March 7th, 2014
08:23 AM ET

Groping Allegation Against Army Officer Who Helps Fight Sex Crime

The U.S. Army is investigating an allegation that an officer whose job includes training sex crimes prosecutors groped a female lawyer in 2011, an Obama administration official told CNN.

The Army did not name the officer but the official identified him as Lt. Col. Joseph Morse, who has been suspended from his duties as chief of a service-wide legal program based in Virginia.

The Army's Criminal Investigation Command is investigating and also will look for any other misconduct as a routine part of the probe, according to the official, who was not identified for full attribution due to the ongoing investigation.

An Army spokesman confirmed the probe and said the officer had been suspended, but did not provide any additional information.

The grouping allegedly occurred at a litigation training conference on prosecuting sex assault, the official told CNN.

Stars and Stripes and the Washington Post first reported on the investigation.

Stars and Stripes also reported that Morse was the lead prosecutor in the case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty to the mass murder of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.

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February 21st, 2014
10:17 AM ET

Airlines Warned About Shoe Bomb Threat

A U.S. government warning this week to airlines about possible shoe bombs represents a credible threat linked to al Qaeda, officials told CNN.

Recent intelligence points to tactics believed to be tied to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its master bomb-maker Ibrahim al Asiri, a federal law enforcement official said.

Counterterrorism officials don't believe there is an active plot in the works. But the law enforcement source said the United States periodically receives information on attempts by those believed to have been trained by Asiri to try to develop bombs that could defeat screening systems.

It's not a new threat, but one viewed as ongoing because they know the al Qaeda unit based in Yemen is constantly trying to improve its bombs.


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February 6th, 2014
10:46 AM ET

Airlines Warned of Possible Toothpaste Tube Bombs Ahead of Olympics

The United States is advising airlines with direct flights serving Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Wednesday night.

Rep. Michael McCaul said the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to airlines flying into Russia warning of the potential threat.

The bulletin, the Texas Republican said, indicated that officials believed the explosives might be used during flights or smuggled into the city of Sochi, where competition at the Winter Olympics begins Thursday. The opening ceremony is Friday.

A U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that the cause for the Homeland Security alert was specific to the imminent start of the games.

According to the source, authorities have increasing confidence about the safety of Sochi and the Olympic venues. Still, U.S. intelligence is picking up increasing chatter that causes worry about targets outside the Sochi area, including regional transportation links.

The biggest ongoing worry outside this new concern - as expected - is groups based in southern Russia's Caucasus region, in particular the restive Dagestan republic.

However, U.S. officials also are worried that al Qaeda-linked groups from elsewhere could take advantage of the attention being focused on Russian militant groups.

The concern about the use of toothpaste tubes is mostly focused on flights from Europe and neighboring Asian countries - in part because the United States has less intelligence-sharing with those nations.

A separate U.S. official with knowledge of the current situation, who would not speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the U.S. intelligence community is still assessing the credibility and scope of the threat.

The official said the Russians brought some information to the United States. Two senior administration officials told CNN that U.S. authorities had intelligence that they shared with the Russians.

Assessing the credibility includes looking at the latest intelligence about the location and capabilities of known terrorist bomb makers and which groups may have the ability to build a bomb in a container such as a toothpaste tube. Such a device would likely require hard-to-detect explosives and little or no metal content in other critical parts, such as the detonator.

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January 21st, 2014
11:31 AM ET

Police Warn Sochi Hotels of Terror Suspect as Olympics Near

This morning on 'New Day' - With the Sochi Olympics just 16 days away, security is a growing, global concern.

Russian authorities are searching for more so-called "back widow" terrorists who they fear could target the winter games.

Join us from 6-9am ET where CNN's Phil Black will update on the lastest, live from Volgograd, Russia.


For background on this ongoing story, please read our report from yesterday (Tuesday, 1/21):

New details fueled debate Monday over security at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi: Wanted posters of a terrorism suspect on the loose, warships at the ready and a video threat from beyond the grave.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that his country has stepped up security and is prepared to handle any threats.

But some U.S. lawmakers - and at least one Olympic athlete - have said they're worried about the situation.

Hotels warned about terror suspect

Police in Sochi have handed out fliers at area hotels warning of a woman they believe could be a terrorist and who may currently be in the city.

One flier, obtained by CNN, asks workers to be on the lookout for Ruzanna "Salima" Ibragimova, described as the widow of a member of a militant group from the Caucasus region.

The woman, according to the flier, may be involved in organizing "a terrorist act within the 2014 Olympic region."


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