August 3rd, 2011
07:31 PM ET

Massive hack attack hits U.S., U.N.

CNN's Brian Todd reports on a massive cyberspying operation targeting dozens of governments and companies worldwide.

Filed under: Security Brief
72 charged in online global child porn ring
Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announce the results of the largest U.S. prosecution of an international criminal network organized to sexually exploit children Photo Pool Video
August 3rd, 2011
07:10 PM ET

72 charged in online global child porn ring

More than 50 members of a child pornography ring who engaged in what authorities describe as "horrific" and "unspeakable" crimes have been arrested for sexually exploiting children from 12 years old to as young as infants. Top federal law enforcement officials say agents busted the global online pornography ring following an intense international investigation that began in 2009. The ring, based in the United States, reached across five continents and 14 countries. Seventy-two members of the online site called Dreamboard have been charged in the United States. Officials said 52 of them have been arrested in the U.S. and abroad. The identities of the remaining 20 are unknown at this time. An additional 10 individuals were arrested abroad on charges from other countries.

Army prepares to cut thousands of civilian jobs
US Army is planning to cut 8,000 civilian jobs, on top of 27,000 troop cuts already in the works
August 3rd, 2011
05:50 PM ET

Army prepares to cut thousands of civilian jobs

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The US Army, already looking to shrink its force by 27,000 soldiers, is now also trying to cut more than 8,000 civilian jobs.

The plans call for the civilian jobs to be eliminated between now and October 2012, according to an Army official and a memo obtained by CNN.

The memo from Army Secretary John McHugh reads in part, "It is imperative that these reductions be accomplished as rapidly as possible, but no later than the end of FY 2012."

The cuts are part of the Army's plan to comply with the Secretary of Defense's instructions to return to Fiscal Year 2010 budget levels and keeping in line with the larger national federal budget reduction efforts that have been underway since before the most recent national debt battle.

The Army, according to its website, has approximately 350,000 civilian employees.

The cuts would come through voluntary early separation or early retirement, attrition and if necessary, layoffs.

Then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in January that the Army would cut its active duty force by 27,000 soldiers as part of what Gates called "efficiency savings".

That reduction will take place beginning in 2015.

The Army's civilian job cuts may just be the beginning for the Pentagon. A senior defense official said Wednesday that in the wake of the cuts spelled out in the debt reduction bill signed this week by President Obama, thousands of civilians throughout the defense department may lose their jobs.

August 3rd, 2011
11:44 AM ET

The last seconds of bin Laden's life

CNN's Brian Todd takes an in-depth look at a new report detailing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Filed under: Security Brief
Ex-Afghan spy chief details hunt for bin Laden, 10-year war
August 3rd, 2011
10:35 AM ET

Ex-Afghan spy chief details hunt for bin Laden, 10-year war

By CNN's David Ariosto

Afghan spies had intelligence leads four years ago that pointed to an area close to where Osama bin Laden was hiding, according to the Afghanistan's former spy chief.

But Pervez Musharraf - then Pakistan's president - refused to take action despite receiving detailed reports, said Amrullah Saleh.

CNN cannot independently confirm Saleh's account and Musharraf could not be immediately reached for comment.

But Saleh said his network of spies and informants had in 2007 uncovered al Qaeda safe houses deep inside Pakistan believed to be connected to the once-elusive al Qaeda leader.

"We did a lot of work in the tribal areas of Pakistan... going village to village, recruiting random informants," Saleh told CNN.

"We came to the conclusion that bin Laden was not in the tribal areas."

The former spy chief said he then directed intelligence sources to Pakistan proper, identifying al Qaeda safe houses in a town called Manshera, a short drive from what turned out to be bin Laden's lair. FULL POST

Filed under: Afghanistan • Intelligence • Osama bin Laden
Panetta: Defense cuts would damage U.S. ability to protect the nation
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Photo by: Getty Images
August 3rd, 2011
09:39 AM ET

Panetta: Defense cuts would damage U.S. ability to protect the nation

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta sent out a memo to Department of Defense staff Wednesday addressing budget concerns after the recent debt deal was signed into law. It's unclear how the law will directly affect defense spending, but significant reductions are expected after a drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan. Notably, Panetta expresses concern over the possible cuts as a result of the "sequester mechanism" that would take effect if the Super Committee fails to reach a compromise on how to make the further $1.5 trillion in cuts the law mandates. Panetta characterizes these potential cuts as "dangerous across the board defense cuts that would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our ability to protect the nation." Read Panetta's memo below:

Meeting our Fiscal and National Security Responsibility

To all Department of Defense personnel:
As I begin my second month in office as Secretary of Defense, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thinking with you on one of the key challenges we face as a Department: how to ensure that our military has everything it needs to protect our national security at a time of considerable fiscal challenge in our country.

I know that many of you have been watching with concern the deficit reduction negotiations in Washington. As President Obama has said, our growing national debt, if not addressed, will imperil our prosperity, hurt our credibility and influence around the world, and ultimately put our national security at risk. As part of the nation's efforts to get its finances in order, defense spending will be – and I believe it must be – part of the solution.

The reductions in defense spending that will take place as a result of the debt ceiling agreement reached by Congress and the President are in line with what this Department's civilian and military leaders were anticipating, and I believe we can implement these reductions while maintaining the excellence of our military. But to do that, spending choices must be based on sound strategy and policy. In the past, such as after the Vietnam War, our government applied cuts to defense across the board, resulting in a force that was undersized and underfunded relative to its missions and responsibilities. This process has historically led to outcomes that weaken rather than strengthen our national security – and which ultimately cost our nation more when it must quickly rearm to confront new threats. FULL POST

Filed under: Afghanistan • Congress • Iraq • Panetta • Secretary of Defense