OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Pentagon preps for shutdown

“While military personnel would continue in a normal duty status, a large number of our civilian employees would be temporarily furloughed. To prepare for this possibility, we are updating our contingency plans for executing an orderly shutdown of activities that would be affected by a lapse in appropriations,” Carter wrote.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said that while service members would continue to work in the event of a shutdown, their paychecks would be delayed until the shutdown ends.

"They may not be paid on their regular payday," Little said.

The Pentagon has not said how many civilians would face furloughs in a shutdown, but if 2011 is any guide — the last time the government nearly closed — roughly half of civilian workers would be furloughed in a shutdown.

Pay for civilians who are furloughed would come only if Congress passed a law approving it.

“Congress will determine whether furloughed employees receive pay for the furlough period,” the shutdown memo says.

The Senate began its battle on Monday over defunding ObamaCare as part of the government funding measure, which was included in the House’s continuing resolution that passed Friday.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has advocated that strategy, tried to pass the House CR by unanimous consent, but was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Cruz then tried to force amendment votes to have a 60-vote threshold, a procedural motion that was also stopped by Reid.

Reid is expected to strip the repeal of ObamaCare from the CR that is passed in the Senate and sent back to the House.

Cruz has said he will try to stop Reid from doing so, including through a filibuster. On Monday, however, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) broke with Cruz and said he would oppose a filibuster of the House-passed CR because it included language to strip funding from President Obama’s healthcare law.

FBI contractor to plead guilty in leak case: A former FBI bomb-technician-turned-contractor will plead guilty to providing classified information to The Associated Press that detailed an al Qaeda-linked terror plot.

Donald Sachtleben, of Carmel, Ind., signed a plea agreement where he would plead guilty to leaking classified information, as well as for child pornography charges. He faces a total sentence of 140 months in prison for both charges.

Sachtleben was a longtime FBI agent who worked on a number of high-profile cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the first World Trade Center bombing and the Unabomber attacks. He retired from the FBI in 2008 and became a contractor.

The charges are likely to draw the interest of lawmakers because many in Congress demanded investigations last year into the leaks of the al Qaeda plot as well as the Stuxnet cyberattack.

At the same time, the Justice Department said that the subpoena of AP reporters’ phone records — which was initially conducted without disclosure to the AP — helped identify Sachtleben as a suspect.

Lawmakers were also outraged at the Justice Department earlier this year when the subpoena was publicized. 

DOD ready to assist in al Shaabab fight: U.S. forces stationed in Africa are prepared to provide military support to Kenyan forces battling al Qaeda-linked extremists in the country's capital. 

"We are in active consultation with Kenya ... to determine how we might be able to support" local forces in dealing with the ongoing standoff with fighters from al Shaabab, Pentagon press secretary George Little said Monday. 

The Defense Department "stands ready to assist if requested to do so" by the Kenyan government, Little told reporters at the Pentagon. 

Al Shabaab, the Somali-based terror group with ties to al Qaeda's Africa cell, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, claimed responsibility for Sunday's bloody attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi. 

More than 60 people have been killed and scores more wounded as gunmen continue to hold Kenyan forces at bay for the third straight day. 

While the Defense Department remains committed to supporting Kenyan counterterrorism operations, Little denied reports that U.S. forces in country are already conducting those missions in Nairobi. No American forces from Africa Command or elsewhere have been deployed into Kenya to support local forces "to this point," he said. 

Pentagon in the dark on Navy Yard shooter's past: Government investigators glossed over serious details involving Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, including a 2004 shooting in Seattle, when vetting him for a security clearance, service officials say. 

Officials from the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), the office responsible for clearance investigations for the Pentagon and other government agencies, left U.S. military leaders in the dark about the 2004 shooting, according to a senior Navy official. 

Navy leaders were only informed of the violent incident after Alexis killed 12 people during a shooting rampage at the Navy's Washington headquarters at the Navy Yard on Sept. 16.  

As a result, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus ordered that all future OPM background investigations of sailors, Navy officers and civilian contractors "include any available police documents" related to the individual being investigated. 

The OPM investigation on Alexis failed to mention the 2004 incident involved a gun, according to the Navy. 

"There was no reference to a gunshot or firearm" in the OPM report to Navy leaders, the service official said Monday. 

As a result, Navy officials did not object to Alexis being granted Secret clearance upon his enlistment into the service. 

Alexis was nearly forced out of the military multiple times for alcohol and weapons violations, before being honorably discharged from the Navy in 2011. 

Each time, Navy leaders opted not to dismiss Alexis because "the threshold had not been passed" to remove him from the Navy's ranks, the official said.  

In Case You Missed It:

— Senators want surveillance programs investigated

— Military pay would be delayed in shutdown

— Lawmakers want probe of Navy Yard radios

— Navy stops search for two in helicopter crash

— Lawmakers seek release of alleged CIA spy in Iran

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