Results tagged “United States”
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At the Munich Security Conference, Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel called on European allies to step up their participation with the US in facing joint political and security challenges. Hagel indicated that the Obama administration is seeking to place more emphasis on traditional diplomacy and less on the exercise of military power. Kerry rejected charges that the US is disengaging from a leadership role. US officials are cautioning international business executives that the current relaxation of sanctions on Iran is temporary.
Federal prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Uzbek terror suspect Jamshid Muhtorov, a Colorado resident, filed a court challenge to the use of NSA information in the prosecution of his case. The US blamed Syria for delays in the removal of its chemical weapons arsenal. The Pentagon announced that Vice Admiral Mike Rogers, who heads the Navy's Cyber Command and is a former intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is being nominated to lead both the NSA and US Cyber Command.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper warned in the agency's 2014 threat assessment that "Syria has become a significant location for independent or al Qaeda-aligned groups to recruit, train, and equip a growing number of extremists, some of whom might conduct external attacks," and said elements of Syria's biological warfare program might be capable of production though not yet weaponized. Clapper said some Syrian rebel groups, including the Al Nusrah Front, have aspirations to attack the US itself. He also warned that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula poses a significant threat to US interests at home and abroad, and Hezbollah has increased its terrorist activity to a level not seen since the 1990s. In addition, Clapper said North Korea has restarted its nuclear reactor. A top US intelligence official reported an uptick in terrorist threats to the Sochi Olympics. The Chair of the House Armed Services Committee questioned the 'pivot to Asia.'
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that while "core al Qaeda" is "on a path to defeat," threats are posed by al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Mali, and elsewhere. He vowed that in Syria, his administration will "support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks." He threatened to veto any new Iran sanctions while negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program are underway. With regard to Afghanistan, he said that if the bilateral security agreement is signed, a small US force "could remain" in the country after 2014, with NATO allies, to focus on training and assisting Afghan forces and conducting counterterroism operations against "any remnants of al Qaeda."
In the first partially public hearing for Guantanamo detainees, Abd Malak Abd Wahab Rahbi, a brother-in-law and former bodyguard to Osama bin Laden, will appear before a military review board today that will consider his eligibility for release. Congress approved the sale of up to 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq and the lease of six more. Extensive security preparations are in place for the Super Bowl, to be held a few miles outside New York City.
Congress cut the US military and development aid budget for Afghanistan for this year to $1.1 billion, down from last year's $2.1 billion, in the wake of President Karzai's refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement and reports of waste and fraud in Afghanistan. The Karzai government has released an inflammatory report making false claims about a US raid in Afghanistan. The Air Force plans to start deploying Global Hawk drones from Misawa Air Base in Japan this summer.