Did the president hit delete on his national security stump speech?
October 17th, 2012
08:50 PM ET

Did the president hit delete on his national security stump speech?

By Dan Lothian, reporting from Athens Ohio

A standard line in the president's stump speech that touts his administration's efforts to target al Qaeda has been missing from recent stops, in the wake of the Libya terror attacks.

"I said we'd refocus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, and today al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead," the president has said.

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Accused 9/11 mastermind says U.S. tortured in name of national security
Sketch by Janet Hamlin
October 17th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

Accused 9/11 mastermind says U.S. tortured in name of national security

By Paul Courson

Accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed asserted on Wednesday that the U.S. government sanctioned torture in the name of national security, and compared the scale of the terror attack that killed nearly 3,000 people to the "millions" he said have been killed by America's military.

"Many can kill people under the name of national security, and torture people under the name of national security," Mohammed said during a pretrial hearing at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"This is a resilient definition," he said in open court, as military censors stood ready to interrupt the video and audio.

"Every dictator can put on shoes to step on this definition, every law, every constitution, with this definition any can evade the rule and also go against it," he said.

He also compared the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the 9/11 hijack attacks in New York, Washington and western Pennsylvania to killings he blamed on the American military that he said number in the "millions."

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Gitmo • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed • Terrorism
U.S. official:  CIA officer killed in Afghanistan
The bazaar in remote Kandahar Province's Maruf District, Jan. 26, 2011.
October 17th, 2012
05:08 PM ET

U.S. official: CIA officer killed in Afghanistan

By Mike Mount with reporting from Chris Lawrence, Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson

A CIA officer was among those killed in Afghanistan in a suicide attack that also killed an American soldier, according to a U.S. official.

The attack, which occurred Saturday in southern Kandahar province, also killed four Afghan National Security troops, according to a U.S official with knowledge of the details of the attack.

The attack is believed to have been a case of an Afghan security force member attacking his own forces, the official said.

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October 17th, 2012
04:46 PM ET

Syrian rebels said to cut deals for arms from extremists

By Chris Lawrence

Syrian rebels are through waiting for substantial arms from western nations and Arab countries and are instead increasingly cutting their own deals to get weapons from extremists, including al Qaeda-like groups, a senior U.S. lawmaker told CNN.

"Even rebels we've identified as somebody we could work with have partnered with jihadists, because they have their own sources of money and weapons," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said in an interview.

Also: The lure of jihad and the danger to Euope

The Obama administration has been cautiously aiding in the vetting of Syrian rebels, and sticking to its policy of only providing non-lethal aid like computers and satellite communication gear.
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Taking tea with a terrorist
Moez Garsallaoui in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region in 2008. Photo/CNN
October 17th, 2012
04:44 PM ET

Taking tea with a terrorist

By Paul Cruickshank

He didn't look like a hardened terrorist. A short, meek man with a neatly cropped beard and glasses, Moez Garsallaoui was shy and courteous. He served me and a CNN crew sweet Moroccan tea and north African cakes in the living room of the pinewood Swiss chalet he shared with his Belgian-Moroccan wife.

That was in 2006. Fast forward to the present: A posting on the Shumukh al-Islam Jihadist forum Monday said Garsallaoui had been killed in "a cowardly, treacherous raid" somewhere in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. He was 44.

In the intervening six years, he had become a jihadist of some standing, and may have influenced the young Frenchman who carried out a string of shootings in southwest France earlier this year.

"We received the painful news about the killing of another hero of the heroes of this Ummah, and one of its best," the posting by a militant calling himself Abu al-Laith al-Waziri stated, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.
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Man arrested in plot to blow up New York Fed
The Federal Reserve Bank in New York was the apparent target of a terror plot, officials said Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Man arrested in plot to blow up New York Fed

Federal authorities running a sting operation arrested a 21-year-old man who they say was planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in lower Manhattan, officials said Wednesday.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested after an attempt to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb, authorities said Wednesday.

He is expected to make an initial court appearance Wednesday at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn.

Authorities say the public was not in danger because the suspect never acquired the necessary material for a bomb.

The "explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public," according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch

He faces charges of "attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda."

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Filed under: FBI • Terrorism
Suspect in Saudi ambassador assassination plot pleads guilty
Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Ambassador to the United States. Photo; AFP/Getty Images
October 17th, 2012
04:10 PM ET

Suspect in Saudi ambassador assassination plot pleads guilty

By CNN's Mark Norman

An Iranian-American man from Texas on Wednesday pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to participating in a plot meant to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Prosecutors said Manssor Arbabsiar, 57, tried to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a Washington restaurant where Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir dined. But the scheme unraveled when Arbabsiar's cartel contact turned out to be an undercover agent.

Arbabsiar acknowledged in court to conspiring with members of the Iranian military in the formulation of the plot and is expected to be sentenced in January.

Federal officials say Arbabsiar met "on a number of occasions in Mexico with a Drug Enforcement Administration confidential source."
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Filed under: Iran • Saudi Arabia
Treasury sanctions terror facilitators in Pakistan
The Treasury Department announced the sanctions in a statement on Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

Treasury sanctions terror facilitators in Pakistan

By Jamie Crawford

The United States imposed sanctions on three men who allegedly facilitated Taliban operations and helped another group deemed a terrorist organization, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

One of the men was linked to the failed car bomb attack on New York's Times Square in 2010, Treasury said.

The three, all based in Pakistan, were each were targeted for allegedly providing material, logistical, or financial support to a separate group: the Taliban in Afghanistan, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

"Today's actions are intended to disrupt the activities of three individuals working to carry out violent attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan that threaten the lives of civilians and military forces," Davis Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
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Filed under: Pakistan • Taliban • Terrorism • Treasury
No rush to push through U.S. training for elite Libyan force
The U.S. is finalizing funding for an initiative to train Libyans to combat the growing threat of violent extremist organizations.
October 17th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

No rush to push through U.S. training for elite Libyan force

By Mike Mount, Senior National Security Producer

Pentagon officials insisted this week there was no effort to accelerate training of an elite Libyan commando unit after a New York Times report suggested there was a push to speed up the program following last month's deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

The program is part of a joint initiative by the Defense and State departments to fund training of a small force of Libyans to combat the growing threat of violent extremist organizations since the fall of the Qadhafi regime last year, according to a Pentagon document discussing funding of the plan that was obtained by CNN.

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Japanese officials angry after 2 U.S. sailors arrested in Okinawa rape case
The Kadena U.S. Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa, pictured here on February 18, 2007.
October 17th, 2012
06:19 AM ET

Japanese officials angry after 2 U.S. sailors arrested in Okinawa rape case

By Yoko Wakatsuki

Japanese officials expressed outrage after two U.S. sailors were arrested over accusations that they raped a woman on the island of Okinawa, where the American military presence has generated long-simmering resentment.

Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto on Wednesday called the alleged rape "vicious and mean" and said Japanese authorities were lodging protests with the U.S. government and military, as well as demands for better preventive measures.

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who met with Morimoto over the matter, said it went "beyond madness" that the alleged attack took place two months after a U.S. Marine was arrested over accusations he assaulted and molested a woman in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

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Filed under: Japan • Marines • Military • Navy
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