July 16th, 2009
12:09 PM ET

The CIA Is Keeping Secrets. Hello?

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Robert Baer

On June 24, CIA Director Leon Panetta made a confession. For the past eight years, the agency has been running a top-secret unit to assassinate or grab members of al-Qaeda. The program was deliberately kept from Congress — supposedly on former Vice President Dick Cheney's orders — and Panetta stopped it as soon as he heard about it.

Sounds alarming. But like many of these stories, there's less to it than meets the eye. The unit conducted no assassinations or grabs. A former CIA officer involved in the program told me that no targets were picked, no weapons issued and no one sent overseas to carry out anything.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Dick Cheney
July 16th, 2009
12:00 PM ET

Gay is not the new black

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/29/obama.gays/art.obama.gay.gi.jpg caption="President Obama signed same-sex benefits legislation earlier this month."]

LZ Granderson
Special to CNN

Far from flowing rainbow flags, the sound of Lady Gaga and, quite honestly, white people, stands a nightclub just outside of Wicker Park in Chicago, Illinois, by the name of The Prop House.

The line to get in usually stretches down the block, and unlike many of the clubs in Boystown and Andersonville, this one plays hip-hop and caters to men who may or may not openly identify as gay, but without question are black and proud.

And a good number of them are tired of hearing how the gay community is disappointed in President Obama, because they are not.

Keep reading...

July 16th, 2009
11:54 AM ET
July 16th, 2009
11:34 AM ET

Winning the good war: Why Afghanistan is not Obama's Vietnam

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/23/afghan.war.stories/art.afghan.copter.mountains.cnn.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier flies over Afghanistan aboard a Chinook helicopter in March."]

Peter Bergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN National Security Analyst
For The Washington Monthly

Throughout his campaign last year, President Barack Obama said repeatedly that the real central front of the war against terrorists was on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And now he is living up to his campaign promise to roll back the Taliban and al-Qaeda with significant resources. By the end of the year there will be some 70,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, and the Obama administration is pushing for billions of dollars in additional aid to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This has caused consternation among some in the Democratic Party. In May, fifty-one House Democrats voted against continued funding for the Afghan war. And David Obey, the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which controls federal spending, says the White House must show concrete results in Afghanistan within a year—implying that if it doesn’t do so, he will move to turn off the money spigot. If this is the attitude of Obama’s own party, one can imagine what the Republicans will be saying if his "Af-Pak" strategy doesn’t start yielding results as they gear up for the 2010 midterm elections.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • Pakistan • Peter Bergen • President Barack Obama
July 16th, 2009
10:43 AM ET

Morning Buzz: At home in Ghana, the Pres makes history and the final frontier

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.ghana.aa.woman.jpg caption="Anderson speaks with Imahkus Okofo, a former resident of America who moved to Ghana over 15 years ago to lead education efforts on the slavery history of Ghana."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

When Anderson met up with the President in Ghana this past weekend, he ran into African Americans who have taken up permanent residence in Ghana. One woman, from New York, went to visit Ghana 20 years ago and was so moved by the history of the region that she never left. She started a guest house where many African Americans go to visit. She guides them through what can often be an emotional visit to places like the Cape Coast Castle, which was once a dungeon for enslaved Africans bound for the western hemisphere.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us more about what many consider to be modern-day slavery in Haiti. He went to look into the lives of Restaveks – young children whose poverty-stricken parents send them to live with families in urban areas. The children work as domestic servants in exchange for food and shelter. But the reality for the majority of these children is grim. Watch his report about a day in the life of a Restavek tonight.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
July 16th, 2009
09:01 AM ET

Dear President Obama #178: The moon in the man...

Reporter's Note: President Obama has voiced support for the space program, and that’s pretty important. Certainly more important than my campaign to send a letter a day to the White House, but hey…we each do our part to help connect across the cosmos.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/TECH/space/12/22/apollo8.anniversary/art.earthrise.jpg]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

By the time you read this, we will have probably passed the precise instant (9:32 am, eastern) in which Apollo 11 blasted off forty years ago, shaking the ground like an earthquake, and signaling to the universe that life on this smallish blue planet would no longer be bound by gravity, atmosphere, or lack of imagination. Humankind would reach out into the heavens.

I was a kid living in Illinois at the time, and like much of the nation I spent hours glued to grainy black and white television pictures showing us that the impossible was happening. I still find it almost beyond comprehension that we built a craft capable of exploding off of the earth like a controlled atomic bomb, roaring up into the freezing and terrible vacuum of space, leaping from the immense gravity of earth into the comparatively puny pull of the moon, and then maneuvering ourselves down into that find gray dust, to step out like explorers of old and plant a flag to say “We are here!”


July 16th, 2009
07:12 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 7/15/09

Editor's Note: Many of you had a lot to say about  President Barack Obama’s trip to Ghana. Several viewers applauded Anderson for his interview with President Obama and were pleased with his demeanor and tone. The ongoing coverage of Michael Jackson’s death disappointed some viewers, requesting an end to the “Jackson overload.” Take a look at some of what we heard, and then sound off:

As an African American it hurt my heart to see the place where enslaved Africans were held against their will but you had the right demeanor and tone as you reported that made watching bearable.

I want to thank Anderson Cooper 360 for the sincere and in depth coverage of the slave castle in Ghana and the story on First Lady Michelle Obama's family roots. Thank you for exploring the topic of slavery and how we still remain connected to it as Americans.

Mr. Cooper, the interview with President Obama in Ghana was excellent....After Peter Jennings past away I didn't think anyone could replace him or come near the excellence he brought to news. You are certainly on your way to being in that class of reporter. The Ghana reporting was special and excellent reporting keep up the good work,,,, P.S. Obama came right back at you when you mentioned his gray hair..LOL


Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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