U.S. military fires second high-level nuke officer
October 11th, 2013
03:09 PM ET

U.S. military fires second high-level nuke officer

By Barbara Starr, Shirley Henry and Larry Shaughnessy

Another U.S. military officer with high-level oversight responsibility for the nation's nuclear arsenal has lost his job - the second in the past week.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, the two-star general in charge of three Air Force nuclear wings, was "relieved" of command "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment," the Air Force said in a statement on Friday.

Carey was fired by his boss Lt. Gen James Kowalski, head of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, several months after Kowalski requested an inspector general investigation.

Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick, the chief spokesman for the Air Force, told reporters the inspector general's office began its investigation after multiple "reports of misbehavior" but declined to be specific.

July 19th, 2013
01:09 PM ET

Is terrorism still a threat to American families?

By Dan Merica, Elise Labott and Shirley Henry

Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, a majority of Americans were worried about terrorism directly impacting their lives, according to a number of polls.

More than a decade later, is that still the case?

That was the primary question John Ashcroft, former attorney general under President George W. Bush, and Phillip Mudd, a former senior official at the CIA and FBI, debated at a Friday panel at the Aspen Security Forum.

“I think we are still at war,” Ashcroft said bluntly. “I don’t know if I will be able to be sure to say when we will be able to say we are not at war. But as long as they are continuing to hit us and allege that they are at war, I think we can.”

In response, Mudd directly challenged Ashcroft.

“I don't agree, by the way, that we are at war,” the author said.


Obama administration response blasted at Benghazi hearing
May 8th, 2013
03:43 PM ET

Obama administration response blasted at Benghazi hearing

By Dan Merica

Top Republicans and witnesses ripped the Obama administration's response to last year's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, calling key executive branch officials unresponsive in the critical hours after the assault and uncooperative in the investigations that followed.

Our goal "is to get answers because their families (of the victims) deserve answers," said California Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which heard from State Department "whistleblowers" at a hearing on Wednesday.

"The administration, however, has not been cooperative and unfortunately our (Democratic House) minority has mostly sat silent," he said.

Issa spoke prior to testimony from Eric Nordstrom, a former regional security officer in Libya; Mark Thompson, the State Department's acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism; and Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya.

Follow CNN's live blog of the hearing here.

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Filed under: Benghazi • Hillary Clinton • Libya
May 2nd, 2013
10:37 PM ET

Hagel: U.S. rethinking opposition to arming Syrian rebels

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday the Obama administration is rethinking its policy of opposing providing weapons to the Syrian rebels.

Hagel's acknowledgment - after weeks of the U.S. resisting arming the opposition, for fear the weapons could end up in the wrong hands - comes days after the White House sent a letter to two U.S. senators saying the intelligence community assessed "with varying degrees of confidence" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government had used the chemical agent sarin on a "small scale."

President Obama, asked about Hagel's remarks, said he was only reiterating a position the administration has held for months. "We are continually evaluating the situation on the ground working with our international partners to find the best way to move a political transition that has Assad leaving, stabilizes the country, ends the killing and allows the Syrian people to determine their own destiny, " the president said during a press conference in Mexico.


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Filed under: Hagel • Syria
President Obama: Gitmo should be closed
April 30th, 2013
11:53 AM ET

President Obama: Gitmo should be closed

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday he continues to believe the United States should close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"I think it's critical for us to understand Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe, it's expensive, it's inefficient, it hurts us in terms of international standing, it lessens cooperation with our allies in counter-terrorism efforts. ... It needs to be closed."

Obama vowed to close the prison when he first came into office, but Congress blocked him from doing so.

Dozens of prisoners at that detention camp are currently on their tenth week of a hunger strike.

U.S. authorities said last week that 84 – half of the prisoners – were not eating.

Carlos Warner, a public defender who represents 11 of the detainees, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last week that multiple sources told him the number was actually higher.

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Filed under: Gitmo • Obama
April 23rd, 2013
09:03 PM ET

New role for David Petraeus: Professor

From Shirley Henry

David Petraeus, who resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency after the revelation of an extramarital affair, has been named a visiting professor at Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, the school's chancellor said Tuesday.

Petraeus will assume the position in August, Matthew Goldstein, the chancellor, said. The university did not provide specifics about what Petraeus would be teaching.

In a statement, the retired Army general indicated he will lead an economic seminar.

"I look forward to leading a seminar at Macaulay that examines the developments that could position the United States - and our North American partners - to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown," he said.

Petraeus, who once ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned from his CIA post in November.

He resigned after admitting he had had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, a fellow West Point graduate who spent months studying the general's leadership of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The affair came to light during an FBI investigation of "jealous" e-mails Broadwell reportedly sent to another woman.

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Filed under: Security Brief
September 4th, 2011
06:33 PM ET

U.S. warns on small planes, but says no plots known

By CNN Senior Producer Carol Cratty

U.S. officials say terrorists could try to use small aircraft in attacks, but have no specific information that such a plot is in the works, according to a new notice distributed by federal officials.

"Violent extremists with knowledge of general aviation and access to small planes pose a significant potential threat to the Homeland," according to an intelligence bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

But according to the alert, U.S. officials "do not have current, credible information or intelligence of an imminent attack being planned against aviation" by al Qaeda or its affiliates.


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Filed under: 9/11 • Al Qaeda • Terrorism
August 19th, 2011
07:36 PM ET

Minnesota Somalis help feed famine victims

From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent

It's a Monday evening in Minneapolis, and 162 volunteers are taking their seats in the hall at the office of the Christian charity Feed My Starving Children. Minnesotans in jeans and T-shirts. Somali-Americans, the women dressed in traditional brightly colored robes and head coverings.

All of them have seen the pictures on TV: emaciated refugees streaming out of the famine zone that has laid waste to much of the Horn of Africa. But for the Somalis in this hall, it's personal; most of them still have family back in Somalia. FULL POST

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Filed under: Al-Shabaab • Somalia
Army: ballistic boxers-yes; ballistic cups-no
Col. Bill Cole, US Army, displays a pair of heavy silk protective undergarments, or what some have called “ballistic boxers”, now being tested in Afghanistan. Photo by Larry Shaughnessy/CNN
August 18th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

Army: ballistic boxers-yes; ballistic cups-no

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer

Not long ago the Army made public its strategy for protecting some of its soldiers' most delicate body parts. They were beginning testing of what some have called "ballistic boxers and cups."

One of the cups being considered is made of stainless steel; another is made from high-molecular-weight polyethylene, a plastic that is lighter than Kevlar but better at stopping bullets.

"They all basically work to slow down the fragments. We are looking to prevent penetration of the genitals," Col. Bill Cole, an Army officer overseeing projects aimed at better protecting soldiers, said in May.

But on Thursday, Cole said that soldiers who have been testing the cups had some complaints.


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Filed under: Military • Security Brief
Will U.S. sanctions really hurt al-Assad?
Top U.S. and European leaders called Thursday for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, shown here during a 2009 interview with CNN, to step down. CNN Photo
August 18th, 2011
09:30 PM ET

Will U.S. sanctions really hurt al-Assad?

ANALYSIS: From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent

At first glance, the economic sanctions announced Thursday by the Obama administration look draconian: freezing Syrian assets under U.S. jurisdiction, banning Americans from doing any business with Syria, banning U.S. imports of Syrian oil or petroleum products, identifying five Syrian state-owned companies that are most involved in Syria's petroleum sector.

A senior administration official who briefed reporters on the sanctions, speaking on background because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue, said the new sanctions "strike at a crucial stream of funding in hard currency for the regime," potentially damaging the regime's ability to carry out its bloody repressions.

(Global Public Sphere blog on 'What it will take to get al-Assad to step down)

At the State Department briefing Thursday, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, "The net effect of the sanctions that we have imposed today is to close the U.S. financial sector to Syria."

But to really hurt the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Obama administration's allies will have to take similar steps.


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Filed under: Assad • Diplomacy • Security Brief • Syria
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