TIME Congress

Partisan Lines Drawn in Congress Over Immigration

John Boehner Holds Media Briefing At The Capitol
Speaker of the House John Boehner takes questions during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Jan. 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer—Getty Images

Republicans prepare to sue the President, while Democrats join together against protest bill.

The deep divisions over illegal immigration were laid bare on Tuesday, as the House GOP discussed how to sue the President over his recent executive actions and Senate Democrats joined together to pressure the new Republican leadership to back down from controversial provisions in a must-pass spending bill next month.

Republicans have struggled to coalesce around a strategy opposing Obama’s November decision to temporarily defer deportations and provide work permits to up to five million people who entered the country illegally. Republicans led the effort to pass a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security—which enacted the President’s immigration actions—to increase their leverage with the new Republicans Senate.

But after every Senate Democrat signed a letter on Tuesday calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a DHS bill for the remainder of the fiscal year without the House package’s immigration provisions—including one that would defund Obama’s 2012 program granting deportation relief to young adults who came to the country illegally as children—it’s clear Senate Republicans won’t be able to pass the House’s dream bill. Republicans only control 54 seats in the Senate; they need 60 to pass the bill and 67 to overcome a White House veto. Congress needs to pass a spending bill by February 27 or “nonessential” parts of the agency will shut down.

“The message we are sending today is clear: we should not play politics with critical homeland security resources that keep our country safe,” said New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, who helped orchestrate the Democratic letter. “Protecting our homeland from threats is one of our most important responsibilities here in Congress, and I hope Republicans will put aside partisanship to live up to this responsibility.”

After rejecting the Senate’s bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, House Republicans said that will consider the issue in a step-by-step approach, starting with border security. But the House GOP leadership pulled its recent bill—led by chief sponsor and Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, who has branded it the “toughest” ever—on Monday due to the blizzard. While there was talk of attaching the bill to the DHS funding package, the bill’s status is now up in the air as conservatives claim credit for sidetracking it. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has said that the bill, which would set new penalties unless the agency prevents all illegal U.S. southern border crossings in five years, is “extreme to the point of being unworkable,” while the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects that the agency would be unable to meet the bill’s deadline requirements for “nearly all construction projects.”

Another option Republicans are considering is to sue the Administration over the President’s immigration executive actions. House Speaker John Boehner reportedly told colleagues on Tuesday that the leadership is “finalizing” plans to authorize litigation, but that effort will be time-intensive, potentially expensive, unlikely to address some conservatives’ concerns and could very well not hold up in court. Republicans on the Hill are not alone, however, as 26 states are protesting Obama’s executive actions through a lawsuit.

Last year before Obama announced his executive actions on immigration, Boehner warned Obama that he would “burn himself” if he proceeded. He has since decried the actions as unlawful and unconstitutional. But from here on, he may be left to speeches. After the Senate Democrats’ letter Tuesday, it’s as clear as it has ever been that Republicans have few good options to overturn what they believe is a massive executive overreach.

TIME 2016 Election

The Secret Meanings Behind the Names of Presidential Super PACs

Conservative Activists And Leaders Attend The Iowa Freedom Summit
Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, waves to the crowd during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015. Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Long before the campaign buttons and bumper stickers, today’s presidential candidates must create an outside fundraising committee. And while they aren’t always in total control of these groups, the names can be secret decoder rings that explain the central themes of the campaigns they are preparing.

Here’s a look at the names of five groups backing 2016 candidates and what they might signal.

Right to Rise

What is it? A leadership PAC and a separate super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida

Where does the name come from? The “right to rise” was coined by a historian to describe President Lincoln’s views on economic opportunity. After Rep. Paul Ryan used the phrase, Bush wrote a guest editorial about it in the Wall Street Journal in 2011.

What’s it mean? The name is a sign that Bush intends to focus on pocketbook issues for the middle class, which has been stuck with stagnant wages for more than a decade. The fact he embraced the term was also a key tipoff that Ryan was not going to run.

Our American Revival

What is it? A tax-exempt 527 organization

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Where does the name come from? Walker used the phrase “our American revival” in a recent statement critiquing President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

What’s it mean? The term “revival” has religious undertones that Walker, a preacher’s kid, surely recognizes. It’s also a sign he intends to run as a bold, populist counterpoint to Obama’s tenure in Washington.

Leadership Matters for America

What is it? A political action committee

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey

Where does the name come from? Christie used the phrase “leadership matters” during his 2012 keynote speech at the Republican presidential convention for Mitt Romney.

What’s it mean? Christie is running on his own personality and leadership style. He intends to highlight his time as governor as well as his brash and sometimes confrontational style to contrast himself with Obama and his Republican opponents.

Stand for Principle

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

Where does the name come from? In a 2014 speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Cruz argued that Republicans need to “stand for principle” in order to win elections.

What’s it mean? Cruz intends to run as the conservative choice among the Republican field, with an orthodoxy at the center of his message that will contrast him against past nominees such as Mitt Romney and John McCain, not to mention current contenders like Christie and Bush.

Ready for Hillary

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Where does the name come from? The super PAC was formed by Clinton supporters to build lists of grassroots supporters and recruit major donors before she announced a campaign.

What’s it mean? The name doesn’t portend much about Clinton’s campaign, since she didn’t choose it, at least not personally. But it does take on a central theme of the emerging Clinton juggernaut—the notion that America is now “ready” for a female president and that it’s Clinton’s turn after her 2008 primary loss.

TIME

This Is How Far Barack Obama Has Traveled Around the World

President Obama’s meeting in Saudi Arabia Tuesday with its new king marks his 84th visit to a foreign country as president, including repeat visits. By TIME’s estimation, he has now accumulated over 447,000 frequent flyer miles in international travel since January 2009, including flights returning to the United States.

Follow each of those trips below with the arrow buttons and watch those totals accumulate. You can skip to the end by using the left arrow from the first slide.

Methodology

Total miles are calculated as the round-trip distance between Washington, D.C. and a given location. Since the figures don’t account for routes and intermediate stops for refueling, the actual figure is likely to be higher. For trips that include multiple stops, the calculation only factors in the flight from Washington for the first and last leg.

TIME White House

Man Who Crashed Drone at White House Had Reportedly Been Drinking

US-WHITE HOUSE-SECURITY-DRONE
The south side of the White House is seen January 26, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Turned himself in after seeing news reports about the crash

The pilot of a small unmanned drone that crashed on the White House lawn early Monday had been drinking before the incident took place, law enforcement officials told the New York Times.

The still-unidentified government employee turned himself in to authorities after seeing news reports about the crash, which triggered a lockdown at the White House and nearby government buildings.

The Times reported the man had a feeling the drone might have touched down on the White House grounds, but he went home to sleep regardless.

While this particular remote-controlled aircraft posed little risk to the President or others, the event caused concern that similar drones could represent a national security threat.

President Obama himself used the incident to call for a new regulatory framework around small unmanned aircraft. Some Federal Aviation Administration rules apply to small, hobbyist-piloted drones, but the agency lacks an effective enforcement mechanism to punish offenders, largely leaving local law enforcement to sanction pilots who put the public’s safety at risk.

Judging by a Secret Service photo released Monday, the drone was a DJI Phantom, which are about two pounds and just over a foot across and retail for $479 and up:

United States Secret Service

Many Phantom models are capable of carrying a video camera, but it wasn’t clear from the image if the unit in question was equipped with one.

[NYT]

 

TIME 2016 Election

8 Long-Shot Republicans Who Are Running for President

There’s been some debate recently over which 2016 candidates belong in the top tier of the primaries. There are the obvious national names: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie. And there’s a group of candidates who are genuinely in contention: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul.

However you slice it, though, there’s another group of GOP candidates entirely. That third tier of candidates: the wild card, long-shot, soon-to-be also-rans who gamely give it their best shot and sometimes pull off an upset, or at least work their way into a better job. (Howard Dean may have not made it to the White House, but he did end up as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.)

Here’s a closer look at eight long shot Republican candidates for president.

John Bolton
Ambassador John Bolton speaks during Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority event in Washington on June 19, 2014. Molly Riley—AP

John Bolton

Who is he: Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Signs he’s running: He went to the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, his PAC and Super PAC have been ramping up activity, and last year he spent more than $10,000 on Twitter ads.

Why he’s a long shot: He also considered a bid in 2012, but decided against it. He’s never won elected office, and his focus is almost entirely on foreign policy, rarely a winning subject.

Bob Ehrlich
Bob Ehrlich speaks during a rally in Clarksburg, Md., Oct. 24, 2010. Jose Luis Magana—AP

Bob Ehrlich

Who is he: Former governor of Maryland

Signs he’s running: He’s met with donors to discuss financing a campaign, he’s talking about setting up a leadership PAC and he’s going to make his fourth visit to new Hampshire next month.

Why he’s a long shot: Ehlrich has lost the last two elections he’s run in – Democrat Martin O’Malley ousted him from the governorship and then beat him again the next election cycle- and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush already have the blue-state governor spot filled up.

George Pataki
Former New York Gov. George Pataki speaks during the dedication ceremony in Foundation Hall at the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero in New York City on May 15, 2014. Richard Drew—Pool/Getty Images

George Pataki

Who is he: Former governor of New York

What are the signs he’s running: He said he’s considering a run, and he visited early primary states South Carolina and New Hampshire in 2014.

Why he’s a long shot: He openly considered bids in 2008 and 2012 and decided against it both times. If he were to run for 2016, he would likely struggle to win over the conservative base with his moderate views on abortion.

Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Lindsey Graham speaks at a press conference in Washington on January 13, 2015. Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Lindsey Graham

Who is he: Senator from South Carolina

Signs he’s running: He filed with the IRS to create a “testing the waters” committee. John McCain, who serves with Graham on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, has been vocal about urging Graham to run.

Why he’s a long shot: He angered the Tea Party wing of the GOP with his support for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and his willingness to work with Obama and Democrats in Congress.

Rick Scott
Florida Governor Rick Scott applauds during his speech after the swearing in for his second term as governor of Florida at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. on Jan. 6, 2015. Mark Wallheiser—AP

Rick Scott

Who is he: Governor of Florida

Signs he’s running: Scott himself has been largely quiet about a run, but some Republican party leaders and other Florida “insiders” have said he has eyes on the Oval Office.

Why he’s a long shot: He’s a divisive figure and has never gotten more than 50% of the vote in Florida, and he’s mostly a stranger to the national stage. Also, he ran a firm that had to pay the largest fine in U.S. history for Medicare fraud.

Mike Pence
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence gives a speech in Indianapolis on Jan. 27, 2015. Michael Conroy—AP

Mike Pence

Who is he: Governor of Indiana

Signs he’s running: He went to Israel in December and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an unusual move for a governor to make. He’s also being backed by the Koch Brothers.

Why he’s a long shot: He doesn’t have nearly as deep a fundraising base or organization as other candidates.

Rick Snyder
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his State of the State address in Lansig, Mich. on Jan. 20, 2015. Al Goldis—AP

Rick Snyder

Who is he: Governor of Michigan

Signs he’s running: He’s planned a bold travel schedule for 2015, ostensibly to talk about Detroit’s resurgence but also most likely to tout his accomplishments on the national stage.

Why he’s a long shot: He may be too moderate for the more conservative wings of the base (he doesn’t have a strong record on social issues), and he lacks a solid campaign infrastructure.

Tennessee U.S. Senator Corker
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker speaks to the Chattanooga Times Free Press staff in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Aug. 20, 2014. Doug Strickland—AP

Bob Corker

Who is he: Senator from Tennessee

What are the signs he’s running: He’s been dropping hints, saying things like, “”Every senator has probably thought about it.”

Why he’s a long shot: He’s built his image in the Senate around deal-making, and the more hardcore Republican base won’t like his willingness to compromise with Democrats.

 

TIME Congress

Top Democratic Iran Hawk Gives Obama Breathing Room on Talks

US-POLITICS-CONGRESS-HOMELAND SECURITY-JOHNSON
US Senator Robert Menendez speaks at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Nov. 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. Mandel NGan—AFP/Getty Images

A top Democrat and Iran hawk has pledged to not support for a few months an Iran sanctions bill, granting the Administration breathing room as the new Republican Congress looks to pass legislation curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

“Many of my Democratic colleagues and I have sent a letter to the president telling him that we will not support passage of the Kirk-Menendez bill on the Senate floor until after March 24 and only if there is no political framework agreement,” said Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, citing his Republican co-sponsor, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, in a Senate panel hearing. The letter, obtained by Politico, is signed by Democratic supporters of the Kirk sanctions bill, which the letter calls “reasonable and pragmatic.”

The move will end whatever dreams Republicans had of reaching a veto-proof majority for the bill in the near-term and allow the Administration to negotiate as it wants—with less congressional input.

Menendez added that he is “deeply skeptical” that Iran is committed to make the “concessions” necessary to prove to the world that it’s nuclear program is “exclusively peaceful,” but remains “hopeful” that negotiations will work. He said that the Administration has been talking for 18 months yet it still places the odds of a deal below 50-50. Last year the Administration extended talks through June 2015 with the goal of having the major elements of the deal completed by March 24 and its entirety by June 30. A Kirk-Menendez bill wouldn’t go into effect until after the June deadline.

Tony Blinken, the Department of State Deputy Secretary, welcomed the move by Menendez and echoed President Obama, who said in his State of the Union that he would veto new sanction legislation passed by Congress, as it would “all but guarantee that diplomacy fails.”

“I think it recognizes that our negotiators could use the time and space effectively,” he said. “I think the commitment to do that is something that we would see very favorably and would answer a big part of the problem that we had with the idea of legislation—even trigger legislation—being passed now before the end of March.”

The Iran issue is one of many that the Administration and new Republican Congress will fight over this year. The Senate Banking Committee has pledged to have votes on the Kirk-Menendez legislation this week and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has drafted another proposal that would grant Congress an up-or-down vote on whatever deal the White House reaches with Tehran.

TIME Drones

Obama Calls for Drone Regulation After White House Crash

The FAA is currently drafting drone rules

President Barack Obama has used the crash-landing of a drone at the White House Monday as an opportunity to reemphasize the importance of regulating unmanned aircraft.

In an interview with CNN, Obama said the remote-controlled quadcopter that caused a brief security scare on Monday was the kind “you buy in Radio Shack,” calling for a regulatory framework for drones that will “get the good and minimize the bad.”

“There are incredibly useful functions that these drones can play in terms of farmers who are managing crops and conservationists who want to take stock of wildlife,” Obama said. “But we don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it.”

Drones are currently restricted from most airspace, except at low heights and at designated testing sites. The capital has stricter regulations than most on flying unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently drafting regulations that will allow for wider use of the devices. However, the process has been fraught with delays.

[CNN]

TIME

Morning Must Reads: January 27

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Blizzard Skirts New York City

Up to four inches of snow an hour fell in parts of the Northeast early Tuesday as tens of millions of people hunkered down for a historic blizzard that shut down travel – but New York City and Philadelphia escaped the worst of the weather

Taiwan Targets Kids’ Screen Time

Taiwanese parents are now legally obligated to monitor their children’s screen time, in light of a new law allowing the government to impose fines

FBI Nabs Alleged Russian Spy

The FBI on Monday arrested an alleged Russian spy in NYC accused of conducting economic espionage — and his ‘spymasters’ may be to blame

Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes After Race Row

Benedict Cumberbatch apologized Monday after talking about ‘colored actors’ on a U.S. talk show, ironically during a discussion on the lack of diversity in British acting. The Sherlock star said he’s “devastated to have caused offense”

Obama Pledges $4 Billion of Investment in India

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged $4 billion in investment and loans to India on Monday, soon after attending the South Asian nation’s 66th annual Republic Day celebrations as the guest of honor earlier in the afternoon

‘I’d Probably Do It Again,’ Says Lance Armstrong of Doping

Lance Armstrong claims he would never dope today. But if he had to go back in time, the 43-year-old cyclist who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles would probably do it all over again. “People don’t like to hear that. That’s the honest answer,” he said

The U.S. Is Exonerating More People Than Ever

The U.S. exonerated a record number of people in 2014, according to a new report, continuing a steady increase over the last decade as cultural shifts have made some law enforcement agencies more willing to re-examine long-closed criminal cases

Emma Watson to Play Belle in Beauty and the Beast

The Harry Potter actress’ latest role will be another bookish heroine — Belle in Disney’s new live-action adaptation of the classic fairy tale. “Time to start some singing lessons,” the actress posted on her Facebook page

2 Officers Injured in Minnesota Shooting

A man opened fire on two police officers after a swearing-in ceremony at New Hope city hall in Minnesota on Monday. The shooter, who has not yet been named, was fatally shot after exchanging fire with other officers at the scene

Tomas Berdych Stuns Rafael Nadal in Australian Open

Tomas Berdych ended his 17-match losing streak to Rafael Nadal, stunning the Spaniard to advance to the Australian Open semifinals. Berdych played an impossibly clean match to upend Nadal, who was seeking to advance to his fifth tournament semifinal

Fighting Intensifies in Ukraine

Clashes continued to escalate in Ukraine on Monday after a weekend of fierce fighting and shelling in the country’s southeast rendered a five-month-old peace accord all but dead. Russian President Vladimir Putin blames a “NATO foreign legion” for the war

Former Hollywood Exec Accuses Bill Cosby of Sexual Assault

Cindra Ladd, a former entertainment executive, is the latest woman to publicly accuse the 77-year-old comedian of sexual assault. Ladd kept silent about the incident for 36 years, and says she has no plans to sue or discuss the matter any further

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TIME Justice Department

Sloppy Russian ‘Spymasters’ Burn a Deep Cover Operative in New York

Busted in the Bronx, he faces 20 years in prison.

Monday was a bad day for Evgeny “Zhenya” Buryakov, the alleged spy arrested in the Bronx for his role as a deep cover case officer in a Russian ring targeting female university students, business consultants and the operations of the bank at which Buryakov worked. But it was an even worse day for his alleged spymasters, two Russian officials operating under diplomatic immunity who come across as sloppy, bureaucratic buffoons in the Justice department complaint detailing the alleged conspiracy.

Buryakov nominally faces up to 20 years in prison on two charges of acting as a foreign agent. But practically speaking he will only have to cool his heels in a U.S. jail for a few weeks or months until officials in Moscow find a suitable American operative to arrest and trade for him. Thereafter, he’ll likely return to Moscow, and given what appears to be fairly entrepreneurial work as a deep cover agent in New York, he can probably expect to thrive in the public or private sector there.

His two bosses, on the other hand, broke basic tradecraft rules and exposed Buryakov’s work, as well as other intelligence efforts by the Russian espionage services, according to the complaint. Both have already left the U.S. for other assignments. And while the days of banishment to Siberia for failed spy-handlers are long gone, the two at least face a grim professional future of pushing paper in the bowels of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service in Moscow.

Buryakov was a particularly valuable asset known as a “NOC,” operating under “non-official cover,” according to the complaint. A regular employee of a bank in New York, with no diplomatic immunity, he was able to gain valuable economic intelligence that a Russian government official—even one pretending to be a normal diplomat not a spy—wouldn’t have easy access to, according to the complaint. Placing and maintaining NOC’s is one of the more challenging aspects of running spies in a foreign country.

But Igor Sporyshev, a Russian Trade Representative in New York, and Victor Podobnyy, an attaché to the Russian United Nations mission, managed to expose Buryakov by calling him on an open phone line and by using his true name in a conversation in the New York offices of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Services (SVR) which were apparently being bugged by the FBI’s counterintelligence division.

Even before they outed their deep cover man, the two come across as buffoons in the complaint. In April 2013, the Justice department recounts, Podobnyy tells Sporyshev how disappointed he is at how boring the life a spy runner is, contrasting his life with a James Bond movie. Sporyshev responds that he always “thought that at least I would go abroad with a different passport,” according to the complaint.

The two men also discussed their attempts to recruit young women from a financial consulting firm and from a major university in New York, which a Justice Department official identifies as New York University. Sporyshev blusters that “in order to be close you either need to —k them or use other levers to influence them to execute my requests. So when you tell me about girls, in my experience, it’s very rare that something workable will come of it,” according to the complaint.

But it is in the exposure of the NOC Buryakov that Sporyshev and Podobnyy really shine. First, in May 2013, Sporyshev calls up Buryakov over a phone that was being monitored by the FBI and announces that he needs his help. Sporyshev says a Russian news organization acting on behest of the SVR wants to know what questions to ask a source about the New York Stock Exchange, the complaint claims. Sporyshev says he needs the questions in 15 minutes.

Twenty minutes later, according to the complaint, Buryakov calls back and tells Sporyshev the news organization should ask about how Exchange Traded Funds could be “mechanisms of use for destabilization of markets” (Buryakov has to correct Sporyshev who thinks he says “stabilization”). Buryakov also points Sporyshev towards the issue of automated trading robots, and says he could also ask about the interest of NYSE participants in products tied to the Russia.

Buryakov later shows himself to be entrepreneurial in his efforts. In November 2012 and March 2013, he attended conferences in a foreign country for the bank he worked for, and gathered intelligence about a potential airplane deal that could benefit Russia, the Justice department alleges. The deal was potentially a good one for Russia as it would bring jobs and technology, but unions in the company’s home country were resisting, the complaint says.

Buryakov drafted and submitted to Sporyshev and Pobodnyy a proposal recommending that the SVR’s “Active Measures Directorate” take steps “towards pressuring the unions and securing from the company a solution that is beneficial to us,” according a recording the FBI made of a conversation between the two spy-runners in the SVR offices in late May 2013.

Having a deep cover operative who is capable of getting inside a potential trade deal and is clever enough to see how it might be positively influenced is, despite what movie watchers like Sporyshev and Pobodnyy might think, an unusually fortunate set of circumstances for a spy service. But the bureaucratic Pobodnyy hesitates, according to the complaint, because the action is taking place in the country Buryakov visited for the conference:

VP: It’s strange to offer a [Country-2] proposal from New York.

IS: Why?

VP: It’s considered bad taste. What the —k? Can’t [Country-2] sort this out?

Ultimately, Buryakov’s aggressiveness tripped him up. In the summer of 2014, the complaint alleges, Buryakov met a wealthy investor looking to develop casinos in Russia and willing to trade U.S. Treasury documents he’d obtained from a friend in exchange for help setting up a deal—a plot-line worthy of “American Hustle.” The investor was in fact an undercover FBI agent.

But if Buryakov was naïve, his handlers didn’t do much to protect him. Sporyshev said it sounded like “some sort of a set up. Trap of some sort.” But rather than warning Buryakov off, Sporyshev told him to go ahead and meet an associate of the “investor”: “You will look and decide for yourself.” Later in the summer, Buryakov allegedly received documents purporting to be from the U.S. Treasury regarding sanctions against Russia and passed them along to Sporyshev at a clandestine meeting.

Acting as a foreign agent without registering with the Justice department is a crime in the U.S., as is receiving coded documents and passing them along. And now Buryakov is under arrest.

TIME Military

Why the Pentagon Is Honoring the Late Saudi King

CJCS visits Saudi Arabia
Then-Crown Prince—and now king—Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud meets Dempsey in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last June. DoD photo / D. Myles Cullen

What an essay contest reveals about Washington's relationship with Riyadh

You can get whiplash inside the Pentagon. The last time the Defense Department achieved notoriety as a platform for views on Saudi Arabia was in 2002, between the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s when a Rand Corp. analyst told a high-level panel behind closed doors that the kingdom was “active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader.” Washington, he said, should declare the Saudis the enemy and threaten to take over the oil wells if they didn’t do more to combat Islamist terrorists (the briefing was 10 months after the 9/11 attacks, in which 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudi).

The Pentagon quickly distanced itself from Laurent Murawiec’s presentation to the Defense Policy Board. Secretary of State Colin Powell called the Saudi Foreign Minister to apologize. Murawiec, who made the presentation on his own time, resigned from Rand several weeks later.

On Monday, the top U.S. military leader, Army General Martin Dempsey, announced the Pentagon would be conducting a “research and essay competition” to honor Saudi King Abdullah, who died Jan. 23 at 90, as “a man of remarkable character and courage.”

Critics pounced.

“I wonder if Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who has been sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for postings critical of Islam and the House of Saud is eligible to enter?” one posted on Dempsey’s Facebook page. “That’s an essay that might be worth reading.”

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died at age 90
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz in Cairo, Egypt, last June. Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Foreign-policy experts questioned Abdullah’s reputation as a King who pushed for change in Saudi society. “There were persistent stories alleging that Abdullah was a reformer, but no one could ever articulate for me what he actually stood for and wanted. It seemed to me that he wanted what everyone in the Saudi royal family wants — stability and business as usual,” Steven A. Cook, an Arab expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote Monday. “There is no denying that the Saudis under Abdullah had an extremism problem about which they were apparently in abject denial until terrorists started targeting them in 2003. More recently, Abdullah oversaw the beheading of eighty-seven individuals in 2014, mostly poor guest workers that no one cares about. So far this year, which is only twenty-six days old, Saudi executioners have separated ten more people from their heads.”

And you don’t have to rely on ivory-tower scholars. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a secret 2009 memo that Saudi Arabia is an ATM for terrorism. “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” she wrote, adding that the King and his government had been reluctant to shut down such cash pipelines.

This is the challenge of the 21st century world. With the end of the Cold War, forces have been unleashed that have toppled dictators along an arc of crisis from Libya to Egypt to Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s monarchy is the key to U.S. policy in the region, and it, too, is a non-democracy that hardly squares with U.S. ideals.

The U.S.-Saudi relationship boils down to quid-pro-petroleum: We need their oil, and they need U.S. military protection. The Saudi military’s F-15 fighters, AWACS aircraft, Patriot missiles, M-1 tanks, Bradley fighting Vehicles and AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships are all U.S.-built and maintained. Absent continued U.S. support — spare parts, upgrades, software — for such an arsenal, Saudi Arabia would find itself defenseless in a matter of months. Shi’ite Iran’s growing clout in the region, just across the Persian Gulf from the kingdom, unnerves the Sunni Saudis.

Dempsey was stationed in Riyadh, a month after earning his first star as a brigadier general, when Murawiec gave his infamous Pentagon briefing. He was overseeing 350 U.S. troops and civilians, and more than 1,000 contractors, as chief of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program. The commander of the Saudi Arabia National Guard: none other than Abdullah, who would become King two years after Dempsey left Saudi Arabia.

“In my job to train and advise his military forces, and in our relationship since, I found the King to be a man of remarkable character and courage,” Dempsey posted on his Facebook page Friday. “He will be truly missed and his loss will be felt by his country and ours.”

But don’t confuse the Saudi Arabia National Guard run by the future King, and trained by Dempsey, with the U.S. military’s National Guard.

“Saudi Arabia really has two different armies,” the senior U.S. enlisted man assigned to SANG from 2006 to 2008 wrote in 2009. Then-U.S. Army Sergeant Major James E. Wafe Jr. added:

The Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) is not like the U.S. National Guard. It is a tribal force forged out of those tribal elements loyal to the Saudi family. The SANG’s mission is to protect the royal family from internal rebellion and the other Saudi army should the need arise.”

That other, “official” army’s rule, Wafe continued, is “to protect the country from external threats, and to serve as a balance against SANG, should the royal family decide to eliminate some clan hostile to the King’s rule.”

Plainly, Dempsey and his troops had their hands full training the Saudi national guard, and balancing its capabilities against those of the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

Wafe wrote of the challenges associated with training SANG’s non-commissioned officers — the sergeants and others that are the backbone of the U.S. military — to fight:

The Western Region really wanted their NCOs to be as strong as our NCO Corp, but the lack of knowledge made them not confident in them and also they thought they couldn’t be taught. We had sergeants that held the same rank and position for years, such as a LAV (Light Armor Vehicle) driver. A lot of times, they made the NCOs serve tea and coffee for the generals. We knew we couldn’t teach the NCOs everything, because of time restraints, so we mainly focused on the basic skills to protect and serve his King. These basic skills consisted of marksmanship with their individual assigned weapons and crew serve weapons, Physical Fitness, Night Vision Goggles, and map reading. Their duty hours were only six hours a day, ranging from 0600-1200; this didn’t give us much time to train … The trend that I observed about the SANG Soldiers is that once they return from their Security Mission, they tend to forget everything and we are re-teaching the same skills over again. This becomes a long drawn-out process and a lot times it feels like we only move the SANG Anny inches and this is a plus when it comes to training …

The Omar bin Kattab Brigade (OKE) is stationed in Taif … The NCOs within this Brigade were even worse than the Western Region. The NCOs here did not have any education and they did not know how to read or write. A lot of our training here was hands-on and that took a while to conduct. The equipment they had there were old and they were lacking tools to keep up the maintenance. The Brigade Commanders did have unit money to spend on equipment, but many of them bought furniture for their office and home, instead of taking care of their equipment. Some of the soldiers did not want to replace their periscopes on their vehicle because it was a battle wound from Desert Storm and they wanted to show off their treasured badge of courage. Overall these NCOs and soldiers wanted to learn, but no support was enforced by their higher command …

The SANG Army took on the U.S. tactical and gunnery manuals, but it takes us a while to translate it into Arabic. One major issue we did realize is that an Arabic word doesn’t really mean the same in English. When the [interpreters] are translating the English version to Arabic, sometimes they have to find the word that means the closest to the English word. This can cause a big problem when it comes to gunneries because when it comes to bullets and safety, we have to be very specific. In Arabic, there can be a lot of gray areas which creates the opening for an unsafe act to happen …

The mentality the Saudi officers is if I am the only one in the organization who knows how to … Then I am important and people have to come to me. If others know what I know … then I have lost my power and importance. So U.S. advisors need to know that training the trainers does not always work … the knowledge is not passed down because ‘Information is Power.’

Wafe, who as an enlisted soldier was more likely than an officer to call ’em the way he saw them, issued guidelines for those U.S. troops who would follow in his footsteps to train SANG forces:

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O.K., so the Saudi monarchy is an archaic autocracy with a U.S.-supplied military dedicated to keeping it in power. Bottom line, as Donald Rumsfeld might have said: You defend your oil with the army you have, not the one you wish you had.

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