By Jill Dougherty and Jamie Crawfrd
In spite of tensions with Egypt over its recent crackdown on democracy support groups, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will issue a national security waiver allowing $1.3 billion in foreign military financing to flow again to the Cairo government, a senior State Department official told CNN.
Secretary Clinton, a senior State Department official confirmed, will certify Friday to Congress that Egypt is meeting its obligations under its peace treaty with Israel. In addition, "on the basis of America's national security interests," the official said, "she will waive legislative conditions related to Egypt's democratic transition."
From Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged with 17 counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder related to a March 11 shooting spree in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.
The charges are expected to be announced Friday. The official could not explain why the count is now 17,when 16 have been reported killed in the incident. FULL POST
By Adam Levine
A new satellite image of the launch pad expected to be used by North Korea next month shows no sign yet of any launch activity.
Satellite imagery company GeoEye provided CNN a new image of the site from where North Korea's controversial rocket launch will take place.
The image of the Tongch'ang-dong facility was taken on March 20 by GeoEye. It shows no missile or launch vehicle visible, according to an analysis by GlobalSecurity.org's Tim Brown. FULL POST
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will use waiver authority to allow for a restarting of military aid to Egypt's military without having to affirm that the military is committed to a transition to civilian rule, according to a statement issued by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
In a statement issued on Thursday, Leahy said he was "disappointed" by the decision: FULL POST
By Adam Levine and Chris Lawrence
The top commander for American and NATO forces in Afghanistan said Thursday he would like to maintain the post-surge U.S. troop level of 68,000 into 2013.
It was the most overt admission by Gen. John Allen of his view of the force level that he has maintained will be decided after what he described earlier this week as a "strategic conversation" with the White House. Though Allen said that was his opinion, he said he has not made an official recommendation and did not plan on doing so until later this year.
His statement will make it difficult for the Obama administration to try to withdraw more troops this year without looking like it is being done in defiance of commander's view of what is strategically needed. FULL POST
By Pam Benson
Water shortages, polluted water and floods will increase the risk of instability in nations important to U.S. national security interests, according to a new U.S. intelligence community assessment released Thursday.
"During the next 10 years, many countries important to the United States will almost certainly experience water problems - shortages, poor water quality, or floods - that will contribute to the risk of instability and state failure and increase regional tensions," the report from the office of the director of national intelligence states.
Editor's note: Dr. Charles Raison, CNNhealth's mental health expert, is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has not personally examined the suspect in the Afghanistan mass shootings, Robert Bales, but has used news accounts as the basis for his views.
Q: Sgt. Robert Bales has been accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. He served three tours in Iraq before this and his lawyer says he may have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury. What's the link between violence and those disorders?
A: Psychiatrists understand some types of aberrant behavior pretty well and can do things to help resolve it. But, unfortunately, in other instances - and often the most interesting ones - we can only mumble generalities that require no special expertise and that offer no hope for a diagnosis or treatment.
Take the case of U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of massacring 16 Afghan men, women and children while they slept unprotected in their village.
The first thing a psychiatrist would want to know is whether the person who committed such a heinous act was psychotic at that time, meaning out of touch with agreed-upon human reality. Did he perform the killings as a result of deeply held false beliefs or in response to hearing voices commanding him to act? If yes, then although the tragedy remains, the psychiatric mystery is solved.FULL STORY
By Jill Dougherty
Washington (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday delivered a stern rebuke to the Taliban, who say they are stopping peace negotiations with the United States.
"What the Taliban do is up to them," Clinton said Wednesday at the State Department after a meeting with Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul. "We have been clear we are prepared to continue discussions, and our goal is to open the door so that Afghans can be negotiating among and between themselves."