National Security

FP's Situation Report: A team player accuses the CIA of eavesdropping on Congress

What a murder in Kabul says about Western security there; For real: a picture of hunger in Syria; Dunford to testify; A defense contractor trades secrets with Chinese girlfriend; and a bit more.


A team player turns on the agency. The WaPo's Greg Miller, Ed O'Keefe and Adam Goldman on Page One: "A behind-the-scenes battle between the CIA and Congress erupted in public Tuesday as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and breaching constitutional principles in an alleged effort to undermine the panel's multi-year investigation of a controversial interrogation program. Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) accused the CIA of ­secretly removing documents, searching computers used by the committee and attempting to intimidate congressional investigators by requesting an FBI inquiry of their conduct - charges that CIA Director John Brennan disputed within hours of her appearance on the Senate floor." Read the rest here.

Dianne Feinstein, on the floor, yesterday: "I have grave concerns that the CIA's search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution... It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities. ... I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate." Read the transcript of her remarks here.

CIA Director John Brennan, yesterday at CFR, who denied the charge: "I am confident that the authorities will review this appropriately, and I will deal with the facts as uncovered in the appropriate manner. I would just encourage members of the -- of the Senate to take their time, to make sure that they don't overstate what they claim and what they probably believe to be the truth. These are some complicated matters. We have worked with the committee over the course of many years. This review that was done by the committee was done at a facility where CIA had the responsibility to make sure that they had the computer wherewithal to -- in order to carry out their responsibilities... And if I did something wrong, I will go to the president and I will explain to him exactly what I did and what the findings were. And he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go."

FP's Shane Harris and John Hudson: "...If she chooses to play hardball, Feinstein can make the tenure of CIA Director John Brennan a living nightmare. From her perch on the intelligence committee, she could drag top spies before the panel for months on end. She could place holds on White House nominees to key agency positions. She could launch a broader investigation into the CIA's relations with Congress and she could hit the agency where it really hurts: its pocketbook. One of the senator's other committee assignments is the Senate Appropriations Committee, which allocates funds to Langley. Following last year's disclosure by Edward Snowden that the CIA's black budget request of $14.7 billion for 2013 surged past every other spy agency, it may be in for a haircut. But whether Feinstein will use any of the tools in her toolbox is far from certain." More of FP's piece here.

FP in reruns: ICYMI, FP's Shane Harris and John Hudson's story yesterday, Rock Bottom, about the new low between the Senate and the CIA. Read that here.

Maureen Dowd this morning on the "J'accuse moment" in her column, "The Spies Who Didn't Love Her": "Langley needs a come-to-Jesus moment - pronto. That was clear Tuesday morning when Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, suddenly materialized on the Senate floor to "reluctantly" out the C.I.A. It was an astonishing "J'accuse" moment because Feinstein has been the bulwark protecting the intelligence community against critics worried that we've become a surveillance state, "the privacy people," as she has called them." More here.

Dana Milbank: "...Feinstein is owed much more than an apology. The White House needs to cough up documents it is withholding from the public, and it should remove the CIA officials involved and subject them to an independent prosecutor's investigation." More here.

Welcome to Wednesday'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? 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 do follow us @glubold.

How a secret court evolved and extended spies' reach. The NYT's Charlie Savage and Laura Poitras on Page One: "Ten months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the nation's surveillance court delivered a ruling that intelligence officials consider a milestone in the secret history of American spying and privacy law. Called the "Raw Take" order - classified docket No. 02-431 - it weakened restrictions on sharing private information about Americans, according to documents and interviews. The administration of President George W. Bush, intent on not overlooking clues about Al Qaeda, had sought the July 22, 2002, order. It is one of several still-classified rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court described in documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor. Previously, with narrow exceptions, an intelligence agency was permitted to disseminate information gathered from court-approved wiretaps only after deleting irrelevant private details and masking the names of innocent Americans who came into contact with a terrorism suspect. The Raw Take order significantly changed that system, documents show, allowing counterterrorism analysts at the N.S.A., the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. to share unfiltered personal information." More here.

For real: The image of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Damascus has been retweeted eight million times and a U.N. official says it's not a fake. The NYT's Rick Gladstone: " A United Nations photograph showing a sea of hungry Palestinians awaiting emergency food amid the detritus of their bomb-ravaged neighborhood near Damascus has been retweeted more than eight million times in the past few weeks, becoming such an arresting image of the Syrian civil war that some blogosphere skeptics have suggested that it was digitally faked. The suggestion provoked a passionate denial on Tuesday by the official responsible for distributing the photo." The image, and the story, here.

The wrong kind of pillow talk: Civilian defense contractor enters guilty plea after being accused of giving military secrets to his Chinese girlfriend. AP: "... Benjamin Bishop was expected to plead guilty to one count of transmitting national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans. Bishop was arrested last March at the headquarters for the U.S. Pacific Command, where he worked. An FBI affidavit last year alleged the then-59-year-old gave his 27-year-old girlfriend classified information about war plans, nuclear weapons, missile defenses and other topics." More here.

Yanukovych as Baghdad Bob: Ukrainian leader seems to deny reality. The WSJ's Lukas Alpert and Olga Razumovskaya: "The ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday said elections scheduled for late May are illegal because he is the country's only legitimate president. He also blamed Ukraine's new government for tensions in the breakaway region of Crimea. In a brief statement delivered to reporters in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Mr. Yanukovych didn't directly address a regionwide referendum to be held Sunday on whether the territory will secede from Ukraine, which he said 'is going through a difficult time.' Addressing the government that replaced him, he said: 'Your actions have led to the splitting off of Crimea, and even at gunpoint, the population in the southeast requires respect for themselves and their rights. We will survive this turmoil.'" More here.

Expect delays: Pro-Russian forces tighten security as Crimea heads for a vote. "Traveling to Crimea? Don't try landing in Simferopol unless your plane originated in Moscow. Flights from Kiev and Istanbul, and several other cities, have been suspended for the rest of the week. If you come by train, expect to be searched by pro-Russian militia. If you want to rally in favor of Ukraine's West-leaning interim government, expect to be surrounded by pushy pro-Russians. Breakneck preparations are under way for a Sunday referendum -- to be held largely in secret -- and the grip of security measures is tightening around Simferopol, the regional capital. When Crimeans go to vote, they will have choose between two alternatives: Remain an autonomous state within Ukraine, or join the Russian Federation." Read the rest here.

The debate over how to punish Russia: economists as peaceniks. The NYT's Peter Baker: "...others in the administration, particularly economic officials, are wary of especially ruinous options that they argue could alienate allies as well as provoke a dangerous cycle of retaliation. The White House is under intense pressure from major American companies that do not want to lose business to competitors because of unilateral sanctions or to risk retribution from the Kremlin." Read that here.

At the heart of the matter: how the Russian fleet is central to Putin's ambitions. Marinelink's Andrew Osborn: "...The fleet, its base, and the sprawling military infrastructure that go with it, are vital to Russian President Vladimir Putin's military and geopolitical ambitions and one of the main reasons the Kremlin is now eyeing complete control of Crimea.??Nor will the fleet be outdated for much longer. It is soon to be restocked with billions of dollars worth of hardware. Lee Willett, editor of Jane's Navy International, said six new submarines and six new frigates were scheduled for delivery in the next few years.??It is also expected to take delivery of other vessels such as the giant Mistral helicopter carrier, currently being built in France, as well as new attack aircraft." More here.

How U.S. Navy and Marines offer "the perfect blend." For War on the Rocks, Rob Holzer: "... Fiscal pressures though have sparked discussions about future Navy force structure, including composition and numbers. Yet the decision to retire the carrier USS George Washington decades early, if sequestration is not rescinded by 2016, rather than fund its multi-billion dollar nuclear refueling, is energizing defense pundits to question once again the future of the nuclear-powered carrier force. This is extremely short-sighted." More here. Outrage over changes to ship-counting rules. Breaking Defense's Sydney Freedberg: "Quantity has a quality all its own. The Navy announced this afternoon that it has changed the arcane rules by which it counts ships, adding 10 coastal patrol craft, two hospital ships, and a high-speed transport to what it calls the "battle force." The new rules would also keep 11 cruisers the Navy plans to not-quite-mothball on the rolls. Those debatable additions drew an immediate denunciation from the chairman of the House seapower subcommittee, Rep. Randy Forbes. Forbes, like many Republicans, is ever watchful for what they think is administration gimmickry to hide the full impact of the budget cuts known as sequestration. Another Hill source told me the new system was just too confusing because some ships might drop in and out of the count from year to year, making congressional oversight even more difficult." More here.

Thayer Scott gets a new gig. Thayer Scott, who served on Don Rumsfeld's speechwriting team and then became one of Bob Gates' "six pack" of top advisers as chief speechwriter under him, is headed to Boeing. He'll be based in Boeing's DC-based office in Rosslyn and will be doing speechwriting for senior execs in Chicago and "providing communications support" to the company's government affairs and defense efforts in DC. Since he left the Pentagon, Scott has been an independent consultant focused on aerospace and national security, and worked occasionally with the Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation as part of its public roll-out of budget submissions and strategy reviews.

Joe Dunford testifies on Afghanistan today. Military Times' Jeff Schogol: "... Senators are likely to ask Dunford how much longer the U.S. military can wait for a decision on whether troops can stay in Afghanistan beyond December. The general also may be questioned about how reliable Karzai is as a partner and whether the country would fall apart if all U.S. troops left... President Obama has not yet decided how many troops would remain in Afghanistan beyond this year if the security agreement is approved, according to the National Security Council. Dunford has proposed keeping 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2017. But another option being considered calls for leaving 3,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, stationed in Kabul and Bagram Airfield." More here.

AP: "... The new security agreement is likely to be addressed by U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford, a top commander in Afghanistan, when he testifies Wednesday on Capitol Hill. U.S. officials privately acknowledge that there is no legal reason that would force Obama to withdraw all troops if the new security agreement is not signed by Dec. 31, when the international combat mission ends. Yet even though a full troop exodus is not the administration's preferred option, blunt rhetoric coming from U.S. officials has continued to put the onus on Afghanistan: Sign the new bilateral security agreement or every U.S. service member will be forced to leave." More here.

The assassination-style attack on a Swedish journalist in Kabul points up the changing security vibe in Kabul for westerners. The NYT's Matthew Rosenberg: "... Even before the funeral and the attack on Mr. Horner, growing anti-Western sentiment among Afghans had become increasingly apparent on the streets of Kabul. The hard stares directed at Westerners have grown more common, and the questioning by the police at checkpoints more aggressive. At least some of the resentment has grown from years of seeing Westerners behave in ways deeply out of sync with Afghan life. Kabul once had a thriving, albeit limited, expatriate social scene. There were a handful of restaurants and bars that catered almost exclusively to foreigners - Afghans are legally barred from drinking - and regular parties at the lightly guarded homes in which many Westerners here live. Then in January, Taliban fighters struck at a Lebanese restaurant, Taverna du Liban, that had been a mainstay of Kabul's expatriate social scene. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, and said for the first time that they had specifically sought to kill Western civilians." More here.

National Security

FP's Situation Report: Chaos in Ukraine

Terrorism theory in Malaysia Airlines crash disintegrates; Rock bottom: the relationship between the CIA and the Senate; Sinclair may now get a plea deal; and a bit more.  

Page One: Eastern Ukraine is in 'chaos,' says Russia. The WaPo's Carol Morello and Kathy Lally: "Russia and its sympathizers seized control of more Ukrainian military bases and facilities in Crimea on Monday while Moscow issued threatening statements about eastern Ukraine that signaled Russia's intention to play a significant role in the country's future. At least four Ukrainian military bases, including one stocked with missiles, were overrun by armed men in uniforms who say they are members of local self-defense units, which are typically under the command of Russian military officers. The headquarters of the Ukrainian naval fleet had its electricity cut, and the director of a military hospital was ousted and a replacement installed by the pro-Russian militia that took over.

"A foreboding sense of lawlessness is spreading ahead of a Sunday referendum in Crimea on whether to align with Russia or remain with Ukraine." Read the rest here.

The crisis is having a financial impact in Russia. The NYT's Ellen Barry: "When Vladimir V. Putin returned to the Russian presidency in 2012, one of the first messages he sent to his political elite, many of them heads of banks and large corporations, was that the times had changed: Owning assets outside Russia makes you too vulnerable to moves by foreign governments, he told them. It is time to bring your wealth home. Nearly two years later, those words seem almost prophetic. After a week of escalating tensions between Russia and the United States, it has become clear that the conflict over Ukraine will move to the battlefield of finance. Those same business titans are now contemplating the damage that the crisis could inflict on Russia's economy. Twenty years into the project of integrating Russia into Western institutions, they now face the prospect that the process could slow, or even reverse." More here.

Kori Schake, writing on FP, to the WH: please zip it on Ukraine. Schake: The Obama White House cannot resist the temptation to parade its every move in the Ukraine crisis -- much to the detriment of its policy succeeding. This is an indiscipline born of self-regard: The White House thinks the president is so compelling and so central to the narrative that his every utterance is advantageous. And, of course, this is an administration in which no national security issue is assessed innocent of domestic political impact. They are failing to understand that by making the crisis so personal, the United States is doing a disservice to the people of Ukraine and making it much more difficult for the Russians to walk back their reckless grab for Crimea." More 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? 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 do follow us @glubold.

Rock Bottom: The relationship between the CIA and its Senate overseers has never been worse. FP's Shane Harris and John Hudson: "Since the two congressional committees that oversee U.S. intelligence agencies were established almost four decades ago, a set of unspoken agreements, rather than hard-and-fast rules and laws, has governed how members of Congress and their staff obtain access to information about some of the nation's most highly classified national security programs. But now, in a rare public feud between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA over its interrogation of suspected terrorists, each side accuses the other of violating those agreements, and the system of checks and balances that binds the two sides together has been strained more than in any period in recent memory.

"This might well be the most acrimonious public moment between the CIA and a Senate committee since the time of the post-Watergate Church Committee investigations nearly 40 years ago," said former Justice Department lawyer Dan Metcalfe, referring to one of two congressional investigations of domestic spying and other abuses by the CIA, led by Sen. Frank Church (D-Id.), that gave birth to the committees and the modern system of intelligence oversight. In his earlier role as director of the Office of Information and Privacy, Metcalfe guided all federal agencies on sensitive and classified disclosure issues from 1981 to 2007. In that period, he said, he could not recall a time when CIA-congressional relations plunged to such caustic depths." Read the rest of the story, here.

It's a big day for Mike Rogers, who appears for his confirmation hearing today as NSA chief. The NYT's David Sanger: "...The man chosen by Mr. Obama to navigate this bureaucratic, political and public relations disaster is Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who on Tuesday will face members of the Senate at his confirmation hearing, an event not likely to be accompanied by the thunderous applause that greeted Mr. Snowden in Texas. Friends of Admiral Rogers in the intelligence community, who have worked with him in his current job running the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command, say they wonder whether he has a sense of what he is wading into.

'Why would anyone in his right mind be director of N.S.A. right now?' asked John R. Schindler, a former N.S.A. officer who is now a professor at the Naval War College. 'It's a massive political headache.'" More here.

Judge: Army command interfered in the Sinclair case and Sinclair may now get a plea deal. The LATimes' David Zucchino in Fort Bragg: "A military judge ruled Monday that the U.S. Army improperly interfered with a decision  to reject an offer by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair to plead guilty to lesser charges in his sexual assault case.

The judge, Col. James C. Pohl, ruled that Army officials exerted 'unlawful command influence' when a three-star general turned down Sinclair's offer before the trial. He gave defense attorneys the option of renewing Sinclair's original plea offer or a different plea offer; in any case, the judge said, the case must be overseen by a new command authority. Evidence of command decisions in the case did not come to light until after Sinclair's accuser, a fellow Army officer, testified Friday that Sinclair sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her and her family if she disclosed their three-year sexual affair." Read the rest here.

The NYT's Alan Blinder and Richard Oppel on Page One: "...In ruling that 'unlawful command influence' may have occurred, Colonel Pohl suggested that the officer with ultimate authority over the case, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, might have rejected a previous plea offer from General Sinclair because he was worried about potential fallout from not prosecuting General Sinclair to the fullest. Members of Congress have criticized the Pentagon for not doing enough to crack down on a rising tide of sexual assault, debating bills that would drastically change the way sexual assault prosecutions are handled in the military." Read the rest here.

Claire McCaskill's legislation on sexual assault passes a hurdle. Politico's Darren Samuelsohn: "Sen. Claire McCaskill's legislation to force changes in the military's sexual assault policies passed the Senate on Monday without dissent, capping her latest bid to get the Pentagon to clean up its ranks. The 97-0 vote on the Missouri Democrat's measure establishing new rules for how victims and defendants should be treated came as no surprise, particularly since it had already cleared a procedural vote to final passage, 100-0. Even Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and backers of a more controversial approach to overhaul the World War II-era military justice system - removing the chain of command from prosecutions - supported McCaskill's legislation as another key step to give victims greater power in the legal process... McCaskill's measure now heads to the House, where Republican and Democratic aides say they expect to see her proposals surface during debate later this year on the new defense authorization bill." More here.

Meanwhile, Stimson's Russell Rumbaugh posts an analysis of the new defense budget, arguing that it does in fact "prioritize readiness" despite fears of a hollow force and that, despite what everyone thinks, the Army does just fine in this budget. Read that here.

A senior defense official responds to a Defense News story that ran yesterday and was critical of the Pentagon's new budget. The official, to Situation Report, in response to yesterday's Defense News story - "The plan reflects reality. For 2015  - the only year Congress is voting on mind you - the Department funds higher force levels. The long term plan takes into account sequestration since that remains the law for 2016 and out. This approach is not only responsible for military planners it presents Congress with evidence for why they should end sequestration once and for all." Read the DN story here by Marcus Weisgerber, to which the defense official is referring.

Meantime, wanna take a visual look inside the Pentagon's new budget? Defense News partnered with a firm called VisualDoD to produce a series of charts and graphs on each of the service's procurement budgets and other great stuff for the budget wonk. Look for all that coverage here.

Malaysia airliner mystery: the theory that the plane's fate was determined by terrorists ebbs. The WaPo's Chico Harlan, William Wan and Simon Denyer: "As an international hunt for the vanished Malaysia Airlines jet stretched into Tuesday, investigators said an Iranian on the flight traveling on a stolen passport was trying to seek asylum in Germany. When the 19-year-old Iranian, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, did not arrive in Germany as planned, his mother contacted Malaysian authorities and helped them identify him. While early speculation focused on two passengers on the plane using stolen passports, Malaysia's Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference Tuesday, 'We believe he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group.'" Read the rest here.

Did the plane simply disintegrate? The New Zealand Herald's Harriet Alexander: "Investigators in Malaysia say the lack of debris from the vanished Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight could indicate it "disintegrated" in midair. 'The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,' said a source who is involved in the investigations in Malaysia...But David Learmount, operations and safety editor for Flight International, said he would be very surprised if the authorities knew for sure that the plane 'disintegrated' in midair. Learmount, who said it was not unusual not to find debris immediately after a crash and pointed out that the Air France crash in 2009 took two days to find: "We just have to accept that, for the moment, we do not know what has happened." More here.

A company called DigitalGlobe launched a crowdsourcing platform to help find the vanished airliner. Click here for more information if you'd like to volunteer your time to support the rescue mission and help comb through satellite imagery for clues.

The U.S. Navy gives an assist. FP's Dan Lamothe: "The Malaysia Airlines flight that mysteriously disappeared 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8 has prompted a massive maritime search involving dozens of aircraft and ships from 10 countries, including both the United States and China. But it has also underscored the lingering technological shortcomings and fragile communications networks bedeviling many of the nations in a region where territorial and political disputes continue to simmer, analysts said.

"The U.S. Navy has dispatched two guided-missile destroyers, the USS Kidd and the USS Pinckney, to assist in a search now spanning waters from Malaysia to Vietnam. The ships each carry two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters that are designed for search-and-rescue missions and equipped with infrared cameras. The U.S. ships are working in tandem with vessels from China, Singapore and Malaysia, Pentagon officials said Monday, but it wasn't immediately clear how much they are in communication. The Pinckney investigated floating debris Sunday, but didn't find any pieces of the missing airplane." Read the rest here.

The tautological quote of a Malaysia government official, as quoted by the WaPo today, sums up just how baffled everyone is: "This unprecedented missing aircraft mystery - as you can put it - it is mystifying," Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation, said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur." More here.

Situation Report corrects - In yesterday's edition we referred to the air carrier as both "Malaysia Airlines" and "Malaysian Airlines." Please excuse the typo - it is of course Malaysia Airlines.

The Pakistani army's fight with the Taliban means it has suffered twice as many losses than the U.S. despite perceptions to the contrary. The WSJ's Yaroslov Trofimov on Page One: "...The Pakistani army has lost roughly twice as many soldiers in the conflict with Taliban fighters as the U.S. It is a toll that keeps rising as American forces prepare to withdraw from next-door Afghanistan by December amid an intensifying war on both sides of the border. In Washington and Kabul, officials often accuse Pakistan of being a duplicitous and insincere ally, charges fueled by alleged covert aid to the Afghan Taliban from some elements of the Pakistani security establishment. In 2011, the then-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, described the Haqqani network, a group of insurgents operating from bases in North Waziristan who are affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, as a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Pakistan's government denied the accusation.

"Murky as this war is, one fact is clear: The price ordinary Pakistani soldiers pay in the struggle against Taliban fighters is real and high. Since Pakistan's army began moving into the tribal areas along the Afghan border to confront the Pakistani Taliban in 2004, more than 4,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed and more than 13,000 injured, according to military statistics." Read the rest here.

The Taliban has threatened to attack Afghan voters. The Guardian's Emma Graham-Harrison, in Kabul: "The Taliban have threatened to attack Afghanistan's crucial presidential election next month, warning that anyone who goes near 'electoral offices, voting booths, rallies and campaigns' is putting their life in danger. More here.

A British-Swedish journalist is shot in Kabul. Also from the Guardian's Graham-Harrison, just this morning: "Gunmen have shot dead a British-Swedish journalist in the embassy quarter of Kabul in an unusual attack using a pistol with a silencer. Police said the man, who had been in the country only a few days, had been killed when travelling from his hotel to the ruins of a restaurant bombed by the Taliban in January. He had been planning to meet a survivor there for a report. A senior source at the city's criminal investigation department said: 'He was on his way to the Lebanese restaurant to interview the cook when he was shot. He was taken to hospital but died there from his injuries.' The gunmen fled the scene but two suspects were arrested. 'The weapon used was a pistol with silencer,' the source added. The translator working with the reporter had also been detained for questioning." The rest here.

In Libya, it's government forces vs. militias over oil tankers. The WSJ's Nour Malas: "Gunbattles erupted late Monday when Libyan government forces attempted to seize back an oil tanker that rebellious militiamen were trying to use to independently sell crude, a Libyan official said. Culture Minister Habib al-Amin said government forces had taken control of the tanker after the clashes. However, the militia controlling the As Sidra oil port denied it had lost control of the vessel. The clashes were the most serious confrontation yet between militias that have paralyzed the country's oil industry by blocking major ports and a government too weak to confront them. The minister said at a late-night news conference that the Libyan forces took over the North Korean-flagged Morning Glory at around 9 p.m. local time after two skirmishes-one in the morning and one in the evening-with militiamen on speedboats around the tanker." More here.