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Senate-CIA Brawl Rages, NSA Plans to Hack 'Millions' of Computers, Panel Passes Ukraine Aid Senate-CIA Brawl Rages, NSA Plans to Hack 'Millions' of Computers, Pan...

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Senate-CIA Brawl Rages, NSA Plans to Hack 'Millions' of Computers, Panel Passes Ukraine Aid

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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How the NSA Plans to Infect 'Millions' of Computers With Malware
(The Intercept: Ryan Gallagher, Glenn Greenwald)
Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

 

Leading House Lawmaker Wants NSA Phone-Data Collection to End
(The Wall Street Journal: Siobhan Gorman)
The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee called for the end of the National Security Agency's mass collection of phone records and floated a proposal to replace it.

Despite Vows of Help, White House Withholds Thousands of Documents From Senate CIA Probe
(McClatchy: Jonathan Landay, Ali Watkins, Marisa Taylor)
The White House has been withholding for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program.

Ukraine Bill Approved by Panel With Loan Guarantee, IMF Overhaul
(Bloomberg: David Lerman)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved an aid package for Ukraine that will face resistance from Republicans over changes in U.S. funding for the International Monetary Fund.

Obama, Ukraine Premier Outline Potential Opening Over Crimea
(Reuters: Steve Holland, David Brunnstrom)
President Barack Obama and Ukraine's prime minister outlined a potential diplomatic opening on Wednesday that could give Russians a greater voice in the disputed region.

 

CONGRESS-INTELLIGENCE

Blowup Between Feinstein, CIA Had a Long, Slow Fuse
(The Washington Post: Greg Miller, Adam Goldman)
Years of tension over her Senate panel's report on the agency's interrogation practices erupted in public this week.

CIA-Senate Spat Raises Murky Legal, Policy Issues
(Associated Press: Eric Tucker, Mark Sherman)
A dispute between the CIA and the Senate that flared into public view this week has no obvious path toward criminal prosecution and may be better resolved through political compromise than in a court system leery of stepping into government quarrels, legal experts say

Mark Udall at Center of Senate-CIA Spat
(Politico: Manu Raju, John Bresnahan)
Republicans say that not only has the committee's chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, provided selective information to the public about improper CIA conduct, but they are also now pointing the finger at Sen. Mark Udall.

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White House Tried to Mediate Dispute Between Senate, CIA Panel: Source
(Reuters: Mark Hosenball, Warren Strobel)
The White House's top lawyer has tried to mediate between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA, which are making increasingly bitter mutual charges of spying on each other about a Bush-era program of harsh interrogation.

White House Says CIA Gave 'Heads Up' It Was Filing DOJ Complaint Against Senate Aides
(Associated Press)
The White House says the CIA's top lawyer gave it a "heads up" before the CIA filed a criminal complaint with the Justice Department against Senate Intelligence Committee staffers earlier this year.

CIA Emails Reveal Tension Over Terrorism Probe
(Politico: Josh Gerstein)
Internal Central Intelligence Agency emails detail misgivings about an in-house review of aggressive, Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects and show how that inquiry was curtailed by a separate Justice Department probe.

Senate Investigation of CIA Dogged by Controversy
(Associated Press: David Espo)
House Speaker John Boehner said he is concerned over allegations of CIA snooping into computer files, but would keep his fuller opinions to himself until an internal report is completed by the CIA's inspector general.

Rogers on CIA Accusations: 'The Important Thing Here Is to Make Sure We Get the Facts'
(The Washington Post: Ed O'Keefe)
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said he's known about accusations that the CIA searched computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee for a while.

CONGRESS

GOP Senators Line Up Against Ukraine Aid Bill
(The Daily Beast: Josh Rogin)
The Senate is moving forward with an aid and sanctions bill for Ukraine. Most Republicans are up in arms about it.

McCain to Lead Delegation to Ukraine
(Daily Beast: Josh Rogin)
The Arizona senator is heading to Kiev for the second time since the crisis erupted, just days ahead of a referendum on the future of the Ukrainian province of Crimea.

RUSSIA/UKRAINE

Obama to Putin: Don't Deal With Ukraine Over 'Barrel of a Gun'
(USA Today:Aamer Madhani)
Obama's comments came following an Oval Office meeting with Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

John Kerry to Meet Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov in London to Discuss Ukraine Crisis
(Associated Press: Matthew Lee)
Kerry told Congress he will make the trip to try to calm rising East-West tensions ahead of a weekend referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region.

U.S. Steps Up Crimea Referendum Attacks as Ukraine PM Visits White House
(The Guardian: Dan Roberts)
Obama administration insists impending referendum to annex Crimea to Russia "would have no legal effect."

Leading Ukraine, a Technocrat Encircled by Problems
(The New York Times: David Herszenhorn)
Mr. Yatsenyuk, 39, is in a role that suits him better than that of street revolutionary, but has thrust him to the center of crisis.

G-7 Nations Warn Russia on Crimea
(The Wall Street Journal: Carol Lee)
Group talks of action if Moscow supports secession of Ukrainian region.

Ukraine Refocuses Debate on U.S. Missile Defense
(Military.com: Kris Osborn)
Tensions with Russia over Ukraine have sparked suggestions the Obama administration take a tougher defensive posture toward Russia and revisit previous U.S. plans to build land-based missile defense technology in Poland and the Czech Republic.

E.U. Approves Framework for Asset Freezes, Travel Bans on Russia
(Reuters: Martin Santa, Luke Baker)
European Union member states have agreed the wording of sanctions on Russia.

SACEUR Says Forces at Work in Crimea Are Under Russian Command
(Stars and Stripes: John Vandiver)
Gen. Philip Breedlove asserted that soldiers surrounding Ukrainian bases in Crimea are Russian forces.

NATO Sends 2 Surveillance Planes to Ukraine Border
(Associated Press: Frank Augstein, Kirsten Grieshaber)
NATO deployed two surveillance aircraft Wednesday to monitor Ukraine's air space and Black Sea ship movements as Russia consolidated its military buildup in Crimea.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Pentagon Think Tank Chief Long Focused on Psych Studies
(USA Today: Ray Locker)
The director of the Pentagon think tank spending $300,000 a year to study the body movements of world leaders has a decades-old history of using psychological studies to predict the decision making of foreign leaders, records show.

Secretive Pentagon Think Tank Knows No Bounds
(Politico: Philip Ewing)
From Vladimir Putin's body language to the histories of religious warfare, from the development of new technologies to the histories of ancient empires, there isn't much the Pentagon's internal think tank won't pursue.

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN

Russia Can't Thwart Afghan War Drawdown, U.S. Commander Says
(Reuters: Phil Stewart, David Alexander)
Russia, locked in a standoff with the West over Ukraine, would be unable to thwart a complete or partial U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan even if it cut off access to Russian supply routes.

Release of Afghan Prisoners Exposes Root of Rift With U.S
(Reuters: Sayed Anwar Amani, Mirwais Harooni)
Washington believes the decision to release the men is a sign of Kabul's cosiness with the Afghan Taliban, with whom both the United States and Kabul have sought to open peace talks.

7 Things to Know About the U.S.'s Future in Afghanistan
(National Journal: Sara Sorcher)
For one: The U.S. is planning to bring home the troops, but not all of them.

General: Al-Qaida Has Expanded Throughout Afghanistan
(The Hill: Kristina Wong)
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said he did not believe the Taliban posed an existential threat to Afghanistan, but U.S. troops will still be needed there after the war ends in December.

Dunford: Lack of Afghanistan Agreement Doesn't Affect U.S. Troops Yet
(Marine Corps Times: Leo Shane III)
Gen. Joseph Dunford told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on that Afghan President Hamid Karzai's refusal to finalize a long-term military agreement has been concerning but not disruptive so far.

Existing Afghan Deal Would Cover U.S. Post-2014
(Associated Press: Deb Riechmann)
There is no legal reason the U.S. has to resort to the "zero option," as administration officials have repeatedly claimed.

MIDDLE EAST

Obama Administration Rejects Appeal From Egypt to Deliver Helicopters
(Washington Free Beacon: Bill Gertz)
The Obama administration has turned down an urgent appeal from Egypt's government for the delivery of U.S. Apache attack helicopters needed for counterterrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula.

Kerry Says Will Decide Shortly on Resuming Aid to Egypt
(Reuters)
Kerry said he will decide "in the days ahead" whether to resume U.S. aid to Egypt after suspending the funds last year over the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and a crackdown against protesters.

Israel Asking U.S. for $350 Million in Missile Defense Plus-Ups
(Inside Defense)
The Israeli government has provided U.S. lawmakers with a missile defense wish list that includes a multimillion-dollar increase in funding.  

UN Expert Says Drone Use, Deadly Attacks Down in Pakistan, on the Rise in Afghanistan, Yemen
(Associated Press)
Ben Emmerson says for the first time in nine years that no civilians were reported killed in 2013 in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Regions, which borders Afghanistan.

AIR FORCE

AF Stops Work on Most Force-Shaping Programs
(Air Force Times: Stephen Losey)
The Air Force has halted work on most of its force reduction programs while it reevaluates them.

Air Force Keeps Bomber Price Tag at $550 Million
(Military.com: Brendan McGarry)
The Air Force expects its next-generation bomber to cost about $550 million per aircraft.

NAVY

Navy, Marine Corps Leaders Detail Risks of Budget Restraints
(Stars and Stripes: Jon Harper)
Navy and Marine Corps leaders warned lawmakers about the consequences of further defense cuts Wednesday.

Navy Disqualifies 151 Sailors After Sex-Assault Review
(USA Today: Tom Vanden Brook)
The Navy has disqualified 151 sailors serving as sexual-assault counselors, instructors, and recruiters.

5th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Miller Nominated Deputy CNO
(Stars and Stripes)
Miller has served as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and 5th Fleet since May 2012.

New Weapons Spending Holds 'Steady' Across Latest Five-Year Spending Plan
(Inside Defense)
The Pentagon's fiscal 2015 budget plan forecasts weapon-system modernization spending to grow over five years from $153.4 billion to $188.7 billion.

Pentagon Budget 2015: Tomahawk Line Under Threat
(IHS Jane's Defence Weekly: Richard Scott)
The Navy has taken the axe to production of the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile, and revealed plans to start funding research and development for a successor land attack weapon.

Navy Vessel Arctic Embezzlement Trial Starts
(The Virginian-Pilot: Tim McGlone)
Ismael "Mike" Estrada was about to board a plane on his way to the Philippines in October when Navy investigators stopped him at the gate.

ARMY

AUSA President: Commission Plan Shows 'Lack of Trust' in Leaders
(Army Times: Michelle Tan)
The president of the Association of the United States Army defended the organization's opposition to a commission that would determine the Army's force structure and sent a message to his critics: Let's trust our leaders.

How a Military Sexual Assault Case Foundered
(The New York Times: Alan Blinder, Richard Oppel Jr.)
The most important sexual assault prosecution in the military came apart on Monday.

VETERANS

VA: Funding Decline for TBI Care Is Good News
(Military Times: Leo Shane III)
VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel said the reduction reflects the changing nature of veterans' injuries—not a lack of commitment by VA physicians.

ASIA/PACIFIC

Judge Dismisses Indictment Against Diplomat Whose Arrest Stirred Crisis
(The Washington Post: Karen DeYoung)
Devyani Khobragade's detention, which included a strip-search, provoked outrage in India.

Japan's Abe Seeks Trilateral Summit With South Korea, U.S
(Reuters: Nobuhiro Kubo)
Seoul appears cool to the idea of a meeting of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Obama on the sidelines of a global nuclear-security summit.

U.S. State Department Criticizes 'Provocative' China Move to Block Filipino Boats
(Associated Press: Matthew Pennington)
China's blocking of supplies to a Philippine outpost in the South China Sea is "provocative" and raises tensions, the United States said.

IRAN

Iran, Russia Discuss Adding Nuclear Plants
(Associated Press)
Iran's official news agency is reporting that Iran and Russia have discussed a draft agreement to build two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic.

INDUSTRY

Lockheed Martin Buys Cybersecurity Firm Industrial Defender
(The Washington Post: Christian Davenport)
Lockheed Martin on Wednesday announced that it would acquire a Massachusetts company that helps protect electrical grids, oil and gas pipelines and other pieces of critical infrastructure against cyberattacks.

Cancellation of F-16 Upgrades Muddies International Fighter Market
(National Defense: Dan Parsons)
The Air Force's decision to favor new designs over upgrades to legacy aircraft forced the cancellation of a program that could muddy an international market for radar and avionics upgrades.

Adobe Gift of Solar Phone Chargers Prompts U.S. Inquiry
(Bloomberg: Tony Capaccio)
Someone in Adobe Systems' marketing department thought it would be a good idea to send Pentagon personnel solar chargers for their mobile phones. The result was a criminal investigation by the U.S. Navy.

SYRIA

Syrian Officials to U.S.: You Should Be on Our Side
(The Huffington Post: Joshua Hersh)
Syrian officials have a sharp message for American policymakers about the war in this country.

Syria's Assad Makes Rare Visit to Frontline Area
(Associated Press: Albert Aji)
President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday visited displaced Syrians in a frontline suburb of the country's capital.

The Frontman vs. Al-Qaida
(Foreign Policy: Susannah George)
Meet Jamal Maarouf, the West's best fighting chance against Syria's Islamist armies.

TERRORISM

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Seeks Dismissal of Some Charges
(Associated Press)
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will argue for dismissal of some of the charges against him during a court hearing a day after the anniversary of the deadly blasts.

FBI Hunting Hawaii for Most-Wanted Domestic Terrorist
(Associated Press)
The FBI office in San Francisco said the agency received "credible intelligence" that Daniel Andreas San Diego might be on the state's Big Island.

HOMELAND SECURITY

DHS Boss Favors Major Coast Guard Cutter Fleet Funding, Arctic Presence
(Seapower Magazine: John Marcario)
The U.S. Coast Guard's fleet recapitalization efforts drew the backing of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

AFRICA

Did Russ Feingold Just End a War?
(Politico: Stuart Reid)
The unlikely story of how the former Wisconsin senator made peace in Congo.

With Training and Partnerships, U.S. Military Treads Lightly in Africa
(Reuters: David Lewis)
Military experts say direct U.S. military action in Africa is limited to short raids on "high-value" targets in places such as Somalia and Libya.

SPACE

Military to Congress: Help Us Avoid 'Gravity II'
(National Journal: Alex Brown)
The Pentagon's space commanders want help tracking the type of space trash that threatens rockets and satellites.

GAO Says Competition Key to Building Better Space Taxis for Satellites
(National Journal: Alex Brown)
Allowing more companies to fight for rocket contracts could lower costs, says the government auditing agency.

ANALYSIS/COMMENTARY

The CIA Has A Lot of Explaining To Do
(USA Today)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, isn't one to throw bombs.

Beijing's Breakneck Defense Spending Poses Challenge to the U.S.
(The Washington Post)
Breakneck defense spending raises questions about Beijing's motives. 

Let the Military Run Drone Warfare
(The New York Times: Rep. Adam Schiff)
The C.I.A. should focus on gathering intelligence.

Don't Worry, Ukraine Won't Go Nuclear
(Time: Michael Crowley)
Experts say Kiev's talk of a nuclear deterrent against Vladimir Putin is far-fetched.

Change How We Test, Care, Feed Air Force ICBM Crews
(Breaking Defense: Bob Butterworth)
Which is more important: a written test or a test as close to the real world as one can get?

Military Justice Bungles Latest Day in Court
(Bloomberg News: Margaret Carlson)
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is Exhibit A in why the current system needs to be changed—and it isn't the reason you may think.

A Better Way to Close American Bases
(Politico: Norton Schwartz, William Murdy)
In an age of military belt-tightening, the Pentagon is wisely willing to scale back its base operations on U.S. territory. So why won't Congress let it?

Bark or Bite
(Foreign Policy: Shane Harris, John Hudson)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein has declared war on the CIA. How hard is she willing to fight?

The CIA Learns the Hard Way Not to Mess With Dianne Feinstein
(Time: Jay Newton-Small)
The longtime senator may look sweet, but she has a talent for mowing down opponents with words.

The Country That Makes Saudi Arabia Look Good
(Bloomberg: Jeffrey Goldberg)
Qatar is a tiny country—a mole on the back of Saudi Arabia—yet one that makes its presence felt in disproportionate and often destructive ways.

Stuck Between a Rock and the 'Zero Option'
(World News & World Report: Rebecca Zimmerman)
The U.S. is on the brink of a withdrawal from Afghanistan almost by accident.

What Is the U.S. Air Force's New Bomber For?
(The Diplomat: Robert Farley)
The USAF's next generation bomber will cost between $550 and $810 million. Does it have a niche to fill?

And the Winner in Ukraine Is ... China
(The National Interest: Dimitri Simes, Paul Sanders)
Here we go again. The Obama administration, confronted with a foreign policy crisis, is flailing. This time it isn't Syria, but Ukraine.

8 Questions the World Faces as Lethal Drones Proliferate
(The Atlantic: Conor Friedersdorf)
Today's answers will affect how other countries pursue targeted killing in the future.

Why We Need a New Church Committee to Fix Our Broken Intelligence System
(The Nation: Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr.)
As Sen. Feinstein has revealed, the CIA will not only stall but even spy on Congress to impede its investigation of wrongdoing.

Accused of Spying on Congress, CIA Director Tap Dances
(National Journal: Major Garrett)
Nothing about the CIA-Senate squabble looks reasonable.

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