Shutdown D+16Default D-1, & Guess what day it is.


1.  Guideline K – the tattletale gene. Contributor Ashley LaGanga explains some of the science behind security clearances, and Guideline K, and Guideline E, and more: “At its heart, the requirement is about reliability, trustworthiness, and good judgment (which is why a denial citing Guideline K is often accompanied with Guideline E, “Personal Conduct”). . . . While it is difficult to find affirmative examples of honesty, investigators will be searching for past behaviors indicating untrustworthiness.”

2.  Everything’s bigger in Texas, even the job opportunities. Contributor Tranette Ledford profiles the Lone Star State: “Texas is fourth in the nation among the fastest growing technology employment states . . . .  It also ranks second for the most high tech jobs.  The largest sector of the economy is currently in oil and gas.  But that’s closely followed by the defense and military sector.  Given the size of the state, there are plenty of options for geography and industry.”


1.  DoD sequestration flexibility – the pros and consFederalTimes.Com’s John T. Bennett reports, “House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon on Tuesday broke with Senate defense hawks by opposing a plan to allow Pentagon leaders authority to pick what gets axed via sequestration. . . . Pentagon brass, industry officials and hawkish lawmakers want DoD to be granted sequestration flexibility because the first round of across-the-board cuts hit operations and maintenance and procurement accounts hard.”

1.  Iran nuke talks in Geneva: “Very useful.” (polite diplo-speak for “nothing significant”) Aljazeera.Com reports, “Iran’s plan to break the deadlock with world powers over its nuclear programme has been received with a sense of ‘cautious optimisim’ in Geneva. . . . Western officials said the fact that the plan was delivered in English for the first time underlined a new mood in the often-tense nuclear talks. . . . However . . . snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities were not on the table.” Israel, never guilty of diplo-speak, clarifies its position: “Israeli officials are warily watching . . . concerned that the negotiations will produce an easing of economic sanctions without a halt to what Israel says is Tehran’s march toward an atomic bomb.”

2.  al-Liby: “Not guilty.” In New York, McClatchyDC.Com reports, “Anas al Libi pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges that he helped plan the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. . . . Jack Cloonan, a retired FBI agent who said he spent years tracking al Libi as a member of the FBI’s Osama bin Laden unit, told McClatchy that prosecutors have a very strong case against the Libyan.” Aljazeera.Com reports, “Al-Liby spoke in a gravelly voice only to confirm his name and age, and that he understood the proceedings. He is accused of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim Americans and of plotting to maliciously damage and destroy US property, and attack US defence buildings.”

3.  In Afghanistan, Kerry-Karzai do what Dems and Republicans cannot. Khaama.Com reports, “After three rounds of extensive negotiations, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and United States Secretary of State John Kerry reached a deal on a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA). Within the next few weeks, the agreement will go through several governmental institutions in Afghanistan, including Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) for procedural rules before it is ready to be signed. . . . Once inked, the Bilateral Security Agreement will orchestrate the U.S mission in Afghanistan beyond 2014 – mainly assuming a supportive role in training Afghan security forces and conducting joint counter-terrorism operations.”

4.  In turmoil: U.S. – Egypt relations. Reuters reports from Cairo, “Nabil Fahmy told the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper the extension of the period of instability in ties would ‘reflect negatively on the entire region, including American interests.’ ‘We are now in a delicate state reflecting the turmoil in the relationship and anyone who says otherwise is not speaking honestly,’ he said. Egypt criticized a U.S. decision last week to curtail military and economic aid to Cairo after a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, although Washington stressed it was not severing ties with its long-standing ally.”


1.  Federal works reimbursed, contractors just screwed. Bloomberg.Com Mark Drajem & Kathleen Miller report, “The shutdown brought most business at several federal agencies — including NASA — to a halt, and triggered stop-work orders on thousands of U.S. projects. Even when federal workers return, any prospective deal to restore back pay won’t apply to the millions who toil as cooks, cleaners, researchers and analysts on a contract basis.”

2.  AUSA Conference in jeopardy. FederalTimes.Com reports, “If the shutdown continues in the coming weeks, it could affect attendance at a number of major trade shows. The Association if the United States Army’s annual conference in Washington — an event that typically attracts more than 25,000 people — is less than two weeks away. The conference is boasting more than 700 Army and industry exhibitors ‘using 500,000 square feet of exhibit space.’ The Army continues to plan for the annual meeting pending a final decision from service Secretary John McHugh on whether soldiers stationed outside the Washington-area will be allowed to attend.”

3.  Lockheed Martin hits F5 with Marines. GovConWire.Com announces, “Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has won a $7.5 million contract to install new computer servers into air surveillance radars for the U.S. Marine Corps, Military Aerospace & Electronics reported Thursday. John Keller writes the company will work to replace the Oracle Sun Netra T5220 carrier-grade ruggedized computer servers with Oracle Sun Netra T4-1 carrier-grade servers.”


1.  Intelligence in the Digital Age: Authorizing NSA Espionage: Part II. DefenseMediaNetwork.Com continues its examination of the implications of 21st century technology and intel: “In this installment, we trace the winding path of legal authorization for the NSA’s intelligence gathering. Given public outcry, it seems the programs intended to detect and prevent terrorism run afoul of public approval, but do the American people have a real say in their government’s covert intelligence activities?”

2.   Securing the secured – perpetual surveillance. NextGov.Com’s Aliya Sternstein reports, “Today, once an employee obtains a security clearance, agencies can perform follow-up investigations every five years or when derogatory information is discovered. . . . former Defense Department Deputy Secretary John Hamre argued . . . that someone in Snowden’s position should be subjected to continuous, perhaps automated surveillance. Such ongoing scrutiny should apply to anyone with high-level clearances, including Hamre himself, he said. Electronic surveillance of cleared workers is technically possible, according to computer engineers. Federal managers, for instance, could read alerts from spyware installed on an employee’s personal cellphone. But spying on the entire cleared workforce would be illegal – unless new federal rules are issued.”

3.  Shoot like a pro – Sony’s mirrorless cameras. Wired.Com’s Tim Moynihan reviews the Sony Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R.  Go ahead, spend $2 grand: “Over the past few years, the best mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras have caught up to low- to mid-range DSLRs in terms of performance. They’ve always been more-portable than traditional DSLRs, too. And now, they’re going after the big guns: The professional full-frame cameras that boast bigger sensors than the APS-C imagers found in consumer DSLRs.”


1.   D.C.’s debacle, step by painful step. NYTimes.Com’s Jonathan Weisman walks you through, step by step: “Even so, the House speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and his leadership team failed in repeated, daylong attempts to bring their troops behind any bill that would reopen the government and extend the Treasury’s debt limit on terms significantly reduced from their original push against funding for the health care law. The House’s hard-core conservatives and some more pragmatic Republicans were nearing open revolt, and the leadership was forced twice to back away from proposals it had floated, the second time sending lawmakers home for the night to await a decision on how to proceed Wednesday. . . . It remained unclear if the Senate plan could pass the House or even if Mr. Boehner would bring it forward for a vote. The hopes for a resolution by Thursday also appeared to rest with the senators who had begun the failed movement to tie any further government funding to the gutting of the Affordable Care Act: Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah.”

2.  National Association of Convenience Stores? Yep, and Hillary’s courting ‘em. The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution Jim Galloway reports on Clinton’s super-secret speech to the NACS: “The former secretary of state . . . touched on a sensitive topic for the crowd of convenience store owners and operators, noting that high blood pressure, diabetes and other problems linked to obesity have led to mounting health care costs. She urged store owners to offer more fresh fruit and other healthy fare, saying that the best way to fight obesity is a voluntary effort to putting healthy choices in front of people.” [Healthy choices: a veiled metaphorical hint she’ll run for POTUS and slash the deficit.]


1.  The media and the shutdown. Aljazeera.Com contributor Paul Rosenberg argues, “As the government shutdown drama unfolds, perhaps the single greatest asset that GOP has on its side is the so-called ‘liberal media’, with its ideological bias toward ‘balance’ that prevents it from honestly reporting that the shutdown is a entirely Republican creation—which would dramatically intensify the pressure on Republicans to fold. Indeed, the promise that Republicans could spin the media to shift blame onto the Democrats was a key selling point in Ted Cruz’s two-month campaign to bully the party into following his lead off the cliff. If US media did not have its balance-at-all-costs bias, it’s quite likely that the shutdown would never have happened in the first place.”

2.  Syria . . . remember, Syria?  UPI.Com contributor Harlan Ullman argues, “Given the logistical nightmare of actually disposing of the chemical agents and the possibility that Assad is using the weapons as a diversion to stall for time, breakdown could force Obama to reorder military action with or without congressional approval and opt for a policy of regime change. Worse, Moscow and Washington will blame the other for the failure and a new version of the old Cold War could break out.”

3.  Inside Egypt’s Tea Party: The Muslim Brotherhood. AP’s Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh’s insider’s view of the party pulling Egypt apart: “. . . the Brotherhood’s cohesion and discipline have built it up into a successful movement that seized power in the Arab Spring. But some argue that the same closeness and authoritarian nature has worked against the Brotherhood, which now faces challenges in Egypt, Gaza and Tunisia.”

4.  “On Iran, Obama’s bigger challenge is with his allies.” Reuters contributor Mark Leonard argues, “As American domestic politics go from bad to absurd, Obama may increasingly look abroad in search of a legacy, and his frustrations could soon be transferred from Congress at home to foreign allies. As Israel and Saudi Arabia show, it is often easier to gain leverage over enemies than with countries bound by alliances and friendships. In relationships where there is an (often mistaken) assumption of mutual interests, cooperation is usually taken for granted.”


1.  Offensive words.

2.  “Sorry folks, the Park’s closed. The moose out front shoulda told ya.”

Related News

Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.