Napolitano: U.S. Moves to Improve Preflight Screening

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that, in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day underpants bomb attack, federal agencies are changing the way they handle passenger databases in an effort to enhance preflight screening of passengers on U.S.-bound flights.

U.S. Authorities Worried About Female Suicide Bombers

U.S. national-security officials say that that in Al Qaeda and its affiliates' efforts to figure out ways to circumvent security measures imposed by American and allied governments, they may be considering, and even plotting, using female suicide bombers.

Mind the Gaps: Agencies Rush to Plug Software Holes in Wake of Underpants Bomber Lapses

When you Google someone, the search engine routinely offers you alternative spellings for the name of the person whose records you are trying to locate. But according to Obama administration officials who have been briefing Congress on the aftermath to the Christmas underpants-bombing plot, a critical State Department computer that is used to track the U.S. visa status of millions of foreigners does not have an effective mechanism for generating alternative spellings for people whose names are...

Officials: No Sign Yet of Mass Exodus to U.S. of Haitian Earthquake Victims

While Homeland Security and other federal agencies are making contingency plans for possible attempts by Haitian earthquake victims to migrate en masse to the United States, U.S. officials say that so far, Coast Guard vessels patrolling the waters near Haiti have not spotted a single boat of refugees attempting to flee the beleaguered country for the American mainland.

Coming Around On Iran

U.S. intelligence agencies are quietly revising their widely disputed assertion that Iran has no active program to design or build a nuclear bomb. Three U.S. and two foreign counterproliferation officials tell NEWSWEEK that, as soon as next month, the intel agencies are expected to complete an "update" to their controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Tehran "halted its nuclear weapons program" in 2003 and "had not restarted" it as of mid-2007.

Noted Taliban Leader, Linked to Attack on CIA Base, Not Dead Yet

Contrary to initial media reports, Hakimullah Mehsud, known as the current leader of the Pakistani Taliban, is believed to have survived a U.S. missile strike on a suspected militant encampment in North Waziristan on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials who say it is not even clear that Mehsud was injured in the missile attack.

Agencies Fear New U.S. Attack Plots Are Afoot in Yemen

U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence agencies are warning that the Yemen-based Qaeda affiliate that they believe launched Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on his alleged unsuccessful Christmas Day underpants bombing mission is currently believed to be plotting fresh attacks inside the U.S. The problem: according to several intelligence and law-enforcement officials, there is no specific information on where, when, or how any such attacks might be carried out.

Veteran CIA Lawyer Seeks Book Deal

A biographer once labeled the late CIA director Richard Helms "The Man Who Kept the Secrets." Now a veteran CIA lawyer who knows many, many secrets, and was deeply involved in controversies surrounding George W.

Spies Hit Back at Critics of Alleged Security Lapses in Afghan Bombing Incident

Senior intelligence officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta, are pushing back against former spies and other critics who have accused the agency of security lapses and abandoning traditional espionage "tradecraft" by allowing a Jordanian informant who turned out to be a suicide bomber inside a secret agency base in remote eastern Afghanistan. "It's beneath contempt to denigrate the dead, yet that's what people do when they claim─without knowing the facts─that the bombing was the...

Obama Takes Responsibility as White House Tries to Slow Blame Game

Only moments after President Obama declared Thursday afternoon that the failed underpants bombing attack was a result of systemic rather than individual lapses and took personal responsibility for what he has described as "failures," the White House released a sketchy report that did cast some blame more directly.

Islamic Radicalization: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

A young man checks in at the airport in Nigeria with a ticket to America bought with cash, and only carry-on luggage. More than a month before, his father, a wealthy banker, has visited the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, worried that his son has gone missing and may be hanging around with Yemeni-based extremists.

Intelligence Czar Blair Sends Pep Talk to Spy Agencies

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, whose office was explicitly established to ensure that U.S. spy agencies share the kind of information that could prevent another 9/11, today sent a bleak pep-talk message to the agencies under his command, warning that Al Qaeda now is trying to develop even more fiendish methods of attack than the failed Christmas Day underpants bomb attack on a transatlantic airliner.

What the CIA Did and Didn't Know About Alleged Underpants Bomber

SITE Intelligence GrouUmar Farouk Abdulmutallab Intelligence officials are insisting that while the Central Intelligence Agency prepared—and apparently sat on—its own cable about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after his father visited the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, there was no information in that message that likely would have caused U.S. authorities to put him on a "no fly" list or that otherwise would have stopped him from boarding the Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, which he...

Homeland Screeners Have Access to Secret Terrorist Database -- But Rarely Look At It

What use is good intelligence if you don't use it? The Homeland Security Department unit which routinely screens US-bound international airline passenger lists before clearing a flight for takeoff has access to the government's classified master data base of intelligence on terrorism suspects -- but rarely checks the data base before notifying airlines that a flight is good to go.Homeland Security officials told reporters, on condition of anonymity, today that the National Targeting Center, a...

What U.S. Intelligence Knew About the Underpants Bomber

If you've been wondering how alleged failed transatlantic underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to board a plane for the U.S. after his father had warned of his terrorist sympathies, you need to understand the different databases of suspected terrorists and how they operate.