March 13th, 2013
10:17 PM ET

Veterans' wait time for benefits is 'too long,' VA official concedes

By Jennifer Rizzo

Questioned about a growing backlog of veterans' claims, a top Veteran Affairs official conceded Wednesday that veterans wait "too long" to receive benefits.

"Too many veterans still have to wait too long to get the compensation benefits they earn, and that is unacceptable to us," said Allison Hickey, Undersecretary for Benefits, during a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Senators pressed officials from the VA on the increase in the number of veterans waiting more than 125 days for their benefits claims to go through.

A recent report from the Center for Investigative Reporting found that since President Obama took office in 2009, the number of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits has skyrocketed, from 11,000 in 2009 to 245,000 in December 2012, a jump of more than 2,000%.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Security Brief
March 13th, 2013
06:16 PM ET

Material in North Korea's nuclear test unclear, worrying for U.S.

By Jill Dougherty and Pam Benson

More than a month after North Korea tested a nuclear device, the United States is unable to pinpoint whether the regime was able to use uranium to fuel the explosion, a capability that would represent a significantly enhanced nuclear program.

The lack of clarity comes as North Korea ratchets up its bellicose rhetoric each day.

New video broadcast on North Korean television showed the nation's leader, Kim Jong Un, addressing his troops along the border on Monday and issuing a blood-chilling threat, "Throw all enemies into the caldron, break their waists and crack their windpipes." It was the same location he and his late father visited in November 2010, just two days before the North shelled an island, killing four South Koreans.

The bellicose comments have been intensifying over the past months, increasing worry about Kim's unpredictability.

FULL POST

President to host CEOs in Situation Room for cyber security chat
March 13th, 2013
01:22 PM ET

President to host CEOs in Situation Room for cyber security chat

By Alex Mooney

President Obama has invited a handful of CEOs to the White House Situation Room on Wednesday to discuss the growing threats posed by cyberattacks.

Administration officials are so far staying tight-lipped about who is attending the closed-door meeting, but one White House official tried to downplay the choice of convening it in the Situation Room, which is ordinarily reserved for high-ranking members of the president's national security team.

Instead, the White House official said, the Situation Room is the only conference room available Wednesday to accommodate the meeting.

The president is expected to discuss his administration's latest steps to beef up cybersecurity, including a recently signed executive order designed to improve intelligence sharing between the government and the private sector over potential cyber vulnerabilities, particularly those posed by Chinese hackers.

Among the CEOs invited are the leaders of AT&T, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman, the White House said Wednesday. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Cybersecurity • White House