• 561 empty chairs: Ret. Gen. John Allen on the sacrifices of the Afghanistan war

    On the Radar

    Gen. John Allen recently retired from the military following his post as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, but the memories of the 561 troops who died under his command - and the many thousands who were wounded - have not retired from his mind.

    “I think about them every day; I think about them at night,” Allen told On the Radar. “And there's a moment of reflection about those 561 empty chairs around dinner tables.”

    He described the war in Afghanistan as “a conflict of sacrifice” and said his focus now is to make sure the country doesn’t forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

    “That's a generational loss because the family will be different, the children will be different,” he said. “That's why this war is so important for America … because every one of those losses has to mean something.”

    During his time as a commander in Afghanistan, Allen attended scores of memorial services, sometimes as often as three times a week. But he said

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  • The Chill Factor: Investigative Reporter Talks US Covert Wars and National Secrets

    Top Line

    As the White House faces questions about secret internet and telephone surveillance programs, investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill says, “There's a chill that's been sent through the national security reporting community.”

    Scahill, who investigated the United States’ covert operations in the war against terrorism in a new documentary, “Dirty Wars,” told Top Line in an interview recorded prior to the most recent NSA leaks that sources inside the government have grown fearful of talking to the media.

    “Many sources that I used to be able to talk to through encrypted e-mail or with chats using OTR, off the record software, they won't do it anymore,” Scahill said. “It's either in person or nothing. … There's a real fear on the part of whistleblowers and sources that the Espionage Act is going to come knocking on their door one day under the Noble Peace Prize-winning, Constitutional law professor, Democratic president.”

    In his documentary, Scahill makes the case that the Obama

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  • ‘Proud wacko bird’ Ted Cruz calls Obama biggest obstacle to immigration reform

    The Fine Print

    As the immigration debate begins before the full Senate for the first time, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has become one of the most vocal opponents to the current bill. But Cruz says the true obstacle to immigration reform is not him, but President Obama.

    “The biggest obstacle to passing common sense immigration reform is President Barack Obama,” Cruz tells The Fine Print, going on to say that the White House’s “insistence” on including a path to citizenship is standing in the way of the bill’s ultimate passage.

    “The path the White House is going down, I believe, is designed for this bill to fail,” Cruz says. “It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue.”

    Over his six-month run in the Senate, Cruz has developed a reputation for not toeing the line with party leadership, and has even been called a “wacko bird” by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

    Though Cruz says he’s not sure exactly what a

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