Feds: Holidays could tempt terrorists - but U.S. 'not aware of credible threats'
November 23rd, 2011
08:20 PM ET

Feds: Holidays could tempt terrorists - but U.S. 'not aware of credible threats'

By Carol Cratty

Terrorists could decide to launch attacks during the holiday season but the United States has no evidence any plots are being planned, according to a federal law enforcement intelligence bulletin issued Wednesday.

The Department of Homeland Security and FBI joint notice to local law enforcement partners says federal officials "are not aware of any credible threats to the Homeland specifically timed to coincide with the 2011 holiday season. " CNN obtained a copy of the document, which goes on to say intelligence received in the last year suggests "terrorists recognize that the large gatherings occurring during the holiday season provide an opportunity for mass casualty attacks."
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Filed under: FBI • Homeland Security • Terrorism
November 23rd, 2011
05:06 PM ET

New roadblock in 'reset' with Russia

By Jill Dougherty and Jamie Crawford

It feels like a blast from the past: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatening to station short-range missiles in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland.

Medvedev is miffed that the West is not taking Russia's concerns into consideration as it proceeds with plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe that the United States and NATO insist is to protect from potential missile attack from Iran.

They even say they want Russia to work with them on the system but, in a live television broadcast, Medvedev told Russians: "We will not agree to take part in a program that, in a short while, in some six to eight years' time, could weaken our nuclear deterrent capability."
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Filed under: Russia • Security Clearance on TV
November 23rd, 2011
03:24 PM ET

Yemen after Saleh – still a treacherous road

By CNN’s Tim Lister

After months of bloodshed, intrigue and revenge that made Yemen seem like an Arabian version of Hamlet, President Ali Abdullah Saleh has finally transferred his powers to his vice-President – and elections are to be held in three months.

At the ceremony in Riyadh to seal the transition deal worked out by the Gulf Co-operation Council, Saleh seemed relaxed and even chuckled as he signed several copies of the agreement, the result of intense diplomatic shuttling by UN envoy Jamal bin Omar and growing pressure from the international community.

But Saleh also took a parting shot at his opponents, saying they had destroyed in months everything that had been built over years.

April Longley Alley, Yemen analyst at the International Crisis Group, says the Riyadh deal offers an “opportunity to move past the current political impasse and to deal with critical issues like deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions as well as the very difficult task of institutional reform.”

Even so, Longley Alley and other analysts expect the epilogue to be anything but predictable. There are plenty of competing elements left behind: the thousands of mainly young demonstrators who took to the streets of Sanaa and other cities in January to demand democratic change; the tribal alliance that took up arms against Saleh; secessionists in the south and a Shi’ite rebellion in the north; well-organized Islamist groups; and a budding al Qaeda franchise. FULL POST


Filed under: Arab Spring • Yemen
Can Sherry Rehman fix Pakistan-U.S. relations?
November 23rd, 2011
12:07 PM ET

Can Sherry Rehman fix Pakistan-U.S. relations?

By CNN's Reza Sayah in Islamabad

The Pakistani government has appointed Sherry Rehman, one of its most liberal female lawmakers and staunch supporters of human rights, as the next ambassador to the United States.

The longtime member of Pakistan's ruling People's Party was a confidant of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. When militants assassinated Bhutto in 2007, Rehman was part of the convoy that was attacked, riding several cars behind her.

Rehman took a stand in 2009 against her own political party when she resigned her post as information minister after the government banned a private television channel that had been critical of government policy.

The former journalist openly expressed her liberal views in this conservative society until she received death threats in 2010. The threats came after she proposed a bill to protect minorities by amending Pakistan¹s controversial blasphemy laws. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Diplomacy • ISI • Pakistan
Sitting atop the intel: The case file on Congressman Mike Rogers
November 23rd, 2011
11:19 AM ET

Sitting atop the intel: The case file on Congressman Mike Rogers

By Senior National Security Producer Suzanne Kelly

Editor's note: This is part of a Security Clearance series, Case File. CNN Senior National Security Producer Suzanne Kelly profiles key members of the security and intelligence community.

Being the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee comes with its own unique set of challenges. For starters, every day begins with a mountain of briefings on subjects that all seem pressing when it comes to keeping the country safe: ongoing operations against al Qaeda, cyber espionage being waged against American companies, Russians revamping their nuclear fleet, and Iran's nuclear intentions.

As chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers helps oversee America's 17 Intelligence agencies. He is one of only four members of the House or Senate who hold such a high clearance level. The intelligence information he receives is restricted to just the chairmen and the ranking members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It's a responsibility that can, and often does, keep him up at night.

"The intelligence committee is very different in the sense that its probably more engaged in activities than any other committee," says Rogers, R-Michigan. "We have a constant stream of information."
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Truth Squad: Is Obama administration's anti-terrorism spending adequate?
November 23rd, 2011
12:42 AM ET

Truth Squad: Is Obama administration's anti-terrorism spending adequate?

By Tom Watkins, CNN

Editor's note: Part of the CNN Republican debate fact-checking series

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry challenged the Obama administration's decisions involving national security, accusing the administration of being "an absolute failure" in spending to support military intelligence during Tuesday night's debate.

The statement: "Here's the other issue that I think we've really failed at and that is in our ability to collect intelligence around the world. And this administration in particular has been an absolute failure when it comes to expending the dollars and supporting the CIA and the military intelligence around the world to be able to draw in that intelligence that is going to truly be able to allow us to keep the next terrorist attack from happening on American soil."

The facts: The United States spent $54.6 billion for nonmilitary intelligence programs in the 2011 fiscal year, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Department of Defense requested $24 billion for military intelligence programs in 2011, according to the Pentagon, for a total of $78.6 billion.

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Filed under: Intelligence • Obama • Terrorism