[Update Tuesday, June 5, 2012] Abu Yahya al-Libi, the No. 2 man in al Qaeda and a longtime public face of the terror network, has been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, a U.S. official said Tuesday. He appeared in this list of Most Wanted terrorists earlier this year.
[Original post]As the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death approaches, CNN has updated this list, originally published in September 2011, taking a look at some of the dead, captured and the remaining most wanted terrorists from the last 10 years.
While progress has been made, there are still terrorists being sought by the U.S. government. CNN spoke with a number of intelligence agencies to come up with this list of "dirty dozens." Here are the 12 most significant terrorists who are now dead, have been captured and those who are still being hunted. The lists are obviously subjective–there are many more candidates–but these are some of the top combatants in the war on terror.
By Barbara Starr
The White House has approved plans by the Pentagon and the CIA to conduct strikes in Yemen against al Qaeda operatives even if U.S. officials do not know the identities of the individuals it's attacking, according to a U.S. official.
The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the issue. The Wall Street Journal first reported the development.
"We don't have to have a name, bio and dossier" to attack a target, the official said.
CIA officers and military personnel will now be allowed to conduct strikes based on intelligence that shows only a "pattern of behavior" that indicates a target poses a threat to the United States. This could involve striking fixed sites such as compounds where there are gatherings of suspected operatives, vehicle convoys or specific individuals.
By Bob Kovach and Chelsea Carter
Roughly half the U.S. Marines on Okinawa will be transferred under an agreement announced Thursday that will reduce the military footprint in Japan, easing local resentments over the amount of land being used by American forces.
Some 9,000 Marines along with their family members will be transferred under the agreement, with about 5,000 being sent to Guam as part of a military buildup on the U.S. territory in the Pacific, according to a joint statement released by the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee.
"I am very pleased that, after many years, we have reached this important agreement and plan of action," Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said.
The announcement by the committee, which included the top U.S. and Japanese defense officials, ends years of seesaw talks aimed at cutting the American presence on the island south of Tokyo.
By Adam Levine
No sooner did Osama bin Laden get killed than his advice was being ignored by his adherents.
That revelation is included in Peter Bergen's blockbuster article in Time magazine describing the al Qaeda leader's life in Abbottabad. Bergen, who is also CNN's terrorism analyst, has seen some of the documents seized by the U.S. Special Operations Forces during the bin Laden raid a year ago.
Bergen reports that the al Qaeda leader warned smaller splinter groups about attaching themselves to the al Qaeda franchise.
"On Aug. 7, 2010, he wrote to the leader of the brutal al-Shabaab militia in Somalia to warn that declaring itself part of al-Qaeda would only attract enemies and make it harder to raise money from rich Arabs," Bergen noted in the Time magazine article.
By Deirdre Walsh
Ignoring a veto threat from the White House, the House passed legislation Thursday designed to protect communications networks from cyberattacks.
The vote was 248-168.
But even as the House bill moves forward, privacy concerns about granting government agencies access to personal information transmitted on the Internet could prove to be a major obstacle to any new cybersecurity law.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan and a former FBI agent, said he spent the last year working on the bill because the national security risk to the United States posed by cyberattacks is one, "we are just not prepared to handle." FULL POST
By Carol Cratty
President Barack Obama met Thursday with national security team members "to review the threat picture" five days prior to the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the White House said.
"At this time, we have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "However, we assess that AQ's affiliates and allies remain intent on conducting attacks in the homeland, possibly to avenge the death of bin Laden, but not necessarily tied to the anniversary. The president thanked his team and directed them to continue taking all necessary measures to protect the American people."
Carney's remarks came the day after federal authorities issued an intelligence bulletin saying there is "no credible information" that terrorist groups will try to mount attacks to coincide with the anniversary of the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan.
By Ashley Killough
Vice President Joe Biden will take direct aim at presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in a speech on foreign policy Thursday, according to prepared remarks released by the president's re-election campaign. "Governor Romney's national security policy would return us to the past we have worked so hard to move beyond," Biden will say in a speech at New York University.
The vice president is expected to draw a sharp contrast between the president and Romney over involvements abroad and the fight against terrorism.
"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden will say, repeating a line he's used in recent speeches.
As Security Clearance's Jamie Crawford noted on Monday, 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.
Read more preview of Biden's speech on CNN's Political Ticker
By CNN's Gregory Wallace
A U.S. congressman barred from visiting Afghanistan over the weekend minced no words when characterizing the incident.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a "corrupt prima donna," House Foreign Affairs Committee member Dana Rohrabacher of California said in an interview Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room."
Rohrabacher was en route to Kabul with five other members of Congress to meet with representatives of the Northern Alliance when the U.S. secretaries of Defense and State intervened.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called to say "that she'd been through a lot of mini-crises there in Afghanistan with the burning of the Qurans and the soldiers urinating on these dead bodies and one of them going crazy and killing civilians," Rohrabacher told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
By Pam Benson
The glass ceiling has cracked a bit further as another woman is appointed to lead one of the big five U.S. intelligence agencies.
James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, announced Tuesday that Betty Sapp will take the helm of the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that oversees the nation's supersecret satellite systems.
Sapp, who joined the intelligence community in 1997, has served as the NRO deputy director for the past two years. She will replace Bruce Carlson, who announced his departure will be July 20.
In a written statement, Clapper praised Sapp as "a smart, exceedingly professional and unflappable leader ... who has already established herself as an expert in her field."
The DNI also touted Carlson's accomplishments, noting the NRO had launched six satellites in just seven months last year.
Sapp becomes the second woman to head a key intelligence agency. Letitia "Tish" Long was appointed director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in August 2010.
Israel's top general said Iran is led by "very rational people" and doesn't appear poised to build a nuclear bomb that would threaten his nation.
Iran "is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb," Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told Israel's Haaretz newspaper in Wednesday editions. "It hasn't yet decided whether to go the extra mile."
The head of Israeli Defense Forces set a different tone than that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who suggested to CNN on Tuesday that time is running out for Western sanctions on Iran to have a meaningful effect on Tehran's nuclear program.
The sanctions "are certainly taking a bite out of the Iranian economy," Netanyahu said in an interview broadcast Tuesday on CNN's "OutFront." But "they haven't rolled back the Iranian program - or even stopped it - by one iota."
Read more here