GITMO TO GO. The Obama administration is in the final stages of a plan, to be submitted to Congress, to close Guantanamo Bay, Defense One reports, a move that also represents a concession from an administration that had previously argued that such a move was unnecessary. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had tried to give the administration a window for this move in the NDAA – now he’s pressing his colleagues to include a provision to close the offshore prison in the final, conferenced version of the bill. But the issue remains a controversial one in Congress.
CARTER IN IRAQ. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made a surprise visit to Iraq Thursday to speak with officials before the start of a new attack on Islamic State strongholds, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Islamic State took Ramadi in the spring, and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have been planning an operation to choke off supply routes and take it back. But the effort to push back the Islamic State has had mixed results at best, and Carter has in the past been openly critical of the Iraqis’ efforts to stem the advance of this threat.
IRAN AGAIN. Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew head to the Senate Foreign Relations committee on Thursday to sell the deal, and are facing a pretty skeptical Congress, as The Washington Post reports. They face an uphill battle to change skeptical lawmakers’ minds – especially because Congress is only at the start of its 60-day review. And on Wednesday, the Cabinet members’ behind-closed-doors efforts weren’t terribly successful, as National Journal points out.