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Oct 26, 2012

U.S. Navy sends ships to sea ahead of ‘Frankenstorm’

WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy on Friday
ordered all ships in the Norfolk, Virginia, area – including the
nuclear-powered USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier – out to
sea beyond the reach of approaching Hurricane Sandy.

It was just one of the storm precautions being announced by
the Pentagon, which said around 61,000 members of the National
Guard were ready to respond, if needed.

Oct 25, 2012

U.S. knew too little to deploy troops to Benghazi: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon defended its decision not to deploy forces to Benghazi, Libya, as soon as the U.S. mission came under attack on September 11th, saying it would have been irresponsible to put forces in harm’s way without better information.

President Barack Obama’s response to the attacks in Libya has been a contentious issue in the hard-fought U.S. presidential race, with Republican opponents raising questions about his administration’s truthfulness and competence.

Oct 24, 2012

North Korea new leader still a mystery after nearly a year: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Whether North Korea’s new leader will follow the dangerous path of his father is unclear, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday, despite worrying behavior by the reclusive state during his first year in power.

“The bottom line is we still don’t know whether or not he will simply follow in the steps of his father or whether he represents a different kind of leadership for the future,” Panetta said, flanked by South Korea’s defense chief at a Pentagon news conference.

Oct 24, 2012

Not supplying Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels: U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday it had not supplied Stinger missiles to Syrian rebel forces and appeared to question intelligence from Moscow that the U.S.-made surface-to-air missiles had made their way into the opposition’s hands.

Stinger missiles would help bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s warplanes and helicopters, which have bombed residential areas where rebels are hiding. More than 32,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Oct 24, 2012

US says not supplying Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – The United States said on
Wednesday it had not supplied Stinger missiles to Syrian rebel
forces and appeared to question intelligence from Moscow that
the U.S.-made surface-to-air missiles had made their way into
the opposition’s hands.

Stinger missiles would help bring down Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad’s warplanes and helicopters, which have bombed
residential areas where rebels are hiding. More than 32,000
people have been killed in the conflict.

Oct 24, 2012

U.S. not supplying Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday he had no knowledge of the United States supplying Stinger missiles to Syrian rebel forces, after Moscow said the rebels had acquired the U.S.-made surface-to-air missiles.

Asked about reports that the rebels had such weapons, Panetta declined comment, saying: “I don’t know what the reports are – and I certainly don’t know of us providing any such missiles in that area.”

Oct 12, 2012

U.S. defense chief says pre-emptive action possible over cyber threat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military could act pre-emptively if it detects an imminent threat of cyber attack, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday, urging stronger action to bolster America’s defenses against such plots.

In what was described by U.S. officials as the first major policy speech on cyber security by a defense secretary, Panetta lamented under-investment by America’s private sector and political gridlock in Washington that he said stymied cyber security legislation. He said a presidential executive order was being considered “while we wait for Congress to act.”

Oct 4, 2012

U.S. backs Turkey, hopes Syria dispute doesn’t escalate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States expressed hope on Thursday that Turkey’s border clash with Syria does not escalate further, but stood by its NATO ally’s right to defend itself against aggression spilling over from Syria’s internal armed conflict.

The State Department said Turkey’s decision to mount retaliatory artillery strikes after a Syrian mortar killed five civilians in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday was appropriate and proportional.

Oct 1, 2012

Veterans agency shaken over wasted expenses, official resigns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledged “serious lapses in oversight” on Monday and a senior official resigned as an investigation detailed funds wasted on elaborate conferences and said employees got gifts like massages and helicopter rides.

The revelations came just months after a scandal and shake-up at another U.S. federal agency, the General Services Administration, also over a lavish conference, and renewed questions about lax supervision of taxpayer dollars in a presidential election year.

Sep 19, 2012

NATO pullback heightens doubts about Afghan strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – NATO’s decision to scale back joint operations with Afghan forces may protect the lives of Western troops increasingly targeted by “insider attacks,” but it raises troubling new questions about President Barack Obama’s strategy to stabilize Afghanistan.

After ramping up Afghan security forces at a breakneck rate to allow for a drawdown of Western troops, NATO is coming to grips with a rash of deadly assaults by Afghan recruits who turn their guns on Western allies. Muslim rage over a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad has further stoked the risk.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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