August 6th, 2013
10:31 AM ET

Fort Hood witness on Hasan: 'His punishment will come'

By Matt Smith and Jason Morris

The court-martial of U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan began Tuesady morning at Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan is accused of opening fire on his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009, killing 13 people and wounding dozens more.

Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors hope to show that the devout Muslim had undergone a "progressive radicalization," giving presentations in defense of suicide bombings and about soldiers conflicted between military service and their religion when such conflicts result in crime.

A military judge ruled last week that the prosecution can introduce evidence of Hasan's Internet searches on jihad and the Taliban in the days and hours before the rampage, but has deferred a ruling on whether they can introduce other materials.

Hasan will represent himself in his court-martial. He told the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, that he plans to call two witnesses during the proceedings.

July 2nd, 2013
02:51 PM ET

Snowden's asylum options dwindle

By Michael Pearson, Matt Smith and Jethro Mullen

Edward Snowden's hopes of finding asylum from U.S. prosecution on espionage charges appeared to dim Tuesday as country after country denied his request or said he would have to find a way to travel to their territory to apply.

While Bolivia and Venezuela seemed supportive, 11 of the 21 countries he's applied to, including Ecuador and Iceland, have said they can't consider his request until he shows up at one of their embassies or on their borders. Three have denied the request outright - Brazil, India and Poland.

Snowden had already withdrawn his asylum request with Russian authorities after President Vladimir Putin said he would have to "stop his work aimed at harming our American partners" if he wanted to stay in the country.

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On the run, Snowden 'unbowed in my convictions'
July 1st, 2013
07:00 PM ET

On the run, Snowden 'unbowed in my convictions'

By Matt Smith

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks released a statement attributed to NSA leaker Edward Snowden on Monday, blasting the Obama administration for trying to block his efforts to seek asylum in another country.

"Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me," Snowden said in the statement issued through WikiLeaks, which has been assisting his effort to find a haven from U.S. espionage charges.

He added, "I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many."

Snowden had sought asylum in Ecuador after revealing details of secret U.S. surveillance programs to reporters. He flew to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23 after the United States requested his extradition, and there were conflicting reports Monday about whether he was now seeking asylum in Russia.

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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Intelligence • NSA • WikiLeaks
As Snowden seeks asylum, U.S. bides its time
June 27th, 2013
07:08 AM ET

As Snowden seeks asylum, U.S. bides its time

By Elise Labott and Matt Smith

The United States is biding its time in its effort to get fugitive leaker Edward Snowden delivered to its custody, hoping that Russia wearies of him and Ecuador decides against granting him asylum, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Snowden, the former National Security Agency computer contractor who exposed details of U.S. surveillance programs, faces espionage charges if shipped back home. He is currently cooling his heels at Moscow's international airport, where he arrived Sunday from Hong Kong.

"Time is our friend," one senior administration official told CNN. "The Russians now just want him gone, and I'm not sure if they care at this point if he goes to a country that might be inclined to send him back."

The State Department revoked Snowden's passport after charges were brought last week. Officials in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, said it needed more information before it could act on a U.S. request to hold him there. WikiLeaks said Snowden flew out of Hong Kong on refugee papers issued by Ecuador, where he has requested asylum, but Ecuador's deputy foreign minister said Wednesday that his country had provided him no documents.

U.S. lawmaker questions North Korean leader's 'stability'
March 17th, 2013
05:11 PM ET

U.S. lawmaker questions North Korean leader's 'stability'

By Matt Smith CNN

A top U.S. congressman expressed concern about the "stability" of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after months of provocative statements and behavior from the nuclear-armed communist state.

"You have a 28-year-old leader who is trying to prove himself to the military, and the military is eager to have a saber-rattling for their own self-interest," said Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "And the combination of that is proving to be very, very deadly."

North Korea launched a satellite into orbit atop a long-range rocket in December, conducted its third nuclear weapons test in February and announced earlier this month that it was abandoning the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

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Filed under: Kim Jong-un • North Korea • Rep. Mike Rogers
January 31st, 2013
02:29 AM ET

Five things Chuck Hagel may be asked about

By Matt Smith

When the Senate Armed Services Committee is gaveled into session Thursday, Chuck Hagel is likely to face some sharp questions from many of his old colleagues.

If confirmed as secretary of defense, the one-time infantry sergeant and twice-wounded Vietnam veteran would be the first former enlisted man to lead the Pentagon. The former Republican senator from Nebraska gets his chance to answer questions Thursday morning during his confirmation hearing, and here are five subjects where he can expect them.

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U.S. losing its sway as the sole superpower
(Photo Credit:Jewel Samad/AFP/GettyImages) President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao standing with leaders of the G20 on June 18, 2012.
December 10th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

U.S. losing its sway as the sole superpower

By Matt Smith

The United States is likely to remain the leading world power in 2030 but won't hold the kind of sway it did in the past century, according to a new study by the U.S. intelligence community.

Washington will most likely hold its status as "first among equals" two decades from now, buoyed not only by military strength but by economic and diplomatic power. That's one of the conclusions of "Alternative Worlds," released Monday by the National Intelligence Council.

Rising powers such as China may be "ambivalent and even resentful" of American leadership, but they're more interested in holding positions of influence in organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund than assuming that role, the report found.

"Nevertheless, with the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over, and "Pax Americana" - the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945 - is fast winding down," the report states.
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