Bin Laden raid nets one intel employee big bonus
May 18th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

Bin Laden raid nets one intel employee big bonus

By Arielle Hawkins

The identities of the Navy SEALs who raided Osama bin Laden's compound remain a mystery, but one man who helped get them there is getting his due financially.

An employee with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, has won a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for analysis of satellite imagery of the terrorist's compound in Pakistan.

The staffer "oversaw and validated trade craft and methodologies applied in the final pursuit of and successful raid on the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad," according to an announcement about the financial reward from the Senior Executives Association, a non-profit group which runs the award ceremony. FULL POST

The very model of a successful bin Laden raid
May 16th, 2012
06:03 PM ET

The very model of a successful bin Laden raid

By Mike Mount

Inside the Pentagon there are historical displays for almost everything the military has done dating back to this country's Revolutionary War. There are also models of all kinds: planes, trucks, missiles, ships and submarines.

On Wednesday an unassuming display popped up in one of hallways with little fanfare. At first there was passing interest, but as word spread more and more people started to gather around, asking questions and taking pictures.

The Styrofoam-and-acrylic model turned out to be a bit of new Pentagon history - it shows Osama bin Laden's walled compound and surrounding farmland.

Designed and built to be used in the planning for the May 2011 raid that killed the al Qaeda leader, the model also was taken to the White House to brief President Obama on plans for the raid.

It was built over a six-week period in the months before the raid and has sat on display in the lobby of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, just a few miles from the Pentagon and White House.

Until last week, the model was considered classified and only those working or visiting the building could see it.

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Filed under: 1 Year After Bin Laden's Death • Al Qaeda • Intelligence • Military • Navy SEALs • NGA • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Terrorism
Yemen plot exposes new world of U.S. spying
Yemeni militants, suspected of being members of al Qaeda, patrol on their pick ups in the restive southern city of Zinjibar
May 11th, 2012
04:11 PM ET

Yemen plot exposes new world of U.S. spying

By Pam Benson

As details of the foiled al Qaeda plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airline became public, the world learned not only about a daring operation to stop terrorists, but also about the new reality of how U.S. intelligence works.

American and foreign intelligence partners working hand in hand to rid the world of the scourge of terror. You didn't see much of that 10 years ago, but it's exactly what happened recently.

The Saudis infiltrate an al Qaeda terrorist group in Yemen with their own mole, and the CIA and others are brought into the mix to help run an operation that eventually foils a possible bomb attack against an airliner destined for America.

"I'm not at all surprised that the press accounts of this have liaison services, particularly the Saudis, playing such a prominent role," said former CIA Director Michael Hayden. "That's the way I would have expected it to go."


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Filed under: 9/11 • Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • AQAP • Arab Spring • CIA • Egypt • Intelligence • Military • Navy SEALs • NCTC • ODNI • Pakistan • Terrorism • Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab • Yemen
April 11th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

Clinton on bin Laden raid: No one breathed

By Jill Dougherty

Who can forget the photo of President Barack Obama and his Cabinet in the White House Situation Room, all eyes riveted on a monitor out of view of the camera, watching - real time - as Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden?

Many people remarked on the image of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who sat in the middle of the room with her right hand covering her mouth and her eyes wide open.

Almost a year after the raid in Pakistan, Clinton described what it was like to be in that room that night.

"I'm not sure anyone breathed for, you know, 35 or 37 minutes," she said, answering questions Tuesday evening from future officers at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after a foreign policy speech.

'Eye in the Sky': the case file on NGA Director Letitia Long
March 9th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

'Eye in the Sky': the case file on NGA Director Letitia Long

By Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson

Editor's note: In the Security Clearance "Case File" series, CNN national security producers profile the key members of the intelligence community.   As part of the series, Security Clearance is focusing on the roles women play in the U.S. intelligence community

On May 1, 2011, Letitia 'Tish' Long was at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, watching the greatest intelligence-special operations mission of the past decade, unfold.

"We were anxious. It was tense. There were periods of time when we didn't know exactly what was happening," Long told CNN.

Long and others could do little but wait to see whether months of intelligence preparation would pay off as Navy SEALs raided the compound in Pakistan where they believed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was hiding out.

She was one of only a few women in the room that day, and the only woman who headed a major intelligence agency. FULL POST

Tiger Woods a Navy SEAL?
February 29th, 2012
06:51 AM ET

Tiger Woods a Navy SEAL?

An upcoming book by Tiger Woods' former coach Steve Haney claims Tiger considered giving up the clubs to become a Navy SEAL.

In "The Big Miss," Hank Haney writes that Tiger was "seriously considering" becoming a SEAL, according to an excerpt posted by Golf Digest.  The book is releasing March 27th.

"Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life," Haney writes. FULL POST

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Filed under: Navy SEALs • Pop Culture
February 9th, 2012
08:52 PM ET

Real Navy SEALs go Hollywood

Real Navy SEALs act in the new action thriller movie “Act of Valor”, which is opening in theaters this month. For the first time Special Operations Forces are acting out their real work, shooting, high altitude jumps, and patrolling in murky waters. CNN spoke to the director and had an exclusive interview with one of the SEALs in the movie.

Filed under: Military • Navy • Navy SEALs
February 7th, 2012
04:32 PM ET

Elite troops' commander told: 'Get the hell out of the media!'

By CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy

There's a saying that old soldiers just "fade away," but retired Army Lt. Gen. James Vaught, who is known for being unconventional, sure isn't fading away.

Vaught on Tuesday scolded Adm. William McRaven - head of Special Operations Command and the officer who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden - for all the attention his elite troops have been getting lately.

"One of these days if you keep publishing how you do this, the other guy's gonna be there waiting for you and you're gonna fly in and he's gonna shoot down every darn helicopter," Vaught said with passion and even a bit of shouting. "Get the hell out of the media!"

Filed under: Navy SEALs • Special Operations Forces • USSOCOM
Elite troops' Afghan role to increase but numbers may not, commander says
Adm. William McRaven speaks Tuesday at a Special Operations symposium in Washington DC. He said Afghanistan will soon become a more special operations forces focused war. Photo by Larry Shaughnessy/CNN
February 7th, 2012
01:54 PM ET

Elite troops' Afghan role to increase but numbers may not, commander says

By CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy

America's elite Special Operation Forces will take a greater role in the fight in Afghanistan but their total numbers will not increase significantly from the current level, the head of Special Operations Command said Tuesday.

As the United States and its allies continue to draw down troops in Afghanistan, the Obama administration is considering escalating the role of Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan between now and 2014, CNN reported Monday. The plan, still in the "idea stage," would be to have those forces increase their combat role in hunting key terrorists as conventional forces wind down combat and focus more on training Afghans.

February 3rd, 2012
08:33 PM ET

Is Panetta saying too much?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke publicly this week about some sensitive matters.  His comments have drawn reaction.  CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

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