What's next after Clinton's line in the Syrian sand?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has "lost legitimacy." Photo: AFP/Getty Images
July 12th, 2011
06:04 PM ET

What's next after Clinton's line in the Syrian sand?

After weeks of hounding from the press about what sort of future the U.S. sees for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally said the magic words, "he has lost legitimacy."

For some Syria watchers, it was a bold assertion that reflected a sea change in U.S. policy toward Syria. For others this was blatantly stating the obvious. Many would argue that any leader who opens fire on his own people has irrevocably damaged his compact with those people and his ability to lead them.

Clinton’s comments–her strongest condemnation of the regime to date– came not from Assad’s brutality against his on people, but in response to the attack by pro-Assad thugs on the US and French embassies in Damascus, as well as the residence of US Ambassador Robert Ford.
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July 12th, 2011
05:26 PM ET

U.S. official: CIA aiding interrogations of terror suspects in Somalia

CIA operatives have secretly traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, to help interrogate terrorism suspects about operations in East Africa and Yemen, a senior U.S. official told CNN Tuesday.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, stressed any suspects were under the control of Somali forces and the CIA was present only in "support" of interrogations in recent months. He described the number of times the CIA was present as "very small," adding that he would only say it was "one or two times."

"Only on very rare occasion does the CIA support debriefings of suspected terrorists who are in TFG (Transitional Federal Government) custody," the official told CNN.
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After eight tours of duty and a lost hand, Army Ranger receives Medal of Honor.
Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry smiles as President Obama applauds him at the ceremony where Petry received the Medal of Honor. CNN Photo by Lesa Jansen.
July 12th, 2011
05:17 PM ET

After eight tours of duty and a lost hand, Army Ranger receives Medal of Honor.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An Army Ranger who lost his right hand while tossing an enemy grenade away from fellow soldiers received the Medal of Honor Tuesday.

President Barack Obama presented the nation's highest medal for bravery to Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry for what the president called "a singular act of gallantry."

Petry was serving in Paktia, Afghanistan, in May 2008 when his Ranger unit was assigned to capture a high-value target in a helicopter raid.

"The mission is high risk. It's broad daylight," Obama said. "The insurgents are heavily armed, but it's considered a risk worth taking because intelligence indicates that a top al Qaeda commander is in that compound."
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Military
July 12th, 2011
05:02 PM ET

UK government: Al Qaeda weakened, but terrorism still greatest threat to Olympics

By Paul Cruickshank, CNN Terrorism Analyst

The threat posed by al Qaeda in the UK has lessened, but the future Olympic Games in London and the UK’s radicalization problems are still key security concerns, according to a report released by the UK government Tuesday.

The report comes a day after the UK terrorist threat level was lowered from “severe” to “substantial” - meaning that a terrorist attack is now a “strong possibility” rather than “highly likely.”

The Home Office document - an updated strategy for countering terrorism and the threat faced by the UK - suggested that increased pressure on al Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and the death of Osama bin Laden were linked to the reduction in the threat level to the UK. FULL POST

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Filed under: Living With Terror • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
Future of Yemen President in doubt
July 12th, 2011
04:49 PM ET

Future of Yemen President in doubt

WASHINGTON (CNN)– It is unclear if and when Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be able to return to Yemen according to a U.S. official.

Saleh is recovering in Saudi Arabia after undergoing surgery for serious injuries sustained when the presidential compound in Sanaa was bombed last week. U.S. government officials say Saleh suffered burns on more than 40% of his body and a collapsed lung.

The U.S. official said his severe burns and the political pressure brought on by the unrest throughout Yemen could preclude Saleh returning as President.

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Filed under: Security Brief
How will Ahmed Wali Karzai's death affect Afghan stability?
July 12th, 2011
02:23 PM ET

How will Ahmed Wali Karzai's death affect Afghan stability?

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was shot and killed Tuesday, gunned down by a bodyguard in Kandahar. The Taliban say the shooter was on their payroll.

CNN Sr. International Correspondent Nic Robertson weighs in on the relationship between the brothers, how much is known about him and how important he was to the United States and Afghanistan. FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Karzai
Report: CIA plotted vaccination ruse to get DNA from bin Laden home
The final hideout of slain Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is pictured in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 10.
July 12th, 2011
08:04 AM ET

Report: CIA plotted vaccination ruse to get DNA from bin Laden home

Pakistani security forces have detained a doctor who is suspected of helping the CIA try to collect DNA samples from people who lived in Osama bin Laden's compound before the terror leader's death.

A senior Pakistani security official confirmed the detention to CNN on Tuesday, but did not identify the doctor.

The news was first reported by the Guardian newspaper.

A raid by U.S. special operations forces killed bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2.

But in the course of gathering intelligence for the raid, the CIA recruited a Pakistani doctor to run a vaccination program in the area. The goal was to try to obtain DNA evidence from bin Laden family members, the newspaper said - citing the information to unnamed Pakistani and U.S. officials.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden