July 29th, 2012
11:00 PM ET

Panetta kicks off sensitive trip to North Africa and Mideast

By Barbara Starr

When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visits the Middle East this week, he will start in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began. But he’ll move quickly into the security hot spots about which everyone is worried.

The sensitive part of the trip begins in Cairo, when Panetta will have his first meeting with newly elected President Mohamed Morsy and Egyptian military leaders, reminding everyone that the United States wants to see a full transition to civilian rule.

Then comes Israel and Jordan, where the dual crises of Syria and Iran have captured everyone’s attention.

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Filed under: Africa • Egypt • Israel • Jordan • Middle East • Panetta • Pentagon • Tunisia
Five things you need to know about U.S. national security
Credit (l to r): Getty Images, Getty Images, SITE, Getty Images, CNN
July 29th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Five things you need to know about U.S. national security

By Dan Merica

This weekend marks the conclusion of  this year’s  Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, an event that brought together some of the key players in the world of defense and national security policy.

Here the five moments that the Security Clearance Blog’s team will be talking about on the flight back to Washington:

1. The United States is keeping close tabs on Syria’s weapons, al Qaeda’s influence

As war rages on in Syria, the United States intelligence community is closely monitoring the situation, National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told CNN’s Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly.

According to Olsen, there is an intense focus on Syria’s chemical weapons. FULL POST