October 15th, 2012
07:47 PM ET

Clinton: I’m responsible for diplomats’ security

From Elise Labott, reporting from Lima, Peru

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm around the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she is responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts.

"I take responsibility" for the protection of U.S. diplomats, Clinton said during a visit to Peru. But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened in the attack that left four Americans dead.

The attack on the night of September 11 killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans at the American consulate in Benghazi.

The Obama administration has been heavily criticized after Vice President Joe Biden said during last week's vice presidential debate that the White House did not know of requests to enhance security at Benghazi, contradicting testimony by State Department employees that requests had been made and rejected. After the debate, the White House said the vice president did not know of the requests because they were handled, as is the practice, by the State Department.

Escape won't stop the Gitmo trial
Sketch by Janet Hamlin
October 15th, 2012
07:04 PM ET

Escape won't stop the Gitmo trial

By Paul Courson, reporting from Ft. Meade, Maryland.

A question about whether al Qaeda suspects in the 2001 hijack attack on New York and Washington could still be tried in their absence caused some unexpected confusion at a hearing.

Defense lawyers argued that their clients, who are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, should not have to attend the hearing because it brings up memories of their harsh treatment by the Central Intelligence Agency. The military judge ruled that the men could decide each day whether they wish to attend but if they decline they must answer a series of questions about their rights.

The list that the judge, Army Capt. James Pohl, developed to address concerns when a detainee voluntarily waives his right to be present at trial, was agreed to by both defense and prosecution. But one of the questions, regarding their rights should the defendant be out of control of the U.S. military, caused considerable confusion. FULL POST

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Filed under: Gitmo • Terrorism
October 15th, 2012
04:11 PM ET

U.S. officials believe Iran is behind recent cyberattacks

By Mike Mount, with reporting from Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson

The United States believes that Iran is behind cyberattacks on American banks and the oil industry in the Middle East, officials said.

Although officials have not made such an assertion publicly, they have characterized the attacks that occurred in recent months as initiated by a "state actor." The U.S. intelligence apparatus observed and tracked the attacks as coming out of Iran, a third official said Monday. The official would not describe further what was observed but said the belief is the perpetrators were surrogates working with the Iranian government.

“We strongly believe there is a relationship between the people typing the code and people running the government,” according to the official.

"It certainly is the case that Iran is improving its capabilities in the cyber field. We're paying attention. We are concerned about their increasing ability to operate in this realm," a U.S. intelligence official said.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noted the attacks in a speech last week and warned that United States must beef up its cyber defenses or risk a potentially devastating strike. FULL POST

October 15th, 2012
10:08 AM ET

A return to ground zero of the Cuban missile crisis

By Patrick Oppmann, reporting from Cuba

Fifty years ago, 15-year-old Omar Lopez knew a secret that governments around the world would have killed to learn or safeguard: Soviet troops were building hidden military installations in Cuba.

One of those installations was on the farm where his family raised chickens and pigs.

In 1962, Fidel Castro's revolution was just beginning to reshape Cuba. Thousands of Cubans had fled the country, and the year before, Castro's troops had routed a U.S.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs.

But little of the drama of those times reached the remote Lopez farm in western Cuba, where palm trees vastly outnumber human residents.


Filed under: Arms Control • Cuba • Nuclear
Russia fights claim that Syria is using Russian-made cluster bombs
A Syrian rebel walks inside a burnt section of the Umayyad Mosque. Opposition activists reported that the 12th-century mosque was set afire during heavy fighting on Saturday, October 13.
October 15th, 2012
06:30 AM ET

Russia fights claim that Syria is using Russian-made cluster bombs

The war in Syria has prompted another war of words internationally, with Russia slamming a report that accuses the Syrian air force used Russian-made cluster bombs on rebels.

"There is no confirmation to this. ... There are loads of weapons in this region, including in Syria and other countries of the region, and arms are supplied there in large quantities and illegally," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

Citing witnesses and videos, Human Rights Watch released a report Sunday saying Syrian government forces were using cluster bombs - explosives that can kill or disfigure anyone hit by its fragments.

The report says the cluster bombs are Soviet-made, though it does not state how or when Syria allegedly acquired them.

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Filed under: Russia • Syria
Analysis: Debate leaves unanswered national security questions
October 15th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Analysis: Debate leaves unanswered national security questions

By Adam Levine, CNN

Foreign policy will get increased attention in the two debates left between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, with the final debate set to be entirely devoted to the subject.

The slugfest between the vice presidential candidates highlighted the toughest challenge for the Republican ticket, namely how to differentiate from Obama administration policies. The vice presidential debate left a number of questions unanswered about how each side distinguishes itself when it comes to national security.

Here's a look at a few of those issues.


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Filed under: 2012 Election • Afghanistan • Biden • Foreign Policy • Iran • Libya • Obama • Romney • Ryan