National Security

“Furloughs: “A new day for federal service!” Cartwright loses his security clearance; Drones moved in Djibouti; Is Bill Caldwell in trouble?; Carter to announce Navy Yard panel; Syria solution came from an all-night bender (JK!); and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

As the Pentagon braces for the possibility of a shutdown, a defense official told CNN's Barbara Starr: "We're incensed at the prospect of a government shutdown. We've just gotten over civilian furloughs, are posturing for potential military action in Syria, have our guard up elsewhere, and are dealing with the continuing effects of sequestration. Making matters worse, think about Afghanistan and troops who might not be paid on time--and their families. It's totally irresponsible."

And, directly from the Salt in the Wound Department - At OPM, furlough planning means it's "a new day for federal service!" Yesterday the government's Office of Personnel Management issued guidance on furloughs and a possible government shutdown called, simply enough, "Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs." It's the Plan B plan in case the government is shut down, if Congress fails to cut a deal, starting Oct. 1. The only thing is, it looks like someone forgot to redesign the little cover sheet for the top of the new guidance. The cover sheet, from "December 2011," says, cheerfully at the bottom in old-style cursive: "A New Day for Federal Service." It was taken, by some at least, as a stick in the eye about the same time there is a real threat of more furloughs. Is this the new normal? 

And this just in: Deputy Secretary Ash Carter will today at 12:30 at the Pentagon announce the names of the individuals who will serve on the panels the Defense Department is convening to look at issues surrounding the Navy Yard shooting last week.

Welcome to Wednesday's edition of Situation. Sign up for Situation Report here or just e-mail us at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll stick you on. And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease. And remember, if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report. That and please follow us @glubold.

Hoss Cartwright, Obama's "favorite general," has lost his security clearance, making serving on a QDR panel a challenge. The Defense Department has stripped Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright of his security clearance, depriving the man once known as "Obama's favorite general" access to classified data as the investigation into leaks of national security secrets continues. Multiple current and former administration sources told FP that Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lost his clearance earlier this year. It was an indicator that that government officials might, in some way, consider his ongoing access to secrets a national security risk while he was under investigation by the Department of Justice for possibly leaking sensitive information about the Stuxnet computer virus. And, it presents challenges for a man who has been working to shore up his image since retiring in 2011. It was also a further indignity for Cartwright, who turned 64 this week, and who was once an Obama administration darling. Cartwright enjoyed privileged access "across the river" at the White House when he was the number two senior officer on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon from 2007 to 2011. He had adopted contrarian views on issues like the troop surge in Afghanistan, which alienated him from senior brass at the Pentagon but in many ways helped catapult his reputation within the White House. He quickly fell from grace, however, after being linked to leaks about a highly classified cyber-weapon created by the U.S. and Israelis called Stuxnet.

That Cartwright's security clearance has been revoked may come as little surprise for a high-profile investigation into leaks surrounding a highly classified program... But Cartwright serves on at least one panel that requires a security clearance. Cartwright is a member of the National Defense Panel, an independent board reviewing the Pentagon's upcoming grand strategy report, known as the Quadrennial Defense Review. But Cartwright was unable to attend the panel's first Aug. 20 meeting, at the Pentagon, raising questions about the status of his security clearance. Asked about the matter, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said he would not comment on Cartwright's security clearance status. Neither Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee who appointed Cartwright, or the Pentagon's Press Secretary, George Little, would comment. And attempts to get a response from Cartwright or his reps were unanswered. Read the rest of our story here.

You won't find this story in the Early Bird today: Is Bill Caldwell in trouble for obstructing whistleblowers over issues at a medical facility in Afghanistan? Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio: "The top U.S. general responsible for training the Afghan military and his deputy tried to impede their staff from contacting investigators about patient abuse at the largest military hospital in the war-torn country, according to the Pentagon's inspector general. The two generals sought in 2011 to restrict contact with a team of investigators probing allegations of corruption and substandard patient care -- including the starving of Afghan military patients and filthy conditions -- at Dawood National Military Hospital, according to an inspector general's report obtained by Bloomberg News. Army Secretary John McHugh should ‘take appropriate action against' Lieutenant General William Caldwell, who remains on active duty and his deputy, Army Major General Gary Patton, who now heads the Pentagon's sexual-assault prevention office, the inspector general said in the Aug. 13 report. The generals "attempted to limit" contacts and "required all communications" with the inspector general "be approved prior to release," the report found. They acted after the training command's own inspector general submitted a seven-page assessment in February 2011 documenting substandard patient care to the investigating team without the general's knowledge.

Is Dawood hospital a potential recruiting poster for the Taliban? Grassley, to Hagel, in a letter obtained by Bloomberg, on Sept. 5: "The reports... clearly indicate that generals Caldwell and Patton engaged in a pattern of misconduct designed to effectively ‘restrict' five officers and a civilian deputy to the Commander from reporting fraud and theft to the Defense Department's (DoD) Inspector General's Office. The whistleblowers had become ‘increasingly concerned about the level of corruption and felt it was beyond their ability to evaluate and fix.' They wanted to ask the DoD OIG ‘to help root out the corruption.' Generals Caldwell and Patton attempted unsuccessfully to keep that from happening."

And, Grassley wrote: "If the goal of U.S. policy in Afghanistan is to win the ‘hearts and minds' of the people, then taking care of wounded soldiers is a good place to start. By allowing wounded soldiers to rot and die in this hospital, we and the Afghan government are providing the Taliban with a golden recruiting opportunity. Dawood has the makings of an effective Taliban recruiting poster."

What does Iran really want? FP's Yochi Dreazen: "We know what Iran would want out of any agreement: freedom from the Western sanctions that have decimated its economy and international recognition that it is entitled to have a civilian nuclear program. More specifically, Iran would want the United States and its allies to lift the measures that have led foreign countries to significantly cut their purchases of Iranian oil, reducing Iran's monthly oil revenues by nearly 60 percent over the past two years, and that have forced overseas financial institutions to freeze their ties with Iran's central bank, driving the value of its currency down to historic lows and effectively cutting Iran off from the global financial system. We also know the broad terms of what the United States would want: clear evidence that Iran had dropped its pursuit of nuclear weapons and would no longer have the equipment or radioactive material necessary to start it up again." More here.

Where is the Middle East's "bad boy," Quassim Soleimani? From an informed American diplomat, to Situation Report: "The Persians invented chess. I would term this the "Troy Gambit."  Curious to see if we and allies take the proffered pawn, and we wake up one morning next year to news that the Iranians have a nuclear weapon. And how will the Israelis react to this?  Would love to believe this is all for real, driven by sanctions and economics, but experience suggests that when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.  I think this is misdirection (read option, except with agile, fleet of foot quarterbacks, unlike the Deadskins), because Iran has too much on its plate, and needs to calm down some of the fronts it is operating on -- Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and beyond. In the meantime, where is the bad boy of the Middle East, Quassim Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force?  The man responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq, and coordinating the Iranian intervention in Syria, when he is not planning the killings of Israelis in Bulgaria or Cyprus?"

NYT's David Sanger, on Obama and "evolving forpol." Read it here.

The U.S. military is having to move its fleet of drones in Djibouti because of the risk that they would collide with commercial aircraft. The WaPo's Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller: "The Pentagon has temporarily moved the unmanned aircraft from the U.S. base in Djibouti's capital to a makeshift airstrip in a more remote part of the country. U.S. military officials said the disruption has not affected their overall ability to launch drone strikes in the region, but they declined to say whether it has forced them to curtail the frequency of drone missions or hindered their surveillance of al-Shabab camps and fighters. The Djiboutian government's growing unease over drone flights casts doubt on its commitment to host the aircraft over the long term. It is unclear whether the temporary drone base can be transformed into a permanent home or whether the U.S. military will have to hunt for another site in the region, according to previously undisclosed correspondence between the Defense Department and Congress."

Why is this a problem? "That uncertainty raises fresh questions about the Pentagon's plan to invest more than $1 billion to upgrade Camp Lemonnier into a major regional base, supporting operations throughout Africa, as well as in parts of the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean. Those plans include a $228 million compound to house up to 700 personnel from the highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command. More broadly, however, the concerns about drone safety present a strategic challenge for the Pentagon as it begins to shift more of the robot planes to new frontiers, where they must share congest airspace with commercial aircraft." The WaPo's Page Oner, here. WaPo's map of the "drone network," here.

Does the Nairobi terrorist attack mean a return not only of the Shabab - but al-Qaida? U.S. News' Paul Shinkman: "Al-Shabab's attack on an upscale mall in Kenya could be a bitter taste of future violence from a surging international coalition of al-Qaida fighters, says a former top U.S. official for Africa. This latest strike, which left more than 60 dead and hundreds wounded, could further destabilize the region, says former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. It could allow for a resurgence of al-Qaida in East Africa, he says, and for Somalia to descend into an ‘international arms bazaar.' It requires a strong response from international supporters of the fledgling government in Somalia, which is still trying to rise above its ‘Black Hawk Down' history. Veteran Foreign Service Officer Johnnie Carson (and former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs), to Shinkman: "This is not something the new Somali government will be able to do on its own... "We must do everything we can to continue the progress into the future. Much remains to be done there," says Carson, who retired earlier this year. "One should not look at the incidents over the weekend - as terrible and horrific as they are - as indicators of backsliding." More here.

A Reuters photographer's memory of Nairobi, here.

JIEDDO's Tyler Hague is going to be an astronaut. NASA selected its 2013 Astronaut Candidate Class, and Tyler Hague, currently with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, or JIEDDO, may soon see stars. From NASA: "Tyler N. Hague (Nick), 37, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, calls Hoxie, Kan., home. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards, Calif. Hague currently is supporting the Department of Defense as Deputy Chief of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization." More here.

Who's where when. Today, Gen. Keith Alexander, Cyber Command Commander and National Security Agency director, delivers remarks at the 4th Annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit at 8 a.m. EDT, at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.; And CNO Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert talks about the status of the Navy around the world, the ways the Navy is rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific and some of the challenges facing the Navy at 8:30 p.m. EDT, at the Marine Memorial Club in San Francisco.

John Kerry expected to sign Arms Trade Treaty today. The WaPo's Karen DeYoung: "The United States will sign the international Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday, agreeing to the accord to stem the flow of weapons to human rights violators and conflict zones, over the strong opposition of the U.S. gun lobby, according to a senior State Department official." More here.

Amnesty International USA today announces that Steven Hawkins is taking over as the head of Amnesty International USA. The organization is welcoming its new leader, Hawkins, who will begin the day in New York just as John Kerry is expected to sign the new Arms Trade Treaty, which Amnesty has worked for for two decades. Hawkins: "The human rights movement has no borders, and there are no limits to what we can accomplish. Though our accomplishments are many, our challenge today is to use the extraordinary power of our digital world to open the eyes of young people who are concerned about rights here to fight alongside those who are waging similar struggles around the world. We must harness the passion and commitment we see at home and connect these voices to millions more demanding respect for the same rights in distant places."

The Pentagon could cut 50k employees, 60k troops, and save $50 billion. As a follow up to our squib yesterday about Stimson's report detailing 27 ways to cut $50 billion, the AP's Pauline Jelinek: The Defense Department could shed 60,000 more troops than planned and 50,000 civilian employees without hurting U.S. fighting power, four former members of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a new report on military strategy and spending... The biggest proposed saving - $22.4 billion in the fiscal year starting October next year- would come in cutting overhead such as civilian employees, headquarters staff and contractors as well as reforming pension and health programs, the report said. Barry Blechman: "The Defense Department is not a jobs program." That story, here.

Turns out, the solution to the Syria problem came as a result of an all-night bender with Chuck Hagel and John Kerry. JK! From the Duffel Blog: "According to sources, Hagel texted Kerry stating that he felt overworked and needed a ‘wingman to blow off steam and bitch about my boss.' Fellow veteran Kerry agreed, stating that he had some ‘righteous weed and a few pills left over from Theresa's accident. ‘By night's end, a peaceful political solution to Syria's use of chemical weapons against its own people was devised after hours of drinking, marijuana use and free flowing conversation. ‘Yeah those two bums were down here,' said Mike O'Leary, bartender at The Velvet Lounge, a D.C. dive bar. ‘They came in looking like they had been at it for a bit. Reeked of reefer and whiskey. But they were paying with cash and kept downing the beers on a Sunday night, so what do I care?'... Pentagon officials are working feverishly to locate Hagel, who did not report to formation before the Senate Armed Services Committee on time. His aide made an unverified claim that he was at a dental appointment and totally not passed out in his quarters." Read the whole bit, here.

 

National Security

The wolf closest to the door at the Pentagon; Is Iran fahreal?; the Navy Yard shooter lied, the military says; A hate crime in New York; Stimson: Do these 27 things and save $50 billion; A retired Marine colonel sounds off; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

New this hour: A strong earthquake of about 7.8 has struck Pakistan's Baluchistan region. BBC, here.

Is this really happening? FP's Colum Lynch, reporting from New York for the U.N. General Assembly, on the Iranian charm offensive: Iran, the perennial bad boy of the international community, has suddenly become the diplomatic darling at this year's U.N. General Assembly session, mounting a charm offensive that has many U.N. diplomats asking themselves: Can this be real? In anticipation of President Hasan Rouhani's diplomatic debut before the 193-member U.N. General Assembly, Iran's American-educated foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has been working the U.N. corridors, telling anyone who will listen that Iran has changed its stripes and that its nuclear ambitions do not extend beyond its desire to generate more electricity. ‘I have been a multilateralist all my life; Iran wants to engage with the world,' Zarif told a gathering of more than 100 diplomats at a private luncheon at the U.N. delegates' dining room, according to a diplomat who was in the room. A former Iranian envoy to the United Nations, Zarif insisted that Iran is ready to deal: "We will move ahead and resolve the [nuclear] problem, not just for the sake of negotiation, not just for the sake of talking.

The Pentagon yesterday said Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis lied during the security screening process when he joined the military - and misled investigators on an incident that led to an arrest. The Defense Department briefed reporters yesterday on new developments with regard to Alexis' security clearances as the military is answering difficult questions about the troubled man's background and how his access was maintained. The WSJ's Dion Nissenbaum: "A continuing U.S. Navy review of Mr. Alexis's military career has revealed he failed to disclose his arrest in Seattle in 2004 for shooting out a car's tires and, when confronted about the arrest, never told investigators he used a gun... In the 2004 report, Mr. Alexis told Seattle police at the time he shot out a construction worker's car tires in an ‘anger fueled' blackout because he believed the man had been mocking him... But Mr. Alexis told a USIS investigator he had gotten into a parking dispute with construction workers near his Seattle home that escalated to a construction worker putting something into the gas tank of Mr. Alexis's car. Mr. Alexis said he retaliated by "deflating" the man's tires, but never mentioned that he did so by firing three shots into the car, according to a copy of the USIS investigation released by the Navy. More of his story here.

The new terrorist battleground is in Africa. FP's Yochi Dreazen and Elias Groll: "The deadly terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate Mall has taken dozens of lives and brought one of Africa's most-prosperous cities to its knees. It has also highlighted a disturbing new reality: the Islamist extremism that has long ravaged the Middle East has taken root in Africa as well, causing chaos and bloodshed across a broad swath of the continent. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terror group's African franchise, conquered a broad swath of northern Mali last year -- the first time an al Qaeda affiliate has ever taken and held terrain. AQIM also helped plan the siege of the American consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Other Islamist groups have carried out deadly attacks in Somalia, Algeria, and Niger. In Egypt, militants have launched a full-scale insurgency against security forces in the Sinai and begun striking Israel as well." FP's story and terrorist map, here.

The storyline on the massacre in Nairobi is that the Shabab is a Comeback Kid. But maybe it's its dying gasp, argues Clinton Watts, writing on FP. Watts: "...it's not yet possible to assess whether this attack signals the rebirth of al-Shabab as a regional jihadi movement, or the last gasp of a dying organization. Like any good guerrilla force, al-Shabab knows it has to conserve its sparse resources for maximum impact. Occurring less than a month before the second anniversary of Kenya's Somalia intervention, the attack comes during a nadir in relations between Nairobi and the SFG, which controls just a small swath of land in and around Mogadishu. Many in the Somali government are wondering when the Kenyan military will exit Kismayo, and doubt its intentions."

Fox News, this hour: Despite claims to the contrary, the Shabab claims it's still holding out in the Westgate Mal. That story here.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Situation. Sign up for Situation Report here or just e-mail us at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll stick you on. And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease. And remember, if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report. That and please follow us @glubold.

There's Iranian diplomacy, Syria, the aftermath of the shooting at the Navy Yard and the renewed threat posed by the Shabab. But at the Pentagon, the wolf closest to the door was the fear of a government shutdown. The Defense Department, determined not to do a re-do of sequester, the ominous cuts for which the Department didn't plan thinking it would never happen, has begun to take steps to prepare for a shutdown if Congress fails to cut a deal before the Oct. 1 deadline. Military Times' Andrew Tilghman and Marcus Weisgerber: "The Pentagon is bracing for a government-wide shutdown that would potentially force troops to work without a paycheck and send thousands of civilians home until Congress reaches a new budget agreement. U.S. Defense Department spokesman George Little said Monday that the Office of Management Budget has ordered the military to prepare for a shutdown, which includes reviewing which civilians might be considered essential and instructed to come to work despite the shutdown. It's unclear whether those civilians would be paid for that work. Troops will stay on the job regardless of a potential shutdown. Their paychecks might be delayed, but they would be entitled to retroactive pay after government functions resume.

Meanwhile, in the words of David Petraeus, many at the Pentagon were asking, "tell me how this ends." Defense News' John Bennett: "Four Ways Washington's Shutdown Showdown Could End:" One: A "clean continuing resolution" with no shutdown. Two: A "moderate coalition." Three: changes to Obamacare. Four: shut the thing down. Bennett: "The odds of a US government shutdown escalated last Friday when House Republicans pushed through a temporary spending bill that would kill funding for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Lawmakers and aides from both parties reply with a shrug when asked how what promises to be a dramatic week will play out. ‘I don't know what the dance will be in the negotiations," said House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee member Mike Turner, R-Ohio, before voting for the House government wide funding measure last week. "This is just the first salvo.' The $986 billion continuing resolution now heads to the Senate, where Democratic leaders say they will hold a series of votes this week to strip the Obamacare-killing language and then pass what they call a "clean CR," or continuing resolution." More here.

Out today, a new report by Stimson that recommends 27 things that Congress could do to the defense budget to shave off $50 billion and help "advance America's defense strategy." The new strategy is called "Strategic Agility" and it's being posed as an alternative to sequestration. The report is billed as a consensus report from Stimson's 17-member Defense Advisory Committee, which includes James Cartwright, former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gary Roughhead, former Navy CNO, Norty Schwartz, the former Air Force Chief of Staff, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State official who now heads the New America Foundation. The report was due out earlier this morning.

 How do you get to $50 billion big ones? Do Stimson's math: $22.4 billion in "management reforms," including cuts to excess military and civilian personnel in headquarters and defense agencies, reduce centralized training, reform military retirement and health benefits and eliminate funding for unnecessary commissaries and exchanges. See, it's that simple! Here's more: Save another $21.4 billion in changes to force structure, Stimson's report says: "These would maintain robust space, air, naval and special operations forces, and expand investment in cyber capabilities, but reduce active forces best suited for protracted wars and cut back nuclear forces. The restructuring would take advantage of the cost-effective strategic depth provided by the National Guard and Reserve," according to a treatment of the report prepared by Stimson. And another $5.7 billion in "reduced modernization costs." This set of cuts would maintain the long-range strike bomber and increase the number of AEGIS destroyers for theater missile defenses, according to Stimson. "The adjustments would freeze missile defenses in the United States and purchases of new ground vehicles. The cuts would also slow purchases of F-35 fighter jets and ballistic missile submarines, cut back tactical nuclear weapons, and shift development resources toward advanced technologies."

What else? As part of the $50 billion savings plan, Stimson recommends reducing civilian employees, for $4.7 billion; reforming military retirement for $1.5 billion; reforming health benefits, for $4.7 billion; stopping funding of commissaries and Post exchanges in the U.S., for $1.2 billion; and "extricating" uniformed personnel from non-military tasks - $2.7 billion. Read allaboutit here.

Wanna know more? Barry Blechman, Gen. B.B. Bell and Philip Odeen will take questions from reporters on the report from 1-2 p.m. today. Media should contact Rich Robinson at Stimson: rrobinson@stimson.org.

A Situation Report reader responds to the Pentagon Channel story yesterday. We got a number of responses to our story yesterday about possible changes to the Pentagon Channel and former television producer-turned-D.C. socialite-and-party-giver Tammy Haddad's consulting job on it a couple years ago. Haddad was hired because of her credentials as a TV producer for NBC, CNN and others, but the money she was paid infuriated some. Here's one response, from retired Marine Colonel James Howcroft: "They should have cut the Pentagon Channel years ago. What a waste of money. A farce and joke among active duty, note the Duffel Blog items about it. I am actually insulted when I see it on as I am flipping through [Armed Forces Network]. And to pay a ‘socialite' $92,000 for her advice and views is criminal, amusing to me that she can't even recall what her advice to the Pentagon Channel was from an 11 month project!  I guess socialites don't have files on their computers or keep records of things they got paid $92,000 to do."

And, he adds: "As long as I am at it, they should axe most of AFN too. I live overseas and work among active duty folks from all the services. The only channel they watch is the Sports channel. In this era of downloadable content and format and satellite channels there is no need for AFN, other than the sports. First run movies? How about year or two old movies at best. Trust me they have been on netflix or amazon to be downloaded or rcvd by mail for at least a year by the time they get on AFN.  AFN radio... ditto.   Would be interesting to see how much AFN costs and how many folks they figure watch it by channel. Ask the troops. Commercial networks have a way to measure viewership... does AFN do it ? Not in all the years I have been watching it from various over seas posts. Meanwhile, we are cutting infantry battalions and fighter squadrons."

Our story on the Pentagon Channel and Tammy Haddad's work on it, here.

Der Spiegel: Afghan warlords prepare for the U.S. withdrawal. Nut: "While the West is trying to extricate itself from the war zone in Afghanistan as quickly as possible, old warlords like Ismail Khan are preparing for a post-withdrawal period that many anticipate will be violent." Read the rest here.

A Truman Project Fellow who is a Sikh said he was pummeled by a group of men shouting anti-Muslim taunts by New York's Central Park. Prabhjot Singh, a professor at Columbia, had dropped his child and wife off and was walking on 110th Street with a friend when he was accosted by a group of men on bicycles saying things like "get him" and "Osama" and "terrorist" in an apparent hate crime. They attacked him, he was hit in the face and torso, but is now OK. He spoke to HuffPo Live here; Last year, he wrote this in the NYT: "the first documented race riot targeting American Sikhs occurred in 1907 in Bellingham, Wash. Their distinct religious identity (uncut hair, turban, beard) has historically marked Sikhs, particularly men, as targets for discrimination, both in their homeland in South Asia and in the various communities of the Sikh diaspora. And of course, 9/11 brought about a surge in fear and persecution directed at Sikhs, Muslims and other minorities with ties to the Middle East and South Asia."

Truman Project's Mike Breen, to Situation Report: "As a community that values civil and human rights, equality of opportunity, and tolerance, the Truman National Security Project condemns in the strongest terms the despicable and cowardly attack on Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a professor in Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and a Truman Project Security Fellow. Our thoughts go out to Prabhjot and his family. We believe in freedom from fear everywhere in the world - including here at home. It is imperative that as a nation we stand together against senseless hate crimes like these and do everything we can to prevent them from happening again. Prabhjot has dedicated his life to serving the underserved in his own community. He deserves our utmost respect." 

Beware social scientists and Human Terrain. USAT's Tom Vanden Brook: "Senior Army leaders were warned about potential fraud and rampant sexual harassment by government social scientists sent to Iraq and Afghanistan under the Army's Human Terrain System, newly released documents show. An investigation of time cards submitted by the Human Terrain Team members in 2009 and 2010 ‘revealed irregularities both in overtime and compensatory time card reporting...Of note, supervisory involvement in the time sheet management process was not documented, nor does there appear to be an auditable system in place,' according to documents released by the Army. In February, a USA TODAY investigation of the program found substantiated instances of sexual harassment and racism, potential fraud in filing time sheets and indifference to the reports team members had produced. The Army documents were obtained earlier this year by USA TODAY through a Freedom of Information Act request. But the Army withheld some part of the report then, and released them this month after a series of FOIA appeals." More here.