(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
The country and the news media was frozen in its tracks yesterday by the tragic murder of 20 very young children and 6 of their teachers at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT. However, the world does not stop. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow paused to report just a couple of the top news stories we might have missed.
This afternoon, the White House Press Office released a report sent from President Barack Obama to the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate notifying them “about deployments of U.S. Armed Forces equipped for combat.” In his report, the president said he “will direct additional measures against al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and associated forces,” but said, “it is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployments of U.S. Armed forces to counter this terrorist threat to the United States.”
This report indicates the White House may not be ready to make any solid commitments about withdrawing the troops that are still fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. On the campaign trail, President Obama had suggested American forces would depart Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
U.S. to Send 2 Missile Units to Turkey to Deter Syrians
by by Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon, New York Times
WASHINGTON – The United States plans to send two Patriot missile batteries and about 400 military personnel to Turkey to defend against a possible Syrian missile attack, two allied officials said Thursday.
The American batteries will be part of a broader push to beef up Turkey’s defenses that will also include the deployment of four other Patriot batteries – two from Germany and two from the Netherlands.
All six batteries will be under NATO’s command and control, scheduled to be operational by the end of January.
Turkey, which has been supporting the Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, has been worried it is vulnerable to Syrian missiles, including Scuds that might be tipped with chemical weapons. Those concerns were heightened by reports of increased activity at some of Syria’s chemical sites, though Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said this week that intelligence about chemical weapons activity in Syria had “leveled off.”
CIA Torture Report Approved By Senate Intelligence Committee
by Matt Sledge and Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 9-6 on Thursday to approve a report on the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program that could shed light on the debate over torture. But for now, even as the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty” stirs up public debate about the use of harsh interrogation tactics, declassifying the report to prepare for its release to the public could take months, if not longer.
“The report uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight,” Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement after the vote. “I strongly believe that the creation of long-term, clandestine ‘black sites’ and the use of so-called ‘enhanced-interrogation techniques’ were terrible mistakes. The majority of the Committee agrees.”
The 6,000-page report, which has been in the works since 2009, focuses on 6 million pages of documents about the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation tactics, including so-called enhanced interrogation, like waterboarding, which is torture. Republicans on Senate panel boycotted participation in the report’s preparation because, they said, it is based on CIA documents instead of interviews conducted directly with agents.