August 1st, 2013
09:23 PM ET

Terror threat prompts U.S. embassy closures

A terror threat prompted the State Department on Thursday to direct its embassies in key Middle East nations, including Egypt and Israel, to close on Sunday with the possibility they could remain idle longer.

A U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly on the matter called the threat "credible and serious."

It was "directed at American targets overseas," but may not be confined to main diplomatic facilities, the official said.

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May 8th, 2013
03:53 PM ET

17 stripped of authority to launch nuclear missiles

In an unprecedented action, an Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles.

The 17 are being sent to undergo 60 to 90 days of intensive refresher training on how to do their jobs. The action comes after their unit performed poorly on an inspection and one officer was investigated for potential compromise of nuclear launch codes, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman.

The story was first reported by The Associated Press.

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Air Force
April 11th, 2013
08:41 AM ET

U.S.: North Korea missile in firing position

North Korea has raised at least one missile into its upright firing position Wednesday, raising concerns that a launch was imminent, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday.

This comes as the world continued to keep watch for a possible missile launch by the secretive regime, and just a day before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was due to arrive in the region.

It's not known by the United States why the regime did not proceed with the firing.

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U.S.: N. Korea may test missiles at any time
A North Korean soldier looks through binoculars last month in a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
April 9th, 2013
05:51 PM ET

U.S.: N. Korea may test missiles at any time

The Obama administration calculates it's likely North Korea may test fire mobile ballistic missiles at any time, based on the most recent intelligence showing Pyongyang probably has completed launch preparations, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The administration believes a test launch could happen without North Korea issuing a standard notice to commercial aviation and maritime shipping warning them to stay away from the missile's path, according to the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the information.

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific, on Tuesday called repeated North Korean violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions forbidding the "building and testing" of long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons "a clear and direct threat to U.S. national security and regional peace and stability."

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Officials: 7 Marines killed in training exercise
March 19th, 2013
12:29 PM ET

Officials: 7 Marines killed in training exercise

[Updated at 12:29 p.m. ET] The blast that killed seven U.S. Marines and injured eight others Monday night during a training exercise at Nevada's Hawthorne Army Depot was caused by a 60 mm round that detonated in a mortar tube, according to a military official.

[Posted at 9:22 a.m. ET] Seven U.S. Marines were killed and several others were injured during a training exercise Monday night at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, the Marine Corps said Tuesday.

The cause of the incident is under investigation, the Marines said.

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Filed under: Marines • Military • Nevada
March 14th, 2013
01:38 PM ET

Iran confronts U.S. drone over Persian Gulf

Iranian military aircraft targeted a U.S. Predator drone over the Persian Gulf this week, administration officials said. It was the latest in Iranian efforts to thwart the U.S. military's airborne intelligence collections efforts in the region.

Three administration officials have separately confirmed details of the incident, although the Pentagon has not publicly acknowledged it.

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Officials: Bin Laden's son-in-law captured
This frame grab from the Saudi-owned television network MBC shows Suleiman Abu Ghaith.
March 7th, 2013
12:14 PM ET

Officials: Bin Laden's son-in-law captured

[Updated at 3:28 p.m. ET] Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who has served as an al Qaeda spokesman, was captured and has been brought to the United States, two administration officials and a federal law enforcement official said Thursday.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is being held in New York, and will appear in court Friday to face federal charges, the law enforcement official said.

A sealed indictment lays out charges against him, the administration officials said.

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March 5th, 2013
12:44 PM ET

Mattis wants 13K troops staying in Afghanistan

The top U.S. commander for the Afghanistan-Pakistan region has recommended to President Obama that 13,600 American troops stay in Afghanistan after 2014, a number that is potentially higher than what the administration wants to leave in the country.

At a NATO meeting in February, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said up to 12,000 troops could stay behind, but not all of those would be American troops necessarily. But Gen. James Mattis, head of the U.S. Central Command, revealed the new recommendation to the Senate Armed Service Committee on Tuesday at a hearing.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
February 20th, 2013
09:45 AM ET

80K civilian defense workers face furloughs

Nearly 800,000 civilian workers would be forced to take one day of leave per week without pay if automatic spending cuts go into effect as scheduled, the Defense Department told Congress on Wednesday morning.

The furloughs would start in the last week of April and last for 22 weeks, according to the Pentagon plan. It's unclear what would happen after the 22 weeks.

The Pentagon's plan is in response to the looming mandatory, across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration that are due to start March 1. The cuts, mandated by a 2011 agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling, will take effect unless lawmakers come up with another deficit reduction plan.

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Filed under: Military • Politics
CIA director nominee Brennan likely to face Democrats' scrutiny at hearing
February 7th, 2013
03:50 AM ET

CIA director nominee Brennan likely to face Democrats' scrutiny at hearing

As President Barack Obama's pick for CIA director heads to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing Thursday, some in the president's own party are threatening to hold up John Brennan's nomination.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told reporters he would "pull out all the stops" to get answers about the legality of targeting Americans involved with al Qaeda overseas. Wyden was not satisfied with a confidential Justice Department memo that was sent to key congressional committees last year but only became public on Tuesday.

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Filed under: Politics • U.S.
February 5th, 2013
05:44 PM ET

Pentagon expected to expand benefits to same-sex spouses

Same-sex spouses of U.S. service members could soon be granted some benefits that they had been denied until now.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to announce this week that service members' same-sex spouses will receive some of those benefits, according to an Obama administration official.

The Pentagon has been reviewing what benefits it could extend without violating the Defense of Marriage Act. Gay rights groups have been calling for the change. Among the benefits gay rights groups say can be legally extended are housing on military bases, military ID cards to access on-base activities and programs, access to commissaries and the consideration of a same-sex spouse and family in duty assignments.

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • Military • Pentagon • Same-sex marriage
January 28th, 2013
08:54 PM ET

Ship bearing illegal arms seized off Yemen

Yemeni authorities working with the U.S. Navy intercepted a ship carrying a "substantial" cache of "illegal arms" such as surface-to-air missiles, potent explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, a U.S. official and Yemen's government said Monday.

The incident took place in Yemeni territorial waters in the Arabian Sea last Wednesday, according to a statement issued five days later from Yemen's embassy in Washington.

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Filed under: Military • Terrorism • U.S. Navy • World • Yemen
U.S. Air Force has flown 7 Mali cargo missions
U.S. military personnel stow a French armored vehicle aboard a C-17 aircraft at the Istres military airport in France on Thursday prior to take off for Mali.
January 24th, 2013
12:59 PM ET

U.S. Air Force has flown 7 Mali cargo missions

The U.S. Air Force has now flown seven C-17 missions into Mali, carrying 200 passengers, mainly French troops, and 168 tons of equipment, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Robert Firman said Thursday.

Meanwhile, discussions over the U.S. providing refueling services for French aircraft continue, a defense official tells CNN, saying such missions are likely to be approved in the coming days.

French forces are aiding the Malian military in fighting an Islamist insurgency in Mali.

Broken limbs, torn lives in Mali

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Filed under: France • Mali • U.S. Air Force
Gen. John Allen cleared of wrongdoing in Petraeus scandal
January 22nd, 2013
07:32 PM ET

Gen. John Allen cleared of wrongdoing in Petraeus scandal

A top general caught up in the scandal that forced former CIA Director David Petraeus to resign has been cleared of allegations that he wrote potentially inappropriate e-mails to Jill Kelley, the woman who claimed she was being threatened by Paula Broadwell, a U.S. defense official tells CNN.

The Department of Defense Inspector General has cleared Gen. John Allen (pictured), who currently is completing his post leading U.S. troops in Afghanistan and is in the running to be the next Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the military head of NATO.

"The IG has found the allegations against General Allen to be unsubstantiated. There have been no decisions made on General Allen's nomination to NATO," the official told CNN.

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Military suicides approach record high, Pentagon reports
Almost 350 members of the U.S. military committed or may have committed suicide last year, the Pentagon says.
January 15th, 2013
02:40 PM ET

Military suicides approach record high, Pentagon reports

The number of U.S. service members who committed suicide last year might be a record.

Despite extensive support and counseling programs, as many as 349 U.S. service members committed suicide last year, which would be the highest number since the Department of Defense began keeping detailed statistics in 2001.

According to the Pentagon, 239 military deaths in 2012 have been confirmed as suicides and another 110 are being investigated as probable suicides. The number of suicides in 2011 reached 301.

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December 3rd, 2012
03:07 PM ET

Syria combining chemicals used to make deadly sarin gas, U.S. official says

Syrian forces began combining chemicals that would be used to make deadly sarin gas for use in weapons to attack rebel and civilian populations, a U.S. official tells CNN.

The news was first reported on Wired's Danger Room blog and confirmed to CNN by the U.S. official.

The U.S. obtained intelligence over the past weekend indicating this concerning development, according to the official who had direct knowledge of the latest information. The intelligence, the official said, came from multiple sources but declined to provide any more specifics about how the U.S. learned the information.

The sarin gas, the source said, could most readily be used to fill artillery shells.

CNN reported on Sunday that U.S. intelligence is concerned about the Syrian government's intent regarding its vast chemical weapons stockpiles after what one senior U.S. official described as "worrying signs" of activity in "the last few days."  The revelation that the Assad regime is mixing chemicals underscores why the rising concern.

This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.

READ MORE ON OUR SECURITY CLEARANCE BLOG
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Filed under: Syria
November 19th, 2012
05:26 PM ET

Israeli ambassador says hopes to avoid a ground invasion into Gaza, but ready

Israel has completed its planning and is prepared to go ahead with a ground invasion into Gaza if necessary, the Israeli ambassador to the United States said Monday.

Michael Oren underscored that Israel would like to avoid a ground operation, but is ready to act if needed. The ambassador spoke to reporters at a briefing at Israel’s embassy in Washington.

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Filed under: Israel • Palestinians • World
July 16th, 2012
12:19 PM ET

U.S. military ship fires on small boat in Persian Gulf; 1 killed

A U.S. military supply ship fired at a small boat in the Persian Gulf on Monday after it came too close to the ship, apparently killing one person on board, two U.S. officials said.

The incident happened near Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.

The crew of the USNS Rappahannock verbally warned the small boat and fired at least one warning shot before the boat, described as a small white pleasure craft, was targeted with .50-caliber machine gun fire, the Navy said.

 

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Filed under: Military • Uncategorized • United Arab Emirates • World
June 19th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Insurgents breach U.S. military outpost in southern Afghanistan, U.S. officials say

A small U.S. military outpost in southern Afghanistan was breached by insurgents early Tuesday, according to two U.S. officials.

Both officials said initial details are sketchy, but military reports indicate that at least eight insurgents somehow got inside the security perimeter at Forward Operating Base Frontenac. Neither official had information on how the breach occurred.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
June 18th, 2012
04:34 PM ET

Uniformed Afghans attack NATO troops, killing 1, officials say

[Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET] Attackers in Afghan police uniforms gunned down a member of NATO's peacekeeping force in southern Afghanistan on Monday, the allied command in Kabul reported.

The International Security Assistance Force said the three gunmen "immediately fled the area and are currently being sought."

No other details were released by NATO, but a U.S. official in Washington told CNN the fatality was an American and that as many as eight or nine others were wounded.

Uniformed Afghans either insurgents in disguise, or members of the country's police or military have been behind numerous killings of U.S. and NATO troops this year. The incidents have fueled mutual distrust between Afghan and NATO forces in the now-decade-old conflict.

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