July 1st, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Moroccans vote in watershed referendum

By Senior State Department Producer, Elise Labott

Today Moroccans voted in a referendum on new constitution which King Mohammed VI has promised will if approved usher in an era of greater freedoms.

I just returned from Morocco, where there is some reason to be hopeful that amid the uncertain course of the Arab Spring, there may be some blossoms of progress.

While I was there King Mohammed VI unveiled the new constitution, developed in coordination with a variety of political parties and civil society groups. The new, elected government that would result from this constitution would be accountable to parliament, have an independent judiciary and provide equal rights for women and minorities.
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July 1st, 2011
02:39 PM ET

President Obama picks his man for NCTC

President Barack Obama has made his choice for the top man at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a key part of the President's national security team.

Matthew Olsen has held a number of intelligence posts from his current job as General Counsel at the National Security Agency to a stint as Special Counselor to the Attorney General and Executive Director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force.

“I am pleased to nominate Matthew Olsen to be the next Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Matt has a distinguished record of service in our intelligence community and I’m confident he will continue to build on our strong counterterrorism efforts,” said President Obama. “Matt will be a critical part of my national security team as we work tirelessly to thwart attacks against our nation and do everything in our power to protect the American people.”

Olsen still has to go through a confirmation process before taking on the job.

New Defense Secretary arrives at Pentagon
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is greeted by Lt. Gen. John Kelly at the Pentagon on Friday. CNN Photo by Jose Santos
July 1st, 2011
09:06 AM ET

New Defense Secretary arrives at Pentagon

It was strictly business as the new Secretary of Defense arrived for his first day of work at the Pentagon today. Lean Panetta arrived at the Pentagon after 8:30 AM this morning. General John Kelly, U.S. Marine Corps, saluted him on the steps and said, “Welcome aboard, Sir.” Panetta greeted the two dozen journalists and photographers waiting in the bright summer sunshineand wlaked inside and went directly to his swearing-in. The no-nonsense arrival was in the same place but a world apart from the pomp of the fife-and-drum corps and Presidential speech that farwelled Panetta’s predecessor, Robert Gates, less than 24 earlier.

Panetta immediately issued the following message:

Today, I was honored to take the oath of office to become the 23rd Secretary of Defense. I am mindful of the great responsibility the President has entrusted to me, and I will work with you – America's men and women in uniform and this Department's civilian employees – as I lead the Department of Defense in its mission to protect our citizens and our nation's interests around the world. My long career in public service began in the 1960s when I proudly donned the uniform of this country as a young Army intelligence officer. In the decades since, my respect for the military has only grown stronger.
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Filed under: Panetta • Secretary of Defense
July 1st, 2011
08:40 AM ET

Morocco referendum: what's at stake

CNN's Elise Labott reporting from Morocco on supporters and opponents of the constitutional reforms that go to a referendum Friday. Her full report

July 1st, 2011
08:28 AM ET

Moroccans vote on weakening King's powers

Moroccans began voting Friday in a referendum on constitutional reforms that would weaken the king's powers and boost those of the government. Full story here


Filed under: Hot Spot Dispatch • Morocco