The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Short takes: HRC in Kenya, Holbrooke-Petraeus Pakistan powwow, Brennan speech

7 countries in 11 days. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Kenya at noon, kicking off her longest trip yet in the job: Kenya, South Africa, Angola, DRC, Nigeria, Liberia, Cape Verde: 21,200 miles. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the House Foreign Ops subcommittee, and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), chairman of the ...

7 countries in 11 days. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Kenya at noon, kicking off her longest trip yet in the job: Kenya, South Africa, Angola, DRC, Nigeria, Liberia, Cape Verde: 21,200 miles. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the House Foreign Ops subcommittee, and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, are accompanying Clinton on the trip.

7 countries in 11 days. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Kenya at noon, kicking off her longest trip yet in the job: Kenya, South Africa, Angola, DRC, Nigeria, Liberia, Cape Verde: 21,200 miles. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the House Foreign Ops subcommittee, and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, are accompanying Clinton on the trip.

Former President Bill Clinton arrived in North Korea on a private visit to try to gain the release of two American journalists. "While this solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans is on the ground, we will have no comment," White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement. "We do not want to jeopardize the success of former President Clinton’s mission." Politico‘s Mike Allen reports the exclusive back story to the Clinton trip: "North Korean officials told relatives that they would release the women to Clinton, and the family then approached the former president. The White House approved the mission. Secret preparations went on for week." The WSJ adds: "According to a report from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, North Korean radio stations late Tuesday reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il hosted a dinner for former President Bill Clinton. The White House said Mr. Clinton did not carry a message from  President Obama to Mr. Kim, contrary to North Korean state media reports."

Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus and Special Rep Richard Holbrooke hosted an 11 hour Pakistan policy discussion at Ft. McNair Monday. "Everyone who works Pakistan policy" from the under secretary/assistant secretary level was there, a source said. Holbrooke has a meeting scheduled this morning with Vice President Joseph Biden, who has expressed his opposition to sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

The Wall Street Journal reports that White House counsel Greg Craig‘s job is at stake. "Mr. Craig has come under criticism from inside the administration and in Congress for a perceived failure to manage the political issues that have originated from Mr. Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo, according to officials in the administration and in Congress. … One administration official involved in Guantanamo matters defended Mr. Craig, saying he has been responsive and helpful when consulted. One member of Congress who has worked with Mr. Craig on detainee issues, called Mr. Craig ‘a smart guy who understands Congress very well.’"

White House Counterterrorism advisor John Brennan is scheduled to give a counterterrorism speech at the Center for Strategic and International  Studies Thursday, The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder reports. "The speech will focus on the CT challenges facing the administration and the institutions the administration is building to contain them," he reports. "Aides say that Obama appreciates Brennan’s blunt-speaking manner and his direct experience with the controversial issues with which Obama has had to contend, including renditions, detention policies and interrogations." It will be Brennan’s first public address since Obama’s inauguration.

The Los Angeles Times reports: "Iranian authorities are questioning three American nationals who strayed across the border into Iran from Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region last week, Iranian state media reported today. The deputy governor of Iran’s Kordestan province, Iraj Hassanzadeh, told the Fars news agency that the three were still being held in the border town of Marivan, after being arrested Friday in the Malakh-Khor border area. … However, the State Department says it has still received no official confirmation from Iran that it is holding the Americans. … Kurdish officials have identified the three as Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, all University of California- Berkeley graduates. Bauer and Shourd are reportedly freelance journalists from the Bay area who left their homes last fall to embark on a year of travel and reporting in the Middle East. Fattal had been living in Cottage Grove, Ore., and was also traveling in the region, news reports said."

 

Laura Rozen writes The Cable daily at ForeignPolicy.com.

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