July 10th, 2012
06:12 PM ET

Is Clinton's record-breaking travel taking its toll?

With one hundred countries already under her belt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a marathon 13 day, 9 country trip that will stretch multiple continents. The issues addressed are as diverse as they are serious, and at a stop in Vietnam, the trip seemed to take a visible toll. CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty reports.

July 10th, 2012
05:47 PM ET

Osama bin Laden confidant released from prison

By Pam Benson

A senior al Qaeda adviser who had close ties with the terrorist group's leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been released from a prison in Mauritania, according to U.S. officials.

Abu Hafs al-Mauritani fled to Iran when the United States invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He was held under house arrest in Iran until earlier this year, when he was extradited to Mauritania.

According to published reports, Abu Hafs - whose given name is Mahfouz Ould al-Walid - was released from prison after he renounced his ties to al Qaeda and condemned the 9/11 attacks.

A U.S. official who would only speak on the condition of anonymity when discussing sensitive intelligence matters said Tuesday that Abu Hafs "has been largely out of the game for a decade, but there's always the concern he could re-emerge as an ideological figure if he fails to follow through on whatever conditions of release he's made with Mauritanian authorities."

A U.S. counterterrorism official said Abu Hafs' actions will continue to be monitored "to determine if his words match his behavior."


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism
July 10th, 2012
01:09 PM ET

Threat of defense cuts a fear factor on campaign trail

By Jennifer Rizzo and Chris Lawrence

As John Polacek walks through his western Pennsylvania factory, he waves to the people that work for him. But don't call them employees.

"We don't hire an employee. We hire a family, and that's the way we like to treat them," Polacek said. "They want jobs for life here. They're not going to move on until the next guy gives him a pay raise. They're here because they like working here. They like the fact that they are saving American lives doing the defense work that they are doing here."

JWF Industries is a military subcontractor. It makes parts for vehicles like Humvees and Strykers that get manufactured by larger companies like Lockheed Martin or BAE. Polacek employs 450 people, but he's worried some will be out of a job beginning next year if the Defense Department has to cut more from its budget.
FULL POST

Fighting terrorism softly (Opinion)
July 10th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Fighting terrorism softly (Opinion)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of opinion articles about national security by participants in the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event which is taking place from July 25-28 in Aspen, Colorado.

By Jane Harman

"Too often since 9/11," then-Sen. Barack Obama said during the last presidential campaign, "the extremists have defined us, not the other way around." In a major counterterrorism policy speech at the Wilson Center in Washington, Obama vowed that would change if he became president. "We will author our own story," he said.

Credit: Wilson Center

Unfortunately, one of the greatest security threats to this country continues to be the hijacking not only of our airplanes, but also of our national narrative.Many Americans think that the United States' primary role in the world is the projection of military might. And while the "hard power" represented by drone strikes and aircraft carriers is essential to our security, living and portraying our values is as - if not more - important in the long run.

The terrorists on the so-called "baseball cards" that the president and his advisers review before authorizing drone strikes are already beyond the point of no return -responsible either for directly killing Americans or inciting others to do so. FULL POST

Study: Muslim extremists not looking for world domination
ASU researchers highlight one effort to counter a video by al Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as a better approach to fighting extremist rhetoric
July 10th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Study: Muslim extremists not looking for world domination

By Adam Levine

Muslim extremists are more concerned with defending against foreign intrusion than foisting Islam on the world, according to a new study of extremist texts. The study suggests that a Western approach of claiming extremists are seeking world domination is misdirected, and instead should seek to counteract claims of victimhood.

"Continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a 'clash of civilizations' narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance," write the researchers, Jeffry Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow and Steven Corman.

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Filed under: Living With Terror • Terrorism