Shorter Question Everything
• DIA sending hundreds more spies overseas. The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, U.S. officials said. The project is aimed at transforming the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been dominated for the past decade by the demands of two wars, into a spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.
• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is receiving bids to build a five-story complex for the Israeli Air Force, or IAF, near Tel Aviv. The facility, mysteriously dubbed “site 911,” will be built under the auspices of the Foreign Military Sales program and is expected to cost the U.S. between $25 million and $100 million, according to a solicitation for bids posted on a U.S. government website. Only U.S. construction firms are able to bid on this contract, and the deadline for proposals is December 3, according to the notice. The notice, first reported on by The Washington Post, includes structural plans that show the first three underground floors are roughly 41,000 square feet and will include classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3 and shock-resistant doors throughout.
• Today, Rice’s sin in the eyes of Krauthammer and Fox News is that she relayed what the intelligence community told her about Benghazi. For that, she’s guilty of incompetence or being misleading, in the words of Krauthammer. But in 2005, Krauthammer stressed that Condoleezza Rice should not be held responsible for relaying what the intelligence community told her about Iraq because she didn’t generate it. It goes without saying that the sprawling Iraq War was a far more important, costly and deadly event than the “small firefight” that engulfed the Benghazi consulate, as national security writer Tom Rick’s described it. And it goes without saying that as national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice had a much more direct and influential role in initiaiting the Iraq War than United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice had responding to the terrorist attack in Libya.
• Internet and telephone services resumed in Damascus on Saturday after a three-day blackout, an AFP reporter and state news agency SANA said, as a watchdog said they were up in most parts of Syria. “Internet is back in Damascus and in parts of Damascus province,” the correspondent said, adding that mobile phone lines were also back up. State news agency SANA confirmed the reports, saying the outage had been due to maintenance.
• Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has announced a snap referendum on a new constitution that has already deepened divisions in a country still struggling to find its identity more than a year after it emerged from Hosni Mubarak’s rule. Morsi, who has triggered a fresh crisis in Egypt by assuming sweeping powers and pushing the constitution through an Islamist-dominated assembly, called the 15 December vote after tens of thousands of his loyalists rallied in support of the document.
• An Ontario Superior Court judge has struck down Toronto’s ban on shark fins. Justice James Spence said in a ruling Friday that a city bylaw banning shark fins and foods such as the Chinese dish shark fin soup fell beyond the city’s jurisdiction. Council overwhelmingly passed the bylaw last year after a heated debate which saw members of the Chinese community call the ban discriminatory.
• Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau called the long-gun registry “a failure” during an Ontario campaign stop in the Conservative riding of Glengarry–Prescott–Russell on Friday. “The long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and I’m not going to resuscitate that,” Trudeau said while visiting the DART Aerospace plant in Hawkesbury. “We will continue to look at ways of keeping our cities safe and making sure that we do address the concerns around domestic violence that happen right across the country, in rural as well as urban areas in which, unfortunately, guns do play a role. “But there are better ways of keeping us safe than that registry which is, has been removed,” Trudeau said.
• Enrique Peña Nieto takes office as Mexico’s president. Enrique Peña Nieto has formally taken office as Mexico’s new president with a vow to restore peace and security and tackle vested interests that have hindered economic prosperity. As several hundred protesters threw firebombs at police and smashed windows, Peña Nieto marked the return of the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) with a 13-point plan including populist handouts as well as reforms designed to boost the economy and modernise the education and justice systems.