspecified number of sailors, according to North and South Korean news media.

AFRICA

MALI REBEL GROUPS QUESTIONED AFTER JOURNALISTS KILLED
(The Wall Street Journal; Stacy Meichtry, Drew Hinshaw)
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said French and Malian forces were questioning rebel groups following the slaying of two veteran journalists in Mali, a case that has rekindled concerns about the stability of the African country.

EXTREMIST LEADER: I HEADED ATTACK ON NIGERIAN CITY
(Associated Press; Haruna Umar,Michelle Faul)
A Nigerian Islamic militant leader with a $7 million bounty on his head boasts in a new video obtained Monday that he commanded the Oct. 23 battle that killed at least 127 people

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

KERRY FUMBLES IN EGYPT
(The New York Times; Editorial Board)
Secretary of State John Kerry's trip to Egypt included in his Middle East itinerary at the last minute, served only to add to the confusion over the Obama administration's policy toward this critically important Arab nation.

KERRY'S DIPLOMATIC GAMES IN EGYPT
(The Washington Post; Editorial Board) 
To judge that Egypt is headed toward democracy is to ignore the fact that its last elected leader and thousands of his supporters are now political prisoners facing, at best, blatantly unfair trials.

GLOBAL PUSH TO REIN IN U.S. MOVES FROM SPYING TO GITMO
(Foreign Policy; Colum Lynch)
More than 12 years after the United States launched its global war on terrorism, testing the outer limits of international law, many of America's allies are seeking to turn back the clock to a time when targeted killings, clandestine prisons, and domestic spying were more frequently associated with rogue states.

IS THE U.S. MILITARY READY TO EMBRACE NEW TECHNOLOGIES THAT WILL DEFINE FUTURE WARS? 
(The Washington Post; Walter Pincus) 
The Air Force, for example, is faced with redefining its most romantic role, from pilots flying a jet fighter or bomber through enemy fire to reach a target vs. someone safely operating a computer console far away from a war zone and directing an unmanned aircraft to a target.

ISRAEL PUSHED IRAN TO THE TABLE, SAYS HAGEL
(Bloomberg; Jeffrey Goldberg)
Hagel, now in his ninth month leading the Pentagon, argued that Netanyahu's threats of military action against Iranian nuclear sites, combined with the pressure of sanctions, may have actually encouraged Iran to take negotiations seriously.

IRAN TALKS TREAD TRICKY LINE ON SANCTIONS
(The Wall Street Journal; Gerald Seib)
The conundrum: Ease economic restrictions or strengthen them until a nuclear deal is struck? 

TRADING PRIVACY FOR SECURITY
(Foreign Policy; Bruce Stokes)
When asked to balance security worries against privacy concerns, Americans continue to opt for security.

THE UNCONSTANT GARDENER
(Foreign Policy; Daniel Drezner)
How President Obama could have kept friends as friends and nipped the NSA fallout in the bud.

U.S. CHECKED IN CENTRAL ASIA
(The New York Times; Joshua Kucera)
The Pentagon quietly announced last month that the U.S. military is leaving the air base it has operated in Kyrgyzstan as a staging area for American troops and materials since 2001, marking the end of a brief experiment to extend American power and influence into Central Asia.

HOW TO BALANCE SAFETY AND OPENNESS FOR AMERICA'S DIPLOMATS
(The Atlantic; John Norris)
Foreign affairs professionals have faced disease, disaster, war and terrorism over the last 234 years. How secure should today's officers be?

Got a tip? Email us at earlybird@nationaljournal.com.

National Journal's Early Bird is not produced by or officially sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Defense. It was created to serve the defense community upon U.S. DoD's announcement, on Nov 1, 2013, of its decision to discontinue the much-beloved Early Bird news report.

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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