US disputes Hong Kong claims about Snowden paperwork problems
June 26th, 2013
10:51 PM ET

US disputes Hong Kong claims about Snowden paperwork problems

By Carol Cratty, CNN Senior Producer

Hong Kong authorities contacted the U.S. government late last week asking for clarification of the name on the paperwork requesting a provisional arrest warrant for Edward Snowden.

Hong Kong's Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen told reporters Tuesday night that  Hong Kong's Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen said some documents referred to an Edward James Snowden, but Hong Kong immigration records said Joseph was the middle name listed in Snowden's passport.  Other documents only referred to Edward J. Snowden. Yuen said that confusion plus the fact the documents didn't list a passport number for Snowden slowed down the process of considering whether to grant an arrest warrant.

Justice Department statement acknowledged Hong Kong asked for clarification regarding the name but called it an excuse.

"The true motive of the letter from Hong Kong authorities is revealed by its request for the supposed 'clarification' of Mr. Snowden's identity with regard to his middle name," said the statement, which also noted photos and videos of Snowden were widely carried by media outlets.  "That Hong Kong would ask for more information about his identity demonstrates that it was simply trying to create a pretext for not acting on the provisional arrest request.”

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Filed under: Edward Snowden • NSA
Military court overturns Marine's Iraq murder conviction
June 26th, 2013
10:34 PM ET

Military court overturns Marine's Iraq murder conviction

By CNN's Greg Clary

The military's equivalent of the Supreme Court overturned the conviction Wednesday of a Marine found guilty of murdering a civilian during the Iraq war, saying he was interrogated after asking for a lawyer.

A court originally sentenced Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III to 15 years in prison for the murder of 52-year-old Hashim Awad in April of 2006.

Prosecutors said Hutchins, who led a Marine squad that dragged Awad from his home, shot him in the face several times and then placed a shovel and AK-47 near his body to make it appear he was an insurgent burying roadside bombs.

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Filed under: Iraq
New York man admits planning to join Yemen terror group
June 26th, 2013
09:42 PM ET

New York man admits planning to join Yemen terror group

By CNN's Carol Cratty

A New York man admitted trying to travel to Yemen to join the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to newly unsealed court documents.

Justin Kaliebe, 18, was arrested on January 21 at John F. Kennedy Airport as he tried to board a plan for Oman with plans to travel from there to Yemen. Less than a month later Kaliebe pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

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Filed under: AQAP • Yemen
June 26th, 2013
09:39 PM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Amanpour and Robert Gates

The former head of both the CIA and Pentagon, Robert Gates, weighed in on the events surrounding fugitive leaker Edward Snowden in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“If you can’t ultimately trust people then you’re in real trouble,” Gates told Amanpour. “And the consequence of that is you will have a narrowing and a narrowing of the information that’s made available to people for analysis, and for decision making, as people try to protect that information. And you will be back in the same kind of situation that we apparently had prior to 9/11, where you don’t have the ability for people with the broad enough access to connect the dots.”

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Filed under: Security Brief
Back to Iraq? Dempsey floats idea of sending trainers as Syria's war spills over
June 26th, 2013
08:04 PM ET

Back to Iraq? Dempsey floats idea of sending trainers as Syria's war spills over

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent

In a move that could send small numbers of U.S. military trainers back to Iraq, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has asked his top Middle East commander to look at ways the United States could boost military sales, assistance and training in that country as well as in Lebanon and Jordan as Syria's civil war continues to affect its neighbors.

Any deployment of U.S. forces would have to have those countries' approval, and so far there is no indication that Iraq or Lebanon would agree to accept U.S. troops.

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Ecuador to U.S.: Argue against Snowden asylum in writing
June 26th, 2013
05:54 PM ET

Ecuador to U.S.: Argue against Snowden asylum in writing

By Josh Levs, Jethro Mullen and Michael Pearson

Edward Snowden may have no trouble staying longer in a Russian airport, and Ecuador wants the United States to argue in writing why he should not be given political asylum, the two countries said Wednesday.

The Ecuadorian government also took a swipe at Washington, rejecting what it called false and "detrimental" claims the U.S. government has made about Ecuador.

Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked U.S. surveillance secrets, is in the transit area, between arrival gates and passport checkpoints, at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described Snowden Tuesday as a "free man."

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Opinion: Chris Stevens' father: Carry on his good work
June 26th, 2013
05:19 PM ET

Opinion: Chris Stevens' father: Carry on his good work

By Jan Stevens, Special to CNN

Chris Stevens died in the service of his country. He died doing what he loved most - working to build bridges of understanding and mutual respect between the people of the United States and the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

He was loved by many more Libyans than those who hated him for being an American. A few dozen fanatics penetrated his compound. More than 30,000 people in Benghazi demonstrated in protest over his death.

Chris was successful because he embodied the traits that have always endeared America to the world - a commitment to democratic principles, and respect for others, regardless of race, religion or culture. Chris regarded and liked each person he met as an individual. He respected their views, whether or not he agreed.

Editor's note: Jan Stevens is the father of Ambassador Chris Stevens and writes these comments on behalf of his family.

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Filed under: Libya • Terrorism
Opinion: Obama's goal in Africa: Counter China
June 26th, 2013
09:35 AM ET

Opinion: Obama's goal in Africa: Counter China

By Peter Bergen, Special to CNN

There is a one-word subtext to President Obama's trip to Africa: China.

After 9/11, the United States became embroiled in more than a decade of wars in Asia and the Middle East. As a result, U.S. engagement in Latin America and Africa largely atrophied.

Meanwhile, China saw an opportunity. China has now displaced the United States as the largest trading partners of two key Latin American countries, Brazil and Chile.

China's economic rise is particularly marked in Africa; it quietly surpassed the United States as the continent's largest trading partner four years ago.

Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation.

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