Since declaring war on the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the United States and its allies have still failed to dislodge the Muslim extremist group, in large part because the U.S. lacks a major military presence in either country, according to Military.com.
But one element is seen as a growing intelligence and military success: The combined effort by the CIA and the military's Joint Special Operations Command to find and kill “high value” targets from both al-Qaida and IS. Playing a major role in this campaign is the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA, which plans to move from its downtown St. Louis site to one of four candidate sites in the St. Louis region, including Scott Air Force Base.
The drone strikes -- separate from the large air campaign run by U.S. Central Command -- have significantly diminished the threat from the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaida cell in Syria that had planned attacks on American aviation, officials say. The group's leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli, and its top bomb-maker, David Drugeon, were killed this summer. Other targeted strikes have taken out senior Islamic State group figures, including its second in command, known as Hajji Mutazz.
The CIA began stepping up efforts to craft targeting packages for militants in Syria in early 2013, even before the Islamic State had seized significant territory. But over the last year, its tracking capacity has improved as the Pentagon has deployed 24-hour overhead coverage allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to soak up electronic signals while the NGA conducts visual surveillance, officials say. The CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency have stepped up efforts to recruit human sources.
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Report: VA manager gave stealth raises
A senior Department of Veterans Affairs manager who was supposed to clean up a beleaguered regional office abused her position for financial gain, part of a wider scheme to give stealth raises to executives, according to a VA Office of Inspector General report released Monday, according to Stars and Stripes.
The inspector general had been investigating Philadelphia VA Regional Office Director Diana Rubens since March, after it became known that she received nearly $300,000 in compensation to move about 140 miles from Washington to Philadelphia. While the inspector general’s office concluded that her moving expenses were allowable, it found she and one other executive had manipulated the VA hiring system to create vacancies they sought for financial gain in an era of government pay freezes.
Green Beret says Army ‘morally wrong’ to kick him out
A Green Beret ordered discharged after he and his team leader body-slammed an alleged Afghan child rapist is speaking out against the Army's effort to punish him, as he fights to stay in the service, according to Military.com.
“Kicking me out of the Army is morally wrong and the entire country knows it,” Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland said, in his first public statement on his case.
The detailed written statement, requested by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., was shared by the congressman's office with FoxNews.com. Hunter, who has advocated on Martland's behalf, intends to submit the statement to the House Armed Services Committee.