Panetta Spells Out DOD Roles in Cyberdefense 11 Oct 2012 Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta spelled out in detail the Defense Department's responsibility in cybersecurity during a speech to the Business Executives for National Security meeting in New York, today. Panetta has stressed the importance of cybersecurity since taking office last year. In addition, the secretary has warned about a "cyber Pearl Harbor" many times, including during testimony before Congress. "A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11," he said in prepared remarks. "Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation."
Breaking: Biden, Ryan trade sharp words on foreign policy, economy during vice-presidential debate 11 Oct 2012 Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan clashed over Libya, Afghanistan and the economy in the campaign's only vice-presidential debate Thursday, interrupting and re-interrupting one another during a 90-minute exchange shaped by Biden's aggressive tone. Ryan picked up themes used by his running mate, Mitt Romney, in last week's presidential debate. But the debate's dominant voice was Biden's. The vice president was assertive in a way that President Obama had not been, chuckling in seeming exasperation several times at Ryan's arguments, and interrupting the Republican in mid-argument. He had the night's most memorable one-liners, calling Ryan's arguments "malarkey," "loose talk," and "a bunch of stuff."
Biden comes out swinging at debate, clashes with Ryan 11 Oct 2012 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and rival Republican Paul Ryan battled fiercely over foreign policy and the economy in a lively debate on Thursday, with Biden aggressively defending the administration's policies and dismissing Ryan's criticism. Seeking to win back the momentum for the Democrats' campaign, Biden frequently went on the attack. "With all due respect, that is a bunch of malarkey," Biden said when Ryan accused the White House of projecting an image of American weakness to the world.
Exercise Prepares D.C. Troops for Inauguration 11 Oct 2012 The District of Columbia National Guard participated in the 2012 Capital Shield Exercise, a training event which emphasizes unity of effort for district and federal agencies operating in the District of Columbia in preparation for events such as the upcoming inauguration. The D.C. Army National Guard's 33rd CST, together with the Massachusetts National Guard's 1st CST, set up their equipment for a section of the training conducted in Southeast Washington. The western campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, which opened in 1855 as the "Government Hospital for the Insane," is situated in southeast D.C., south and across the Anacostia River from the D.C. National Guard Armory. The rich and storied history of the institution is palpable as the National Guard members conducted a training scenario based on a possible chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threat.
BBC film crew held at gunpoint after trying to sneak into Nevada's Area 51 military base with UFO conspiracy theorists --Same BBC team 'caused outrage' by suggesting London bombings were a government conspiracy --Agents held the 12-man team at gunpoint for three hours while checking their credentials --'Apache helicopters were called in and Washington phoned London after trespass' --Team say they were followed in the days following attempt 11 Oct 2012 This is the moment a BBC film crew were held by security teams at the notoriously secretive Area 51 - where conspiracy theorists believe the American government is hiding a flying saucer. Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell and UFO expert Darren Perks sneaked past the border at the site - and were forced to lie on the ground at gunpoint for three hours while the FBI checked their credentials. It is the same documentary team that caused outrage in Britain last week when they suggested that the 7/7 London bombings were part of a government conspiracy to boost support for the Iraq war. [They were.] The 'UFO: Conspiracy Road Trip' documentary, airing next Monday, will show how the BBC film crew were arrested at gunpoint. They were forced to lie on the ground for three hours as guards surrounded them armed with M16 assault rifles.
U.S. has sent troops to Jordan-Syria border, Panetta says 10 Oct 2012 The United States has sent troops to Jordan to help improve its military capabilities in case the fighting in Syria spills onto its soil, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters Wednesday in Brussels. Panetta made the remarks at a NATO meeting of defense ministers. The allies are also eyeing the security of [alleged] chemical and biological weapons stockpiled by Syria, a threat that President Obama has warned could change the tack toward the continuing conflict. If the Syrian government unleashes those weapons, Obama said, that would be a "red line" triggering U.S. military intervention.
NATO must have U.N. mandate for post-2014 Afghan mission: Russia 10 Oct 2012 Russia will stop cooperating with NATO over Afghanistan after 2014 unless the alliance gets U.N. Security Council authorization for its new training mission in Afghanistan, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday. A NATO official said only that it would be "helpful" to have a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the post-2014 training mission, but stopped short of saying it was essential.
Gunmen kill Yemeni who worked at U.S. embassy in Yemen 11 Oct 2012 Masked gunmen shot dead a Yemeni man who worked in the security office of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa on Thursday, in an attack a Yemeni security source said appeared to be the work of al Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. The incident was the latest of a wave of attacks on officials in the impoverished Arab state, which is battling Islamist militants with Washington's help. The attackers, on a motorcycle, opened fire on Qassem Aqlan - who headed an embassy security investigation team - near his house in the center of Yemen's capital, the source told Reuters.
House GOP Outs Secret CIA Base in Libya --Letting us in on a secret By Dana Milbank 10 Oct 2012 When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA's cover. The purpose of Wednesday's hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others boost RMoney in the polls. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why "congressional intelligence" is an oxymoron. Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a "consulate" and a nearby "annex," was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.
GOP hearing reveals details of 'semi-secret' U.S. facility in Benghazi 10 Oct 2012 A public clash in Congress on Wednesday over photographs depicting the location of a second, semi-secret [?] U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya put the spotlight on a compound said to be more secure than the public American 'mission' where U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens died last month. Reuters has learned some new details about it from U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity and the ongoing official probes. They described the second facility as a significant and largely secret complex, housing diplomatic and intelligence personnel. Among their assignments was a high-priority inter-agency program to locate shoulder-fired missiles and other weapons loosed by Libya's 2011 revolution... The compound also housed a seven-man U.S. "quick-reaction security team" that went to the temporary consulate after Stevens and others came under attack there, according to testimony on Wednesday.
Jason Chaffetz Admits House GOP Cut Funding For Embassy Security: 'You Have to Prioritize Things' 11 Oct 2012 Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) acknowledged on Wednesday that House Republicans had consciously voted to reduce the funds allocated to the State Department for embassy security since winning the majority in 2010. On Wednesday morning, CNN asked the Utah Republican if he had "voted to cut the funding for embassy security." "Absolutely," Chaffetz said. "Look we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have...15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, a private army there, for President Obama, in Baghdad. And we're talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces. When you're in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices. You have to prioritize things." [Yes, you have to prioritize your imperialist adventures for oil, gas and opium routes.]
Mother of slain Navy SEAL: Romney shouldn't politicize her son's death 10 Oct 2012 The mother of Glen Doherty, a Navy SEAL who was one of four Americans killed in the Sept. 11 attack in Libya, told a Boston TV station that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shouldn't politicize her son's death. Romney told an Iowa campaign audience on Tuesday about a chance encounter with a Navy SEAL during a Christmas party in San Diego, although he did not invoke Doherty by name. Romney owns a home in California and Doherty was stationed there, serving in the military.
Romney's emotional story remembered very differently by friend of fallen SEAL 10 Oct 2012 On the stump in Iowa Tuesday, Mitt Romney revealed that he met former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty at a holiday party some years ago. Doherty is one of four Americans killed during the September 11th attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. ...But one of Glen Doherty's best friends remembered Doherty's impression of this meeting much differently. Elf Ellefsen met Glen Doherty skiing in Utah when he was 19, and the two men remained friends for more than 20 years. According to Ellefsen, Romney introduced himself to Doherty four separate times during the gathering.
A Hall of Shame for Venezuelan Elections Coverage By Keane Bhatt 08 Oct 2012 Hugo Chávez, as a number of us expected, won the Venezuelan presidential election in yet another landslide yesterday: 55.1% to his opponent Henrique Capriles's 44.2%. To understand why Chávez's electoral victory would be apparent beforehand, consider that from 1980 to 1998, Venezuela's per capita GDP declined by 14%, whereas since 2004, after the Chávez administration gained control over the nation’s oil revenues, the country’s GDP growth per person has averaged 2.5% each year. At the same time, income inequality was reduced to the lowest in Latin America, and a combination of widely shared growth and government programs cut poverty in half and reduced absolute poverty by 70%--and that's before accounting for vastly expanded access to health, education, and housing. However, the establishment media broadly anticipated that yesterday's election would be a repudiation of the Chávez administration's policies.
Crack found in Pa. nuclear reactor head 10 Oct 2012 (Shippingport, PA) A crack has been discovered in the cap to the reactor in Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station's Unit 2, according to FirstEnergy Corp. officials. Crews found a crack in Unit 2's reactor vessel head during a scheduled refueling process Saturday. The unit has been shut down since Sept. 24 for refueling and maintenance. The crack was found on the welding around one of the unit's 66 openings through which nuclear fuel rods are inserted into the reactor.
Greenpeace activists hide overnight at Swedish nuclear plants 10 Oct 2012 Six environmental activists evaded police and hid overnight at two Swedish nuclear power plants after the sites were invaded on the previous day by Greenpeace campaigners demanding the closure of the stations on grounds of poor security. A spokeswoman for Greenpeace Nordic said on Wednesday the six had remained in restricted areas around the west-coast Ringhals plant and Forsmark on the east coast by hiding on rooftops. On Tuesday, plant owner Vattenfall said police had detained in all 59 people who had climbed over or cut through fences into the grounds of Ringhals and Forsmark.
South Carolina voter ID law blocked until 2013 10 Oct 2012 A federal court ruled on Wednesday that South Carolina may not implement a photo ID law for voters until 2013, in the latest setback for a mainly Republican effort to establish identification rules in several states before the November 6 elections. South Carolina joined Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin as states with voter ID laws that have been blocked or deferred by state or federal judges.
Walmart Workers Threaten Black Friday Action 10 Oct 2012 The latest news in the Walmart labor protests -- which have included walkouts and marches in Dallas, San Diego, Chicago and Los Angeles -- is the threat of a strike on Black Friday. That's the day after Thanksgiving, widely considered the busiest, and most lucrative, retail day of the year. Some 200 angry protesters showed up at a meeting of investors and analysts earlier Wednesday at Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Walmart... has long been a target of workers' rights groups, who advocate higher wages, more flexibility in hours and an end to the punishments (reduced shifts, for instance) they claim are meted out to workers seeking to unionize.