FROM THE DESK OF CLEARANCE JOBS.COM
1. In the wake of the Snowden breaches, policymakers and supervisors contend with the fallout. Contributor Diana Rodriguez lays out some of the most salient questions – and reactions – to date. “As the lines blur for many Americans on what criteria defines a spy or a government whistleblower,” writes Rodriguez, “the Department of Defense (DoD) has instituted a “zero-tolerance” policy that recommends security officers issue reprimands, to include revoking security clearances, if severe security infractions or breaches are discovered. Government security policies are increasingly focused on preventing leaks, even as efforts continue to protect whistleblowers.”
2. Editor Lindy Kyzer gives us the SCORE. Focusing on actions in the Senate, Kyzer examines the Security Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement Act that, among other things, further empowers the government respond to act on fraudulent background investigations. “The bill also paves the way for increased desk audits and scrutiny over which positions truly require and employee to have access to classified information,” Kyzer explains. “Within 180 days of the enactment of SCORE, the Director of National Intelligence is required to issue guidance as to whether or not a position requires a security clearance, as well as establishing procedures for periodic review.”
3. Secrets Snowden didn’t reveal, but D.B. Grady does. In seven steps, contributor Grady sheds light on the Treasury Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA), most surprising, perhaps, that “OIA personnel aren’t just desk jockeys in D.C.”: “Where there are soldiers, CIA officers, commandos, and G-Men, there are OIA personnel. During the Iraq War, CENTCOM and the Treasury Department ran an office called the Iraq Threat Finance Cell.”
THE FORCE AND THE FIGHT
1. USNS Montford Point launched. The U.S. Navy’s first “mobile landing platform” (MLP) is afloat off the west coast, according to American Forces Press Service: “Leveraging float-on/float-off [FLO-FLO] technology and a reconfigurable mission deck to maximize capability, the MLP provides a seagoing pier when access to on-shore bases and support are unavailable. The platform includes add-on modules that support a vehicle staging area, vehicle transfer ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three landing craft, and air-cushioned-vessel lanes to enhance its core requirements.” As interesting is the namesake for the ship: Montford Point: “Some Montford Point Marines were arrested and charged with impersonating a Marine, as police officers had never seen an African-American Marine.”
2. Indications of Anti-Taliban movement growing. Khaama.Com reports, “US officials are optimistic regarding growing public uprisings against the Taliban group across the country, calling it a positive sign for US efforts to stabilize the country. According to US officials new anti-Taliban movements were reported in southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan, including Uruzgan and Nangarhar provinces, which is followed by anti-Taliban public uprising in Ghazni and Logar provinces.” See more at the Washington Free Beacon: “Movement Gaining Strength.”
3. Pak Taliban sends trainers to Syria and fights three-front war. According to the LongWarJournal.Com’s Bill Roggio, the Pakistani Taliban is providing support to beleaguered Syrian rebels: “The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has sent “experts in warfare and information technology” to Syria to establish a base and monitor the fighting there. . . . The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan works closely with the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and a host of non-aligned Taliban groups and jihadist organizations in Pakistan. . . . The Pakistani Taliban are capable of establishing a cell in Syria even as they are waging jihad against the Pakistani government and fighting in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has insisted that the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is weak and fractured due to military operations against the group.” See also, “Taliban setup base in Syria to assess needs of Jihad.”
4. Peace breaks out in Cairo. In a welcome anti-move, Islamist protesters in Egypt give peace a chance. Reuters’ Yasmine Saleh and Mike Collett-White report, “Tens of thousands of Egyptians marched on Cairo’s streets in the early hours of Saturday to demand ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi be reinstated, but there were none of the deadly clashes that swept Egypt a week ago. Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood called on Friday for ‘a day of marching on’, and 10 days after the military overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected president, large crowds descended on the capital waving flags and chanting slogans.” AP and Aljazeera agree, “Tens of Thousands March” and “Cairo Rallies . . . End Peacefully.” See also, unable to keep its nose out of anything, the “U.S. Seeks Mursi Release” and “Egypt Welcomes U.S. Remarks.” Finally, Time explains, “Ramadan Heat Cools Tensions.”
5. Update on Bradley Manning. Finally, the media is left with nothing to say.
6. In opposite world, Taliban Math – Taliban promise more violence in Ramadan: Radio Free Europe reports, “As Afghanistan welcomes Ramadan in the spirit of worship and forgiveness, the Taliban has vowed to step up its campaign of violence during the holy month. . . . Ramadan carries extra religious significance for the Taliban, which claims that jihad provides more rewards during the period of religious observance considered one of the five pillars of Islam. According to Islamic teachings, Allah multiplies any good deed during Ramadan by 70.” Also on Radio Free Europe, an informative background “Interview: Why Peace With The Taliban Is So Elusive.”
1. Foreign Military Sales to Pakistan: $7.8 million goes to QinetiQ North America: “QinetiQ North America, Waltham, Mass., is being awarded a $7,772,646 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of Talon IV vehicles, spares and training. This contract will support Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Pakistan (100 percent). The Talon IV robot provides the military’s explosive ordnance disposal technicians with a man transportable capability to remotely perform reconnaissance. Work will be performed in Waltham, Mass. (99 percent), and Pakistan (1 percent) and is expected to be completed by December 2013.” See the Talon IV.
2. Six-two and eyes of blue – Boston Dynamics’ debutante welcomed to the world. American Forces Press Service reports, “One of the most-advanced humanoid robots ever built was introduced to the public yesterday in Waltham, Mass. . . . The Atlas robot can make a range of natural movements and has an on-board, real-time control computer. The Atlas also boasts a hydraulic pump and thermal management, two arms, two legs, a torso and a head, 28 hydraulically actuated joints, a Carnegie Robotics sensor head with LIDAR and stereo sensors, and two sets of hands — one provided by iRobot and one by the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratory.” See more about Atlas at RobotMingle.Com.
3. The United States: Saudi’ Sam’s Club. DefenseIndustryDaily.Com lays out recent history of Foreign Military Sales to Saudi Arabia: up to $60 billion in sales: “a full multi-billion request that included 84 F-15 Strike Eagles to replace the Kingdom’s Tornado strike aircraft and/or F-15A-D fighters, upgrades for another 70 planes, about 132 UH-60 Black Hawk utility and AH-64 attack helicopters, and armaments to equip them.”
TECH, PRIVACY, & SECRECY
1. NSA-proof messaging? Yes. Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat.Com reports on Digify’s latest program: “Do you remember the old Mission Impossible show on TV, where a tape-recorded message self-destructs? Digify has created the modern version of that. The Singapore-based company provides cloud-based secure documents that are strictly controlled. Digify enables customers to secure, capture, and preserve secret information, said Augustine Lim, the managing director of Digify.”
2. Kevlar Clapper apparently impenetrable. National Intelligence Director hitting .000. Gadhafi will prevail (sorry, try again), Muslim Brotherhood secular (sorry, try again), no domestic NSA collection (sorry, try again), “I can say anything and get away with it !” (that’s right! ding ding ding). AP’s Kimberly Dozier tracks Clapper’s batting average in The Big Story: “The intelligence director’s staying power shows the Obama administration’s reluctance to unseat the nation’s top spy while the intelligence community is dealing with the fallout of what Snowden, a former NSA systems analyst, has disclosed and what he might still reveal. Asking Clapper to step down would also elevate Snowden by highlighting his claim that senior U.S. officials were lying to Congress about the nature and extent of NSA surveillance programs.” I would have thought the term Muslim brotherhood would have tipped him off.
3. Snowden agrees to leak Russian secrets in exchange for asylum. AP’s Vladimir Isachenkov reports, “Edward Snowden emerged from weeks of hiding in a Moscow airport Friday, still defiant but willing to stop leaking secrets about U.S. surveillance programs if Russia will give him asylum until he can move on to Latin America.” And, Booz Allen Hamilton vice chairman: “’leak has done irrevocable damage to that process’ and ‘it’s going to be hard and expensive’ to reverse it.” Cha-Ching!
1. Self-licking ice cream cone. TheDailyBeast.Com’s Nick Gillespie considers the question, “What if distrust in government perversely drives demand for more government?” What if? Uhhhh, we’re all screwed, I guess.
2. We’re not here to help. U.S. pledges to help Syrian rebels flounder while Assad’s regime grows stronger. McClatchyDC.Com’s Hannah Allam reports, “A month after the Obama administration pledged stepped-up support for Syria’s armed opposition, the government of President Bashar Assad’s position has improved, with U.S. assistance to the rebels apparently stalled and deadly rifts opening among the forces battling to topple the Assad regime. Government forces appear close to forcing rebels from the key city of Homs after a 10-day offensive, while an al Qaida-linked rebel group on Thursday assassinated a top commander from the more moderate, Western-backed Supreme Military Council, signaling what one British newspaper dubbed a ‘civil war within a civil war.’”
OPINIONS EVERYONE HAS
1. Abbottabad Report Context. Aljazeera contributor Akbar Ahmed explains, “In the context of Pakistani history, the report is both courageous and honest in its assessment of Pakistani failures and attitudes concerning the raid that killed bin Laden.” (Ahmed: “Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC, former Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and author of The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam.”)
2. Napolitano departure may ease immigration reform, argues WaPo contributor Jennifer Rubin: “In the ongoing immigration debate, conservatives have raised doubts that she and the president could be trusted to enforce border security measures. Her departure deprives immigration critics of a target. If her replacement commands respect from conservatives, immigration reform may be easier.”
3. Remembering Srebrenica. Aljazeera’s Lana Pasic revisits Srebrenica place in history: “If you enter the Identification centre and look at the body bags, the gravity and sorrow of the July 1995 events becomes evident. In 2007, International Court of Justice ruled that the executions which took place in Srebrenica at that time constitute an act of genocide, the only genocide in Europe since the Second World War. Eighteen years later, we are still pursuing justice, contemplating reconciliation, and debating international involvement.” See also BBC’s “Serbian President Apologises.” (Read about the massacre that still haunts the Dutch military.) See also, Peter Maass, “Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War” for broader context.
1. Snowden to Russia: Do you want to go with me? Yes, no, maybe.
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