CNN's Jill Dougherty obtained a copy of the latest Worldwide Caution from the State Department detailing security threats and terrorist activity around the world. Among the findings in the report, the State Department says Al Qaeda and its affiliates continue planning attacks against the U.S. and western interests in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
July 26, 2011
The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated January 31, 2011, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.
The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. The Department of State believes there is an enhanced potential for anti-American violence given the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011. Current information suggests that Al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings. FULL POST
The Transportation Security Administration is taking steps beginning today to eliminate the image of an actual passenger who walks through body scanners at airports and replacing it with a generic outline of a person. The upgrade is designed to enhance privacy but maintain security standards. Read a copy of the TSA announcement below:
TSA Takes Next Steps to Further Enhance Passenger Privacy
As part of its ongoing commitment to take smart steps to maintain high level security standards while also improving the passenger experience at checkpoints, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John S. Pistole today announced that TSA will begin installing new software on TSA’s millimeter wave Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines—making upgrades designed to enhance privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images. This new software, also referred to as Automated Target Recognition (ATR), will auto-detect items that could pose a potential threat using a generic outline of a person for all passengers. In the coming months, TSA will install the software upgrade on all currently deployed millimeter wave imaging technology units at U.S. airports nationwide.
By eliminating the image of an actual passenger and replacing it with a generic outline of a person, passengers are able to view the same outline that the TSA officer sees. Further, a separate TSA officer will no longer be required to view the image in a remotely located viewing room. In addition to further enhancing privacy protections, this new software will increase the efficiency of the screening process and expand the throughput capability of AIT.
Leon Panetta sent a letter to CIA employees on his last day as Director to announce the Department of Justice has cleared the agency in all but two cases where they had contact with terrorist detainees. Read a copy of his letter below.
Message from the Director: DoJ Investigations Moving Toward Closure
The Attorney General has informed me that, with limited exceptions, the Department of Justice inquiries concerning the Agency’s former rendition, detention, and interrogation program have been completed and are now closed. Specifically, I have been notified that Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham has finished the “preliminary review” of detainee treatment cases announced in August 2009. After extensive examination of more than 100 instances in which CIA had contact or was alleged to have had contact with terrorist detainees, he has determined that no further law enforcement action is appropriate in all but two discrete cases.
In those two cases—each involving a detainee fatality—the Department of Justice has determined that further investigation is warranted. No decision has been made to bring criminal charges. Both cases were previously reviewed by career federal prosecutors who subsequently declined prosecution. The Agency will, of course, continue to cooperate fully in the remaining investigations.
On this, my last day as Director, I welcome the news that the broader inquiries are behind us. We are now finally about to close this chapter of our Agency’s history. As Director, I have always believed that our primary responsibility is not to the past, but to the present and future threats to the nation. We will continue to fulfill our vital mission of protecting America.
Leon E. Panetta
A spokesman for the ISAF international military force tells CNN about 20 or so Afghan soldiers who cleared the roof of Kabul's Intercontinential hotel are going from room to room of the hotel. “That could take hours,” said the spokesman Maj. Tim James.
Maj. James said there are a small number of ISAF “mentors” working with the Afghan soldiers at the hotel.
There are no reports of any injuries or deaths among the Afghan or ISAF troops, James said.
He said three gunmen on the roof were killed; one other was killed at the beginning of the attack.
All the Inter-Continental Hotel attackers have been killed, Afghanistan's interior ministry said early Wednesday.
Earlier, two ISAF helicopters (type and nationality unknown) attacked the enemy on the roof of the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel, according to Maj. Tim James, spokesman for ISAF in Kabul.
Maj. James said at least 20 Afghan soldiers worked their way from the ground up through the hotel and onto the roof.
The House will consider a bill this week to restrict funding for U.S. operations in Libya unless the president receives prior authorization from Congress.
The bill, introduced by House Armed Services and Intelligence Committee member Rep. Tom Rooney, seeks to limit the funding of U.S. participation in NATO’s operation Unified Protector except in cases of search and rescue, surveillance, aerial refueling and operational planning.
“The President has ignored the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, but he cannot ignore a lack of funding,” Rooney said. “Only Congress has the power to declare war and the power of the purse, and my bill exercises both of those powers by blocking funds for the war in Libya unless the President receives Congressional authorization.”
The House is expected to vote on the legislation as early as Friday.
Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, acknowledged the complicated relationship between the United States and Pakistan during an address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Tuesday.
Rogers, who recently returned from talks in Pakistan with top military and intelligence leaders, says the U.S. has to demand greater transparency from their ally in order to maintain trust between the two nations. Here are some excerpts from his speech:
"I tell you it is still the most frustrating relationship I think the United States finds itself in, certainly the most complicated. It is soon to be a rising nuclear power. It has extremist elements, meaning it will move up, by the way, on the list of sheer number of weapons and systems that it possesses. It will edge out some of the other nuclear powers in the world. It is a place that has extremist areas in the tribal regions that we all know about. I came away from this this time with just the strong realization that Pakistan today is an army with a country, not a country with an army."