November 16th, 2011
10:05 PM ET

U.S. may boost troop levels in Mideast

As the United States withdraws troops from Iraq it's also planning to boost its military presence elsewhere in the region–increasing troops, warships and aircraft as a hedge against Iran. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports.

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Filed under: Iran • Iraq • Middle East • Military
Hillary Clinton to students: "Get out" (and study abroad)
Students from the University of North Carolina meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu while studying abroad in South Africa
November 16th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Hillary Clinton to students: "Get out" (and study abroad)

By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
With the number of international students enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States at a record high this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is urging more American students to follow those students' lead and pack their backpacks for study in other countries.

Only 1% of American students enrolled in college study overseas. In a new YouTube video, Clinton is urging more to think about going international.

"To remain the leader in this ever-changing world, we have to push ourselves not just to think globally, but to get out there and study globally as well," Clinton says in the video.

Almost 723,000 international students are enrolled in higher education institutions in the United States, a 32% increase since the 2000 school year, according to a report by the Institute of International Education. The Commerce Department says those students contribute nearly $20 billion to the U.S. economy, placing higher education among the country's top service-sector exports.
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Pentagon: Bunker buster not intended for Iran
Loading the MOP during a 2007 test in New Mexico
November 16th, 2011
06:48 PM ET

Pentagon: Bunker buster not intended for Iran

By Sr. National Security Producer Charley Keyes

The military's newest and most powerful ground-penetrating bomb is not intended for Iran's underground nuclear and weapons facilities specifically, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

"The system's not aimed at any one country," said Pentagon spokesman, Capt. John Kirby. "It's to develop a capability we believe we need."

The new Massive Ordinance Penetrator, known as the MOP, is able to explode 200 feet underground and designed to destroy deeply buried and fortified targets such as the ones Iran is believed to have constructed to protect its nuclear research facilities.

"It gives us a far greater capability to reach and destroy an enemy's weapons of mass destructions that - weapons of mass destruction that are located in well-protected underground facilities, without getting into specifics, to - to a magnitude far greater than we have right now," Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing.
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Filed under: Iran • Military • Pentagon • Technology • weapons
'Energy Independence' – Can the U.S. kiss the Middle East goodbye?
The Tawke oil field and plant that is linked with the Jihan Turkish pipeline in Zakho, Iraq
November 16th, 2011
05:28 PM ET

'Energy Independence' – Can the U.S. kiss the Middle East goodbye?

By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

"Energy independence."

It's a phrase bandied about by liberals and conservatives alike: Produce enough oil, gas and other energy commodities right here in the United States - or with our friends in Canada and Mexico – and you can kiss producers in the volatile Middle East goodbye.

But is that possible? Or just a pipe dream?

The State Department's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Ambassador Carlos Pascual, told reporters Wednesday: "We always have to remember we're operating in global markets.
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Some GOP candidates support waterboarding but CIA reluctant
November 16th, 2011
10:37 AM ET

Some GOP candidates support waterboarding but CIA reluctant

By CNN Sr. National Security Producer Pam Benson

Some Republican presidential candidates want to put controversial harsh interrogation techniques back into the CIA toolbox, but whether the agency would ever use them again is very much in doubt.

During the GOP debate this weekend, several candidates said they supported reinstating the use of waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning, and is seen by many as a form of torture.

CNN spoke to more than a half dozen current and former intelligence officials who all believe waterboarding was effective in getting critical information from suspected terrorist detainees at the time it was used, but they believe CIA officers today would be very reluctant to use the technique even it was authorized by all the appropriate officials.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Bachman • Cain • Central Intelligence Agency • Intelligence • Justice Department • Obama • Perry • Petraeus • Politics • Republican • Romney • Terrorism
November 16th, 2011
10:14 AM ET

U.S. troops to Australia as buffer against China

President Barack Obama announced an agreement with Australia Wednesday that will expand military cooperation between the long-time allies and boost America's presence in the region, Dan Lothian and Lesa Jansen report from Canberra, Australia.

It is a continued effort by the U.S. to maintain a buffer against China, whose growing military capabilities has unsettled many American allies in the region.

As Charley Keyes reported on Security Clearance on Tuesday, the announcement a signal than a significant expansion for the U.S. military.

Under the agreement, up to 250 U.S. Marines will be sent to Darwin and the northern region of Australia for military exercises and training. Over the next several years their numbers are expected to climb to 2,500 - a full Marine ground task force.

At the news conference, Obama insisted fear wasn't driving the enhanced military initiatives.

"The notion that we fear China is mistaken," the president said at the Australian parliament building. China has a looming military presence in the region.

Read more details on the military plans on CNN's 1600 blog

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Filed under: Asia • Australia • China • Foreign Policy • Military • Obama • Pacific Command
DEBATE PREP: America the cyber sucker?
November 16th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

DEBATE PREP: America the cyber sucker?

Editor’s note: This analysis is part of Security Clearance blog’s “Debate Preps” series. On November 22, CNN, along with AEI and The Heritage Foundation, will host a Republican candidate debate focused on national security topics. In the run-up to the debate, Security Clearance asked both the sponsoring conservative think tanks to look at the key foreign policy issues and tell us what they want to hear candidates address.

By The Heritage Foundation's James Jay Carafano, Special to CNN

The scene from "Casablanca" says it all.

"I'm shocked-shocked to find that gambling is going on in here," Police Inspector Renault declares.  Immediately, the croupier hands the chief inspector his roulette table winnings.

Renault's disingenuousness disclaimer could be the tag line for U.S. cyber security policy. Just last month, the Director of National Intelligence delivered a report to Congress – "Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace."  Its "shocking" conclusion: China and Russia are stealing us blind.

Quelle surprise! Chinese beachheads in U.S. cyberspace have turned up time and again for years.  Not long ago Chinese hackers so thoroughly penetrated the computer network at the U.S. National Defense University in Washington, D.C., the entire system had to be shut down and cleaned out.

As for the Russians, they've long been recognized as a real "bear" online.  The infamous Russian Business Network (RBN) brazenly ran all manner of illicit online operations- and there was never much doubt that they were working in collusion with Kremlin officials. FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Analysis • Bachman • Cain • China • Cybersecurity • Debate Preps • Gingrich • Huntsman • Paul • Perry • Romney • Russia • Santorum • Technology