Reports of abuse at Army day care spurs call from Obama
President Barack Obama urged U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh to conduct an investigation into the hiring practices at Army day care facilities after reports of abuse.
December 19th, 2012
11:31 PM ET

Reports of abuse at Army day care spurs call from Obama

By Barbara Starr

President Barack Obama made the rare move of calling the secretary of the Army on Tuesday night to express concern about reports of abuse at an Army child care facility, U.S. officials told CNN.

"The president made clear that we must have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to protecting the children of service members from abuse. The president urged Secretary (John) McHugh to conduct the investigation into its hiring practices at (Army day care facilities)," a White House official told CNN's Lesa Jansen.

It is highly unusual for the president to call a military service secretary regarding a criminal matter, said a senior U.S. defense official who has served at the Pentagon for more than a decade.

The Department of Defense is now reviewing the hiring procedures at military day care centers and other youth facilities after the September arrests of two workers at Fort Myer in Virginia. The workers were charged Tuesday with "assault on a child under the age of 16" in connection with incidents that occurred in September.

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Filed under: Army • Obama • Panetta
Senators condemn interrogation scenes in 'Zero Dark Thirty'
December 19th, 2012
09:50 PM ET

Senators condemn interrogation scenes in 'Zero Dark Thirty'

By Pam Benson

Three U.S. senators say the new film about the Osama bin Laden raid is "grossly inaccurate and misleading" in how it depicts CIA interrogations as torture and have called on the studio distributing "Zero Dark Thirty" to publicly state the movie is not based on fact.

In a bipartisan letter to Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday, Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin and Republican Sen. John McCain said they were deeply disappointed in the film.

"Zero Dark Thirty is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the films fictional narrative," the senators wrote.
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Filed under: 9/11 • McCain • Osama bin Laden
December 19th, 2012
08:46 PM ET

Sex assault at military academies underreported, survey finds

By Larry Shaughnessy and Barbara Starr

The risk of sexual assault is growing at the elite military service academies, but victims are reluctant to report the problem, according to a Pentagon report obtained by CNN.

The survey of three military academies was ordered by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and will be released Thursday. CNN obtained advance details of the survey, which shows that the problem is getting worse with a rise in reported assaults and evidence that many more are never discussed.

Some of the most disturbing new information comes from the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. The survey found that 225 midshipmen, mainly females, reported that they were the victims of unwanted sexual contact in the most recent academic year. That contact includes everything from touching to rape. But only 12 filed formal reports, down nearly 50 percent from last year. The belief is the women still are not confident that their reports will be taken seriously.
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Benghazi suspects still on the loose
The city of Derna, Libya which remains a stronghold of militant Islamist and jihadist groups.
December 19th, 2012
08:09 PM ET

Benghazi suspects still on the loose

By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister

More than three months after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, not a single person has been charged in connection with the assault.

Most, if not all, of those questioned in Libya since the attack have been released.

A Libyan source with knowledge of the investigation, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivities involved in the probe, told CNN there are indications that the perpetrators of the attack came from beyond the Benghazi area and slipped away immediately afterward. The source says it is possible the attackers came from the city of Derna or surrounding areas, about 120 miles (200 km) to the east, which remains a stronghold of militant Islamist and jihadist groups.

The September 11 attack killed four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. The State Department's independent report on security lapses in Benghazi did not focus on who was responsible as part of its mandate, review leader Ambassador Thomas Pickering said Wednesday, but the FBI continues to investigate.
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Clinton to testify before House panel in January
December 19th, 2012
06:03 PM ET

Clinton to testify before House panel in January

By CNN's Dana Bash

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify in January before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CNN on Wednesday.

Clinton was slated to testify on the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya before the panel on Thursday, but canceled her scheduled Capitol Hill appearances after her office acknowledged on Saturday she had recently suffered a concussion and would be working from home this week.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Secretary of State
December 19th, 2012
01:01 PM ET

Three resign for Benghazi security failures

By Elise Labott

Three State Department officials, including two who oversaw security decisions at the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, resigned in the wake of a review of security failures there, senior State Department officials told CNN Wednesday.

The independent review of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi released Tuesday cites "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department.

The attacks killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

The failures resulted in a security plan "that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place," the 39-page unclassified version of the report concludes.

Despite all the criticism, the board found no U.S. government employee had engaged in misconduct or ignored responsibilities, and it did not recommend any individual be disciplined.

Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of diplomatic security, and Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary of state for international programs, submitted their resignations, a senior official said. A third official in the Near East Affairs bureau also resigned, the official said.

Boswell and Lamb oversaw security for the Benghazi mission. Lamb testified before Congress about the security precautions. Documents show Lamb denied repeated requests for additional security in Libya.