2012 has been a busy year at Security Clearance. From the U.S. diplomatic facility attack in Benghazi, Libya to the Petraeus sex scandal to the future of Afghanistan and the Pentagon preparing(or not) to fall off the fiscal cliff.
But there have been numerous other stories that have caught your eye this year.
Top 10 Security Clearance stories you, the readers, made the most popular in 2012:
10. Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast
The U.S. Navy detected and tracked a Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine less than 300 miles from the southern U.S. East Coast last November, U.S. Defense officials said.
While the submarine did not enter U.S. territorial waters or follow any U.S. Navy ships, its arrival came while a Navy carrier strike group was training off Florida, according to the defense officials.
By Barbara Starr
Senior U.S. military officials are considering increasing the American military presence in the Mediterranean because of what they see as growing instability in recent months, CNN has learned.
"This is post-Benghazi," one military official told CNN. "We're looking at instability in Libya, Egypt, Syria and now Israel and Gaza."
The official who has direct knowledge of the discussions declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.
The Pentagon is looking at a number of options, according to military officials. The easiest would be to extend deployments of Navy ships passing through the region. FULL POST
By Jamie Crawford
Before breaking off her trip to Asia to fly to the Middle East to address the crisis in Gaza, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the midst of what in many ways was the start of her world farewell as America's top diplomat.
During a historic stop this week in Myanmar at the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, the celebrated Nobel laureate and advocate for Burmese democracy, Barack Obama made a point to praise Clinton on what would likely be their final foreign trip together as U.S. president and secretary of state.
The symbolism of the trip's importance, and Clinton's role, was captured through the image of her walking off Air Force One with Obama – the first by a sitting president to the former pariah nation.
"This is her last foreign trip that we're going to take together, and it is fitting that we have come here to a country that she has done so much to support," Obama said referencing Clinton's own history-making trip to Myanmar last December.
By Mike Mount
Thousands of Israeli troops with tanks and armored vehicles are poised on Gaza's borders ready to move in if Israel believes there is no chance for a cease-fire in its conflict with Hamas.
The Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, told reporters Monday at a briefing at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC that Israel would like to avoid a ground invasion, but war planning is complete and they are ready to move in if necessary.
But Israel, which continued to press its air offensive against Gaza militants for a sixth day on Monday, is said to be well aware that a ground invasion would carry broad risks.
By Barbara Starr
Three U.S. Navy amphibious warships are returning to the eastern Mediterranean to remain on standby in the event they are needed to assist Americans leaving Israel in the coming days, according to two U.S. officials.
The officials stressed an evacuation remains an extremely remote possibility and the Obama administration is not currently planning for one. Americans who wish to leave the region now are able to do so using commercial airlines.
But the decision to send the ships even if the event is such a remote contingency underscores the growing concern about where the Israel-Gaza conflict could be headed.
"This is due diligence. It is better to be prepared should there be a need," one official said Monday. Both officials said the ships would be used only for assisting Americans and not for any combat role.
The most immediate impact will be on the ships' crews and the estimated 2,500 Marines on board. They had been scheduled to return to Norfolk, Virginia, just after Thanksgiving; their homecoming will now be delayed several days depending on events, the officials said.
The ships involved are the USS Iwo Jima, the USS New York and the USS Gunston Hall. At the end of last week the ships were west of Gibraltar, before the decision was made to turn them around and send them back to the eastern Mediterranean, where they will remain for now.
The U.S. military also maintains three to four ships off the coast of Israel that are capable of shooting down ballistic missiles. That deployment has stretch for some months in the face of a potential ballistic threat from Iran.