June 18th, 2013
07:18 PM ET

DoD plans for women in combat

A dramatic moment at the Pentagon Tuesday, and another milestone for military women.

Declaring "the days of Rambo are over," officials announced that in a few years, women will be allowed in combat units.

Eventually, that may including the country's most elite special forces.

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence explains how long the transition will take.

June 18th, 2013
07:15 PM ET

NSA helped foil terror plot in Belgium, documents, officials say

By Paul Cruickshank

A potential al Qaeda plot targeting Belgium was thwarted in part by e-mail information provided by U.S. Internet providers, according to Belgian court documents and Western counterterrorism officials.

The case, which came to light in 2008, shows how U.S. intelligence capabilities can aid in disrupting plots.

On Tuesday, American counterterrorism officials revealed that more than 50 plots have been thwarted since September 11, 2001, using National Security Agency surveillance programs. Many of those plots were overseas.

The officials, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, revealed only four of those plots and promised to provide details on the others to Congress in a classified setting. The Belgium plot, though not confirmed to be one of the 50 that relied on the recently revealed secretive NSA program to monitor online messages, appears to fit the bill.

June 18th, 2013
01:46 PM ET

Surveillance thwarted stock exchange bomb plot, officials say

By Dana Bash and Tom Cohen

Bomb plots targeting the New York Stock Exchange and the city's subway were among more than 50 worldwide thwarted by top-secret surveillance programs since the 2011 al Qaeda attacks on the United States, authorities said on Tuesday.

Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency director, FBI and other officials revealed startling details at a House Intelligence Committee hearing aimed at finding out more about the telephone and e-mail surveillance initiatives that came to light this month through leaks of classified information to newspapers.

It was the most comprehensive and specific defense of those methods that have come under ferocious criticism from civil liberties groups, some members of Congress and others concerned about the reach of government into the private lives of citizens in the interest of national security.

National security and law enforcement officials asserted that the leaks were egregious and carry huge consequences for national security.

June 18th, 2013
10:59 AM ET

Security handover, diplomacy in Afghanistan. A new chapter?

By Kyle Almond, Elise Labott and Joe Sterling

Hope flickered in war-torn Afghanistan on Tuesday as national security forces formally took over security leadership and peace talks with the Taliban are now in the works.

NATO-led troops transferred security responsibility to Afghan forces. The United States and an Afghan government group dedicated to peace and reconciliation will hold talks with the Taliban militant group in Qatar.

"I wish a long-term peace in Afghanistan," Afghan President Harmid Karzai told his troops at a handover ceremony in Kabul.

But a senior U.S. official said reconciliation is likely to be "long, complex and messy" because trust between Afghans and the Taliban is extremely low.

The latest moves could portend a hopeful chapter in the long and costly Afghan conflict. What do these developments mean for Afghanistan and the United States?

June 18th, 2013
10:36 AM ET

Opinion: Has U.S. started an Internet war?

By Bruce Schneier, Special to CNN

Today, the United States is conducting offensive cyberwar actions around the world.

More than passively eavesdropping, we're penetrating and damaging foreign networks for both espionage and to ready them for attack. We're creating custom-designed Internet weapons, pre-targeted and ready to be "fired" against some piece of another country's electronic infrastructure on a moment's notice.

This is much worse than what we're accusing China of doing to us. We're pursuing policies that are both expensive and destabilizing and aren't making the Internet any safer. We're reacting from fear, and causing other countries to counter-react from fear. We're ignoring resilience in favor of offense.

Welcome to the cyberwar arms race, an arms race that will define the Internet in the 21st century.

Editor's note: Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and author of "Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Survive."

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Filed under: China • Cybersecurity • Opinion