By CNN's Charley Keyes
The U.S. military is on a carefully orchestrated fast track to the exits in Iraq but a top U.S. General admitted Wednesday that the Iraqis are still vulnerable, especially from the air.
“The Iraqis understand that they have a gap - they have a gap in being able to defend their airspace if someone wanted to come inside that airspace that didn't want to be seen,” Lieutenant General Frank Helmick said. “How they deal with that gap is really up to them.”.
As all U.S. forces complete their withdrawal by the end of the year deadline, Helmick’s could be the last of a series of military briefings beamed from Iraq to the Pentagon briefing room.
As Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces-Iraq, he praised U.S. and Iraqi efforts to build up Iraqi security forces, but pointed to several potential weaknesses.
By CNN's Elise Labott
A mass outbreak of disease caused by biological weapons could cripple the global economy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday, calling for greater international efforts to prevent terrorists from getting and using such devices.
"We view the risk of a bioweapons attack as both a serious national security challenge and a foreign policy priority," Clinton said at the 7th Review Conference of the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention. "In an age when people and diseases cross borders with growing ease, bioweapons are a transnational threat. We can only protect against them with transnational action."
While advances in science and technology make it possible to prevent and cure more diseases, they also can make it easier for states and nonstate actors - including terrorists - to develop biological weapons, Clinton noted.
" A crude but effective terrorist weapon can be made using a small sample of any number of widely available pathogens, inexpensive equipment, and college-level chemistry and biology," she said.