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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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world lead

December 17th, 2014
06:13 PM ET

American prisoner of Cuban regime freed

(CNN) – Five men are tasting freedom for the first time in years - including one President Barack Obama described as "one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba" - in a historic deal between the U.S. and Cuba announced Wednesday.

The still unidentified spy was sent home along with Alan Gross, the American subcontractor held for five years in Cuba despite persistent and very public pushes for his release.

The intelligence agent was part of a deal that exchanged him for three convicted Cuban spies who are now back home in Cuba.

All five of the released men are now part of a bigger story, one that speaks to the long-held rivalry between the United States and Cuba that is now being rewritten as the two countries revamp diplomatic relations.

Who are these men? What did they do? And what can they look forward to, now that they're free?

FULL POST

world lead

December 8th, 2014
06:23 PM ET

What went wrong in failed hostage rescue mission

(CNN) - The element of surprise was lost in a failed U.S. military raid to rescue two hostages being held by al Qaeda militants in Yemen, a senior Defense Department official said Saturday.

American photojournalist Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie, a "respected teacher" who was to be released on Sunday, were fatally shot in the compound by a terrorist as the secret mission unfolded, a U.S. official said.

The relief group Gift of the Givers, which was helping secure Korkie's release, had recently informed his wife that "the waiting is almost over."

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national lead

November 26th, 2014
05:46 PM ET

Darren Wilson says he's sorry but his conscience is clear

(CNN) - Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson, in his first interview since he fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, said he's not tormented by that fateful encounter on a street in suburban St. Louis last summer.

"I don't think it's haunting," Wilson told ABC News on Tuesday. "It's always going to be something that happened. The reason I have a clean conscience is that I know I did my job right."

Repeating what he told a grand jury investigating the shooting, Wilson said Brown reached into his police vehicle and grabbed for his gun. He feared for his life, he said.

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national lead

November 19th, 2014
05:47 PM ET

Western New York buried by snow; at least 6 dead

Are you there? Share images, if you can safely

(CNN) - Stories about acts of bravery and kindness were emerging after as much as 6 feet of snow covered Buffalo, New York, one of the hardest-hit areas in a week when snowstorms and record-low temperatures whacked much of the country.

Six deaths in the region were blamed on the extreme storm, authorities said.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and city officials Wednesday recounted stories of emergency personnel working double shifts with little sleep, of rescuers trudging around snow drifts as high as houses to get people to hospitals, of fire stations turned into temporary shelters and police officers delivering special baby formula to a pair of infants.

"It is clear that we are one Buffalo," Brown said.

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national lead

October 23rd, 2014
06:32 PM ET

Doctors Without Borders physician tested for Ebola in NYC

(CNN) - A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned from West Africa is at a New York hospital for isolation and testing for the Ebola virus, Authorities said.

a law enforcement official briefed on the matter told CNN.

The 33-year-old physician, employed at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue Wednesday night, a law enforcement official briefed on the matter told CNN. On Thursday morning he was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for testing.

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