Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wire: Top Pelosi Aide Learned of Waterboarding Use in 2003

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2009 -- Newswires reported today that a top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attended a CIA briefing in early 2003 in which it was made clear that waterboarding and other harsh techniques were being used in the interrogation of an alleged al-Qaeda operative, according to documents the CIA released to Congress on Thursday.

The Washington Post reported that Pelosi has insisted that she was not directly briefed by Bush administration officials that the practice was being actively employed. But Michael Sheehy, a top Pelosi aide, was present for a classified briefing that included Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking minority member of the House intelligence committee, at which agency officials discussed the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida.

The Washington Post noted the following details:
A Democratic source acknowledged yesterday that it is almost certain that Pelosi would have learned about the use of waterboarding from Sheehy. Pelosi herself acknowledged in a December 2007 statement that she was aware that Harman had learned of the waterboarding and had objected in a letter to the CIA's top counsel.

"It was my understanding at that time that Congresswoman Harman filed a letter in early 2003 to the CIA to protest the use of such techniques, a protest with which I concurred," Pelosi said in the Dec. 9, 2007, statement.
A fierce debate was sparked three weeks ago by the Obama administration's release of Bush-era Justice Department memos that expanded the legal guidelines for CIA agents interrogating alleged al-Qaeda operatives.

The new documents released to Congress by the CIA on Thursday stated that Pelosi was briefed on the "use of" harsh interrogation techniques in September 2002, although the documents do not state that waterboarding was mentioned.

The Washington Post said the absence of any description in the new documents of her being briefed on waterboarding has become a critical distinction for Pelosi. She has said that briefers discussed waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques as legal options but that they never told her such methods were being used.

However, Pelosi never filed an official letter of protest concerning harsh interrogation techniques with Bush administration.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Top Pelosi Aide Learned Of Waterboarding in 2003

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Combat Camera Video: Night Vision, Helicopter Ops Over Iraq; Part 2 of 2

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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2009 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of helicopter operations at night over Iraq. Scenes include helicopter landings and takeoffs. (Produced by Sgt. 1st Class Dan Ewer; 34th Combat Aviation Brigade. Length: 5:42.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Wire: US Forces Kill Iraqi Boy After Grenade Attack in Mosul

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

The U.S. military says insurgents are paying children to help in attacks.

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2009 -- Newswires reported this afternoon that the U.S. military said on Saturday its troops had killed a 12-year-old Iraqi boy suspected of throwing a grenade at them, and said it believed insurgents were paying children to help them.

Reuters reported that Iraqi police, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the boy, whom they named as Omar Moussa Salih, had not been involved in the grenade-throwing.

Reuters reported the following details:
U.S. and Iraqi forces came under grenade attack Thursday in the western part of Mosul, the northern city seen as a final stronghold of al Qaeda and other insurgents, said Major Derrick Cheng, a U.S. spokesman in northern Iraq.

U.S. forces responded by firing at several people, killing the boy. He was found with 10,000 Iraqi dinars, or around $8.50, in his hand.

"We have every reason to believe that insurgents are paying children to conduct these attacks or assist the attackers in some capacity, but undoubtedly placing the children in harm's way," Cheng said.

Iraqi police in Mosul said the boy, who had sold sweets in the street, was shot more than once in the head. His eight-year-old brother ran away when Omar was shot, police said.

Cheng said another boy was briefly detained but released.
The incident in Mosul comes less than two months before U.S. combat forces are due to withdraw from Iraqi cities, including stubbornly violent Mosul, as part of a bilateral security pact that calls for a full U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011, Reuters noted.

While violence overall has declined in Iraq, suicide bombings and other attacks continue, especially in ethnically and religiously mixed areas.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: U.S. forces shoot Iraqi boy dead after grenade attack

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Wire: Investigation Not Over in Air Force One Fly-By

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Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2009 -- Newswires reported today that the Pentagon and Air Force are reviewing whether officials may be to blame for a $328,835 photo-op of a 747 jumbo jet used by the president soaring above New York City that has already forced the White House military director to step down.

The Associated Press reported that former Army Secretary Louis Caldera, the White House official who authorized the flyover, resigned Friday as the Obama administration tried to move past the embarrassing incident that sent panicked workers running into the streets amid flashbacks of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

AP noted that the White House released the findings of an internal review that portrayed Caldera as out of the loop in a cycle of missed messages and questionable judgments as plans for the photo shoot proceeded.

AP said, however, the White House investigation is hardly the end of the matter.

AP noted the following details:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a review at the Pentagon; the Air Force is conducting its own review as well.

In a May 5 letter to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Gates apologized for the incident, saying "we deeply regret the anxiety and alarm that resulted from this mission."

McCain posted the letter on his Web site Friday.

"I am concerned that this highly public and visible mission did not include an appropriate review and approval by senior Air Force and (Defense Department) officials," Gates wrote.

{. . .]

According to the findings released Friday, Caldera said he didn't know the jet — known as Air Force One when the president is aboard — would fly at 1,000 feet during the April 27 photo session. He also failed to read an e-mail message describing the operation and seemed unaware of the potential for public fear, the findings said.

Local officials had been notified in advance. But it was a shock to New Yorkers who looked up to see the Boeing 747 and its fighter jet escort flying near the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan's financial district, a terrifying reminder of the terrorist attacks in which jets brought down the two towers of the World Trade Center.
According to officials, the flight came in as low as 1000 feet to 150 feet above the city as it made a large circle over Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey.

The photo-op cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts. The Air Force estimated the photo shoot cost taxpayers $328,835.

The purpose of the flight was to update the official photo of the president's jet.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Sources:
Aide resigns over NYC flyover; probe continues
White House Official Caldera Resigns Over Air Force One Photo Fiasco

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US-Afghan Probe: Civilians Killed in Farah Province Battle

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, May 9, 2009 -- A joint Afghan national security forces and coalition forces investigation team continues to examine events surrounding a complex series of Taliban attacks on innocent civilians, ANSF, and coalition forces in Farah province.

Initial joint investigation reports indicate that a large number of Taliban fighters, to include non-Afghans, consolidated on Ganj Abad and Grani villages, and demanded payments from villagers.

Shiwan Taliban fighters then attacked police checkpoints on the road between Farah and Herat and engaged in firefights with the Afghan national police who sustained casualties. At the request of the Provincial governor, Afghan national police, Afghan national army and coalition forces jointly responded in an operation to clear the Taliban fighters out of the villages of Ganj Abad and Grani from where they continued to attack ANSF and coalition forces with heavy fire. Taliban fighters continued to engage with ANSF and coalition forces from multiple locations in and around the villages. As heavy fighting continued over the course of several hours, coalition forces called for close air support on several enemy positions.

The investigation suggests that villagers had taken refuge in a number of houses in each village. Reports also indicate that Taliban fighters deliberately forced villagers into houses from which they then attacked ANSF and coalition forces.

Early Tuesday morning, reports began surfacing with allegations of non-combatant casualties. Coalition and Afghan officials in Kabul then announced the decision to conduct a joint investigation immediately. The joint investigation team deployed to Farah province Wednesday morning and met with Afghan national army, Afghan national police, National Defense Service and local government officials.

The joint investigation team confirms that a number of civilians were killed in the course of the fighting but is unable to determine with certainty which of those casualties were Taliban fighters and which were non-combatants because those killed are all buried.

The investigation team visited three grave sites containing seven individual graves and two mass graves with an indeterminate number of people buried in each mass grave.

Following the fighting, Afghan officials also confirmed the Taliban fighters loaded two trucks with bodies and forced elders to parade them through villages to incite outrage among villagers, and then to proceed to the governor's house.

The joint investigation team strongly condemns the brutality of the Taliban extremists deliberately targeting Afghan civilians and using them as human shields.

Afghan national security forces and coalition forces are committed to protective the lives of Afghan citizens. The Taliban, by contrast, deliberately place civilians in harm's way and callously and cynically manipulate civilian lives for their political purposes.

Additional information will be released after the investigation is completed.

(Report from a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Combat Camera Video: Night Vision, Helicopter Ops Over Iraq; Part 1 of 2

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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2009 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of helicopter operations at night over Iraq. Scenes include helicopters in flight and service members loading and unloading the helicopters. (Produced by Staff Sgt. Lynette Hoke; 34th Combat Aviation Brigade. Length: 6:32.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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OEF Update, May 8, 2009: Afghan Commandos Maintain Vigilant Presence

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2009 -- Elite soldiers of the Afghan National Army’s 1st Commando Kandak, 201st Corps, recently spent 48 hours conducting operations alongside their Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan brothers-in-arms in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

The combined elements often spend days at a time patrolling villages and bazaars and disrupting insurgent hideouts throughout Nangarhar, a volatile province running along the Pakistan border.

“The objective of these operations is to prove that the ANA commandos will not be denied access to any area in which insurgents may live, hide or facilitate. … They have access to all areas in Afghanistan,” a Special Forces team leader said.

The truth behind the team leader’s words was evident as the ANA commandos kicked off their operations with an early morning visit to the residence of an improvised explosive device facilitator in the Shinwar district April 29. The house was believed to be an IED staging area, and the ANA commandos intended to throw a wrench into the insurgents’ ability to wreak havoc upon friendly forces and the Afghan people.

“There ended up not being any males at the house, let alone fighting-age males, but we did discover limited bomb-making materials, including wires and four of the five ingredients needed to make explosives,” the team leader said.

Although no insurgents were detained, the ANA commandos stopped and questioned a handful of men near the house. A commando company commander took the opportunity to conduct a key leader engagement with a village elder, explaining the purpose behind the ANA commandos’ presence in the community that morning. Other ANA commandos also spoke with young men who emerged from nearby houses to see what was going on, providing them with information about the elite Afghan soldiers and handing out posters.

“It’s important for us to talk to the people, to keep them informed of our operations and help them understand who the ANA commandos are and what they stand for,” the ANA commando company commander said.

After wrapping things up in the village, the ANA commandos swiftly moved on to the next item on the day’s agenda: establishing a series of vehicle checkpoints on the Jalalabad highway near the Torkham border crossing.

“Our checkpoints are normally held in high-visibility areas, one of these in particular on the outskirts of a bazaar known for heavy insurgent activity,” the team leader said. “We first brought the convoy all the way down through the bazaar and back to let the people know the ANA commandos were in town.”

The ANA commandos spent the evening stopping motorists along the highway, looking for anything suspicious in nature, such as improper vehicle registrations. Several people were detained for further questioning.

After a long day protecting the security and stability of Nangarhar, the ANA commandos and their Special Forces partners bedded down for the night at a nearby firebase. Before dawn the next morning, the troops were at it again, this time heading to the Achin district to conduct a security patrol with other Afghan National Security Forces elements. The ANA commandos’ reputation preceded them to Achin.

“This patrol was held in the lower part of the province, which has a history of being denied to ANSF,” the team leader said. “The Afghan police felt more confident about the mission having the ANA commandos in the area. … They figured they must be all right if the commandos were there.”

Working with the ANA commandos also gave the police officers the opportunity to check out the weaponry and techniques of their brothers-in-arms.

“This was the first time many of the Afghan police had worked with the ANA commandos,” the team leader noted. “They were openly impressed with what they saw, and repeatedly approached the commandos to ask questions.”

Keeping up the momentum of the past day and a half, the combined elements finished up the security patrol by stopping by the Achin district center in search of a wanted insurgent thought to be in the bazaar area. The man was not found, but the soldiers took the opportunity to search the bazaar and meet with the villagers and shopkeepers.

One villager came up to a commando soldier and, crying openly, thanked him for the presence of the combined elements.

“This was significant, particularly because it was in Achin, which is a hot area known for rampant insurgent activity,” the team leader said. "It just goes to show that there are always good people out there. Not everybody in this country is an insurgent. … These are the people we are here for.”

After 48 hours of seeking out insurgent sanctuaries and spreading the ANA commando message to the Afghan people, the combined elements returned to their base to momentarily refit before heading out to do it all over again.

“We’ll keep going until we’ve gotten rid of every insurgent in this country. … Our dedication to Afghanistan is endless,” the ANA company commander declared.

(Report from a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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Wire: US Threatens Military Force Against Hackers

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2009 -- Newswires reported today that cyber espionage and attacks from well-funded nations or terror groups are the biggest threats to the military’s computer networks, a top U.S. military officer said.

The Associated Press reported that General Kevin Chilton, who heads U.S. Strategic Command, said he worries that foes will learn to disable or distort battlefield communications.

AP noted the following details:
Chilton said even as the Pentagon improves its network defences against hackers, he needs more people, training and resources to hone offensive cyber war capacity. At the same time, he asserted that the U.S. would consider using military force against an enemy who attacks and disrupts the nation’s critical networks.

“Our job would be to present options. I don’t think you take anything off the table when you provide options” to the president, in the wake of an attack, whether the weapon is a missile or a computer program, he said.
Chilton’s comments shed the most light to date on the Pentagon’s ongoing debate over how to beef up its abilities to wage and defend against cyber warfare. And they came as the military is planning to set up a new cyber command at Fort Meade not far from Washington that would report to Strategic Command, AP said.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: US threatens military force against hackers

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OIF Summary, May 8, 2009: Commandos Root Out Killers in Tigris River Valley

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

TIKRIT, Iraq, May 8, 2009 -- Iraqi Army Commandos, with Coalition forces advisors, arrested two suspected terrorist cell members in the Tigris River Valley April 30 pursuant to a warrant issued by the Al Shargat Investigative Court.

According to Iraqi intelligence sources, the detained individuals are allegedly responsible for conducting roadside bomb attacks against the Sons of Iraq leadership.

“The detention of these individuals may lead to the acquisition of key information that could further disrupt terrorist operations in the Tigris River Valley and Mosul,” said the ground forces commander.

With a show of force and armed with warrants, the commandos infiltrated the suspects’ residences, arrested the men and confiscated weapons and equipment.

“The successful operations conducted by the commandos will not only build their own confidence in their [increasing] ability to secure the area, but will also be seen by area residents as a competent and capable force,” said the commander.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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Pentagon Discusses Resignation of White House Military Office Director in Wake of NYC Fly-By

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News in Balance:
Newswires also report that Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff "directed Air Mobility Command to conduct an end-to-end review" of flights of the VC-25, used as Air Force One, "with particular emphasis on notification procedures for high-visibility training events."
WASHINGTON, May 8, 2009 -- The director of the White House Military Office has submitted his resignation in the wake of an April 27 aerial photo shoot with a presidential aircraft over New York City.

Louis Caldera, who served as secretary of the Army during the Clinton administration, resigned his office effective May 22.

“I have concluded that the controversy surrounding the Presidential Airlift Group’s aerial photo shoot over New York City has made it impossible to effectively lead the White House Military Office,” Caldera wrote in his letter of resignation.

President Barack Obama has accepted the resignation, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

“The president has asked his deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates or his designee to jointly review the organizational structure of the White House Military Office and the reporting relationship of its components to the White House and the Air Force, and to make recommendations to him to ensure that such an incident never occurs again,” Gibbs said in a written release.

On April 27, a 747-200 aircraft that often carries the president flew over lower New York. An F-16 fighter followed and took photos of the aircraft with iconic structures such as the Statue of Liberty in the background. The aircraft flew as low as 1,000 feet, and many New Yorkers believed they were seeing a repeat of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that killed 3,000 people at the World Trade Center.

The flyover caused much consternation on the ground, with many people in Lower Manhattan and across the river in New Jersey evacuating their buildings.

A review of the incident by the White House counsel’s office found “structural and organizational ambiguities” within the White House Military Office and urged a comprehensive study of the organization.

(Report by Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.)

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OEF Summary, May 8, 2009: Troops in Afghanistan Seize 600 Pounds of Opium, Kill 7 Militants

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2009 -- Afghan forces, advised by coalition forces, confiscated 600 pounds of opium and killed seven armed militants last night during operations in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Prompted by local reports of Taliban activities in the area, the Afghan forces launched a search of compounds in a known insurgent safe haven and narcotics hub. The Afghan-led force found the opium, an AK-47 assault rifle with 1,000 rounds and remote-controlled bomb-making components during the search.

The Afghan forces also found a trauma room fully stocked with medical supplies and ready to treat militant casualties.

As the combined forces were searching the compounds, coalition air support helicopters began receiving small-arms fire from militants on the ground. They returned fire, killing five armed militants. Two more armed insurgents were killed as they prepared to ambush Afghan forces.

Three suspected militants were taken into custody. No combined force or civilian injuries were reported.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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Royal Navy Assumes Command of CTF IM

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MANAMA, Bahrain (May 8, 2009) Royal Navy Commodore James Morse relieved Rear Adm. T.C. Cropper as Commander Task Force Iraqi Maritime (CTF IM) during a change of command ceremony May 8, 2009 aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain. This marks the first change of command for CTF IM, since the task force’s establishment in January of this year. (Royal Navy photo.)

Dispatches from the Front:

MANAMA, Bahrain, May 8, 2009 -- Royal Navy Commodore James Morse relieved Rear Adm. T.C. Cropper as Commander Task Force Iraqi Maritime (CTF IM) during a change of command ceremony today aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

This marks the first change of command for CTF IM, since the task force’s establishment in January of this year.

“I am delighted to be leading a UK-U.S. team as CTF IM,” said Morse. “We have a vital role to play in assisting Iraqi forces with security in their territorial waters, and we look forward to building on the excellent work of Rear Adm. Cropper and his staff.”

Previously known as Combined Task Force 158, CTF IM is a joint UK-U.S. naval force operating in the North Arabian Gulf, which helps provide maritime security. Its roles are to assist with protecting Iraq’s offshore oil platforms and training Iraqi forces. These tasks are vital to the continuing development of the Iraqi economy and to stability in the area.

CTF IM consists of a range of naval forces, including destroyers or frigates, support ships, aircraft and patrol vessels.

In a separate ceremony on the Al Basrah Oil Terminal, Capt. Keith Blount, Royal Navy, relieved Capt. Karl Van Deusen USN and assumed responsibility as the on-scene commander for CTF IM which is responsible for providing security to the oil platforms.

“The oil platforms are essential to Iraq’s prosperity, and my UK-U.S. task group will work closely with our Iraqi colleagues to provide assistance as they continue to develop their already impressive maritime security capabilities,” said Blount.

U.S. and UK forces have maintained a presence in the North Arabian Gulf since 2003, assisting the Iraqi Navy by helping provide security to their oil platforms, which account for approximately 70 to 85 percent of Iraq’s revenue.

Coalition forces have operated jointly with Iraqi Navy sailors and marines, training them in point-defence force protection and visit, board, search and seizure operations.

The U.S. and UK will continue to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the North Arabian Gulf and provide assistance as requested. MSO help set the conditions for security, which promotes stability and prosperity in the North Arabian Gulf. These operations protect Iraq’s sea-based infrastructure. MSO complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt illegal use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

(Report by Lt. Simon Bellamy, Royal Navy, CTF IM Media Officer.)

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Combat Camera: Aboard USS Boxer, May 8, 2009; Rear Adm Michelle Howard

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INDIAN OCEAN (May 4, 2009) Rear Adm. Michelle Howard, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, addresses Sailors and Marines assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Howard thanked the crew for their hard work and dedication to mission accomplishment. Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

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INDIAN OCEAN (May 3, 2009) Sailors assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 and air handlers assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) conduct AV-8B harrier flight operations. Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

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INDIAN OCEAN (May 4, 2009) Rear Adm. Michelle Howard, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, addresses Sailors and Marines assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Howard thanked the crew for their hard work and dedication to mission accomplishment. Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

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INDIAN OCEAN (April 16, 2009) A search and rescue swimmer jumps from an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the "Blackjacks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Det. 3. HSC-21 is embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th MEU supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Rasmussen.)

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INDIAN OCEAN (May 3, 2009) A pilot assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 receives signals from air handlers before take-off during AV-8B Harrier flight operations aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

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INDIAN OCEAN (May 3, 2009) An AV-8B Harrier assigned to Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 conducts flight operations aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

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INDIAN OCEAN (April 16, 2009) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the "Blackjacks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Det. 3, embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), approaches the ship to land after a search and rescue exercise. HSC-21 is responsible for providing ready search and rescue capabilities anytime the ship is conducting flight operations. Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th MEU supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Rasmussen.)

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INDIAN OCEAN (April 16, 2009) Search and rescue swimmers are hoisted out of the water by an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the "Blackjacks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Det. 3. HSC-21 is embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th MEU supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Rasmussen.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Combat Camera Video: Operation Eastern Resolve, Now Zad, Afghanistan; Part 6 of 7

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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2009 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of U.S. Marines of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines (Reinforced) conducting Operation Eastern Resolve from Forward Operating Base Now Zad, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Scenes include explosives being detonated and a Marine watching through binoculars. Part 6 of 7. (Video by Lance Cpl. Paul Miller; Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Afghanistan. Length: 5:34.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Wire: CIA Documents Show Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of Enhanced Interrogations

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2009 -- Newswires have reported that Intelligence officials released documents this evening saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda prisoners, seemingly contradicting her repeated statements over the past 18 months that she was never told that these techniques were actually being used.

The Washington Post reported that in a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress ever briefed on the interrogation tactics.

Then the ranking member and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, respectively, Pelosi and Goss were briefed Sept. 4, 2002, one week before the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Washington Post also noted the following details:
In a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress ever briefed on the interrogation tactics. Then the ranking member and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, respectively, Pelosi and Goss were briefed Sept. 4, 2002, one week before the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The memo, issued by the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency to Capitol Hill, notes the Pelosi-Goss briefing covered "EITs including the use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah." EIT is an acronym for enhanced interrogation technique. Zubaydah was one of the earliest valuable al-Qaeda members captured and the first to have the controversial tactic known as water boarding used against him.
Pelosi's office said today that she had never been briefed about the use of waterboarding, only that it had been approved by Bush administration lawyers as a legal technique to use in interrogations the Washington Post said.

Pelosi's statement did not address whether she was informed that other harsh techniques were already in use during the Zubaydah interrogations.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: CIA Says Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of 'Enhanced Interrogations'

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