By Ted Barrett
The U.S. government has identified "a certain number of people" believed involved in the Benghazi, Libya, attack, a senior Republican lawmaker told CNN on Tuesday.
The lawmaker said that government investigators have put identities to individuals seen in surveillance video of the attack.
"They know the names. That's what we haven't known. These are individuals they know now. Not just the pictures," the senior lawmaker said.
The lawmaker, who is familiar with the status of the investigation, could not say how many had been identified.
Just last week, Attorney General Eric Holder hinted there were developments in the investigation. FULL POST
Kerry adamant White House not involved in intelligence leaks
By Ted Barrett
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he is “really upset” about recent leaks of classified information because it “endangers our long-term security” and it “begs retaliation.” But Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was adamant that no one at the White House or in Democratic politics was involved in the leaks.
“I know that people at the White House were not involved,” he said.
Asked about suggestions from Sen. John McCain of Arizona and other Republicans that the leaks came from someone trying to boost the president’s political standing, Kerry said they are wrong. FULL POST
Senators got a taste Wednesday night of what Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has called his worst nightmare, a cyber attack on the on the United States' infrastructure.
Senior officials from the Obama administration briefed assembled senators on a hypothetical scenario, said National Security Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. The briefing, at the request of the senators, was intended "to provide all Senators with an appreciation for new legislative authorities that could help the U.S. Government prevent and more quickly respond to cyber attacks," according to Hayden. FULL POST
By Ted Barrett and Kate Bolduan
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. senators he has not decided whether to strike nuclear sites in Iran, according to two Democratic senators who attended a meeting with him in the Capitol Tuesday.
“They say they haven’t made a decision and I take them at face value,” Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said after the meeting.” “But I think they are making very clear their distinction between the U.S. perception of timing and theirs.” FULL POST
By Adam Levine
After initially threatening a veto, the White House has issued a statement saying changes made by the House and Senate regarding controversial detainee provisions are sufficient and advisors will no longer advise the president to veto the 2012 Defense Authorization bill if it passes the House and Senate.
The detainee provision sought to codify rules that would mandate that the military would hold in custody and try terror suspects. That concerned the White House and many lawmakers who think the responsibility belongs, in part, to law enforcement agencies and the federal courts and warned that Americans could possibly be detained indefinitely by the military.
The White House reversal comes on the same day that the FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee hearing that while some of the changes are helpful, the provisions regarding what happens at the time of an arrest "lack clarity" and did not address all of his concerns about the ability to gain cooperation after an arrest.
"It lacks clarity with regard to what happens if - we had a case in Lackawanna, New York, and an arrest has to be made there and there's no military within several hundred miles," Mueller said.
Mueller said it is an issue too when FBI and military can both be on the scene.
"My concern is that you do not want to have FBI agents and military showing up at the scene at the same time on a covered person or with a covered person. There may be some uncovered persons there with some uncertainty as to who has the role and who is gonna do what," Mueller noted. FULL POST
The Senate on Thursday passed a giant defense bill that includes a new policy for detaining and trying suspected al Qaeda terrorists - a policy that attracted controversy during the debate and may draw a presidential veto.
The defense authorization bill passed by a vote of 93-7.
In keeping with budget cuts across the government, the $662 billion bill shrinks Pentagon spending by $43 billion from last year. It includes funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and sets policies for the various weapons systems and personnel programs at the Defense Department.