By Jennifer Rizzo
The U.S. military plans to deploy specialized Army units around the globe as part of an effort to build worldwide military partnerships, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday.
The first units will be deployed to Africa Command next year. These units, known as brigade combat teams, will specialize in the culture and language of the geographic places in which they are operating.
"Those security cooperation capabilities and skill sets once considered the exclusive province of the special operations community will need to be built up and retained across the force and among civilians," said Panetta. "In particular, it is critical that we invest in language training and cultural expertise throughout the Department (of Defense)."
Panetta made the announcement during a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace that outlined a department-wide initiative to build international partnerships by increasing the security capabilities of nations in every part of the globe.
By Jamie Crawford
China and Singapore received exceptions from U.S. sanctions scheduled to go into effect today that would have cut off banks in those countries from the U.S. financial system for continuing large volumes of Iranian oil transactions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.
CNN was first to report the exemptions earlier Thursday.
"Today, I have made the determination that two additional countries, China and Singapore, have significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran," Clinton said in a written statement. "As a result, I will report to the Congress that sanctions pursuant to Section 1245(d)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 will not apply to their financial institutions for a potentially renewable period of 180 days."
The move will keep Chinese and Singaporean banks and financial institutions from being cut off from the U.S. banking system as the legislation calls for those institutions who do not demonstrate a significant reduction in the purchases of Iranian petroleum.
by Jamie Crawford
China and Singapore will receive exemptions from U.S. sanctions scheduled to go into effect Thursday that would have cut off banks in those countries from the U.S. financial system for handling Iranian oil transactions, a source in the office of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) tells Security Clearance.
Secretary of State Clinton called Senator Menendez earlier today to inform him.
Under legislation signed by President Barack Obama In December, the United States will take action against countries that continue buying large volumes of Iranian oil through Iran's Central Bank by cutting off financial institutions engaged in those transactions from the U.S. banking system. FULL POST
By CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears
The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a federal law making it a crime to falsely claim military medals earned.
The 6-3 ruling was a free speech victory but perhaps in name only - for a onetime California public official who publicly lied about winning the prestigious Medal of Honor.
At issue is the constitutional value of false statements of fact, and whether Congress went too far when passing the Stolen Valor Act in 2006.
By Jill Dougherty
As her blue and white jet emblazoned with "United States of America" touched down in Riga, the capital of Latvia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made some diplomatic history: visiting her 100th country as America's top diplomat. The record for any other secretary up to that point was 96.
As her plane rolled down the tarmac and a flight attendant announced the milestone, her flight-weary staff applauded.
The peripatetic Clinton has only increased her travel during her time in office, making 70 trips, completing 337 days on the road and the equivalent of more than 73 days on the plane, equaling over 1,750 hours, according to her State Department staff. Dressed in a jaunty navy suit with white piping, Clinton seemed unfazed by the mileage as she shook hands with Latvian President Andris Berzins at Riga Castle.
"I wanted to save a very consequential number for Latvia!" she said proudly, beginning a day that would take her to three countries in less than 24 hours: Finland, Latvia and Russia.
By Jamie Crawford
The United States faces a deadline Thursday of deciding whether to issue an exemption to Chinese banks and financial instituions, and other purchasers of Iranian oil, or move to cut them off from the U.S. financial system as punishment for not reducing their purchases of Iranian crude by significant amounts.
Under legislation signed by President Barack Obama on December, the United States will take action against countries that continue buying large volumes of Iranian oil through Iran's Central Bank by cutting off financial institutions engaged in those transactions from the U.S. banking system.
The legislation was signed with the goal of strangling the biggest source of revenue for the Iranian government as a way to get Tehran to halt work on segments of its nuclear program that many Western countries fear is being used to produce a bomb. Iran contends its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes.