Mistake in classification led to N. Korea info being revealed
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey (L) listens as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testifies before the House Armed Services Committee Thursday.
April 11th, 2013
09:37 PM ET

Mistake in classification led to N. Korea info being revealed

By Jamie Crawford, with reporting from Pam Benson, Deirdre Walsh, Chris Lawrence and Barbara Starr

The Pentagon was caught by surprise Thursday when sensitive information about North Korea's nuclear program from a classified March 2013 report was "mistakenly" declassified and discussed during an open hearing on Capitol Hill, raising questions about how such a significant error could have occurred.

In a hearing by the House Armed Services Committee to discuss the Pentagon's budget, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, read from what he said was an unclassified sentence in an otherwise classified report by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

"DIA assess with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles, however, the reliability will be low," Lamborn read before posing a question about its significance to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
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General defends court martial reversal in sex assault case
Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin
April 11th, 2013
08:19 PM ET

General defends court martial reversal in sex assault case

By Larry Shaughnessy

The general at the center of a military and legal controversy is telling his side of the story for the first time since throwing out the sexual assault conviction of an Air Force officer.

Lt. Colonel James Wilkerson III was found guilty last year by a jury of Air Force officers of sexually assaulting a woman at his home outside Aviano Air Base in Italy.

He spent four months in a Navy brig before Lt. General Craig Franklin, the convening authority in the case, threw out the verdict.

Franklin was the officer who ordered Wilkerson's court martial at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. But military law allowed him to have the final say.
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Filed under: Air Force • Congress • Hagel • Security Brief
Kerry to urge China to pressure North Korea
April 11th, 2013
07:36 PM ET

Kerry to urge China to pressure North Korea

By Jill Dougherty

The Obama administration says China is increasingly frustrated by the provocative actions of North Korea and Secretary of State John Kerry will try to convince leaders in Beijing that Pyongyang is, as one senior administration official said, "putting China's own interests at risk."

Briefing reporters on Kerry's plane as he flew from London to the first stop on his four-day Asian tour, that official and a senior State Department official said the administration is urging China to use its leverage with the North "otherwise it is very destabilizing."
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April 11th, 2013
06:10 PM ET

Al Qaeda video resurfaces urging radicals to buy guns in U.S.

By Sudip Bhattacharya, CNN

A video from 2011 has resurfaced showing American-raised al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn discussing how easy it is to buy guns in the United States and urging fellow radicals to do so.

In the video, the California said militants should arm themselves for attacks on Western governments.

"America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," said Gadahn, "You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?"
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U.S. updates military options for Syria
Syrian rebel patrols in the city of Aleppo
April 11th, 2013
05:26 PM ET

U.S. updates military options for Syria

By Barbara Starr

Under pressure from Democrats and Republicans, the Joint Staff of the Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command have updated potential military options for intervention in Syria that could see American forces - if ordered - doing everything from bombing Syrian airfields to flying large amounts of humanitarian aid to the region, a senior U.S. military official said.

The first public discussion of the updated options could come soon as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee next week.

The military official emphasized the options are for planning and there is no indication President Barack Obama is about to order any military action.

A senior administration official confirmed that the national security staff of the White House has been briefed on the updated planning, but emphasized that it does not differ from what already has been looked at by the administration.

"We've been saying for quite some time now, we are constantly reviewing every possible option that could help end the violence and accelerate a political transition," the administration official told CNN.

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Pentagon says North Korea is capable of delivering nuclear missiles
April 11th, 2013
05:04 PM ET

Pentagon says North Korea is capable of delivering nuclear missiles

From Barbara Starr and Chris Lawrence

The Pentagon’s intelligence arm has assessed with “moderate confidence” that North Korea has the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon by ballistic missile though the reliability is believed to be “low.” The assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency was revealed during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.

"DIA assess with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles, however, the reliability will be low,” the agency concludes, according to an unclassified version of the report read out by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) during a House Armed Services Hearing.

Pentagon spokesman George Little refused to comment on the assessment in an interview broadcast on ‘The Lead with Jake Tapper,’ saying that while the conclusion was unclassified, “the underlying content is definitely classified.”

Kerry heads to Asia in midst of Korean crisis
April 11th, 2013
10:23 AM ET

Kerry heads to Asia in midst of Korean crisis

By Jill Dougherty

Secretary of State John Kerry embarks on his Asian trip at a critical time, flying to South Korea just as North Korea is threatening to launch missiles. When he arrives in Seoul on Friday, he will be only 30 miles from the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries.

Kerry already has warned the North on what he calls leader Kim Jong Un's "provocative ... dangerous, reckless" rhetoric and actions. Since that comment more than a week ago, he has said little in public, however. The first part of this 10-day international trip - to Turkey and Israel - was focused on the Middle East peace process and Syria.

Even if those are complex, thorny issues, they are subjects with which Kerry is more familiar. As a senator and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he did not travel extensively in Asia and does not have the extensive list of friends among Asian leaders that he has in Europe and the Middle East.
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North Korea raises at least one missile into firing position
A Musudan missile on display at a military parade in North Korea in April 2012. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
April 11th, 2013
08:45 AM ET

North Korea raises at least one missile into firing position

From CNN's Barbara Starr

North Korea raised at least one Musudan missile into its upright firing position Wednesday, raising concerns that a launch was imminent, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday. It's not known by the U.S. why the regime did not fire the missile. The official cautioned that the raising of the missile could have been just a trial run to ensure the equipment worked or an effort to "mess" with the United States and its allies, who are watching for a launch at any time. The official declined to specify what type of intelligence led the United States to conclude the missile was in a firing position.

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Filed under: Security Brief