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9:03 pm, July 28, 2014

Pentagon & Beyond

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.

Wikileaks condemned again

The "height of irresponsibility". That what the Pentagon says about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's decision to release another 15-thousand documents related to the war in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says "there are very serious operational consequences. There are the names of a lot of Afghans who have worked with us and helped us in those documents." He added the documents contain a significant amount of information about U.S. tactics, techniques and procedures, including places where they are vulnerable.

Break in Hamas Leader's Killing

Polish authorities have extradited a man believed to be a Mossad agent to Germany, where he faces charges over a passport that was used in the slaying of a Hamas leader in Dubai earlier this year. The suspect, known as Uri Brodsky was handed over to German police at Warsaw's international airport. German prosecutors accuse him of illegally helping to procure a passport used in connection with the Jan. 19th slaying of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a hotel in Dubai.

Patriot Missiles to Kuwait

The Pentagon is going to sell about 200 Patriot missiles worth about $900 million to Kuwait. The goal is to build up anti-missile systems in the Persian Gulf. The Associated Press's Anne Flaherty writes, the initiative is aimed at defending Gulf allies against potential Iranian missile strikes and to signal to Tehran that any aggression would not go unanswered. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Wednesday that it had notified Congress of the proposed sale. Congress could object but is not expected to do so.

DoD planning to close USJFCM

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is recommending the elimination of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. That command is one of DoD's ten combatant commands and recently believed to play a key role in transforming the U.S. military's capabilities. Headquartered in Norfolk, Va., the command oversees a force of more than 1.16 million men and women. The command is comprised of active and reserve personnel from each branch of the armed forces, civil servants and contract employees. The commander oversees the command's four major mission areas: Joint Concept Development and Experimentation, Joint Training, Joint Capabilities Development, and Joint Force Provider.

Pentagon to Wikileaks: Take them down

The Pentagon is demanding that online whistle-blower WikiLeaks return its trove of tens of thousands of leaked U.S. government documents and delete them from its website and records. The Associated Press reports Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell didn't say what efforts the Defense Department might be able to take to compel Wikileaks to comply. He told a Pentagon press conference that, at this point, the Pentagon is asking Wikileaks "to do the right thing." Wikileaks posted nearly 77,000 classified military and other documents, mostly raw intelligence reports from Afghanistan, on its website July 25.

Vietnam Era General Exonerated

Gen. John D. Lavelle has been vindicated 30 years after he died. He was an Air Force General who was stripped of two stars and removed from his command from his command in 1972 because of allegations that he ordered unauthorized bombings in North Vietnam and keep them secret. The Pentagon now says tapes from the Nixon Administration reveal he had permission to do so.

U.S. choppers head to Pakistan

1500 people are dead in Pakistan because of flooding. The Pentagon is dispatching several helicopters from Afghanistan to help transport relief supplies and refugees in flood-ravaged Pakistan. Four CH-47 Chinooks Two UH-60 Black Hawks will be sent over. Bad weather hindered their arrival yesterday, but they are expected to begin their missions today. Pakistan has repeatedly rejected, at least publicly as U.S. military presence in Pakistan, but in cases like this the government has proven to be very receptive.

Is it working?

Is the program to kill or capture terrorists working? A New York Times report seems to show some evidence it is. According to the NYT, American intelligence reporting has recently revealed growing examples of Taliban fighters who are fearful of moving into higher-level command positions because of these lethal operations.

Wikileaks "might already have blood on their hands"

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. to protect any individuals who might be at risk after the Wikileaks War Dairies leaks. He also said the military was reviewing its rules for safeguarding classified information. He called it a "mountain of raw data" that didn't shed new light on U.S. policy but he and experts say it could help the Taliban Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen said that Wikileaks "might already have on their hands the blood of a young soldier or that of an Afghan family."

Holbrooke says war is win-able

Difficult but the war in Afghanistan can succeed. The words of Richard Holbrook, the top U.S envoy in Afghanistan and Pakistan yesterday before Congress at an oversight hearing on money being spent on the nine year old war in Afghanistan. Lawmakers expressed concern about corruption that's eaten up millions of dollars. Holbrooke said this is the toughest job he's ever had.

Pentagon connected to Child Porn

The Defense Department says an investigation has identified dozens of members of the military and defense contractors that have allegedly obtained child pornography. Many of those involved are said to have access to top secret information. Some of those implicated to are connected to the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency. The Boston Globe first reported the story after obtaining documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Some have already been prosecuted.

The Taliban facing more trouble

The Afghan Taliban leadership is facing more pressure from the U.S. The U.S. Treasury Department will freeze the militants' assets, ban travel and trigger an arms embargo. It follows similar action by the United Nations earlier this week, and comes after calls from Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Afghanistan. the U.S. and U.N. sanctions prohibit any financial transactions of the terror leaders in U.N. member countries, putting additional pressure on Pakistan to take broader actions against the Taliban militants.

DHS Evading FOIA Process or not?

The Associated Press says it's obtained a thousand emails showing DHS sent FOIA requests to senior political advisers who turned scoured them for information about the requesters and delaying disclosures deemed too politically sensitive. DHS spokesman Sean Smith says, they were just giving senior leadership visibility into FOIA releases to enable the Department to be as responsive as possible. FOIA's are designed to be insulated from political considerations. AP says DHS stopped the practice after their investigation.

Shut up when necessary

The Pentagon is feed up with leaks. "Over the last two years I've lost a first rate central command commander, and an outstanding commander of ISAF in Afghanistan due to their own missteps in dealing with the media, says Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. He adds' "if you're a Captain in a unit that has an embedded reporter", be as open as possible within the guidelines and rules, but "if you're a Captain working in this building on budget options, I expect you to keep your mouth shut."

Judge strikes down imposter law

A judge in Denver has ruled that a federal law making it illegal to lie about being a war hero is unconstitutional because it violates free speech. The Associated Press reported the ruling, came in the case of Rick Glen Strandlof, a Colorado man who claimed he was an ex-Marine wounded in Iraq and had received the Purple Heart and Silver Star. The military had no record that Strandlof served. Strandlof was charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it illegal to falsely claim to have won a military medal.

Army Nixes Psy-Ops

The Army is no longer using the term "psychological operations" for the unit in tasked with changing minds behind enemy lines. They say it sounds threatening. Now it's going to be called Military Information Support Operations. A U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman says more the new name more accurately reflects the unit's job of producing leaflets, radio broadcasts and loudspeaker messages to influence enemy soldiers and civilians.

Is Mubarak Ill?

Is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in good health? That question is being asked as he's again reportedly cancelled a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They've postponed the meeting several times. Israeli media reported last week Mubarak has cancer. Mubarak reportedly went to Germany in the spring for what some describe as urgent treatment. Some sources say it the postponement many be due to political concerns.

Gitmo inmate released

A Yemeni man held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay for eight years has been sent home after a judge concluded he had no connection to al Qaeda and ordered his release, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Reuters reports, Mohammed Odaini is the first Yemeni sent home since U.S. President Barack Obama halted repatriations after allegations that a Yemeni al Qaeda affiliate was behind a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airplane on Christmas Day.

Pentagon begins a survey

Members of the armed services are being asked how they feel about certain situations involving people who are gay. The Pentagon sent out a survey to gauge their opinion ahead of a possible repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Among the key questions are those about privacy issues and living quarters. Some critics claim parts of survey are biased against homosexuals, but the Pentagon claims it is fair.

Cyber Codes Generates Interest

What's the big deal about a 32-character string of secret code in the logo of the Pentagon's U.S. Cyber Command. The new military command was launched in late May to help centralize Defense Department efforts to protect its computer networks, which are under constant threat from attackers. The Associated Press reports it was created to frustrate everyone from run-of-the-mill hackers to foreign governments looking to steal sensitive information or crash critical, life-sustaining computer systems.

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