Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
Yesterday, leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee agreed on a compromise version of the defense authorization legislation in an expedited effort to ensure the bill is passed this year [The Hill’s Jeremy Herb].
On Guantánamo, the bill maintains the prohibition on the transfer of detainees to the United States, but according to aides, will ease restrictions on transfers overseas. On combatting sexual assault, the bill includes significant reforms, such as stripping commanders of their ability to dismiss a finding by a court martial, establishing minimum sentencing guidelines, and adding victim protections in the pre-trial process. However, the bill does not include Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposed reforms to take sexual assault cases outside the military chain of command.
In Foreign Policy, Eliot Higgins responds to Seymour Hersh’s article, in which he claims that the White House deliberately “omitted important intelligence” and “presented assumptions as facts” when making the case that the al-Assad regime was responsible for August’s chemical weapons attack. In response, Higgins covers the “growing body” of open-source information and evidence, much of which comes from the Syrian military, and which “very strongly suggests that it was Assad’s cronies, not the rebels, who carried out the Aug. 21 attack.” [Check out Just Security’s Ryan Goodman’s post later this morning with his take on Hersh's story.]
The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu has warned that “there might be a few days’ delay” in meeting the deadline for removing Syria’s chemical weapons out of the country [Wall Street Journal’s Naftali Bendavid].… continue »