November 30th, 2012
06:02 PM ET

Pentagon worried about real 'Terminators'

Behind every Hellfire missile, there's an actual human being remotely pulling the trigger. But the Pentagon is preparing for the day when robots are capable of targeting and launching a strike on their own.

CNN's Chris Lawrence reports on the Pentagon's new rules on drones, effectively forbidding the development of lethal weapons with no human control.

November 30th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

Terror charges for two conspiring bomb plot

By Carol Cratty

Two Florida brothers originally from Pakistan were indicted Friday, accused of plotting to use an explosive device and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Raees Alam Qazi, 20, and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30, were arrested by FBI agents in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday. The indictment does not provide specific details about what the men may have been targeting, saying only they conspired to use a "weapon of mass destruction" against people and property in the United States.

The indictment alleges that the Qazis engaged in their conspiracy from at least July 2011 until the time of their arrest. There is no mention of whether any explosives or other weapons were seized when the men were arrested.

Filed under: FBI • Terrorism
November 30th, 2012
04:24 PM ET

U.S. military taking bids to build Israeli Air Force complex

By Morgan Hitzig

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is receiving bids to build a five-story complex for the Israeli Air Force, or IAF, near Tel Aviv.

The facility, mysteriously dubbed "site 911," will be built under the auspices of the Foreign Military Sales program and is expected to cost the U.S. between $25 million and $100 million, according to a solicitation for bids posted on a U.S. government website.

Only U.S. construction firms are able to bid on this contract, and the deadline for proposals is December 3, according to the notice. The notice, first reported on by The Washington Post, includes structural plans that show the first three underground floors are roughly 41,000 square feet and will include classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3 and shock-resistant doors throughout.

The architectural plans, drawn up by prominent Israeli firm Ada Karmi-Melamede Architects, pays close attention to the aesthetics of the design as well as the functional parameters outlined in the solicitation. For example, three picnic tables are planned for the exterior.


Filed under: Israel • Middle East • Military
November 30th, 2012
01:28 PM ET

U.S. not certain North Korea prepping launch

Update (12/1): North Korea has announced it is indeed intending to launch a test rocket within days

By Barbara Starr

The Pentagon and the intelligence community are scouring classified and commercial imagery for any evidence of a North Korean missile launch, but they have not firmly concluded that one will occur, according to a senior U.S. military official.

While not discounting the possibility of a launch, the U.S. military is leaving open the chance there could be other motives with new activity observed around a North Korean launch pad.

"They could be moving things around just to make a point," the official said. "But on the other hand it's the North Koreans, so who knows."

The official said a key question in military and intelligence circles is whether the North Koreans would have been able to solve the engineering problems they experienced with the failed launch of a similar missile in April. Or if they would go ahead and undertake a technically risky launch again so soon, risking U.N. condemnation.

In the most recent ongoing activity on the launch pad, commercial imagery from Digital Globe shows trailers - possibly carrying the first two stages of a Taopodong-2 missile - parked near an missile assembly building, according to an analysis by the blog 38 North, which is published by Johns Hopkins university. It could be an indication that the rocket stages are being worked on, the 38 North analysis explains.


Filed under: Asia • North Korea
November 30th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

Pentagon: U.S. fight on terror not ending with Afghan war

By Pam Benson

Even with the war in Afghanistan winding down, the United States will continue its fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates, wherever they may be, by using all means available in an armed conflict, the Pentagon's chief lawyer said Friday.

"We must counter al Qaeda in the places where it seeks to establish safe haven and prevent it from reconstituting in others. To do this, we must utilize every national security element of our government," said Jeh Johnson, the top lawyer for the U.S. Defense Department, at a speech Friday at Oxford University in England.

Those elements of force, he said, include unmanned aerial vehicles, widely referred to as drones, to kill suspected terrorists hiding in the ungoverned regions of Pakistan, in Yemen and elsewhere, as well as the indefinite detention of extremists caught on the battlefield.

Johnson said that some legal scholars and commentators refer to the drone attacks as extrajudicial killing and criticize the U.S. government for holding individuals without formal charges. But he argued that the tools used against al Qaeda in what he called "an unconventional conflict" are legitimate.

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Filed under: Military • Terrorism