U.S. officials cite challenges to capturing Joseph Kony
A file picture taken on November 12, 2006 of LRA leader Joseph Kony answering journalists' questions at Ri-Kwamba, in Southern Sudan.
April 24th, 2012
10:09 PM ET

U.S. officials cite challenges to capturing Joseph Kony

By Jamie Crawford

Capturing and bringing to justice the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, a group terrorizing a large portion of central Africa, will be a challenge, officials from the Obama administration told a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on African affairs, officials on Tuesday said the task of stopping Joseph Kony is complicated by the region's vast and inhospitable terrain, along with the difficulty of coordinating the efforts of four partner nations' armies and gathering and sharing intelligence.

"Ending the LRA threat is not an easy mission," said Donald Yamamoto, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs. "The LRA operates in very small groups across vast territories, roughly the size of California and very heavily forested."

Since being pushed out of its previous stronghold in Northern Uganda in 2006, Kony and his lieutenants have been accused of continuing their abduction of children to serve as LRA soldiers in a campaign of rape, torture and murder across central Africa.
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Filed under: Africa • Joseph Kony • Lords Resistance Army • Senate
April 24th, 2012
04:52 PM ET

Military to brief Congress this week about Cartagena scandal

By Mike Mount

The military will brief the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday about the investigation into alleged misconduct in Colombia by U.S. military assigned to the president's security detail last week in Colombia.

The Director of the Joint Staff, Vice Adm. William Gortney; Brig. Gen. Richard Gross, legal counsel for the chairman of the Joint Staff; and representatives from the secretary of defense will brief senators, said Rick Osail, a Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman.

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee complained he was "disturbed" that the Senate Armed Services Committee had yet to be given a briefing by the military, while the Secret Service had briefed Congress.

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Filed under: Colombia • Military
Clinton condemns "deplorable" reports of Syria
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on youtube on April 24, 2012, purportedly shows a UN observer from Morocco speaking with an opposition leader during a visit to the restive city of Homs.
April 24th, 2012
04:48 PM ET

Clinton condemns "deplorable" reports of Syria

By Jill Dougherty

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that it is “absolutely deplorable” if reports are true and Syrian forces are harassing, arresting and possibly killing civilians who have approached United Nations observers in the country.

Clinton said she had just seen comments to that effect by Ahmed Fawzi, spokesman for Kofi Annan, the U.N./ Arab League joint special representative on Syria.

"It is absolutely deplorable if there is this kind of intimidation and harassment and possible violence against those Syrians who have every right to meet with and discuss the situation with the monitors. That's what the monitors are there for," Clinton said.
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Filed under: Syria • United Nations
Military reworking spy operations
April 24th, 2012
02:02 PM ET

Military reworking spy operations

By Mike Mount

The U.S. military is revamping its spying program to better focus on threats off the battlefield, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.

The revised approach will focus on and improve the practice of human intelligence by U.S. military spies and better integrate that information into the broader intelligence community by sharing its assets with these organizations, according to Pentagon officials.

Officials said Tuesday that the new human intelligence effort will primarily focus on the Asia-Pacifc region, where growing threats from China, North Korea and even Muslim fundamentalist groups in the Philippines are on the rise. FULL POST

Is North Korea readying a nuclear test?
April 24th, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Is North Korea readying a nuclear test?

The U.S. has seen no significant signs that North Korea is readying a nuclear test, a senior military official said, responding to questions about a Reuters report from Beijing that the reclusive regime has "almost completed" preparations for a third nuclear test, citing a "senior source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing."

U.S. officials said it would not be surprising should North Korea go ahead with a test, given its history of following missile tests with other provocative actions. However, a senior U.S. military official told CNN's Mike Mount that the U.S. has "seen no overt indications that there is any movement afoot do" a nuclear test.

While reports of nuclear test preparations could not be confirmed, North Korea’s “trash talking” to the South points to the possibility, a senior administration official told CNN's Jill Dougherty.

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Filed under: Asia • Kim Jong-un • North Korea
April 24th, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Netanyahu: "We know" what Iran is doing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says sanctions are taking a bite out of Iran's economy but it is not enough.

"So far they haven't rolled back the Iranian program, or even stopped it by one iota," Netanyahu told CNN's Erin Burnett in an exclusive interview that will broadcast on Tuesday night.

"I can tell you the centrifuges are spinning.  They were spinning before the talks began recently with Iran. They were spinning during the talks. They were spinning as we speak," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also expresses confidence that Israel knew what Iran was trying to do with its nuclear program.  "We know," he said.

"This is not the case, the questions, people had about Saddam Hussein,"  Netanyahu said, referring to the faulty intelligence that was relied on ahead of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Watch the whole interview tonight at 7pET on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront.


Filed under: CNN Programs • Erin Burnett OutFront • Iran • Israel • Middle East
Manning presses for dismissal of charges
April 24th, 2012
09:48 AM ET

Manning presses for dismissal of charges

By Josh Levs and Larry Shaughnessy

Pfc. Bradley Manning returns to court Tuesday to push for all charges against him to be dropped.

Manning is the Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and state department documents while serving in Iraq. Many of those documents ended up on the WikiLeaks website.

His attorneys filed two motions last week. One pushes for all charges against Manning to be dismissed. If that fails, the second pushes for some charges to be dropped.

The latter filing argues that the defense should be allowed to review "grand jury materials" that are in the possession of military authorities.
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April 24th, 2012
09:15 AM ET

Top Yemeni militant killed in strike

By CNN Wire Staff

A top commander of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was killed last weekend in Yemen, the Yemeni Embassy in Washington announced Tuesday.

Mohammed Saeed Al-Umda, alias Ghareeb Al-Taizi, was killed when an airstrike targeted a militant convoy Sunday in the remote desert region of Al-Samdah, in the Marib's Al-Wadi district, the embassy said. Al-Umda was ranked 4th on Yemen's most-wanted list.

U.S. drone activity has increased in Yemen, though the embassy did not specify whether it was a drone strike or which country carried out the airstrike.
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Filed under: AQAP • Yemen
April 24th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Man on the Wall: The 'Case File' on the Customs and Border Protection Chief

By Suzanne Kelly

Editor's note: This is part of a Security Clearance series "Case Files," which profiles members of the national security and intelligence community.

Mike Fisher was a law school intern in the late 1980s, sifting through files in the basement of the Crawford County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney's Office. Within the pages of those legal briefs lived the adventures of other people.

"I was reading case files and preparing briefs and I saw all this neat cop stuff that people were doing out there and I just decided at that point it was something that I didn't want to be writing about. I wanted to actually do it," said Fisher.

He sent his application to the FBI, but as he recalls, it was only interested in hiring Chinese linguists and accounting majors, so he took the advice of one of the FBI agents he met and blanketed other federal agencies with his resume.

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The post-2014 view from Helmand
April 24th, 2012
02:09 AM ET

The post-2014 view from Helmand

By Mike Mount

While a new deal with Afghanistan starts to spell out the U.S. presence after the bulk of troops leave in 2014, a top U.S. general said he has a good idea of what skills will be needed to ensure the country remains stable.

"I think there are some areas that the Afghans will not be able to build capability over the next two years and so they are going to need our support," said Marine Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan, who just returned from commanding NATO forces in southern Afghanistan for the past year.

Toolan is in Washington to promote his efforts during his command in Helmand Province, a large but remote section of Afghanistan squeezed between Iran to the west and Pakistan to the south and poppy fields in between.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military