By Suzanne Kelly
The top U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday there was no obvious warning ahead of the deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and rebuffed criticism of the intelligence community's initial assessment of the incident.
James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, said in raw and revealing remarks to a group of intelligence professionals and contractors in Orlando that there is a "message" the intelligence community has learned since the September 11 attack that is "applicable to the executive and legislative branches of government" as well as to members of the media.
U.S. intelligence has been sharply criticized by some members of Congress who allege the Obama administration did not come out soon enough and identify the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans as a planned, terrorist assault.
Clapper said an increased security risk is the new normal overseas, and that people need to understand what intelligence can and cannot do.
By Suzanne Kelly
It's hard to say that looking like a terrorist would be a good thing, but it hasn't gone so badly for Navid Negahban.
The Iranian-born actor, who has played a range of bad guys during his career, currently plays terrorist Abu Nazir on the Showtime hit series "Homeland," and the success of the series has made him one of the world's best-known non-terrorists.
That may be a good thing for his acting career. Turns out it's not so good at airports.
"What happens is that I'm playing all of these different characters and my facial hair changes and I have different looks," said Negahban on a recent cell phone call from Los Angeles. "When I'm at the airport, the agents look at my passport and they look at me and there is something in their eyes, and you can see them thinking, 'I know this guy. Where have I seen him before?'"
CNN's Suzanne Kelly reports on a scathing report from a Senate Homeland Security Sub-committee which is critical of the way fusion centers–the post 9/11 groups set up to share information among local, state and federal law enforcement–operate.
The Cybersecurity adviser to the White House, Michael Daniel, gave a candid assessment today of the cyber risks the U.S. faces. This comes as there are rumblings that the President is getting ready to issue an executive order on cybersecurity in light of Congress failing to pass legislation on this issue. CNN's Suzanne Kelly reports on what the government is doing to protect the U.S. from the threat of cyber attacks.
By Tim Lister and Suzanne Kelly
It might seem like Libya's Islamist militias are reeling in the face of the popular backlash that followed the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11. But Libya analysts say these groups are well-entrenched and used to operating in hostile environments. They may have melted away for now - but maybe not for long.
Before the consulate attack, there was already growing resentment against these groups in Benghazi and places like Derna further east, as reported previously by CNN.
By Suzanne Kelly, Elise Labott, and Mike Mount
The U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was operating under a lower security standard than a typical consulate when it was attacked this month, according to State Department officials.
The mission was a rented villa and considered a temporary facility by the agency, which allowed a waiver that permitted fewer guards and security measures than a standard embassy or consulate, according to the officials.
There was talk about constructing a permanent facility, which would require a building that met U.S. security and legal standards, the officials said.
Allowing a waiver would have been a decision made with input from Washington, Libyan officials and the ambassador, according to diplomatic security experts.
Iran's Atomic Energy head admitted to lying in order to protect the country's nuclear program, CNN's Suzanne Kelly reports
By Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson
U.S. officials appear less certain about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, just before the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last week.
"We certainly acknowledge contradictory information about whether there was a protest prior to the attack," a U.S. official told CNN on Thursday. "We're continuing to collect information and evaluate exactly what the circumstances were prior to the attack."
U.S. officials have been saying they believe, based on the intelligence, that the attack grew out of a spontaneous protest over a trailer for an anti-Muslim film that was circulating on the Internet, and there is no indication it was a planned attack. It is a contention that critics like Republican Sen. John McCain have said is hard to believe true given the extensive attack and the amount of weaponry involved.
By Barbara Starr, Suzanne Kelly and Tim Lister
Whether he likes it or not, a Libyan by the name of Sufian bin Qumu has suddenly made it into the bloodstream of the international media in connection with the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week.
Fox News reported late Wednesday that bin Qumu may have been involved in the attack, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed. However, a senior U.S. official told CNN Thursday that so far the United States had no evidence that he was - either in leading or planning the attack.
Qumu is a senior figure in the group Ansar al Shariah, which appeared to condone the attack immediately after it occurred, but later stressed it was not involved.
The U.S. official said Ansar al Shariah had not been positively identified as responsible for the attack, "which is more likely to turn out to be a bunch of various elements and basically AQ militants."
Another senior official told CNN: "Ansar al Sharia is only one of the elements they are looking at. The notion that the intelligence community has zeroed in on either Ansar al Sharia - its leader Sufian bin Qumu in particular is completely untrue."
"The U.S. intelligence community has no intelligence indicating that bin Qumu was on scene or even directly involved in the attack," the official said. FULL POST
Iran's atomic energy organization is warning against "terrorists" and "saboteurs" that are trying to damage Iran's nuclear program. This time it was the power lines leading to its heavily-fortified nuclear enrichment facility – at Fordo – that came under attack, according to Iran.