By CNN's Jake Tapper
At least 20 students were killed in northern Nigeria last week when Islamic militants razed their boarding school, prompting British authorities to label the group thought to be responsible, Boko Haram, a terrorist organization.
But the Obama administration has not done the same.
When asked about the attack, a senior Obama administration official said that the United States is "deeply concerned" about extremism in Nigeria, and pointed to the history of cooperation between the U.S. and Nigeria on security issues.
"We are working closely with the Nigerian government to address the growing threat of violent extremism throughout Nigeria," the senior official said, adding that the U.S. also supports vocational training programs to help discourage radicalization and recruitment throughout Nigeria.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
A series of explosions on July 5 at a critical Syrian port was the result of airstrikes by Israeli warplanes, according to multiple U.S. officials.
Regional media widely reported the predawn explosions at Latakia, but no one had officially claimed responsibility.
Three U.S. officials told CNN the target of the airstrikes were Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles that Israel believes posed a threat to its naval forces.
The officials declined to be named because of the sensitive nature of the information.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the latest in a series of stories and opinion pieces previewing the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event which is taking place from July 17-20 in Aspen, Colorado. Follow the event on Twitter under @aspeninstitute and @natlsecuritycnn #AspenSecurity. John McLaughlin was a CIA officer for 32 years and served as deputy director and acting director from 2000-2004. He currently teaches at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies and is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
From John McLaughlin, Special for CNN
Terrorism experts inside and outside the government have been caught up in a debate about how close we may be to defeating al Qaeda and associated groups. As events have demonstrated so vividly in recent years, we are living in an era of continuous surprise, making this one of those questions that cannot be answered with confidence.
What can be said with absolute confidence is that today’s al Qaeda is fundamentally different from the one we knew for years. It has evolved from the hierarchical organization of September 2001 into what might be called a “network of networks.”
Interconnected, loosely-structured organizations are run by a series of al Qaeda affiliates scattered across the arc of South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Some declare fealty to Osama bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, while others merely take inspiration from the legacy his organization represents.