March 28th, 2012
07:10 PM ET

Survivors, Afghan guards describe night of massacre

Reporter Yalda Hakim of Australia’s SBS network has become the first western journalist to visit the villages where a U.S. soldier allegedly killed 17 people.

In a remarkable report she talks with some of the survivors and some Afghan guards on duty at the military camp from where Staff Sergeant Robert Bales left on his alleged killing spree.

The video at the top of this story is Hakim’s account of her journey to the remote villages near Kandahar and what she was told.


Filed under: Afghanistan • SSGT Robert Bales
EXCLUSIVE: Activity seen at North Korea launch site
A DigitalGlobe satellite image of North Korea's launch site at Tongch’ang-ri. The image was taken on March 28, 2012.
March 28th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Activity seen at North Korea launch site

By Adam Levine

A new satellite image has captured increased activity on North Korea's launch pad as the country prepares for its controversial missile launch in mid-April.

The DigitalGlobe image taken on March 28 shows trucks on the Tongch'ang-ni launch pad. Atop the umbilical tower, which sits beside where the assembled rocket will stand, a crane arm that will be used to lift the rocket stages has been swung wide.

While South Korean media are reporting the first stage of the rocket - known as the booster - has been moved to the launch facility, DigitalGlobe Senior Analyst Joseph Bermudez said that is not visible in this image. FULL POST

March 28th, 2012
05:34 PM ET

Lawyer: Bales does not understand charges

In an exclusive interview airing 7pET on Erin Burnett OutFront, the lawyer for Robert Bales says his client doesn't understand the charges he is accused of.  Bales was charged last week with 17 counts of murder in the March 11th killings in Afghanistan.

"He doesn't really have a good handle on what's going on," John Henry Browne tells CNN's Erin Burnett.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • SSGT Robert Bales
March 28th, 2012
04:49 PM ET

First U.S. and Pakistan military meeting since deadly strike

By Nasir Habib reporting from Islamabad

Top U.S. and Pakistani military officials held face-to-face meetings in Islamabad on Wednesday in the first high-level talks since NATO airstrikes killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in November.

Gen. James Mattis and Gen. John Allen discussed "bilateral matters, professional interests and the emerging geo-strategic situation of the region" with Gen. Khalid Shameem Wynne, the chairman of Pakistan's joint chiefs of staff, according to a statement from the Pakistani military.

Mattis is the chief of the U.S. Central Command, while Allen commands the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The meeting lasted "for some time," the Pakistani statement said.

Read the whole story here

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Gen. Mattis • Military • Pakistan
U.S. soldier dies saving Afghan girl
March 28th, 2012
04:45 PM ET

U.S. soldier dies saving Afghan girl

By Larry Shaughnessy

After the news of a U.S. soldier charged with murdering Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, the story of Spc. Dennis Weichel of the Rhode Island National Guard bears telling.

The official Pentagon news release says he died "from injuries suffered in a noncombat related incident." But there is much more to the story. Weichel, 29, of Providence, died saving the life of a little girl.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan
March 28th, 2012
02:26 PM ET

N. Korean missile launch 'troublesome'

By Larry Shaughnessy

U.S. military officials are anxiously awaiting North Korea's announced ballistic missile launch, which they described to Congress on Wednesday as part of the regime's "coercive strategy" to antagonize, provoke and then try to win concessions.

April 15 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Song, the founder of communist North Korea and the grandfather of the current North Korean leader, who has said there will be a missile launch around that date, in violation of numerous U.N. resolutions and the most recent agreement with the United States.

North Korea has designated the entire year of 2012 as a year of strength and prosperity in celebration of Kim Il Song's birthday.
FULL POST

March 28th, 2012
12:56 PM ET

Peek at rules of engagement in cyber battle

by Suzanne Kelly

General Keith Alexander, who serves as both Director of the National Security Agency as well as Commander of Cyber Command had some interesting things to say before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. One of which offered insight into how the rules of engagement might look in the high-tech, but legislatively murky, cyber battlespace:

"If you are to go after a computer in foreign space or some other thing, that might be a response option that would now take, I think, the president and the secretary to step in and start making decisions, versus us taking that on." – General Keith Alexander

Because of advances in technology and the growing sophistication of cyberattacks believed to be launched by both state and non-state actors, the administration along with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are working out just how to better position the resources of the NSA to help protect private businesses against attack. Some of those businesses maintain and operate critical infrastructure like nuclear facilities and water treatment facilities that experts argue need a more robust cyber defense strategy.

Hammering out just how to prevent and respond to attacks as a strategy is still very much a work in progress, but adding presidential authority to the mix makes it slightly more clear how the U.S. might clear a path to respond to a cyberattack.

March 28th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

McCain condemns Syria's government of "crimes against humanity"

As questions arise about whether Syria will follow through on its promise to accept the proposed peace plan, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a congressional resolution on Wednesday condemning the Syrian government "for crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations. "

The Obama administration has struggled with how far it can go in accusing Syria's president Bashar al-Assad of war crimes, as Elise Labott reported last week.

U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, have called for "foreign airpower" to stop the government "slaughter" and save innocent lives. They also called for establishing safe havens that could serve as bases for military aid. FULL POST

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Filed under: Assad • Congress • McCain • Middle East • Syria • United Nations
Iran announces date for nuclear talks but not venue
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site
March 28th, 2012
06:04 AM ET

Iran announces date for nuclear talks but not venue

Stalled talks between Iran and world leaders over its nuclear ambitions will resume April 13 at a yet-undetermined venue, the country's state-run media reported Wednesday.

The announcement, by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, comes amid growing pressure from world powers over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Arms Control • Iran • Nuclear
Creating a classified cloud for spies
The architects: Kelly Miller, NSA; Jeanne Tsinger, CIA; Grant Schneider, DIA; Al Tarasiuk, ODNI; Jill Tummler Singer, NRO; Keith E. Littlefield, NGA
March 28th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Creating a classified cloud for spies

By Suzanne Kelly

The Intelligence Community (IC) is undergoing its biggest technological change ever as a team of hundreds works to build a computer system that links together nearly all of the 17 intelligence entities through a series of classified servers. To call it an ambitious project might be an understatement. The architects of the undertaking aim to get an initial version going by the end of the year.

The chief information officers at the most prominent agencies of the Intelligence Community were assigned the mission last summer when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper began to brace for budget cuts that would hit the community hard. For the first time in a decade, the IC would be forced to downsize under the strain of a budget that could no longer maintain the expansive growth the community had experienced since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

By last fall, Clapper was paraphrasing a favorite quote by a New Zealand physicist Earnest Rutherford who, in the midst of his own country's budget deliberations in 1927, said, “We’re running out of money so we must begin to think.”
FULL POST