Rand Paul is Right
Rand Paul filibusters on Senate floor
March 12th, 2013
07:15 PM ET

Rand Paul is Right

Editors Note: Jane Harman is director, president and chief executive officer of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was a nine-term congresswoman from California, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee from 2002 to 2006, and a principal coauthor of the Intelligence Reform Law of 2004 and the FISA Amendments of 2008.

By Jane Harman, Special to CNN

Many disagree with Sen. Rand Paul on many issues, but he is spot-on about the need for a crystal clear framework regarding the domestic and international use of drones.

Inside the United States, without exception, an American suspected of plotting a terror attack should never be targeted by an armed drone. Period.

Rand Paul was right to end the 13-hour filibuster after getting a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder that provided modest clarification about presidential authority over drone use in the United States.

"Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?" Mr. Holder wrote. "The answer to that question is no."

Still, the letter left more questions unanswered than answered. Indeed, a simple "no" is hardly reassuring when the policy it supports is not clear.


Filed under: Congress • drones • Homeland Security • Opinion
Audio from Bradley Manning posted on internet
March 12th, 2013
06:01 PM ET

Audio from Bradley Manning posted on internet

By Carol Cratty and Larry Shaughnessy

Audio of Pfc. Bradley Manning telling a military court that he provided classified information to the WikiLeaks website has been posted on the Internet by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

"This marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning," the group said in a statement Monday.

Access to the military court proceedings for Manning is limited, and observers are not allowed to use recording devices. The foundation did not say how it obtained the audio but complained that the proceedings should be available to the public.

"By releasing this audio recording, we wish to make sure that the voice of this generation's most prolific whistle-blower can be heard - literally - by the world," said the group's statement.

March 12th, 2013
04:02 PM ET

Cyberattacks, N. Korea, jihadist groups top U.S. threats

By Mariano Castillo and Chelsea Carter

Cyberattacks pose more of an eminent threat to the United States than a land-based attack by a terrorist group, while North Korea's development of a nuclear weapons program poses a "serious threat," the director of national intelligence told Congress on Tuesday.

The warning by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper came in his annual report to Congress of the threats facing the United States. It was one of the rare times since the September 11, 2001, attacks that terrorism was not the leading threat facing the nation.

"Attacks, which might involve cyber and financial weapons, can be deniable and unattributable," Clapper said prepared remarks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "Destruction can be invisible, latent and progressive."

The Internet is increasingly being used as a tool both by nations and terror groups to achieve their objectives, according to Clapper's report.


March 12th, 2013
12:15 PM ET

Hagel ordering review of new drone medal ranking

By Jennifer Rizzo and Kevin Liptak

In an about-face, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to review the criteria of a recently created "drone award" that ranked achievements in related warfare and other modern combat skills above the most noted recognition for bravery on the battlefield.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was approved last month by Hagel's predecessor, Leon Panetta, recognizes "extraordinary direct impacts on combat operations." But the honor denotes that the action is not bound by a "geographic limitation," meaning drone operators could be eligible.

Some lawmakers expressed concern the medal would be placed above those for battlefield valor, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said production of the medal had been halted so Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey can conduct the review. He is expected to present his findings in 30 days.

"Secretary Hagel consulted with the chairman, the joint chiefs, and the service secretaries, and knows the decision to establish the medal was carefully and thoroughly analyzed within the Department of Defense," Little said at a media briefing. FULL POST

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Filed under: Military
March 12th, 2013
06:12 AM ET

5 Americans killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash

By Masoud Popalzai

Five U.S. service members were killed when a helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, a U.S. official said early Tuesday.

The chopper went down Monday in the Daman district of southern Kandahar during a rain storm, said Jawid Faisal, a government spokesman for the province.

There was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident, according to a statement by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The U.S. official, who did not want to be identified, did not offer additional information about the victims.

It was the first coalition helicopter crash with fatalities since September, when two separate crashes killed a total of 11 coalition service members.

One occurred in early September, killing two; the other in the third week, killing seven service members and injuring two more.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report; Ben Brumfield wrote in Atlanta


Filed under: Afghanistan