By Jennifer Rizzo
Defense company executives conceded on Monday that their industry would likely see billions more in cuts even if Congress reaches a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
"We need to stop believing or pretending that there is a scenario out there that offers no defense cuts," said David Langstaff, president and chief executive of TASC, Inc. "The question is whether we make them responsibly or irresponsibly."
The automatic cuts, referred to as sequestration, are set to go into effect on January 2 if the White House and Congress cannot agree on where $1 trillion in federal savings over the next decade should come from.
The Pentagon's budget would be axed by $500 billion over that time. That would be on top of a similar cut the Pentagon is already committed to achieving.
Langstaff discussed the threat of the looming budget cuts at the National Press Club along with three other defense industry executives: Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman; David Hess, president of Pratt & Whitney; and Dawne Hickton, CEO of RTI Metals.
Americans are giving the White House low marks for how it's handled the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus, according to a new national survey.
But according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday, a majority of the public doesn't believe the Obama administration intentionally tried to mislead Americans on the September attack that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead. And the survey also indicates a plurality have a positive opinion of Petraeus and are divided on whether the former top U.S. should have resigned as CIA director after acknowledging an extra-marital affair.FULL STORY
By Mike Mount, CNN Senior National Security Producer
The fallout from the scandal involving now disgraced CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and possible connection to top Afghan commander Gen. John Allen comes at a transition time for the Obama administration. Just a week after the election, one of Washington's favorite guessing games started as politicians, journalists and every other political wonk started to calculate who could be filling the major Cabinet positions that would be opening as some get set to step down. It raises the question of what effect all this could have on the country's national security.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton long ago announced she would be leaving and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, said this week that he does want to return to his home in California. Asked how long he plans to stick around the Pentagon, he responded to reporters, "Who the hell knows?"
In the military, regularly scheduled command changes were getting set as well, as Allen was moving to head the European Command and a new commander was preparing to take over in Afghanistan. Both have to be confirmed by the Senate and a confirmation hearing is set for Thursday with the Senate Armed Services Committee.
But in light of the scandal, is the president at risk of losing too much of his foreign policy brain trust as Petraeus departs and Allen works under the haze of an investigation?
The newly re-elected president had a busy morning returning calls to world leaders who had sent messages of congratulations, according to a White House statement.
"In each call, he thanked his counterpart for their friendship and partnership thus far and expressed his desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead," according to the statement.
Not everyone got a call returned by President Obama, mind you. The statement notes the president returned "some" of the messages personally.
Here's a list of who got called: FULL POST
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.
By Adam Levine
As the investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, continues, there is disagreement about whether the violence was a result of a mob gone awry, a planned terror attack or a combination of the two.
The White House said Friday there was no indication before the attack in Libya this week that something was in the works beforehand.
"We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent," presidential spokesman Jay Carney said.
The comment came as a top Libyan official and some within Congress and other aspects of the U.S. government said there are signs now that the attack on the consulate that killed the ambassador and three other Americans was not a spontaneous outgrowth of a mob angered by an anti-Muslim film.
A U.S. official told CNN's Suzanne Kelly that American intelligence was sufficiently concerned about the attention the movie was receiving online to warn the embassy in Egypt in a bulletin a few days before protesters stormed that compound in Cairo on Tuesday, the same day the consulate in Libya was attacked by armed militants.
The president's spokesman disputed a Washington Post item that suggested the commander-in-chief has not attended the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) "more than half the time."
The PDB is a daily rundown of threats and developments as assessed by the national security community. It is a top secret written document that is read by the President and his inner circle of security advisors and is often accompanied by in-person briefing by intelligence officials.
The opinion column by Marc Thiessen, a former speech writer for President George W. Bush, cites research by the conservative Government Accountability Institute, which studied Obama's daily schedule from his first day in office through June 2012.
During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.
Asked about the article Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the assertion that the president was playing hooky from his presidential daily briefings was "hilarious" : FULL POST
By Pam Benson, CNN Senior National Security Producer
Newly released e-mails show the Obama administration was eager to help the makers of an upcoming documentary on the dramatic raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden - and the e-mails are likely to once again raise questions about whether the filmmakers had special access.
The records from the CIA and Defense Department were made public Tuesday by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the e-mails indicate the Obama administration "played fast and loose with national security information to help Hollywood filmmakers," and that there was no doubt the "White House was intensely interested in this film that was set to portray President Obama as 'gutsy'" - a reference to one of the e-mails that said the raid "was a gutsy decision" by the president.
The e-mails indicate filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, screenwriter Mark Boal and other members of their team were given special access to senior administration officials just weeks after the May 1, 2011, raid as they researched their movie entitled "Zero Dark Thirty," originally scheduled to come out in October but now delayed until after the presidential election.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles about national security by participants in the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 25-28 in Aspen, Colorado.
CNN Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly interviewed CNN contributor Fran Townsend, a former adviser to President George W. for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on how terror threats are relayed and managed at the highest levels of the White House.
CNN: Describe the role of assistant to the president when it comes to managing issues of counterterrorism on a daily basis.
FRAN TOWNSEND: It's twofold. The first thing is that the individual is responsible for identifying and running a policy process related to that area in coordination with other agencies: everything from transportation security to disaster response, all the way through to interrogations. The whole host of policies related to terrorism is one substantial piece to that job, but then there's also an operational aspect, but not in the sense of directing operations, rather in coordinating them. That job was traditionally brought together by the (intelligence) agencies. Now, you've got an (National Counterterrorism Center) that basically does that for the White House. As a third thing, I would say there is a diplomatic role that that person plays, and that is to meet with senior members of foreign governments to make sure we are getting the cooperation we need. FULL POST