Ecuador to U.S.: Argue against Snowden asylum in writing
June 26th, 2013
05:54 PM ET

Ecuador to U.S.: Argue against Snowden asylum in writing

By Josh Levs, Jethro Mullen and Michael Pearson

Edward Snowden may have no trouble staying longer in a Russian airport, and Ecuador wants the United States to argue in writing why he should not be given political asylum, the two countries said Wednesday.

The Ecuadorian government also took a swipe at Washington, rejecting what it called false and "detrimental" claims the U.S. government has made about Ecuador.

Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked U.S. surveillance secrets, is in the transit area, between arrival gates and passport checkpoints, at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described Snowden Tuesday as a "free man."

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Opinion: Chris Stevens' father: Carry on his good work
June 26th, 2013
05:19 PM ET

Opinion: Chris Stevens' father: Carry on his good work

By Jan Stevens, Special to CNN

Chris Stevens died in the service of his country. He died doing what he loved most - working to build bridges of understanding and mutual respect between the people of the United States and the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

He was loved by many more Libyans than those who hated him for being an American. A few dozen fanatics penetrated his compound. More than 30,000 people in Benghazi demonstrated in protest over his death.

Chris was successful because he embodied the traits that have always endeared America to the world - a commitment to democratic principles, and respect for others, regardless of race, religion or culture. Chris regarded and liked each person he met as an individual. He respected their views, whether or not he agreed.

Editor's note: Jan Stevens is the father of Ambassador Chris Stevens and writes these comments on behalf of his family.

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Filed under: Libya • Terrorism
Opinion: Obama's goal in Africa: Counter China
June 26th, 2013
09:35 AM ET

Opinion: Obama's goal in Africa: Counter China

By Peter Bergen, Special to CNN

There is a one-word subtext to President Obama's trip to Africa: China.

After 9/11, the United States became embroiled in more than a decade of wars in Asia and the Middle East. As a result, U.S. engagement in Latin America and Africa largely atrophied.

Meanwhile, China saw an opportunity. China has now displaced the United States as the largest trading partners of two key Latin American countries, Brazil and Chile.

China's economic rise is particularly marked in Africa; it quietly surpassed the United States as the continent's largest trading partner four years ago.

Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation.

FULL STORY
June 25th, 2013
11:08 PM ET

U.S. Army to reduce combat brigades

By CNN Staff

The U.S. Army announced on Tuesday it plans to cut 12 combat brigades as part of steep budget austerity and other planned military changes associated with the ending of two wars and a sweeping military restructuring.

Additionally, the Army plans to cut roughly 14 percent or 80,000 troops mainly from its peak Iraq-war active-duty total. The National Guard will take a slight hit and the Army reserve will actually add 1,000 troops, according to Gen. Ray Odierno.

After the reductions are in place, the Army will field 490,000 active-duty forces, 350,000 National Guard troops and 205,000 reserves. Most of the cuts have come through attrition and the overall total was previously known.

The Pentagon is implementing planned budget cuts of nearly $500 billion over 10 years. But Odierno warned that more force reductions would be coming if separate, forced government spending cuts that took effect in March and hit the Pentagon hard were to continue into next year.

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Filed under: Army • Budget • Military
June 25th, 2013
11:00 PM ET

U.S. and Russia in standoff over NSA leaker

CNN's Jill Dougherty reports on the U.S.-Russian stalemate as Edward Snowden, the admitted leaker of once-secret surveillance programs, apparently remains hold up in a transit area in Moscow's airport.

June 25th, 2013
06:27 PM ET

Terrorists try changes after Snowden leaks, official says

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. intelligence community says terrorists are trying to change the way they communicate because of what they learned from Edward Snowden's admitted leaks of classified information about government surveillance programs.

"We can confirm we are seeing indications that several terrorist groups are in fact attempting to change their communications behaviors based specifically on what they are reading about our surveillance programs in the media," a U.S. intelligence official told CNN.

He emphasized these are terrorist groups operating outside the United States and are not limited to al Qaeda affiliates.

Intelligence has been gathered on both Sunni and Shia groups, he said, noting the risk to national security is that the groups "go dark" in terms of the U.S. ability to listen to them and watch them until it can "reacquire them" through new means.

FULL POST

June 25th, 2013
03:23 PM ET

Hunting for Edward Snowden

CNN's Phil Black chronicles the 30+ hour flight from Moscow to Havana in search of Edward Snowden.

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Filed under: Cuba • Edward Snowden • Russia
Did NSA leaks help al Qaeda?
June 25th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Did NSA leaks help al Qaeda?

By Paul Cruickshank

Obama administration officials and congressional lawmakers over the past two weeks have condemned Edward Snowden for admittedly leaking classified information on national security surveillance programs.

Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke of "changes we can already see being made by the folks who wish to do us harm, and our allies harm."

He added the disclosures of surveillance programs may also "make it harder to track bad guys trying to harm U.S. citizens in the United States."
FULL POST

June 24th, 2013
08:39 PM ET

U.S. says it didn't blunder when Snowden fled Hong Kong

By Jill Dougherty

Obama administration officials, including the head of the FBI, have been burning up the phone lines to Moscow, urging the government of President Vladimir Putin to arrest Edward Snowden and send him to the United States to face espionage charges.

The last thing they want is a repeat of what happened in Hong Kong, when the admitted leaker of national security surveillance programs was able to fly to Moscow on Sunday.

Some critics call the episode a blunder by the administration.
FULL POST

June 24th, 2013
05:59 PM ET

Kerry defends NSA surveillance programs in interview with CNN

CNN's Elise Labott interviewed Secretary of State John Kerry Monday in India about U.S. efforts to find Edward Snowden after he fled Hong Kong.  She asked him whether China's failure to stop him from fleeing was payback after Snowden leaked information about U.S. surveillance activities on China.

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