October 29th, 2013
05:40 PM ET

First on CNN: US commandos were poised for raid to capture Benghazi suspect

By Barbara Starr

When U.S. commandos grabbed a former al Qaeda operative in Tripoli this month, American forces were just hours away from potentially launching a more dangerous covert raid to capture a militia figure facing charges in the deadly Benghazi terror attack, U.S. officials tell CNN.

U.S. special operations forces were ready, if ordered, to enter Benghazi and capture Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a leading figure in the Ansar Al-Sharia militia. But the mission never materialized.

The United States believes Ansar Al-Sharia was behind the September 2012 armed assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
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House committee questions spy chiefs about phone tapping allegations
October 29th, 2013
02:03 PM ET

House committee questions spy chiefs about phone tapping allegations

By CNN Staff

The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon is questioning U.S. spy chiefs about accusations that the National Security Agency has tapped not only the phone calls of millions of Americans, but those of top U.S. allies.

Tuesday's hearing, billed as a discussion of potential changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, comes amid claims, reported last week by German magazine Der Spiegel, that the NSA monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

It's the latest in a series of spying allegations that stem from disclosures given to news organizations by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who describes himself as a whistle-blower. Comments by President Barack Obama's administration claiming that he did not know of the practice until recently have drawn criticism from both the right and the left.

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Filed under: NSA
October 29th, 2013
01:44 PM ET

Bigger, Lighter, Deadlier! Navy launches new stealth destroyer

By Larry Shaughnessy

(CNN) - The Navy's newest warship slipped out of dry dock this week into the waters of Maine, marking a new era for war fighting at sea.

The USS Zumwalt, the first of the DDG-1000 class of destroyers, is longer, faster and carries state-of-the-art weapons that will allow it to destroy targets at more than 60 miles, according to the Navy.

At 610 feet long and 81 feet wide, the Zumwalt is longer and thinner than the USS Arizona, a battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor. But it weighs about half as much.
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Filed under: Contractors • drones • Navy • Pentagon • weapons
U.S. weighs how to expand role in Kony hunt
October 29th, 2013
01:26 PM ET

U.S. weighs how to expand role in Kony hunt

By Barbara Starr

In a sign of a potentially expanded role for U.S. special forces in Africa, the Pentagon is considering sending V-22 Osprey aircraft to a base in Uganda for American and African forces to use in assaults on The Lord's Resistance Army, a messianic group led by Joseph Kony, a warlord African forces are trying to capture with the help of the United States.

The V-22, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, would increase the distance ground forces can operate, and transport them to targets faster than conventional helicopters, said two U.S. military officials who confirmed details to CNN.

Special forces commanders are making the case the operation needs more mobility than a small number of conventional helicopters can provide currently.

At the same time, the role of U.S. special forces in the Kony hunt has been expanded under a new authorization approved by the White House, both officials said.
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October 29th, 2013
11:47 AM ET

Terrorist attacks and deaths hit record high, report shows

By Daniel Burke

As terrorism increasingly becomes a tactic of warfare, the number of attacks and fatalities soared to a record high in 2012, according to a new report obtained exclusively by CNN.

More than 8,500 terrorist attacks killed nearly 15,500 people last year as violence tore through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

That’s a 69% rise in attacks and an 89% jump in fatalities from 2011, said START, one of the world’s leading terrorism-trackers.

Six of the seven most deadly groups are affiliated with al Qaeda, according to START, and most of the violence was committed in Muslim-majority countries.

The previous record for attacks was set in 2011 with more than 5,000 incidents; for fatalities the previous high was 2007 with more than 12,800 deaths.

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House committee to question spy chiefs about phone tapping allegations
October 29th, 2013
09:40 AM ET

House committee to question spy chiefs about phone tapping allegations

By CNN Staff

The House Intelligence Committee is set to question U.S. spy chiefs about accusations that the National Security Agency has tapped not only the phone calls of millions of Americans, but those of top U.S. allies.

Among those on the hot seat will be Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Germany's interior minister said Monday that his country's confidence in the United States is shaken, amid claims the NSA monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

"If the Americans intercepted cell phones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, adding that he wants "complete information on all accusations."

"The confidence in our ally, U.S.A., is shaken," Friedrich said, according to Bild am Sonntag.

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Filed under: NSA