Morning Security Brief: North Korea Issues New Threat, CIA Wants More Drones, and More
North Korea threatens a strike if South Korean activists launch propaganda balloons into the country. The U.S. is cooperating with Japan after two Navy personnel were arrested for rape. The CIA wants more armed drones. And more.
►North Korea has threatened South Korea with a "merciless military strike” if it allows activists to send balloons with propaganda leaflets over its territory on Monday. The balloons will contain 200,000 leaflets criticizing North Korea and $1 bills. Activists have no plans to back down. "We had similar threats last year and they did not stop us before and this is not going to stop us this time," said Pak Sang-hak, the leader of a coalition of groups of people who defected from North Korea. Two years ago, North Korea made good on a threat when it shelled a South Korean island, killing civilians. South Korea says if it is attacked, “there would be a perfect response against the source of the attack.”
►Japanese authorities have charged two Navy personnel with raping a woman after a night of drinking. Seaman Christopher Browning of Athens, Texas, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker of Muskogee, Okla., were arrested Tuesday and remain in Japanese custody. The case “has inflamed chronic tensions between the U.S. military and Okinawa over base-related crimes … Local opposition to the U.S. bases over noise, safety concerns and crime flared into mass protests after the 1995 rape of a schoolgirl by three American servicemen,” The Navy Times reports.
►The CIA is asking the White House to give it approval to expand its armed drone fleet . “The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots,” The Washington Post reports. Its fleet has around 35 now and they’d like to add another 10.
►In other news, media outlets are trying to confirm the cause of a major explosion in Beirut that happened during rush hour Friday. State media says it was a car bomb. ♦ The families of victims of the Ft. Hood shootings are asking the government to classify the shooting as a terrorist attack so they can be awarded Purple Heart status, a designation usually reserved for military personnel injured or killed in combat. ♦ And the Taliban threatens journalists who cover the Malala Yousufzai story. Malala is a 14-year old girl who Taliban gunmen shot for distributing material about women’s rights. She is recovering in a hospital in the United Kingdom.