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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

May 7th, 2013
06:39 PM ET

Mother of Benghazi victim: I blame Hillary

One woman still looking for answers about the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is Pat Smith. Her son Sean Smith, a State Department information officer, was one of four Americans killed during the attack.

"I blame her," said Smith, referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"That's her department, she's supposed to be on top of it, and yet she claims that she knows nothing, it wasn't told to her," said Smith. "Who's running the place?"
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politics lead

May 7th, 2013
06:23 PM ET

Chris Christie changes mind on weight loss surgery

If you are going to run a grueling 18-month long race, you have to get in shape, and it appears New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is doing just that.

Sources close to the governor confirm to CNN that on February 16, he underwent a secret lap band procedure, which internally binds the stomach to limit consumption. At a press conference Tuesday, Christie said he was concerned about his long-term health, and did the procedure for him and his family.

"I'd tried a whole bunch of other things, they hadn't worked. This was an opportunity to try something different," Christie said.

"I turned 50 years old, and it made me think," said Christie. "I got confronted with, you know, your own mortality as you start to age. From my perspective it's about Mary Pat, the kids, and me."
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buried lead

May 7th, 2013
06:01 PM ET

Sexual assaults in the military increase

A report released Tuesday shows that military sexual assault cases increased 6% in 2012 from the year before.

Both Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and President Obama reacted with outrage and calls for new initiatives aimed at tackling sexual violence within the ranks of our military.

“If we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff they are going to be held accountable. Prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period,” said the President Tuesday.

In an alarming example of the degree to which this problem has infiltrated the military – an Air Force officer who leads the branch’s own sex assault prevention unit is facing charges of misconduct.

41-year-old Jeffrey Krusinski is accused of groping a woman in an Arlington parking lot.

Krusinski has been removed from duty while the incident is investigated.

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world lead

May 7th, 2013
03:43 PM ET

Benghazi attack: Would withdrawn DC-3 plane have made a difference that night?

By Jake Tapper

(CNN) - Former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya Greg Hicks has hypothesized to investigators that the DC-3 airplane previously stationed in Libya - one that the U.S. State Department withdrew from the country a few months before the attack on the US compound in Benghazi - might have made a difference to the Americans killed that night, CNN has learned.

Last October, this reporter, working for ABC News, reported on a May 3, 2012 e-mail indicating that the State Department denied a request from the security team at the embassy in Libya to retain a DC-3 airplane in the country to better conduct their duties. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was copied on the e-mail.

There is no evidence that the DC-3 would have definitively made a difference for the four Americans killed that night - the security team in question was allowed to leave Libya in August, though its members wanted to remain in-country - but questions remain why in the months leading up to the attacks officials in Washington, specifically at the State Department, didn't seem to be doing everything they could to protect Americans given that dangerous assignment.
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Christie reveals weight loss surgery

politics lead

May 7th, 2013
08:35 AM ET

Christie reveals weight loss surgery

A few months after turning 50 years old, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent lap-band surgery in February for the sake of his wife and kids, a source close to the governor confirmed to CNN.

Christie told the New York Post, which first reported the story early Tuesday morning, that the invasive procedure came after his family and friends urged him to start improving his health.

"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," he said. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."

Christie had the 40-minute long surgery on Saturday, February 16, a source close to Christie tells CNN Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, and was back to work by the following Tuesday.

His concerns over the "minimally invasive procedure," according to the source, were allayed by the fact that Dr. George Fielding would be operating on him. Fielding has done the procedure many times and even had the surgery himself, the source said.

Although Christie has lost some weight, the source told Tapper, the governor is "not doing any victory laps" and knows this is just the beginning of the weight loss process.

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