McCain: Send Petraeus back to Iraq
January 12th, 2014
10:58 AM ET

McCain: Send Petraeus back to Iraq

By Ashley Killough

President Barack Obama should send David Petraeus, a retired four-star general who ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, back to Iraq to help deal with the growing unrest in the country, Sen. John McCain said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Arizona Republican also weighed in on a new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying he would have waited a bit longer to release the book, which offers a blistering critique of the Obama administration.

On Iraq, McCain said the country is not a lost cause and argued the United States can still offer assistance to help quell the renewed violence that’s rocked the country in the last year.

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee said he opposed sending combat troops back to Iraq, but added the U.S. can provide other kinds of aid, such as logistics support and Apache helicopters.

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Filed under: Iraq • McCain • Petraeus
McCain: CIA did not tell Congress the truth about Levinson
December 15th, 2013
05:51 PM ET

McCain: CIA did not tell Congress the truth about Levinson

Sen. John McCain joined CNN's "State of the Union" from Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday after the Arizona Republican addressed thousands of protesters who are angry over the Ukrainian government's decision to backpedal away from an agreement with the European Union.

McCain spoke about a range of issues happening around the globe, and suggested the Central Intelligence Agency was not truthful to Congress about former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who went missing in Iran seven years ago.

Here are five noteworthy points from the interview.

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Filed under: CIA • McCain
Reports: American who went missing in Iran worked for CIA
Daniel Levinson (L) shows a picture of his father, ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, holding his grandson Ryan during a press conference with his mother Christine at the Swiss embassy in Tehran, 22 December 2007.
December 13th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Reports: American who went missing in Iran worked for CIA

By Susan Candiotti and Catherine E. Shoichet

A former FBI agent who went missing in Iran was working for the CIA there, not conducting private business as officials have previously claimed, The Associated Press and the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Both the State Department and Bob Levinson's family have long denied he was working for the U.S. government when he disappeared on a trip to Iran in 2007.

But Thursday's reports from the Washington Post and the AP claim that Levinson had been on a CIA mission to dig up information.

A source who's involved in the matter told CNN that there's proof that Levinson worked for the CIA undercover and under contract while also working as a private investigator.


Filed under: CIA • Iran • Security Brief
November 28th, 2013
08:25 AM ET

Pakistani official outs CIA officials in drone investigation

By Saima Mohsin and Mariano Castillo

A Pakistani political party official has publicly named two U.S. CIA officials in connection with a police murder investigation into a drone strike.

Police had already initiated an investigation against unnamed persons after a recent drone strike that killed five. In a televised news conference Wednesday, Shireen Mazari, information secretary for the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said she filed an addendum to the police complaint, singling out two U.S. officials.

She gave the names of U.S. CIA Director John Brennan and a person identified as the CIA's Station Chief based in Pakistan. U.S. officials did not confirm to CNN the accuracy of her claims.

"I can't speak to the alleged operational issues, but more broadly I note we have a strong ongoing dialogue with Pakistan regarding all aspects of our bilateral relationship and shared interests," a U.S. Embassy official in Pakistan told CNN.


Filed under: CIA • drones • Pakistan
Source: CIA using Patriot Act to collect money transfer data
November 15th, 2013
07:41 AM ET

Source: CIA using Patriot Act to collect money transfer data

By Evan Perez

The CIA is collecting bulk records on international money transfers, using the same Patriot Act legal authority that has become the center of controversy in U.S. surveillance programs, a source told CNN.

A person familiar with the program said the agency's efforts are an outgrowth of terror finance-tracking programs that were established in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and revealed that al Qaeda funded the hijackers using methods such as smuggled cash, money transfers, and credit and debit cards.

The Treasury Department and the National Security Agency have other programs that similarly focus on financial transaction data. The CIA program provides some redundancies intended to catch transactions that may not draw attention in other programs.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times first reported the existence of the CIA program Thursday night, saying it has sparked concerns from lawmakers.

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Filed under: CIA
October 25th, 2013
06:05 PM ET

EU leaders warn U.S. spying scandal may hamper fight against terror

European leaders warned Friday that reports of widespread spying on world leaders by the U.S. National Security Agency have raised "deep concerns" among Europeans and could affect the cooperation needed for effective intelligence gathering.

"A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field," the leaders said in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of a two-day European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that Madrid has summoned U.S. Ambassador James Costos over the matter. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid declined to comment, saying that Rajoy's statement stands for itself.

More furloughed intelligence officers to return to work
October 10th, 2013
03:44 AM ET

More furloughed intelligence officers to return to work

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will begin calling more of its furloughed employees back into the office this week despite the ongoing partial government shutdown.

70% of the intelligence community has been furloughed as a result of the shutdown, leaving the leaders of all intelligence agencies scrambling to carry out their core missions.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement Wednesday telling employees he had "authorized the recall of some employees who perform functions that directly support efforts to protect against imminent threats to life or property, and help provide the President with the intelligence he needs to carry out his core constitutional functions related to national security."

Typically, the president receives a daily intelligence briefing in the morning hours.

The CIA made a similar announcement earlier in the week, with CIA Director John Brennan saying in a letter to employees that "keeping our staffing at the dramatically reduced levels of the past week would pose a threat to the safety of human life and the protection of property."

Like Clapper, Brennan also cited the need to provide intelligence information to the president as a reason why more employees would be returning to work.

One U.S. intelligence official told CNN that managers at all agencies are currently "in the process of determining exactly who will be recalled under revised staffing plans" and said the process of determining who can be brought back into work "will continue over the coming days."

Clapper testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, warning Congress the damage from the shutdown would be "insidious" on the intelligence community.

"Each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases. This is a dreamland for foreign intelligence services to recruit," he said.

Since the shutdown first took effect, various U.S. intelligence services have retained the right to call back essential staff in cases where it affected national security. This allowed for management to call in specific experts if, for example, there were reports of terrorist chatter that were particularly concerning.

But as the shutdown drags on with no clear ending in sight, leaders in multiple intelligence agencies are being forced to revise their plans and are recalling a wider circle of employees.

One intelligence official summed up the current situation, saying, "In the beginning of the shutdown, only those CIA employees working imminent threats were on the job. But it's been determined that the CIA not performing its core missions for an extended period of time itself presents the risk that real threats to our national security will go undetected."

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Filed under: Brennan • CIA • Clapper • ODNI
CIA-funded weapons begin to reach Syrian rebels
September 12th, 2013
02:58 AM ET

CIA-funded weapons begin to reach Syrian rebels

CIA-funded weapons have begun flowing to Syrian rebels, a U.S. official told CNN late Wednesday night.

The official confirmed details first reported by the Washington Post but would not speak publicly.

"That is something we are not going to dispute, but we are not going to publicly speak to it," the official said.

The weapons are not American-made, but are funded and organized by the CIA. They started to reach rebels about two weeks ago, the official said.

The artillery provided were described as light weapons, some anti-tank weapons and ammunition.

The supply is in addition to the non-lethal aid that the United States has been providing the rebels since April, when the Obama administration first altered the nature of the aid to include items such as body armor, night vision goggles and other military equipment.

In declassified document, CIA acknowledges role in '53 Iran coup
August 19th, 2013
02:53 PM ET

In declassified document, CIA acknowledges role in '53 Iran coup

By Dan Merica and Jason Hanna

Sixty years after the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, a declassified CIA document acknowledges that the agency was involved in the 1953 coup.

The independent National Security Archive research institute, which published the document Monday, says the declassification is believed to mark the CIA's first formal acknowledgment of its involvement.

The documents, declassified in 2011 and given to George Washington University research group under the Freedom of Information Act, come from the CIA's internal history of Iran from the mid-1970s and paint a detailed picture of how the CIA worked to oust Mossadegh.

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Filed under: CIA • Iran
Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack
August 1st, 2013
06:40 PM ET

Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack

CNN has uncovered exclusive new information about what is allegedly happening at the CIA, in the wake of the deadly Benghazi terror attack.

Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault by armed militants last September 11 in eastern Libya.

Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.

CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency's Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.


Filed under: Benghazi • CIA • Libya
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