Putin still sees double standard with West on terrorism
Russian President Vladimir Putin
April 26th, 2013
06:22 PM ET

Putin still sees double standard with West on terrorism

By Jill Dougherty

When I was CNN’s Moscow Bureau Chief I participated in a round-table discussion with Vladimir Putin, then president for the first time, in the Kremlin library. Sitting next to him, just to his right, I could see how even the word “Chechnya” infuriated him. After all, it was Putin who, in 1999, launched the second Chechen War.

Thursday, in his annual national call-in, “Direct Line,” in which he fielded questions from Russians for almost five hours, Vladimir Putin showed that he still has a deep current of anger toward Chechen terrorists, along with a deep grudge toward the West for what he perceives as its double standard on terrorism.

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U.S. Marine rapid response force deploying to Spain base
April 25th, 2013
02:28 PM ET

U.S. Marine rapid response force deploying to Spain base

By Barbara Starr

The first of 500 Marines have begun deploying to Spain as part of a new rapid reaction force to respond to threats against U.S. citizens, government personnel or installations in Africa.

The new task force is based at Moron Air Base in southern Spain, which provides quick access especially to northern Africa, where security concerns have grown since the September 2012 attack on a U.S. government facility in Benghazi, Libya, a Pentagon official told CNN.

Deployment began Wednesday

When fully operational, the unit will be required to be airborne within six hours of receiving orders, providing the type of rapid response that the Pentagon says was not possible during the Benghazi attack. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during the assault at the U.S. mission and CIA annex.

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Filed under: Africa • Benghazi • Libya • Libya • Military
Russia asked U.S. twice to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev, official says
April 24th, 2013
07:15 PM ET

Russia asked U.S. twice to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev, official says

By Joe Johns, Barbara Starr, Gloria Borger and Carol Cratty

Months after the FBI cleared Tamerlan Tsarnaev in its investigation of possible connections to jihadist causes, the Russians approached the CIA as well to look into him, CNN has learned.

But what was provided by the Russians in late September 2011 was "basically the same" information that had been given the previous March to the FBI, according to a government official.

The source said the communication was a "warning letter" sent to the CIA.

Tsarnaev, 26, suspected along with his younger brother of bombing the Boston Marathon early last week, died on Friday following a violent confrontation with police.
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From the grave, the cleric inspiring a new generation of terrorists
Anwar al-Awlaki was regarded by the United States as one of the biggest threats to homeland security.
April 24th, 2013
04:47 PM ET

From the grave, the cleric inspiring a new generation of terrorists

By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister

He was born and raised in the United States, and killed by the United States. And now from beyond the grave he inspires a new generation of would-be terrorists to attack the United States.

Militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki continues to speak through sermons posted online, and U.S. officials are investigating whether his words may have influenced Boston bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A U.S. government official told CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday that "the preachings of Anwar al-Awlaki were likely to have been among the videos they watched." A U.S. government source had previously told CNN that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had claimed the brothers had no connection to overseas Islamist terrorist groups and were radicalized through the Internet.

Al-Awlaki lived in Colorado, California and Virginia before leaving the United States in 2002. At one point he met two of the men who would be among the 9/11 hijackers, an encounter later investigated by the FBI. There is no evidence that al-Awlaki knew of their plans.

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Bombing suspect was in security files, but not on watch lists
April 24th, 2013
02:47 PM ET

Bombing suspect was in security files, but not on watch lists

By Pam Benson

The name of one Boston Marathon bombing suspect was included in U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism databases, but he was not on any watch list that would have prevented him from flying or required additional screening when he left or entered the country, according to intelligence and law enforcement officials.

After the FBI was asked by the Russians in early 2011 to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev's possible connection to jihadist causes, his name was put on a Customs and Border Prevention list known as TECS, used to detect unusual or suspicious travel, so that the FBI and other agencies would know if he traveled outside the United States.

The FBI investigation turned up no terrorism threat or any other derogatory information and the case was closed in June of 2011.

Several months later in the fall of 2011, the CIA received from the Russians information almost identical to what had been given to the FBI, according to a U.S. intelligence official.
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Kerry aims to soothe Afghan-Pakistan tensions
Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) and Pakistani Army Chief-of-Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, on April 24, 2013 during a break in a meeting in Brussels.
April 24th, 2013
12:15 PM ET

Kerry aims to soothe Afghan-Pakistan tensions

By Elise Labott reporting from Brussels

Secretary of State John Kerry brought together Afghan and Pakistani leaders on Wednesday to help soothe tensions between the two countries and try to breathe life into the reconciliation process with the Taliban.

Keeping expectations low for any immediate progress in the process, Kerry said all sides still have "homework" to do.

"We have agreed that results will tell the story, not statements at press conferences," Kerry told reporters in Brussels before returning to Washington. "We are not going to raise expectations or make any kind of promises that can't be delivered."

Kerry hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani at Truman Hall, the secluded estate of the U.S. Ambassador to NATO outside Brussels.
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April 23rd, 2013
09:03 PM ET

New role for David Petraeus: Professor

From Shirley Henry

David Petraeus, who resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency after the revelation of an extramarital affair, has been named a visiting professor at Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, the school's chancellor said Tuesday.

Petraeus will assume the position in August, Matthew Goldstein, the chancellor, said. The university did not provide specifics about what Petraeus would be teaching.

In a statement, the retired Army general indicated he will lead an economic seminar.

"I look forward to leading a seminar at Macaulay that examines the developments that could position the United States - and our North American partners - to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown," he said.

Petraeus, who once ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned from his CIA post in November.

He resigned after admitting he had had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, a fellow West Point graduate who spent months studying the general's leadership of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The affair came to light during an FBI investigation of "jealous" e-mails Broadwell reportedly sent to another woman.

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Filed under: Security Brief
April 23rd, 2013
08:25 PM ET

House GOP Benghazi report says Clinton signed off on security reduction

By Deirdre Walsh and Jill Dougherty

House Republican leaders released a report Tuesday on the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in which they claim former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally signed off on cuts in security at the compound, which they say would contradict her congressional testimony.

The September 11, 2012, attack resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The 46-page report by Republicans on five House committees cites a request from then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, sent last March 28 to Clinton asking for additional security resources, and a response dated last April 19 that bears Clinton's signature.

The April cable from the State Department, according to the GOP report, "acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz' formal request for additional security assets but ordered the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned."
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Kerry warns NATO on potential use of chemical weapons in Syria
April 23rd, 2013
06:11 PM ET

Kerry warns NATO on potential use of chemical weapons in Syria

By Elise Labott

Brussels, Belgium (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged NATO members on Tuesday to prepare for the possible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, while Russia's foreign minister accused the West of politicizing the search for such weapons, comparing it to the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Though NATO has flatly ruled out military intervention, Kerry told foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, that "moving forward, we should consider NATO's role as it relates to the Syrian crisis."

In his first address to NATO since taking office in February, Kerry noted that ongoing contingency planning for Syria was "an appropriate undertaking for the alliance."

"We should also carefully and collectively consider how NATO is prepared to respond to protect its members from a Syrian threat, including any potential chemical weapons threat," Kerry said, according to prepared remarks.
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Al Qaeda, Iran ... and Canada plot?
A VIA Rail train leaves Union Station, the heart of VIA Rail travel, bound for Windsor on April 22, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report they have arrested two people connected to an alleged Al Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb on a VIA Rail train in Canada.
April 23rd, 2013
01:05 PM ET

Al Qaeda, Iran ... and Canada plot?

By CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen

Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden - From 9/11 to Abbottabad" and a director at the New America Foundation.

The news that Canadian law enforcement on Monday arrested two men accused of planning to derail a passenger train in the Toronto area has attracted much attention, in part, because the plotters are also charged with "receiving support from al Qaeda elements in Iran."
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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Canada • Iran
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