Weather, time key challenges in first chemical destruction at sea off Syria
January 3rd, 2014
11:34 AM ET

Weather, time key challenges in first chemical destruction at sea off Syria

By Gabe LaMonica

Wearing a welding mask to protect from heat and sparks, a worker put the finishing touches on a system capable of a task never performed: the destruction of chemical weapons agents at sea.

The Cape Ray, equipped with chemical weapons disposal systems, should be deployed in about two weeks. Once deployed, it will take the ship 10 days to reach the center of the Mediterranean Sea and three more days to reach the coast of Syria.

But with no orders yet to sail, officials Thursday opened the 648-foot cargo ship in Norfolk, Virginia, to display two field deployable hydrolysis systems (FDHS) installed on its main trailer deck. Each FDHS costs about $5 million. They are based on machines that “have been used for about 10 years now to destroy our own chemical materials,” according to Frank Kendall, a Defense Department official.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Chemical Weapons • Syria
GOP senators: Bad decision not to put Al Libi in Gitmo
October 9th, 2013
10:45 AM ET

GOP senators: Bad decision not to put Al Libi in Gitmo

By Gabe LaMonica

Three Republican senators are accusing the Obama administration of compromising intelligence gathering by holding Abu Anas al Libi on a Navy ship instead of sending him to the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay.

During a press conference Tuesday, Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the detainment of al Libi on a Navy vessel in the Mediterranean Sea a "huge mistake."

Graham commended the administration's use of "boots on the ground to capture people" as a "good change in policy," but said there are "fatal flaws" in the U.S. intelligence gathering system.

"It's hard to interrogate a dead man," he said, so it's good that the administration is no longer "killing everybody by drones." But the refusal to send al Libi to Gitmo and to hold him instead at sea is "not a proper way to gather intelligence in the war on terror," Graham added.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Al Qaeda • Libya