Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 1:20 pm
An Army officer and a soldier were arrested earlier this month for allegedly plotting a murder-for-hire scheme, the Justice Department said.
1st Lt. Kevin Corley, 29, and Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28, were arrested after police said they cut a deal with federal officials posing as members of a drug cartel to raid a Texas ranch were they believed 20 kilograms of stolen cocaine were being kept by members of a rival cartel. Police said Corley, who took the lead in striking the deal, also agreed to kill the rivals using a small team in exchange for $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine.
There has been a subtle shift taking place in the intelligence community in recent months.
Intelligence and law enforcement officials say analysts and experts who have been tracking al-Qaida for more than a decade have been quietly reassigned. Some are being moved completely out of al-Qaida units. Others are being asked to spend less time watching al-Qaida and more time tracking more traditional foes — like state-sponsored terrorists.
Saying that her husband "loves children, he's like a big kid himself," the wife of the U.S. Army soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians on March 11 has told NBC News that the accusations against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales are "unbelievable to me."
"I have no idea what happened, but he would not ... he loves children, and he would not do that," said Karilyn Bales.
A few days ago, a plane carrying members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment touched down in Indiana. The 303 soldiers who were on board are members of an Army National Guard unit that has just finished a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers, dressed in their combat uniforms and carrying their weapons, bounded down the stairs from the plane. They shook the hands of the generals who had gathered there to welcome them home. It was the middle of the night and raining, but none of them seemed to mind. It had been a long trip and a long year.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been officially been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for the March 11 killings of unarmed men, women and children in Southern Afghanistan, The Associated Press just reported from Kabul.
It adds that "premeditated murder is a capital offense and if convicted, Bales could be sentenced to death."