April 18th, 2011
09:56 PM ET

Brewer vetoes Arizona's 'birther' bill: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight on AC360°, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has vetoed her nation's first-in-the-nation "birther" bill. And, the ugly offspring of bigotry and birtherism from Southern California.

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
April 18th, 2011
06:36 PM ET

Beat 360° 4/18/11

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:

Real estate developer Donald Trump speaks to a crowd at the 2011 Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party April 16, 2011 at Sanborn Square in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo credit: John W. Adkisson/Getty Images)

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
April 18th, 2011
06:15 PM ET

U.S. defends role in Libya

Laurie Ure
CNN National Security Producer

Washington (CNN) - U.S officials defended America's role in the NATO-led mission in Libya Monday, amid criticism that Washington is not doing enough as the coalition struggles.

White House spokesman Jay Carney downplayed reports that NATO is running out of munitions to fight the war.

Carney told reporters that "a dramatic increase" in NATO sorties Sunday and Monday "demonstrates the capacity of NATO to fulfill its mission" in securing a no-fly zone over Libya.

"We have no plans to change our posture," he said.

At the State Department, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said if NATO commanders need assets that can only be provided by the United States, they can ask for them, and the U.S. would consider those requests.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

'Three Cups of Tea' author threatened with lawsuit for defamation

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

(CNN) - The best-selling author of "Three Cups of Tea" and another book that cast light on the need to educate girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan may face a legal battle and a review from the book's publisher amid allegations that key stories in the books are false.

Greg Mortenson shot to worldwide fame with the book "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time," which describes his getting lost in an effort to climb K2, the world's second-highest peak, being rescued by Pakistanis in the village of Korphe and vowing to return there to build a school for local girls.

In the book, Mortenson says he was captured by the Taliban and held for several days before being released. In the sequel, "Stones into Schools," he even provides a photo of his kidnappers, 13 fierce-looking tribesmen, many of whom are clutching guns.

Among them is Mansur Khan Mahsud, who directs a Pakistani think tank that specializes in research in Pakistan's remote tribal regions. (Mahsud has done research for the New America Foundation, where Peter Bergen is a director.)

Mahsud told CNN that Mortenson was not kidnapped. He said Mortenson's account of his trip to the tribal region of Waziristan, along the Afghan border, "is a pack of lies and not a single word of it is true."

He also said he plans to take legal action against the high-profile author.

"Mortensen has defamed me, my family and my tribe," Mahsud said. He said he plans to sue Mortenson, a man he once considered "a friend."

According to Mahsud, Mortenson came to South Waziristan in 1996 with one of Mahsud's relatives and stayed in the family village, Kot Langer Khel, for more than a week, where he was treated as a guest.

Rather than being kidnapped, Mahsud says, Mortenson was treated by his family as "an honored guest."

"We were his protector in South Waziristan," he said.

"If you see the two other pictures in which Greg is holding an AK-47 rifle, and from his face expression you can clearly judge that this man has not been kidnapped," Mahsud said.

Mahsud claims Mortenson made up lies to "sell his book."

In response to the questions raised about the book - in particular, a CBS "60 Minutes" investigative report that aired Sunday - Viking, the publisher of "Three Cups of Tea," said Monday that it plans to "carefully review the materials with the author."

Jon Krakauer, best selling-author of "Into Thin Air," was featured on the CBS report, saying Mortenson's account is "a beautiful story, and it's a lie."

Krakauer is a climber and former donor to Mortenson's charity. CBS said he was one of Mortenson's earliest backers, donating $75,000 to his cause, but withdrew his support over concerns the charity was being mismanaged.

He told CBS News investigator Steve Kroft in the Sunday broadcast that a "close friend" of Mortenson's who hiked back with him from K2 says Mortenson never heard of Korphe, the village he says he stumbled into, until a year after the failed climbing attempt.

In a transcript of Mortenson's written responses to questions posed to him by CBS - a transcript posted on the website of Mortenson's charitable organization, the Central Asia Institute - the author denies the claim is false.

He says he did visit Korphe in 1993, after his failed attempt to climb K2, but the local people "have a completely different notion about time" than those in the West, implying they would not have been able to recount the exact year he visited.

"60 Minutes" also raised questions about the veracity of other episodes in the book, including his supposed 1996 kidnapping in Waziristan.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • Pakistan • Peter Bergen
April 18th, 2011
04:34 PM ET

Letters to the President: #819 'Nic'ed by the law'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: The president is in the business of writing rules. I mean, that’s what lawmakers do. I, on the other hand, am in the business of writing letters…one every day to the White House until they outlaw it. Ha!

Dear Mr. President,

Did you see this news over the weekend about the actor Nicolas Cage getting arrested in the French Quarter, accused of being drunk and disturbing the peace? Not to giggle too much at the problems of others, but when my wife saw it she said, “Wow. That must have been something. Do you realize how much it takes to be arrested for that in New Orleans?” (I, on the other hand, said, “Yeah? Well, I’ve seen his acting. Talk about a crime.”)

Related: Nicolas Cage bailed out of jail in New Orleans

She has a point. We lived there for a number of years and I saw some pretty unbelievable things going on the streets - the kind of activity that would seem to be just begging for a trip to the Iron Bar Hilton, enough to make the preacher not just blush but also crawl into a hole and pull the dirt in after him. Yet as long as the partiers weren’t hurting anyone else, the cops seemed to put such behavior into the same category as jaywalking.