New information tonight about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood Army Post. According to reports, Hasan made repeated requests to have soldiers he counseled investigated for possible war crimes charges.
He also reportedly went to a firing range and shot off 200 rounds at 10 targets just two days before the attack. Do you have questions?
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Special Investigations Unit Correspondent
A group of 13 soldiers left Iraq holding on to a secret – the murders of four detainees at a Baghdad canal. They were told not to say a word, and for nine months, they kept quiet. Then, one of the 13 soldiers reported the crime and the secret was out.
But what if that soldier hadn't come forward and reported the murders? What if years had gone by, and these young soldiers were still holding on to this battlefield secret?
Especially for the twenty-somethings who are fighting this war – how do they keep a secret in a day and age where people from their generation are encouraged to live such public lives?
They are taught from a very young age to "talk it out," and why it's unhealthy to "keep it all inside." And now, with easy access to social networking sites, it's almost expected for people to splash their private lives, and personal photos all over the pages of Facebook and MySpace.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/17/art.vert.canal.hatley.jpg caption="Former First Sgt. John Hatley." width=292 height=320]
Senior Investigative Producer
For months, we wanted to hear from John Hatley.
He's the former first sergeant who had the idea to take four Iraqi detainees to a Baghdad canal and, along with two other sergeants, kill them.
Special Investigations Unit Correspondent Abbie Boudreau and I traveled to Germany over the summer where we interviewed Hatley's wife, Kim, and his attorney David Court. We told them it was important to hear from Hatley since he never testified during his court martial. Our only request: He should tell us what he wants the public to know.
Hatley is now serving a 40-year prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth after being convicted of premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder.
After numerous requests, one day in September, a two-page single-spaced typed letter arrived in the mail at CNN.
Hatley began, "I've been contacted numerous times through third party sources that you have requested a statement from me. Obviously, I'm sure you understand my apprehensiveness in making a statement to the media, but there are some issues I would like to take this opportunity to address."
CNN Senior Executive Producer
I got the email in a plane on the runway. Last night at 8:22pm. HE – the man who was responsible for my most embarrassing panic-inducing moment as a journalist – is “happy to talk … eager to help if I can,” according to the message on my buzzing Blackberry. It’s been 18 years since I fell for his practical joke. Eighteen years since I relayed his faux news release to the largest news audience in America, on 'World News Tonight With Peter Jennings.' Jennings had the egg on his face. But I pitched the egg. And now HE – that eminent author with the twinkle in his eye, is “eager to help if he can.”
NOVEMBER 5, 1991
That’s when it happened. The evening of November 5th, 1991. I remember the specific date because I just looked it up on the internet. My memory of being suckered lives forever in my heart and on the Vanderbilt Television News Archive. I was a mere 31-years-old. A year into my job as the youngest of Peter Jennings’ three writers. That’s when the fax came into our newsroom with the story I couldn’t resist.
The news release, in some respects, sounded too good to be true. But the letterhead on the fax was from a reputable news brand: Forbes. Forbes FYI to be precise. It had a phone number at the bottom. I dialed it. The answering machine was on (in those days it was an actual machine.) It sounded authentic to my 31-year-old ears. But nobody would be available until the next day.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/17/art.christopher.buckley.jpg caption="Christopher Buckley at an event in New York City in May."]
I couldn’t wait. Jennings was going on the air in 90 minutes, and I felt compelled to beat the competition with this gem of a story about what the Soviet Union planned to do with the body of its founder, Vladimir Lenin. The Kremlin, according to the fax, was going to auction off Lenin’s body to the highest bidder.
THE CULPRIT WAS …
So now, after all these years, I’ve tracked down the author of the faux fax. It was no secret who wrote it: the eminent author Christopher Buckley. Given my one experience with him, when he emails me that he’s “eager to help,” I’m reminded of the Twilight Zone episode when strange looking creatures from outer space with huge brains descend on earth. The only clue to their intentions is a book they’ve brought with them written in their strange language. The American translators are relieved when they figure out the book’s title: “How to Serve Man.” By the time they realize it’s a cook book, it’s too late. I will speak with Christopher Buckley, but not near the kitchen.
CAN I TRUST BUCKLEY NOW?
I was still on the runway, waiting for my flight to take off, when another email from Buckley arrived, at 8:27 p.m., a mere five minutes after the first. Buckley could talk now. I called immediately.
I was in a bit of a fog from the excitement, so I’m not sure I got his quote right. But I think he said “I’ll tender an apology 15 years late.” So tender.
I told Buckley I couldn’t really talk now because my flight was about to take off. But we made plans to chat the following day (today) in the afternoon. “You’d better get off the phone,” he urged me, “or you’ll get in trouble with the FAA. I don’t want to get you in trouble a second time.”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/11/17/senate.debates/t1larg.capitol1.gi.jpg caption="The Senate is set to begin debating the contentious health care reform bill." width=300 height=169]
The Senate is about to embark on what could be the showdown of the year as top Democrats work to push through sweeping health care legislation.
The legislative chamber, however, is no stranger to history-changing debate. Lawmakers need to look no further than their predecessors to see how it's done.
In 1991, Congress voted for the use of military force towards Iraq after the Saddam Hussein-led country went to war with Kuwait.
The action was the first time Congress voted for going to war since the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964, which officially began U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
The Senate vote in 1991, however, was much closer than the vote over Vietnam, illustrating a deep divide over whether to get involved.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/02/04/trillion.dollars/art.trillion.dollars.cnn.jpg caption="According to figures released by the Treasury department Tuesday morning, China held $798.9 billion in Treasury securities as of the end of September."]
Paul R. La Monica
President Obama is in China this week meeting with that nation's leaders. Since China is the largest foreign owner of U.S. debt, I wonder if they are going to give Obama a free toaster.
According to figures released by the Treasury department Tuesday morning, China held $798.9 billion in Treasury securities as of the end of September. That's up slightly from August and just a hair below the $801.5 billion peak that China held in May.
So there's no way around the fact that China is bankrolling a major part of the U.S. government's stimulus efforts and financial bailouts of the past year.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/13/art.press.cnn.jpg caption="CNN’s Ed Henry and Dan Lothian report on U.S. President Barack Obama’s arrival in Japan."]
U.S. President Barack Obama landed in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday in his first stop of his Asian tour. The White House press corps jumped into action, watching the president’s every move. Not in person, mind you, but on TV monitors.
Due to security and agreed-upon pool arrangements, one camera shoots the landing and a pool reporter informs the rest of the White House reporters. It’s an unusual sensation sitting next to fellow correspondents watching pool TV and then reporting what they’ve seen on their TV channels.
I’m sitting next to CNN White House correspondents Ed Henry and Dan Lothian. They do this every day, following the president’s every move, his every word. How they report the news has the potential to affect governments around the world and the citizens of those governments.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/10/art.getty.rahm.emanuel.jpg caption="Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is pushing for spending cuts if Congress raises taxes"]
Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN
Regardless of the outcome of the health care reform effort, the difficult issue of cutting the federal budget deficit is likely to move front and center in 2010.
The size of the deficit is causing great concern in Washington. While most economists say the deficit should normally hover at around 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, it has now reached almost 10 percent. With each piece of positive economic news, such as the recent fall in unemployment claims, pressure will grow to shrink the deficit.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House is considering using some unspent TARP money for debt reduction while Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is pushing for spending cuts if Congress raises taxes.
In next year's State of the Union address, the president is planning to focus on deficit reduction as a priority above programs to create jobs, according to Politico. Apart from any worry the administration might have about the economic dangers of large deficits, the Democrats are concerned that the issue troubles many independent voters who would be crucial to limiting the number of Republican victories in the midterm elections a year from now.
Abbie Boudreau and Scott Zamost
CNN Special Investigations Unit
The wives of the three sergeants say their husbands are war heroes who should not be in prison. Kim Hatley said her husband is a "good man...I don't think my husband should have gone to prison. I don't think that was fair. I don't think any of our soldiers should have gone to prison."