April 29th, 2013
09:57 PM ET

Expert: Intelligence system made 'mistakes' ahead of Boston

A former federal official who led information sharing efforts between intelligence agencies after September 11 says that system failed ahead of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks earlier this month.

“We didn’t connect the dots that we had. Few though they might have been, they were serious enough that they should have been connected,” Ambassador Thomas McNamara said Monday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”


Filed under: CIA • FBI • Security Brief
April 29th, 2013
05:10 PM ET

U.S. official: American detained in North Korea had proper visa

From Jill Dougherty

The Korean-American who has been held in North Korea since November entered the country on a valid tourist visa, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Monday.

The U.S. State Department on Monday publicly called on the North to release Kenneth Bae on humanitarian grounds.

Spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters that Swedish diplomats, who represent U.S. interests in North Korea because Washington has no diplomatic relations with the North, were able to visit Bae, a U.S. citizen, on Friday.

Some Americans have previously crossed the border without a visa, either knowingly or by mistake, but in this case, the official said, "This was somebody who was a tour operator who has been there in the past and has a visa to go to the North."

April 29th, 2013
04:38 PM ET

Better bomb detector – dogs or machines?

From the aftermath of the attack in Boston to the frontlines of the war in Afghanistan, a debate of dog versus machine is taking place over which is better equipped in the life and death challenge of detecting bombs.

CNN's Barbara Starr takes a look at both sides of the issue.

Filed under: Security Brief
Daughter of Cuban president to get visa to attend conference in U.S.
Mariela Castro is the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro.
April 29th, 2013
03:23 PM ET

Daughter of Cuban president to get visa to attend conference in U.S.

By Jill Dougherty

Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, will be granted a U.S. visa to attend a conference on lesbian and gay civil rights in Philadelphia in May, a U.S. official tells CNN.

Initially not expected to receive a visa, the official said the case was "looked at again" and "the restriction on her visa has been lifted, which will allow her to travel" to the event on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Mariela Castro is the director of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education and the niece of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Although she is not gay, she has lobbied for gay rights in Cuba, including the right for same-sex couples to marry and for AIDS awareness.

Pentagon steps up planning for potential military intervention in Syria
A Syrian rebel distributes bullets to comrades in the Karm al-Jabal district of the northern city of Aleppo.
April 29th, 2013
03:04 PM ET

Pentagon steps up planning for potential military intervention in Syria

By Barbara Starr

The Pentagon has in recent days stepped up planning for potential military intervention in the Syrian civil war, specifically because of growing evidence the regime may have used chemical weapons, CNN has learned.

"There is intensified planning in the works as more precise information comes in on the Syrian regime's potential use of chemical weapons and the body of evidence grows," a senior administration official said.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the effort, declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

If President Barack Obama were to order action, it could involve thousands of U.S. troops. But all of the options face serious military challenges.