Situation Report

FP's Situation Report: Greene first two-star killed in a warzone since Vietnam; How his name got out; How Israeli hawks drowned debate; A military care package group funded the Tea Party; 5,000 Americans on a "watch list;" and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold with Nathaniel Sobel

An insider attack in Afghanistan is responsible for the death of a two-star US general. The death of Maj. Gen. Harold Greene at the hands of a man who was apparently serving in the Afghan military yesterday near Kabul sent quiet shockwaves throughout the U.S. military. The Pentagon tried to treat the death of the leader like that of any other soldier who sacrificed in a war zone, even if it was the first two-star general killed in such a way since the Vietnam era. But as politically potent as so-called insider attacks can be, and especially one of this magnitude, it looked unlikely to have an effect on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan one way - or another.

"As tragic as it was to see a senior officer slain, defense officials say insider attacks are way down from where they were in 2012 and there was no reason to think it would accelerate the American drawdown from Afghanistan, or even force the U.S. to redouble its efforts there. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said yesterday that the investigation into what happened is just getting underway and that Afghan National Security Forces continue to perform "at a very strong level of competenc and confidence and warfare capability."

FP's Lubold and Reid Standish: "...The last confirmed green-on-blue incident occurred in February in Afghanistan's Kapisa province, although, a June 23 attack involving an Afghan police officer and two injured ISAF soldiers is being investigated.

"...Insider attacks against ISAF and Afghan forces hit an all-time high in 2012, resulting in 48 deaths, or approximately 15 percent of coalition casualties that year. In comparison, green-on-blue attacks accounted for six percent of coalition deaths in 2011 and two percent in 2010. Prior to that, only 14 personnel were killed in insider attacks from 2003 to 2009." More here.

Who was Harold Greene? A likeable, "quietly effective leader" with a lot of technical skills who embraced such technology on the battlefield, according to the NYT. More on that from the NYT's Alan Rappeport and Helene Cooper, here.

Greene's son, an Army lieutenant stationed at Fort Sill, Okla, to the WSJ: "He was excited to help out...Obviously, being separated from our family and being separated from my mother was not his first priority, but he was happy to do the job and he really loved his job and he really thought he was making a big difference." More here

The Pentagon tried to treat the death of the two-star like it would any other war fatality. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel did not announce the death - it was confirmed at a press briefing by Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby - and the Pentagon tried to adhere to the same 24-hour notification process for any other soldier - only identifying the soldier 24 hours after the family had been notified. The thinking was that whether it's a senior officer or a private, a death in a warzone is still tragic and the family of the fallen warrior must be given due privacy as it is notified. But this one was different, of course. Defense officials would not confirm Greene's identity, but naturally, his name surfaced. We believe the first mainstream media outlet to identify Greene was the Washington Post by reporter Dan Lamothe, and then a number of other media outlets, to include AP, followed suit. Some will argue that the family should have been given enough time to be notified and that the media should have shown self-restraint in identifying the fallen officer. Others will say that the military's policy when it comes to such notifications must reflect today's real-time media environment.

Lamothe's bit on Maj. Gen. Keith Ware, the last two-star killed, in Vietnam in 1968, and others, here.

Meantime, why are the Taliban are killing doctors administering polio vaccinations in Pakistan.  Kristofer Harrison for FP: "...The reason the Taliban is suddenly against the polio vaccine isn't because of Jenny McCarthy-led anti-vaccine lunacy. Rather, it's because the Taliban and tribal leaders fear that it is a CIA plot. They have drawn this conclusion because the CIA famously used a hepatitis vaccine program to confirm the location of Osama bin Laden. The operative word in that sentence isn't ‘CIA' but ‘famously.' In other words, the problem isn't that the CIA used that tactic -- it's that President Obama bragged about it for political gain. After the May 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's compound, the Democrats leveraged positive PR to help win re-election -- a welcome distraction from a lethargic economy and a weak foreign policy. Administration and CIA officials were spread to the four corners of Hollywood to spread the Good News about the Pakistan raid." More here.

Welcome to Wednesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to be one of our subscribers, we'd love to have you. Sign up for Situation Report by sending 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, you, send it to us early for maximum tease. And the more shovel-ready, the better. And hey! Follow us: @glubold and @njsobe4.

With a cease-fire holding in the Middle East, a battered Hamas now begins its battle with enemies within for control over the future of the Strip. FP's David Kenner: "...Now comes the spin game: Hamas will no doubt tout its success. It has withstood some Israeli leaders' calls to eliminate the movement in the Gaza Strip, fired thousands of rockets into Israel, and proved a far deadlier opponent for the Israeli military than in previous conflicts. Its popularity is also surging in the West Bank, a fact admitted by Palestinian leaders with no love for the Islamist movement, and confirmed by public opinion polls.

"But the threats facing Hamas are also looming ever larger. The economic destruction in Gaza is estimated at over $4 billion, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that the rehabilitation of the Palestinian territory be linked to Hamas's demilitarization. It finds itself beset by enemies from all sides: Not only do Israel and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi control the crossings into and out of Gaza, but partisans of Hamas and Fatah -- despite frequent pronouncements of Palestinian unity -- still nurse a healthy distrust of one another." More here.

Ha'aretz's Barak Ravid unpacks Netanyahu's missed diplomatic opportunities in Gaza, here.

How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left. Gregg Carlstrom for FP: "...Even before the war, Israel was shifting right, as an increasingly strident cadre of politicians took ownership of the public debate on security and foreign affairs. But the Gaza conflict has accelerated the lurch -- empowering nationalistic and militant voices, dramatically narrowing the space for debate, and eroding whatever public sympathy remained for the Palestinians. The fighting seems to be winding down, but it leaves behind a hardened Israeli public opinion: There is a widespread feeling that Israelis are the true victims here, that this war with a guerrilla army in a besieged territory is existential." More here.

Will the Palestinians go to the ICC? FP's Colum Lynch: "...Last week, Abbas convened a meeting of Palestinian factions to ask for their written consent to join the ICC, according to human rights advocates tracking the talks. Most, including members of Fatah, the political movement founded by Yasser Arafat, as well as the Palestinian Liberation Organization, support a bid for membership. The Palestinians' U.N.-based representative, Riyad Mansour, assured delegations last week that his government is ‘very close' to a decision, according to a senior diplomat briefed by the Palestinians. But Gaza's most powerful militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are opposed and Abbas is reluctant to join without their support. " More here.

Back at home, Move America Forward has collected millions to send care packages to U.S. troops - but its assets have been used to benefit conservative political consulting firms close to its Tea Party founder. Kim Barker for Pro Publica, posted on the Daily Beast: "...Move America Forward calls itself the nation's "largest grassroots pro-troop organization," and has recruited a bevy of Republican luminaries, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, to support its efforts. Yet an examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms.

Marcus Owens, a lawyer who once ran the division on tax-exempt organizations in the Internal Revenue Service: "They're playing audit roulette... They're betting the IRS won't find them, or won't find them in time." More here.

Bob McDonald, the new VA Secretary, is about to hold a series of town hall meetings with veterans. Military Times' Leo Shane, here.

Secret papers describe the size of the U.S. government's "watch list." The NYT's Charlie Savage on the list posted by Intercepts blog yesterday: "About 20,800 United States citizens and permanent residents are included in a federal government database of people suspected of having links to terrorism, of whom about 5,000 have been placed on one or more watch lists, newly disclosed documents show. The documents are briefing materials about accomplishments in 2013 by the Directorate of Terrorist Identities, a component of the National Counterterrorism Center, an interagency clearinghouse of information about people known to be or suspected of being terrorists." More here.

In Russia, Putin urges economic retaliation for the West's sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.  The NYT's Neil MacFarquhar and Andrew Roth: "Russia should retaliate against the economic sanctions being imposed on the country over the Kremlin's Ukraine policy, President Vladimir V. Putin said Tuesday. His was the strongest endorsement yet for calls in Russia to ban everything from major Western accounting firms to overflights by European airlines to frozen American chickens. Mr. Putin said that Russia should signal that it finds the economic sanctions offensive, but that it should do so without harming Russian consumers."

Putin as quoted by Russian news agencies: "The political tools of economic pressure are unacceptable and run counter to all norms and rules." More here.

Who's Where When today - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was wheels up last night for a trip to India and Australia with a stop in Germany. Hagel is at U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany today through tonight and then he leaves for New Delhi tomorrow.

Staffers on a plane - Chief of Staff Mark Lippert, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Puneet Talwar, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Alan Shaffer, Director of International Armaments Cooperation Matt Warren, AT&L Senior Analyst Joy Shanaberger, AT&L senior military assistant Col. Pat Flanders, India Desk Officer for AT&L Duncan Long, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Amy Searight, South Asia and Oceania Director Lauren Geeter, Australia and New Zealand Country Director Samuel Binkley, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy's Australia and New Zealand and Pacific's Laura Samartin, India Country Director Brittany Billingsley, Speechwriter Tarun Chhabra, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby, Aide Lt. Megan Issac, Photographer MC2 Sean Hurt, Defense Media Activity's Jacqueline McGinnis.

Reporters on a plane: AP's Lita Baldor, Bloomberg's Gopal Ratnam, NPR's David Welna, the Economist's David Rennie.

Former State Department senior advisor Mary Beth Goodman joined the Center for American Progress as a Senior Fellow for the National Security team and a senior advisor to the Enough Project. Press release, here.

If South Africa's political factions could reconcile, so can South Sudan's warring parties. Desmond Tutu for FP: "...This week, the people of South Sudan will wait for a conversation to begin again, one that could lead their country out of months of extreme suffering -- or could fail to bring them any resolution. Peace talks between South Sudan's two warring factions are set to resume on Aug. 10 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, hosted by the East Africa regional body, the International Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)." More here.

If the United States wants to save Africa from corruption, coups, and terrorism, it needs to stop spending money on military engagement. Gordon Adams for FP: "The White House is hosting a major summit of African leaders this week. Elected and unelected heads of state and officials from nearly 50 African countries are in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future of the U.S. relationship with Africa. The sad part about this meeting is that the administration's Africa policy is gaining visibility and attention not so much because of progress in African economic development but because of heightened U.S. attention to security issues in that continent. The single-mindedness of the administration's focus on terrorism and security has dragged the United States, and especially the U.S. military, into the internal security affairs of a growing number of African countries, from the 14 countries involved in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) program to Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Niger, Liberia, and now Nigeria." More here.

...But while nearly 50 African heads of state convene in D.C., one of the continent's biggest defense contractors is making a pitch to let Africa have more advanced weapons. The Daily Beast's Eli Lake: "For arms maker Ivor Ichikowitz, the message is simple: Give war a chance. Ichikowitz is the executive chairman of Paramount Group, the largest privately-owned defense contractor on the African continent. He says he is attending the summit in Washington to make the case to the Obama administration that African countries should be encouraged to build up their own intelligence services, militaries, and national police to combat the continent's rogues, insurgents, and fanatics.

"Needless to say, human rights groups are not exactly thrilled about the proposal, which just so happens to dovetail rather nicely with Ichikowitz's business interests. They don't even need to mention his rather tangled relationships with some of Africa's leaders, past and present." More here.

Amid the battle against Boko Haram, Nigeria is hit with accusations of abuse. US News & World Report's Paul Shinkman, here.  

With African leaders in town, Obama is playing deal broker. The NYT's Mark Landler: "President Obama convened a giant game of 'Let's Make a Deal' between the United States and Africa on Tuesday, bringing together nearly 50 African leaders with American investors for what he promised would be a long-term partnership that went beyond extracting 'minerals from the ground for our growth.' For Mr. Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist, it was the centerpiece of a three-day summit meeting of African leaders - some close allies of the United States, others barely on speaking terms - that is the president's most ambitious attempt to cement his legacy as an American leader who cares about the African continent." More here.

For Al-Awsat, Abdulrahman Al-Rashed writes on how to get past the Maliki era in Iraq, here.

Iraqi Yazidis stranded on isolated mountaintop begin to die of thirst. The WaPo's Loveday Morris, here.


National Security

FP's Situation Report: A ceasefire holds, for now; Jimmy Carter in FP: Treat Hamas like the political actor that it is; Border fighting spills into Lebanon; Firms committing $14 billion to Africa; Drew Davis retires; and a bit more.


Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire amid frustration in Washington that it has been sidelined in the process to build even a temporary peace. The truce, if it holds, will allow Egyptian mediators to work with both sides in Cairo to work out an arrangement for Gaza. But at State and at the White House, there is anger that Israel dissed American diplomatic efforts to stop the fighting, straining, perhaps worse than ever, the U.S-Israeli relationship at a critical time. AP this morning: "Israel and Hamas began observing a temporary cease-fire on Tuesday that sets the stage for talks in Egypt on a broader deal on the Gaza Strip, including a sustainable truce and the rebuilding of the battered, blockaded coastal territory. Israel withdrew its ground forces from Gaza's border areas, and both sides halted cross-border attacks as the three-day truce took effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The shelling stopped and in Gaza City, where streets had been deserted during the war, traffic picked up and shops started opening doors. If the calm holds, it would be the longest lull in almost a month of fighting that has killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians and 67 Israelis." More here.

The current state of play in U.S.-Israeli relationship "lays bare a frustrating reality for the Obama administration." The NYT's Mark Landler on Page One: "... With public opinion in both Israel and the United States solidly behind the Israeli military's campaign against Hamas, no outcry from Israel's Arab neighbors, and unstinting support for Israel on Capitol Hill, President Obama has had few obvious levers to force Mr. Netanyahu to stop pounding targets in Gaza until he was ready to do it." More here.

Ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor. Jimmy Carter and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson for FP: "...This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April.

"...The international community's initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor -- one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people -- can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons. Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West's approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result." More here.

Iran says it gave missile technology to Hamas. The AP's Ali Akbar Dareini, here.

After four weeks, Israel returns to its initial strategy.  Defense News' Barbara Opall-Rome: "After 17 days of deadly ground maneuvers primarily devoted to the unexpected need to destroy Hamas' underground tunnel network, Israel's Protective Edge operation is reverting largely to stand-off strikes from air, sea and land forces.... Israeli leaders belatedly realized that the underground facilities were vital to Hamas' strategic effectiveness. This underestimation of the tunnels' importance turned the ground assault into an unplanned nearly-house-to-house maneuvering operation." More here.

As Israel withdraws troops from Gaza, Hamas faces a dilemma. Avi Issacharoff for the Times of Israel: "...The Palestinian public, which now seeks quiet, will ask itself why the organization drove Gaza to ruin for no reason, with no results to show for its efforts. Hamas is aware of this, and is therefore likely to be tempted to do two things: first, fire more rockets so long as it can, despite the inevitable Israeli response; and second, to continue attempts to carry out significant attacks, mainly through tunnels that may have been left untouched, to render empty the Israeli assurances about finishing the tunnel demolitions. But an attack of that degree is likely to draw a very harsh response, perhaps even a renewed ground offensive - and once again, the Gazan public will pay the price." More here.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to be one of our subscribers, we'd love to have you. Sign up for Situation Report by sending 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, you, send it to us early for maximum tease. And the more shovel-ready, the better. And hey! Follow us: @glubold and @njsobe4.

Monument men: A group of Syrians are trying to put Syria back together again, almost literally. While the civil war in Syria has killed tens of thousands of people, it has also destroyed countless of the country's ancient treasures. Now a number of Syrians are trying to save what artifacts they can -- and are risking their lives to do so. Katrin Elger for Der Spiegel, here.

The Pentagon is selling and scrapping equipment in Afghanistan. The WaPo's Ernesto Londoño, here.

One of the Taliban five was a "petty tyrant." Alex Quade for the Washington Times: "One of the five Taliban leaders released by the U.S. in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May 'was a petty tyrant who justified his psychopathic behavior using a veneer of religion,' says the director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council. But Mullah Mohammad Fazl, who was released with four other Taliban commanders, probably will not return to the battlefield before the end of his one-year supervision in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, said the director, Army Col. Mark Mitchell, a Green Beret who helped capture the Taliban leader in the early days of the war in Afghanistan." More here.

Border fighting intensifies between ISIS and Lebanon. The NYT's Hwaida Saad and Rick Gladstone: "A deadly confrontation worsened on Monday between Lebanon's armed forces and Islamist insurgents from Syria who seized the border town of Arsal over the weekend in what appeared to be the most serious spillover of the Syrian civil war into Lebanese territory since the conflict began more than three years ago." Read the rest here.

Iraq is backing the Kurds in the fight against jihadists. The WSJ's Nour Malas in Baghdad: "Iraq's government sent its air force on Monday to back Kurdish forces struggling to blunt a jihadist advance, an extraordinary move that reflects alarm over the insurgents' brash new offensive against Kurds in both Iraq and Syria. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's authorization of air support came after the Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, lost a string of towns over the weekend to the militant group, which calls itself Islamic State. The Peshmerga had held off the insurgents in northwestern Iraq without central Iraqi government forces for nearly two months." More here.

How the U.S. got mixed up in a fight over Kurdish oil - with a unified Iraq at stake. The WaPo's Steven Mufson on Page One: "...The core of the dispute: The Iraqi government says that the crude cargo belongs to the Baghdad Ministry of Oil and that it was never the property of the Kurdistan Regional Government. But the Kurds argue that the Texas court doesn't have jurisdiction, and they filed a motion Monday in the court to lift the restrictions on the oil. Michael Howard, an adviser to the Kurdish minister of natural resources, said in an interview that ‘it's a constitutional issue that should be determined in Iraq and shouldn't be exported to U.S. courts.'" More here.

It's time to stop treating Turkey and Qatar like they're anything other than proxies for terrorists. FDD's Jonathan Schanzer for FP: "...In the current negotiations, Qatar and Turkey have been pushing a plan that benefits Hamas above all else. They have been angling for a one-sided deal that would ignore Israel's security concerns, ease Israel's blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, and help connect the Palestinian terror group-cum-government to the global economy." More here.

Meantime, Turkey is building a new refugee camp in Iraq. Hurriyet's Sevil Erkus: "Turkey is accelerating its plans to help construct a new refugee camp in northern Iraq for Turkmens who were forced to flee north after the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL) captured the Sinjar region. With the move, the government is hoping to prevent a new influx of refugees into the country, by transferring more aid to Iraqi Turkmens within the border of the neighboring country, not on Turkish territory... Some 200 Turkmen families fled to the region near the Turkish-Iraqi border on the weekend when ISIL militants swept into the region between Sinjar and Mosul, but there is no accumulation of refugees at either the Zakho or Habur crossings between Turkey and Iraq, a Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News." More here.

Who's Where When today - Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work delivers remarks at the convocation ceremony for National Defense University in Washington, D.C... Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall provides morning keynote address at the 2014 Defense Acquisition and Modernization Symposium on "Department of Defense and Industry Partnership - A Way Ahead" at 9 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building International Trade Center in Washington... Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Alan Shaffer moderates panel discussion at the 2014 Defense Acquisition Modernization Symposium on "How Do We Establish Technical Superiority With a Reduced Force Structure?" at 10:15 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building International Trade Center in Washington...

Also today: Brookings' Tamara Cofman Wittes, former U.S. envoy Martin Indyk, Khaled Elgindy and Natan B. Sachs discuss the situation in Gaza at 2 p.m.  Deets here.

A three-star is nominated to head Fleet Forces Command. Military Times' Lance Bacon: "...Vice Adm. Phil Davidson has been nominated to lead FFC, a position that comes with a fourth star. Once confirmed by the Senate, the 1982 Naval Academy grad and surface warfare officer will take the helm of a command comprising 100,000 sailors and civilians, roughly 85 ships - a third of the fleet - and more than 1,000 aircraft."  More here.

Drew Davis just retired from the ROA. Davis, the retired Marine Reserve two-star who served as director of Marine Corps public affairs in the heady years between 2001 and 2003, a former president of publishing companies, a media educational institute and who never played for the Atlanta Falcons, retired Aug. 1 from the Reserve Officers Association. Davis, in an email to friends and colleagues this week: "...Looking back on the advances the association staff leadership team has made in rebranding, expanding membership eligibility to noncommissioned officers, creating the charitable STARS Foundation and successful annual gala to support Reserve families, and preparing to host the international congress of NATO reserve officers, it has been a high-impact assignment. I will most treasure the professional relationships I have enjoyed... Looking ahead, I intend to focus on family, friends, and community, including the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, from our home in Annapolis, MD... Thank you for all your support and all you do to honor our warriors."

Reading Pincus: Military services are seeking innovative ways to attract highly skilled recruits, here.

The U.S. government had a role in the experimental Ebola drug given to the aid workers infected in Liberia. AP: "Two American aid workers infected with Ebola are getting an experimental drug so novel it has never been tested for safety in humans and was only identified as a potential treatment earlier this year, thanks to a longstanding research program by the U.S. government and the military.... The Defense Department has long had a hand in researching infectious diseases, including Ebola. During much of the Cold War period this served two purposes: to keep abreast of diseases that could limit the effectiveness of troops deployed abroad and to be prepared if biological agents were used as weapons. The U.S. military has no biological weapons program but continues to do research related to infectious diseases as a means of staying current on potential threats to the health of troops. It may also contribute medical expertise as part of interagency efforts in places like Africa where new infectious disease threats arise." More here.

Obama will announce that U.S. businesses have committed to a $14 billion package of construction, clean energy, banking and information technology projects for Africa. Reuters this morning, quoting a White House official: "These investments will deepen U.S. economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for US businesses, which will support jobs in both the United States and Africa." More here.

The answer in Africa? its youth, writes former under secretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs Tara Sonenshine in The Hill: "...If we are looking for a more hopeful world future, it lies with Africa's youth. Given a chance, they can usher in a generation less marked by destruction and more fueled by construction across sectors like energy and communications. But to get there will require an American (and global) investment in African education." More here.

Why human rights are off the White House's Africa agenda. The Guardian's Chris McGreal, here.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey trusts the Senate report. US News & World Report's Tom Risen, here.

It's time to tame "the CIA monster." Eugene Robinson in the WaPo, here.

Russia's troops on the border with Ukraine are battle-ready. The NYT's Michael Gordon and Eric Schmitt: "Russia has roughly doubled the number of its battalions near the Ukrainian border, Western officials said Monday, and could respond to the Kiev government's gains there by launching a cross-border incursion with little or no warning. Over the past several weeks, Russia has built up 17 battalions - totaling 19,000 to 21,000 troops, according to one Western estimate - into a battle-ready force of infantry, armor, artillery and air defense within a few miles of the border. In addition, it has vastly expanded its firepower, increasing the number of advanced surface-to-air missile units to 14 from eight, and deploying more than 30 artillery batteries, according to the officials." More here.

Libya's new parliament calls for unity as rival militias clash. Reuters' Patrick Markey and Aziz El Yaakoubi: "Libya's new parliament appealed for national unity at its first formal session on Monday as rival armed factions battled for dominance of a country struggling to hold itself together three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Hours before parliament met in the eastern city of Tobruk, heavy artillery and rocket fire bombarded southern and western Tripoli, where Islamist-leaning Misrata brigades have fought for three weeks with rival militias allied with the town of Zintan.

"...Elected in June, the House of Representatives replaces the General National Congress (GNC) after a vote which, analysts said, eroded the political dominance that Islamist factions linked to the Muslim Brotherhood had in the legislature. In a sign of Libya's deepening polarization, the Islamist former GNC president and a group of current and ex-GNC lawmakers rejected the Tobruk session as unconstitutional, setting the stage for more political infighting." More here.