Nidal Hasan's beard shaved off at Fort Leavenworth Prison
September 4th, 2013
08:11 PM ET

Nidal Hasan's beard shaved off at Fort Leavenworth Prison

By Larry Shaughnessy

The beard that delayed the Fort Hood court martial trial for months is gone. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the former Army psychiatrist convicted of 13 murders and dozens of attempted murders, is clean shaven again.

According to an Army statement about Hasan's incarceration at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, "All inmates must conform to AR 670-1, wear and appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia."

The statement also said, "In keeping with the provisions" of the regulations, "Inmate Hasan has been shaved."

September 4th, 2013
08:05 PM ET

Breaking up is hard to do: the Obama-Putin relationship

By Jill Dougherty

Relationships can be tough, especially long-distance ones. And talking to that special someone all night on the "red phone" isn't easy when you're pulling all-nighters dealing with world crises.

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed one public display of affection on Thursday, shaking hands and exchanging a few words. Officials say the world leaders could have a longer meeting on the margins of the G-20. The issue of what to do in Syria is adding a lot of stress to an already strained relationship.

Back in January 2009 when Obama was sworn into office for the first time, he had high hopes for U.S.-Russian relations after things went south between George W. Bush and Putin.

There was a new young president – Dmitry Medvedev – in the Kremlin and Obama thought maybe Washington and Moscow could start over.

Following Benghazi, report finds security not State Dept. priority
September 4th, 2013
04:51 PM ET

Following Benghazi, report finds security not State Dept. priority

By Elise Labott

An independent panel has found the State Department has not overall paid enough attention to oversees security for diplomatic posts and called for it to be elevated in importance, several sources familiar with the matter said.

Led by former Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, the panel was created as part of a broad inquiry of last September's deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

A separate assessment by the Accountability Review Board, established after the Benghazi attack, criticized the department for failing to provide adequate security and made 29 recommendations.

One was the creation of the latest analysis to identify "best practices" in the public and private sectors in security intelligence, risk management and accountability, all areas where problems were identified at the State Department.


Forces were ready to strike Syria, surprised by Obama decision
September 4th, 2013
04:27 PM ET

Forces were ready to strike Syria, surprised by Obama decision

By Chris Lawrence

U.S. forces in the Middle East tasked with carrying out military action against Syria were ready to go this past weekend and were caught off guard by President Barack Obama's decision to first seek congressional approval.

Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean equipped with cruise missiles had ramped up operations from the previous week, thinking they would be ordered to launch a strike as early as Saturday.

"I thought that was the night," a Defense Department official told CNN.

"We were standing multiple watches. Everyone was pretty sure it was going to happen," the official added.

He said the sudden change in direction from the White House late on Friday was surprising.

"The tempo went from 'go-go-go' to nothing," he said.


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Filed under: Military • Navy • Syria
September 4th, 2013
03:06 PM ET

What's the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons attack?

By Josh Levs

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls it proof "beyond any reasonable doubt." Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's "very clear."

President Barack Obama says the United States has "high confidence" that Syria used chemical weapons - the strongest position the U.S. can take short of confirmation.

Britain, France, and Germany say their intelligence backs up the same conclusion.

But Russia has rejected those claims, insisting there's no such proof. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wants to see evidence that would make the determination "obvious."


Filed under: Syria
September 4th, 2013
11:53 AM ET

Obama: Red line on Syria is the world's, not his

By Tom Cohen

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the red line he spoke of last year regarding Syria's use of chemical weapons came from international treaties and past congressional action, and he challenged the international community to join him in enforcing bans on such armaments.

In direct and confrontational remarks to reporters in Sweden, Obama laid out his rationale for wanting to attack Syria on the same day a Senate committee in Washington will vote on a proposed resolution authorizing limited U.S. military strikes.

He also insisted he had the authority to order attacks on Syria - expected to be cruise missile strikes on Syrian military command targets - even if Congress rejects his request for authorization.


Filed under: Obama • Syria
September 4th, 2013
11:45 AM ET

Report: Russia 'doesn't exclude' support for U.N.-approved military strike on Syria

By Lateef Mungin and Michael Pearson

As lawmakers in the United States and France debated the merits of military intervention in Syria's brutal civil war, Russia's president said Wednesday his country could back a U.N.-approved military strike on Syria if there's proof the regime used chemical weapons.

"If there are data that the chemical weapons have been used, and used specifically by the regular army, this evidence should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council," President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with The Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television.

"It should be a deep and specific probe containing evidence that would be obvious and prove beyond doubt who did it and what means were used," he told the news agency.


Filed under: Russia • Syria