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US intel sees uptick in Olympic threat reports

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.'

Africa a 'hothouse' for extremist groups: US

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."

UN Security Council urges end to ransom payments to extremists

Jordan's balancing act on Syria

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.

Syrian Jihad: Bringing the War Back Home?

Afghanistan Exit Is Seen as Peril to Drone Mission

As Afghan War closes, allies see broader American pullback

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.

US Cuts Afghan Development Aid By Half

Olympic 'Black Widow' Warning Caught US Off-Guard

State Dept. Learned in November of Photos Said to Show Torture in Syria

In lieu of Afghan security pact, NATO must remain flexible, defense chiefs say

A three-year Pentagon study has found that US intelligence agencies are not sufficiently able to detect the development or proliferation of nuclear weapons by foreign powers. Defense Secretary Hagel ordered thorough reviews of the US nuclear force. The US is seeking to expand by 50% its 500-Marine Africa crisis response team based in MorĂ³n, Spain.

US Embassy plot reveals Israel's growing Al Qaeda problem

Arms smuggling attempt foiled on Jordanian-Syrian border

German Military Faces a Difficult Year in Africa and Afghanistan

US designates Deputy Secretary-General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad

In its designation, the State Department noted that Iran is a key backer of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In addition, the State Department noted the increase in cooperation between PIJ and Hamas.