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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 15th, 2014
01:45 PM ET

Jailed CIA officer: 'Crimes were committed,' officers should be 'prosecuted'

(CNN) - John Kiriakou, a man at the center of the public's awareness of the CIA's enhanced interrogation program, broke his silence for the first time since the bombshell U.S. Senate report was released, and is calling for CIA interrogators to be prosecuted.

Kiriakou, a former CIA case officer, ran counter-terrorism operations inside Pakistan in the weeks and months after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. He is currently serving time at the Federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania, having pleaded guilty to leaking classified information about the CIA in his dealings with journalists.

"I think it's not unreasonable to not look at those officers for prosecution. But the real issues is what to do with officers who went over and above what had been authorized by the Justice Department," Kiriakou told CNN's Jake Tapper in a phone interview. "I think it’s clear from the Senate torture report and also from [CIA] Director [John] Brennan’s comments that crimes were committed, and I think that the officers who committed those crimes ought to be prosecuted."

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world lead

November 18th, 2014
07:09 PM ET

Former hostage: European nations need to stop paying ransom

(CNN) - European nations are increasingly acquiescing to terrorists' ransom demands, despite private pressure on their governments and at the determinant of American citizen hostages, says investigative journalist and former Taliban hostage David Rohde.

"There has been private pressure put on these European governments but it hasn't worked. The record government paid, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, is a government paid $40 million a couple of years ago for the release of four French hostages in West Africa. That's $10 million a head," Rohdes told CNN's Jake Tapper. "The problem is not just that these European states are paying, it's that they're paying more and more. The expectations from these groups is that they can get huge ransoms and when you're talking $10 million, no family, no organization can pay that large a ransom."

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world lead

November 10th, 2014
07:30 PM ET

Experts question timing, motivations of North Korea hostages release

(CNN) - North Korea released two American hostages over the weekend and the former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea does not think the timing is coincidental.

"The timing is clearly that they want to kind of take the edge off the summit meeting between President Obama and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping to try to give those in China some ammunition to say, 'look, the North Koreans are doing something. Can't you Americans talk to them?,'" says former ambassador Christopher Hill, referring to world leaders currently gathered for an economic summit in Beijing.

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world lead

November 10th, 2014
06:40 PM ET

GOP Congressman: Withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011 hurt intelligence gathering today

(CNN) - Republican Congressman Peter King says withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011 hurt U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities, which is why the U.S. is unable to determine whether or not the latest airstrikes effectively targeted key ISIS leaders.

"We have very little intelligence at all in Iraq. That's one of the hazards, one of the results, of taking all our troops out in 2011. That pretty much effectively ended both defense intelligence, central intelligence. We have virtually no intelligence on the ground at all," King, the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told CNN's Jake Tapper.

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world lead

September 30th, 2014
06:49 PM ET

General: Removing option of U.S. troops may doom mission to fail

(CNN) - The United States' "self-imposed limitation" of no U.S. troops on the ground to combat ISIS in Syria and Iraq will "come to haunt us," says retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt.

"The larger issue is this notion that we've taken any type of U.S. support on the ground off the table. That means probably the long pole in the tent in our strategy, if not the fatal flaw, is reliance on foreign rebels to be winning this war for us and I think that's going to come to haunt us," the former deputy director for plans and strategy at CENTCOM told CNN's Jake Tapper.

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