Meet Spider, the CIA’s new spy chief


The new head of the National Clandestine Service is a former Marine who gained fame for being former Afghanistan President’s Hamid Karzai’s “security blanket,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

His name and age? Unknown. After all, he’s a spy who has spent his career undercover, most notably as station chief in Kabul.

Here’s what we do know about him, thanks to a 2010 Journal profile … Continue reading


Watch a Taliban sniper target Marine’s head


UPDATE 2: A portion of the video remains on the WarLeaks channel on YouTube (posted here) and on CBS News and the Guardian. But all of Sam Arnold’s videos were taken down from YouTube by Thursday evening. There are no details at this time as to why.

UPDATE 1: The video has just been taken down on YouTube (Thursday about 5 p.m.) and can no longer be watched. No reason has been given. At this time, there are still three videos posted on YouTube by Sam Arnold. You can see them here.

ORIGINAL POST: A video was posted last month on YouTube of a Marine surviving a shot to the head by a Taliban sniper last year in Helmand Province. The footage was captured on a helmet-cam by a fellow Marine. It is so gripping, that in just a few weeks it has been watched 1.2 million times.

Warning: This video is not bloody, and it does have a happy ending. But it is shocking and may take your breath away. Viewer discretion is advised.

See more videos from Afghanistan posted by Sam Arnold here.


There were 5,000 WMD left by Saddam, and they wounded U.S. troops in Iraq war


It turns out that Colin Powell might have been right after all, sort of.

His speech in 2003 at the U.N. declared that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and was concealing efforts to produce more. After all, Saddam had used mustard gas on Iranians during the 1980s war with the Islamic Republic, and dropped poison gas on Kurds, part of a brutal effort to decimate 50,000 to 100,000 in 1988.

But it was thought the United States never found WMD in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Until now. Continue reading


To flight attendant, Army Ranger wasn’t first class

1st Sgt. Albert Marle. Photo courtesy of WSOC Charlotte

1st Sgt. Albert Marle. Photo by fellow passenger Brian Kirby, courtesy of WSOC Charlotte

US Airways has gotten a lot of unwanted publicity since Thursday when on a flight from Oregon to Charlotte, N.C., 1st Sgt. Albert Marle made a simple request: Could he hang his uniform jacket in the closet so it wouldn’t get wrinkled?

The flight attendant, a woman who so far has not been named in media reports, refused. Continue reading


Sick 7-year-old granted wish: He’s ‘Honorary Marine’

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew is one of less than 100 people to ever receive the title since its conception in 1992.

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.”

Andrew Starr II has been plagued by painful tumors since he was a baby but “believes he can do anything,” his parents tell Headquarters Marine Corps.

Andrew’s greatest hero is his father, a retired Marine colonel, part of a proud family tradition that goes back to the First World War. The 7-year-old wanted one thing: to be a Marine. Continue reading


Bergdahl’s dad voted for Reagan


“I grew up in a conservative family in Los Angeles,” Bob Bergdahl, the father of the then-American POW, told an Idaho Republican Party fundraiser in 2010. “My father was for Goldwater. He wore a Nixon button in our liberal Jewish neighborhood. I was the lone UC Santa Barbara surfer who voted for Ronald Reagan.”

Michael Ames, a reporter who at the time was covering the event for AOL, writes in the Daily Beast that Bergdahl was the “local UPS man” in the small town of Hailey. After his son disappeared from his unit in a remote region of Afghanistan, “we all pretended things were normal” when Bergdahl would deliver packages to shops and homes that had “Bring Bowe Home” signs in their windows.


Bergdahl was a deserter, member of his battalion says


Then-Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl neatly stacked his gear — including his body armor, gun, helmet — at a U.S. base in Afghanistan the night before June 30, 2009, and deserted,  Nathan Bradley Bethea, an infantry officer in Bergdahl’s battalion, writes in the Daily Beast.

Among Bethea’s insights into the murky disappearance of Bergdahl … Continue reading


The military photographers of the year


The Military Photographer of the Year, a contest judged at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Md., recognizes MC3 Daniel Young in the news category.

In Armed Forces ArmsSgt. 1st Class Faamasino Galoia, assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, carries a Filippino girl off a MC-130 Combat Talon II after being transported from Ormac to Manila as part of Operation Damayan relief efforts Nov. 21. Super Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 and displaced millions.

In the Hardware category, Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid took first place:

N/ACapt. Jason Curtis, Thunderbird 6, Opposing Solo pilot, re-joins with the Diamond formation to perform the Delta Bottom-Up Pass during a practice sortie over the range near Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 11, 2013.

To see more winning work, go here.

h/t Stars and Stripes