National Security

FP’s Situation Report: The U.S. explores a detention facility in Yemen; Whatever happened to Bill Caldwell?; 100k more jobs goal for vets; Naval officer: “Yummy… daddy like;” and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold 

The Obama White House is in talks with Yemeni officials about opening up a detention facility near Sana'a to hold dozens of terrorism suspects from Gitmo and Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times' David Cloud, citing U.S. and Yemeni officials, with this exclusive new wrinkle: "The plan affects only Yemeni prisoners but is considered key to a renewed push by President Obama to close the prison camp built at the U.S. naval base in Cuba after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a vow he repeated this week. More than half of the 164 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are from Yemen.There's a definite recognition that this needs to happen but if it's not done right, the risks are very high,' said a U.S. official familiar with the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are classified. Yemeni officials have drawn up preliminary plans for the facility outside the capital, Sana, but final agreement may be months away. Deep disagreements remain on funding, and about whether it would function as another prison or as a halfway house for detainees to reenter society after years of confinement and isolation." Read the rest here.

The Gitmo judge orders the Pentagon to turn over all correspondence from the Red Cross about the treatment of the alleged 9/11 conspirators in detention. The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg, who characterized the move as "a blow to Pentagon arguments that the contracts are confidential." That bit, here.

If you wondered what Pakistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia had in common and guessed "Saudi Arabia's shadow war," you'd be right. FP's David Kenner tells us this morning about how Saudi is turning to Pakistan to train Syria's rebels. It's not crazy, of course, since that partnership existed before in Afghanistan, but it went wrong then. Kenner: "...Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, along with the CIA, also supported the Afghan rebels against the Soviet-backed government during the 1980s. That collaboration contains a cautionary note for the current day: The fractured Afghan rebels were unable to govern after the old regime fell, paving the way for chaos and the rise of the Taliban. Some of the insurgents, meanwhile, transformed into al Qaeda and eventually turned their weapons against their former patrons." Read the rest here.

Welcome to Thursday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up for Situation Report, send us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. And if you like this whole thing, tell a friend. Register free for Situation Report and other FP products here. And as always, if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease, because if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report. That and please follow us @glubold on the Tweeter machine.

Kerry's path steepens for Israeli-Palestinian talks, by the NYT's Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren, here.

US weighs ending dual-hatted role for NSA, Cyber Command, in the WaPo by Ellen Nakashima, here.  

CIA is said to pay AT&T for call data, by the NYT's Charlie Savage, here.

Thaw between U.S. and Iran grew from years of behind-the-scenes talks, by WSJ's Jay Solomon and Carol Lee, here.

Navy Cmdr Jose Luis Sanchez, upon seeing pictures of women allegedly provided by a Malaysian businessman suspected of bribing Sanchez: "Yummy... daddy like." FP's Dan Lamothe: "It was October 2009 when Navy Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez and Malaysian CEO Leonard Francis exchanged messages online about a trip Sanchez was planning to Malaysia and Singapore with his Navy buddies. The two men discussed the number of prostitutes Sanchez and his military friends -- nicknamed the ‘Wolf Pack' -- would encounter. Sanchez asked Francis to send pictures of the women. The CEO promised to hook the men up with a ‘nest' and some ‘birds,' exciting the Navy officer. ‘Yummy ... daddy like,' Sanchez replied in an Oct. 19, 2009 message on Facebook. Those accusations are at the heart of the case against Sanchez, 41, who became the fifth man to face charges in the widening scandal involving Francis's company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, and the military officers he allegedly bribed in exchange for classified information about the Navy." More here.

This is a story you wouldn't have read about in the Early Bird - (if the Early Bird was still flying, that is): Bill Caldwell has moved on, without a slap on the wrist. Army Times' Joe Gould: "[Lt. Gen. Bill Caldwell] has retired and kept his rank even after an inspector general found he tried to block his subordinates from communicating with inspectors about patient abuse and corruption at a large Afghan hospital. [He] began work Nov. 1 as the president of Georgia Military College, a junior college and preparatory school based in Milledgeville, Ga. He was named to the post in February. In September, the 59-year-old Caldwell relinquished command of the U.S. Army North/Fifth Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, after a 37-year career. The Defense Department Inspector General had recommended Army Secretary John McHugh ‘take appropriate action against' Caldwell and his then-deputy Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton."

And this: "Patton, who now heads the Pentagon's sexual assault and prevention office, through a DoD spokesperson declined to comment while his case is pending. Caldwell declined to comment through a college spokesperson. Army officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment." Note: When Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio first broke this story in September about the investigation on Caldwell, the Bird never ran it. (Situation Report did). Capaccio's story here. Army Times' story here.

Just out: Stripes' Leo Shane's new e-book about the divide between the military and the civilian world. The e-book (Stars and Stripes' first) is a compilation of Shane's stories about the divide and how vets are bridging it. From the little teaser on the site: "America's veterans are skilled, highly trained professionals. Yet many of them find getting hired very difficult as they trade in their uniforms for civilian attire. Read ... first-hand reports on the challenges facing the military men and women who are coming home and leaving the military." Check it out here.

Speaking of which: JP Morgan Chase just announced this morning that it had another, new goal of hiring 100,000 veterans. As we first reported late last month, the 100,000 Jobs Mission, founded by JPMC but which includes 10 other companies, announced it had hired 92,000 veterans - far earlier than its goal - and announced just this morning that the Jobs Mission's new mission is to hire another 100,000 - that's 200,000 by 2020. Executives from the group spoke with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week while he was in New York "about how the public and private sectors can collaborate to help returning service members transition to - and succeed in - civilian jobs," according to a company statement. In all, there are 123 companies who have committed to hiring veterans as part of the Jobs Mission. The new Web site is JobsMission.com.

Watch the video of Hagel at CSIS earlier this week giving a major speech, here. And, the transcript of Hagel's remarks here.

Read "The A-Team Killings" in Rolling Stone, out yesterday, by Matthieu Aikens, here. The sub-hed: "Last spring, the remains of 10 missing Afghan villagers were dug up outside a U.S. Special Forces base - was it a war crime or just another episode in a very dirty war?"

Eritrea is a key country in Africa right now, especially as Somalia re-emerges on the national security map. Yet that country has never had an election. Writing on FP, Tiffany Lynch explains why we should care about the country's human rights record here.

There are five ways Obama can fix the drone issue, write Sarah Holewinski and Larry Lewis on DefenseOne. Among other things, they argue the CIA should be out of the drone business: "The CIA will always have a supporting role in drone operations, but the military appears better suited for the command role. The drone program would benefit from long-established doctrine and recently improved processes for targeting and reducing civilian harm. And the military has a history of openly debating the ethical use of force...Staffers on the Hill tell us that the process is slow going due to worries about DOD's capacity to handle the entire drone program, and worry that special operations forces often act as a mini-CIA within the military without proper oversight. These are valid concerns, but they can be addressed." Read the rest here.

ICYMI: Our piece yesterday on that very issue, about how the CIA will, for now, retain drone ops instead of migrating them anytime soon to the Pentagon. Read our piece, with FP's Shane Harris, here.

Meanwhile, in the Air Force, drone pilots are getting promoted at higher rates. Air Force Times' Jeff Schogol: "The disparity in the promotion rate between pilots of manned and unmanned aircraft has narrowed considerably. Some recent promotion boards have selected more unmanned aircraft pilots to advance than mobility pilots, according to figures provided by the Air Force Personnel Center. Last year, 89 percent of eligible unmanned aircraft pilots were promoted to major, compared with 87.4 percent of mobility pilots, 90.7 percent of bomber pilots and 94.1 percent of fighter pilots, the figures show. That's up considerably from 2011, when only 78 percent of eligible unmanned aircraft pilots were selected to advance to major, compared with 90.3 percent of mobility pilots, 92.2 percent of bomber pilots and 92.7 percent of fighter pilots." Read his bit here.

This is good: six myths to drone warfare you probably believe, on Cracked.com. The first one? "It's as traumatizing as being a pilot." The walk-off? Under a picture of inside a Conex box, typically what has been used for the cockpits for drone pilots at Creech Air Force Base and others, the cutline reads: "This is what the ‘cockpit' of a drone really looks like. If you'd like to know what it smells like, visit the last day of Comic-Con and start sniffing chairs." More here.

A critic of Jim Amos' involvement in the Taliban urination scandal has accused him of urging subordinates to publicly oppose legal testimony offered by Southcomm commander and fellow Marine, John Kelly. Marine Corps Times' Andy deGrandpre: "In a complaint submitted this week to the Defense Department inspector general, civilian attorney John Dowd alleges Gen. Jim Amos, the commandant, ‘in an unlawful act of reprisal ... urged his subordinate colonels and generals to push back against one of the expert witnesses' Dowd brought to Quantico, Va., during administrative proceedings for Capt. James Clement. The document does not identify the witness by name, but Dowd told Marine Corps Times it is Gen. John Kelly, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, who suggested during last month's hearing that Clement was unfairly targeted and owed an apology. Calling the matter extremely sensitive, Dowd declined to address additional questions about his complaint."

Read (or listen to) NPR's Tom Bowman's piece on the Taliban urination issue, here.

The intelligence community's Inspector General says he lacks the capacity to conduct a review of NSA's surveillance authorities. Politico's Tony Romm: "The inspector general who oversees the sprawling U.S. intelligence community said he lacks the resources to conduct a review of NSA's surveillance authorities, rebuffing a request from a bipartisan group of senators seeking answers about the agency's work. Led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), 10 lawmakers in September had urged the watchdog, I. Charles McCullough III, to investigate the NSA's programs to collect phone call logs and Internet data and publish its findings by the end of next year - but McCullough, replying Tuesday, said such a review just isn't possible. ‘At present, we are not resourced to conduct the requested review within the requested timeframe,' wrote McCullough, before adding he and other agency inspectors general are weighing now whether they can combine forces on a larger probe." More here.

Some love for FP's own John Hudson. 60 Minutes is taking flack (and aggressively defending its reporting) for its recent piece about Benghazi, including details provided by its main interview subject, security officer Morgan Jones, whose real name is Dylan Davies, because various publications have said what he said in the interview (and in his new book) are at odds with evidence that suggests he wasn't there that night and other details. 60 Minutes is also under fire for failing to disclose that Jones/Davies' book is published by a CBS subsidiary. FP's John Hudson wrote about the link between the book's publisher that Friday before the piece ran. Hudson's lede, Nov. 1, in The Cable: "A new 60 Minutes report on the attack on U.S. officials in Benghazi has reignited GOP outrage over the Obama administration's handling of the September 2012 incident. But new information about the report's central witness and his desire to profit off his story raises doubts about the accuracy of his scathing narrative." His story here.

A new poll from the Onion: do you approve of the NSA spying on its citizens? A state-by-state, color-coded map shows reflections according to color: The best one: "I like knowing there's an audience for my little show." That, here.

National Security

FP’s Situation Report: That plan to move drone ops from CIA to DOD? Not happening right now; A plan forms to replace George Little at the Pentagon; Assad wants him some trucks from the U.N.; Bush’s bromance with Putin; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold 

In May, the White House leaked word that it would start shifting drone operations from the shadows of the CIA to the relative sunlight of the Defense Department in an effort to be more transparent about the controversial targeted killing program. But six months later, the so-called migration of those operations has stalled, and it is now unlikely to happen anytime soon, Situation Report has learned. The anonymous series of announcements with remarks President Obama made on counterterrorism policy at National Defense University in which he called for "transparency and debate on this issue." A classified Presidential Policy Guidance on the matter, issued at the same time, caught some in government by surprise, triggering a scramble at the Pentagon and at CIA to achieve a White House objective. The transfer was never expected to happen overnight. But it is now clear the complexity of the issue, the distinct operational and cultural differences between the Pentagon and CIA and the bureaucratic politics of it all has forced officials on all sides to recognize transferring drone operations from the Agency to the Defense Department represents, for now, an unattainable goal.

A U.S. official told Situation Report: "The physics of making this happen quickly are remarkably difficult... The goal remains the same, but the reality has set in."

A former senior government official familiar with intelligence matters says part of the reason for the complexity of the issue of migrating operations is because there is a system the Agency has developed over 12 years and it's not as simple as just handing it all over. "Building function is about moving knowledge as much as it is about moving aircraft," the person told Situation Report.

Another U.S. official told Shane Harris that there has not been some sort of policy reversal, and that the transition is moving forward, "but it obviously takes some time," the official said. "And as the process moves forward we also want to ensure that US capabilities remain robust and do not suffer." Read our exclusive on FP with Harris, here.

The U.S. is losing its advantage in spying. The NYT's David Sanger: "A congressional panel created long before the recent revelations about government electronic spying operations issued a blistering report on Tuesday charging that the intelligence world's research-and-development efforts are disorganized and unfocused. An unclassified version of the report, based on two years of work by independent experts and two officials from inside the agencies, concludes that the United States is losing its technological superiority over its rivals, which are gaining ‘asymmetric advantages' by making their own investments in such efforts and, in some cases, stealing American inventions." Read the rest of his bit, here.

Want to know what the CIA told presidential candidates? Check out the new downloadable audio book by the CIA and Government Printing Office, here.

Tampa's Jill Kelley (right, the one dragged into the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell-John Allen situation) writes in the WSJ this morning: "How the Government Spied on Me," here. An excerpt: "...We authorized the FBI to look at one threatening email we received, and only that email, so that the FBI could identify the stalker. However, the FBI ignored our request and violated our trust by unlawfully searching our private emails and turning us into the targets of an intrusive investigation without any just cause-all the while without informing us that they had identified the email stalker as Paula Broadwell, who was having an affair with Mr. Petraeus. (I have never understood why she was stalking me and my family. In any event, she was not charged with a crime.)"

Welcome to Wednesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up for Situation Report, send us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. And if you like this whole thing, tell a friend. Register free for Situation Report and other FP products here. And as always, if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease, because if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report. That and please follow us @glubold on the Tweeter machine.

Who will replace George Little at the Pentagon? Unclear, but a list of names - some you might expect and some you might not - have emerged. At the same time, Situation Report is told (Inside Baseball Alert!) that the Public Affairs shop may return to the Doug Wilson-Geoff Morrell model, in which there is an Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and a press secretary/spokesman/talking head/spox who is a different person. (In the case under then Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Doug Wilson served as the ASD and Geoff Morrell as the spokesman. While each man was considered effective in their roles, many cringe at the notion that the Pentagon would return to that two-headed monster. But it's possible that given the personalities, current demands and everything else that is involved, "OSD Public Affairs" will give that model another go, we're told.

"Both models can work, but it depends fundamentally on how the new members of the team want to play ball," one insider told us. "Some people prefer management while others prefer media-facing roles." This could include bringing a senior military officer back into the mix in some form.  So who's being considered for one of the civilian roles? Shawn Turner, a former Marine who served in the White House and is now chief spokesman at the Office of National Intelligence, is on a short list. But so is Matthew Miller, a former spokesman at the Department of Justice, and Brent Colburn, former comms director at FEMA who worked on Obama's re-elect. There are other names, including Jen Psaki, currently at State, Clark Stevens who has been at DHS and Price Floyd, now at BAE. But Floyd, the jocular King of CrossFit said this to Situation Report:  "While I have lost weight recently and would therefore look better on camera, I have not been approached by the White House to be DoD Spokesman."

Carl Woog, now Assistant Press Secretary, will likely see an elevated role when everything shakes out. From a DOD official, to Situation Report last night:  "Carl is a key senior strategist on Secretary Hagel's public affairs team. He is relied upon not only to represent critical issues to the press, but to make sure that the Secretary's public engagements help advance his key leadership priorities."

NPR's Steve Inskeep was a fly on the wall at Chuck Hagel's monthly lunch with the rank and file at the Pentagon. "You hear Hagel's pat on the back of the uniform," it starts out as one lunch begins on the 8:55 minute piece. Then Inkseep and Hagel talk women in combat, domestic partnerships, the limits of American power and the expansion of military benefits. NPR's bit, which ran just this morning, here.

At CSIS this week, former DepSecDef Bill Lynn, now with Finmeccanica, was interviewed by CSIS' Sam Brannen, here about national security trends and challenges.

Assad's plan for transferring chemical weapons abroad for destruction includes a request for heavy armored trucks and advanced comms gear. FP's Colum Lynch with this exclusive: "... according to a confidential account of the plan reviewed by Foreign Policy, it includes 120 Syrian security forces, dozens of heavy, armored trucks, and an advanced communications network linking Damascus to the Mediterranean Sea. The extensive request for equipment with both civilian and military applications has already triggered expressions of alarm from Western diplomats. ‘Let's just say we will be looking at this list very skeptically, particularly items that could be diverted to a military program,' said one Security Council diplomat." More here.

How Vlad seduced Bush 43, or how the president of good and evil bromanced Vladimir Putin - and how a warm friendship turned to ice. The NYT's Peter Baker, writing on FP: "In the summer of 2006, President George W. Bush was relaxing at Camp David with the visiting prime minister of Denmark when the conversation turned to Vladimir Putin. It had been five years since Bush memorably peered into the Russian leader's soul. But now hope had been replaced by exasperation. Bush regaled his guest with stories of aggravating private dealings with Putin that underscored their growing rift. Bush was astonished that Putin had tried to influence him by offering to hire a close friend of the president's and he found Putin's understanding of the world disconnected from reality. ‘He's not well informed,' Bush groused. ‘It's like arguing with an eighth grader with his facts wrong.'"

"...Whether Bush or anyone else ever actually "had" Putin in the first place is debatable at best. But the story of Bush's eight-year pas de deux with the master of the Kremlin, reconstructed through interviews with key players and secret notes and memos, offers lessons for President Obama as he struggles to define his own approach to Putin and shape the future of the two nuclear powers." Read the rest here.

Nope, says Kerry, the Europe-U.S. missile defense system is on track despite diplomacy with Tehran. The WSJ's Patryk Wasilewski, in Warsaw: "The U.S. said Tuesday it was going ahead with its missile-defense plans for Europe despite improving relations with Iran, one of the main threats the system is designed to counter. The U.S. expects to put land-based missile interceptors in northern Poland by 2018, three years after a site in Romania is to become operational. The base in Poland will seek to protect Europe and the U.S. from ballistic missile attacks ballistic missile attacks that could be launched mainly from Iran. On the only European stop of a weeklong tour focused on the Middle East, Secretary of State John Kerry was asked in Poland whether that element of the system could be abandoned, considering U.S. diplomacy and international talks with Iran over its nuclear program. ‘There is no agreement with Iran,' Mr. Kerry told a news conference in Warsaw. ‘Nothing has changed and the plans for missile defense are absolutely on target,' he added." Read the rest here.

ICYMI: Problems at Shaw Air Force Base and how officers (including two full-birds, five lieutenant colonels and a captain) apparently tolerated sexual harassment and assault. Air Force Times' Kristin Davis: "A pair of yellow women's panties hung for months in the mouth of a mounted tiger inside the 79th Fighter Squadron heritage room at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Pornographic magazines were kept in a drawer in the 77th Fighter Squadron bar and offered as gifts during roll call in the 55th Fighter Squadron. Pictures of scantily clad women showed up on briefing slides there, and offensive images and song lyrics remained on a shared network accessible to hundreds of airmen despite repeated complaints, a command-directed investigation into misconduct within the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw found." More here.

Viral: Soldiers farewell haka in New Zealand, which starts out making you think you're watching one thing when really you're watching another, here.

First sergeant with GED tells Corporal: "You'll never make it on the outside." From The Duffel Blog (and yes, dear readers, we understand TDB is satire but thanks for all your cards and letters informing us of same!): "A First Sergeant with more than 20 years of service in the Marine Corps and a high school equivalency degree told a Corporal being discharged after four years to attend college that there's no way he'll ever make it on the outside, sources confirmed. Cpl. Steven Winters, 23, an infantryman who served on multiple deployments and recently accepted to Columbia University in New York, will be ‘crawling back to the Corps within months,' according to 1st Sgt. Ted Harris." Read the rest here.