Investigators were looking Friday into the history of a man who they say shot two police officers at the Pentagon on Thursday evening before being fatally wounded.
The officers shot back and hit the man, who died early Friday. The officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Pentagon Police Chief Richard S. Keevill said that surveillance video shows the gunman acted alone.
The shooter, identified by a law enforcement source as John Patrick Bedell, appears to be a man who had railed against the government repeatedly on the Internet.
Through podcasts and a Wikipedia page, a man identified online as JPatrickBedell cast the government as a criminal force destroying personal liberties.
This appears to be Bedell’s Wiki site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:JPatrickBedell
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/07/23/wus.warfare.pilots.uav/art.us.uav.reaper.missile.robertson.cnn.jpg caption="A USAF technician at Creech Air Force Base, checks Hellfire missile attachments on a Predator. "]
Special to CNN
It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster: A group of insurgents hack into American military drones, using software they got off the Internet, according to The Wall Street Journal. But, for the benefit of that screenwriter likely pounding away right now to get his idea in first - as well as for the general public - what actually happened?
Essentially, three trends are coming together in war.
First is the growing use of unmanned systems, something I explore in my book "Wired for War." Just a few years ago, the U.S. military had no interest in unmanned systems. Indeed, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, we had only a handful of unmanned systems in the air and zero on the ground in the invasion force, none of them armed.
Today, we have more than 7,000 in the air, ranging from the 48-foot-long Predator to tiny ones that can fit in a backpack, and 12,000 on the ground, such as the Packbot and Talon systems that hunt down roadside bombs. Many of these systems are armed, giving new meaning to the term "killer app."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/07/08/government.hacking/art.computer.gi.afp.jpg caption="Government and private Web sites were recently hit in a cyberattack"]
The United States government faces an increasingly formidable threat: a cyber attack.
The term ‘cyber attack’ is used to define the use of computers and the internet to conduct “warfare,” or attacks, in cyberspace. Cyber-attacks use the global computer network to cross international boundaries with ease. Critical infrastructures such as gas, water and propane lines, power grids and chemical manufacturing systems can be easily accessed from a remote location via cyber space. An enemy could potentially infiltrate these systems and manipulate them without even getting caught. In some cases, they may even cause physical damage.
In the past few weeks, The White House, the Pentagon and State Department joined a roster of large corporations such as the New York Stock Exchange and Yahoo Finance that have been threatened with cyber-attacks since the 4th of July. The Department of Treasury and Federal Trade Commission websites were shut down because of these attacks. The Pentagon and the White House, however, faced little disruption.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/12/afghanistan.fighting/art.khost.file.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier on patrol in Khost province in February 2009."]
CNN Pentagon Correspondent
The Pentagon is considering a significant overhaul in how it deploys critical military units to Afghanistan to fight the insurgency, a U.S. military source tells CNN. The change is based on the experience in Iraq of special operations units commanded by Lt. General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal is slated to become the next top commander in Afghanistan if he is confirmed by the Senate.
The plan is evolving as Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expressing growing concern that American public support for the war in Afghanistan will begin declining unless the Obama Administration can demonstrate progress in improving the security situation by the end of this year according to his top spokesman.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell tells CNN that Gates believes “its critically important” for both the US and Afghan governments to make progress in the coming months although “that doesn’t mean you have to have decisive gains,” Morrell said.
Secretary Gates believes the Taliban has momentum in southern Afghanistan at this time, Morrell said. But with more than 20,000 additional US troops on the way to the warzone, people want to see “tangible” progress, Morrell said.
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the situation in Afghanistan on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/11/afghanistan.replacement/art.mcchrystal.gi.jpg caption="Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be taking command of NATO forces in Afghanistan."]
The United States replaced the top allied commander in Afghanistan on Monday, deciding "fresh eyes" are needed to reverse the course of the seven-year-old war there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
Gen. David McKiernan, who has held the post for less than a year, will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former special operations chief, Gates announced. He told reporters there was "nothing specific" behind McKiernan's removal, but that "new leadership and fresh eyes" were needed in a war that Washington admits it is not winning.
"We have a new strategy, a new mission and a new ambassador. I believe that new military leadership also is needed," Gates said.
McKiernan will remain in place until the Senate confirms the appointments of McChrystal and his designated deputy, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez. Both have previous experience in Afghanistan and more history with counterinsurgency operations than McKiernan.
CNN Senior Pentagon Producer
Thousands of confidential files on the U.S. military's most technologically advanced fighter aircraft have been compromised by unknown computer hackers over the past two years, according to senior defense officials.
The Internet intruders were able to gain access to data related to the design and electronics systems of the aircraft through computers of Pentagon contractors in charge of designing and building the aircraft, according to the officials, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
In addition to the intrusion into files of the Joint Strike Fighter, hackers also gained entry into the Air Force's air traffic control systems, according to the officials.
Once broken into, the internet hackers were able to see such information as locations of U.S. military aircraft in flight.
The Joint Striker Fighter plane is the military's new F-35 "Lightning II," also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, it will be the future aircraft used by all of the branches of service.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/30/north.korea.rocket/rocket.jpg caption="The latest satellite image shows a rocket sitting on its launch pad in the north east of the country."]
CNN Senior Pentagon Producer
Talk at the Pentagon about the expected missile launch by North Korea early next month is not what you might expect.
Most, if not all, officials we have spoken to are underwhelmed at the prospect that Pyongyang could fire a ballistic missile.
“Look there’s not much we can do, if they want to launch it, they’re going to launch it,” said one senior Pentagon official, echoing the thoughts of many in the building.
Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a worry about where the missile will go and what it will do, the real worry is what the missile launch means for the future of North Korea's missile program.
Pyongyang has said they will launch a communications satellite sometime in the first week of April. But the test is widely thought to be a cover for testing a ballistic missile the North Koreans would be able to use if it ever wanted to launch a nuclear weapon. Both actions are banned by a United Nations Security Council resolution.
CNN's Abbie Boudreau reports on the shoddy electrical work performed by the Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, in Afghanistan. The faulty wiring has lead or contributed to the deaths of as many as 18 US military personnel. The Pentagon has ruled one death as a possible negligent homicide, but still KBR remains on the job, and now is wiring bases in Afghanistan with faulty electrical systems.
Ralph J. Begleiter
Special to CNN
The reversal of two decades of policy on images of returning war casualties is an important and welcome milestone for the American people.
The Pentagon's decision announced Thursday allowing media coverage of coffins of war victims returning to Dover Air Force Base - if families agree - restores to its rightful, honorable place the immense value of the sacrifice American troops make on behalf of their nation. It allows the American people to honor the dignified and respectful return of war casualties to home soil for the last time.
Although no one should have a veto over the nation's ability to pay respects to its fallen troops, I believe most families will decide that their sons and daughters deserve to be recognized publicly for their sacrifice.