By Dana Ford
The Army sergeant who admitted to gunning down 16 civilians in a 2012 rampage through two villages near his outpost in southern Afghanistan is expected to take the stand at his sentencing hearing and will apologize.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty in June to more than 30 criminal charges, including 16 premeditated murder counts.
The plea spares the 39-year-old Bales the prospect of a death sentence in the killings. He now faces life in prison, but a jury of four officers and two enlisted personnel will decide whether he will have a chance at parole.
"Yes, Bob will take (the) stand ... Yes, Bob will apologize," Bales' lawyer, John Henry Browne said in an e-mail to CNN.
Bales admitted to slipping away from his outpost in southern Afghanistan and going on a house-to-house killing spree in two nearby villages in March 2012, a massacre that further strained ties between American troops and their Afghan allies.
But he has not offered an explanation for his actions.FULL STORY
By Larry Shaughnessy
CNN Pentagon Producer
A veterans’ group says it has accumulated 29,000 signatures demanding that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki be fired over persistent delays in processing disability claims.
Concerned Veterans of America sent a petition to President Barack Obama this week maintaining that Veterans Affairs disability claims have increased nearly 2,000 % since he took office in 2009.
Shinseki has been the only veterans affairs secretary under Obama.
In response, the Veterans Affairs Department acknowledged that “too many” veterans have to wait too long for benefits.
“That’s unacceptable, and we are implementing a robust plan to fix the problem,” a statement said.
By Evan Perez
The Obama administration on Wednesday declassified opinions from a secret court that oversees government surveillance showing the National Security Agency was broadly collecting domestic Internet communications of Americans and misrepresenting the scope of that effort to the court.
The three opinions include one from October 2011 by U.S. District Judge John Bates, who scolded government lawyers that the NSA had, for the third time in less than three years, belatedly acknowledged it was collecting more data than it was legally allowed to.
The focus of the opinion was the government's admission that for three years, under its authority to monitor foreign communications, it had been collecting information beyond what it gets from Internet service providers, and included sets of data that were entirely domestic.FULL STORY
By Paul Courson
For leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents, Bradley Manning is set to spend the next three decades in prison.
A military judge on Wednesday sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison - less than the 60 years prosecutors sought, as well as the 90 years he could have received.
The former Army intelligence analyst - convicted in July of stealing 750,000 pages of classified documents and videos and disseminating them to WikiLeaks - will be credited for the roughly three and a half years he's already served in detention.
The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, also reduced his rank from private first class to private, and ordered him to be dishonorably discharged. Manning also will forfeit pay and benefits.FULL STORY