“Did the New Spooks on the Block Really Fix U.S Intelligence?” (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“For decades intelligence reformers sought to centralize the U.S. intelligence community in a single office with real power over budgets, personnel, and operations. Ten years ago they finally got their wish. Following an intense congressional fight, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) set up shop in April 2005 with high expectations. The office was supposed to ensure the kind of inter-agency coordination that was supposedly missing before the 9/11 attacks. It was to be the fulcrum of sharing and collaboration among agencies with long histories of mutual suspicion and occasional disdain. Ultimately it sought to unify a sprawling constellation of civilian and military agencies into “fully integrated intelligence community” that would “inform decisions made from the White House to the foxhole.”

See the article here.

Background Briefing on the Report Required To Rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism Status (State)

Cuba

This transcript contains the full background briefing on American-Cuban Relations in regards to the pending review of Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism. Read the full briefing here.

The Bureaucracy of Terror New Secret Documents Reveal al Qaeda’s Real Challenges (Foreign Affairs)

Osama

“A new trove of documents that were among those seized in the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, were presented recently during the trial of Abid Naseer at the Brooklyn federal district court.

The documents—which consist of correspondence between Osama bin Laden and senior al Qaeda leaders—reveal the state of the global terror operation in the months leading up to bin Laden’s death. They paint a picture of an organization crippled by the U.S. drone campaign, blindsided by the Arab Spring, and struggling to maintain control over its affiliates—and yet still chillingly resolute in its mission to strike inside the United States.

The documents offer some insight into the effectiveness of U.S. counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda. They also, believe it or not, provide a few laughs.”

Read the full article by Jennifer R. Williams

Preparing for War in Lithuania (Foreign Affairs)

U.S. Army Spc. Caleb Roberts fires an M9 Beretta pistol during the Mississippi National Guard's Best Warrior Competition at Camp McCain, Miss., Feb. 20, 2013. Roberts, with Detachment 1 of the 3656th Maintenance Company, was named Soldier of the Year.

“Visitors to Lithuania would be forgiven for failing to realize just how seriously its people take Russia. From Klaipeda to Vilnius, ordinary Lithuanians are preparing for the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin turns from Crimea and the civil war in eastern Ukraine toward them or their neighbors in Latvia and Estonia. Their jitters are understandable; every family in the Baltics has direct experience with Russian occupation. Jurgita Ludaviciene, a book editor, told me that when word of the Soviet invasion came in 1944, her grandfather—a reserve officer in the Lithuanian army—had only two hours to decide what to do. Since the Soviets would almost certainly have sent him to the Gulag, he fled west, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. They never saw him again.”

See the full article here. By Gregory Feifer

Condemnation of Attacks on Somalia Central Hotel (State)

Press Statement

Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 20, 2015

“The United States strongly condemns al-Shabaab’s terrorist attack on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu today. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the attack, and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

This murderous attack, targeting government ministers and Members of Parliament, once again highlights that al-Shabaab stands only for death and destruction, and is firmly opposed to the Somali people’s efforts to build a secure and prosperous future.

The United States will continue to support the Somali people and their government as they rebuild their country. Those who stand in the way of Somalia’s progress will not succeed.”

See the article at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/02/237728.htm#