Mark Hosenball

Visas of U.S.-Bound Foreigners Are Not Checked Until After Their Flights Are Airborne

U.S. officials are acknowledging that, according to the standard procedure used by federal agencies on and before Christmas Day of last year, the visa status of foreign airline passengers en route to the U.S. was not routinely checked until after their flights had already left the ground for their American destinations.

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.

Agencies Disagree on Whether Info on Alleged Christmas Day Bomber Would Have Led to Terror Watch-Listing

Some key U.S. intelligence officials are privately disputing the finding of a White House report that U.S. agencies had enough information about accused underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to have him placed him on a no-fly list before he boarded his Christmas Day flight to Detroit.

EXCLUSIVE: Even Suspect Who Attacked Danish Cartoonist Was Not Immediately Placed on U.S. 'No Fly' List

A procedure used to place suspects on U.S. terrorism "watch lists" is so rigorous that even a Kenyan man who tried to murder a Danish cartoonist on New Year's Day with a hatchet and a knife was not immediately added onto a "no fly" list maintained by the U.S. government, according to a U.S. national-security official.

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...

Homeland Security Only Checked Secret Terrorist Database AFTER Underpants Bomb Flight Took Off

The Homeland Security Department unit that reviews lists of U.S.-bound airline passengers for possible terror suspects did consult a classified database that contained information on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab—but only after his plane had left the ground in Amsterdam on its Christmas Day transatlantic flight to Detroit, an Obama administration official has confirmed to NEWSWEEK.

Two Americans Killed in Attack on CIA Base Worked for Xe─Formerly Blackwater

Two of the seven Americans killed in the Dec. 30 suicide bombing of a CIA outpost in Khost, Afghanistan, were employees of Xe, the current incarnation of the controversial paramilitary contractor formerly known as Blackwater, according to people familiar with the issue, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information.

Intelligence Sources: "Tens of Thousands" of E-mailers Corresponded With Radical Cleric Linked to Underpants Bomber and Ft. Hood Shooter

U.S. intelligence agencies collected data indicating that "tens of thousands" of different e-mail account holders were in contact with with Anwar al-Awlaki, the fiery English-speaking cleric who has been linked to both accused Ft.

Exclusive: Intelligence Agencies Reported Last Fall on Threat of Bombs Hidden Under Clothing

Two intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security circulated a paper within the government last fall that examined in some detail the threats that bombs secreted in clothing─or inside someone's body cavities─might pose to aviation security, NEWSWEEK has learned from U.S. national-security officials who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information.

U.S. Agencies Looked Closely at Yemen-Based Imam's Contacts─But Couldn't Identify Potential Underpants Bomber

Following the arrest of accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, U.S. intelligence agencies launched a detailed review of "raw" intelligence they had collected on Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born, English-speaking, Yemen-based jihadist imam whom Hasan had consulted for religious guidance in the months before the deadly rampage at Fort Hood.

British Authorities Didn't Inform U.S. That Alleged Underpants Bomber Had Been Refused U.K. Visa

The British government never informed U.S. authorities that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of attempting to bomb Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day, had been refused a visa to enter Britain last May, according to official sources on both sides of the Atlantic.

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...

U.S. Officials Believe Al Qaeda's Claim of Responsibility for Attempted Underpants Attack Is Credible

U.S. government experts believe that a statement circulated Monday purporting to come from Al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate that claimed credit for the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a transatlantic airliner is likely authentic and credible, according to a U.S. national-security official.