By Adam Levine and Tim Lister, with reporting from Ted Barrett and Pam Benson
As part of its efforts to explore peace talks with the Taliban, the Obama administration is considering the controversial release of several senior Taliban figures from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The names of those being considered for release have not been disclosed, and the conditions are still being discussed. But diplomatic sources say they would probably be relocated to Qatar in the Persian Gulf, where the Taliban is negotiating the establishment of a liaison office to facilitate dialogue with the U.S.
The administration has said any discussion about releasing the detainees is very preliminary and hinges on the Taliban renouncing terrorism and agreeing to peace talks.
But the proposal, confirmed in congressional testimony this week, has come under attack in Congress. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, said Thursday that the U.S. was "crossing a dangerous line" by discussing the possibility of releasing the prisoners.
And in a letter to President Obama, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, a former Marine officer who served in Afghanistan, warned that the release would "send the wrong message to the Taliban." FULL POST
By Pam Benson
The United States will soon suffer a catastrophic cyberattack if it doesn't act now to prevent it, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee warned Thursday.
"The clock is ticking and winding down," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, said at a hearing on the security threats facing the United States.
Speaking to the nation's top intelligence officials, Rogers said that, "given classified briefings that we've had, discussions with all of you and your counterparts ... that a cyberattack is on its way. We will suffer a catastrophic cyberattack."
The committee's top Democrat, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, said foreign governments - in particular China and Russia - steal American intellectual property to gain a competitive edge.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper accused China of "the greatest pillaging of wealth in history, if you tote up the value of the intellectual property that has been stolen."
By Pam Benson, Jamie Crawford and Joe Sterling
Iran took center stage on Tuesday as top U.S. intelligence officials and senators discussed what could trigger a military response to the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, speaking to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats, said Iran continues to develop its nuclear capabilities but has not yet decided to make weapons.
When asked by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, what would be the "red line" for Iran to cross to trigger a more forceful U.S. response, Clapper said, "enrichment of uranium to a 90 percent level would be a pretty good indicator of their seriousness." Clapper added there were "some other things" Iran would need to do, but did not elaborate.
CIA Director David Petraeus agreed further enrichment would be a "telltale indicator." FULL POST
By Jamie Crawford
A possible transfer of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay as part of a “confidence building” measure with the Taliban, will be a topic of discussion with members of the Senate leadership, the top U.S. intelligence official told a Senate committee Tuesday.
Any proposed transfer had not been decided and would be part of ongoing consultations with Congress, James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.
“I don’t think anyone in the administration harbors any illusions,” Clapper said of the potential risks of such a deal. He added that the final destination and conditions for how the detainees would be controlled would weigh heavily on a decision.
CIA Director David Petraeus told the committee that CIA analysts had provided assessments of the five detainees and the risks associated with their release.
By CNN's Carol Cratty
A legal group filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Monday asking that videotapes showing the interrogation of a terror detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be made public.
The suit filed in the Southern District of New York is focused on interrogation techniques used on Mohammed al-Qahtani, a man U.S. authorities have said was intended to be the 20th hijacker in the 9/11 terror attacks.
"From 2002 through 2003, Mr. al-Qahtani was the victim of a deliberate and calculated interrogation strategy involving the repeated use of torture and other profoundly cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment," according to the lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The lawsuit says al-Qahtani was subjected to severe sleep deprivation, isolation, 20-hour interrogations, severe temperatures and forced nudity. The suit says al-Qahtani also experienced "religious, sexual, and moral humiliation" including instances in which female interrogators straddled him.
By CNN's Pam Benson
Ten years after the arrival of the first prisoners captured by U.S. forces after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will likely be in business for many more years - perhaps decades - to come, analysts say.
For the 171 detainees still there, the future is bleak.
GITMO - as the detention facility is commonly known - would have been emptied two years ago under a proposal introduced by President Barack Obama. Just days after his 2009 inauguration, the president announced his plan to close the facility within a year and ordered a review to determine which detainees could be criminally prosecuted, which ones were safe to transfer to other countries, and what should be done with individuals who could not be tried but were too dangerous to transfer.