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Tim Starks


Tim Starks covered intelligence for CQ Roll Call. Before that, he served as homeland security and veterans affairs reporter, and had a stint as a reporter at CQ Homeland Security. In 2009, he won the National Press Club's Sandy Hume Award for Excellence in Political Journalism. Before coming to CQ, Mr. Starks opened the Washington bureau of the New York Sun and served as a correspondent. He had previous been statehouse bureau chief for his hometown Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press, where he was the co-winner of the 2001 Associated Press Managing Editors' 1st place award for non-deadline news reporting. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a bachelor's degree in print journalism, and minored in English literature.

He no longer works for CQ Roll Call.

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Stories by Tim Starks:

A Pair of Opposites Kept the Heat On

Feb. 13, 2015

Between 2008 and 2012, Michigan Democrat Carl Levin and Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn worked collaboratively as the leaders of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, despite Levin’s praise for government’s regulatory role and Coburn, nicknamed “Dr. No,” leaning so far to the right as to be libertarian. Now that both have left Capitol Hill, they still share common ground on one point: Congress doesn’t do nearly a good enough job in its oversight and investigative role,…

Feinstein Plans to Push for New Laws Stemming from CIA Torture Report

Dec. 11, 2014

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., plans to push for fresh legislation stemming from her panel's report into the CIA's post-9/11 detainee interrogation practices, but she'll likely face an uphill climb because even Republicans sympathetic to criticisms of the CIA’s methods say there are no need for new laws.

Fight Night: Reid Intervenes to Get Visa for Boxer Diego Chaves

July 31, 2014

Between managing a busy pre-recess agenda, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., squeezed in some help for a boxer who needed a visa to be able to fight in the United States this weekend.

House Vote to Preserve A-10 Warthogs Leaves Air Force Holding Multimillion-Dollar Tab

June 24, 2014

A bipartisan group of 300 House members last week defied the wishes of both the Obama administration and Appropriations Committee leaders by voting to keep the Air Force’s venerable fleet of A-10 Warthog close-air support planes.

Security Technology, Defense Spending Bill and Air Force Contracting in the Week Ahead

June 9, 2014

It will be another busy week on Capitol Hill for the defense world: The House Appropriations Committee takes up the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill, and veterans will again be at the forefront as the Senate is likely to give floor consideration to a bill written in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, while two committees will examine the Bowe Berdahl prisoner trade. But around Washington, D.C., there are plenty of other events on the calendar.

Stealth Burqas And Makeup: Surveillance Countermeasures In Fashion

June 9, 2014

At #PDF14 in New York City on Thursday — short for Personal Democracy Forum 2014, a gathering of politics enthusiasts (mostly from the left) and tech geeks — artist/designer Adam Harvey made an impression with demonstrations on how makeup can hide someone from facial recognition cameras and how specially designed burqas can evade surveillance by drone thermal-imaging cameras.

CENTCOM Doesn't Know How to Shrink or Shift, Report Finds

June 9, 2014

U.S. Central Command, with a geographic region that encompasses hotspots like the Middle East, North Africa and Central and South Asia, has seen its number of regular personnel increase by nearly 70 percent since around the time of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Are SOCOM's Overseas 'Persistent Presences' Out of Line?

June 9, 2014

A newly released House report raises questions about whether U.S. Special Operations Command is exploiting a personnel trick to set up permanent presences overseas — rather than seeking the proper legal approval to do so.

Veterans Affairs Department Scheduling Woes Extend from Care to Leases

June 9, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs is already in plenty of hot water over its patient backlog, and a Government Accountability Office report released this week on a similar brand of mismanagement elsewhere in the department isn’t going to help turn down the temperature.

Osama Bin Laden Mission Skeptic to Head Spy Agency

June 9, 2014

A lesser-known Pentagon-housed spy agency that garnered some of the spotlight for its role in killing Osama bin Laden is about to be led by a man whose vocal dissent reportedly almost scuttled the operation entirely.

Did President Obama Break the Law in Prisoner Swap?

June 9, 2014

Republicans in Congress, and even some Democrats, have heard the Obama administration’s explanation for why it didn’t need to notify Congress 30 days in advance of the Guantánamo Bay Taliban prisoner swap for Bowe Bergdahl and found it lacking. The Senate Armed Services Committee has a briefing this coming Tuesday, and the House panel has a hearing the next day.

A New Jungle Book on Warfare

June 9, 2014

Since 2001, the military has spent considerable time and effort figuring out how best to do combat in Middle Eastern climes and cities. Now, with the executive branch’s “Asia pivot,” the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the Department of Defense to refocus its attention on a different terrain: the jungle.

Fate of Iran Sanctions Bill Rests Largely With Reid

Jan. 28, 2014

When Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday outlined the Senate agenda for the upcoming work period, he left out a bill that 59 members of his body are co-sponsoring: Iran sanctions legislation.

Cybersecurity Bills Stymied by NSA Controversy

Oct. 22, 2013

Passions are so high over the National Security Agency’s record collection programs that congressional turmoil over that issue has done collateral damage to another subject this year: cybersecurity legislation.

Coming Up: Congressional Showdown on NSA Wiretapping

Oct. 22, 2013

The fight over the future of the National Security Agency’s phone record and Internet data collection programs had its first skirmish in the House in July, with a vote that nearly defunded the phone record initiative. And Congress has been building toward a prolonged — and potentially nasty — battle this fall and winter.

Action on Cybersecurity Likely Delayed Until 2014

Sept. 26, 2013

Congress almost certainly won’t pass any kind of major cybersecurity legislation in 2013, according to industry officials, lobbyists and others who track the issue.

Congressional Inaction on Surveillance Prompted Leaks, Says Snowden

June 17, 2013

Edward Snowden, the man who publicly exposed several controversial National Security Agency programs, said Monday that he was inspired to leak the secrets because of spy agency leaders’ “lies” to Congress, and because congressional leaders did nothing about it.

Intelligence Oversight Split on Access Between Haves, Have-Nots

June 10, 2013

Lawmakers’ wildly conflicting accounts of how much they knew about newly leaked surveillance programs has cast a new glare on the difficulties of congressional oversight of intelligence and the stratified rules about which members and staffers can be briefed on what.

House Approach to Cyber-Threat Bill Offers Clues to Fate in Senate

May 31, 2013

Backers of a controversial cyber-threat information-sharing bill overcame a White House veto threat and vocal criticism from privacy and civil liberties groups to push it through the House last month by a resounding margin.

Frosty GOP Reception for Obama's Terrorism Policy Shifts

May 23, 2013

President Barack Obama tried to use a wide-ranging speech Thursday to reset the narrative on a counterterrorism record that has been a political thorn in the White House’s side in recent months. But the immediate reaction from adversaries in Congress about new policies relating to the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prison and drone strikes suggested he had changed few minds.

Education Key to Cybersecurity Future

March 19, 2013

The budget crunch, Obama administration officials contend, is already threatening the federal government’s ability to recruit the people it needs to respond to cyberattacks. But it might end up being even harder on the next generation of would-be cyber-warriors.

Facing Up to the Nation's Shortage of Cyber-Warriors

March 19, 2013

The Department of Defense’s Cyber Command reportedly wants to quintuple its workforce, but its leader, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, told a House Armed Services subcommittee last week that the threat of furloughs is going to hamstring his ability to recruit people to defend U.S. computer networks.

Paul Ends Brennan Filibuster, Cloture Motion Filed

March 7, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul waged an old-fashioned filibuster of CIA director nominee John O. Brennan Wednesday, taking to the floor for more than 12 hours to protest the Obama administration’s stance over whether the U.S. government can conduct targeted killings of suspected terrorists on U.S. soil.

Deal on Drone Documents Opens Path for Brennan as Panel Backs Nomination

March 5, 2013

The confirmation prospects for John O. Brennan to become CIA director got a boost Tuesday with Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein announcing that the administration would supply her panel with additional legal opinions on the targeted killing of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism overseas. The committee then approved his nomination Tuesday afternoon in a closed 12-3 vote.

Brennan Could Get Floor Vote This Week For CIA Post

March 4, 2013

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on CIA director nominee John O. Brennan — and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants a full Senate vote this week — but Republicans still want more answers on last year’s terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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