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National Security Correspondent J.J. Green has traveled three continents covering intelligence, terrorism, and security issues. From Afghanistan to Africa, Iraq to Ireland, there isn't anywhere J.J. won't go, nor anyone he won't talk with, to get the stories affecting the defense and national security communities.
The Senate is considering a $60 billion that incorporates $30 billion for President Barack Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan with more than $5 billion to replenish disaster aid accounts, provide Haitian earthquake relief, and make a down payment on aid to flood-drenched Tennessee and Rhode Island. The Associate Press reports the must-pass legislation is the only appropriations bill likely to advance to Obama's desk until the fall and is a tempting target for Democrats seeking to add money for a summer jobs program or to help to local school district to retain teachers.
President Barack Obama said Wednesday he was confident that U.S. troops could start to return home as planned from Afghanistan in July 2011 but he predicted a tough fight in the coming months. "There is going to be some tough fighting," Obama said at a joint news conference with Afghan president Hamid Karzai,
A Yemeni government official says they will not extradite radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to the U.S. if he is captured. According to Kuwati's Kuwait Al-Dar Online newspaper, Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qirbi says Awlaki is wanted for interrogation by the Yemeni government because of his connection to Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan and the Underwear Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Yemen refuses to extradite its citizen to other countries.
Raids on suspected Taliban hideouts would probably be best handled by Afghan forces as opposed to U.S special forces. Major-General Charles Cleveland, Commander of Special Operations for U.S. Central Command says also they have to avoid killing and wounding civilians. At a conference yesterday in Jordan. Cleveland also said, "Raids and kill/capture operations remain important, but they have to be precise." Special forces are only permitted to carry out raids at night when Afghan forces are with them.
Several journalists can no longer go into the military commissions happened at Guantanamo Bay. The Pentagon says four of them published the name of a witness after being told not to. The U.S. military wanted the witness identified only as "Interrogator No. 1" and said reporting his name was off-limits. Reporters for the Miami Herald, the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and Canwest News Service reported the name during hearings for a 23-year-old Canadian prisoner who is charged with killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.
Evangelist Franklin Graham prayed on a sidewalk outside the Pentagon today after his invitation to a prayer service inside was withdrawn because of comments that insulted people of other religions. He prayed with his party of a half-dozen people for about five minutes at the Pentagon parking lot. Pentagon spokesman Geoff said he came, he prayed, he left and it was uneventful.
Assistance is coming for family members who have to leave their jobs to become caregivers for severely wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, courtesy of a bill signed Wednesday by President Barack Obama. The bill, estimated to cost $3.7 billion over five years, also expands veterans care for women, the homeless, and those who live in rural areas.
A U.S. counterterrorism source in a position to know says there is a foreign influence nexus to the suspects linked to the Times Square attempted bombing. A Justice Department spokesman said, "The investigation continues. We are pursuing every lead to determine the identity and motives of the person or persons responsible. Other U.S. Intelligence officials are stressing it is too early to determine what that influence was generated outside of the U.S. or stateside with international connections.
A video of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud surfaced last Friday from what appeared to be an unidentified location. Geo News TV did the interview in which Meshud said the Taliban are winning the war. Earlier this year he was reportedly killed after a U.S drone attack, but Taliban leaders and Pakistani intelligence now say he is alive. The question now is whether this video was made before or after the US missile attack.
The United States plans give the Pakistani government $600 million to pay for military operations they've undertaken in the last 12 months. A pentagon spokesman says, "There has been some concern on the Pakistani's part about the rate at which they are reimbursed for Coalition Support Funds for their efforts in the war on terror on our behalf within their borders." The U.S. owes Pakistan about $2 billion dollars.
Former Pakistani Military Ruler and then President Pervez Musharraf is said to be exploring a return to power in Pakistan. Musharraf has been living in London since he left office in 2007. He could face criminal charges if returns to the country. Pakistani sources say he's planning to move to Middle east shortly and launch a new political party. Pakistani political observers the former military ruler would face difficult circumstances if he tried to re-enter politics.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he's satisfied with Pentagon planning to counter the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. During a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, Gates also said, "We are at a point now where Hezbollah has far more rockets and missiles than most governments in the world." Those weapons are a clear threat for Israel. Barak said Israel was closely watching Hezbollah.
A nuclear arms race in the Middle East is one of the biggest concerns among western diplomats. Iran is at the center of this issue. Experts like Dr. David Kay, a former U.N. weapons inspector have said repeatedly that if Iran is successful in building a nuclear weapon, other countries in the region will feel compelled to do the same just to protect themselves. As a result, the Saudi press agency reports officials there have established a renewable energy complex, confirming the country's interest in nuclear energy.
Franklin Graham says the Army has withdrawn an invitation for him to appear at a special Pentagon prayer service. The Christian evangelist said he regrets the Army's decision but not stop praying for the troops. Graham, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, has described Islam as evil in the past. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation raised the objection to the appearance, citing Graham's past remarks about Islam.
Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded guilty in September to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Alvin Hellerstein sentenced him to 121 months, plus three years of supervised release. He faced up to 20 years behind bars. The Associated Press reports Alishtari was operating a phony loan investment program when he met the undercover agent. Prosecutors said he accepted an unspecified amount of money from the agent to transfer $152,500 he believed was being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support a terrorist training camp. Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon, thought the money would be used to buy night vision goggles, medical supplies and other equipment and advised the agent he had to be "three steps away" from the money so it could not be traced back to him. Defense attorneys had initially argued that Alishtari was more interested in potential profits from his loan business than in terrorism activity.
The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan said Friday that the coalition depends too much on private-sector contractors, and insisted his forces are keeping close watch on the flow of Taliban fighters who are training in Iran. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, during a four-day visit to France, said the coalition in Afghanistan has become too dependent on private contractors in the effort to stabilize the country.
Lt. General Ronal Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency said yesterday Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single nuclear bomb within a year. But is that their goal? A top Israeli military analyst says the jury is still out on what Iran is going to do with its nuclear program. Some have suggested even Iran doesn't know. One thing's for sure. The U.S. And Israel both have warned a military strike on Iran is not out of the question. The question is will it happen before Hezbollah and Hamas strike Israel as some experts warn.
Israel has banned imports of Apple Inc.'s hottest new product, the iPad, citing concerns the powerful gadget consumes too much capacity on wireless networks and could disrupt other devices. According to the Associated Press, customs officials said Thursday they have already confiscated about 10 of the lightweight tablet computers since Israel announced the new regulations this week. The ban prevents anyone - even tourists - from bringing iPads into Israel until officials certify that they comply with local transmitter standards.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he's ready to resign. But Only under certain conditions is ready to resign if he and his kin and kith are granted security guarantees. "I will resign if they will ensure my and my relatives' security," he has told a news conference in Dzhalal-Abad. The interim government has refused to grant him immunity and warns that he would be detained if did not give up his calls for civil war.
Ousted Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he did not want to believe Russia was behind the protests that chased him from power. Bakiyev also said he had no plans to step down, but offered to talk to the opposition leaders who have claimed control of Kyrgyzstan after Central Asia's bloodiest unrest in five years. He adds he believes there was some foreign influence in the coup.