National Security

FP's Situation Report: Syria, starving for attention

Out-Foxing the LCS; McRaven on Iron Man… suits?; CNAS lists its 18 "best and brightest;" and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

Concession speech: Obama says diplomacy in Syria isn't working. The WaPo's Anne Gearan: " The Obama administration acknowledged Tuesday that diplomacy, the main pillar of its Syria policy, is failing even as civil war is destroying the country, leaving open the question of what the United States will or can do to stop the slaughter. Negotiations between the Syrian government and parts of the opposition are "far from achieving" a peaceful end to the conflict, President Obama said, and in Geneva, the United Nations envoy leading the talks said they aren't getting anywhere."

Obama: "With each passing day, more people inside of Syria are suffering... The state of Syria itself is crumbling. That is bad for Syria. It is bad for the region. It is bad for global national security, because what we know is, is that there are extremists who have moved into the vacuum in certain portions of Syria in a way that could threaten us over the long term."

Gearan: " Obama ruled out direct U.S. military intervention, at least for now, but offered no new substitute to address a crisis he called heartbreaking and risky for the entire Middle East." Read the rest of her bit here.

Syria is starving for intervention. In an op-ed in the NYT, Danny Postel and Nader Hashemi: "TheSyrian people are starving. According to the United Nations, about 800,000 civilians are currently under siege. In areas around the cities of Homs, Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and in parts of the capital, Damascus, no food, medical supplies or humanitarian aid can get in, and people can't get out. Many have already died under these "starvation sieges" and hundreds of thousands teeter on the brink, subsisting on grass and weeds. In Damascus, a cleric has ruled that under these conditions, Muslims are permitted to eat normally forbidden animals like cats, dogs and donkeys. This is not a famine. Food is abundant just a few miles away from these besieged areas. Military forces - mainly the army of President Bashar al-Assad, but in some cases extremist anti-Assad militias - are preventing food and medicine from reaching trapped civilians... This moral obscenity demands action by the international community. Any armed group that prevents humanitarian access - whether the Syrian regime's forces or rebel militias - should be subject to coercive measures. Read the rest here.

"An apocalyptic disaster." - DNI Jim Clapper, describing the civil war in Syria yesterday. Thanks to ABC's Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) for the tweet.

Welcome to Wednesday's edition of Situation Report. We're not even going to talk about the "impending" snow since we've been fooled so many times before. But the Pentagon's IT folks (also known as Enterprise Services) are already anxious - you know how they can be. They sent out this little message to DOD personnel in the Washington region yesterday: "The National Weather Service in Baltimore/Washington DC has issued a winter storm watch in effect from 7:00 PM Wednesday evening through 10:00 PM Thursday evening. Previous government shutdowns caused by inclement weather have resulted in notably high Service Desk call volume. We urge all customers to check the functionality of your mobile devices (Laptop, MobiKey, BlackBerry and LPS disk) before the storm watch takes effect. This may reduce the risk of calling the service desk the day of the storm and experiencing long wait times." In other words, get it together people, things could get pretty rough, and don't bug us with your silly last minute computer "problems."

If you'd like to sign up to receive Situation Report, send us a note at and we'll just stick you on. Like what you see? Please tell a friend.  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, because if you see something, we hope you'll say something -- to Situation Report. And one more thing: please follow us @glubold.

They seem to beg to differ on al-Qaida: Jim Clapper and Mike Flynn gave their assessment of the terrorist group. Defense News' John Bennett: "Senior US intelligence officials on Tuesday offered a more alarming assessment of al-Qaida than President Barack Obama's declaration that the organization is on the run and headed toward defeat.

"...during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Director of National Security James Clapper and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn offered a different assessment. Under questioning on that topic from panel Ranking Member Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Clapper described al-Qaida as 'morphing,' with new groups popping up in North Africa. Flynn replied, 'they are not,' when asked by Inhofe if al-Qaida is, as Obama has said, on a path to defeat and on the run. Clapper seemed to downplay his own warnings about the threat to the United States posed by so-called al-Qaida affiliates when he said such organizations are not currently plotting attacks on 'the homeland.' But he keeps them on his lengthy threat list simply because one day, 'they could.' More here.

Read the "statement of the record" from DNI Jim Clapper's appearance on Capitol Hill yesterday; he appeared with the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Mike Flynn. Read Clapper's statement here.

Christine Fox on deck and raising questions about "niche" platforms (Read: the Littoral Combat Ship). Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio: "The Pentagon's No. 2 civilian said the U.S. Navy needs more ships with the protection and firepower to survive an advanced adversary, not just "niche platforms," weeks after she ordered cuts in the $34 billion Littoral Combat Ship program. Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox's remarks in a San Diego speech yesterday in part reflect Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's concerns about the ship designed for shallow coastal waters, said a defense official who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations at the Pentagon.

"Addressing the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the Naval Institute, Fox said "the threats to surface combatants continue to grow -- not just from advanced military powers, but from the proliferation of more advanced, precise anti-ship munitions around the globe. Clearly, this puts a premium on underseas capabilities -- submarines -- that can deploy and strike with relative freedom of movement." The Littoral Combat Ship, made in two versions by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal Ltd., is a lightly armed vessel intended for roles from submarine-hunting to mine-sweeping. Questions have been raised about its mounting costs and survivability in combat. Last month, Fox directed the Navy to truncate the program to 32 ships after 2019 rather than the 52 previously planned by 2026. While Fox didn't mention the ship by name in her speech, her comment about "niche platforms that can conduct a certain mission in a permissive environment" could be "read as a confirmation of her views" on it, Byron Callan, a defense analyst with Washington-based Capital Alpha Partners LLC, said in an e-mail." Read the rest here.

Read the transcript of Fox's remarks yesterday in San Diego here.

Military bennies seem to bring everybody together. The WaPo's Ruth Marcus: "Those who complain about the absence of bipartisanship in the nation's capital are sorely mistaken. When it comes to caving to a powerful constituency and bestowing benefits, bipartisanship is flourishing. Today's exhibit: military pensions."

The writing on the wall; Marcus, con't: "...Of course veterans deserve generous retirement pay. Yet the current system is extraordinarily generous compared to private-sector programs. A Congressional Research Service report found that the cost-of-living change would mean a loss of $69,000 in benefits for the average enlisted person and $87,000 for the average officer. Significant, but that is out of lifetime benefits of $1.73 million and $3.83 million, respectively. Meanwhile, as four senior retired military officers pointed out  in a statement issued by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Military personnel costs have doubled since 2000, even as the active-duty force has shrunk by 10 percent. 'Such cost growth is unsustainable, and the leadership of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all agree that the costs of benefits for personnel are starting to crowd out other important investments that support training, readiness and modernization,' the officers said. 'This plan is an important first step in tackling those costs.'

Marcus: "...The issue, unsurprisingly, has been distilled to its political essence. 'You vote yes, you're for our vets,' Alaska Democrat Mark Begich said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "You vote no, you're against our vets.' Well, if you put it that way... There are lessons to be gleaned from this depressing episode, with its predictable denouement. The most obvious involves politicians of both parties who are happy to proclaim their willingness to make hard choices - and cowardly about actually standing by them. Especially in an election year, brave lawmakers are an endangered species." Read the rest here.

McRaven talks Iron Man... suits. FP's Dan Lamothe: "An ambitious effort to build a high-tech armored suit for elite U.S. commandos has entered a new phase, as the military prepares to analyze three new prototypes it will receive this summer, the U.S.'s top Navy SEAL said Tuesday. Adm. William McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said the military will receive the prototypes in June. The project was launched last year to revolutionize the capabilities and protection of Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Special Forces, and other elite commandos who perform some of the U.S.'s most dangerous and violent missions. It's already been nicknamed the "Iron Man" suit, a nod to the futuristic technology it will require resembling that of the popular comic book hero popularized in movies starring Robert Downey Jr.

"There's a catch with the prototypes, however. McRaven told a crowd at a special operations conference in Washington that they will be unpowered - meaning the days of super-soldier commandos wearing exoskeleton armor is still years away. Best-case scenario, the admiral wants the suit to be used in combat situations by August 2018."

McRaven: "Obviously if you're going to put a man in a suit -- or a woman in a suit -- and be able to walk with that exoskeleton... you've got to have power... You can't have power hooked up to some giant generator." Read the rest here.

Bloomberg's Al Hunt wrote an odd little 236-word blog post about how Chuck Hagel is the "Invisible Man." Hunt riffed how Hagel was shown up in Munich by John Kerry and never showed up at the Alfalfa Dinner (horrors!). Pluswhich, Hunt's headline writers might not be too original, just saying. Hunt's piece, "Chuck Hagel is Washington's Invisible Man," here. Our piece on Hagel on Dec. 15 on FP, "The Pentagon's Invisible Man," here.

CNAS announced their "next gen class of 2014 national security leaders." The Center for a New American Security announced the list of "the best and the brightest emerging national security leaders" yesterday. CNAS' Dave Barno and Nora Bensahel and Lockheed Martin's Robert Rangel (head of Bob Gates' 'six-pack') will lead the "2014 Next Generation Class." For the next year, the class will "engage with influential figures in the national security field through a series of candid discussions on several of the most significant issues facing the country today."

The List: HASC's Ryan Crumpler, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (at State) Taylor Dewey; Georgetown's Justin Deyo, (an M.A. candidate); House Foreign Affairs' Jeffrey Dressler; Center for the National Interest's Ryan Evans; Palantir's Jared Jonker; The U.S. Army's Tyloer Jost; the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission's Jennifer Knowles; the Air Force's Miriam Krieger; CNA's Melissa McAdam; the Navy's Jeff McLean; State Department's Policy Planning's Sean Misko; CFR's Mira Rapp-Hooper; State's Abbas Ravjani; Treasury's William Rich; the Marine Corps' Lindsay Rodman; U.S News and World Report's Paul Shinkman and the Marine Corps' Katelyn van Dam. Major congrats all around. Who are they really? Click here to find out.

As good as it gets: Jim Amos spoke at Carnegie yesterday before he heads back to Afghanistan. Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, on Afghanistan: 'My sense is, it's about... it's about as good as it's going to get." Breaking Defense's Sydney Freedberg, who attended yesterday's event: "...A NATO ministers' meeting later this month will be 'critical' to shoring up support for Afghanistan's future stability, Amos added. And while the general was naturally reluctant to give public advice to his political superiors, he did offer one major warning: ‘We need to be very circumspect and take a lesson from Iraq, [where] we spent our nation's treasure and then we pulled out,' Amos said, pointing to the escalating violence in Iraq. 'I don't want that to happen in Afghanistan,' he said. 'We can ill afford to simply pull out and go home.'" More here.

Did a foreign national exploit the Supreme Court on funneling PAC money to U.S. political races? FP's John Hudson: "In a first of its kind case, federal prosecutors say a Mexican businessman funnelled more than $500,000 into U.S. political races through Super PACs and various shell companies. The alleged financial scheme is the first known instance of a foreign national exploiting the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in order to influence U.S. elections. If proven, the campaign finance scandal could reshape the public debate over the high court's landmark decision. Until now, allegations surrounding Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, the owner of multiple construction companies in Mexico, have not spread beyond local news outlets in San Diego, where he's accused of bankrolling a handful of southern California candidates. But the scandal is beginning to attract national interest as it ensnares a U.S. congressman, a Washington, D.C.-based campaign firm and the legacy of one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in a generation. Under longstanding federal law, foreign nationals are prohibited from donating to political campaigns at the state, local and federal level." More here.
More muscle-flexing in Japan.  Reuters: "Japan may allow exports of defense equipment to international organizations such as those involved in U.N. peacekeeping operations on condition they do not take sides in conflicts, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday. Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan is reviewing various aspects of defense including its self-imposed ban on weapons exports. But resentment of Japan's wartime aggression runs deep in both China and South Korea and any decision by Japan to become more active militarily is likely to cause tension. Japan in 1967 drew up "three principles" on arms exports, banning sales to countries with communist governments, those involved in international conflicts or those subject to U.N. sanctions.

The rules eventually became almost a blanket ban on arms exports and on the development and production of weapons with countries other than the United States, making it difficult for Japanese defense contractors to drive down costs and keep up with arms technology. The government is also considering easing rules on the transfer of its defense equipment to third parties, Kyodo said." More here.



National Security

FP's Situation Report: A drone debate rages before a strike

The Karzai Workaround; Flynn on the ANSF; What is "even is the new up?;" Gates flashbacks and brisket ice cream; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

The Obama administration is debating a drone strike against an American in Pakistan suspected by some of plotting terrorist attacks. It's the first time the Obama administration has actively discussed killing an American since Obama imposed new restrictions on drone operations last spring. AP's Kim Dozier, who broke the story: "The case of an American citizen and suspected member of al-Qaida who is allegedly planning attacks on U.S. targets overseas underscores the complexities of President Barack Obama's new stricter targeting guidelines for the use of deadly drones. The CIA drones watching him cannot strike because he's a U.S. citizen. The Pentagon drones that could are barred from the country where he's hiding, and the Justice Department has not yet finished building a case against him. Four U.S. officials said the American suspected terrorist is in a country that refuses U.S. military action on its soil and that has proved unable to go after him. And Obama's new policy says American suspected terrorists overseas can only be killed by the military, not the CIA, creating a policy conundrum for the White House.

"Two of the officials described the man as an al-Qaida facilitator who has been directly responsible for deadly attacks against U.S. citizens overseas and who continues to plan attacks against them that would use improvised explosive devices.

"The Associated Press has agreed to the government's request to withhold the name of the country where the suspected terrorist is believed to be because officials said publishing it could interrupt ongoing counterterror operations. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the classified drone targeting program publicly. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., complained last week that a number of terrorist suspects were all but out of reach under the administration's new rules that limit drone strikes based on the target's nationality or location. Two of the U.S. officials said the Justice Department review of the American suspected terrorist started last fall."

Noting: Dozier did not report the country in which the citizen is thought to be; neither did the WaPo, which stood up a story after Dozier's; the NYT and the WSJ did report the individual was in Pakistan. Dozier's story here.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up to receive Situation Report, send us a note at and we'll just stick you on. Like what you see? Please tell a friend.  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, because if you see something, we hope you'll say something -- to Situation Report. And one more thing: please follow us @glubold.

The DIA's Mike Flynn today: the ANSF can't hold land. Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio: "Afghanistan's security forces are struggling to improve their combat capability as the U.S. withdraws intelligence, reconnaissance and bomb-detection technologies, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. The 340,000 members of the Afghan National Army and police "have shown progress in their ability to clear insurgents from contested areas but have exhibited problems holding cleared areas long-term," Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the Pentagon intelligence agency, said in testimony prepared for a Senate hearing [today].

"Flynn's prepared remarks, obtained in advance by Bloomberg News, underscore the fragility of Afghan security as the U.S. and its allies continue to withdraw forces and press President Hamid Karzai to sign an agreement permitting a continued international presence after this year. Flynn's assessment is in sharp contrast to assurances by top U.S. commanders in the field that Afghan forces are increasingly ready to take over." More here.

Page One: The Karzai Workaround: U.S. military revises withdrawal plans to wait until after President Hamid Karzai leaves office. The WSJ's Adam Entous and Julian Barnes: "...The option for waiting reflects a growing belief in Washington that there is little chance of repairing relations with Mr. Karzai and getting him to sign the bilateral security agreement before elections scheduled for the spring... The military plan is the most significant example to date of how the U.S. has sought to minimize its reliance on Mr. Karzai, whose refusal to sign the security agreement amid a flurry of anti-American statements has upset Washington policy makers. The White House has said Mr. Karzai's refusal has raised prospects that President Barack Obama will order a complete U.S. troop withdrawal this year. Afghan officials had no immediate comment.

Mr. Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have signaled their displeasure with Mr. Karzai by limiting their contacts with him. The U.S. and Afghan leaders haven't held a videoconference call to discuss the war effort since the summer, officials said. Mr. Hagel visited Afghanistan in December but didn't meet Mr. Karzai. Susan Rice, Mr. Obama's national security adviser, had a frosty meeting with Mr. Karzai in Kabul in November."

A senior U.S. official to the WSJ: "If he's not going to be part of the solution, we have to have a way to get past him... It's a pragmatic recognition that clearly Karzai may not sign the BSA and that he doesn't represent the voice of the Afghan people."

"...Under the revised plan Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, put together in recent weeks, the U.S. military will have all equipment in place by July to support a post-2014 force that includes 10,000 American troops, officials said. The equipment is likely to include helicopters and limited numbers of mine-resistant troop transport vehicles. It would mainly be used to protect bases that would be used for training and advising Afghan command units, and to house American spies and diplomats. That means the Pentagon will go into the summer prepared to accommodate either outcome: a presidential decision to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan post-2014 or an order to pull all of the troops out by year-end, officials said." More here.

A lotta talk today: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivers remarks at a ceremony commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Allied Forces D-Day landing in Normandy with French President Francois Hollande at 3 p.m. at Arlington Cemetery; Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine H. Fox delivers remarks at the 2014 AFCEA WEST Conference at 11:30 a.m. EST in San Diego; U.S. Special Operations Command Commander Navy Adm. William McRaven was expected to deliver remarks on "Enabling SOCOM Partnership" at the SO/LIC Symposium and Exhibition 2014 at 8:15 a.m. EST in Washington.

Also: Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "Current and Future Worldwide Threats" at 9:30 a.m. EST, in room SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Elissa Slotkin and Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) Navy Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe testify at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on "United States Security Policy and Defense Posture in the Middle East" at 10 a.m. EST, in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict Michael Lumpkin delivers remarks on "New Policy, Strategy and Resources for Global Posturing" at 1:15 p.m. EST, Washington Marriot, Washington, D.C.; Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet participates in a discussion on "The American Military: War and Peace, Spending and Politics" at 6 p.m. EST (5 p.m. CST), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Neb.

A second look: A Navy admiral responds to the AP story over the weekend about the military's "chaotic military sex-abuse record." AP's Yuri Kageyama and Richard Lardner reported that "At U.S. military bases in Japan, most service members found culpable in sex crimes in recent years did not go to prison, according to internal Department of Defense documents. Instead, in a review of hundreds of cases filed in America's largest overseas military installation, offenders were fined, demoted, restricted to their bases or removed from the military. In about 30 cases, a letter of reprimand was the only punishment."

The Navy response: Rear Adm. Sean Buck is Director of the Navy's 21st Century Sailor Office had this to say in part: "...Unfortunately, the article provides numbers without context or background.  Without rebutting the article point by point, I want to raise a few issues that should be considered. First, it's important to note that there are multiple offenses covered under Article 120 of the UCMJ, ranging from rape to non-penetrating contact offenses, such as groping.  Second, each case is judged on its own merits, and if there is a conviction, the sentencing is awarded based on the unique facts in that case...The truth is, only relatively recently did we begin to understand the magnitude of the challenge.   As soon as we learn, we act - and not just piece by piece, but along the entire continuum of care." More on this from him here.

How the war in Iraq never really ended. Writing on FP, Jacopo Ottaviani explains a new map that shows violence over the years: "According to the latest report by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 7,818 civilians and 1,050 security forces died in violent attacks across Iraq in 2013 -- making last year the bloodiest in Iraq since 2008. As the Syrian Civil War continues into its third year and militants, including al Qaeda-affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams, take advantage of Iraq's porous border, conflict has escalated again. Thousands are dying in a renewed wave of car bombs, suicide attacks, assassinations, and firefights. Violence in Iraq has swelled and ebbed since the U.S. invasion in 2003..."

The numbers: "Those numbers tapered off as the U.S. military and Iraqi government co-opted insurgents during the Anbar Awakening and surged forces to restive areas, and in 2010 the figure reached a low of 4,110 civilian deaths. From 2010 through 2012, even after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Dec. 2011, civilian casualties hovered around 4,000 deaths each year. But, with a sharp spike in attacks since Spring 2013, that lull has ended. Iraq Body Count noted in its 2013 end-of-year review that "while 1,900 civilians were killed between October 2012 and March 2013, 6,300 were killed between April and October 2013."

"...This map tracks the toll of war and terrorism on Iraq's civilians over the last decade. It visualizes approximately 35,000 incidents from January 2003 to September 2013, drawing on data from the incidents dataset released by the Iraq Body Count. The dataset does not include any military or insurgent casualties. Every red flare represents a violent incident resulting in the death of one or more people. The brighter a flare is, the more incidents occurred in that specific time and place." Click here for the article as well as the map that shows 12 years of violence in 42 seconds.

A video emerges of the U.S. military's grab-and-go of Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, wanted for the embassy bombings, last fall. The WaPo obtained the vid. Read and watch the WaPo story here.

The Pentagon's Vikram Singh joins the Center for American Progress. Singh will become Vice President for National Security and International Policy at CAP, which announced the move yesterday. Singh is now the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, but he is departing the building this month.

Speaking of Asia: Read here for an interview with Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the commander of "Pacific Air Forces," on Defense News in which he says the reason why there is a delta between resources and commitment in the Pacific Pivot: "I would say that the resources have not followed the comment of rebalance into the Pacific for a couple of reasons. One, because we still have ongoing operations obviously in the Middle East. And the other reason is [because] sequestration and the cuts in defense make it actually incredibly hard to find places to pivot money to the Pacific."

What is "even is the new up?" Carlisle: "One term that was used colloquially is "even is the new up." In other words, if you do not lose any money, you are actually gaining some. So I think with respect to the Pacific, in some ways, we were protected a little bit during sequestration. We had operations and maintenance funded more than other folks. But to say that there is a swing of resources - it is just left to the decline and the rest of other areas that are in a decline because of reduced defense budget." More here

I scream, you scream we all just scream: "Brisket ice cream" brings Gates Flashbacks for the Pentagon Press Corps. A restaurant in Washington announced that it has a special new ice cream, Brisket Ice Cream, "a devilish concoction of cold cream and brined, smoked beef drippings" that is now available "off-menu" at a restaurant called Firefly. This brought immediate flashbacks to travelling with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, whose unyielding bias toward brisket lunches and dinners drew rolled eyes and jeers. So popular was brisket on the military jet on which he travelled that the press dubbed the plane "The Big Brisket." Some restaurant owner seems to be channeling Gates with this new ice cream. Situation Report obtained internal e-mails between Pentagon reporters regarding said restaurant. NBC's Courtney Kube: "Did Secretary Gates open a restaurant in DC?!?"

After obtaining the e-mail, Situation Report asked Kube if she could be quoted. Kube's response: "As long as I don't have to review the ice cream."