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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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national lead

August 23rd, 2013
08:49 PM ET

Families, victims' attorney: Fort Hood shooting should be labeled act of terrorism

Major Nidal Hassan wanted to plead guilty right off the bat. The justice system in a military he turned against got in the way but Friday, a jury finally convicted the Army psychiatrist on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

Hasan targeted soldiers who were set to deploy to Afghanistan. Hasan represented himself in the case and did not mount a defense at all after the prosecution called nearly 90 witnesses and presented hundreds of pieces of evidence.

His standby attorney tried to bail half-way through the trial, saying it was morally wrong to represent someone who’s essentially on a suicide mission.

In fact, Hasan started the trial by telling the jury, “I am the shooter.”

Ft. Hood victims' attorney Reed Rubinstein said his clients were “ pleased” by the verdict, though “it’s certainly not the end to their search for justice."

"It’s the end of the beginning.”

Joshua Gadlin, the husband of Amber Gadlin who was shot in the attack and testified against Hasan during the trial, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the verdict brings a lot of closure to 13 families who lost loved ones. Gadlin said this attack should be labeled as an “act of terrorism" - A distinction, Rubinstein said, is significant to the families, as they would get Purple Hearts and other benefits.

sports lead

August 23rd, 2013
08:19 PM ET

Report: NFL pushed ESPN to quit film project

Reports surfaced Thursday that the National Football League put pressure on ESPN to drop a previously planned investigative documentary about head injuries in football.

“League of Denial” comes out in October but PBS Frontline, producers of the documentary, released a preview earlier this month containing testimony that the NFL knew the lasting damage done when players sustain head injuries during the NFL but failed to act.

James Andrew Miller, author of the book “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” who broke the story in the New York Times, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the documentary could prove to be a significant factor in the head injuries in football discussion.

world lead

August 23rd, 2013
08:05 PM ET

Former NSC senior staffer: U.S. 'credibility on the line' with Syria

A year ago this week, President Barack Obama laid out his measurement for greater involvement in Syria during a White House press conference, saying that "a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized."

Earlier this summer, the Obama administration announced it would provide military support to rebel fighters because al-Assad's forces had used chemical weapons but there continue to be calls for greater U.S. involvement.

“I’m disappointed that we make a statement even if it wasn’t sort of staffed and fully planned and then we don’t back it up with something serious because I do think that damages our interests,” Barry Pavel, senior director for defense policy and strategy on the U.S. National Security Council staff from 2008 to 2010, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“This is the president of the United States making an official statement that is watched not just by those parties related to the Syrian conflict but it’s watched by our allies all over the world,” he said.

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national lead

August 23rd, 2013
06:38 PM ET

Family mourns after WWII vet beaten to death in 'random' attack

In yet another senseless and sickening attack, police in Spokane, Washington say they have made an arrest after an 88-year-old World War II veteran was beaten to death, allegedly by two teenagers earlier this week.

Bobbie Belton, Delbert Belton’s daughter-in-law, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that her father-in-law “had a lot friends” and that she didn’t understand why anyone would do this.

On Wednesday, Delbert Belton - a retired aluminum worker and affectionately called "Shorty" by friends for his height - headed to the Eagles Lodge, where he was a regular.

Police found him in the parking lot.

buried lead

August 23rd, 2013
06:13 PM ET

Soldiers save crash victim’s life

Bonded by battle, these four soldiers spend their morning pounding miles of the pavement together on their runs around the nation’s capital, but Thursday that routine took a dramatic turn.

“We heard a loud thud,” said 1st Lt. Quenten Vereen. “I immediately diverted my attention to the intersection and, as the bus actually went by, I seen an individual lying on the ground in the fetal position.”

A fellow jogger had been hit by a bus in an intersection and was bleeding heavily in the street.

“We all just went for a dead sprint toward the individual,” Vereen said.

Their battlefield experience kicked in.

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