March 30th, 2014
08:42 PM ET

Kerry: Russia supports finding a diplomatic solution to crisis in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday after four hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Russia had reaffirmed its commitment to finding a diplomatic solution in Ukraine but had not agreed to move Russian troops from the Ukraine border.

"We both made suggestions as to how that will be achieved ... and I will return to Washington to consult with President Obama on his choices," Kerry said at a news conference in Paris. "We are trying to find a way to defuse this."

Kerry said Lavrov indicated Russia "wants to support" Ukraine in its move toward independence but said the massing of Russian troops has created "a climate of fear and intimidation."

"Is it smart at this moment in time to have that number of troops amassed on a border when you are sending a message that you want to de-escalate and move in the other direction?" Kerry said.

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March 30th, 2014
01:28 PM ET

Senate Intel chair: Crimea’s gone

Washington (CNN) - Some U.S. lawmakers are ready to say that it's futile to try to persuade Russia to give up control of Crimea.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday that the debate over the Crimean Peninsula is "done" and the region is now under Moscow's control.

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March 26th, 2014
07:02 PM ET

U.S. intel assessment: greater likelihood Russia will enter eastern Ukraine

By Barbara Starr

A new classified intelligence assessment concludes it is more likely than previously thought that Russian forces will enter eastern Ukraine, CNN has learned.

Two administration officials described the assessment but declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.

The officials emphasized that nothing is certain, but there have been several worrying signs in the past three to four days.

“This has shifted our thinking that the likelihood of a further Russian incursion is more probable than it was previously thought to be,” one official said.

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Controversy stirs anew over Saudi textbooks with Obama set to visit
March 25th, 2014
08:55 PM ET

Controversy stirs anew over Saudi textbooks with Obama set to visit

President Barack Obama's trip to Saudi Arabia this week comes amid accusations the State Department has hidden the results of a study that concludes textbooks in the Kingdom remain rife with Islamic extremism.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, successive U.S. administrations have attempted to curb Saudi indoctrination of students through hateful extremist material in its textbooks.

In addition to teaching the material to its own students, Saudi Arabia runs academies in about 20 countries, which use some of the same texts.

The Kingdom has repeatedly claimed that it has revised its textbooks.

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Holder appoints new head for Office of Legal Counsel
March 25th, 2014
12:58 PM ET

Holder appoints new head for Office of Legal Counsel

By Evan Pérez

Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a lawyer in his office to lead the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which provides advice to the President on constitutional issues and in recent years has been at the center of political fights over presidential power and national security.

Holder on Monday elevated Karl Thompson to acting assistant attorney general post. He also will serve as principal deputy assistant attorney general, which is a senior legal post in the Justice Department hierarchy.

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Why is Iran building giant mock-up of U.S. aircraft carrier?
U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (L); Commercial satellite picture of Iran building a fake aircraft carrier (R)
March 21st, 2014
07:10 PM ET

Why is Iran building giant mock-up of U.S. aircraft carrier?

By Laura Koran

Amid ongoing high-level diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, it's a symbol of underlying mistrust.

Commercial satellite images obtained by CNN reveal that Iran is constructing a large-scale replica of a U.S. military aircraft carrier, complete with fake U.S-style airplanes, near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

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Filed under: Iran
March 18th, 2014
07:13 PM ET

U.S. Officials: No link seen between missing jet and 2001 Malaysian hijack plot

By Paul Cruickshank and Nic Robertson

It is very unlikely there is any link between the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and an aborted hijack plot involving Malaysia militants in late 2001, current and former U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN.

A former British al Qaeda operative, Saajid Badat, outlined details of the Malaysian plot in federal court in New York last week, fueling media speculation about a possible link.

He testified that he spent time with a small group of Malaysians in Afghanistan and Pakistan in late 2001 tasked with hijacking aircraft in Southeast Asia.

In the weeks after 9/11, Badat was one of two British recruits directed by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to detonate shoe bombs simultaneously on separate passenger aircraft over the United States.
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U.S. readies further sanctions against Russia
March 17th, 2014
07:20 PM ET

U.S. readies further sanctions against Russia

By Elise Labott

The Obama administration has given itself extraordinary tools to sanction any Russian official or any of the leadership’s “cronies” over the crisis in Ukraine.

The question is, will the United States use them?

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9/11 mastermind defends bin Laden's son-in-law in court statement
March 17th, 2014
02:34 AM ET

9/11 mastermind defends bin Laden's son-in-law in court statement

By Evan Pérez and Shimon Prokupecz

The admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks has issued a rambling defense of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, on trial in New York for allegedly being al Qaeda's propagandist in the wake of the attacks.

In a rare statement made public, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said Sulaiman abu Ghaith - an Islamic preacher whom the United States has charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and providing material support to terrorists - is falsely accused of being involved in al Qaeda's military activities. Mohammed said abu Ahaith was more of a visiting celebrity who preached the Quran to al Qaeda recruits.

Mohammed's 14-page statement was in response to questions from abu Ghaith's attorney and was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Sunday night.

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Kerry makes 11th-hour push on Ukraine
March 13th, 2014
09:21 PM ET

Kerry makes 11th-hour push on Ukraine

By Elise Labott

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have practically been joined at the hip in the past week or so.

The two met four times last week in Europe and have been in daily phone contact since. But they have failed to reach common ground on how to solve the crisis in Ukraine over Crimea.

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