September 28th, 2012
06:47 PM ET

Panetta: Syria moving chemical weapons

Another disturbing development involving the worsening crisis in Syria. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta revealed U.S. intelligence shows Syria has moved some of its chemical weapons for security purposes. It's a red line that the president has warned the country against crossing. Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr has the latest.

September 28th, 2012
06:20 PM ET

Rep. King: U.S. Amb. to U.N should resign

Rep. Peter King calls for U.S. ambassador Susan Rice to resign for what he says was misleading comments about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.


Filed under: Libya • United Nations
September 28th, 2012
05:43 PM ET

"Friends of Syria" group meets to help Syrian opposition

Key nations of the "Friends of Syria" group met in New York Friday to strategize, once again, on how to give more help to the Syrian opposition. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced another $15 million in aid, for a total of almost $45 million, for what she called the "unarmed opposition."

September 28th, 2012
03:44 PM ET

FIRST ON CNN: Intel agency seeks to explain evolving understanding of Libya attack

By Suzanne Kelly

The U.S. intelligence community has revised its assessment of the deadly attack on the American consulate in Libya, saying it now believes it was a deliberate terrorist assault.

In an unusual statement on Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sought to explain how it has revised its view of the September 11 attack on the diplomatic post that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.

The assessment moves away from the initial belief the attack began spontaneously following a protest over an anti-Muslim film. The intelligence community now believes it was "a deliberate and organized terrorist assault carried out by extremists" affiliated or sympathetic with al Qaeda.

The statement represents the fullest accounting yet of the intelligence community's changed understanding of the attack, and suggests it is trying to distance itself from the political debate over whether the Obama administration is being fully forthcoming about its understanding of events.

The release of such information outlining an ongoing investigation is rare and underscores just how controversial the issue has become. FULL POST


Filed under: Intelligence • Libya • ODNI
September 28th, 2012
01:45 PM ET

Lebanon's premier walks tightrope on Syria

The tightrope Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has been walking on neighboring Syria has gotten more difficult in the past year.

In an interview with CNN's Elise Labott this week at the United Nations General Assembly, Mikati made it clear that his country must stay neutral in the Syrian civil war.

He has had to avoid criticism of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which he believes would upset the political balance in Lebanon.

"We are saying, please, we don't want to interfere," Mikati told Labott. "We cannot do anything. Don't ask from Lebanon things that are beyond our capability to do."

But at the same time, Lebanon will not tolerate the kind of continued violation of its sovereignty by Syria. Mikati has adopted a policy of "disassociation" when it comes to Syria and was quite frank he has to look out for Lebanon first. FULL POST

The Luddite atop U.S. cybersecurity
September 28th, 2012
01:12 PM ET

The Luddite atop U.S. cybersecurity

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledged Friday her Luddite-like ways, despite the fact her position puts her in a critical leadership role when it comes to defending the nation's infrastructure from cyberattacks.

Napolitano said she does not use email "at all."

"For a whole host of reasons. So, I don't have any of my own accounts and that, you know, I'm very secure," Napolitano noted at a Washington conference about cyber security.

"Some would call me a Luddite but you know. But that's my own personal choice and I'm very unique in that regard I suspect," Napolitano added.

The Obama administration has been pushing Congress to revisit legislation that would have given DHS authority to enforce security standards. Legislation faltered earlier this year over concerns that it was too intrusive in requiring business to share data about intrusions, rather than it being voluntary.

In the meantime, an executive order is being drafted by the Obama administration that would help clarify security standards, Napolitano said. She said President Barack Obama has not reviewed it yet.

Napolitano said legislation would not dictate to companies how to run their security but rather would be a public-private partnerships to defend critical infrastructure.


Filed under: Cybersecurity • Homeland Security • Napolitano
September 28th, 2012
11:15 AM ET

Syrians moving chemical weapons for security

The United States has intelligence that Syria has moved chemical weapons for security reasons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Friday.
Panetta said that intelligence shows movement at some sites.

There has been "limited movement" at Syria's major chemical storage sites, Panetta said in response to questions from CNN's Barbara Starr.

But the United States believes that the stashes remain secured by the Syrian military.

Panetta added that the sites remain monitored by the United States and other countries.

"We've continued to monitor that. We are working with countries in the region to ensure that we have the best information possible with regards to the sites and how they are being secured," Panetta said. FULL POST

September 28th, 2012
10:28 AM ET

Doubts raised about Islamist group's involvement in online bank attacks

Over the couple of weeks, many major banks in the U.S suffered day-long slowdowns and been sporadically unreachable for many customers.  The attackers, who took aim at Bank of America first, went after their targets in sequence, reports CNNMoney's David Goldman.

Security experts say the outages stem from one of the biggest cyberattacks they've ever seen. These "denial of service" attacks - huge amounts of traffic directed at a website to make it crash - were the largest ever recorded by a wide margin, according to two researchers.  A financial services industry security group raised the alert level to high in response to the attacks.

The Islamist group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks in what it called "Operation Ababil," but researchers are divided about how seriously to take their claims. The group has launched attacks in the past, but those have been far less coordinated than the recent batch.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, said in a C-SPAN interview on Wednesday that he believed the attacks were launched by Iran. FULL POST

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Filed under: Cybersecurity • Iran
September 28th, 2012
06:30 AM ET

World leaders meet again as rebels, Syrian forces battle for Aleppo

World leaders gather again Friday to discuss the Syrian civil war as pressure for a resolution mounts. The meeting will focus on uniting the fractured opposition and providing humanitarian aid to the skyrocketing number of refugees fleeing the bloodshed.

Here are the latest developments in the Syrian civil war.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Syria
September 28th, 2012
06:26 AM ET

Analysis: Israel's red line not in line with U.S. view

By Elise Labott

With growing impatience over what he sees as foot-dragging by the Obama administration to explain the so-called "red line" that Iran cannot cross if it wants to avoid war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his case to the world for where to draw the line.

The prime minister thanked President Obama for his speech before the United Nations two days earlier in which he warned he would do what it takes to prevent Iran from going nuclear. The attempt to show solidarity with the U.S. leader belied a fundamental argument, becoming ever more public, over when military action would be required to take out the nuclear program.

Diagrams in hand during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu drew an actual red line through the level at which Iran's ability to build nuclear weapons would be irreversible. By next spring or summer, he said, Iran will have enriched enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon and a "clear red line" must be drawn to make clear to Iran it must halt its uranium enrichment before then.

FULL POST