May 21st, 2009
09:40 PM ET

Nearly 100,000 pounds of beef recalled


An Illinois meat producer recalled nearly 96,000 pounds of potentially contaminated beef, the federal government announced Thursday.

The Department of Agriculture designated as "Class One" the recall of 95,898 pounds of ground beef products from Valley Meats LLC of Coal Valley, Illinois, meaning the health risk associated with eating the meat is high.

The Ohio Department of Health first reported an outbreak of illness linked to the potentially deadly bacterium E. coli 0157:H7 to federal authorities on May 13, and clusters of illnesses have also been reported in Pennsylvania and Illinois, the department said in a news release.

The bacterium can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and kidney failure. Those most vulnerable include the very young, the aged and people with weak immune systems, according to USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service.

A list of the recalled products - all of which were produced on March 10 and packaged under a variety of labels - is posted at www.fsis.usda.gov

Filed under: 360° Radar • Public Health
May 21st, 2009
09:06 PM ET

How many detainees go back to terrorism?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/21/gitmo.recidivism/art.gitmo.bay.afp.gi.jpg caption="A guard talks with a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, earlier this year."]

Editor's note: The Defense Department reports that up to 14 percent of detainees suspected of terrorism and held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay turn to terrorism when they get out of custody. The numbers are alarming. But are they accurate?

Peter Bergen says no. The CNN National Security Analyst believes the recidivism rate for suspected terrorists is far lower than the 14 percent estimate from the Pentagon. Together with his colleagues at The New American Foundation, Bergen concludes that less than 3 percent of released detainees engage in attacks or attempted attacks against the U.S. citizens or interests.

And there is more, as Peter tells us in his dispatch below:

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

This is what we have concluded based on analysis of press reports, previous DoD statements and al Qaeda or Taliban statements.

Instead of a 14 percent recidivism rate, we found a TOTAL rate of 8 percent - even if you include people making anit-American statements when they got freed.

When you take out those people and guys who joined insurgencies or terror groups that aren't anti-American-focused, the real number is no more than 3 percent. Here's the raw data:

Of 534 detainees released, 13 have engaged in insurgent groups that attack or attempt to attack the U.S., U.S. citizens or U.S. bases abroad. That's 2.4 percent.

Thirteen more engaged in insurgent groups that attack or attempt to attack non-U.S. targets. That's another 2.4 percent.

And 18 more got involved in anti-American propaganda or criticism of the U.S. government or military - but not in terrorism. That's another 3.4 percent.


Filed under: 360° Q & A • Guantanomo Bay • Peter Bergen
May 21st, 2009
09:01 PM ET

Struggling to find a workable Gitmo plan

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Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer

Attorney General Eric Holder's Guantanamo Review Task Force is struggling to sort the prison detainees into five neatly ordered lists, as government lawyers try to somehow fashion a plan which will clear expected legal challenges while satisfying skeptical lawmakers and a nervous public.

Every turn appears more complicated as the weeks pass.

On the immediate heels of a demand by Congress for a clear and specific plan for emptying Guantanamo, one of President Obama's top aides, David Axelrod, promised Thursday Congress would receive such a plan, and declared the President's address represented a "framework for a plan". Administration officials indicate the plan itself is probably months away.

The framework calls for putting the names of the 240 remaining detainees into five piles, then trying to resolve the legal complexities of each.

The first pile, which government sources and defense attorneys estimate at several dozen detainees, would be brought to the U.S. and tried for crimes in civilian courts. But those cases would be limited to instances in which prosecutors believe they can win convictions under criminal procedures and rules of evidence including competent legal representation, defendant's Miranda rights, direct witness testimony absent hearsay, and sharing with the defense "Brady" material– evidence which could help their case.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Guantanomo Bay • Terry Frieden
May 21st, 2009
06:01 PM ET

Washington week of torture, sex and Twitter

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Ed Rollins
CNN Contributor

The past week has not been what one would call a great week for our political leaders.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave one of the worst press conferences that I can remember a House leader ever giving.

She accused the Central Intelligence Agency of deliberately misleading her in an oversight briefing in September of 2002.

In the press conference, where she stumbled with her notes, the Speaker declared war on the CIA. "Liar, liar" and "They didn't tell me," were her profound defenses for her not speaking up about waterboarding and her knowledge that it was being used. At the time, she was the ranking minority member of the Intelligence Committee and was briefed along with then-Chairman Porter Goss, a Republican.

Goss, who went on to become the CIA director, recalls it differently. That began a back-and-forth with the Speaker's Democratic allies jumping to her defense. In the other corner, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Republican leaders demanded she apologize and/or step down as Speaker. So much for a different tone in Washington.

Her final retort that, "They mislead us all the time," must have made the recruiters at Langley very happy. Not.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Ed Rollins • Raw Politics
May 21st, 2009
05:58 PM ET

The Unbalanced

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Andrew Sullivan
The Atlantic

A simple note having now read the former vice-president's despicable and disgraceful speech. It confirms the very worst of him, and reveals just how callow, just how arrogant, and just how reckless and unrepentant this man is and has long been.

There was not a whisper of regret or reflection; there was a series of lies and distortions, a reckless attack on a graceful successor, inheriting a world of intractable problems, and a reminder that while serious men and women will indeed move on, Cheney never will. He remains a threat to this country's constitution as he remains a stain on its honor and moral standing.

I never believed I would hear a vice-president of the United States not simply defend torture but insist on pride in it, insist on its honor. But that is what he said, with that sly grin insisting that fear always beats reason, that violence always beats dialogue, and that torture is always an American value.

Keep Reading...

May 21st, 2009
05:35 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/21/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

Finalist Adam Lambert, host Ryan Seacrest, and winner Kris Allen speak onstage during the American Idol Season 8 Grand Finale held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live o n May 20, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!

__________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
May 21st, 2009
05:26 PM ET

Obama, Cheney offer competing views on national security

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President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney offered competing views on how to keep America safe in back-to-back speeches Thursday.

Obama said his administration is trying to clean up "a mess" left behind by the Bush administration. He defended his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, his ban on torture, the release of Bush-era interrogation memos and his objection to the release of prisoner photos.

Cheney stood up for the Bush administration's security record, arguing that Obama has weakened the country's ability to combat al Qaeda and other extremists. He defended the use of enhanced interrogation techniques as a success that changed thousands of lives. He called the release of the Bush-era memos a reckless distraction and belittled Obama's decision to close Guantanamo "with little deliberation and no plan."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman wrote off Cheney's address as something more beneficial to Democrats than Republicans.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Dick Cheney
May 21st, 2009
04:57 PM ET

Cheney: 'Stakes haven't changed'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney weighs in on national security.

May 21st, 2009
04:21 PM ET

Club Gitmo on U.S. Soil? The Not-In-My-Backyard Senate may have a point

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/21/art.supermax.florence.jpg caption="This 1995 file photo shows guards walking along the fence at the super-maximum-security federal prison in Florence, Colorado."]

Drew Griffin | BIO
CNN Investigative Correspondent

No one is suggesting any of the bad guys being held in the Federal SuperMax Prison outside Florence, Colorado could ever escape. But then no one ever thought anyone being held in SuperMax could have been running criminal enterprises, either.

Still, federal prosecutors say it happened. SuperMax, according to a 2006 report by the Inspector General of the Bureau of Prisons, was "unable to effectively monitor the mail of terrorist and other high-risk inmates in order to detect and prevent terrorism and criminal activities."

Since we first aired our report about this in 2006, the Bureau of Prisons says the security gap, at least for terrorists, has been closed. We are told 100 percent of terrorist mail and 100 percent of terrorist phone calls are now being monitored.


May 21st, 2009
04:08 PM ET

Video: Anderson interviews Larry King

Larry tells Anderson stories about a handful of famous people he's interviewed.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Larry King
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