June 24th, 2013
12:51 PM ET

Kerry details U.S. attempts to get Snowden back

The United States has been waging a multi-country diplomatic effort to ensure Edward Snowden is returned to American authorities to face espionage charges, Secretary of State John Kerry asserted in an interview with CNN Monday.

Snowden, who admittedly leaked top secret information about government surveillance programs, left Hong Kong on Sunday and has thus far avoided U.S. extradition efforts. The United States has revoked his passport and encouraged countries to deny him asylum.

Asked how a man wanted on espionage charges was able to travel freely from Hong Kong to Russia, Kerry defended the U.S. government's role in trying to apprehend Snowden. He noted Snowden's passport was revoked as soon as the government's complaint against him was unsealed last week – before Snowden departed Hong Kong.

"We don't know what authorities allowed him to leave under those circumstances," Kerry told CNN foreign affairs reporter Elise Labott. "We obviously have to find out from the Chinese what happened. We hope that the Russians will recognize the request of the United States."
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Measured tones mask Washington's fury with Hong Kong over Snowden
June 24th, 2013
12:45 PM ET

Measured tones mask Washington's fury with Hong Kong over Snowden

By Peter Shadbolt

It was clear from the statement from the National Security Council (NSC) on Monday that the United States is deeply annoyed with Hong Kong.

Couched in diplomatic language, the statement spelled out Washington's position: Hong Kong dropped the ball on Edward Snowden and the U.S. wants Russia to pick it up.

"We are disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Mr. Snowden to flee despite the legally valid U.S. request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement," said NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden in a statement.

"We have registered our strong objections to the authorities in Hong Kong as well as to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels and noted that such behavior is detrimental to U.S.-Hong Kong and U.S.-China bilateral relations."

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Filed under: China • Diplomacy • Intelligence
June 21st, 2013
08:34 PM ET

U.S. increasing military forces in Jordan

By Tom Cohen

Due to security concerns in Jordan, which borders the Syrian civil war, a combat-equipped detachment of about 700 U.S. troops will remain in the country following training exercises that ended this week, President Barack Obama told Congress on Friday.

In a letter to comply with the War Powers Act, Obama notified Congress that the detachment staying behind at the request of the Jordanian government included "Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control and communications personnel and systems."

"The detachment will remain in Jordan, in full coordination with the government of Jordan, until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed," Obama's letter said.

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Filed under: Jordan • Syria
Will U.S. military support in Syria make a difference?
June 21st, 2013
07:22 PM ET

Will U.S. military support in Syria make a difference?

By Barbara Starr

Even as the Obama administration refuses to openly say whether CIA deliveries of small arms and ammunition to Syrian opposition fighters has begun, there is increasing doubt in many quarters that U.S. shipments will make much of a difference in fighting on the ground, as the intelligence picture for the rebels grows more dire.

"I don't believe the rebels are doomed, but I don't think there's any doubt that on the battlefield the advantage is clearly with (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Thursday on CNN's Situation Room.

"Why wouldn't there be? Tons of Russian equipment coming in, the Iranian Revolution Guard, jihadists from all over the region, 5,000 Hezbollah fighters and he's still calling it a civil war. What it is turning into is a regional conflict and the deciding factor on the battlefield is air power," McCain said.

Intelligence assessments appear to agree with that. Several U.S. officials CNN has spoken with say simply trying to gather the latest information on the number of fighters and weapons inventories on the ground is now a major priority.

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Experts: Brooding Putin believes Russia will one day eclipse U.S.
June 21st, 2013
07:21 PM ET

Experts: Brooding Putin believes Russia will one day eclipse U.S.

By Jill Dougherty

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in the headlines a lot recently, allegedly pocketing a Super Bowl ring, valued at $25,000, that belonged to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft - then jokingly offering to make him an even more expensive replacement.

Then there was that offhand announcement that he and his wife of almost 30 years were calling it quits and hadn't lived together for quite a while, anyway.
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U.S. cutting back on hot chow for troops
June 21st, 2013
06:30 AM ET

U.S. cutting back on hot chow for troops

By Barbara Starr

Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with the battlefield adage: "An Army moves on its stomach." That, of course, means there's nothing like good chow.

For the thousands of U.S. troops who will fight in Afghanistan for another 17 months, it is not just the quality of the food they have to consider. Now there will be a bit less of it.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan for years have been fed four hot meals a day, including what is fondly known as "mid-rats" or midnight rations.
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June 21st, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Wounded soldiers help Boston Marathon bombing victim

By Greg Clary and Barbara Starr

"I'm getting there," said Boston Marathon bombing victim J.P. Norden to Sgt. Luis Remache, a U.S. Marine and a double leg amputee.

"You'll get there, it's not that bad," Remache said.

It's not always common that a grizzled military veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan can relate with a civilian, but that's exactly what happened time and again on Wednesday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just outside Washington.
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June 20th, 2013
08:40 PM ET

Could Taliban prisoner exchange free captured U.S. soldier?

By Melissa Gray

When U.S. negotiators raise the issue of captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl with the Taliban in the coming days, it won't be the first time. The two sides held meetings in 2011 and 2012 that included the topic of Bergdahl's release, with sporadic discussions since then.

The first series of talks took place in 2011 with the State Department's top representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He met Taliban representatives again the next year. An American proposal for Bergdahl's release was a topic each time, U.S. officials told CNN in May 2012.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Taliban
Senator: Firm that vetted Snowden under criminal investigation
June 20th, 2013
04:05 PM ET

Senator: Firm that vetted Snowden under criminal investigation

By Kevin Liptak

The private firm that vetted Edward Snowden in 2011 is under criminal investigation for routine failures in properly investigating the backgrounds of people in line for security clearances, Sen. Claire McCaskill said during a Senate hearing Thursday.

Additionally, a government watchdog told lawmakers his agency believes the check into Snowden's background conducted by USIS, a Virginia-based government contractor, may have been faulty.

Snowden, who held a top secret clearance, admittedly leaked documents this month detailing two government surveillance programs. At the time of the leaks, he was an employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Security Brief
A cereal imposter: Is Cap’n Crunch really a captain?
June 20th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

A cereal imposter: Is Cap’n Crunch really a captain?

By Dan Merica

Another case of stolen valor?

After over 50 years of reported service, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday that Cap’n Crunch, one of the Navy’s most recognizable captains, has no record of service with the military branch.

A number of blogs noticed this week that the jolly, cereal selling caricature who has graced the front of Cap’n Crunch boxes since 1963 was actually wearing a commander’s uniform, the rank below a captain. The U.S. Navy uses bars on a uniform’s cuff to signify the rank of the person wearing the uniform. Cap’n Crunch’s uniform has only three bars – the sign of a commander – not four bars – the sign of a captain.

Blogs like Gawker and Consumerist recognized the missing bar and labeled Cap’n Crunch a liar.

“In other words, the Cap'n is nothing but a lousy Commander,” Neetzan Zimmerman of Gawker wrote. “Our entire cereal-eating lives could be based on a lie because of one little yellow stripe,” wrote Mary Beth Quirk of Consumerist.

FULL POST


Filed under: Navy
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