By Barbara Starr
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved a request from the FBI for high-tech military detection equipment to assist in surveillance on the underground bunker in Alabama where a 5-year-old boy was held hostage, CNN has learned.
The hostage situation ended Monday when FBI agents entered the bunker and freed the boy. The 65-year-old hostage-taker is dead, law enforcement officials on the scene said.
The military detection equipment was delivered on site, according to a military official, but it could not immediately be determined if the equipment was used before or during the rescue.
Three Defense Department officials tell CNN that the equipment requested was similar to the technology used in war zones to detect buried explosives. Some small number of troops would have been needed to operate the equipment on-site.
“Panetta personally approved it” said one senior Defense official, emphasizing the military was prepared to offer whatever it could to assist in rescuing the child. That official emphasized the involvement of the military was strictly limited to offering technical assistance and gear not readily available to civilian law enforcement.
U.S. military personnel would have played “no role” in the assault, the official said, as U.S. troops are not permitted to undertake civilian law enforcement action.
By Elise Labott
Secretary of State John Kerry says that he has "big heels to fill" as Hillary Clinton's successor and promised to keep U.S. diplomats abroad safe.
Kerry was greeted by cheering employees at the State Department as he arrived for his first day of work on Monday.
As the first man in the post in eight years, Kerry referred to Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, his two most recent predecessors, asking: "Can a man actually run the State Department?"
"I don't know," he joked. "As the saying goes, I have big heels to fill."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joked he is so serious about making sure Iran advances technologically that he'd volunteer to go to space for his country if needed.
"I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists," he said after meeting Monday with Iranian space scientists, according to the semi-official Mehr News Agency.
The president's comments, made in jest, came a week after the state's semi-official Fars News Agency said Iran had "sent a monkey to the orbit, brought it back to the Earth and retrieved the animal and the relevant data successfully."
Meantime, several Iranian news organizations sought to explain why there appeared to be two different monkeys portrayed by the press.
"There are a lot of questions about whether the monkey that they reportedly sent up into space and reportedly came down was actually the same monkey, whether he survived," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "The monkey that they showed later seemed to have different."
Iranian news organizations explained that the monkey shown in the pre-launch photos was actually from a failed launch in 2001. Iranians still insist that the monkey went up to space, came back alive and the launch was successful.