By Pam Benson
The intelligence community is working on a new assessment of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile program, according to the nation's top intelligence official.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper announced the broad effort during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday.
He sought to set the record straight following controversy over a Pentagon intelligence assessment of Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities that surfaced unexpectedly last week amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.
In that case, an unclassified part of an otherwise secret analysis concluded with moderate confidence that North Korea could now deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile.
By Barbara Starr
In a critical indication of growing U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the deployment of more American troops to Jordan.
Hagel announced the deployment, which was first reported on CNN, in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
He said the troops will work alongside Jordanian forces to "improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios."
The troops, which will number up to 200, are from the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, two Defense Department officials told CNN.
By Barbara Starr
In a critical indication of growing U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Syria, CNN has learned Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering the deployment of up to 200 troops to Jordan, according to two Defense Department officials.
The troops, which will come from the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, "creates an additional capability" beyond what has been there, one official said.
The group will give the United States the ability to "potentially form a joint task force for military operations, if ordered," he said.
By Barbara Starr
Under pressure from Democrats and Republicans, the Joint Staff of the Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command have updated potential military options for intervention in Syria that could see American forces - if ordered - doing everything from bombing Syrian airfields to flying large amounts of humanitarian aid to the region, a senior U.S. military official said.
The first public discussion of the updated options could come soon as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee next week.
The military official emphasized the options are for planning and there is no indication President Barack Obama is about to order any military action.
A senior administration official confirmed that the national security staff of the White House has been briefed on the updated planning, but emphasized that it does not differ from what already has been looked at by the administration.
"We've been saying for quite some time now, we are constantly reviewing every possible option that could help end the violence and accelerate a political transition," the administration official told CNN.
By Elise Labott
President Barack Obama has signed off on a new package of nonlethal aid for Syrian rebels, U.S. officials tell CNN, signaling his administration is cautiously wading further into the conflict.
Officials said the White House approved the package at a meeting of the National Security Council last week.
The move reflects what officials describe as a ramped-up effort to change the military balance on the battlefield in Syria.
It follows a decision by Obama last month to send food and medicine to the rebels, the first direct U.S. support for the armed opposition.
Other agencies have not been briefed on the final elements of the package, which is expected to be detailed at a White House meeting this week.
By Carol Cratty
U.S. authorities had a former soldier they were investigating removed from a "no-fly" list and allowed him to travel from Turkey to the United States where he was promptly arrested on charges related to fighting alongside a terror group in Syria.
That unusual step, revealed on Monday by a federal prosecutor in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, allowed authorities to get Eric Harroun back in the United States without having to ask Turkish authorities to arrest him.
Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was not in FBI custody during the flight, but agents were aboard and observed him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Carter Burwell.
He did not say when Harroun had been placed on the "no-fly" list or whether he was aware of it.
The FBI interviewed Harroun three times in March in Istanbul about his alleged activities in Syria.
Jill Dougherty talks to an American filmmaker working in Syria alongside rebels seeking the ouster of Bashar al-Assad.
A former U.S. soldier has been arrested and charged with illegally using a weapon of behalf of an al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria.
Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested Tuesday night by the FBI at a hotel near Dulles Airport in Virginia. A justice official tells CNN that FBI agents questioned Harroun at the hotel, then took him into custody.
Harroun appeared Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and was charged in connection with his alleged use of a rocket-propelled grenade in Syria.
The law used to charge him states, "Any national of the United States who, without lawful authority, uses or threatens, attempts, or conspires to use a weapon of mass destruction outside of the U.S. shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or if death results, may be punished by death."
By Kevin Liptak
Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday in Baghdad that he pressed Iraq's leaders to take steps prohibiting Iranian planes from delivering arms to Syria's besieged government, which is battling rebels backed by financial support from the American government.
Iranian planes must fly through Iraq's airspace in order to reach Syria with deliveries of weapons and supplies. The flights are occurring almost daily, according to a senior State Department official accompanying Kerry on his stop in Baghdad.
"Anything that supports President Assad is problematic," Kerry told reporters, referring to Syria's leader. "And I made it very clear to the prime minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime."
Kerry's previously unannounced trip to Iraq came after he joined President Barack Obama on a trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. This week marked the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and the first time since 2009 that a U.S. secretary of state has visited the country. Obama last went to Iraq in April 2009.
By Barbara Starr
Initial U.S. intelligence suggests Syria did not use chemical weapons in a strike earlier this week, CNN has been told by U.S. officials.
The officials emphasized this is a preliminary conclusion and the investigation continues.
U.S. analysts are "leaning hard away" from the notion that Syria used chemical weapons against its own people, a military official directly familiar with the preliminary analysis tells CNN.
There are "multiple indicators" for this emerging conclusion, a second official said.
That official told CNN, "there are strong indications now that chemical weapons were not used by the regime in recent days."