White House national security official fired for tweeting insults
October 23rd, 2013
07:15 AM ET

White House national security official fired for tweeting insults

By CNN Staff

A White House national security official was fired after sending sometimes insulting messages on Twitter under a fake name, a senior administration official said.

The story about National Security Council Director of Nonproliferation Jofi Joseph was first reported by the Daily Beast.

Joseph was fired for messages sent on the account @natsecwonk, the administration official confirmed to CNN's Jake Tapper.

That account had been deleted Tuesday evening.

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Filed under: White House
September 9th, 2013
07:28 PM ET

Obama: Russia proposal for Syria 'positive development' - if it's real

By Catherine E. Shoichet and Jamie Crawford

A new possibility for a diplomatic solution in the standoff between Syria and the United States surfaced unexpectedly Monday as the war-torn country said it supported a proposal to hand over control of its chemical weapons.

But a key question loomed: Is that a viable option or simply a stall tactic as President Bashar al-Assad's government tries to stave off U.S. military action?

"It's certainly a positive development when the Russians and Syrians both make gestures towards dealing with these chemical weapons," President Barack Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Monday.
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Filed under: Assad • Military • Obama • Sec. State John Kerry • Security Brief • State Department • Syria • White House
Syria Opinion: Obama is mulling the least bad option
August 30th, 2013
10:35 AM ET

Syria Opinion: Obama is mulling the least bad option

Aaron David Miller, vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, says Obama apparently has chosen the middle option on Syria (between doing nothing and the McCain option of pushing for regime change). The result is one of the most widely telegraphed military assaults ever by Washington and a situation in which the president seems to be in a corner, forced to take action or risk being considered ineffective. It’s the least bad option, Miller says.

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Filed under: Assad • Barack Obama • Security Brief • Syria • White House
Source: Obama to move forward with plan to arm Syrian rebels
July 23rd, 2013
05:00 PM ET

Source: Obama to move forward with plan to arm Syrian rebels

By Brianna Keilar, Jessica Yellin and Tom Cohen

Reluctant approval from Congress for providing military support to Syrian rebels allows the Obama administration to move forward with plans first announced almost six weeks ago.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday that the goal of the military aid expected to include small arms, ammunition and perhaps anti-tank weapons is to keep the Syrian opposition going against forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Noting al-Assad's forces have been helped by Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as Iran, Carney said Syrian rebels need the help of the United States and allied nations to withstand an increased assault.

"The aid is intended to help the opposition resist Assad and eventually prevail," Carney said, adding that any resolution of Syria's civil war will require a political transition.

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April 5th, 2013
07:25 PM ET

North Korea: Hints of calming rhetoric

In North Korea Friday, CNN’s told, two medium-range missiles are in their launchers, loaded and ready to go.

The White House says it won’t be surprised if Kim Jong Un orders those missiles to be fired as a test of his military power.

The communist leader is sending all sorts of signals about his next move and when it might happen, including an ominous new warning to foreign diplomats.

To give us the global view on this unfolding story, our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.


Filed under: Diplomacy • Kim Jong-un • Lavrov • Military • Missile Defense • North Korea • Russia • Security Brief • South Korea • US Forces Korea • White House
President to host CEOs in Situation Room for cyber security chat
March 13th, 2013
01:22 PM ET

President to host CEOs in Situation Room for cyber security chat

By Alex Mooney

President Obama has invited a handful of CEOs to the White House Situation Room on Wednesday to discuss the growing threats posed by cyberattacks.

Administration officials are so far staying tight-lipped about who is attending the closed-door meeting, but one White House official tried to downplay the choice of convening it in the Situation Room, which is ordinarily reserved for high-ranking members of the president's national security team.

Instead, the White House official said, the Situation Room is the only conference room available Wednesday to accommodate the meeting.

The president is expected to discuss his administration's latest steps to beef up cybersecurity, including a recently signed executive order designed to improve intelligence sharing between the government and the private sector over potential cyber vulnerabilities, particularly those posed by Chinese hackers.

Among the CEOs invited are the leaders of AT&T, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman, the White House said Wednesday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Cybersecurity • White House
March 7th, 2013
06:43 PM ET

White House reviews targeted killing program

The growing strength of extremist groups across the Middle East and Africa has led the Obama Administration to begin a classified review of just who it can go after under its targeted killing program.

The current congressional authorization to use military force, allows the President to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against any persons or organizations involved in planning or carrying out the September 11th attacks–its been interpreted to include al Qaeda affiliates.

But emerging terrorist groups sympathetic to al Qaeda do not necessarily have a direct link to the core Al Qaeda network responsible for the September 11th attack, CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

February 20th, 2013
06:03 PM ET

Obama administration takes on hackers stealing trade secrets

By Alex Mooney

The U.S. is seeking a more muscular response to the growing threat from foreign hackers interested in obtaining U.S. businesses’ trade secrets.

The response, in the guise of a 150-page report unveiled by Attorney Gen. Eric Holder and other leading government officials on Wednesday, includes new pledges by the Justice Department and FBI to crack down on hacking, a guide for corporations vulnerable to attacks on how to beef up their own security, and a proposal to better coordinate efforts with U.S. allies to prosecute foreign hackers.

“In this time of economic recovery, this work is more important than it has ever been before,” Holder said Wednesday at a White House event that outlined the new response. “I am pleased to report we are fighting back more aggressively and collaboratively than ever before.”

The announcement comes a day after the Virginia-based Mandiant published a 60-page report that alleges the Chinese government is sponsoring cyber-espionage to attack top U.S. companies.
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Filed under: China • Cybersecurity • White House
Big shoes to fill: Replacing John Brennan
January 25th, 2013
05:00 PM ET

Big shoes to fill: Replacing John Brennan

By Adam Aigner-Treworgy

Nearly three weeks after nominating chief White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, President Barack Obama on Friday announced a replacement.

Lisa Monaco will serve as the new assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and deputy national security adviser - a long title for a job that up to this point has been filled by the president's closest adviser in the fight against foreign and domestic terrorism.

Monaco comes from the Justice Department, where she has served as assistant attorney general for national security since July 2011. Prior to that assignment, Monaco served as deputy attorney general, chief of staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel at the FBI, and during an earlier stint at the Justice Department adviser to Attorney General Janet Reno on national security issues.

A graduate of Harvard University and University of Chicago Law School - where Obama was a professor before entering politics - Monaco spent many years as a prosecutor. FULL POST

FBI: No credible threats to inauguration activities
Crowds filled the National Mall for the 2009 United States Presidential Inaguration.
January 16th, 2013
05:42 AM ET

FBI: No credible threats to inauguration activities

By Carol Cratty

As law enforcement agencies finalize security preparations for Barack Obama's second inauguration, an FBI official said Tuesday authorities have "no credible corroborated threats to any of the activities."

Debra Evans Smith, the FBI's acting assistant director in charge of its Washington field office, said the FBI will have specialized personnel ready to go to meet any security challenge.

"We will have our SWAT team, pretty much all of our specialty teams will be available and on standby to include (weapons specialists), our dive team, our intelligence team - working around the clock - our hostage negotiators, (and) our special agent bomb technicians will also be available," Smith told reporters.

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