March 8th, 2012
09:20 PM ET

Syrian crisis impact remains to be seen

Some believe if Syria's Assad regime crumbles it would be a regional crisis. CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

Senators given taste of cyber scare
March 8th, 2012
06:15 PM ET

Senators given taste of cyber scare

By Adam Levine, with reporting from Ted Barrett and Virginia Nicolaidis

Senators got a taste Wednesday night of what Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has called his worst nightmare, a cyber attack on the on the United States' infrastructure.

Senior officials from the Obama administration briefed assembled senators on a hypothetical scenario, said National Security Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.  The briefing, at the request of the senators, was intended "to provide all Senators with an appreciation for new legislative authorities that could help the U.S. Government prevent and more quickly respond to cyber attacks," according to Hayden. FULL POST

Lawmakers announce bill prohibiting indefinite detention in U.S.
March 8th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

Lawmakers announce bill prohibiting indefinite detention in U.S.

By CNN National Security Producer Jennifer Rizzo

Two Democratic members of Congress announced a bill Thursday that would prohibit the indefinite detention of any suspected terrorist apprehended in the United States, whether or not the suspect was a U.S. citizen.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado said the legislation would ensure that anyone captured, detained, or arrested in the United States on suspicion of terrorism will go through the civilian justice system and be provided due process rights awarded under the Constitution.

This would not apply to suspected terrorists captured overseas who are now being held at the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"The goal here is to have clarity, first of all, on how these people are handled in the U.S., and second of all, to reassert the primacy and the importance of our civil justice system," Smith said. "It is our contention that our civil justice system absolutely protects us from the threat in this case."
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Filed under: 9/11 • Detainees • Terrorism
OPINION: America's Achilles' heel
March 8th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

OPINION: America's Achilles' heel

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mike Breen is Vice President of Truman National Security Project and a former US Army Captain. Breen is a national security expert and the founding director for the Iraqi Refugee Assistant Project.

From Mike Breen, Special to CNN

As a young Lieutenant on my first combat tour, I served on an isolated fighting camp south of Baghdad in an area known as the “Triangle of Death.” My unit was entirely dependent on daily fuel convoys to power our generators and fuel our vehicles. Recognizing this, Iraqi insurgents consistently ambushed the convoys while my infantry company fought to protect them. That meant almost daily firefights which we jokingly called “fighting for our supper.” FULL POST

All quiet on al Qaeda's English front
March 8th, 2012
03:04 AM ET

All quiet on al Qaeda's English front

By Adam Levine

It appears that al Qaeda's English-language outreach efforts have nearly disappeared.

IntelCenter's Ben Venzke, who keeps stats on jihadi videos, notes that the media arm of al Qaeda central, As-Sahab, has not released an English-language video since 2010.

English-language versions of al Qaeda videos started around 2000 and were either subtitled, voiceovers or transcripts, according to Venzke. The person behind most of these is believed to be American Adam Gadahn.

"It was a key way for al Qaeda to deliver its message to both a Western audience and a larger percentage of its non-Arabic-speaking followers," Venzke observes.

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Filed under: Adam Gadahn • Al Qaeda • Al-Shabaab • Al-Zawahiri • Anwar al-Awlaki • Pakistan • Terrorism
Official: Panetta misinterpreted on 'permission' for Syria intervention
March 8th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Official: Panetta misinterpreted on 'permission' for Syria intervention

By Chris Lawrence

The Pentagon tried to clarify remarks made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, when he told a Senate committtee on Wednesday that the U.S. military is seeking "permission" from a foreign organization to intervene in Syria.

"He was re-emphasizing the need for an international mandate. We are not ceding U.S. decision-making authority to some foreign body," a defense official told CNN.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Panetta had an exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, who said Congress was circumvented when Obama decided to join the NATO coalition in Libya.
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