August 4th, 2013
02:18 PM ET

Intercepted al Qaeda message led to shuttering embassies, consulates

By Chris Lawrence. Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen

An intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives in the last several days raised alarm bells that led to the closing of embassies and consulates Sunday across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN has learned.

CNN has agreed to a request from an Obama administration official not to publish or broadcast additional details because of the sensitivity of the information.

Several U.S. officials also emphasized they have been watching growing threats emerging from Yemen for weeks.

Those threats, combined with the coming end of the month of Ramadan, plus the concern over several major prison breaks in the region, all contributed to the U.S. decision to shut down diplomatic installations.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Terrorism
August 4th, 2013
11:17 AM ET

Debate over NSA programs gets renewed attention amid terror threat

By Ashley Killough

There's no proof that the current terror threats in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond were uncovered through a federal program that monitors domestic telephone data, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday.

"There's no indication, unless I'm proved wrong later, that that program which collects vast amounts of … domestic telephone data contributed to information about this particular plot," Schiff said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The scope of the secret program set off a political firestorm over civil liberties when a leaked document detailing it was published this summer. Officials say the program only collects metadata of domestic phone calls – under federal court permission – not actual conversations.

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Filed under: NSA