Romney borrows from Obama foreign policy playbook
July 24th, 2012
10:41 PM ET

Romney borrows from Obama foreign policy playbook

By Mike Mount

As presidential races go, one expects a candidate's talking points on major issues to sometimes seem vague. Tuesday's speech by Mitt Romney laying out his foreign policy plans, at some points seemed not only vague, but not very different from President Barack Obama's positions in key areas.

The Republican presidential candidate delivered his speech before the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) a day after Obama spoke at the same convention.

While again railing against the president for removing surge troops early, before the fighting season ends in Afghanistan, he called the president's plan a politically timed retreat. But Romney did not offer any alternatives and instead called for a plan basically identical to that of the president's.

"As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders," Romney said.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Foreign Policy • Obama • Romney
July 24th, 2012
07:20 PM ET

Presidential candidates lack military service

Ads touting the candidates' military records have been a staple of Presidential campaigns for decades, but not this year. In fact this is the first time in nearly 70 years that neither Presidential candidate has served in the military. CNN's Chris Lawrence reports on whether it matters in the race.

Panetta lifts flight restrictions on troubled F-22
DoD Photo of F-22 during midair refueling
July 24th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

Panetta lifts flight restrictions on troubled F-22

By Mike Mount

Flight restrictions for the plagued F-22 will start to be lifted after the Air Force said it had a plan to mitigate the oxygen issues that sparked questions about the jet fighter's safety.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the plan to begin lifting the restrictions after the Air Force reported it has identified the issues causing reduced oxygen problems that pilots were experiencing in the cockpit, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday.

Little said a valve in a pressure vest worn by the pilots to combat the effects of G-forces will have to be replaced, while pilots will receive an increased volume of air flowing to their masks by removing a filter that was installed to determine whether there were any contaminants present in the oxygen system. FULL POST

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Filed under: Air Force • F-22 • Military
Pakistan: Let us hit drone targets
July 24th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Pakistan: Let us hit drone targets

By Nasir Habib, reporting from Islamabad

The new chief of Pakistan's spy agency will urge the United States to end drone strikes on Pakistani soil and identify targets that the country's security forces can then attack, a senior intelligence official said.

Lt. Gen. Zahirul Islam will deliver the message during a meeting with the head of the CIA on August 2, said the Pakistani intelligence official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

"You (the U.S.) develop a target and let us hit it," Islam will tell CIA Director David Petraeus, the official said. "It would be ideal if the U.S. provides drone technology to Pakistan."

Islam's call will continue an ongoing refrain from Pakistan about the CIA's controversial drone program. Pakistani officials and lawmakers have demanded an immediate end to the drone strikes, saying they have led to civilian deaths. FULL POST

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Filed under: CIA • drones • Intelligence • ISI • Pakistan • Petraeus
July 24th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Congress to hear allegations of failings at US funded Afghan hospital

By Barbara Starr

More than two years after the U.S. military discovered horrifying abuse at an Afghan hospital it was funding, Congress will on Tuesday finally hear directly from U.S. military whistle blowers and other witnesses about the scandal.

Lawmakers will listen to accusations of rampant Afghan corruption, millions of wasted taxpayer dollars and allegations that two senior U.S. Army generals tried to delay an investigation into it all, because they thought it would make the Obama Administration look bad just prior to the 2010 midterm elections.

The House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security has called the hearings after months of asking the Pentagon to investigate the matter. To date, the Pentagon has only said it is reviewing the allegations; it has not publicly said whether a formal investigation has been launched.

The hearing will bring together several recently retired military officers and current officials for the first time to testify formally about what they know about what happened at the Dawood National Military Hospital in Kabul. U.S. troops worked there trying to train Afghan medical teams to care for their wounded, spending nearly $180 million on drugs, supplies and equipment.

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Coping with the persistent threat of terror
July 24th, 2012
12:00 AM ET

Coping with the persistent threat of terror

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of articles about national security by participants in the upcoming Aspen Security Forum.  Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 25-28 in Aspen, Colorado.

Courtesy the Chertoff Group

 
CNN Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly talks with former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on how well the country is prepared for cyber and biological terror attacks. Secretary Chertoff now works in the private sector and as head of The Chertoff Group, which advises clients on current security needs within government.

CNN'S SUZANNE KELLY: What worries you most when it comes to potential terror attacks?

FORMER DHS SECRETARY MICHAEL CHERTOFF: I break it into two categories: things that could easily happen next week or next month, those relatively small scale attacks, for example, like Times Square or a shooting incident like the one involving Nidal Hasan. There is always a persistent threat out there and we know with what's been coming out of Yemen in the last two to three years, that they are still focused on carrying out these attacks.

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