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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
In the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, the Defense Department says it concurs with the State Department's determination that the situation in Japan does not pose significant risk to U.S. citizens. As a result, last Friday, the Pentagon ended the voluntary authorized departure of DoD eligible family members from Honshu, Japan. So far approximately 20,000 personnel, approximately 140 aircraft, and more than 20 ships from the U.S. military have supported Operation Tomodachi.
Changes may be coming at the top at the Pentagon and the CIA. If they are in the works, it's difficult to tell who will do what, but as far as CIA Director Leon Panetta is concerned, "I hope he stays there. I think we wants to stay there. I'm encouraging him to stay there, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. And he has some advice for the President. "You may need to find another Secretary of Defense. I think Secretary Gates deserves his time, but I would not make wholesale changes in all of the national security posts all at one time."
Russia's FSB, the equivalent to the FBI is trying to get access to encrypted communication providers like Skype, Gmail and Hotmail. Reuters is reporting, "the agency says the uncontrolled use of such services could threaten national security." Alexander Andreyechkin, head of the FSB says, "the uncontrolled use of these services could lead to a large-scale threat to Russian security." Critics say what he really wants to do is limit access to the internet ahead of the 2012 elections.
Israel has rolled out it secret weapon. In the face of renewed shelling from Gaza, The military unveiled something they call the Iron Dome yesterday. It's a missile shield. The device intercepted two rockets in its first deployment. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the announcement while visiting Prague. The Iron Dome fires radar-guided missiles from a truck-sized launcher and which tracks and blows up incoming rockets in mid-air.
The Associated Press reports: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates tried to smooth the worst rift in years with Arab ally and oil producer Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, reassuring the Saudi king that the U.S. remains a steady friend despite support for pro-democracy revolutions in the Middle East. The Saudi king, looking thin after months of medical treatment in the United States and elsewhere, welcomed Gates for what the Pentagon chief later said was a cordial and warm visit."
So if there were a government shutdown, how would me and women in uniform be paid? Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said late yesterday the leadership hadn't figured that out yet. There are 146,000 service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says the Pentagon would continue key national security responsibilities including fighting the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and continuing operations in Libya and earthquake assistance to Japan.
Reports about a Third Intifada being organized against Israel apparently were bogus. "They investigated that Facebook page and they couldn't trace it back to any Palestinian individual or organization," says Maen Areikat, Representative for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. "It's really interesting to know who is behind it," says Areikat. As far as any future Palestinian protests go, he says any future protests, "continue to be peaceful and not resort to violence."
Alassane Ouattara's, President in waiting in the Ivory Coast has declared an overnight curfew in the main city of Abidjan from now until Sunday. A Ouattara spokesman says the curfew was needed "for security reasons" and would run from nine o'clock in the evening through to six o'clock in the morning each day. Ouattara is locked in a bitter dispute over the Presidency in that war-torn country with incumbent Laurent Bagbo. Ouattara won the election but has not been able to assume the office.
NATO has taken over command of the No-Fly zone and other military efforts to stop Libyan leader Muamar Gadhafi's military and help the rebels gain steam. A U.s. intelligence source says the British and French have troops on the ground and supply guidance to the rebels while the a wealthy Middle Eastern government is bank rolling the effort to supply weapons to the rebels. As that effort continues, there are major concerns about possibly arming the rebels.
Muammar Gaddafi's army hasn't thrown in the towel yet. They set back the momentum of the rebels troops who were headed toward Tripoli. In the meantime Admiral James Stravridis, the U.S. head of NATO said there "flickers" of Al Qaida in Libya, waiting to fill the void left behind by Gadhafi, if he's ousted. But Stavridis added the is no evidence of a significant presence. The NATO-led aerial bombardment of Libyan forces is expected to continue until Gaddafi gives up or is defeated.