July 19th, 2012
06:49 PM ET

Missed Clues in Ft. Hood Massacre?

A new report on the FBI's response to the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage was released Thursday.

The report casts a critical eye on what signals were missed by the FBI, or just not communicated. Signals that might have prompted a closer look at Major Nidal Hasan.

Inside the 173 page declassified version of the report are hints at what went wrong, CNN's Suzanne Kelly reports.

July 19th, 2012
06:40 PM ET

Drones vulnerable to being hacked, Congress told

By Todd Sperry

It wouldn't take much effort to hijack a drone over U.S. airspace and use it to commit a crime or act of terrorism, an aerospace engineering expert told a House subcommittee Wednesday.

Todd Humphreys showed members of a House homeland security subcommittee how his research team was able to commandeer an $80,000 drone using store-bought global positioning system (GPS) technology.

Drones, including ones used by police agencies, are vulnerable to hacking because they use unencrypted GPS information for navigation.

"If you can convincingly fake a GPS signal, you can convince an (unmanned aerial vehicle) into tracking your signal instead of the authentic one, and at that point you can control the UAV," said Humphreys, an assistant professor specializing in orbital mechanics at the University of Texas.
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Defense officials tell Congress recent leaks did not come from Pentagon
July 19th, 2012
05:29 PM ET

Defense officials tell Congress recent leaks did not come from Pentagon

By Mike Mount, CNN Senior National Security Producer

A spate of leaks of classified information regarding recent U.S. covert operations has damaged the United States, top Pentagon officials told congressional members during a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Not long after, the Pentagon announced an initiative for cracking down on leaks.

During a hearing before the House Armed Service Committee, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and the Pentagon's top lawyer informed the house panel that damage was done, but the trio did not give the panel specifics, according to the head of the committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-California.

Panetta and Dempsey told the panel the leaks did not come out of the Pentagon and McKeon, at a news conference after the hearing, said he felt "pretty secure" that they did not come from the Department of Defense.
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U.S. talking to Israel and others about Syria's chemical weapons
Syrian General Fahd al-Freij (R) meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus following his swearing in ceremony as the new defence minister. Assad appointed Freij as the country's new defence minister on July 18, 2012 after a suicide bombing killed three top regime officials including defence minister General Daoud Rajha.
July 19th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

U.S. talking to Israel and others about Syria's chemical weapons

By Barbara Starr

Pentagon officials are talking with their Israeli counterparts to get a sense of what Israel's potential intentions are regarding Syria's chemical weapons, and with others in the Middle East regarding scenarios that could involve those weapons.

U.S. officials worry Israel could feel compelled to attack and destroy Syria's chemical weapons if Israel feels directly threatened as the violence in Syria grows and the Assad regime's grip on power weakens, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to visit Israel in the coming days and the discussions are expected to continue there, according to the senior official.

The official would speak only on background because the source was discussing sensitive information.
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Filed under: Assad • Israel • Syria
July 19th, 2012
02:43 AM ET

Cyberspy program targets victims in Iran, Israel, companies say

By Ben Brumfield

A computer virus campaign has for months been selectively spying on people involved in government and in strategically important industries principally in Iran - but also in Israel and other countries in the Middle East, according to two cybersecurity companies, which cooperated to track the campaign.

The virus, a Trojan horse with an "amateurish" design, contains lines of Farsi, or Persian, the main language spoken in Iran, Seculert and Kaspersky Lab said in news releases Tuesday. It communicates with "command and control" servers, which also contain code in Farsi and dates from the Persian calendar, they said.

"The attackers were no doubt fluent in this language," said Aviv Raff, Seculert's chief technology officer.

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Filed under: Cybersecurity • Iran • Israel • Middle East
U.S. official: Al-Assad faces 'fight or flight' decision
A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network on July 13, 2012 shows destruction in Homs Karm Shamsham neighbourhood on July 12, 2012.
July 19th, 2012
01:11 AM ET

U.S. official: Al-Assad faces 'fight or flight' decision

By Barbara Starr

The killing of three top officials by an explosion on Wednesday has left Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at a "decision point," a senior U.S. official told CNN.

"From an intelligence point of view the regime has to decide: fight or flight," the senior official said.

Another senior official from the Middle East region underscored that assessment, telling CNN the attacks indicate "strong cracks in the regime."

"This is a potential tipping point," the Middle East official said.

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Purge of North Korean general still a mystery
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to soldiers of the Korean People Internal Security Forces in the capital Pyongyang
July 19th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Purge of North Korean general still a mystery

By Jamie Crawford

North Korea's sudden dismissal of Ri Yong Ho from his post as army chief and from all his government posts caught many watchers of the secretive regime of Kim Jong Un by surprise and wondering what was going on.

"To me, it's just another sign of how this transition is quite unstable, and we think it's six months since Kim Jong Il died, and we think everything is normal in North Korea - clearly it's not normal," said Victor Cha, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of a new book on the Kim regime.

For Cha, who traveled to Pyongyang in 2006 as a member of the National Security Council, the announcement signals a transition still in flux. "It's a relative term when you say 'normal' in North Korea, but this is not business as usual, very clearly."

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Filed under: Kim Jong Il • Kim Jong-un • North Korea