CIA Director Petraeus defends change in war analysis
CIA Director David Petraeus Photo by: Pool
October 14th, 2011
09:59 PM ET

CIA Director Petraeus defends change in war analysis

By CNN Sr. National Security Producer Pam Benson

CIA Director David H. Petraeus wasted no time in knocking down a news report that indicated a change in process would give the military a greater say in CIA assessments on Afghanistan.

In a statement to CIA employees on Friday, Petraeus called an Associated Press story "flat wrong."

According to AP, "the move prompted a flurry of criticism in the intelligence community's old guard, worried the change presages a campaign by newly arrived general-turned-CIA Director David Petraeus to improve the poor marks the CIA gave the war effort in its own analysis earlier this year."

At the time, Petraeus was the head of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

In question is a decision to change the process by which CIA analysts brief military commanders about their periodic assessments on progress made in the war.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • CIA • Intelligence • Petraeus
Pentagon-speak explained: OpPlan 1025
Photo: John Bodnar/CNN
October 14th, 2011
08:25 PM ET

Pentagon-speak explained: OpPlan 1025

By CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

Sometimes when you cover the Pentagon as a reporter, the main challenge is to just decode “Pentagon-ese” - the seemingly secret language of the military that has names, acronyms and abbreviations for just about everything.

So if President Obama ever ordered military action against Iran (which all our sources insist is not likely), the abbreviation to watch for is “OpPlan 1025.” Several U.S. defense officials confirm to CNN this is the classified “operational plan” that details any potential U.S. military action against Iran. The plan includes lists of targets inside Iran, their locations, the latest intelligence and what specific U.S. weapons might be used to destroy those targets.

When asked if the plan was recently updated following the revelations of an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, one senior defense official said “OpPlan 1025” is now in a continuous state of being updated, even though no military action is currently contemplated. The Pentagon doesn’t want to rely on MapQuest.

Of course, it isn't surprising that the Pentagon has such a plan. The military has plans for almost every possible military engagement. As one military source told me years ago, “heck, we got plans for everything. We got a plan to ‘take Paris’ if we have to.”

October 14th, 2011
08:03 PM ET

Meet the U.S. 'protecting power' in Iran

In the absence of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, Switzerland serves as the "protecting power" for U.S. interests inside Iran. CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty had a chance to speak with the Swiss Ambassador to Iran, Livia Leu Agosti, while she was in Washington. What it is like representing U.S. interests to a government that is not friendly with Washington? Check it out.

Obama sending troops to central Africa to aid fight against rebels
President Obama says the Lord's Resistance Army "has murdered, raped, and kidnapped" thousands of people.
October 14th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

Obama sending troops to central Africa to aid fight against rebels

President Obama has deployed troops to central Africa to aid in the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army.  In a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, Obama says 12 troops with "appropriate combat equipment" were deployed on October 12 and approximately 100 in total will be deployed including a second combat team and headquarters, communications and logistics personnel.  The forces will provide information and advise and assist "select partner nation forces," Obama explains.  The troops will not fight except in self-defense.  The full letter is after the jump.

FULL POST


Filed under: African Union • Military
Did Panetta commit Obama to no further defense cuts?
October 14th, 2011
01:06 PM ET

Did Panetta commit Obama to no further defense cuts?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s claim Thursday that President Obama objects to further defense cuts has Republicans demanding to know if the president is really taking the Pentagon’s budget “off the table” when it comes to negotiating further cuts in federal spending.

If so, it could put the president at odds with members of his own party that believe further cuts in the Pentagon budget are warranted.

After promising to increase budgetary transparency at the Pentagon, Panetta fielded a question from Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, on whether he favored additional cuts to defense spending beyond the $450-billion in cuts that are already in the works.

“You've seemed quite clear that you believe that we should make no further cuts in the defense budget beyond those which have already been enacted. Is that true?” Thornberry asked.

“Correct,” answered Panetta.

“Does the president share your view on that,” Thornberry asked.

“He does,” said Panetta.

The only problem is that if the president does share Panetta’s view on future cuts to defense spending, he has yet to come forward and publicly say so.

READ THE STORY ON CNN'S 1600 REPORT

Mail-order drones
October 14th, 2011
10:09 AM ET

Mail-order drones

By Jennifer Rizzo and Chris Lawrence reporting from San Diego, CA

Calling all shoppers - drones for sale in aisle ten. Maybe you can't get your own spy-craft at your local Best Buy yet. But you can get one in the mail.

One company in California that's building and selling low cost small drones says the days of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) being a military-only technology is over.

Out of a small San Diego warehouse, drones are being tested, built, packaged and sold. For under $1,000 this company can give you your very own UAV.

"We want to make aerorobotics available to everybody," said Chris Anderson co-founder of the company, DIY Drones.

Anderson, also editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, said the company was born out of a website community he started for drone maker hobbyists.

When researching ways to make his own home made drone better Anderson saw a video of someone who used sensors from a Nintendo Wii controller to fly a helicopter. That whiz-kid was Jordi Munoz. FULL POST

Can the U.S. bring North Korea back to nuclear talks?
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
October 14th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

Can the U.S. bring North Korea back to nuclear talks?

By CNN National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

Pomp and circumstance, a glitzy dinner at the White House and a new trade agreement with the United States greeted South Korean President Lee Myung Bak on his arrival to Washington on Wednesday. One nagging issue still remained - the international effort to denuclearize South Korea's hard-line neighbor to the north.

For U.S. President Barack Obama, the path forward for North Korea could not be clearer.

"If Pyongyang continues to ignore its international obligations, it will invite even more pressure and isolation," Obama said at a joint news conference Thursday alongside Lee. "If the North abandons its quest for nuclear weapons and moves towards denuclearization, it will enjoy greater security and opportunity for its people.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Diplomacy • North Korea
Revelations from the underwear bomber trial
October 14th, 2011
08:13 AM ET

Revelations from the underwear bomber trial

By Paul Cruickshank, CNN Terrorism Analyst

The trial of "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab was cut dramatically short Wednesday when the Nigerian pleaded guilty to all the counts against him.

While the prosecution's opening statement contained significant new detail about the Christmas Day 2009 plot to blow up an airliner approaching Detroit - mainly from AbdulMutallab's initial 45-50 minute, tell-all interview with FBI agents at the hospital where he was treated after the attack - the short duration of the trial also left many questions unanswered, most notably the role played in the plot by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni militant cleric killed in a drone strike last month.

After his death, senior Obama administration officials emphasized al-Awlaki's operational role within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, labeling him the head of the group's external operations and stating he played a lead role in planning and directing the "underwear bomber" plot.

U.S officials had already warned about his growing role in terrorist planning earlier in the year. "Let me underscore, Awlaki is no mere messenger but someone integrally involved in lethal terrorist activities," State Department counterterrorism coordinator Dan Benjamin warned in April. FULL POST


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Anwar al-Awlaki • AQAP • Intelligence • Nigeria • Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab • Yemen