U.S. post in Benghazi had less than standard security before attack
September 24th, 2012
08:17 PM ET

U.S. post in Benghazi had less than standard security before attack

By Suzanne Kelly, Elise Labott, and Mike Mount

The U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was operating under a lower security standard than a typical consulate when it was attacked this month, according to State Department officials.

The mission was a rented villa and considered a temporary facility by the agency, which allowed a waiver that permitted fewer guards and security measures than a standard embassy or consulate, according to the officials.

There was talk about constructing a permanent facility, which would require a building that met U.S. security and legal standards, the officials said.

Allowing a waiver would have been a decision made with input from Washington, Libyan officials and the ambassador, according to diplomatic security experts.
FULL POST

September 24th, 2012
08:00 PM ET

Insiders recount fighting off insurgents inside Afghanistan's Camp Bastion

By Barbara Starr

It was after dinner at Camp Bastion on Friday, September 14, when the first shots rang out. Maintenance officer Maj. Greer Chambless was with fellow U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Raible, the squadron commander, moving some gear.

"We looked up the flight line and quickly realized that the airfield was under attack. There was maybe one second where we were thinking what to do and then Col. Raible sprang into action," Chambless told CNN.

Before the night was over, a brutal firefight raged across the airfield. As helicopters backed them up with fire from the air, U.S. and British troops fought together on the ground for hours against Taliban insurgents attacking the base in Afghanistan.

It would be become a night of tragedy and heroism for many.
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European court clears way for terror suspect's extradition to U.S.
September 24th, 2012
06:40 PM ET

European court clears way for terror suspect's extradition to U.S.

A European court on Monday ruled that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza can be extradited from Great Britain to the United States, where he faces a host of terrorism charges.

The European Human Rights Court issued its ruling, clearing the way for Hamza's extradition. This means that he can now be moved to the United States, though no date has been set.

Hamza faces 11 charges in U.S. courts, including conspiracy in connection with a 1998 kidnapping of 16 Westerners in Yemen and conspiring with others to establish an Islamic jihad training camp in rural Oregon in 1999.

Read the full story here


Filed under: EU • Europe • Terrorism
September 24th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

Scenes from the military mine sweeping exercise

Military from more than three dozen countries converged on the Arabian Gulf for the 2012 International Mine Countermeasure Exercise.  The U.S. military says these exercises are strictly "defensive," but the show of force in light of Iran's threats is hard to ignore.  CNN's Chris Lawrence has been reporting on the exercise and sent back these photos of the action.

Watch Chris' story: FULL POST

A general's warning about militants in Libya
September 24th, 2012
10:21 AM ET

A general's warning about militants in Libya

By Barbara Starr

Just three months ago, the four-star chief of the U.S. Africa Command warned of a growing threat from al Qaeda and other militant groups in Libya.
"There is a real concern in Libya. As Libya is coming out of the revolution and forming its new government, there very clearly are those who wish to undermine the formation of that government," said Gen. Carter Ham in a speech to senior military and civilian officials from Africa, Europe and the U.S.

"We see some worrying indicators that al Qaeda and others are seeking to establish a presence in Libya," Ham warned. Ham often worked closely with the late Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Ham has been trying to establish the initial stages of a military relationship with Libya, but the effort has been slowed by the presence and influence of armed militias, such as those suspected of being involved in the attack.  Ham noted back in June the problem of bringing even more mainstream groups under the control of the central government. FULL POST