David Welna | KNKX

David Welna

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: And I'm David Welna in Washington. At first, President Trump's desire to parade the military through Washington did not strike former Marine Sergeant and Iraq veteran John Hoellwarth as the best use of the Pentagon's resources.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Trump has signed an executive order to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, open. It was a key campaign promise, and the president made this announcement during his State of the Union speech last night.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

On this day 16 years ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the American naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be used to hold captives from the war on terror. Rumsfeld described it...

A risky move by one of the defense teams has led to unusual drama in the seemingly-endless pre-trial proceedings of the 9/11 war crimes case.

Defense attorney Walter Ruiz decided to roll the dice and challenge the prosecution to prove that his client, alleged 9/11 money man Mustafa al Hawsawi, should be tried as a war criminal.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Republicans are taking the next step toward turning a tax bill into law.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Critics in the Senate have posed a high-stakes question: Can anything keep President Trump from launching a nuclear attack on his own?

"We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests," said Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy.

His Massachusetts colleague Ed Markey has offered legislation that would require congressional approval for any first use of nuclear weapons.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ELISE HU, HOST:

The steel-plated, modified Boeing 747 that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis travels the world on had flown west from suburban Washington, D.C., for 19 hours when it touched down Monday on an airstrip the U.S. once owned and operated.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In a bucolic valley nestled in Romania's Carpathian mountains, herds of sheep graze the hillsides. Then, suddenly, all hell breaks loose.

Volleys of live artillery fire thunder across a wide hollow. Stryker fighting vehicles charge down a hillside as troops in camouflage brandish automatic rifles as they scramble through tall grasses.

Other than vodka, the Russian product most familiar to Americans is probably the anti-virus software made by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab.

Trash-tweeting the news media for the fifteenth time in a week, President Trump spent part of Sunday morning at his Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey maligning CNN.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Russia has deployed new nuclear missiles and violated the "spirit and intent" of a landmark Cold War arms-reduction treaty, a top Pentagon commander says.

Now President Trump and leaders in Washington must decide what to do about it.

If President Trump wants to keep his promise to send new detainees to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, there's plenty of room.

"We haven't received any orders to take additional detainees in," says Navy Capt. John Filostrat. "But if given the order, we could go ahead and comply."

Among the many things President Obama will be handing off to his successor this week: stubborn wars in three separate countries.

Obama came to office eight years ago vowing to end U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet President-elect Trump stands to inherit the nation's longest war ever in Afghanistan, as well as renewed fighting in Iraq that has spread to Syria.

After nearly an hour's flight north from Baghdad, a cavernous C-130 military cargo plane touches down. Aboard are reporters, Pentagon officials and the man who has occasioned this trip, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

The plane taxis along an airstrip that as recently as July was controlled — and then largely destroyed — by Islamic State fighters.

This is the Qayyarah Airfield West, just 30 miles south of Mosul.

Congress had a full seven months to block a rule change for federal courts that lets judges authorize the hacking of digital devices well beyond their districts.

But after a September attempt in the Senate to vote on the measure failed, opponents on Capitol Hill waited until the day before the rule change was to take effect to introduce three motions aimed at shooting it down or at least delaying its implementation.

Among the many unknowns hanging over this presidential transition: the fate of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama has sworn to close it; President-elect Trump wants to fill it up again.

Obama has been promising the closure will happen since his second day in office in 2009. In February, he repeated that pledge one more time, saying, "I'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo."

That same day, at a campaign rally in Sparks, Nevada, Donald Trump was promising the opposite.

The U.S. and Russia are the world's two mightiest nuclear powers, and yet over the years, they've made deals to reduce their respective arsenals.

Just like a marriage gone bad, though, things have soured between Washington and Moscow. Bickering over nuclear issues has increased markedly in recent months, with each side accusing the other of cheating.

And that war of words is being matched by actions:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

The war over government access to encryption is moving to the battlefield on which Apple told the Justice Department it should always have taken place: Capitol Hill.

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have introduced a bill that would mandate those receiving a court order in an encryption case to provide "intelligible information or data" or the "technical means to get it" — in other words, a key to unlock secured data.

More than 50 world leaders are attending a nuclear security summit in Washington this week. But Vladimir Putin is a no-show. And, as if on cue, North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Friday.

These biannual nuclear summits, aimed at locking down fissile material worldwide that could be used for doomsday weapons, were proposed by President Obama back in 2009, barely two months into his presidency.

"We must insure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon," he declared, calling such a scenario "the most immediate and extreme threat to global security."

As national security has come to dominate the 2016 presidential race, the GOP contenders in particular are being pushed to define where they stand on a contentious matter: how suspected terrorists should be interrogated. Specifically, they've been asked about the currently banned use of waterboarding — a simulated drowning technique the CIA used on at least three alleged terrorists.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so a big debate here over whether this committee is just after Hillary Clinton or asking serious and probing questions about a tragic event. Last week, Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo, who's on the committee, told us it is the latter.

Obama's plan to leave 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of his term means he won't fulfill a promise to remove all American forces from that war zone. While he added the disclaimer, "I do not support the idea of endless war," he also said he's not disappointed.

The only American military installation abroad that's unwelcome to its host government is the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A treaty signed in 1934 leases Guantanamo to the United States in perpetuity, for about $4,000 a year. And the U.S. has no plans to leave, despite the two countries having just restored diplomatic ties.

Pages