By Barbara Starr
The U.S. military is sending its most advanced radar system to the Pacific region ahead of North Korea's expected launch of a long-range missile in mid-April, according to a senior U.S. Navy official.
The Sea-Based X-Band Radar sits atop a floating platform and has the ability to search and track targets. In addition, the system can communicate with potential U.S. interceptor missiles at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, that could shoot down a target missile. But the North Koreans have said they plan to launch their missile in a southerly direction, which would mean it is highly doubtful the intercept capability would be needed or used. FULL POST
By Larry Shaughnessy
The Republican congressman who chairs the House Budget Committee questioned Thursday whether top military officers truly support the Pentagon budget, which includes significant cuts to some programs.
The officers were testifying about the budget on Capitol Hill.
"We don't think the generals are giving us their true advice. We don't think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. "What we get from the Pentagon is a budget-driven strategy not a strategy-driven budget."
It is a violation of military regulations to lie to Congress. But Ryan said that generals, when pressed, admit that their budget testimony is tainted.
By Jill Dougherty
The U.S. ambassador to Russia is questioning the scrutiny he's getting from Russian state media and has suggested in social media messages that his phones and e-mails are being hacked.
"Everywhere I go NTV is there. Wonder who gives them my calendar? They wouldn't tell me. Wonder what the laws are here for such things," Amb. Michael McFaul wrote on Twitter Thursday about the government-run television network. "When I asked these 'reporters' how they knew my schedule, I got no answer," he wrote in a follow up message.
But it wasn't just the constant presence of the media in his personal space that concerned the American envoy. Invasion of privacy is also an issue, he charged in a second tweet.
"I respect press right to go anywhere & ask any question. But do they have a right to read my email and listen to my phone?" he asked.
Pakistan has fired a doctor who helped the CIA to hunt Osama bin Laden, a senior government official told CNN.
Seventeen other employees who also worked at the health department in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were also removed from their jobs, according to Ishfaq Khan, the top government official of the health department.
Dr. Shakeel Afridi helped the CIA use a vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden's compound to verify the terror leader's presence there.
Khan said the reason given for firing Afridi and the other 17 employees was that it was a disciplinary action against them for starting a polio campaign without prior permission in Abbottabad, the town where bin Laden was killed.
By Barbara Starr
Four Navy minesweepers will be on their way to the Persian Gulf within weeks as part of an effort to boost American military capability in the region amid rising tensions with Iran, a Navy official says.
The minesweepers will be loaded onto cargo ships leaving the United States in late April, according to the Navy official. FULL POST
Syrian volunteers are trying to clear landmines that Turkish authorities say the Syrian army began planting along stretches of the border earlier this winter, report Ivan Watson and Yesim Comert who went to see the effort in Altinozu, Turkey.
Amid the olive groves of Turkey just a stone's throw away from the Syrian border, one volunteer has hidden away several Styrofoam boxes.
Their contents are deadly: a dozen unexploded antipersonnel mines. FULL POST
By Nick Paton Walsh
U.S. military officials have yet to gain access to the sites in which 17 Afghans were killed in Kandahar, an obstacle that could impede efforts to prosecute the American soldier accused of the multiple homicides.
U.S. personnel had not been able to collect DNA from the sites or access the areas, although DNA collected by Afghan investigators may have been received, an official said.
However, DNA has been found in blood on the clothing of the suspect, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.
"We do not have access to the crime scene," said the U.S. official, who has knowledge of the investigation but did not want to be identified discussing an ongoing inquiry.
by Adam Levine
The North Korean government's efforts to craft an image for new leader Kim Jong Un is an endless source of fascination.
The leadership transition was in the works even before the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong Il, and the U.S. government is "watching this transition closely," according to Gen. James Thurman, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, in testimony to the House Armed Services Wednesday.