National Security

2:50pm

Wed May 9, 2012
National Security

Bomb Plot: Secrets Didn't Stay Secret For Long

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:13 pm

Information about CIA operations often leaks quickly, and analysts say this can complicate future efforts.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Once upon a time, CIA operations were secret.

But as the latest bomb plot in Yemen shows, little stays hidden for long these days.

In the post-Sept. 11 world, even the most sensitive intelligence operations quickly become daily fodder as the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet and media-friendly politicians give the story momentum. And it's often senior government officials and the intelligence community who spread the juiciest details.

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1:20pm

Wed May 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Agent, Double Agent Or Mole? Which Was The Underwear Bomb Character?

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 1:45 pm

Alex Wong Getty Images

Many headlines and stories (including some of ours) have been saying that a "double agent" infiltrated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and foiled a plot to get another underwear bomb aboard a U.S.-bound passenger jet.

But we've been looking at definitions of spy terms and think that based on what we have been told so far, the person at the center of the story wasn't a double agent.

That character was at least an "agent."

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1:35am

Wed May 9, 2012
National Security

Cyber Briefings 'Scare The Bejeezus' Out Of CEOs

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:02 pm

Cybersecurity analysts work in the watch and warning center during the first tour of the government's secretive cyberdefense lab intended to protect the nation's power, water and chemical plants, electrical grid and other facilities on Sept. 29, 2011, in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Mark J. Terrill AP

For the CEOs of companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, talk of cyberweapons and cyberwar could have been abstract. But at a classified security briefing in spring 2010, it suddenly became quite real.

"We can turn your computer into a brick," U.S. officials told the startled executives, according to a participant in the meeting.

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4:26am

Tue May 8, 2012
National Security

Al-Qaida Airline Plot Wasn't A Public Threat

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

The White House and FBI have confirmed al-Qaida attempted to target a plane bound for the United States. All indications are the plan was conceived by al-Qaida's arm in Yemen. But officials say the plot was foiled before it was any threat to the public.

12:27am

Tue May 8, 2012
National Security

Bill Would Have Businesses Foot Cost Of Cyber War

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 8:20 am

Business executives and national security leaders are of one mind over the need to improve the security of the computers that control the U.S. power grid, the financial system, water treatment facilities and other elements of critical U.S. infrastructure. But they divide over the question of who bears responsibility for that effort.

The disagreement stands as an obstacle to passage of major cybersecurity legislation backed by Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Susan Collins of Maine, among others.

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