By Jake Tapper and Eric Marrapodi
It is military creed that you do not leave your battle buddies behind. But in many ways the U.S. government is doing just that.
Thousands of Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who served U.S. soldiers in those respective wars – not only translating, but serving as eyes and ears for troops – have been left behind, and in some cases were killed. Those trying to avoid this fate by pursuing visas to come to this country have been trapped in a maze of U.S. bureaucracy, weighed down by post-9/11 security.
The Washington Post last week wrote in an editorial, "We find it incomprehensible that the State Department is dragging its feet in providing these interpreters with U.S. visas."
Here is one such story.
By Larry Shaughnessy
(CNN) – The Northwestern University football team has come on hard times. After an impressive start to the season it’s in the midst of a five-game losing streak. And this week the school is caught up in a controversy about, of all things, a uniform that some say appears to be splattered in blood.
The Wildcats will play Michigan Wolverines at home on November 16, just five days after Veterans Day. The university teamed up with Under Armour and the Wounded Warrior Project to design a special flag-themed set of uniforms for the game.
By Larry Shaughnessy
For years, top Marine commanders have been worried about the amount of weight each of their troops carries.
There's the body armor, weapons and ammunition. Those are must-haves. But they also carry lots of water to keep from becoming dehydrated and batteries for their radios, GPS gear and night-vision goggles.
Now, the Marine Corps is looking at how to reduce the water and battery weight.
At a base in California this month, Marine and Navy researchers are testing a concept called Marine Austere Patrolling System, with a built-in solar panel and a water filtration system.
This isn't about the Marine Corps suddenly joining the "green" movement. It's about weight and safety.
By Larry Shaughnessy
At ease Marines. The Corps is not going to make men change their hats.
A New York Post headline, "Obama wants Marines to wear 'girly' hats," generated a lot of attention this week.
But alas, the service says that's not the case.
My, how the tables have turned. Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden had a mole of his own on the Acela train Thursday afternoon.
Nearby passenger Tom Matzzie eavesdropped on a phone conversation between Hayden and an unknown journalist, live tweeting notes. At least he wasn't on the quiet car...
Hayden, a CNN.com contributor, told CNN he "had a nice chat with my fellow Pittsburgher" on his way.
"Not sure what he thinks bashing the Administration means," he said in a statement, adding he didn't criticize President Barack Obama. "I actually said these are very difficult issues. I said I had political guidance, too, that limited the things that I did when I was director of NSA. Now that political guidance is going to be more robust. It wasn’t a criticism.”FULL STORY
By Bill Mears
Four former Blackwater private security contractors faced new federal charges on Thursday, the latest chapter in a controversial political and diplomatic case over a deadly 2007 Iraqi War incident.
The men were re-indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on various manslaughter charges related to a shooting that left 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians dead and at least 18 others wounded at Nisur Square in Baghdad.FULL STORY
By Jamie Crawford
A lapse in benefits normally paid to the families of U.S. service members killed in combat is adding to the already existing anger over the partial federal government shutdown.
With a good majority of the Pentagon workforce returning to work despite large-scale furloughs hitting other federal agencies, the benefits typically paid to families of the fallen have yet to be restored during the current government shutdown.
"This particular situation is unthinkable," Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), said on the House floor Tuesday. "A great injustice is being done to our service members and their families."
Among the benefits being withheld are a $100,000 cash payment typically paid to a service member's family within three days of their death in the combat zone. Burial benefits, which include reimbursement for recovery, care, as well as the funeral and interment of remains are also included in those benefits.
By Elise Labott
It was unusually positive language for a top U.S. official speaking about the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but there was Secretary of State John Kerry giving the Syrian leader a pat on the back.
Speaking to reporters in Bali on Monday, Kerry hailed the quick pace at which inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been able to get on the ground in Syria and begin their work to destroy its vast chemical weapons arsenal, as called for in a recent U.N. Security Council resolution.
By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister
Editor's note: Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister are writing a book about Morten Storm and his life as a former informant on terrorist groups.
Kenyan intelligence knows him simply as Ikrima. But his full name is Mohamed Abdikadir Mohamed, and he is regarded as one of the most dangerous commanders in the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab.
U.S. officials say Ikrima was the target of a raid Saturday by U.S. Navy SEALs on an Al-Shabaab compound near the town of Baraawe in Somalia. It's believed that he escaped after the U.S. troops came under heavy fire.
Ikrima is wanted by both the Kenyan government and its Western allies and was a close associate of one of al Qaeda's most important operatives in East Africa. A recent Kenyan intelligence report that was leaked just after the Westgate mall attack in Nairobi outlined several plots in which he was allegedly involved. All of them involved targets in Kenya, and all the attacks would have involved Kenyan citizens trained by Al-Shabaab.
By Evan Perez and Paul Cruickshank
A Tunisian man who U.S. authorities allege is an al Qaeda member was extradited Thursday from Belgium to the United States to face charges stemming from a plot to bomb a NATO base there.
Nizar Trabelsi, who was convicted in 2003 for that plot, spent 12 years in Belgian custody and was nearing the end of his sentence. The extradition could help resolve a major concern for U.S. and European terrorism officials who feared that because of shorter sentences in Belgium, Trabelsi could be freed. The same charges in the United States could carry a life sentence, if he is convicted.
Trabelsi was arrested on September 13, 2001, in Belgium - two days after the 9/11 attacks - and charged with plotting to carry out a suicide bomb attack.
Trabelsi was indicted in 2006 by a grand jury in Washington. The indictment was unsealed Thursday.