ISIS

Obama Sends Messages to Trump on Terrorism, Drone Strategies
POTUS to PEOTUS: Citizens can ‘criticize our president without retribution’

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from Creech Air Force Base. On Tuesday, President Obama defended his counterterrorism strategy, which has relied on the drones. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his approach to fighting the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in a speech that appeared to feature several tips for his successor, Donald Trump.

Obama used what was likely his final national security address to press for continuing his policy of avoiding resource-draining U.S. ground operations in the Middle East. He argued the use of armed drones, elite warriors and local troops has decimated al-Qaeda and has begun to substantially weaken the Islamic State. Trump has suggested some major changes to Obama’s strategy, including working with Russia, tightening Muslims’ access to the U.S., and teaming with any country that promises to fight “radical Islam.”

Ep. 27: The Next U.S. President’s Challenges in Iraq and Syria
The Big Story

Show Notes:

The U.S.-backed military campaign in Iraq to drive the Islamic State from the city of Mosul is expected to succeed, but it could open the door to a host of problems the next U.S. administration will have to tackle, says Paul Salem of the Middle East Institute. In a conversation with CQ Roll Call’s National Security reporter Ryan Lucas and Managing Editor Adriel Bettelheim, Salem explains the complications hindering stability in Iraq, including the conflict in Syria, where U.S. diplomatic efforts face challenges from an assortment of players, including Russia and Iran.

The 15th Anniversary — of a Functional Congress
Big, bipartisan things got done in the 10 weeks after 9/11

The flag flew at half mast over the U.S. Capitol in honor of the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At the Capitol, this Sept. 11 heralded more than the 15th anniversary of the worst terrorist strike on American soil. It also revived memories of one of the most intense surges of big-ticket policymaking in modern times.

Congress was so infused with a sense of national resolve — mixed with more than a small amount of abject fear — it operated with a measure of apolitical collaboration that’s barely imaginable in the paralytic partisan atmosphere of today.

Fear Stalks the Airports — and the 2016 Campaign
America seems more panicky than at any time since the aftermath of 9/11

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport in July. The airport was the site of panicked mobs Sunday night which, as Walter Shapiro writes, were probably related to fear-based campaign themes from this year's presidential election. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

Sunday night, in case you missed it, Los Angeles International Airport was closed because of a panic attack. The threat came not from terrorism or a crazed gunman, but rather from wild, incoherent passenger hysteria.

The incident may have been triggered by random loud noises or possibly a man in a Zorro costume with a plastic sword. But it quickly morphed into rumors of an active shooter as frightened passengers in three terminals raced out through TSA checkpoints and burst through restricted doors onto the tarmac.

Biden's 'Expectation' Is Obama Will Close Gitmo Prison
GOP lawmakers have blocked previous attempts to shutter detention center

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 15. In Sweden on Thursday, Biden issued a renewed vow to close Guantanamo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Thursday he still expects that the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will close before the Obama administration leaves office in January.

"That is my hope and expectation," Biden said during a press conference in Sweden.

Trump: Don't They Get Sarcasm?
'But not that sarcastic' Trump says at a rally

After spending the better part of two days calling President Barack Obama the "founder of ISIS," Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump let everyone in on the joke. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump says that CNN just didn't get the joke.

House GOP Report: Intelligence Officials Pressured to Alter Reports on ISIS
Analysis skewed to make U.S. campaign against ISIS look more successful, report says

A Republican report on U.S. intelligence on the Islamic State said that the Central Command was painting a more optimistic picture than intel suggests. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images file photo)

Defense Department officials were pressured to skew their reports on the military campaign against the Islamic State, making it appear more successful than "was warranted by facts on the ground," and "consistently more positive than analysis produced by other elements of the Intelligence Community," according to a report by a House Republican task force released on Thursday.

The report, issued by a joint task force on the U.S. Central Command, largely backed up the allegations of a "whistleblower" who claimed that analysts at the agency were pressured to "manipulate" their work after management changes in 2014, the report said. A Daily Beast story published in September cited 50 intelligence analysts who said their reports were altered to offer a rosier picture of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Ransom-to-Iran Charge 'Defies Logic,' Obama Says
President rejects Trump allegation that general election will be 'rigged'

Secretary of State John Kerry (left) meets with senior Iranian officials. On Thursday, President Obama rejected allegations that his administration paid a ransom to Tehran to free U.S. hostages. (Photo via Flickr)

President Obama on Thursday rejected Republican assertions that his administration paid Iran a $400 million ransom to secure the freedom of four American hostages.  

Obama expressed bewilderment that something that “was not a secret” when the funds were transferred has become a major issue following a new report that the payment was made in cash that was delivered via an unmarked cargo plane.  

Metro Transit Officer Arrested on Charges of Trying to Help ISIS
Charges are 'disturbing to everyone who wears the uniform,' Metro director says

Nicholas Young, a Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority police officer since 2003, has been arrested for allegedly providing assistance to the Islamic State. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An officer with Washington's Metro Transit Police Department has been arrested for trying assist the Islamic State, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.  

Nicholas Young, 36, who has been with the department since 2003, allegedly bought 22 gift cards for mobile messaging apps to assist the terrorist group overseas and sent the codes to an FBI officer posing as a confidential source that Young had been in contact with, the Justice Department said in a statement.  

Kaine Said Obama Needed Congressional Approval to Fight ISIS
Clinton campaign says she is pushing for a new force authorization

Sen. Tim Kaine was named Hillary Clinton's running mate Friday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hillary Clinton's choice to be her running mate  said President Barack Obama "must seek congressional approval" to execute the war against the Islamic State in Iraq.  

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., took the position that put him closer to people like Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has a more limited view of the commander-in-chief's power, than to the Obama White House.