U.S., Russia pledge efforts to launch Syria talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Tuesday.
May 7th, 2013
08:26 PM ET

U.S., Russia pledge efforts to launch Syria talks

By Jill Dougherty

Warning that Syria could fall into the "abyss," Secretary of State John Kerry says he and his Russian counterpart will push for a meeting between the Syrian government and the opposition to try to find a political solution to the crisis that has engulfed the country in civil war.

Speaking at a joint press conference on Tuesday in Moscow, Kerry said he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had agreed "as soon as is practicable, possibly and hopefully, by the end of this month" to seek to convene an international conference.

The aim would be to implement last summer's Geneva communique brokered by Russia and the United States outlining how a transitional government could be formed. FULL POST

May 7th, 2013
07:03 PM ET

Survey indicates troubling trend in military sexual assaults

By Steve Almasy and Ashley Fantz

The number of service members anonymously reporting a sexual assault grew by more than 30% in the past two years, according to a Pentagon report released Tuesday.

The Defense Department estimated that more than 26,000 troops experienced an episode of "unwanted sexual contact," a huge jump from the 19,300 figure in the 2010 report.

"Sexual assault is a despicable crime and one of the most serious challenges facing this department," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at a briefing on the survey. "It's a threat to the safety and the welfare of our people and to the health, reputation and trust of this institution."

FULL STORY

Filed under: Security Brief
May 7th, 2013
07:02 PM ET

After officer charged in sex assault, military faces questions

By Barbara Starr and Greg Seaby

With a top Air Force officer facing allegations of sexual battery and the Pentagon releasing a troubling report on the number of sex crimes in the military, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he has "no tolerance" for sexual assault in the armed services.

Obama's remarks at the White House were in response to new Pentagon statistics showing an increase in reports of sex assaults, as well as allegations of sexual battery against an Air Force officer who led a sex assault prevention unit.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Security Brief
Controversial officer passed over for CIA spy chief post
May 7th, 2013
05:55 PM ET

Controversial officer passed over for CIA spy chief post

By Pam Benson

The undercover officer temporarily running the CIA's spy division who had ties to the agency's controversial interrogation program will not get the job permanently.

CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday the first female to lead the National Clandestine Service will be replaced by a man, a nearly 30-year veteran who served covertly overseas, including a stint as station chief in Pakistan.

The identities of these undercover officials were not made public.

Whether the acting director would get to keep the job was in question due to opposition from a number of senior lawmakers concerned about her ties to the CIA's controversial interrogation and detention program.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Brennan • Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • Congress • Intelligence • Security Brief • Terrorism
Obama: 'North Korea has failed again'
May 7th, 2013
04:50 PM ET

Obama: 'North Korea has failed again'

By Gabriella Schwarz

President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday nuclear aggression from North Korea has further isolated the region and vowed to use all means to deter further provocations.

"If Pyongyang thought its recent threats would drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States or somehow garner the North international respect, today is further evidence that North Korea has failed again," Obama said during a joint press conference with the two leaders. "The United States and the Republic of Korea are as united as ever ... North Korea is more isolated than ever."

Obama said North Korea's manufactured crises will no long elicit concessions and committed to protecting the United States and its allies.

"The United States is fully prepared and capable of defending ourselves and our allies with the full range of capabilities available, including the deterrence provided by our conventional and nuclear forces," Obama said. "The commitment of the United States to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver."

President Park, South Korea's first female president, said she will "by no means tolerate North Korea's threats and provocations, which have recently been escalating further."

FULL STORY
Analysis: Kerry ready to dirty hands in diplomatic deal-making
May 7th, 2013
01:52 PM ET

Analysis: Kerry ready to dirty hands in diplomatic deal-making

By Elise Labott

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was just after 1 a.m. in Istanbul when John Kerry emerged from the Friends of Syria meeting, flanked by Turkey's foreign minister, Qatar's prime minister and Moaz al-Khatib, leader of Syria's political opposition.

The meeting between the Syrian opposition and foreign ministers from 11 of Syria's main backers ran hours past the original deadline. The gathering was intended to get the opposition and international community on the same page about the pace and scope of aid, but it devolved into an extended argument about what one diplomat called "competing agendas" among the supporters.

Kerry took the reins in negotiating the communique, line by line, not letting anyone leave the room until it was finished. In the statement, the group agreed to channel all military assistance through the military council of the U.S.-backed Syrian National Coalition, a significant stab in curbing the escalating influence of al Qaeda-linked groups that have joined the effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Kerry also pushed the opposition to make strong and verifiable commitments to reject extremism and adhere to pluralism and human rights.

After taking questions from the press, Kerry went back into a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and al-Khatib, returning to his hotel well past 3 a.m.

Read the full story on cnn.com/politics.

 

Post by:
Filed under: John Kerry
Pentagon says China using cyberattacks
May 7th, 2013
05:34 AM ET

Pentagon says China using cyberattacks

By CNNMoney's Charles Riley

The Pentagon has accused China of trying to extract sensitive information from U.S. government computers, the latest in a series of rhetorical skirmishes between the two countries on the issue of cyberattacks.

The frank assessment, made in an annual report to U.S. lawmakers on Chinese military capabilities, is the harshest and most detailed set of accusations made thus far by the Obama administration.

"In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military," the report said.

The Pentagon said China is carrying out the attacks in an effort to extract information from "diplomatic, economic and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs." The intellectual property and data is likely being used to bolster China's own defense and high tech industries, the report said

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: China • Cybersecurity • Pentagon