A fire last month aboard a U.S. nuclear submarine that caused more than $400 million in damage may have been caused by a vacuum cleaner, the Navy said Wednesday.
"Preliminary findings indicate the fire started in a vacuum cleaner used to clean work sites at end of shift, and stored in an unoccupied space," the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Congressional and Public Affairs Office said in a news release. "Specific details as to the cause and subsequent damage assessment are still being evaluated as part of ongoing investigations and will be released at a later date."
by Suzanne Kelly
As lawmakers call for formal investigations into the sources of recent leaks that have divulged details of highly classified national security programs, Sen. Dianne Feinstein is looking to the Intelligence Authorization Bill as a way to make people who leak such information more accountable.
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room, Feinstein said, "I think what we're seeing, Wolf, is an avalanche of leaks and it is very, very disturbing. It's dismayed our allies. It puts American lives in jeopardy. It puts our nation's security in jeopardy."
Ranking members of both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees have joined Feinstein, D-California, in her calls for adding provisions that would require that lawmakers be notified in a more timely fashion when authorized disclosures are made, and for individuals to report the rationale behind those decisions. Other provisions are expected to call for more robust investigations of unauthorized disclosures of information and are expected to ask for additional authorities that would make it easier to drill down on the source of leaks and then prosecute those found to be responsible.
Government employees with access to highly classified information are violating federal laws and nondisclosure agreements if they pass classified information to persons who have not been cleared to receive it.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to add the leak provisions when it takes up the FY13 intelligence authorization bill later this month. The plan is for the full Senate to vote on the measure before the summer recess. Although the House has already passed a version of the bill without the leak provisions, they would likely be added during a conference with the Senate.
CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report
By Jill Dougherty and Tim Lister
It's almost a throwback to the Cold War: a toxic mixture of distrust, weapons shipments and chess moves to preserve spheres of influence. But that's how Russia and the United States have been maneuvering over Syria.
Moscow's latest gambit is to propose a regional solution that hinges on Iran and Turkey helping implement the six-point peace plan developed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The timing of the initiative is no accident. It was announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Beijing just as the U.S.-led Friends of Syria group gathered in Washington to plan further steps to isolate and ultimately remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Turkey for an informal gathering in Turkey of the so-called "Friends of Syria."
The proposal is similar to one the Washington Post reports Annan will propose this week to the United Nations Security Council, which could include bringing Iran to the table. FULL POST
By Michael Schwartz reporting from Jerusalem
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, at the second annual International Cyber Security Conference in Tel Aviv, said Wednesday that his country was engaged in a new battle frontier.
Barak, who commanded the Israel Defense Forces when the first specialized computer units were introduced into the army, described cyberspace as the fifth dimension of modern warfare after air, ground, sea and space.
"The whole field of computers and telecommunications has developed tremendously over the last few decades. Reality is overcoming every illusion. Even those of us who grew up in the technological fields did not imagine the pace of these developments. FULL POST
By the CNN Wire Staff
The FBI has launched an investigation into apparent leaks of classified information involving a cyberwarfare program against Iran, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson had no comment on the reported investigation.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was informed that an FBI inquiry was under way.
The senator from Georgia and other leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees issued a joint statement Tuesday deploring the apparent leaks.
"In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities, including specific details of sources and methods," said Chambliss; Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California; Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan; and Ranking Member C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, in the statement.
by Suzanne Kelly
As director of intelligence for the New York City Police Department, Mitch Silber has had a front row seat to events that many of us only ever see unfold in a movie theater: thwarted terrorist plots, jockeying for position among government agencies and the story of an inside leak of sensitive law enforcement documents that has had a reeling effect on the NYPD.
Now, as he announces his decision to leave the department to go to work in the private sector, Silber describes the city's fight against terrorism as serious and complex.
By Mike Mount
A funny thing happened to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on his trip to Asia this week. He became a secretary of State of sorts. While he was going to a major regional defense conference to sell the new U.S. plan to shift more military focus toward the Asia-Pacific region, he was actually selling a diplomatic plan for the United States.
On the surface it looks very much like a Pentagon plan to bolster troops and equipment to the region. Panetta had plenty of defense talk at the Shangri-La Dialogue conference in Singapore to back that up.
"Over the next few years we will increase the number and the size of our exercises in the Pacific. We will also increase and more widely distribute our port visits, including in the important Indian Ocean region," Panetta told the conference-goers, who were from all over Asia.