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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

U.S. Conducts Raids on al Qaeda in Libya, Somalia - U.S. raids in Libya and Somalia that captured an Islamist wanted for bombing its Nairobi embassy 15 years ago show Washington's determination to hunt down al Qaeda leaders around the globe, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.

Libyan Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name Abu Anas al-Liby, was seized by U.S. forces in Tripoli on Saturday, the Pentagon said. A seaborne raid on the Somali port of Barawe, a stronghold of the al Shabaab movement behind last month's attack on a Kenyan mall, failed to take or kill its target.

"We hope this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror," Kerry said during a visit to Bali.

"Those members of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations literally can run but they can't hide," Kerry said. "We will continue to try to bring people to justice." has more here.


U.N. Inspectors Begin Destroying Syrian Chemical Weapon Stockpiles - International inspectors began destroying Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons and the machinery used to create it, a United Nations official said Sunday, racing under a tight deadline aiming to eliminate President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons program within nine months.

The move kicks off the ambitious program, prompted by a chemical weapons attack in mid-August that killed hundreds of civilians on the outskirts of Damascus and brought a rare consensus at the U.N. Under a Security Council resolution in September, the first stage is to destroy Syria’s capability to produce chemical weapons by Nov. 1.  The Washington Post has more here.


Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Campaign Finance Limits - The Supreme Court may be poised to demolish another set of campaign finance restrictions, as the justices weigh whether to strike down decades-old limits on campaign giving.

The case, known as McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, comes nearly four years after the High Court’s controversial Citizen’s United ruling, which helped bring in unlimited donations to outside groups.

Experts say the stakes could be even higher in the McCutcheon case, set for oral arguments on Tuesday.

At issue in the case are aggregate contribution limits – the maximum amount that a donor can give to federal candidates and political party committees throughout the course of a two-year election cycle.

Dubbed “Citizens United II” by watchdogs, they worry without the limits, donors’ influence will only grow. has more here.


Treasury Secretary Lew: "Raise the Debt Ceiling" - President Barack Obama will have "no option" to take on his own if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday, repeating the administration's long-held view.

"There is no option that prevents us from being in default if we don't have enough cash to pay our bills," Lew said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Pressed on whether Obama would try to use the 14th Amendment or other authorities to raise the debt ceiling, Lew suggested that the congressional route is the only option.

"The White House has spoken quite clearly to this," he said. "The president does not have the authority to take action in that kind of a way. The president consulted with his lawyers, and that's the conclusion that he's reached."

"You know, there is a desire here for there to be some kind of a magic solution," he said. "There is an easy solution ... A majority in Congress would do the right thing if given a chance to vote to open the government. A majority in Congress would do the right thing if given a chance to let us pay our bills. Congress needs to work, they need to do their job, but the majority needs to be given a chance." has more here.


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