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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

August 26th, 2014
06:22 PM ET

Obama authorizes reconnaissance flights over Syria, U.S. official says

Washington (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized reconnaissance flights over Syria as ISIS militants continue to gain ground in the war-ravaged nation, a U.S. official told CNN.

The flights - seen as a forerunner of possible U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Syria - could begin at any point, the official said Monday.

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August 21st, 2014
05:32 PM ET

Does Obama's 'no boots on the ground' fail to address Hagel's call to alarm about ISIS?

(CNN) – Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Thursday that the militant group responsible for beheading an American journalist "beyond just a terrorist group."

"They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we've seen. So we must prepare for everything," Hagel said Thursday.

But then the secretary of defense went on to say there will be no mission creep, and the operation in Iraq will continue to be President Obama's limited mission of airstrikes in Iraq.

CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

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August 13th, 2014
05:58 PM ET

U.S. considers air evacuation of refugees in northern Iraq

Washington (CNN) - Additional U.S. military advisers are now on the ground in northern Iraq with the Obama administration considering a possible air evacuation of thousands of minority Yazidis under threat from Islamic State militants and trapped on Mount Sinjar.

President Barack Obama ordered nearly 130 advisers to Irbil to assess the situation, and it's now likely that a small number of them will travel to the mountain area to get a first-hand look at what might be possible.

The new group comprised of Marines and special forces adds to the hundreds of other American advisers already in the country advising Iraqi troops in their fight against Sunni militants from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda off-shoot formally known as ISIS.

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August 8th, 2014
04:50 PM ET

U.S. jet fighters carry out second round of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq

Washington (CNN) - U.S. fighter jets repeatedly bombed Sunni Islamic extremists in northern Iraq on Friday, targeting what officials described as ISIS artillery units and convoys advancing on the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil.

At least two rounds of airstrikes ramped up America's involvement in Iraq where ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, is seizing control of towns and key infrastructure in an advance that has forced hundreds of thousands to run for their lives.

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world lead

August 1st, 2014
07:18 PM ET

U.S. backs plan to keep Russia at bay

(CNN) - On the same day that 70 international investigators reached the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 - the largest group yet - President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation about the country where the wreckage and bodies lie: Ukraine.

The White House says the President told Putin he was deeply concerned about "Russia's increased support for the separatists in Ukraine."  Those are the very rebels who are suspected of shooting down flight 17, and keeping investigators off the site for days on end.

Now that Putin has been accused of sticking his mitts far into Ukraine, CNN's Barbara Starr reports on a plan to slap them back before they creep farther west.

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