FROM Mark Thompson
The candidates, up close and personal but light on policy Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were in the same place, but not at the same time. Even so, it's being called a preview of the formal debates to come. The topic was National Security, but NBC's Matt Lauer is taking heat for dwelling on Clinton's e-mails and failing to call Trump on misrepresentations. That's renewed debate about coverage of the campaign, with reporters accused of giving minor issues "false equivalence" with major ones. We hear what the candidates said that was new about national security. Did anything happen that might change voters' minds one way or the other?
House Republicans Release Final Benghazi Report House Republicans today released a final report on the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed 4 Americans. It has new details on the Obama administration’s failings but lacked any smoking gun evidence against then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It comes a day after Democrats released their own report.
Ground Troops Possible Against ISIL, Top General Says Just last week, President Obama said once again that his reluctant return to military action in Iraq would not involve American ground forces. Today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Dempsey defended the President’s strategy of seeking partners in the fight against ISIL. Mark Thompson is national security and military correspondent for TIME magazine.
High-tech Guided Bullets Are Coming Collateral damage has plagued the Pentagon in many ways, creating the goal of “one shot, one kill.” Now it’s released a video that shows how a “dumb bullet” has been transformed into a guided missile. EXACTO is a Pentagon project that’s been highly classified for the past 6 years. Now, it’s being shown to the public. Mark Thompson covers the military and national security for TIME magazine. He first wrote about the EXACTO in 2009.
VA Secretary Shinseki Meets with Obama and Resigns President Obama today said he's accepted the resignation of former General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. At the White House, when asked by a reporter why he changed his mind just days after asserting full confidence in Shinseki, the President responded, "I think his belief that he would be a distraction from the task at hand, which is to make sure that what's broken gets fixed so that his fellow veterans are getting the services that they need." Mark Thompson is national security correspondent for Time magazine.
Shinseki Faces Tough Questions at VA Hearing Yesterday on this program, we heard charges that Veterans Administration officials were hiding evidence of delays in providing medical care — sometimes so long that veterans died while waiting to get appointments. Today, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, former General Eric Shinseki, faced a barrage of tough question from Senate Republicans and Democrats. Problems with the VA have been reported for years, and the recent reports of hidden records have led to calls for Shinseki's resignation. Today, he told Senators he was "mad as hell." They sounded madder. Mark Thompson covers the military for Time magazine.
Cheating Scandal Rocks Air Force Nuclear Missile Crews Thirty-four Air Force second-lieutenants and captains no longer have access to buttons that could launch 150 Minuteman III missiles. An investigation into illicit drug use revealed widespread cheating on a proficiency test. Mark Thompson is national security correspondent at Time magazine. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III speak about the investigation during a press briefing January 15, 2014. Photo: Scott M. Ash/US Air Force
US Makes Stealth Raid over Korea Well Known Two American B-2 stealth bombers were anything but stealthy today on a 13,000-mile round trip from their base in Missouri to South Korea and over the Yellow Sea, where they dropped dummy bombs on a target range. A military press release said, "It demonstrates the US ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will." Mark Thompson is Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time magazine.
US Marines Head to Australia to Balance China's Power In Australia today, President Obama announced that 250 US Marines will be stationed in that country, with plans to increase their number to 2500. The President said the rotations for joint training and exercises will "bring our militaries even closer and make them even more effective." Mark Thompson is Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time Magazine and a contributor to its Battleland blog.
End Is Near for Military Ban on Gays Under a law passed late last year by Congress, the repeal the 1993 law known as " Don't Ask, Don't Tell " will go into effect 60 days after the Defense Department and President agree that military readiness will not be harmed by doing so. The betting is that even as we speak, President Obama is about to accept the recommendation of Secretary Leon Panetta to officially end the ban on military service for openly gay men and women. Are there still obstacles to implementation in the field? Mark Thompson is national security correspondent for Time magazine and contributes to its " Battleland " blog. Note: Late Friday, the President signed a certification, ending DADT .
The Military and Civilian Challenges in Afghanistan As America's longest war completes its tenth year, President Obama has promised a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, starting next month. There is heated debate, not just on Capitol Hill but within the Administration, over how many troops should come home and how soon. Should America's "phased withdrawal" from Afghanistan begin next month with 3000 troops or 15,000? Is "counterinsurgency" counterproductive? We look at success, failure and possible change in the President's military and civilian strategies.
The Military and Civilian Challenges in Afghanistan As America's longest war completes its tenth year, President Obama has promised a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, starting next month. There is heated debate, not just on Capitol Hill but within the Administration , over how many troops should come home and how soon. The cost of keeping 100,000 troops in Afghanistan is $10 billion a month. Since the death of Osama bin Laden, 64 percent of Americans say it's not worth the money. At the same time, the $19 billion spent to prop up the civilian government may create ongoing dependency on the US as well as local corruption. Is General Petraeus' "counterinsurgency" strategy working or not? How many troops should begin the President's "phased withdrawal" next month? What are the political consequences of continuing America's longest war or ending it too soon?
Panetta Discusses Afghanistan, Defense Spending at Confirmation Hearing CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee today he'll be a "hands-on manager" if he's confirmed to replace Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Mark Thompson is Deputy White House Bureau Chief for Time magazine, covering national security.
Iranian Missile Tests and Russian Threats Iran today test-fired nine ballistic missiles, including a new version of the Shahab-3, which Iran says has the capacity to strike Tel Aviv. The tests were shown on government-run TV and a commander of the Revolutionary Guard said they were designed to "tell the world...that our finger is always on the trigger." We get perspective from Iran, Israel, Russia and the US.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?