Obama administration: Iran deal 'not perfect'
February 4th, 2014
06:51 PM ET

Obama administration: Iran deal 'not perfect'

By Jamie Crawford

An interim agreement that freezes aspects of Iran's nuclear program is not ideal but is necessary to achieve a long-term accord, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday.

"This is not perfect, but this does freeze and roll back their program in significant ways and give us time on the clock to in fact negotiate that comprehensive agreement," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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A terror group too brutal for al Qaeda?
February 4th, 2014
06:38 PM ET

A terror group too brutal for al Qaeda?

By Peter Bergen

Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a director at the New America Foundation and the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden - From 9/11 to Abbottabad."

When even al Qaeda publicly rejects you because you are too brutal, it's likely a reasonable indicator that you are.

A long simmering dispute between "al Qaeda Central," headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the most brutal al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, generally known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, surfaced publicly on Monday.

On jihadist websites, al Qaeda's central leadership posted a notice saying ISIS "is not a branch of the al Qaeda group."

It is the first time in its quarter century history that al Qaeda has officially rejected one of its affiliates.

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U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians
February 4th, 2014
04:54 PM ET

U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians

By Bill Mears

U.S. intelligence officials would not rule out the possibility on Tuesday that admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been meeting secretly with Russian authorities, who have given him asylum from U.S. prosecution.

The subject of Russia dominated a House Intelligence Committee hearing, featuring testimony from the director of national intelligence, as well as the heads of the CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency.

DNI James Clapper told lawmakers it was "certainly a possibility" Russian intelligence services have spoken with Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose disclosure of sensitive surveillance methods has caused a political uproar.

"I would find it incredulous if they didn't," said Clapper, about any efforts to influence Snowden by the FSB, Russia's state security organization.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Intelligence • James Clapper • NSA • Russia
Report: Syria to ship toxic agents
February 4th, 2014
08:55 AM ET

Report: Syria to ship toxic agents

By Alla Eshchenko and Laura Smith-Spark

Syria plans to send a large shipment of toxic agents out of the country this month, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Russian state-run news agency Ria Novosti.

Syria intends to finish the process by March 1, which would be in line with deadlines set by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), he said.

Bogdanov warned against "dramatizing the situation around demilitarization."

The head of the OPCW urged Syria last week to speed up the process of removing the chemicals earmarked for destruction outside its territory.

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Filed under: Chemical Weapons • Syria