The U.S. does not know if Iran has decided to move forward to develop nuclear weapons program further or not but if they did move ahead, the U.S. would know about it.
That was the end result of Pentagon spokesduo George Little and Captain John Kirby trying to explain Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently comment that the U.S. believes Iran could develop a weapon within a year.
Panetta told CBS News that Iran it would "probably be a year" before Iran could have a nuclear weapon.
Asked about the comments today, Pentagon spokesman George Little said that it is true the U.S. believes that “if the Iranians made a decision to move toward the development of a nuclear weapon, they could in theory have one in the relatively near future.”
However, moving forward would require a number of steps, Little said at a Pentagon press conference Wednesday.
“It would require them first to make a decision to move forward with the development of a nuclear weapon. And then, of course, they would have to not only enrich uranium so that you get highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. You'd have to - and then you'd have to go through the weaponization process,” Little said. FULL POST
By Charley Keyes
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's vocal criticism of the Egyptian authorities violent handling of protestors, especially women, is necessary and not undue interference in another country's business, a State Department spokeswoman insisted on Wednesday.
"We are going to speak out for the human rights of people around the world. We do not consider that interference," State Department spokesman, Victoria Nuland said at her afternoon briefing.
Kim Jong Un issued his first military orders as leader of North Korea just before the death of his father was announced, a South Korean state-run news agency said Wednesday.
Citing "a South Korean source," Yonhap reported that Kim "ordered all military units to halt field exercises and training and return to their bases."
The source called it a sign that Kim Jong Il's son, believed to be in his late 20s, had taken "complete control over the military," Yonhap reported.
An intelligence official said North Korea may be trying to prevent attempted defections as the country goes through a tumultuous transition, the report said.
Read the whole story here
EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer for more on this story – Wednesday 4pET-6pET
By Arwa Damon and Wolf Blitzer
CIA Director David Petraeus has just returned from a quick visit to Iraq, sources tell CNN. The trip was initially intended as a chance for Petraeus to thank the CIA team in Iraq as the US completed its withdrawal of forces, an official said. (Read Blitzer's blog on Petraeus' secret trip)
The trip, though previously planned, comes as Iraq is mired in political turmoil. The country’s Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, is in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region as he fights charges from Maliki’s government that he organized a death squad targeting government and military officials.
Petraeus, a former commander in Iraq, also met with the Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the Speaker of the Parliament and Minister of Finance, both senior members of the mostly Sunni-backed Iraqiya political bloc, which Hashemi is also a member of. Petraeus then traveled to northern Iraq to meet with senior Kurdish leadership.
The content of Petraeus discussions were not disclosed. The CIA and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad would not comment.
By the CNN Political Unit
Most Americans agree with the decision to end the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country by the end of this year.
And although 96% are proud of U.S. troops who served in Iraq, just one in three consider the war a victory and more than half call it a stalemate.
President Obama announced the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the year's end in October. Now, two-thirds say they oppose the war and more think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to Iraq in the first place 53% to 46% over those who do not think it was a mistake.
Americans are similarly divided over whether they agree with then-Sen. Barack Obama's opinion that it was a "dumb" decision to send troops to Iraq in 2003 – 51% say it was dumb and 45% say it was smart. FULL POST
By Larry Shaughnessy reporting from Ft. Meade, MD
10:00a – the defense rests
Bradley Manning’s lawyer has finished calling witnesses in the Article 32 hearing. Both sides will present closing arguments on Thursday. After the arguments, the investigating officer will consider the evidence and eventually make a recommendation as to whether Manning should face a court martial and if so, what the charges should be. (See the rest of our Bradley Manning coverage here)
By Barbara Starr
The eight Army soldiers charged in connection with the death of Private Danny Chen are facing charges due to “conduct that occurred in the time leading up to his death,” according to a US Army official familiar with the details of the investigation.
The official declined to be identified because the military criminal investigation remains on going.
Essentially the soldiers are charged with hazing and abusing Chen in the weeks and days before he died of an apparent self inflicted gun shot wound. But the case remains open and other charges could be filed.
The eight men charged have been moved to a different base in southern Afghanistan and remain under restrictions. They are not permitted to leave the base. The official said this is standard procedure in part due to concerns for their physical safety now that the charges have been made public.
Chen had complained to his family about how his fellow soldiers were treating him, according to his cousin Benny Chen.
At a recent candlelight vigil held for the soldier, his cousin Banny read a portion of a letter written by Danny to his family while he was in Afghanistan.
“They ask if I’m from China a few times a day. They also called out my name, “Chen,” in a goat-like voice sometimes for no reason. No idea how it started, but it’s just best to ignore it," Chen said, reading from the letter.
– Leigh Remizowski contributed to this report