Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Secret Deal Freed U.S. Soldier, NSA Collecting Images of Faces Online, Who Could Replace Shinseki? Secret Deal Freed U.S. Soldier, NSA Collecting Images of Faces Online,...

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Secret Deal Freed U.S. Soldier, NSA Collecting Images of Faces Online, Who Could Replace Shinseki?

By Jordain Carney ( @jordainc)

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


N.S.A. Using New Tools to Collect Images of Faces Online
(The New York Times: James Risen, Laura Poitras)
The NSA's reliance on facial recognition technology has grown as it has used new software to exploit images in emails, text messages, social media, videos and other communications.

Secret Deal Freed U.S. Soldier
(The Wall Street Journal: Adam Entous, Julian Barnes)
The exchange of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban detainees was the result of secret negotiations that began three years ago and ended with the retrieval of America's last known prisoner of war.

Bowe Bergdahl's "Safety and Health Were Both in Jeopardy," Defense Secretary Hagel Says
(CBS News/Associated Press)
Officials had to act quickly to obtain his release, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said


With Shinseki Out, Who Will Obama Tap to Lead the VA?
(Foreign Policy: Gordon Lubold, John Hudson)
The next VA Secretary will need to press reset on an entrenched bureaucracy with surging demand.

Interim VA Leader Gibson Is New to Department
(Military Times: Patricia Kime)
Just three months after being named Veterans Affairs deputy secretary, Sloan Gibson is taking the helm — albeit temporarily — of an embattled Cabinet department.


House Panel Deals U.S. Defense Sector Another Winning Hand
(Defense News: John Bennett)
The U.S. defense sector is having a remarkable year on Capitol Hill.

Hill: Full Speed Ahead on VA Probe
(Politico: Burgess Everett)
House Republicans vowed there will be no "honeymoon" for President Barack Obama and his new Veterans Affairs secretary in the coming weeks.


Senator Unveils Proposal to Revamp VA Health Care
(USA Today: Susan Davis)
Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a broad proposal to revamp health care as the department faces an expanding investigation into the way care is provided at VA medical facilities.

Darrell Issa Says Kerry Won't Have to Testify on Benghazi
(National Journal: Sarah Mimms)
Secretary of State John Kerry will not have to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month.


Who Will Replace Shinseki? Five Possible Picks
(The Hill: Kevin Cirilli)
Here are a few potential names Obama might select.

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

Veterans' Crisis Put Obama on the Defensive as Others Failed to Do
(The New York Times: Peter Baker)
For a president who came to office hoping to restore public faith in government as a force for good in society, the situation at the V.A. threatens to undercut his reputation for effectiveness.

Shinseki's Farewell to VA Workers: 'Dignity, Compassion, Dedication'
(Los Angeles Times: Richard Simon)
More than five years after taking on what seemed to many an impossible assignment at the VA, Shinseki said goodbye to his employees.

McCain: Tom Coburn Should Be Next VA Secretary
(USA Today: Susan Davis)
"I think he'd be the best, and he's going to kill me for saying that," McCain quipped.

How the VA Developed Its Culture of Coverups
(The Washington Post: David Fahrenthold)
Once a bureaucratic success story, the agency began to hide its problems from those in Washington.

Many Veterans Praise Care, but All Hate the Wait
(The New York Times: Abby Goodnough)
Veterans have expressed frustration with delayed access to health care and an impenetrable and unresponsive bureaucracy at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics.

How to Cut Down on VA Fraud in a Single Step
(The Daily Beast: Jacob Siegel)
No, it's not getting rid of the guy at the top. It's a straight-ahead report that could uncover many of the secret waiting lists embedded in the system.

VA's Shinseki Wins One In Court
(McClatchy: Michael Doyle)
It's far from a consolation prize, but still a victory nonetheless for the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Fired 2,247 People Last Year, But Only 2 Were Senior Executives
(Government Executive: Eric Katz)
Lawmakers really want Veterans Affairs Department leaders to fire more employees.

For Many in Military, Shinseki Remains an American Hero
(McClatchy: Nancy Youssef)
Many in the uniformed military had remained decidedly in Shinseki's camp, convinced that an American hero was being made a scapegoat.

Some Vets Hope for a Silver Lining
(The Wall Street Journal: Ben Kesling)
Chicago VA hospital patients say the health-care scandal will lead to improvements.


Freed Prisoners Were Battle-Hardened Taliban Commanders
(The Washington Post: Kevin Sieff)
One of them was the head of the Taliban's army and one arranged for al-Qaeda trainers to visit Afghanistan.

Hagel Celebrates Bowe Bergdahl's Release in Surprise Afghan Visit
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper)
For Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the release of the American prisoner of war is the high point of his tenure in the cabinet so far.

Some U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Ambivalent About Bergdahl Rescue
(The Wall Street Journal: Julian Barnes)
Questions remain about Bowe Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance.

Resentment Lingers Among POW's Peers
(The Washington Post: Dan Lamothe, Kevin Sieff)
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's departure from his Afghan post in 2009 led to a massive search that some say endangered troops, and some service members think he should be held accountable.

Prisoner Trade Offers Rare Window Into the Taliban
(The New York Times: Matthew Rosenberg, Carlotta Gall)
The American government and Taliban command played down the idea that the exchange, long seen as a crucial prelude to any broader talks, might breathe new life into a peace effort.

Afghanistan Objects to Prisoner Swap
(The Wall Street Journal: Maria Abi-Habib, Nathan Hodge)
Afghanistan raised objections over the swap of five high-profile Taliban detainees for a U.S. soldier, saying the Afghan prisoners should have been freed without conditions.


China Accuses U.S. and Japan of Incitement
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper)
A senior Chinese military official's remarks followed speeches by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Japan's prime minister faulting China for maritime disputes with its neighbors.

U.S. Sway in Asia Is Imperiled as China Challenges Alliances
(The New York Times: Helene Cooper, Jane Perlez)
As Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Singapore, the Obama administration's Asia policy appeared to be turning into a street fight, with the United States playing referee.


U.S. Insists Assad Must Go, But Expects He Will Stay
(Reuters: Lesley Wroughton, Missy Ryan)
Even as the United States seeks to increase support to moderate rebels to fight his regime, U.S. officials privately concede Assad isn't going anywhere soon.

Al-Qaida Says Kills 'Spies' for Aiding U.S. Drone Strikes in Yemen
(Reuters: Yara Bayoumy)
A 28-minute video showed what AQAP said were four spies confessing that they had planted devices in vehicles which resulted in the deaths of AQAP fighters.


Obama to Urge Europe to Keep Up Pressure on Russia
(Associate Press: Julie Pace)
Obama's four day trip to Poland, Belgium and France comes against the backdrop of successful national elections in Ukraine.

Pro-Russia Militia Attack Ukraine Border Post, Dead and Wounded Reported
(Reuters: Pavel Polityuk)
Security sources said a force of separatists had occupied the upper floors of a nearby apartment block and were shooting into the border post on the southern edge of Luhansk.

In Ukraine War, Kremlin Leaves No Fingerprints
(The New York Times: Sabrina Tavernise)
Eastern Ukraine is becoming the setting of a subtle game in which Russian freelancers, not soldiers, are shaping events.

Military, National Security Agencies Vexed by Dependence on Russian Rocket Engines
(The Washington Post: Joel Achenbach)
U.S. military officials and space-industry experts say it's high time the United States had an industrial base that produced rocket engines that can do what the Russian engines do.


Alleged Sex Assaults Latest in String During Military Training
(The Washington Post: Dan Lamothe)
The incidents raise questions whether enough has been done to vet troops put in a position of power.

U.S. Experts Bank on $50B to $70B Overseas Contingency Ops Budget
(Defense News: Marcus Weisgerber)
That range is lower than the $79 billion placeholder submitted to Congress in March, but higher than the $20 billion it will take to fund those troops in Afghanistan.

Hagel Says 'Indispensable' U.S. Still Not the World's Police
(Defense One: Kevin Baron)
What's the difference between being the world's police and being the "indispensable" caretaker of global security?

DoD in a Jam? Time for a Review
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's go-to weapon system is not found on any base, in any hangar or aboard any ship. It's a review.

Pentagon Plan to Enlist Young Immigrants Is Delayed at White House's Request
(The New York Times: Julia Preston)
The White House delayed a plan to allow the recruitment of young, skilled immigrants with deportation deferrals.


Most Malmstrom Airmen Return to Alert Duty
(Associated Press)
About two-thirds of the airmen involved in the cheating investigation at Malmstrom Air Force Base have been returned to alert duty or are in the training pipeline to be recertified.

Air Force Wants to Boost Global Strike Command's Clout
(Global Security Newswire: Rachel Oswald)
The Air Force wants to raise the clout of its strike command as part of its response to a series of ethics lapses in the nuclear sector.

Relieved of Command
(Air Force Times: Kristin Davis)
Leader tried to reach out; investigation cites favoritism


Carter: JSF Program Manager Based F-35 Award Fees On Desire To Protect Lockheed
(Inside Defense)
A former Joint Strike Fighter program executive officer was fired in 2010.


In Obama's Speeches, a Shifting Tone on Terror
(The New York Times: Mark Landler)
After five and a half years and dozens of addresses, the trail of President Obama's foreign policy pronouncements has grown muddier.


Soldier Exchange Aside, Guantanamo Hurdles Persist
(Associated Press: Ben Fox)
Significant challenges remain, including any blowback over the exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and time is running short.

Bergdahl Deal Could Be First Step to Emptying Gitmo
(The Daily Beast: Josh Rogin)
Now that President Obama has proven Congress can't stop him from releasing terrorists, the administration could be primed to empty out the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Gitmo Detainee Release Draws Criticism
(USA Today: David Jackson)
The recovery of kidnapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is complete, but the debate over the price of trading the soldier for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners continues.

USS Cole Case Prosecutors, Judge Huddle
(The Miami Herald: Carol Rosenberg)
USS Cole case prosecutors met privately with the war court judge in a bid to persuade him to abandon his sweeping CIA discovery order.


Egypt's Latest Military Strongman
(The New York Times)
The newly elected president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, will have to take bold action to rescue a country in severe economic distress.

Trading With the Taliban
(The Wall Street Journal)
Other Americans will pay the price for the terrorist hostage swap.

We Lost Soldiers in the Hunt for Bergdahl, a Guy Who Walked Off in the Dead of Night
(The Daily Beast: Nathan Bradley Bethea)
For five years, soldiers have been forced to stay silent about the disappearance and search for Bergdahl. Now we can talk about what really happened.

Mr. Shinseki Takes the Fall
(The New York Times)
The secretary's resignation is just the beginning of much-needed process of change at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

At VA, Now Comes the Hard Part
(USA Today)
Pushing out Shinseki was easier than fixing the system. 

A Better VA
(The Washington Post)
Any reforms should start with preserving the system's quality of care.

Real Accountability at the VA
(The Wall Street Journal)
Shinseki's resignation would be a terrible thing to waste.

Why Obama Should Have Stuck With Shinseki
(The New Yorker: John Cassidy)
With the midterms approaching, politics is driving things.

How to Fix the VA
(Slate: Phillip Carter)
But with 9 million patients, 320,000 employees, 971 hospitals and clinics—It's not going to be easy.

Obama's Foreign Policy Book
(The New York Times: Thomas Friedman)
Here are a few working titles for the president's consideration.

He's Like Ike
(The Atlantic: Peter Beinart)
Obama, haunted by war and skeptical of heroics, echoes Eisenhower's foreign policy.

Why There Are So Few POWs From Today's Wars
(The Atlantic: Uri Friedman)
Americans are taken captive at a much lower rate than in past conflicts.

Want your defense news even faster? Follow the Early Bird on Twitter: @NJEarlyBird. And tell your networks to sign up directly here.

Subscribe | Contact Us

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