ISIS

Coalition forces collected DNA from ISIS leader al-Baghdadi in 2004
Records released Tuesday cast new light on the terrorist leader’s time in U.S. custody

The U.S. military took a DNA sample from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, shown here in 2014, more than a decade before he was killed, records show. (Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file photo)

The U.S. military took a DNA sample from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi more than a decade before American special forces killed him last weekend, records obtained by CQ Roll Call show.

The White House confirmed in a statement Sunday that “visual evidence and DNA tests confirmed Baghdadi’s identity” after the terrorist leader blew himself up during a dramatic raid by special forces in northwest Syria.

Capitol Ink | Time For Us To Get Out

Why Republicans bucked Trump on Afghanistan and Syria
Podcast, Episode 138

In a rare move, the White House released this image Thursday of President Trump receiving his daily intelligence briefing from the heads of several U.S. intel services. (White House photo via Twitter)

CQ senior defense writer John M. Donnelly and Michael Rubin, a former Middle East adviser in the George W. Bush administration who’s now a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, discuss the implications of President Donald Trump’s moves to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Syria and the Republican-led backlash in Congress. 

 

9 New Members Who Previously Served at the Pleasure of a President
Newcomers to 116th Congress bring bevy of executive branch experience

There’s a group of new members of the 116th Congress who have served former presidents, including Reps.-elect Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., and Colin Allred, D-Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of newcomers to Capitol Hill is bringing experience from the executive branch to the 116th Congress. 

They draw from a cast of former White House or Cabinet staffers and high-ranking officials from the administrations of the past two Democratic presidents. These new members, who once had to defend their administration’s policies, now find themselves on the other side of the table, promising oversight of the executive branch. 

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.