December 4th, 2012
08:42 PM ET

"Zero Dark Thirty" take on bin Laden raid courted controversy from start

By Larry Shaughnessy

The new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden didn't even have a title when controversy began swirling around how it was made.

Now the movie is officially called "Zero Dark Thirty," and still some in Washington are concerned about what access the filmmakers had to classified information about the biggest intelligence effort in decades.

"Obviously things went wrong here," said Rep. Peter King (R-New York). "My understanding is that the Hollywood people got access to CIA operatives, CIA locations ... that they had access to the Navy SEALs, which they should not have had."

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Filed under: Security Brief
North Korea's preparation for missile launch heats up, image shows
A satellite image from December 4 provided by GeoEye shows the North Korean launch site.
December 4th, 2012
08:06 PM ET

North Korea's preparation for missile launch heats up, image shows

By Jamie Crawford

North Korea appears to be working toward its goal of launching a rocket later this month, with a new satellite image showing preparations continuing around the site.

The December 4 image provided to CNN by satellite imagery company GeoEye shows increased activity by workers on the launch pad, an imagery analyst told Security Clearance. The launch pad activity was not evident in an image from DigitalGloe taken three days earlier.

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Filed under: North Korea • Satellite imagery
December 4th, 2012
06:55 PM ET

The science behind camo

The Army is ready to buy different camouflage for its fatigues and equipment, just eight years after troops in Afghanistan were outfitted with new uniform.

The move to a different uniform comes after soldiers, many of them redeploying to Afghanistan, began voicing their criticism in the summer of 2009 of the "universal" camouflage pattern, introduced in 2004 and meant to be used in all types of battle environments.

The problem: the one-size-fits-all approach of the universal pattern wasn't working.

CNN's Chris Lawrence spoke to one camo designer, whose three patterns are in running to outfit U.S. soldiers. But the developer has his eyes set even further down the road, to technology that can make U.S. troops invisible on the battlefield.

Click here for the full story on the Army's selection process.

U.S. concerned Syria "cooking up recipes" for chemical weapons
A picture shows the damaged houses in the northern city of Aleppo on November 29, 2012. A regime air strike on Aleppo killed at least 15 civilians, including five children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
December 4th, 2012
02:18 PM ET

U.S. concerned Syria "cooking up recipes" for chemical weapons

By Mike Mount

The United States is concerned that Syria may be "cooking up recipes" at multiple sites to arm chemical weapons, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

CNN reported on Monday that Syrian forces battling rebels in fierce fighting had started combining chemicals that could be used to make deadly sarin gas for weapons.

The official would not detail more on intelligence developments, but said the United States is concerned about possible preparations at more than one chemical weapons plant around Syria.

The official would only say it was a "small number" of facilities where activities are taking place.

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Filed under: Syria
Source: NATO to approve Patriot missiles for Turkey
A Patriot missile being launched
December 4th, 2012
09:22 AM ET

Source: NATO to approve Patriot missiles for Turkey

By Jill Dougherty reporting from Brussels

A European diplomat tells CNN says NATO will decide Tuesday to approve Patriot missiles for Turkey. Turkey has asked for the air defense system as protection from Syria.

"It is a political decision," the diplomat tells CNN, "a sign of solidarity for Turkey."

A Russian official, speaking with CNN on background, claims the Patriot systems are more symbolic than militarily necessary. Echoing comments by Russian president Vladimir Putin that Syria, embroiled in a brutal civil war, has no interest in attacking Turkey.


Filed under: NATO • Syria • Turkey
December 4th, 2012
08:24 AM ET

Drones: A sign of the times

Editor's note: A version of this post was originally published in November, and re-posted in light of the new claims by Iran that it has captured a U.S. drone.

By Tim Lister, CNN

It seems they are everywhere, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the vast tracts of the Sahara, searching the terrain and seas below like glinting birds of prey. Drones have become the emblem of war and intelligence-gathering in the 21st century.

In November, for the first time, Iran tried to bring down a U.S. drone as it flew off the Iranian coastline in the northern Persian Gulf. On Tuesday, a unit from Iran's navy says it has captured a U.S. drone flying over the Persian Gulf, but a Pentagon official says all U.S. drones in the area are accounted for.

U.S. drones operate over Yemen and Afghanistan with the host government’s agreement. They operate over Pakistan unimpeded but against the wishes of the Pakistani authorities. They fly above Somalia in the absence of any effective authority there.

But Iran sees them as an affront to its sovereignty. And if captured or shot down they can be a trove of valuable technology (though some of the crown jewels can be destroyed remotely) as well as a propaganda trophy. FULL POST

Filed under: drones • Iran • Pentagon
December 4th, 2012
03:54 AM ET

Iran claims seizure of U.S. drone over Persian Gulf

A unit from Iran's navy has captured a U.S. drone flying over the Persian Gulf, according to Iranian state media reports Tuesday.

The drone, which was collecting data, was captured immediately after entering Iranian airspace, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is cited as saying by the state-run news agency IRNA.

Read more: A dangerous new world of drones

However, a U.S. defense official, who could not be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media, told CNN that whatever the Iranians claim to have, it is not an actively operating U.S. Navy drone.

"The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space," the source said.

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Filed under: drones • Iran
December 4th, 2012
03:10 AM ET

U.S. embassy targeted in Jordan

One of the biggest American embassies was the target in a large al Qaeda plot. Brian Todd has the details.

Fighting terror takes more than drones
December 4th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Fighting terror takes more than drones

EDITOR'S NOTE: Stevan Weine is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of Testimony after Catastrophe: Narrating the Traumas of Political Violence.

By Stevan Weine, Special for CNN

The Obama administration has begun preparing the public for a prolonged war on terrorism that will extend well into the future. of Defense Leon Panetta spoke of an "enduring presence" in Afghanistan to fight terror threats. And the Pentagon's top lawyer said recently the United States will use every tool in its arsenal as al Qaeda continues to operate through affiliates in countries, like Iraq, Mali and Nigeria.

While much attention is paid to lethal efforts, not discussed as much is a broad policy directive undertaken by the Obama administration since 2011 to try to stop terrorism in the United States through influencing attitudes.

Through this policy, the U.S. government engages communities in America under the threat of al Qaeda-inspired violent extremism and develops community-based solutions.

Behind this policy is the widespread concern among Americans over how to prevent homegrown violent extremism and the knowledge that some Muslim-American communities in the United States have been targeted by terrorist recruiters.

By emphasizing building community resilience, this policy underlines the positive attributes of Muslim-American communities often stigmatized in the United States. Doing so has helped open the door to stronger community-government collaboration focused on prevention of violent radicalization. FULL POST

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Filed under: Opinion • Somalia • Terrorism