After four years Air Force “confident” it has found F-22 problem source
July 31st, 2012
07:19 PM ET

After four years Air Force “confident” it has found F-22 problem source

By Larry Shaughnessy

An imperfect valve, a filter meant to protect pilots from chemical and biological threats, and decades-old vest technology combined to cause problems that grounded the state-of-the-art F-22 fighter jet, according to Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, director of operations for Air Combat Command.

"We determined with confidence the source of the unexplained physiological incident resides in the F-22 cockpit," Lyon said.

The Air Force has been investigating why a number of F-22 pilots have experienced a mysterious loss of oxygen while in the air, causing dizziness and confusion known as hypoxia, since spring 2011. Oxygen problems that have caused hypoxia-like symptoms in pilots and ground crew members have occurred for the past four years.

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Filed under: Air Force • F-22
New Iran sanctions also hit banks in China, Iraq
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
July 31st, 2012
06:37 PM ET

New Iran sanctions also hit banks in China, Iraq

By Jamie Crawford

President Barack Obama announced new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil Tuesday as well as banks in China and Iraq, warning that Tehran faces "growing consequences" for refusing to answer international questions about its nuclear program.

Obama said China's Bank of Kunlun and the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq "facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars" for Iranian banks already under sanctions.

"By cutting off these financial institutions from the United States, today's action makes it clear that we will expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said the purpose of additional sanctions was to "affect Iran's calculus" to get Tehran to negotiate seriously over its disputed nuclear program.
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Filed under: China • Iran • Iraq • Sanctions • Treasury
July 31st, 2012
02:25 PM ET

Panetta: New Egyptian president “his own man”

By Larry Shaughnessy

The U.S. secretary of defense arrived in Cairo Tuesday for his first meeting with the first democratically elected president in Egypt's history.

Afterward Leon Panetta had positive words for Mohammed Morsy, who represented the Muslim Brotherhood in the election.

"I was convinced that Morsy is his own man, and he is the president of all of the Egyptian people and that he is truly committed to implementing democratic reforms here in Egypt," Panetta said.

The meeting with Morsy was a top priority for this leg of Panetta's week-long trip to North Africa and the Middle East.
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Filed under: Egypt • Mohamed Morsey • Panetta
State Dept: As core weakens, al Qaeda affiliates are top terror threat
From its base in Yemen, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula represents a "serious threat" the State Department said in a report.
July 31st, 2012
01:13 PM ET

State Dept: As core weakens, al Qaeda affiliates are top terror threat

By Elise Labott

While the killings of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda operatives have weakened the terror network, the rise of groups affiliated al Qaeda in the Middle East and Africa presents a serious threat to U.S. security, the State Department's annual terrorism report warns.

"As al-Qaida's core has gotten weaker, we have seen the rise of affiliated groups around the world. Among these al-Qaida affiliates, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) represents a particularly serious threat," the survey of terrorism worldwide warned.

The overview of terrorism and terrorist groups around the world found that bin Laden's death last year in a raid on his compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy Seals, coupled with the killing of top al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, "puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse." The report says the June death of Iyas Kashmiri and the August killing of Atiya Abdul Rahman, al Qaeda's second-in-command after bin Laden's death, are among the top blows dealt to the organization in Pakistan.

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Report: Pakistani doctor in regular contact with spies
Dr. Shakil Afridi, attending a Malaria control campaign in Khyber tribal district on July 22, 2010.
July 31st, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Report: Pakistani doctor in regular contact with spies

By Larry Shaughnessy

Dr. Shakil Khan Afridi has been in jail since just a few weeks after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and a new report obtained by CNN sheds some light on just what he is alleged to have done.

Not long after his arrest, officials told CNN Afridi was charged with treason for helping the CIA locate bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad through a fake vaccination campaign.

Bin Laden was killed in the subsequent U.S. raid on the compound in May last year.

But a report recently filed with a Pakistani appeals court alleges that Afridi's contact with "American spies" began long before the vaccination event.

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Filed under: Pakistan
Chicago man pleads guilty to plan to fight for Al-Shabaab terror group
July 31st, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Chicago man pleads guilty to plan to fight for Al-Shabaab terror group

By Carol Cratty

A Chicago man who planned to travel to Somalia to fight for a terrorist group pleaded guilty on Monday to terrorism-related charges.

Shaker Masri, a 28-year old U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support for Al-Shabaab, a group he knew the United States had designated as a foreign terrorist organization, according to prosecutors.

In his plea agreement, Masri said that on July 19, 2010, he told an associate he "wanted to travel to a conflict zone to engage in jihadist fighting" and that he had the choice of going to Afghanistan to help al Qaeda or travel to Somalia to aid Al-Shabaab. Masri told his associate he had decided to go to Somalia but he needed money.
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Filed under: Al-Shabaab • Somalia • Terrorism