July 8th, 2013
08:53 PM ET

U.S. avoids calling Egypt's uprising a coup

By Elise Labott

While America's top military officials continue in-depth discussions with their counterparts in Egypt, the Obama administration is looking how to map America's relations with the crucial Middle East ally.

Top officials huddled at the White House again on Monday to discuss the issue.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel once again talked with Gen. Abdel Fattah al Sisi, Egypt's defense minister.

It's at least the fourth time Hagel has spoken to Sisi in the past week, both before and after his military deposed Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy, and put him under house arrest.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the conversations "have been lengthy and very candid."

A defense official, who requested anonymity, says some of the calls "have lasted nearly two hours."

Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey has also had two calls with the chief of staff of Egypt's armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sedki Sobhi.

The importance of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship, which has been developing since the Carter-era Camp David Peace Accords, is evidenced by how carefully government officials are avoiding labeling the past week's developments a "military coup."

If Morsy's removal were to be called a coup, under U.S. law, more than $1 billion in military aid to Egypt would have to be slashed.

Israel is concerned that such a cut could jeopardize the peace treaty between the two countries

Israel and Egypt are the two biggest recipients of American military aid.

The determination of whether a coup took place is generally made by the State Department's Legal Advisor Office.

But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki described it as an interagency process on Monday.

Psaki also said that the fact tens of millions of Egyptians supported the move and did not consider this a coup would be factored into the deliberations.

Senior U.S. officials say the administration is examining three potential options – calling events in Egypt a coup and cutting off aid; calling it a coup and issuing a national security waiver; or not determining it a coup, recognizing that the military has taken steps to move the country toward a civilian transitional government and move toward elections.

White House spokesman Jay Carney suggested what happens next will be very important.

"Our relationship with Egypt is not limited to or defined solely by the assistance that we provide to Egypt. It is broader and deeper than that, and it is bound up in America's support for the aspirations of the Egyptian people for democracy, for a better economic and political future, and we support that," Carney said.

"So our decisions with regards to the events that have happened recently in Egypt will be - and how we label them and analyze them will be made with our policy objectives in mind, in accordance with the law and in accordance with any consultation with Congress," he said.

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Filed under: Dempsey • Egypt • Mohammed Morsy • State Department
Accused 'WikiLeaker' seeks dismissal of most severe charges
July 8th, 2013
08:42 PM ET

Accused 'WikiLeaker' seeks dismissal of most severe charges

By Larry Shaughnessy

Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning, charged with the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history, asked the judge overseeing his court-martial trial on Monday to throw out the most severe charges.

Lawyers for the former Army intelligence analyst want to gut much of the government's case, allegations that Manning aided the enemy in handing over a trove of documents and other information to WikiLeaks.

Col. Denise Lind gave prosecutors most of the week to respond to the motion before turning to the defense, which began its case.

Manning's lawyers showed an Iraq war video that is at the heart of the charges. The video was shot from a U.S. Apache helicopter as it attacked a group of people in Baghdad in 2007. A Reuters TV news cameraman and his driver were among a dozen people killed.

Manning has said the video and the behavior of the Americans involved bothered him to the point where he uploaded the images to WikiLeaks.

A U.S. investigation of the attack found the gunship crew mistook the Reuters staffers cameras for weapons while seeking out insurgents who had been firing at American troops in the area.

WikiLeaks released the video in April 2010 under the name "Collateral Murder" and Manning was taken into custody for leaking it a month later.

Manning has already pleaded guilty to nearly a dozen lesser charges that carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

But he has not admitted to the most serious count - aiding the enemies of the United States. If convicted of that, he could go to prison for life.

WikiLeaks has never confirmed that Manning was the source of its information.

Prosecutors rested their case last week.

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Filed under: WikiLeaks
July 8th, 2013
11:54 AM ET

Making state-of-the art drones in Israel

CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott take a look at how drones are manufactured in Israel, the world's top exporter of unarmed vehicles.

Filed under: drones
Dozens killed as Egyptian military clashes with pro-Morsy protesters
July 8th, 2013
09:11 AM ET

Dozens killed as Egyptian military clashes with pro-Morsy protesters

More than 40 people were killed Monday when Egyptian security forces clashed with supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood, the government said.

Witnesses said the military and police fired when protesters had taken a break from holding a vigil at the Republican Guard headquarters to say their morning prayers. Morsy was reportedly detained there after his arrest Wednesday.

The Health Ministry put the number of fatalities at 42 and said 322 others were wounded.

But the military said it was forced to fire when an "armed terrorist group" tried to raid the headquarters. An Interior Ministry statement said two security force members - a lieutenant and a recruit - were shot and killed.


Filed under: Egypt • Mohamed Morsey