National Security

FP’s Situation Report: Bombers play chicken in China’s “ADIZ;” A workaround for Afg.?; The NSA tracked radicals’ porn; Logan suspended from 60 Minutes; Mike Morell goes to Beacon; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

The U.S. may try to bypass the recalcitrant Karzai. The Los Angeles Times' David Cloud and David Zucchino: "U.S. officials seeking to resolve a tense standoff with Afghan President Hamid Karzai were exploring on Tuesday whether they could bypass him and get other senior officials to sign a security deal authorizing American troops to remain in the country after 2014.?A day after Karzai abruptly said he would not sign unless Washington agreed to additional conditions, the Obama administration was pushing for Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani or another official to endorse the agreement on behalf of the government in Kabul, several U.S. officials said. The Pentagon has been saying for months that it needs the security pact in place by the end of the year to give planners time to draft deployment schedules and secure funding for post-2014 operations." More here.

Checkers or chess? Karzai seems to be playing poker while the U.S. claims it is playing for keeps. The NYT's Rod Nordland and Alissa Rubin: "In the face of a warning delivered in person on Monday by the national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, that the United States would consider leaving no troops at all in Afghanistan past 2014 if Mr. Karzai did not promptly sign a long-term security agreement, he has made it clear that he considers it a bluff. Not only did he refuse to sign, he added conditions, including the release of all inmates from the Guantánamo Bay prison camp. He is, in effect, betting billions of dollars in international assistance that the United States does not want to go. His close aides have echoed that assessment through the recent days of diplomatic crisis. (‘We don't believe there's any zero option,' his spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said recently.)

"But their optimism was not widely shared in Afghanistan on Tuesday, as Ms. Rice flew back to Washington with no promise of the follow-up talks Mr. Karzai said he wanted to pursue. Even many of Mr. Karzai's friends were criticizing his refusal to conclude a deal." More here.

Welcome to Wednesday's pre-hiatus edition of Situation Report. We wish you a great Thanksgiving, we thank you for reading and we'll see you first thing Monday. If you'd like to sign up for Situation Report, send us a note at and we'll just stick you on. And if you like what you see, tell a friend. Register free for Situation Report and other FP products here. 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, you gotta say something -- to Situation Report. One more thing: please follow us @glubold.

The U.S. sends two B-52 bombers through China's new air zone to show Beijing what's what. WSJ's Julian Barnes and Jeremy Page: "The U.S. moved forcefully to try to counter China's bid for influence over increasingly jittery Asian neighbors by sending a pair of B-52 bombers over disputed islands in the East China Sea, U.S. officials said Tuesday. The B-52s took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and flew more than 1,500 miles northwest, crossing into what China has declared as its new air-defense identification zone, at about 7 p.m. ET Monday. The U.S. deliberately violated rules set by China by refusing to inform Beijing about the flight, officials said. China had warned of military action against aircraft entering the zone without notification, but didn't respond to the B-52s, which weren't armed and were part of a long-planned military exercise. A U.S. official said there was no attempt by the Chinese military to contact the B-52s... Wednesday morning, in Beijing's first public comment on the flight, the Ministry of National Defense said in a faxed response to the Wall Street Journal that the Chinese military monitored and identified the U.S. aircraft." WSJ story, including helpful map, here.  China responded to the B-52 flight - WSJ online post here.

It's not a coincidence that China's national defense posture looks a lot like America's. FP's own Issac Stone Fish: "...China's publication of the [ADIZ] is undeniably a provocation (so, too, the U.S. response). But it is also, in Chinese eyes at least, in line with international norms of airspace and transparency. The United States has a clearly defined ADIZ; the website of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration warns of ‘use of force' in the ‘case of non-compliance.' (Secretary of State John Kerry said in a Nov. 23 statement that the United States ‘does not apply its ADIZ procedures to foreign aircraft not intending to enter U.S. national airspace.') On Nov. 25, Yang Yujun, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, responded to a question about the U.S. government ‘concern' about China's decision. ‘Since the 1950s the United States and more than 20 other countries,' including Japan, have set up ADIZs, he said. For the United States to oppose this is ‘utterly unreasonable.'" More here.

Flournoy, who may have a Pentagon in the future weighs in on all of this. Defense News' John Bennett: "Michèle Flournoy... provided some comments about the future of the U.S.-China relationship just minutes after news broke that the U.S. flew two B-52 bombers over a massive swath of ocean China now says it owns - and claims the right to defend with force, if necessary - without notifying Beijing. During an Aspen Institute-sponsored luncheon in Washington, Flournoy offered "two lessons" from past U.S. defense drawdowns that followed American wars she believes should drive the current one. Flournoy called the relationship with Beijing ‘the most important strategic question we will face in coming decades.' What's more, Flournoy hopes U.S. officials (her former colleagues) will soon finalize "a vision" for U.S.-Sino relations ‘beyond 2014.' Washington must ‘support China' in becoming ‘a more responsible stakeholder globally,' she said." Read the rest on DN's "Intercepts" blog here.

Air Force up-and-comer Gen. Hawk Carlisle of "PAC-AF" talks about the role of engaging Asian partners as part of the Pivot. Breaking Defense's Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake: "Both in his presentation as well as during the interview, the general highlighted the importance of practical steps to enhance allied collaboration. He highlighted in the public presentation the growing role of collaboration among the Pacific allies and the importance of that for U.S. policy as well... he noted that the U.S.-Japanese relationship is undergoing a fundamental transformation. The Japanese are clearly rethinking their defense posture and he argued that the U.S. was working much more deeply and comprehensively with the Japanese defense forces than even two years ago." More here.

Did the NSA spy on porn habits of radicals? Apparently so. On HuffPo, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Grimm and Ryan Gallagher: "The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as ‘exemplars' of how 'personal vulnerabilities' can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority. The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger. ‘A previous SIGINT' -- or signals intelligence, the interception of communications -- "assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent," the document argues. Among the vulnerabilities listed by the NSA that can be effectively exploited are ‘viewing sexually explicit material online' and ‘using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.' More here.

Who's really running the NSA? FP's Shane Harris tell us it's Fran Fleisch, the NSA's executive director. Harris: "Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director, and his deputy, Chris Inglis, along with a number of other senior-level staff are frequently out of the office as the agency grapples with the public and political fallout of the unprecedented series of leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden. They spend much of their time in meetings at the White House; answering questions for lawmakers and congressional staff; giving public speeches and press interviews; and responding to voluminous official requests for information about the agency's programs amid ongoing investigations and reviews. Fleisch is almost never with them when they leave the agency's headquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland -- the recent day on the Hill was a rare exception. It's her job to stay behind and keep the United States' biggest intelligence agency online while its leaders are putting out fires." Read the rest of that bit here.

Rosa Brooks on the Iran deal: "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the slightly less crummy of the realistic alternatives." Brooks: "...The choice we truly face is less appealing:  Do we want a bellicose Iran that has the ability to produce nuclear weapons within a matter of months and is unremittingly hostile to U.S. interests? Or do we want an Iran that has the ability to produce nuclear weapons within a matter of months, but is no longer as unremittingly hostile to U.S. interests? I'll take the latter, thanks very much. It's not perfect. It's not even good. But it's a whole lot better than the alternative." More here.

Lara Logan and her producer are suspended from '60 Minutes' for the discredited Benghazi report. CNN's Brian Stelter: "...Logan's longtime producer, Max McClellan, is also taking time off. CBS suggested that the leaves of absence were punitive measures for the shortcomings in the Benghazi report, which has stung the reputations of both Logan and the program that televised her report, ‘60 Minutes.' With the staff announcements on Tuesday and the release of an internal review, CBS tried to demonstrate that it has figured out what went wrong with its Benghazi report and taken steps to stop similar mistakes in the future...But the network declined to comment further on what changes were being implemented or on when Logan might return to work. Logan has not talked publicly about the Benghazi report since she apologized for it on November 10, and it looks unlikely that she will talk anytime soon... [Al Ortiz, the head of standards and practices for CBS] also faulted the ‘60 Minutes' staff with keeping its interview to itself - something that outside critics said weeks ago when questions about the report were first raised. ‘The fact that the FBI and the State Department had information that differed from the account Davies gave to '60 Minutes' was knowable before the piece aired," Ortiz wrote. "But the wider reporting resources of CBS News were not employed in an effort to confirm his account. It's possible that reporters and producers with better access to inside FBI sources could have found out that Davies had given varying and conflicting accounts of his story.' Full story here.

Ash Carter moves on. DepSecDef Ash Carter is headed out of the Pentagon Dec. 4. The NYT's Thom Shanker: "Amid the awards and decorations on display in the Pentagon office of Ashton B. Carter, the departing deputy secretary of defense, is a metal bearing, larger than a golf ball, which wears the scars of battle. If the signature weapon of tenacious insurgents over the past decade-plus of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was the improvised roadway explosive, then the signature weapon of the American response was the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP. The ball bearing so prized by Mr. Carter came from one of the vehicles, easily recognizable by their angular shape, to deflect blast, and outsize outside armor. First as the Pentagon's under secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, and then as the department's deputy, Mr. Carter played a central role in the initiative to rush MRAPs to Afghanistan for the troop surge, circumventing the calcified procurement system that traditionally takes years to move a weapon from idea to the front lines.

Carter: "I very much hope we can retain that agility...Rapid fielding - not on a Cold War schedule of years and decades, because that's how slowly the Soviet Union changed, but on weeks and months, because that's how fast the battlefield has changed in Iraq and Afghanistan." The rest here.

Urination video saga: Duncan Hunter asks Mabus to review the case of Capt. James Clement. Marine Corps' Times Hope Hodge Seck: "A California congressman has reached out to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on behalf of a Marine captain facing discharge for his role in the scout sniper urination scandal. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., wrote Mabus Nov. 26 asking that he consider the appeal of Capt. James Clement, the former executive officer of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines. Clement, who was not present for the urination incident, served as the radio operator on the 2011 patrol in which scout snipers were filmed urinating on enemy corpses and engaging in other questionable battlefield behavior. During a board of inquiry at Quantico, Va., on mid-October, a panel of three colonels determined that Clement failed to demonstrate leadership required of an officer of his grade and failed to properly discharge the duties expected of his grade and experience. They recommended that he be honorably discharged." The rest here. The letter Hunter sent to Mabus, provided to Situation Report, here.

What former official isn't working for Bash, Reines, Allen and Shapiro, right? Beacon Global Strategies, home to a slew of former administration officials, including from State, DoD and the White House, has hired former Deputy Director of the CIA Mike Morell as counselor. Beacon, a "strategic advisory firm" works on international policy, defense, cyber, intel and homeland security issues. "Mr. Morell will be an invaluable resource to the firm's clients, particularly those working to strengthen our nation's cyber security." Last week, the firm announced it had hired Julianne Smith and Josh Kirshner and had brought on Brian Hook as the firm's first advisory board member. Press release here.

Did a former Marine-waitress in New Jersey pretend customers slighted her because she was gay? Unclear. But it seems possible at this point. More here.





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