Washington (CNN) - A U.S. Senator is calling for permanent U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
Senator Lindsey Graham, (R) South Carolina, said in an interview airing on CNN's Parker Spitzer on Friday night that an enduring military relationship and permanent U.S. installations in Afghanistan would benefit both countries
Washington (CNN) - In the wake of the gains by Republicans in last week's election, the prospects for a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" appear to be diminishing daily.
Over the weekend, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that while he continues to support the repeal of the policy, which bans openly gay troops from serving, he does not see it as a foregone conclusion.
Washington (CNN) - Gen. James Amos, who is poised to become the new Marine Corps commandant, opposes repealing the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars openly gay and lesbian soldiers from the military.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, which held a hearing Tuesday on the nomination of Amos to become commandant, released 37 pages of policy questions the general answered in advance.
"In my personal view the current law and associated policy have supported the unique requirements of the Marine Corps and thus I do not recommend its
repeal," Amos wrote.
Washington (CNN) - A firm affiliated with the former Blackwater security company has been awarded a contract to provide protection to U.S. consulates and diplomats in the Afghan cities of Herat and Mazar-e Sharif, a U.S. State Department official confirmed on Saturday.
The official said U.S. Training Center got the contract on Friday. It is part of Xe, the new name of Blackwater Worldwide.
Washington (CNN) - U.S. and Cuban officials are set to sit down together in Washington on Friday to discuss immigration and other issues, according to a State Department spokesman.
"The U.S. views the migration talks as an important opportunity for both the United States and Cuban governments to discuss policies and procedures that promote safe, legal, and orderly migration," State Department spokesman Michael Tran told CNN Sunday.
Washington (CNN) - The United States hopes cool, careful language will keep the North Korea crisis from boiling over.
The Obama administration has been vocal in condemning North Korea for sinking a South Korean navy ship in March and killing 46 South Korean sailors. It is accusing North Korea of aggression and provocation.
But you won't hear American officials call this "an act of war." In fact, from President Barack Obama on down the command chain in this latest Korean crisis, "war" is missing in action.
Obama set the tone, offering support and condolences to the South Koreans in March. Once an international investigation was completed last week, a White House statement called the ship sinking "an act of aggression ... one more instance of North Korea's unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit the same notes during her trip to China.
"We are working hard to avoid an escalation, belligerence and provocation," Clinton said Monday. "This is a highly precarious situation that the North Koreans have caused in the region and it is one that every country that neighbors or is in proximity to North Korea understands must be contained."
Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to express unusually strong U.S. objections to new Israeli construction in disputed territory in East Jerusalem.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton told the Israeli leader "the United States considers the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship" with the United States.
"His action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America's interests," Crowley said, describing the discussion.
The Israeli announcement came during Vice President Joe Biden's visit this week to Israel. It complicated U.S. efforts to set up so-called proximity talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, the latest attempt to nudge the two sides back toward talking directly.
Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not get directly involved in the case of the 10 Americans detained in Haiti on child abduction charges, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.
"It would be highly unusual for the secretary of state to intervene in a case involving the judicial process of another country," spokesman P.J. Crowley said in an off-camera question-and-answer session.
Reginald Brown - the Washington lawyer who represents one of the detained Americans - sent a letter to Clinton on Tuesday asking her to personally intervene with Haitian authorities.
"This is all the result of a colossal misunderstanding and we are hoping it will resolve itself," Brown said about the arrest and detention of his client, Jim Allen, and the other nine Americans. "We would appreciate it if you could continue to devote significant personal attention to this matter, as we are confident that with your assistance this misunderstanding could be quickly resolved."
He asked Clinton to make "a personal request" to Haitian authorities to allow Allen to speak to his wife and her lawyers and to have fresh supplies.
"As far as I can tell, the one thing our detained American citizens have been able to do is communicate with just about anybody who wants to talk with them," Crowley said at the State Department. "If family members wish to talk to them, I think that is something that can be easily facilitated through our embassy in Port au Prince or through the Haitian government."
Washington (CNN) - The secretary of state is usually right there in front of the president during the State of the Union address. Not so Wednesday evening, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will stay in London, amidst a busy schedule of international conferences on Yemen and Afghanistan and meetings with world leaders.
"He (President Barack Obama) made it clear given the importance of these issues that her place tonight was in London, rather than here in Washington, " State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told journalists at an afternoon briefing Wednesday.
"And her presence in London reflects that we have done a great deal over the past year to rebuild frayed alliances and recreate common cause in terms of fighting and solving crucial global issues."
There was no word from State Department historians on when a secretary of state last missed a State of the Union. "It's been a while," said Crowley.
Clinton attended a conference on Yemen Wednesday. She was scheduled to meet with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and then participate in a conference on Afghanistan Thursday.
Full coverage: President Obama's State of the Union address
Washington (CNN) - The State Department said Tuesday afternoon it had been critical of some news organizations, including al Jazeera and CNN, for their coverage of the U.S. relief efforts in Haiti.
Earlier in the day Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she deeply resented some of the news reports on U.S. assistance to Haiti.
"I have absolutely no argument with anyone lodging a legitimate criticism against our country. I think we can learn from that. And we are foolish if we keep our head in the sand and pretend that we can't," Clinton told a town-hall meeting at the State Department, marking her one-year anniversary on the job.
"On the other hand, I deeply resent those who attack our country, the generosity of our people, and the leadership of our president in trying to respond to historically disastrous conditions after the earthquake. So what we're asking for is that people view us fairly," Clinton said.