Satellite image shows activity at North Korea launch site
November 26th, 2012
07:59 PM ET

Satellite image shows activity at North Korea launch site

By Adam Levine

A new satellite image shows increased activity at a North Korean launch site, suggesting a new launch could be possible in the next few weeks, according to the satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe.

The United States has seen activity on the launch pad but does not believe a launch is imminent, U.S. military sources tell CNN's Barbara Starr.

The image at North Korea's Sohae satellite launch station was taken on November 23 and shows similar preparations as was witnessed ahead of the failed April 13 attempt to launch a satellite on top of a long-range missile, the DigitalGlobe analysis concludes.
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Filed under: Asia • North Korea • Satellite imagery
Clinton not warned of Egyptian president's power grab
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy
November 26th, 2012
07:27 PM ET

Clinton not warned of Egyptian president's power grab

By Jill Dougherty

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy's bid for more power blindsided Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, as her spokeswoman told reporters Monday, had no forewarning about his upcoming political maneuverings.

Clinton met with Morsy in Cairo last Wednesday in an effort to broker a cease-fire in Gaza but there was no discussion about Morsy's plans for his own government.

"She heard about it when everybody else heard about it," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.
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Accused WikiLeaker to take stand over his claims of prison abuse
November 26th, 2012
07:22 PM ET

Accused WikiLeaker to take stand over his claims of prison abuse

By Mike Mount

U.S. Army private Bradley Manning is expected to take the stand for the first time this week as his lawyers plan to use his claim of mistreatment by military jailers to get his case thrown out.

The Army intelligence analyst is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq. Many of them ended up on the WikiLeaks website. WikiLeaks has never confirmed that Manning was the source of the information.

Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, filed a motion last August to dismiss charges based on a claim, Manning says, of harsh treatment while held at the brig at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia.

The pre-trial hearing that starts Tuesday at Ft. Mead, Maryland, will be the first time Manning will have spoken in court other than answering procedural questions, said Jeff Paterson, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning Support Network.
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November 26th, 2012
07:07 PM ET

Ambassador Rice to meet with lawmakers on Libya

By Dan Lothian

After facing criticism from Republican lawmakers surrounding her characterization of the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will hold meetings on Capitol Hill about Libya, an administration official said Monday.

Rice will meet with Sen. John McCain on Tuesday morning, a Senate source said.

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Filed under: Libya • State Department • Susan Rice
November 26th, 2012
06:52 PM ET

Iran "finding ways" to supply more weapons to Hamas

By Barbara Starr

Iran is "finding ways to resupply Hamas" with long range rockets and other weapons even after the intense fighting between Hamas and Israel that ended in a cease-fire last week, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

The issue is sure to be a problem as Israel and Hamas work out further terms of the cease fire agreement.

Outgoing Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak will be at the Pentagon on Wednesday and the topic of Iran arming Hamas is sure to be discussed.

One area of focus is the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, which is under intense surveillance by American and Israeli intelligence services using spy satellites to gather the latest on Iran's cargo ships and aircraft smuggling weapons into Gaza.
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Pentagon weighs Afghanistan troop options after 2014
November 26th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

Pentagon weighs Afghanistan troop options after 2014

By Chris Lawrence

Pentagon officials are considering a preliminary assessment by Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, on "what he needs going forward" in the country as the U.S. looks to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014, a U.S. official tells CNN.

One of the options being considered is "to keep a force of roughly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan post-2014," according to the official who did not want to be identified discussing ongoing deliberations. The official said that force would comprise a small number of special operations forces dedicated to counterterrorism missions, while the remaining troops "would either continue to train and advise Afghan forces, or assist with logistical issues such as medical evacuations and air support operations."

The "10,000 option" is just one of several being examined, the official said. The options represented "different ends of the spectrum" in terms of troop levels, the official added, but the official did not provide any detail as to what those options are.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not presented a formal recommendation to the White House, Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Monday. FULL POST

Special Ops' body armor recalled
November 26th, 2012
10:08 AM ET

Special Ops' body armor recalled

By Barbara Starr

Body armor plates used by special operations forces in combat are being recalled after a manufacturing defect was found in what the military says is a small percentage of the Generation III ballistic armor plates.

"No USSOCOM service members have been killed or wounded as the result of a defective ballistic plate, but the command is removing failed plates from the operational inventories," said Kenneth McGraw, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Sampling of production lots discovered failure in the lamination of ceramic and steel portions in less than 5% of the GEN III ballistic plates, which are worn inside armored vests during combat. As a result, the flawed vests are being recalled, along with specific production lots in which testing has determined the flaw has occurred.

McGraw said a procedure has been developed to test plates in the field. The problem, he said, stems from "the manufacturer's internal manufacturing and quality assurance processes. The manufacturer has provided the government all information that applies to the defect and has developed a corrective action plan designed to solve the delamination problem."

The manufacturer is Ceradyne Inc. of Costa Mesa, California.

Special Operations Command is now issuing an older generation of plates until a full inventory of GEN III replacement plates is manufactured. A contract has been awarded to Leading Technology Composites Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, to manufacture replacement plates.

Cerradyne also will produce replacement plates using the revised manufacturing and quality assurance plans, McGraw said.

Flap over military combat awards grows
November 26th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Flap over military combat awards grows

By Mike Mount

The U.S. military's combat awards process is in disarray and because of that the official Department of Defense statistics do not accurately reflect those who have been awarded combat medals for bravery in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to some members of Congress.

One of those congressmen, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, is calling for the Army and other services that supply information for the Pentagon's statistics to correct the dozens of disparities, because it is a "disservice" to those who have fought bravely in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and in our past wars and conflicts.

"There have been repetitive and serious breakdowns at multiple levels of the awards process. Problems are visible across all services, but, overall, there appears to be a lack of transparency and even accountability," according to Hunter.

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