Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET
(CBS News) President Obama on Wednesday morning said that the United States will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the attackers who killed four Americans in Libya overnight, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.
"We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice will be done," Mr. Obama said from the White House rose garden. "Make no mistake, justice will be done."
Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack by Muslim protesters on the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, the U.S. government confirmed Wednesday.
Mr. Obama said he has ordered heightened security at all U.S. diplomatic offices around the world in the wake of the attack, as well as protests in Cairo on Tuesday. Both incidents were sparked by hardline Muslims protesting a film made in the U.S. that insults the Muslim prophet Muhammad.The United States, the president said, is "a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." However, he added, "There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts."
Mr. Obama said that many Libyans have already joined the U.S. in condemning the violence and noted that Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans also helped some American diplomats find safety and carried Stevens' body to the hospital where he died.
"This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya," Mr. Obama said.Continue »
Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET
(CBS News) President Obama on Tuesday marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at a memorial service at the Pentagon, noting the that the "true legacy" of that day will be "a safer world, a stronger nation and a people more united than ever before."
"This anniversary gives us faith that even the darkest night gives way to a brighter dawn," the president said. "No single event can ever destroy who we are. No act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for."
Mr. Obama recalled the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 as "a day that began like so many others" but soon left the nation shaken to its core.
"Eleven times we have paused in remembrance and reflection in unity and in purpose," he said. "This is never an easy day, but it is especially difficult for all of you, the families of nearly 3,000 innocents who lost their lives."
The president said that because of their sacrifice, the U.S. has dealt a "crippling blow" to al Qaeda, "Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again," and "our nation is safer and our people are resilient."Continue »
This week on Due Diligence, Mitt Romney's attacks on President Obama over leaks of classified information.
"I can tell you that the idea of leaking top secret information to the media from The White House for clear political advantage is something the America people are not gonna cotton to and that's why I've called for a special consul to look into this matter," Romney said in Las Vegas on Tuesday. "I think the idea of having a Presidential appointee who reports to the President's attorney general investigating The White House is not something which would give the American people the kind of confidence they should expect."
What's this all about? Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed alarm over leaks to the media of classified national security information, including revelations that the U.S. was behind cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear program.
Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two federal prosecutors to investigate the leaks, and the FBI is also investigating. But Romney and Republicans want a special prosecutor to look into this, arguing that Holder will be tainted by election year politics and try to protect his boss: the president. The president and his aides have denied leaking the info and say there is no need for a special prosecutor.Continue »
"Today, we are just months away from an arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats," Romney will say, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.
"Don't bother trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of this, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. Strategy is not driving President Obama's massive defense cuts. In fact, his own Secretary of Defense warned that these reductions would be 'devastating.' And he is right."
"That devastation starts at home. These cuts would only weaken an already stretched VA system and our solemn commitment that every veteran receives care second to none. I will not allow that to happen."Continue »
"I was stunned by his comments, and shocked by them. This is Hugo Chavez, this is Venezuela," said Romney, in a statement released by the campaign Wednesday afternoon. "The idea that this nation, this president doesn't pose a national security threat to this country is simply naive. It's an extraordinary admission on the part of this president to be completely out of touch with what's happened in Latin America."
Earlier this week, when asked about the U.S. relationship with Venezuela in an interview with Miami journalist, Mr. Obama suggested that Chavez presented no major threat to the U.S.Continue »
To celebrate the end of the U.S. war in Iraq and honor the American men and women who served in it, President and Mrs. Obama will host a White House dinner on Leap Day - February 29th.
The dinner is "an expression of the nation's gratitude for the achievements and enormous sacrifices of the brave Americans who served in the Iraq War and of the families who supported them," said a White House statement.
Announcing the event at today's White House briefing, spokesman Jay Carney said the White House is working with military and civilian leaders on the dinner.
He said guests will include men and women in uniform from all ranks, services, states and backgrounds.
Obviously, the White House could not accommodate the 1.5 million American military personnel who served in Iraq over nearly nine years, but Carney said those invited will represent all of those who served.Continue »
(CBS News) The CIA and the Department of Defense gave two Hollywood filmmakers unique access to information about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, newly-released documents show, including access to a secure CIA facility and people involved in the raid.
The documents, obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act suit, also show the filmmakers coordinated with the White House and a left-leaning lobbying firm in order to gain access to the information they sought for their upcoming movie on the bin Laden raid. The Defense Department tells CBS News that no classified information was released to the filmmakers, but at least one Republican congressman, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King of New York, expressed concerns today about the possibility.
One of the documents released, a transcript from a July 14, 2011 meeting, indicates that Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers helped arrange special meetings for the filmmakers, Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.Continue »
(CBS News) WASHINGTON - On the heels of the government's embarrassing scandal in Las Vegas involving the General Services Administration, or GSA, comes word that a high-ranking Homeland Security official has pleaded guilty in a travel fraud ring that defrauded taxpayers out of at least $600,000.
Forty-eight-year old James Woosley headed Intelligence for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under Homeland Security (DHS). Justice Department officials say that, among other crimes, Woosley faked expense reports for more than a dozen trips, and helped others do the same in exchange for kickbacks. Woosley used $5,000 of the taxpayer's money to buy a boat, and nearly $16,000 for a real estate investment.Continue »
President Obama's top terrorism adviser today publicly defended the use of drones to kill members of al Qaeda and other terrorists, offering the most detailed justification of the controversial tactic to date.
John Brennan, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said drones are only deployed after every effort is made to capture suspected terrorists alive.
"What we always want to do is look at whether or not there is an option to get this person and bring them to justice," Brennan said in speech to the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank.
Brennan used the speech to discuss the tools that the United States is using to combat terrorism in the year since Osama bin Laden was killed in the raid on his compound in Pakistan. He said that while a live suspect can have value for intelligence purposes, there are times that U.S. officials are justified in ordering a drone strike.Continue »
(CBS News) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday had a terse response when asked what should be done if the solicitation of prostitutes is a recurring problem at the Secret Service: "Hire more females."
Nearly two weeks after news broke of the Colombian prostitution scandal involving a dozen Secret Service agents, CBS affiliate KIRO-TV in Seattle reports that Secret Service agents may have solicited prostitutes in El Salvador last year ahead of a presidential trip there.
Secret Service officers have told congressional investigators they are looking into the KIRO report. "This certainly does not mean that there is any validity to [the report], just that they are looking into all allegations," House Homeland Security Committee Chair Peter King, R-N.Y., said.
Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas has requested another briefing with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan in light of the report.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today said she wasn't familiar with the latest developments, but she defended Sullivan, saying she has "great respect" for his leadership.Continue »
(CBS News) President Obama still has confidence in Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, in spite of the alleged prostitution scandal involving 11 Secret Service agents over the weekend, the White House said on Tuesday.
Sullivan "acted quickly and is overseeing an investigation as we speak into the matter," White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
Mr. Obama is receiving updates about the incident from his staff, but he is not getting updates on the process of the investigation itself or any incremental pieces of information gleaned from the investigation, Carney said.Continue »
The sanctions, meant to further isolate Iran's central bank, pressure two dozen countries who import Iranian crude to stop dealing with Iran's central bank or risk being cut off from the U.S. economy.
(CBS News) SEOUL - Setting the tone for a nuclear security summit, President Obama reiterated Monday his call for a world without nuclear weapons.
Mr. Obama told a university audience in South Korea that the U.S. possesses more nuclear arms than it needs, and can reduce that arsenal without damaging America's security.
The remark will keep the president at odds with Republicans who believe any major cuts in the number of nuclear warheads would weaken the efficacy of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.Continue »
Before his death, Osama bin Laden wanted to kill President Obama in part because he thought Vice President Joe Biden was "unprepared" to serve as president, according to newly declassified documents first reviewed by the Washington Post.
The al Qaeda leader explained the rationale for targeting aircraft carrying Mr. Obama and General David Petraeus in documents taken from bin Laden's Pakistani compound the night he was killed by U.S. forces in May, 2011. The Washington Post on Friday reported on details from the documents, which will soon be made public.
"The reason for concentrating on them," bin Laden explained in one document, "is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President] Biden take over the presidency... Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour ... and killing him would alter the war's path" in Afghanistan."Continue »
(CBS News) ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT -- Flying across the Atlantic Ocean Monday evening, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta slowly walked into the press compartment of his reconfigured 747 - known as the "doomsday plane" - looking as though he were shouldering the weight of the world.
"War is hell," he grimly intoned. He was flying to meetings in Kyrgyzstan, but his thoughts were elsewhere, absorbed by the latest horror in Afghanistan - the shooting deaths of 16 innocent Afghan civilians, mostly children, allegedly by a rogue U.S. soldier.
Panetta said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the incident - the same words other officials have used. But coming from Panetta, a man who's known for wearing his emotions on the surface, they didn't sound like talking points -- they sounded like the heartfelt words of a man who takes this kind of unspeakable tragedy personally.Continue »
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