The Envoy
  • White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan. (Michael Bonfigli/Christian Science Monitor)White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Thursday the United States faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and its affiliates in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, even amid the considerable American successes in going after the terrorist organization's leaders in Pakistan, including Osama bin Laden.

    "Anytime there is a power vacuum, as in Somalia, and Yemen, Al Qaeda is attracted to it," Brennan told journalists at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor Thursday.

    Brennan, who previously served as a senior CIA official--including as station chief in Saudi Arabia--and as the first head of the federal government's post-9/11 terrorism threat analysis center, said he has seen no evidence in the four months since a Navy Seal team killed Bin Laden that there was any Pakistani government complicity in sheltering bin Laden. (You can see some of his comments in the YouTube video clip below.)

    Brennan warned that Moammar Gadhafi's considerable weapons arsenals, along with still-weak governing institutions in Libya after his ouster, could create a tempting and dangerous "arms bazaar" for jihadists.

    "Libya was a counterterrorism partner of ours," Brennan said. The al Qaeda affiliate in north Africa, known as Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb or AQIM, "which had operated there, has longstanding ties to core al Qaeda. ... AQIM is looking at Libya as a place to acquire additional weapons."

    "The battle for Libya ... has gone well from a military standpoint, but now issues of governance and standing up of institutions is what lies ahead," he continued. "Individuals of various types are looking to places like Libya to fight, and they see it as a potential arms bazaar they could take advantage of."

    Read More »from White House counterterrorism adviser: Al Qaeda holding ground in Yemen
  • Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai and Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal at Davos in 2006. (Michel Euler/AP)Former Saudi spy chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, speaking at a Washington think tank event Wednesday, said after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, the United States should have declared victory in Afghanistan and gone home.

    "Killing bin Laden would have been the perfect moment for your president to say, 'We've done it, we are victorious, this is the timetable that we've set for withdrawal of troops and goodbye and good luck,' " Turki said Wednesday, at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Washington Post's Craig Whitlock reported. "This would be the perfect moment to leave with a victory and not to go on and sort of continue in this endless mission of strike and counterstrike."

    "I don't mean withdrawing your embassy, your economic aid or your other support, but having troops on the ground in Afghanistan has never succeeded," he added.

    Read More »from Ex-Saudi spy chief: after UBL killing, U.S. should have declared victory
  • Is the incarceration of Amanda Knox coming to an end?

    The American college student and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of murdering Meredith Kercher in 2007. Knox has long proclaimed her innocence. Now, after Knox and Sollecito have spent years in prison and turned up for countless court appearances, an Italian prosecutor says that both suspects are likely to be acquitted.

    According to the U.K. Telegraph, "court appointed experts have criticised the way the original forensic investigation was carried out by police." Knox won a recent victory in court, when the prosecutors' request to conduct further examinations on DNA evidence was denied. Independent experts contend that some of the DNA evidence against Knox should not have been admitted as evidence.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that Knox will be freed, but it does give the jailed 24-year-old hope. Her days behind bars may come to an end if judges see things her way in the appeal. Below, a brief history of the

    Read More »from Momentum builds behind Amanda Knox appeal


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