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September 26th, 2013
12:26 PM ET

FBI: Navy Yard Shooter 'Delusional'

Aaron Alexis was under "the delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves" before he embarked on a bloody shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, an FBI official said Wednesday.

CNN's Joe Johns reports.

The 34-year-old contractor, who until a few years ago had served in the Navy, spelled out this belief - with the words, "My ELF weapon" - in the sawed-off Remington 870 shotgun he brought into the military facility's Building #197 on the morning of September 16.

"ELF" refers to low-frequency electromagnetic waves, a technology used for submarine communications that conspiracy theorists believe the government employs to monitor and manipulate unsuspecting citizens, the FBI said.

"Ultra low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last 3 months," read a message obtained by federal authorities from Alexis's thumb drives, phones and computers. "And to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this."

SEE FULL STORY 

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September 4th, 2013
09:31 AM ET

Here's The Plan For Action In Syria

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee drafts a bipartisan agreement authorizing the use of force in Syria they'll take up for debate on Wednesday. CNN's Jim Scuitto reports.

In trying to appease both war hawks and doves, the bill attempts to limit the scope and length of attacks but also intends to strategically help to strengthen the Syrian opposition.

Here's what the authorization states:

– Strikes against Syria limited to 60 days, option for further 30 days

– Bans troops on the ground, permits rescue mission if needed

Secretaries Kerry and Hagel and General Dempsey, veterans who understand the cost of war, tell Senators Tuesday that limited military action is right and necessary.

Secretary of State John Kerry says:

"Are you going to be comfortable if Assad, as a result of the United States not doing anything, then gasses his people yet again and they - and the world says, 'Why didn't the United States act?'

Senator John McCain, a long supporter of more vigorous U.S. involvement in Syria,  criticizes the President's decision to delay military action until after congressional approval.

"When you tell the enemy you're going to attack them, I'm not to take any time on this, you're going to attack them, they're obviously going to disperse and try to make it harder."

However, President Obama may be making ground with lawmakers. Speaker of the House John Boehner gives his support for military action Tuesday.

Wednesday, the case for military action in Syria moves to the House where Secretaries Kerry and Hagel and General Dempsey can expect tougher questioning than they did in a session Tuesday.

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September 4th, 2013
06:07 AM ET

Ariel Castro Found Hanged In Cell

Ariel Castro, who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years on charges of kidnap, rape and murder, is found dead Tuesday night.

The convicted man is found hanging in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.

CNN affiliate WOIO reporter Scott Taylor  calls into "Early Start" with updates.

Taylor says while Castro was on suicide watch in prison in Cleveland, being checked on every 10 minutes by guards, the situation changed when he was moved to state jail.

"He was on precautionary watch, where they don’t think an inmate will hurt themselves, but they're high profile so they  want to keep an eye on him."

Taylor says Castro was checked on at 9 p.m. and was found hanging around 9:20 p.m.

The Ohio State Police and Department of Corrections are now investigating the death.

At Castro's trial, one of the three survivors showed up in person to confront her captor.

Michelle Knight said, "I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning."

But Castro was only in prison for weeks.

Maria Castro Montes, cousin of Ariel Castro, called into "Early Start" to say she found out via text message at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning of the death.

Montes says she believes even though Castro didn't get the death sentence, the girls wanted to see him live through jail.

Though this result might end up being the best option.

"Maybe this is for the best,  I don't think they were ever going to find peace if he was still alive and in prison."

SEE FULL INTERVIEW:

For more on this story visit CNN.com.


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September 3rd, 2013
05:51 AM ET

Fifth Try The Charm For Swimmer Diana Nyad

Five turns out to be a very lucky number for swimmer Diana Nyad.

The 64-year-old athlete navigated the waters between Havana, Cuba, and Key West, Florida, on Monday, after five tries over three decades. CNN's Karin Caifa reports.

Nyad started on Saturday and swam over 100 miles without a protective shark cage or flippers, though she battled jelly fish with a protective mask.

It reportedly took a team of 35 people to help monitor her progress and clear her path of danger.

After reaching Florida, Nyad was taken to the hospital for observation but not before she acknowledged her fans.

The dreamer said: "We should never ever give up, you never are too old to chase your dreams."

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August 29th, 2013
06:33 AM ET

President Obama: "There Must Be Consequences in Syria"

The White House could release evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own people as early as Thursday, CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

In an interview with PBS Newshour, the President left no doubt who the U.S. believes ordered the chemical weapons attacks, saying:

"We want the Assad regime to understand that by using chemical weapons on a large scale against your own people – against women, against infants, against children, that you are not only breaking international norms and standards of decency, but you're also creating a situation where U.S. national interests are affected, and that needs to stop."

Among the evidence proving the Syrian regime's hand behind chemical weapons use: intercepts of Syrian commanders discussing the movement of chemical weapons to the area of the attack, provided by Israeli intelligence.

The U.S.'s potential next step, launching cruise missile strikes, has put the U.S. at direct odds with Russia.

"We do not believe the Syrian regime should be able to hide behind the fact that the Russians continue to block action on Syria at the U.N., State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf tells the press.

"But behind the scenes officials are signalling the U.S. may not wait for the U.N. to act," Starr says.

"The U.S. military is strengthening its position in the Eastern Mediterrrean with the addition of two more submarines."

The Syrian regime is also getting prepared.

Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the UN, says "We are in a state of war right now preparing ourselves for the worst     scenario."

But the rhetoric from the Syrian government has also become more subdued now.

"You can tell that the regime is getting more and more nervous," reports CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.

Pleitgen says many Syrians are also getting fearful and trying to leave the country now. 

“People seem unsure what the future will bring with the American air strikes looming.”

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August 23rd, 2013
08:18 AM ET

School Shooting Heroes Meet

Just days after a school bookkeeper in Georgia averted what could have been another tragic school shooting, she met with the 911 dispatcher who was on the line during the entire harrowing experience.

Antoinette Tuff stayed shockingly calm as a man with a gun invaded her school. But helping to keep her cool was 911 operator Kendra McCray, on the other end of the phone while Tuff negotiated with the suspected gunman and convinced him to step down.

"We made it,” Tuff said when she met McCray for the first time, exclusively on CNN’s "Anderson Cooper 360."

Like everyone else who have since heard the recording of that emergency call, McCray said she was in awe of Tuff.

"She is a true hero. I say that she missed her calling.”

McCray said she was “terrified” for Tuff while she was face to face with a mentally unstable gunman.

“But their fear was never evident in the 911 call that riveted America,” reports CNN’s Martin Savidge.

Tuff says the scariest moment was when she watched the man methodically load his gun.

"He had bullets everywhere, on top of magazines,” Tuff described. “So I knew when he made that last call that he was going to go. Because he had loaded up to go."

“Yet instead of feeling fear or anger, Tuff says she felt compassion, recalling her own personal heartbreaks, even contemplating suicide,” Savidge explains.

"I had been in that situation. I had been in that devastating moment when all of the things happened to me. so I knew that that could have been my story," Tuff said.

Just before she sat down with Cooper, Tuff got another surprise–a phone call from President Obama.

"He just wanted to let me know him and his wife and his family is very proud of what I did and everybody wanted to thank me."

Crediting her faith, Tuff said she believes her role was part of a heavenly plan, to help somebody in need.

“The suspect had walked in with an assault rifle ready to kill,” Savidge says, “but in the end was no match for a book keeper armed with love backed by a dispatcher who was her life line.”

Below, watch how the scene played out for TUff at the Georgia elementary school she saved from a potential massacre.

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August 7th, 2013
09:55 AM ET

Sources: Several Charged in Connection with Benghazi Attack

Almost a year since the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, sources tell CNN federal authorities have filed the first criminal charges in connection with the attack.

And a prominent figure in Libya, Ahmed Abu Khattalah, is on the list.

“He completely denies any sort of direct involvement in the attack,” CNN’s Arwa Damon reports.

She say that no arrests have been made at this point.

“While the U.S., yes, has filed these charges, they do remain sealed,” Damon says.

“This does not necessarily mean that we're any closer to seeing justice and accountability at thing stage.”

Furthermore, she says that with “the security threat that exists in Benghazi, it’s incredibly unlikely that Libyan authorities have the capability, or the ability itself, to actually go after these people.”


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August 7th, 2013
09:54 AM ET

Hasan Admits to Being Gunman at Ft. Hood

The court martial of the army psychiatrist accused of gunning down more than a dozen people began with a startling admission yesterday.  

“Dressed in an Army Combat uniform and an American flag decorating his sleeve, Major Nidal Hasan quickly admitted to killing defenseless fellow soldiers,” reports CNN’s Ed Lavandera.

"The evidence will clearly show I am the shooter," Hasan declared in the trial’s opening statements.

While prosecutors are fighting for the death penalty, Major Hasan is waging his own war to justify killing those 13 people and wounding more than 30 others in the horrific Fort Hood massacre four years ago.

“Hasan went on to say ‘I was on the wrong side and I switched sides,’” Lavandera says.

Acting as his own attorney, Hasan will likely cross-examine his own victims, including 41-year-old Christopher Royal.

“The chief warrant officer is still recovering from his wounds, nerve damage down his back, arm and legs.”

And while the government classifies the Fort Hood massacre as an outbreak of workplace violence, Royal tells Lavandera he considers Hasan a terrorist, but has forgiven him.

“Every day he goes by the Ft Hood memorial honoring his fallen comrades,” Lavandera reports.

Royal says, “…when I go by the site, it continues to help me go on. Because there were 13 that day that did not make it past that site. So that kind of pushed me through."

Follow along at CNN.com for developments.


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July 26th, 2013
06:16 AM ET

Human Error Possible for Southwest Nose-Landing

New details are emerging about the Southwest Airlines flight that skidded down a runway and landed nose-first at New York’s LaGuardia Airport this Monday.

Flight 345 had 150 people on board. Federal investigators are questioning why the jet landed nose-first.

“When it comes to landing, the 737's rear landing wheels touch ground first, the front wheels second,” CNN's Rene Marsh reports.

“But investigators say that's not how it happened here. The front wheel came down first and it couldn't withstand the weight of the plane, ending with a 19 second skid.”

According to the NTSB, in the final four seconds before touchdown, the plane shifted from 2 degrees nose up to 3 degrees nose down.

Kevin Hiatt, President of the Flight Safety Foundation, says human error could be a possible cause.

“Southwest tells CNN the landing scenario the NTSB describes... ‘is not in accordance with our operating procedures,’” Marsh reports.

“This is now the second investigation looking at potential pilot error in a matter of weeks. Asiana Flight 214 crash landed at the San Fransisco airport earlier this month...killing three people.”

Follow along at CNN.com as the investigation develops.

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July 2nd, 2013
06:08 AM ET

Jury hears Zimmerman's statements to police – George Howell reports

The trial of George Zimmerman resumes today with the lead investigator back on the stand.

He and other officers have been testifying about what Zimmerman told police in the days after Trayvon Martin was killed.

The jury has also now heard Zimmerman's words for themselves. CNN’s George Howell has details.

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