Senators spar over cybersecurity
February 16th, 2012
08:22 PM ET

Senators spar over cybersecurity

By Suzanne Kelly

Senate members sparred Thursday over whether a new cybersecurity bill will effectively give the U.S. government and private security what it needs to defend itself against the dozens of attacks occurring daily on both government and private computer networks.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 proposes to house the government's cybersecurity headquarters within the Department of Homeland Security, which has already taken the lead among the government agencies on coordinating efforts to tackle sticky cybersecurity problems in cooperation with the National Security Agency.

Specifically, the act sets out guidelines for determining cybersecurity vulnerabilities, protecting and promoting innovation and encouraging companies to share information about cyberthreats, improving the security of the government's own cyber networks, and coordinating research and development while clarifying the roles of federal agencies.

FULL POST

Al Qaeda's biggest threat
February 16th, 2012
07:06 PM ET

Al Qaeda's biggest threat

By Paul Cruickshank, Nic Robertson, and Tim Lister

Editor's note: This report is based on a one-year investigation by CNN into air cargo security in light of a thwarted plot by al Qaeda in October 2010 to blow up cargo jets over the United States. CNN's Nic Robertson's report "Deadly Cargo" aired on CNN Presents in February 2012.

Ibrahim al-Asiri is the sort of terrorist who keeps intelligence officials awake at night.  He’s al Qaeda’s chief bomb-maker, and he built explosive devices hidden in printer cartridges that got onto several planes in October 2010.  He’s still at large in Yemen.  The bomb plots he’s alleged to have masterminded – the 2009 underwear bomb plot and printer bombs dispatched to the United States in 2010 – have very nearly worked.  And security experts say al-Asiri and al Qaeda in Yemen may yet penetrate the security screening that is meant to protect aviation.

ALSO WATCH: Reconstructing al Qaeda's printer bomb

FULL POST

February 16th, 2012
04:20 PM ET

Iran offers nuclear talks in letter

By Elise Labott

Iran is offering to resume talks over the country's nuclear program as soon as possible, according to a letter the nation's nuclear negotiator sent to the European Union.

"We voice our readiness for dialogue on a spectrum of various issues, which can provide ground for constructive and forward-looking cooperation," Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili wrote in a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

CNN obtained a copy of the translated letter as Iran announced new steps in its nuclear program.

Read the whole story here

Post by:
Filed under: Arms Control • EU • Iran • Nuclear
February 16th, 2012
02:53 PM ET

Reconstructing al Qaeda's printer bomb

Editor's note: This report is based on a one-year investigation by CNN into air cargo security in light of a thwarted plot by al Qaeda in October 2010 to blow up cargo jets over the United States. CNN's Nic Robertson's report "Deadly Cargo" airs on CNN Presents, Saturday and Sunday February 18, 19 at 8 p.m. ET.

By Paul Cruickshank

In late October 2010 al Qaeda in the Arabian Penisula (AQAP) dropped off two “printer bombs” at UPS and FedEx offices in Yemen addressed to the United States.

They were amongst the most sophisticated devices ever put together by al Qaeda terrorists, according to officials. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: AQAP • Terrorism • Yemen
Iran a threat to U.S. on many fronts
February 16th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

Iran a threat to U.S. on many fronts

By Suzanne Kelly

Iran poses a laundry list of threats to U.S. national security, according to top officials in the intelligence community.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that Iran poses a threat on a number of fronts, including its ability to develop a nuclear weapon, and the fact that any nuclear attack would likely be delivered by a ballistic missile.

"Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile force, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload," Clapper said during his opening remarks to the committee. FULL POST

Assad's daddy issues
February 16th, 2012
10:43 AM ET

Assad's daddy issues

By Adam Levine

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad will not leave or change course short of a coup, mostly because of the president's need to "emulate his father," U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday.

Clapper said the Syrian opposition, while mostly local, has been infiltrated by al Qaeda elements, maybe without the opposition knowing about it.

His comments about the situation in Syria were the most detailed assessment to date of the U.S. intelligence read on Syria, and came during testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee about threats to the United States. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Clapper • Intelligence • Middle East • ODNI • Senate Armed Services Committee • Syria