A top advisor to President Obama received $100,000 in speaking fees in 2010 from a company doing business with Iran, the Washington Post reported earlier this week. David Plouffe, who also served as Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, accepted the payment from a firm tied to the Iranian government.

 American lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expressing serious concerns about a bid by the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China to purchase Canadian energy firm Nexen and its vast U.S. oil and natural gas holdings. The deal by the Chinese regime, acting through its state-owned front company China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), also represents a potential national security risk, warned Republican and Democrat members of Congress.

 According to reports out of Washington, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will attempt to stall the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee to fill the ambassador post to Pakistan. Reportedly, Paul will stall the process until Pakistan releases a Pakistani doctor who played a vital role in the manhunt that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Former Syrian “Prime Minister” Riad Hijab has reportedly defected to the opposition, dealing what analysts said was a symbolic blow to the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad in its ongoing battle against Western-backed rebels and Islamist forces. The dictatorship disputed those allegations, however, claiming that the ex-premier had actually been fired.


 

The Army colonel presiding over the trial of five men accused of participating in the attacks of September 11, 2001 has ruled that attorneys for a consortium of media and civil liberties organizations may argue for increased transparency in the proceedings.

 

 

The U.S. Air Force is training more drone “pilots” than those who will be at the controls of traditional aircraft, according to the Air Force chief of staff.

 

 

The United States' continued use of drones to kill suspected militants in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia is causing increased anti-U.S. sentiment in those countries. At a conference of top Pakistani and American officials in Aspen, Colorado, Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, criticized the Central Intelligence Agency’s drone warfare in Pakistan, describing it as having reached the point of “diminishing returns” and contributing to the growing anti-American sentiment in the country.

 Mitt Romney and possible running mate Marco Rubio disagree on a few points with regard to Syria, particularly in regard to arming the rebel forces, but both men believe America should look to the UN for cues on Syrian policy.

 Even as the United Nations and human rights groups warn that the Western-backed jihadist rebels are committing war crimes and slaughtering Christians in Syria, reports indicate that President Obama has signed a secret order purporting to authorize even more “covert” U.S. government support to the armed opposition. Multiple establishment press outlets reported the latest development, citing official sources indicating that the administration likely released the news deliberately.

Representative Edward Markey (D.-Mass.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on July 30 asking the U.S. government to block the proposed acquisition of Canadian oil company Nexen by CNOOC, China’s state-owned oil company. Because Nexen holds leases for oil drilling in U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico, which represent about 10 percent of the firm’s assets, the proposed Chinese-Canadian merger is subject to U.S. approval.

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