David Welna http://kunm.org en The Challenge Of Keeping Tabs On The NSA's Secretive Work http://kunm.org/post/challenge-keeping-tabs-nsas-secretive-work Here's a question with no easy answer: How do you hold the nation's spy agencies accountable — when they control the secrets?<p>Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden apparently thought the answer was to blow the lid off some of the NSA's highly classified programs. He took documents and shared them with journalists.<p>But what about Congress? It's supposed to oversee the NSA — and other spy agencies. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:45:00 +0000 David Welna 48395 at http://kunm.org The Challenge Of Keeping Tabs On The NSA's Secretive Work Before Snowden: The Whistleblowers Who Tried To Lift The Veil http://kunm.org/post/snowden-whistleblowers-who-tried-lift-veil Bill Binney worked at the National Security Agency nearly three decades as one of its leading crypto-mathematicians. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:45:00 +0000 David Welna 48336 at http://kunm.org Before Snowden: The Whistleblowers Who Tried To Lift The Veil FBI, NSA Spied On American Muslims, Report Says http://kunm.org/post/fbi-nsa-spied-american-muslims-report-says Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And I'm Renee Montagne. It's been more than a year since Edward Snowden fled the country with top-secret, digital documents from the National Security Agency, and revelations about what he took keep coming. The latest appeared yesterday, in the online publication The Intercept. Its headline is, "Meet The Muslim-American Leaders The FBI And NSA Have Been Spying On," and it was co-written by Glenn Greenwald. Five prominent Muslim citizens are profiled. Thu, 10 Jul 2014 09:01:00 +0000 David Welna 47792 at http://kunm.org Bipartisan Board OKs NSA Surveillance Program, With Suggestions http://kunm.org/post/bipartisan-board-oks-nsa-surveillance-program-suggestions Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block. A controversial NSA surveillance program that sweeps up volumes of communications - emails, photos, videos and more is constitutional. That's the unanimous conclusion today of the bipartisan privacy and civil liberties oversight board. The so-called 702 surveillance program, named for a section in the law, is designed to target foreigners. But civil liberties advocates say it captures the communications of Americans too. Wed, 02 Jul 2014 20:06:00 +0000 David Welna 47456 at http://kunm.org Congress Keeping Close Watch On Obama's Plans In Iraq http://kunm.org/post/congress-keeping-close-watch-obamas-plans-iraq After bowing out of Iraq when the last American forces left two and a half years ago, the U.S. military is back.<p>Up to 300 military advisers started arriving there this weekend. President Obama said he sent them to help Iraq's military confront the Sunni militants who've overrun much of northern Iraq. He said Thursday that U.S. Sun, 22 Jun 2014 21:45:00 +0000 David Welna 46989 at http://kunm.org Congress Keeping Close Watch On Obama's Plans In Iraq What, Exactly, Are U.S. Interests In Iraq's Turmoil? http://kunm.org/post/what-exactly-are-us-interests-iraqs-turmoil As the U.S. steers warships closer to Iraq and beefs up its embassy's security in Baghdad with nearly 300 troops, a nagging question has resurfaced.<p>What compelling interests does Washington still have in a nation where all U.S. forces were pulled out 2 1/2 years ago?<p>Three days after Sunni militants calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, President Obama paused on the White House lawn and issued a warning.<p>"Terrorists," he said, were being allowed to overrun part of Iraq's territory. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 22:43:00 +0000 David Welna 46769 at http://kunm.org What, Exactly, Are U.S. Interests In Iraq's Turmoil? Defending Bergdahl Deal, Hagel Faces Critics On Both Sides Of Aisle http://kunm.org/post/defending-bergdahl-deal-hagel-faces-critics-both-sides-aisle Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testified before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, defending the prisoner swap that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 21:16:00 +0000 David Welna 46499 at http://kunm.org If The NSA Can't Keep Call Records, Should Phone Companies Do It? http://kunm.org/post/if-nsa-cant-keep-call-records-should-phone-companies-do-it Perhaps the most controversial spying program revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was the agency's hoarding of Americans' phone records.<p>Congress wants to change that program.<p>The House has <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/22/314909858/house-passes-restrictions-on-nsas-collection-of-phone-records">passed legislation</a> that would end the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' calling data and let phone companies hold the records instead.<p>As a Senate panel found last week, that proposal could run into trouble.<p>The reform passed by the Sun, 08 Jun 2014 17:29:00 +0000 David Welna 46335 at http://kunm.org If The NSA Can't Keep Call Records, Should Phone Companies Do It? House-Approved USA Freedom Bill Disappoints Original Supporters http://kunm.org/post/house-approved-usa-freedom-bill-disappoints-original-supporters Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH: We're going to consider now changing perceptions toward fighting terrorism. President Obama has suggested that eventually the war on terror must end and that the nation must think about the tools used to fight it. Here he is speaking a year ago today at the National Defense University.<p>PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: From our use of drones to the tension of terror suspects, the decisions that we are making now will define the type of nation and world that we leave to our children.<p>CORNISH: In the year since, public attitudes have changed and people are more skeptical. Fri, 23 May 2014 20:26:00 +0000 David Welna 45670 at http://kunm.org Feinstein Wants CIA To Speed 'Torture Report' Release http://kunm.org/post/feinstein-wants-cia-speed-torture-report-release It's been well over a month since the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11 to 3 to declassify and make public the executive summary and findings of its "Torture Report."<p>But it's not likely that will actually happen anytime soon.<p>The reason? Wed, 14 May 2014 22:22:00 +0000 David Welna 45224 at http://kunm.org Feinstein Wants CIA To Speed 'Torture Report' Release Faced With Pentagon Budget Cuts, Congress Finesses The Numbers http://kunm.org/post/faced-pentagon-budget-cuts-congress-finesses-numbers The Pentagon's congressionally-imposed budget cuts ran into a powerful opponent this week: Congress itself. The House Armed Services Committee rejected $5 billion worth of proposed cuts in order to preserve items cherished by individual lawmakers. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Fri, 09 May 2014 20:31:00 +0000 David Welna 45006 at http://kunm.org Sanctions Put Pentagon's Business Deals With Russia Up For Debate http://kunm.org/post/sanctions-put-pentagons-business-deals-russia-debate Washington has imposed a number of economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for that country's push into Ukraine.<p>Getting European allies to do the same has not always been easy, since many of those nations trade with Russia and fear getting hurt themselves.<p>But the Europeans are not the only ones balking: The Pentagon also buys Russian military hardware.<p>When U.S. military and intelligence satellites are shot into space, all the rocket engines that propel them are made by a state-owned enterprise in Russia. Sat, 03 May 2014 15:31:00 +0000 David Welna 44737 at http://kunm.org Sanctions Put Pentagon's Business Deals With Russia Up For Debate In Sex Assault Report, Pentagon Sees Progress — And A Long Way To Go http://kunm.org/post/sex-assault-report-pentagon-sees-progress-and-long-way-go The Pentagon issued a study on sexual assaults in the military, reports of which have jumped 50 percent in the past year. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says this is a positive sign that more victims trust the system. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Thu, 01 May 2014 20:13:00 +0000 David Welna 44651 at http://kunm.org What's The NSA Doing Now? Training More Cyberwarriors http://kunm.org/post/whats-nsa-doing-now-training-more-cyber-warriors The U.S. needs more cyberwarriors, and it needs them fast, according to <a href="http://www.defense.gov/Speeches/Speech.aspx?SpeechID=1837" target="_blank">Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel</a>. He plans to more than triple the size of the Pentagon's Cyber Command over the next two years.<p>But where will they come from? These are not the kind of skills you can teach in basic training.<p>Enter the embattled National Security Agency. Its new director, Adm. Michael Rogers, also directs the Cyber Command. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 14:57:00 +0000 David Welna 44582 at http://kunm.org What's The NSA Doing Now? Training More Cyberwarriors An Angry Hearing On The Hill For 'Cockamamie' Twitter-like Network http://kunm.org/post/angry-hearing-hill-cockamamie-twitter-network Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy was incensed that he only learned about the creation of a Twitter-like network in Cuba through press accounts. He had the chance Tuesday to vent his frustration when USAID administrator Rajiv Shah appeared before Leahy's committee. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:14:00 +0000 David Welna 43590 at http://kunm.org With $1B In Aid For Ukraine, Congress Puts Money Where Its Mouth Is http://kunm.org/post/1b-aid-ukraine-congress-puts-money-where-its-mouth Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. The House and the Senate both voted overwhelmingly today for aid to Ukraine and sanctions for Russia's annexation of Crimea. The bipartisan response to the crisis follows weeks of partisan wrangling. Differences between the two bills still have to be ironed out. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:05:00 +0000 David Welna 43070 at http://kunm.org Out Of White House And Congress, Two Proposals To Change NSA Practices http://kunm.org/post/out-white-house-and-congress-two-proposals-change-nsa-practices Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>Public outrage over NSA surveillance programs that collect data about Americans is forcing some big change. Documents revealing the security agency's methods have been trickling out in the press for months, thanks to leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.<p>SIEGEL: One of the big revelations is that the government secretly collects records of phone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:16:00 +0000 David Welna 42965 at http://kunm.org With New Inquiry, Harry Reid Raises Stakes In Senate-CIA Clash http://kunm.org/post/new-inquiry-harry-reid-raises-stakes-senate-cia-clash When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared "I support Senator Feinstein unequivocally" the same day she thrashed the CIA on the Senate floor, the question of whether the pugilistic top congressional Democrat from Nevada would leap into that fight seemed less a matter of if than when.<p>A little more than a week later, Reid made his move.<p>He fired off a letter to CIA Director John Brennan informing the top spy that Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer would be performing a "forensic examination" of computers and a computer network meant for exclusive use by the Senate Intelligence Com Thu, 20 Mar 2014 23:44:00 +0000 David Welna 42755 at http://kunm.org With New Inquiry, Harry Reid Raises Stakes In Senate-CIA Clash Senate-CIA Clash Goes Behind Closed Doors http://kunm.org/post/senate-cia-clash-goes-behind-closed-doors The dust is still settling on Capitol Hill after California Democrat Dianne Feinstein fired a verbal bazooka at the Central Intelligence Agency <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/11/289060441/cia-tampered-with-senate-panel-s-work-feinstein-says">Tuesday morning from the Senate floor</a>.<p>The Senate Intelligence Committee's chairwoman — normally a stalwart of Washington's spooks — essentially accused the spy agency of illegally and unconstitutionally spying on its congressional overseers.<p>Specifically, Feinstein charged that the CIA had searched computers used by her commi Sat, 15 Mar 2014 17:22:00 +0000 David Welna 42519 at http://kunm.org Senate-CIA Clash Goes Behind Closed Doors Hagel's On The Hill, Pushing For A Slimmer Military http://kunm.org/post/hagels-hill-pushing-slimmer-military Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block. We begin this hour on Capitol Hill, where the secretary of Defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs were grilled today by lawmakers. The Pentagon leaders appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to defend the proposed cuts in military spending. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:14:00 +0000 David Welna 42098 at http://kunm.org House Passes 'Clean' Debt Limit Bill http://kunm.org/post/house-vote-clean-debt-limit-bill Tuesday saw a rarity in Congress these days: a "clean" bill.<p>The House passed one to raise the debt limit, a move that avoids a possible default later this month.<p>In the past, House Republicans have used this debate to extract concessions from President Obama and congressional Democrats.<p>But not this time. House Republicans demanded nothing in return. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 22:56:00 +0000 David Welna 41223 at http://kunm.org House Passes 'Clean' Debt Limit Bill House Sets Vote On Raising Debt Limit http://kunm.org/post/house-sets-vote-raising-debt-limit House leaders have had weeks to come up with a plan to deal with the nation's debt limit. Now, the day before they want to leave town for a break, it appears they've essentially decided to throw in the towel. They plan to put a bill on the House floor raising the debt ceiling for a year without any conditions attached. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 18:28:00 +0000 David Welna 41200 at http://kunm.org GOP Still Looking At Pieces Of Debt Limit 'Puzzle' http://kunm.org/post/gop-still-looking-pieces-debt-limit-puzzle Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.<p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And I'm Renee Montagne. Today at the stroke of noon in Washington D. C. the U.S. Treasury statutory authority to borrow money will expire.<p>GREENE: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says there are ways to move some funds around to prevent a debt default, but only for the next three weeks. It's now up to Congress once again to raise the debt limit. Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:05:00 +0000 David Welna 41032 at http://kunm.org After 3-Day Retreat, GOP Battle Plan Still Only An Outline http://kunm.org/post/after-3-day-retreat-gop-battle-plan-still-only-outline House Republicans headed back to Washington on Friday from a resort along the frozen waters of the Chesapeake Bay. They were there for a three-day retreat aimed at mapping out a legislative strategy for this midterm election year.<p>One of the most pressing issues they face is the need next month for Congress to raise the nation's debt limit. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 22:11:00 +0000 David Welna 40769 at http://kunm.org After 3-Day Retreat, GOP Battle Plan Still Only An Outline House GOP Leaders Begin To Move On Immigration http://kunm.org/post/house-gop-leaders-begin-move-immigration Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Another priority of the president's that's likely to come up tonight is an immigration overhaul. The Senate last year passed a comprehensive bipartisan bill that promise eventual citizenship for millions currently in the country without legal status. While House leaders don't appear ready to go that far, they do seem ready to start a conversation.<p>And joining me from the Capitol is NPR congressional correspondent David Welna. Tue, 28 Jan 2014 21:52:00 +0000 David Welna 40627 at http://kunm.org 8 Republicans And A Nunn Battle For Georgia's Open Senate Seat http://kunm.org/post/eight-republicans-and-nunn-battle-georgias-open-senate-seat Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss won't be seeking a third term in the U.S. Senate this year, and his decision to bow out has eight other Republicans, including three congressmen, scrambling for his seat.<p>Democrats, meanwhile, have their hopes pinned on the daughter of a well-known and widely admired former senator. It's turned a Senate race Republicans hoped would be a cakewalk into something far less predictable.<p>Georgia has gone from a bastion of conservative Democrats to a place where, for the first time since Reconstruction, all statewide offices are now held by Republicans. Fri, 24 Jan 2014 08:33:00 +0000 David Welna 40440 at http://kunm.org 8 Republicans And A Nunn Battle For Georgia's Open Senate Seat 'Pretty Good' Budget Deal Looks Good Enough To Avoid Shutdown http://kunm.org/post/pretty-good-budget-deal-looks-good-enough-avoid-shutdown For the first time in years, the House of Representatives is expected to approve a massive new spending bill Wednesday that keeps federal agencies operating until a new fiscal year starts in October.<p>The so-called "omnibus" package of all 12 annual spending bills is a compromise; it has more money in it than what Congressional Republicans wanted, but less than what President Obama had asked for. Wed, 15 Jan 2014 08:05:00 +0000 David Welna 40094 at http://kunm.org 'Pretty Good' Budget Deal Looks Good Enough To Avoid Shutdown The War Over Poverty: A Deep Divide On How To Help http://kunm.org/post/war-over-poverty-deep-divide-how-help All this week, Majority Leader Harry Reid declared over and over on the Senate floor that there's a downside to the recovering economy.<p>"It's true," he said. "The rich are getting a lot richer, and the poor are getting poorer."<p>That observation may not be surprising, coming from a Democrat. Less expected, perhaps, is a similar lament made the same day by the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.<p>"We all know the stock market's been doing great, so the richest among us are doing just fine," McConnell said. "But what about the poor? Sat, 11 Jan 2014 17:22:00 +0000 David Welna 39967 at http://kunm.org The War Over Poverty: A Deep Divide On How To Help McCain Lays Al-Qaida Surge In Iraq At Obama's Feet http://kunm.org/post/mccain-lays-al-qaida-surge-iraq-obamas-feet Forces allied with al-Qaida are battling to retake two major cities in Iraq's Sunni-dominated Anbar province: Ramadi, the capital of the province, and Fallujah, the city where U.S. troops prevailed after fighting two major battles.<p>There have been no American forces in Iraq since 2011, when President Obama ordered the last troops to leave. Now the man who lost the presidential race to Obama five years ago is pointing a finger at the president for al-Qaida's resurgence.<p>Some 1,300 U.S. troops died in the area during the Iraq War, and Sen. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 23:42:00 +0000 David Welna 39862 at http://kunm.org McCain Lays Al-Qaida Surge In Iraq At Obama's Feet The Campaign For Jobless Benefits Begins In Congress http://kunm.org/post/campaign-jobless-benefits-begins-congress The Senate gets back to work Monday after a two-week holiday break. Just as Majority Leader Harry Reid promised, the first piece of legislation getting a vote will be a three-month extension of the long-term unemployment benefits that ran out a week ago for 1.3 million jobless Americans.<p>Though the Senate unemployment measure is bipartisan, it's not clear it has enough votes to beat a GOP filibuster. Sun, 05 Jan 2014 16:58:00 +0000 David Welna 39715 at http://kunm.org The Campaign For Jobless Benefits Begins In Congress