April 23rd, 2012
11:25 PM ET

Al Qaeda's 2008 plan to hit Long Island Railroad revealed

By CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank

New details emerged in federal court in Brooklyn on Monday of a plan al Qaeda hatched in the summer of 2008 to bomb the Long Island Railroad.

Bryant Neal Vinas, a confessed American al Qaeda operative who joined the terrorist network in Pakistan's tribal areas in March 2008, provided details of a plan for a suicide bomber to detonate explosives aboard a Long Island Railroad train as it entered a tunnel on the commuter line to create maximum devastation.

Vinas was testifying in the trial of Adis Medunjanin, a U.S. citizen of Bosnian descent, who is charged with involvement in an al Qaeda plot to bomb New York's subways in September 2009. U.S. authorities allege the 2009 plot was orchestrated by Saleh al Somali and other senior al Qaeda operatives. Vinas and Medunjanin never met.

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April 23rd, 2012
06:56 PM ET

Egypt's request to arrest Americans rejected by Interpol

By Libby Lewis

Interpol says it is removing Egypt's arrest notices for a dozen American pro-democracy workers from its international database after ruling that they violate Interpol's ban on getting involved with political cases.

In addition, Interpol said in a statement released Monday it has refused to issue formal Red Notices for the pro-democracy workers on Egypt's behalf.

Last week, Security Clearance reported that Egypt filed the arrest notices for some of the American pro-democracy workers who have been charged with working for unlicensed organizations and using foreign funds to do their work. FULL POST

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Filed under: Egypt • NGO
Clinton, Panetta ask congressman to stay out of Afghanistan
April 23rd, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Clinton, Panetta ask congressman to stay out of Afghanistan

By Adam Levine

A top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs committee was asked by the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense not to go to Afghanistan because President Hamid Karzai objected to the visit.

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, told Security Clearance he was readying to travel with five other Republicans from Dubai to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, when the State Department requested he stay behind.

Rohrabacher then got a call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying she was hoping to avoid a "mini crisis" by keeping him from going to Afghanistan.

"She just indicated to me that Karzai was going bananas when he heard I was coming," Rohrabacher told Security Clearance in a phone interview from Dubai. "Apparently he believes that it is my discussing his problems that are causing his problems."

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Filed under: Afghanistan
April 23rd, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Has Iran cracked secrets of US drone?

Iran claims it has unlocked the secrets of the US stealth drone it captured just four months ago and is now building its own copy. Though U.S. officials and experts doubt the claim. CNN's Chris Lawrence reports.


Filed under: drones • Iran • Military
12th military member linked to Cartagena misconduct
April 23rd, 2012
01:36 PM ET

12th military member linked to Cartagena misconduct

A 12th military member has been linked to the Cartagena misconduct, a Department of Defense official tells Barbara Starr.  A military member working with the White House Communications Agency has admitted to his leadership that he was involved in misconduct "of some kind," the official said.

Those being investigated for allegedly purchasing the services of prostitutes or other misconduct while in Colombia to help with presidential security, have had their security clearances revoked, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Monday.

Panetta spoke to reporters en route to Colombia where he is headed for meetings about military cooperation in his first trip to South America as defense secretary. FULL POST

April 23rd, 2012
11:32 AM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Multiple Pakistan-Afghanistan border skirmishes in last year

U.S. troops have fired into Pakistani territory at least four times in the last 10 months in cross-border skirmishes that they say are in response to shelling from inside Pakistan, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports from Forward Operating Base Tillman in Afghanistan.

The revelation in Nick's exclusive report is likely to stoke already tense relations between Pakistan and the United States, which hit a new low after a NATO airstrike last year killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the volatile border.

Read Nick's story here or watch his report above.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • FIRST ON CNN/EXCLUSIVE • ISAF • Pakistan
April 23rd, 2012
10:23 AM ET

Obama targets technologies that abuse human rights

By Tom Cohen

The White House announced Monday that President Barack Obama signed an executive order allowing new sanctions against companies that enable Syria and Iran to use technology such as cell phone monitoring to carry out human rights abuses.

The announcement was part of a broader strategy intended to strengthen the administration's ability to prevent atrocities, including creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board. FULL POST

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Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Obama • Syria • Technology
Scandal could overshadow Panetta's trip to Colombia
April 23rd, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Scandal could overshadow Panetta's trip to Colombia

By Chris Lawrence

As the investigation into the prostitution scandal continues to embroil the military and Secret Service, another high-ranking American official is set to visit Colombia this week.

But in his first trip to South America as defense secretary, Leon Panetta will be traveling to the capital of Bogota and trying to avoid having his trip overshadowed by the investigation in Cartagena, the site of President Barack Obama's recent visit where the scandal of misconduct erupted.

Eleven Secret Service members who were in Cartagena to assist with security around the presidential visit are being investigated for allegations that include the hiring of prostitutes.

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Romney seeks to undercut Obama's foreign policy advantage
April 23rd, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Romney seeks to undercut Obama's foreign policy advantage

By Jamie Crawford

When North Korea launched a rocket earlier this month in a failed attempt to supposedly put a satellite into orbit, U.S. President Barack Obama was quick to condemn the latest provocation and then canceled a deal to resume nutritional assistance.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, offered a blistering statement of his own. But his statement was not entirely directed at the new leader in Pyongyang. It was also directed at the U.S. commander in chief.

"Instead of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived," Romney said in a written statement. "At the same time, he has cut critical U.S. missile defense programs and continues to underfund them," he added, digging at another area of Obama foreign policy.

As the Republican candidate transitions from the long primary slog into the general election battle, his effort to cut down Obama on foreign policy and national security will sharpen. Naivety, appeasement, apologist and a menu of other unflattering descriptions are likely to be emanating from Romney's attack machine trying to cut down the president's perceived advantage on foreign policy. The president and his campaign team will be doing their best to ensure that advantage is maintained.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Obama • Romney
Skin-peeling speed doomed hypersonic glider, U.S. says
April 23rd, 2012
12:06 AM ET

Skin-peeling speed doomed hypersonic glider, U.S. says

By Larry Shaughnessy

A test flight of an aircraft designed to whip around the world at Mach 20 failed when the high speeds peeled the skin off the unmanned plane, Pentagon researchers conclude in a long-awaited report.

For nine minutes in August, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency flew its Hypersonic Technology Vehicle at speeds reaching 20 times the speed of sound - fast enough to fly from New York to Los Angeles in less than 12 minutes. But then, something went wrong, and DARPA is finally explaining what happened.

"The most probable cause of the HTV-2 Flight 2 premature flight termination was unexpected aeroshell degradation," the research group explained in a new statement on the test flight.

Translation: The unmanned glider was streaking through the atmosphere when its outer skin started to rip off the airframe.

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Filed under: DARPA