October 9th, 2012
09:51 PM ET

Army to Congress: Thanks, but no tanks

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston

HERLONG, California (CNN) - If you need an example of why it is hard to cut the budget in Washington look no further than this Army depot in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada range.

CNN was allowed rare access to what amounts to a parking lot for more than 2,000 M-1 Abrams tanks. Here, about an hour's drive north of Reno, Nevada, the tanks have been collecting dust in the hot California desert because of a tiff between the Army and Congress.

The U.S. has more than enough combat tanks in the field to meet the nation's defense needs - so there's no sense in making repairs to these now, the Army's chief of staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno told Congress earlier this year.

If the Pentagon holds off repairing, refurbishing or making new tanks for three years until new technologies are developed, the Army says it can save taxpayers as much as $3 billion.
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State Department officials: Benghazi attack 'unprecedented'
October 9th, 2012
08:43 PM ET

State Department officials: Benghazi attack 'unprecedented'

From Jill Dougherty and Elise Labott

In the most detailed explanation yet of the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, two senior State Department officials said there was no prior indication that an attack was imminent.

The officials, who briefed reporters on background in a conference call Tuesday evening, said there was "nothing unusual" throughout the day of the attack, September 11. The ambassador held an evening meeting with a Turkish diplomat and then retired to his room in one of the compound's buildings at 9 p.m., according to the officials.

The call, a day ahead of a congressional hearing into security failings at the diplomatic mission, was an attempt to offer the State Department's view that the severity of the attack and speed at which it unfolded made it impossible to defend even with some of the increased security measures that had been requested - but not fulfilled - before September 11.
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October 9th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

U.S. official sought more security for Benghazi post

By Jill Dougherty and Elise Labott

The State Department's top security official in Libya asked for extra security for the consulate in Benghazi in the months before the diplomatic post was overrun in a deadly attack but received no response from superiors, according to documents obtained by CNN.

The disclosure comes ahead of a congressional hearing on Wednesday on the armed assault that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on September 11. U.S. intelligence believes the incident was a terrorist act.

Eric Nordstrom, the regional security officer in Libya until this past July, had conveyed concerns about the Libyan government's ability overall to protect American diplomatic facilities.
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North Korea's missile remarks, talking trash or real threat?
A new version of North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile sits on a launch pad prior to its launch last April. (CNN Photo)
October 9th, 2012
06:20 PM ET

North Korea's missile remarks, talking trash or real threat?

By Larry Shaughnessy

North Korea claims that it has ballistic missiles that can reach the mainland of the United States. If it does, the isolated Asian nation certainly hasn't offered any proof in spite of several attempts.

Even back in 2003, CIA Director George Tenet testified to Congress that the Taepodong-2 missile could hit the U.S. West Coast. But the potential has not translated into technical success.
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October 9th, 2012
05:45 PM ET

Intel chief on criticisms about Benghazi: "Enough already"

By Suzanne Kelly

The top U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday there was no obvious warning ahead of the deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and rebuffed criticism of the intelligence community's initial assessment of the incident.

James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, said in raw and revealing remarks to a group of intelligence professionals and contractors in Orlando that there is a "message" the intelligence community has learned since the September 11 attack that is "applicable to the executive and legislative branches of government" as well as to members of the media.

U.S. intelligence has been sharply criticized by some members of Congress who allege the Obama administration did not come out soon enough and identify the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans as a planned, terrorist assault.

Clapper said an increased security risk is the new normal overseas, and that people need to understand what intelligence can and cannot do.
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Justices uphold government immunity over domestic eavesdropping program
October 9th, 2012
01:21 PM ET

Justices uphold government immunity over domestic eavesdropping program

By Bill Mears

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday left in place a law that allows the Justice Department to stop suits against telecommunications companies for participating in wiretaps of potential terrorists.

The ruling was a key setback for civil libertarians challenging the broader powers of government since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States to use electronic surveillance to track potential threats in the name of national security.

The Justices declined to take up a challenge to the once-secret domestic eavesdropping program under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - this one involving the monitoring of information moving into and out of the United States.

Previous petitions dealing with alleged abuses of the surveillance law also have been rejected by the court. Another case will be heard later this month.
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Filed under: Intelligence
Checking the facts in Romney's foreign policy speech
October 9th, 2012
03:12 AM ET

Checking the facts in Romney's foreign policy speech

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivered highly publicized remarks on foreign policy Monday afternoon, two weeks before facing President Barack Obama in a security focused debate. The former governor took every opportunity in his 20-minute speech at the Virginia Military Institute to point out the perceived failures of the Obama administration. CNN conducted fact checks on several of Romney’s assertions to gauge their validity.

Fact check: Did Obama say he wants 'daylight' between U.S., Israel?

Throughout his campaign, Romney has cast himself as an ardent backer of Israel - and, either directly or indirectly, suggested that President Barack Obama hasn't been similarly supportive. Monday was no exception as Romney stated that the relationship between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has suffered great strains" in recent years.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Defense Spending • Foreign Policy • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Military • Navy • Romney
October 9th, 2012
01:24 AM ET

The Danish biker and the trail that led to al Qaeda's most wanted

By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister

A 36-year-old Dane called Morten Storm says he was the man who led the CIA to Anwar al Awlaki, the al Qaeda cleric killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year. And he says he did it with a computer thumb-drive that secretly contained a tracking device.

Among the evidence he's produced: recorded telephone conversations, passport stamps showing multiple trips to Yemen, correspondence with Awlaki, and a recording of a conversation with an unidentified American – who acknowledges his role in the pursuit of Awlaki.

FULL STORY