Personnel from all service branches questioned in Colombia misconduct
April 17th, 2012
07:29 PM ET

Personnel from all service branches questioned in Colombia misconduct

As many as 10 U.S. military personnel from all branches of the armed forces are being questioned about potential involvement in any misconduct before a presidential visit to Cartagena, Colombia , two military officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

The military personnel involved were sent to Colombia to support the Secret Service ahead of President Barack Obama's weekend visit to the Summit of the Americas, and Obama has said he expects a "rigorous" investigation.

A military official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the ongoing investigation told CNN that two of those being questioned are Marines who handle military working dogs. Air Force and Navy personnel, some of whom are believed to be explosive disposal experts, also are being questioned, the official said.  FULL POST


Filed under: Obama
North Korea declares dead deal dead
Kim Jong-Un reviews a military parade commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of former North Korean President Kim Il Sung on April 15, 2012.
April 17th, 2012
04:16 PM ET

North Korea declares dead deal dead

By Jill Dougherty

North Korea's so-called "Leap Day" agreement with the United States to suspend its nuclear-weapon and long-range missile testing was dead in the water even before the North's dud rocket splashed into the ocean last week.

Tuesday Pyongyang made it official, blaming Washington for "hatching all sorts of dastardly tricks to prevent the peaceful nature of the (Democratic People's Republic of Korea's) satellite launch from being confirmed objectively" and imposing on the U.N. Security Council "its brigandish demand that the DPRK should not be allowed to launch even a satellite for peaceful purposes."

"We have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures, free from the agreement," the government news agency KCNA announced, quoting the Foreign Ministry. "The U.S. will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences."

Now, U.S. officials are waiting for the other shoe to drop: Will North Korea break the other part of that agreement and carry out a nuclear test?

"That," a senior administration official told CNN, "is the 64-thousand-dollar question."
FULL POST

From halls of NATO, defense of drawdowns
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets with Captain Mark Tutton (C) and Lieutenant Colonel Judin (R), commander of the 3rd Afghan Brigade at the multinational base at Tarin Kot in southern Afghanistan in October 2010.
April 17th, 2012
02:09 PM ET

From halls of NATO, defense of drawdowns

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's Wolf Blitzer sits down with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an exclusive interview airing Wednesday, April 17 at 4pET on Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

By Elise Labott reporting from Brussels

As foreign and defense ministers gather here for the last big meeting before next month's NATO summit in Chicago, NATO officials are pushing back on the notion that countries with troops in Afghanistan are headed for the exits.

The denials come as Australia announced Tuesday its more than 1,500 soldiers could begin pulling out of Afghanistan in the coming months, and the majority of them may leave the country by the end of next year.

That timetable puts Australian forces on a quicker withdrawal schedule than Prime Minister Julia Gillard had previously described. In a speech to Parliament in November, she said the transition in the southern Uruzgan province, where most of the Australian troops are concentrated, might well be completed before the end of 2014. FULL POST

U.S. begins to ease pressure on Myanmar
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a visit to Myanmar last December.
April 17th, 2012
01:32 PM ET

U.S. begins to ease pressure on Myanmar

By Jamie Crawford

The United States eased sanctions on Myanmar Tuesday to allow for certain financial transactions that support humanitarian, religious and other not-for-profit activities in the southeast Asian nation.

The order, which was announced in a letter by Adam J. Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, covers activities such as education, sports, religious and democracy-building activities in the country, which is also known as Burma. Support for projects that meet basic human needs such as disaster relief, clean water and sanitation are affected as well.

The announcement comes as the United States takes steps to normalize relations with Myanmar following recent parliamentary elections and the release of some of its political prisoners.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Myanmar • Sanctions • Security Brief
EXCLUSIVE: Panetta and Clinton on Situation Room
April 17th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Panetta and Clinton on Situation Room

CNN's Wolf Blitzer is en route to the NATO meetings in Brussels, Belgium where he will anchor Situation Room for the next two days.  Wolf will interview Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for his show on Wednesday, April 18th at 4pET.

Wolf Blitzer at Andrews Air Force Base

Watch Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer at 4pET for the latest from NATO.


Filed under: Afghanistan • FIRST ON CNN/EXCLUSIVE • ISAF • NATO • Panetta • Secretary of State
Discovery, as seen from the Pentagon
April 17th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Discovery, as seen from the Pentagon

Our Larry Shaughnessy ventured outside the Pentagon to watch as the space shuttle Discovery flew over Washington.  He snapped some stellar photos.  We here at Security Clearance understand this is not exactly a national security story, but it  seemed to capture the attention of those in the biggest building devoted to it.

More photos after the jump. FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief
April 17th, 2012
04:04 AM ET

Trial begins for man accused in New York subway terror plot

By the CNN Wire Staff

A federal prosecutor on Monday described a Bosnian immigrant accused of plotting to bomb New York's subway system as an "al Qaeda terrorist," an assertion the defense said was "just wrong."

An extensive roster of convicted terrorists are lined up to testify against Adis Medunjanin during his trial in New York, which began Monday with opening statements.

Prosecutors allege that Medunjanin traveled to Pakistan's tribal belt with two friends, where he sought to join the Taliban but ended up being recruited by al Qaeda to perform a suicide mission back in America.

FULL POST

Read more of the CNN.com story here.
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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Terrorism
Reading the ruler and other signs from North Korea
April 17th, 2012
02:09 AM ET

Reading the ruler and other signs from North Korea

By Larry Shaughnessy, with reporting from Pam Benson and Jennifer Rizzo

Last week's unabashed failure of North Korea's Taepodong-2 rocket launch didn't last long enough to teach technical experts much if anything about the communist regime's engineering capabilities. But the West is learning a lot about the new leader from how he has conducted himself since.

The launch was part of a nationwide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, which was the first major event since his grandson, Kim Jong Un, became leader of the regime.

"There's been a conscious strategy from the very beginning of his emergence into the public eye of trying to cultivate a linkage between Kim Jung Un and his grandfather," said Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Kim Jong-un • North Korea