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President Reagan spoke of its significance by saying: "One thing is certain. If we're to continue
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Kerry, Moniz Return to Capitol Hill to Push Iran Deal

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz go before a Congressional committee again Tuesday as they continue their efforts to get support from skeptical lawmakers reviewing the international nuclear deal with Iran.

Congress has about seven weeks left in its 60-day window to look over the agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from damaging economic sanctions.  The United Nations Security Council approved the terms last week, setting off a timetable that could see sanctions lifted by the end of the year.

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US House Benghazi Panel Says State Dept. to Hand Over Documents

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

The U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the 2012 attacks on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, said the State Department has pledged to hand over 5,000 new pages of documents related to the incident on Tuesday.

"The State Department has informed the Committee it will make a production of approximately 5,000 pages tomorrow - the second largest production the Committee has received and the largest since last summer," Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, the committee's chairman, said in a statement on Monday.

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NSA to Soon Stop Examining Phone Records

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

The Obama administration has decided that the National Security Agency will soon stop examining, and will ultimately destroy, millions of Americans' calling records it collected under a controversial program leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.
 
When Congress passed a law in June ending the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' calling records after a six-month transition, officials said they weren't sure whether they would continue to make use of the records that had already been collected, which generally go back five years. Typically, intelligence agencies are extremely reluctant to part with data they consider lawfully obtained. The program began shortly after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, but most of the records are purged every five years.

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China Conducts Air, Sea Drills in S. China Sea

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

China said it conducted air and sea drills in the South China Sea on Tuesday as it stakes an increasingly assertive claim to virtually the whole sea despite rival claims by neighbors.

The live-ammunition drills involved more than 100 ships, dozens of aircraft, information warfare units as well as the nuclear force, the state-backed China Military Online said in a report posted on the Defense Ministry's website. It did not specify where exactly the exercises took place.

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and rejects the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

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Turkish Jets Target Islamic State Sites in Syria

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

Turkey said it has carried out airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, in a significant escalation of its involvement in the battle against the extremist group.

Three F-16s took off from Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey early Friday and struck targets across the Turkish border province of Kilis, according to the prime minister's office.

The statement said the jets dropped four guided bombs on a pair of Islamic State headquarters and a meeting point before returning safely to their base.

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US Lawmakers Seek to Change Cuba Travel, Shipping Rules

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

 A U.S. Senate committee on Thursday approved amendments that would end restrictions on Americans' travel to Cuba and ease some trading barriers, advancing efforts to implement President Barack Obama's rapprochement with the communist island.

The Appropriations Committee voted with bipartisan support for a measure that would ease travel limits, making it the first legislation to pass any congressional committee to facilitate the drive to normalize relations.

The committee also passed other amendments to the Senate Financial Services appropriations bill to allow private financing for U.S. agricultural sales and lift restrictions on ships that operate in Cuban ports.

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US Lawmakers, Obama Officials Spar on Iran Nuclear Deal

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

Secretary of State John Kerry sparred with members of a Senate committee during the first public hearing on the controversial deal to lift economic and other sanctions against Iran in exchange for it scaling back its nuclear program.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew joined Kerry Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Republican, started off the often contentious hearing by telling Kerry “you’ve been fleeced” by the Iranians regarding the nuclear deal. Later, he amended his comment to "we've been fleeced," without further clarification.

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