Former military leaders call for 30% cut in oil consumption
November 1st, 2011
10:14 PM ET

Former military leaders call for 30% cut in oil consumption

By Charley Keyes

Osama bin Laden may have left a clue about one of the West's greatest vulnerabilities: reliance on oil imports.

"When we killed bin Laden, we saw oil tanker designs on his work desk," Gen. James Conway, the former Marine Corps commandant, said in a report released late Tuesday.

Conway was part of a group of 11 recently retired three- and four-star generals and admirals who prepared a report on American energy dependence as a national security threat.
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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Living With Terror • Military • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism
Pop Security: 'Homeland' scores for Showtime
November 1st, 2011
08:39 PM ET

Pop Security: 'Homeland' scores for Showtime

Editor's note: This is the first story in a new Security Clearance blog series called "Pop Security" which looks at how national security is addressed in popular culture

by Senior National Security Producer Suzanne Kelly

The slogan is "Sunday nights just got dangerous," which might help explain why Showtime is making a killing with the new espionage drama "Homeland" from "24" executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon.

The psychological thriller follows the homecoming of Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (played by Damian Lewis) after being an al Qaeda prisoner for eight years. But CIA Officer Carrie Mathison (played by Claire Danes) follows a hunch and tries to determine whether the returning hero has actually been "turned" and is planning to carry out an act of terror at home on behalf of the terrorist organization.

Critics are raving about it. Newsweek calls it "the most addictive show of the season". Showtime has renewed for season two. "Homeland" executive producer Alex Gansa is pretty happy about that, too, though speaking on his cell phone from a trailer on the set of the Fox lot, he admits that at first he was a little worried about creating another "war" show.

"That was always the concern. Even when we were first approached about the idea, we wondered, 'Do viewers have "war on terror" fatigue?'" said Gansa.

Apparently, the answer is no. Gansa thinks he knows why. FULL POST


Filed under: CIA • Homeland Security • Intelligence • Iraq • Living With Terror • Pop Culture
Militia members plotted to kill federal officials, prosecutors say
November 1st, 2011
06:02 PM ET

Militia members plotted to kill federal officials, prosecutors say

By the CNN Wire Staff

Federal agents charged four Georgia men they say are part of a fringe militia group with plotting to attack government officials with explosives and the biotoxin ricin, prosecutors in Atlanta announced Tuesday.

A government informant recorded the men discussing plans to manufacture ricin, a highly poisonous substance derived from castor beans, and attack Justice Department officials, federal judges and Internal Revenue Service agents, according to court papers released Tuesday afternoon. All four suspects were in custody and are scheduled to make their initial court appearances Wednesday in Gainesville, about 50 miles north of Atlanta, the U.S. attorney's office announced.
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Detained in Afghanistan, targeted in U.S.
Afghan security forces fill the streets in Kabul on September 13 as Haqqani and Taliban operatives launched an assault on the U.S. embassy complex and NATO headquarters.
November 1st, 2011
03:40 PM ET

Detained in Afghanistan, targeted in U.S.

By National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

The Obama administration added a Haqqani network commander to the list of terrorists prohibited from engaging in the U.S. financial system Tuesday, and effectively froze any of his property that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Mali Khan has directed hundreds of fighters to conduct terrorist attacks against Afghan civilians, police and coalition forces, the State Department said in a statement.

Khan's deputy provided support to the suicide bombers who attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul earlier this year, according to the U.S. government. Twelve people died in the attacks.

The designation was made despite Khan's current detention in Afghanistan. He was captured during a combined Afghan and coalition force security operation.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Haqqani • Kabul • Pakistan • Sanctions • Terrorism
Strained and tense talks between Afghans and Pakistanis
Turkish president Abdullah Gul Pakistani (C) with Hamid Karzai (L) and Ali Atif Zerdari (R)
November 1st, 2011
03:02 PM ET

Strained and tense talks between Afghans and Pakistanis

By CNN's Ivan Watson reporting from Istanbul, Turkey

With the help of Turkish mediation, Pakistani and Afghan leaders signed a series of agreements Tuesday aimed at mending relations which almost collapsed after last September's assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul.

At a joint press conference where he sat flanked by his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts, Turkish president Abdullah Gul announced that both Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to open a "cooperation mechanism" between their intelligence agencies to investigate the murder, which Afghan officials initially blamed on Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.

"There was almost an end of negotiations between us," Afghan President Hamid Karzai said, in reference to the suicide bombing that killed Rabbani. "So on that what happened today in Turkey has been a significant move. I hope the mechanism for pursuing the death of Rabbani will lead us to more fruitful and intense talks."

In public, the three presidents appeared relaxed and friendly when Gul led them down the marble stairs of an Ottoman palace to a waiting Mercedes.

But behind closed doors, the opening to some of the discussions were strained and tense, said one Turkish diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read the whole story here

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Diplomacy • ISI • Karzai • Pakistan • Turkey
Military surges MRIs to war zone to diagnose brain injuries
November 1st, 2011
02:27 PM ET

Military surges MRIs to war zone to diagnose brain injuries

By CNN National Security Producer Jennifer Rizzo

For the first time ever, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) systems were deployed to a combat zone last month, ending an initiative by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to obtain the technology for brain injury treatment in Afghanistan.

The military hopes the MRIs, machines that use magnetic fields and radio waves to take pictures of organs and structures in the body, will allow for "cutting-edge discoveries" in the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care of servicemembers with traumatic brain injuries and concussions, according to U.S. Navy Medicine spokesman Capt. Cappy Surette.

While the MRIs are standard commercially-available systems, the support trailers for the machines were designed to endure "vast temperature swings, fine sand and power generation" in Afghanistan, according to Surette. The trailers also have to be shielded so that the systems will not interfere with military communication frequencies.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Technology
November 1st, 2011
01:52 PM ET

Hackers shut down Palestinian internet network

Internet service is completely cut off in Gaza Tuesday and partially shut down in the West Bank after an attack on the main Internet provider to the Palestinian territories, according to a minister with the Palestinian Authority.

"This is a very serious and vicious attack," Dr. Mashour Abu-Daqqa, the minister of Communications and Information Technology, told CNN. The attack, which affected most of the Palestinian Internet communication network, also targeted domain addresses, said Abu-Daqqa.

The minister said hackers are using international IP servers originating in Germany, China, and Slovenia to send millions of attacks in the form of viruses to penetrate and disrupt the Internet communications.

There is no word on who, exactly, is behind the attacks.

"It does not mean the attackers are from there, it is only the origin of these virus attacks using these international servers and other international country servers," Abu-Daqqa said. FULL POST


Filed under: China • Cybersecurity • Germany • Palestine • Slovenia • Technology • UNESCO
Is Shabaab taking aim at America?
Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) looking at an assortment of weapons and munitions that were used by the extremist group Al Shabaab to make improvised explosive devices.
November 1st, 2011
12:44 PM ET

Is Shabaab taking aim at America?

By CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank

Not so long ago Abdisalam Ali was a promising student studying medicine at the University of Minnesota. Last Saturday he blew himself up in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. It was the end of a journey into jihad that had begun for Ali as a teenager, and another sign of the appeal of Al Shabaab, the militant Islamic group in Somalia, to young ethnic Somalis overseas.

Ali had come to the United States with his family as a young refugee and lived for a while in Seattle before moving to Minneapolis.  But soon after graduating from High School, Ali and several other young men left their homes and families for an uncertain future on the frontlines of an endless war.

News of his death will not surprise many in the Somali American community.  According to U.S. counter-terrorism investigators, Ali was the fourth American suicide bomber in Somalia in the last three years, and one of at least sixteen Americans killed while fighting with Al Shabaab – far more than have died fighting for any other foreign terrorist group.  Many of the others killed were also from the Minneapolis area – home to some 60,000 Somalis, the biggest community outside East Africa.

It is a trend that has U.S. counter-terrorism officials increasingly concerned because they fear that factions of Al Shabaab closely aligned with al Qaeda may one day try to use such recruits to launch a terrorist attack on American soil. Yet what alarmed officials over the weekend even more than the attack itself, was a message that Ali recorded before it. FULL POST