By Evan Perez
President Barack Obama and new FBI Director James Comey sat on stage Monday in front of a brass frieze of J. Edgar Hoover, the former FBI chief, who kept dossiers on elected leaders, civil rights activists, Hollywood stars and other important figures of his day.
The occasion was Comey’s installation as the seventh director, a ceremony held in the open-air courtyard of the bureau’s brutalist 1970’s-era headquarters.
Hanging in the air were the latest round of revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, whose disclosures of secret government eavesdropping programs have given rise to intense scrutiny of alleged government abuse of power to rival Hoover’s day.
By Barbara Starr
A U.S. military drone strike in southern Somalia killed two suspected Al Shabaab members, two U.S. officials confirm to CNN.
One of those killed was described by one of the officials as Anta, considered a top technical and explosives expert for the al Qaeda-affiliated group.
He was "a person of interest we had been tracking," the official said.
The other individual killed was not identified. However, it was not Mohamed Abdikadir Mohamed, said to be one of the most dangerous Al Shabaab commanders and known as Ikrima.
Navy Seals sought but failed to capture him in recent weeks during a raid on his compound.
September's deadly shopping mall attack in Nairobi, for which Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, have raised terror concerns in the region.
By Al Goodman and David Simpson
The release of further allegations of National Security Agency surveillance efforts caused the Spanish government to summon the U.S. ambassador Monday, and The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House ordered a halt to some eavesdropping on foreign leaders after learning of it this summer.
Quoting unidentified U.S. officials, the newspaper's website said the wiretapping of about 35 foreign leaders was disclosed to the White House as part of a review of surveillance programs ordered by President Barack Obama after NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information on the NSA's phone monitoring systems.
The White House ordered a halt to the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and unspecified other leaders, the newspaper reported. The Journal report did not specify who gave the shutdown order or the date it was issued.FULL STORY
By CNN's Kevin Liptak
The NSA is denying a report in a German newspaper that the agency’s chief – Gen. Keith Alexander-had informed President Obama in 2010 about the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.
NSA spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines told CNN: "Gen. Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel. News reports claiming otherwise are not true."
By CNN's Jaosn Seher
The House Intelligence chief emphatically told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday that the NSA's foreign intelligence gathering operations keep allies "safe."
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the vision being presented to the American public of a nation spying on its closest allies does not jibe with reality. According to Rogers, the U.S. counterterror operation abroad "keeps the French safe."
By Larry Shaughnessy
At ease Marines. The Corps is not going to make men change their hats.
A New York Post headline, "Obama wants Marines to wear 'girly' hats," generated a lot of attention this week.
But alas, the service says that's not the case.
European leaders warned Friday that reports of widespread spying on world leaders by the U.S. National Security Agency have raised "deep concerns" among Europeans and could affect the cooperation needed for effective intelligence gathering.
"A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field," the leaders said in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of a two-day European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that Madrid has summoned U.S. Ambassador James Costos over the matter. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid declined to comment, saying that Rajoy's statement stands for itself.
My, how the tables have turned. Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden had a mole of his own on the Acela train Thursday afternoon.
Nearby passenger Tom Matzzie eavesdropped on a phone conversation between Hayden and an unknown journalist, live tweeting notes. At least he wasn't on the quiet car...
Hayden, a CNN.com contributor, told CNN he "had a nice chat with my fellow Pittsburgher" on his way.
"Not sure what he thinks bashing the Administration means," he said in a statement, adding he didn't criticize President Barack Obama. "I actually said these are very difficult issues. I said I had political guidance, too, that limited the things that I did when I was director of NSA. Now that political guidance is going to be more robust. It wasn’t a criticism.”FULL STORY
By Alison Harding
Fresh off the plane from a whirlwind four days of meetings in Europe, Secretary of State John Kerry stopped by a progressive policy forum in Washington on Thursday to chide U.S. leaders for allowing the government to shut down.
“I wanted just to come here this afternoon…to reflect on the damage that events like the one we’ve just been through can do to the esteem in which the U.S. is held in the world, a key component of our national power,” Kerry said at a Center for American Progress forum.
Kerry, who attended a series of international summits in Asia during the government shutdown, warned that the United States must “be far more conscious about how our leadership looks through other people's eyes.”
Gov. Brown pleads for comprehensive immigration reform
“I have seen how our allies and our partners and those who wish to challenge us or do us harm – they are all sizing us up. Every day they are taking our measure,” Kerry said. “What we do in Washington matters deeply to them. And that’s why a self-inflicted wound like the shutdown that we just endured can never happen again.”FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
In another public embarrassment for the Air Force's nuclear missile program, two crew members were disciplined earlier this year for leaving silo blast doors open while they were on duty in an underground facility housing nuclear missiles.
The incidents, first reported by the Associated Press, were confirmed Wednesday by the Air Force.
Under Air Force regulations, a two-man missile launch crew is required to keep the underground blast door shut when one crew member is asleep during the 24-hour shift.
In April a crew member was found "derelict in his duties in that he left the blast door open in order to receive a food delivery from the onsite chef" while the other crew member was on an authorized sleep break, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. John Sheets said in a statement.
The crew member who was found "derelict" received a punishment of forfeiting $2,246 in pay for each of two months. The other crew member admitted to similar misconduct "on a few occasions" and received a letter of admonishment. The April incident occurred at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
In May, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, a maintenance team was allowed into an underground launch control center while one crew member was sleeping, in violation of rules. In this case, the commander of the crew, when questioned about the incident, told the deputy to lie about being asleep, which she initially did, according to officials.
The incident was investigated, and both crew members were disciplined. The commander is forfeiting $3,045 in pay for each of two months and facing a discharge board.
Air Force officials insist security was not compromised in these incidents because there are multiple layers of security above ground that would keep unauthorized personnel from gaining access to a launch control center. The centers are generally 40 feet to 100 feet underground, and the two-man crew controls as many as 10 missile silos.
There also are multiple layers of security surrounding nuclear launch codes.
But the disclosures come on the heels of the firing of the two-star general in charge of the Air Force's three nuclear wings. Earlier this month, Maj. Gen. Michael Carey was "relieved" of command "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment," the Air Force said at the time. Carey's removal had to do with reports of alleged misbehavior on a business trip.
In August, one of the Air Force's nuclear wings failed a safety and security inspection and a separate wing did poorly in an inspection earlier in the year, which resulted in 17 military personnel being decertified from their jobs. They have since undergone retraining and are back at work.