Intelligence on Benghazi shifted after Obama administration described attack as 'spontaneous'
October 19th, 2012
07:33 PM ET

Intelligence on Benghazi shifted after Obama administration described attack as 'spontaneous'

An Obama administration official whose now controversial comment that the attack on the U.S. mission in Libya was "spontaneous" relied on talking points provided by the CIA based on its assessment that an intelligence official said on Friday was updated days later with new information.

The disclosure to CNN appears to offer some clarity around the Obama administration's early stage explanation of the September 11 attack by armed militants that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

But CNN National Security Contributor Fran Townsend injected a new element into the crucial time line on Friday night, reporting on Anderson Cooper 360 that senior intelligence officials had multiple conversations with senior White House officials in the first 24 hours after the attack.

Townsend, a former homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush, added that "we don't know" what was said.

"But I can tell you from having lived through these crises, you're getting a constant feed of what the intelligence community understands about what is currently going on and what has happened on the ground," Townsend said.

She added that "they will caveat the information" because in the first hours there "will be all sorts of information, some of it which will turn out not to have been true."

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Ansar al Shariah • Barack Obama • Congress • Libya • Libya • Rep. Mike Rogers • Romney • State Department • Susan Rice
September 26th, 2012
05:37 PM ET

Safeguarding against cyber attacks

The Cybersecurity adviser to the White House, Michael Daniel, gave a candid assessment today of the cyber risks the U.S. faces. This comes as there are rumblings that the President is getting ready to issue an executive order on cybersecurity in light of Congress failing to pass legislation on this issue. CNN's Suzanne Kelly reports on what the government is doing to protect the U.S. from the threat of cyber attacks.

Israel: U.S. needs more clarity on Iran threshold
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran "will not stop" unless it sees a clearer "red line" over its disputed nuclear program.
September 10th, 2012
05:30 PM ET

Israel: U.S. needs more clarity on Iran threshold

By Elise Labott

Israeli officials were telling CNN's Security Clearance just a month ago that the United States and Israel were cooperating closely on intelligence sharing over Iran.

The latest U.S. assessment gave the two countries their closest understanding yet of the scope and pace of the development of the Iranian effort, the Israelis said.

But the close cooperation belies a heated policy debate – one becoming more public – about when military action would be required to take out the nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is displaying growing impatience with what he says is a lack of clarity by the Obama administration on so-called "red lines" that Iran cannot cross if it wants to avoid war.
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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • IAEA • Intelligence • Iran • Israel • Nuclear • Obama • Rep. Mike Rogers
Leaks drip with confusion
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan
June 8th, 2012
04:24 PM ET

Leaks drip with confusion

By Pam Benson and Carol Cratty

It may be one of the most confusing set of investigations going on. It's not just about one leak, it's at least three, all part of exclusive news reports happening within a two-week period.

We know the FBI is investigating two of the unauthorized disclosures, one involving the report about a mole who helped thwart a Yemen bomb plot targeting the U.S. and the other about how the United States and Israel were behind Stuxnet, the mysterious computer virus that caused Iranian nuclear centrifuges to spin out of control.

It is unclear whether there is an investigation of yet another story concerning the Obama administration's expansion of the drone program and how it determines which suspected terrorists will be targeted for a missile strike.

FULL POST

May 30th, 2012
07:18 PM ET

Sticking with 'Plan A' but thinking about 'Plan B' for Syria

The United States and its allies are blatantly accusing the Syrian president of having blood on his hands.

But right now, any talk of military intervention is still just talk.

United Nations observers report finding 13 corpses in eastern Syria this week with their hands tied behind their backs.

This, only days after the massacre in Houla that unleashed global outrage.

Russia and China made it clear again today that they're staunchly opposed to using force against Syria.

And the Obama administration shows no sign that it's ready to change course.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has details.


Filed under: Assad • Barack Obama • Dempsey • Free Syrian Army • Jordan • Military • Rep. Mike Rogers • Security Brief • Syria • United Nations
Different shades of red line for Iran
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site
March 1st, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Different shades of red line for Iran

Analysis by Pam Benson

The time frame for knowing whether Iran has crossed a so-called red line toward making a nuclear weapon could be shrinking as Iran increases its uranium enrichment capacity. (Read also: Rational or not, Iran is a real danger)

Last week's report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated Iran had significantly stepped up its enrichment operation, adding centrifuges used to process uranium at its Natanz and Fordow facilities and producing far greater quantities of 20% enriched uranium.

If Iran continues to enrich uranium to that level at the current expanded rate, nuclear experts say Iran would have enough material to further enrich to make a crude bomb, at the very least, by early next year. To do so, Iran would have to go another step and further enrich to the 90% level to make weapons-grade uranium, but analysts believe that is not a technically difficult achievement for Iran.

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Filed under: Analysis • Clapper • Hillary Clinton • IAEA • Intelligence • Iran • Israel • Nuclear • Panetta • Rep. Mike Rogers • weapons
February 28th, 2012
10:13 AM ET

Rep. Rogers: Israel and Iran don't believe the U.S.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said that Israel and Iran don't believe the U.S. is serious about military options to stop Iran's nuclear program.

In an interview with CNN's John King, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) said the U.S. needs tighter sanctions and "a real option of military consequence."

"They don't believe it - Iran, I mean - and neither does Israel. We have to change that equation if we're going to I think have an impact on Iran backing down from their nuclear weapon program," Rogers said on an interview broadcast Monday on John King, USA. FULL POST

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Filed under: Diplomacy • Intelligence • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Rep. Mike Rogers • Syria
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