February 18th, 2013
07:30 PM ET

Budget Cuts: real crisis or scare tactics

Time is running out: unless Congress acts by March first - $85 billion in massive spending cuts will kick in automatically. Two million federal workers face furloughs.

But one way or another the impact may be felt by most Americans.

The White House warns that 10-thousand teacher jobs would be at risk and 70-thousand children could be removed from Head Start.

The cuts would hit during tax season - meaning millions of taxpayers would have an even tougher time getting  answers from the IRS.

CNN's Chris Lawrence has been looking at other areas where you may feel the sting.

White House calls on EU to add Hezbollah to terror list
February 18th, 2013
02:32 PM ET

White House calls on EU to add Hezbollah to terror list

By Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath

The Obama administration is calling for European countries to restrict Hezbollah's ability to operate by adding the group to the European Union's terror list, citing the Lebanon-based group's involvement in the deadly attack last year in Bulgaria.

The president's national security adviser Thomas Donilon wrote in an op-ed published in the New York Times on Monday that Europe "can no longer ignore" the threat that Hezbollah poses.

"European governments must respond swiftly. They must disrupt its operational networks, stop flows of financial assistance to the group, crack down on Hezbollah-linked criminal enterprises and condemn the organization's leaders for their continued pursuit of terrorism," Donilon wrote in the item headlined "Hezbollah Unmasked."

One White House official told Security Clearance the op-ed was the "next step in a line of efforts" to stop Hezbollah, including "considerable work" with the EU, Israel and other countries.

Donilon said Hezbollah's ability to operate worldwide and conduct covert attacks was underscored by the Bulgarian government investigation which blamed Hezbollah for the planning and executing of an attack that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver and injured dozens more in Burgas, Bulgaria last July.  FULL POST

Filed under: Hezbollah • Lebanon • Terrorism
'93 WTC plotter Ramzi Yousef wants contact ban lifted
February 18th, 2013
12:47 AM ET

'93 WTC plotter Ramzi Yousef wants contact ban lifted

By Matt Smith

The convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing wants nearly two decades of communication restrictions lifted, arguing he's no longer a threat to national security, his lawyer said Sunday.

Ramzi Yousef has been locked away in solitary confinement at the federal "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, since 1998. A 15-page list of rules sets limits on his contact with relatives, lawyers and other inmates. He can read books and watch television, but newspapers and magazines are censored to keep him from receiving messages planted in classified ads or letters to the editor.

Now 44, Yousef "no longer should be considered a national security threat," his lawyer, Bernard Kleinman, told CNN. "If the government feels that he is, they should provide some reasonable basis that they can corroborate as to why he is a continuing national security threat."

U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy, who sentenced Yousef to life plus 20 years, called him "a virus that must be locked away." He was arrested in 1996 in a plot to bomb U.S. airliners in Asia, and he's the nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed - the accused mastermind of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people and brought down the World Trade Center.


Filed under: Ramzi Yousef • Security Brief • Terrorism