By Dan Merica
Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.
The United States' antiterrorism chief is worried about the leaks that former government contractor Edward Snowden has carried out - particularly, he said Thursday, because our European allies are watching and reacting.
In a panel at the Aspen Security Forum, Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said that while "it remains to be seen" how Snowden's leaks have affected relationships with U.S. allies, he is growing concerned.
"I an worried about it when I see what I read, particularly with respect to Europe and our European allies," he said. "How they may be reacting to this. But I think it just remains to be seen on that."
Olsen, who heads the center that is responsible for analyzing all terror threats, was noticeably measured in his answer.
By Ed Payne, CNN
Reaction to North Korea's nuclear test - its third since 2006 - poured in Tuesday from around the world:
Barack Obama, U.S. president:
"This is a highly provocative act that ... undermines regional stability, violates North Korea's obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation.
North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security. The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and steadfast in our defense commitments to allies in the region."
"The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies."FULL STORY
By Elise Labott
Incoming Secretary of State John Kerry plans to include stops in the Middle East as his first official trip, according to a US official. The trip, which is expected as early as mid-February, is likely to include stops in Israel and Egypt, the official said.
A western diplomat said Kerry has already been invited by some European capitals to visit later this month. Kerry indicated interest in going, but did not commit given he has not been sworn in yet.
By Max Foster and Peter Wilkinson
Britain's Prince Harry has acknowledged that he killed Taliban insurgents on his latest tour of duty in Afghanistan as a crew member of an Apache attack helicopter.
Harry has been serving for four months as a co-pilot gunner (CPG) in southern Helmand province - considered a Taliban heartland - and flew on scores of missions with the trigger to rockets, missiles and a 30mm cannon at his fingertips.FULL STORY
By Jill Dougherty
In order for its offensive against Islamists in Mali to succeed, France needs the assistance of the United States and other countries, a French official told CNN.
"We really need the help of everybody and when countries such as Morocco and Algeria are opening their skies to our planes," the official said. "That's crucial because that's a mark of full solidarity for our mission - which is needed, it's really needed."
Mali was one of the most successful democracies in Africa until last year, when a coup toppled the president and Islamists capitalized on the chaos by establishing themselves in the north. There, they imposed a strict interpretation of Sharia law by banning music, smoking, drinking and watching sports on television. They also damaged Timbuktu's historic tombs and shrines.
The International Criminal Court has launched a war crimes investigation amid reports that residents have been mutilated and killed for disobeying the Islamists. The United Nations has noted accounts of amputations, floggings and public executions such as the July stoning of a couple who had reportedly had an affair.
By CNN Staff
U.S. troops lent "limited technical support" in France's bloody and unsuccessful bid in Somalia to rescue an intelligence agent who'd been held hostage for years, President Barack Obama said Sunday.
Obama detailed the U.S. military involvement in the Friday night mission in a letter sent to the leaders of the nation's two legislative chambers. The letter was released publicly as well.
While U.S. forces "provided limited technical support," they "took no direct part in the assault on the compound where it was believed the French citizen was being held hostage," the president explained.
By Paul Cruickshank
German authorities suspect Islamist extremists were responsible for planting an explosive device Monday beside a track at the main railway station in Bonn, a German intelligence official tells CNN.
The explosives were found after a 14-year-old reported the bag to police, according to the official, who said the device was "not sophisticated" in design.
The official said whoever left the bag remains at large. Initially, German police arrested two Bonn residents soon after recovering the explosive components, the official said. The official identified them as Omar D., who's long been on German security services' radar because of his alleged links to Islamist extremists, and Abdifatah W.
Both, however, were released without charge after just a few hours in custody. The official said authorities have not ruled out Omar D. as a suspect but do not have enough evidence to hold him.
On Wednesday German police released a composite sketch of the suspected perpetrator based on a description from the 14-year-old. A German official told CNN the sketch describes a tall, thin, dark-skinned man in his early 30s. FULL POST
By Raffaello Pantucci, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Raffaello Pantucci is an associate fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College and the author of the forthcoming "We Love Death As You Love Life: Britain's Suburban Mujahedeen" (Hurst).
A growing number of young Europeans drawn to protect their abandoned Muslim brethren have taken up arms in Syria. It's a dynamic that Europe has witnessed before.
In the 1990s, young Europeans were enticed by the idea of fighting jihad in Bosnia. Spurred on by radical preachers, young men and women were drawn to fight to protect their Muslim brethren merely a bus ride away.
Before the September 11 attack in 2001, the notion of fighting in a holy war was something far from most people's minds and reserved for history books about the Crusades. Occasional appearances by fearsome looking radical preachers at rallies where people would shout about holy war were shown every so often on television, but that was the extent of public knowledge of the issue.
But there was more going on, mostly unseen to the average citizen in Europe. In the mid-1990s as Yugoslavia started to fall apart, stories emerged of middle-class Europeans being killed fighting and of Western forces finding groups of fighters with British accents among the Bosnian ranks. FULL POST
By Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Independent international observers in the Republic of Georgia described the country's parliamentary election Monday as peaceful with no significant violence but warned that the opposition may be prematurely declaring victory.
Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute, a U.S. congressionally funded democracy support organization, spoke with CNN by telephone at 11 p.m. Tbilisi, Georgia, time, as Georgia's Central Election Commission was counting votes. As he spoke, the sound of honking horns and celebration by the opposition was audible in the background.
A European court on Monday ruled that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza can be extradited from Great Britain to the United States, where he faces a host of terrorism charges.
The European Human Rights Court issued its ruling, clearing the way for Hamza's extradition. This means that he can now be moved to the United States, though no date has been set.
Hamza faces 11 charges in U.S. courts, including conspiracy in connection with a 1998 kidnapping of 16 Westerners in Yemen and conspiring with others to establish an Islamic jihad training camp in rural Oregon in 1999.
Read the full story here