Obama to nominate new deputy secretary of energy
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he is nominating Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the National Security Council’s top nuclear proliferation and defense policy official, to be deputy secretary of energy.
White House on defensive over prisoner swap
WASHINGTON — The White House argued on Tuesday that the “unique circumstances” presented by the opportunity to return Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl gave President Barack Obama the authority to lawfully bypass a federal statute requiring the Pentagon to notify Congress a month before he transferred the five Taliban detainees necessary to complete the deal.
Report: Transparency in online data collection needed
WASHINGTON — The White House, hoping to move the national conversation on privacy beyond data harvesting by intelligence agencies to the practices of companies like Google and Facebook, released a long-anticipated report on Thursday that recommends requiring private companies to release information they gather from their customers online.
U.S. tried to build a social media site in Cuba, failed
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration acknowledged Thursday that it had attempted, and failed, to build a Twitter-like social media site in Cuba but insisted that it was part of the Agency for International Development’s effort to encourage political discussions, not a covert program to overthrow the government.
Obama worried about effects of waging cyberwar in Syria
WASHINGTON — Not long after the uprising in Syria turned bloody late in the spring of 2011, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency developed a battle plan that featured a sophisticated cyberattack on the Syrian military and President Bashar Assad’s command structure.
NSA devises radio pathway into computers isolated from web
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the U.S. to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.
As US weighs spying changes, officials want data sweeps to go on
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has told allies and lawmakers it is considering reining in a variety of National Security Agency practices overseas, including holding White House reviews of the world leaders the agency is monitoring, forging a new accord with Germany for a closer intelligence relationship and minimizing collection on some foreigners.
Accusation of spying on Merkel puts Obama at crossroads
WASHINGTON — The angry allegation by the German government that the National Security Agency monitored the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel may force President Barack Obama into making a choice he has avoided for years between continuing the age-old game of spying on America’s friends and undercutting cooperation with important partners in tracking terrorists, managing the global economy and slowing Iran’s nuclear program.
Kerry’s comments on Syria mark a shift over strike
WASHINGTON — When Secretary of State John Kerry dangled for the first time on Monday actions that President Bashar Assad of Syria could take to avoid a military strike, it seemed an acknowledgment that Congress, America’s allies, and the Russians were all looking for an off-ramp for what a week ago seemed like inevitably military action against Syria.
Iran’s supreme leader rejects direct talks with US
WASHINGTON — Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rejected any idea of bilateral talks with the United States on Thursday, in a speech in which he seemed to dismiss the views of Iranian officials — including the country’s foreign minister — who had advocated for such negotiations.
Obama nominees in step on light footprint
WASHINGTON — With the selection of a new national security team deeply suspicious of the wisdom of U.S. military interventions around the world, President Barack Obama appears to have ended, at least for the moment, many of the internal administration debates that played out in the Situation Room over the past four years.
Iran said to complete underground nuclear enrichment plant soon
WASHINGTON — Intelligence officials from several countries say Iran in recent weeks has virtually completed an underground nuclear enrichment plant, racing ahead despite international pressure and heavy economic sanctions in what experts say may be an effort to give them leverage in any negotiations with the United States and its allies.
Iranian officials offer plan to end nuclear crisis
WASHINGTON — With harsh economic sanctions contributing to the first major protests in Iran in three years, Iranian officials have begun to describe what they call a “nine-step plan” to defuse the nuclear crisis with the West, by gradually suspending the production of the uranium that would be easiest for them to convert into a nuclear weapon.
Nuclear report on Iran puts Israel in a box
JERUSALEM — For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday offered findings validating his long-standing position that while economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation may have hurt Iran, they have failed to slow Tehran’s nuclear program. If anything, the program is speeding up.
Signs found that Iran is speeding up work on nuclear program
WASHINGTON — International nuclear inspectors will soon report that Iran has installed hundreds of new centrifuges in recent months and may be speeding up production of nuclear fuel while negotiations with the United States and its allies have ground to a near halt, according to diplomats and experts briefed on the findings.
Iran offers inspectors ‘full supervision’ of nuclear program
WASHINGTON — Iran on Monday made its first counterproposal in two years to ease the confrontation with the West over its nuclear program, offering to allow international inspectors “full supervision” of the country’s nuclear activities for the next five years, but on the condition that the mounting sanctions against Iran are lifted.
Bigger Osama bin Laden raid unit braced for fight with Pakistanis
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops, senior administration and military officials said Monday.
US flights over nuclear plant gather crucial data
WASHINGTON — The first readings from U.S. data-collection flights over the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan show that the worst of the contamination has not spewed beyond the 18-mile range of highest concern established by Japanese authorities, but there is also no indication that another day of frantic efforts to cool nuclear fuel in the reactors and spent fuel pools has yielded any progress, according U.S. government officials.
Leaked cables show a guessing game over North Korea
WASHINGTON — Over an official lunch in late February, a top South Korean official confidently told the U.S. ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that North Korea would fall “two to three years” after the death of Kim Jong Il, the country’s ailing leader, Stephens later cabled Washington. A new, younger generation of Chinese leaders “would be comfortable with a reunited Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a benign alliance,” the diplomat predicted.
Obama’s economic view raises hackles of many major US allies
SEOUL, South Korea — President Barack Obama’s hopes of emerging from his Asia trip with the twin victories of a free trade agreement with South Korea and a unified approach to spurring global economic growth ran into resistance on all fronts Thursday, putting Obama at odds with his key allies and largest trading partners.
Obama presses Chinese prime minister to let currency rise
UNITED NATIONS — President Barack Obama increased pressure on China on Thursday to immediately revalue its currency, devoting most of a two-hour meeting with China’s prime minister to the issue and sending the message, according to one of his top aides, that if “the Chinese don’t take actions, we have other means of protecting U.S. interests.”
China supports sanctions against Iran’s nuclear activity at summit
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama secured a promise from President Hu Jintao of China on Monday to join negotiations on a new package of sanctions against Iran, administration officials said, but Hu made no specific commitment to backing measures that the United States considers severe enough to force a change in direction in Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran Issue Veiled Threats as Nuclear Talks Begin
Iran opened two days of nuclear talks with the United States, Russia and France on Monday with veiled public threats that it could back away from an agreement to ship more than three-quarters of its stockpile of nuclear fuel out of the country, unless the West acceded to Iranian demands to provide it with new fuel.
Obama Pushes To Update Global Rules on Nuclear Arms
President Barack Obama moved on Thursday to tighten the noose around Iran, North Korea and other nations that have exploited gaping loopholes in the patchwork of global nuclear regulations.
At Chrysler, Diverse Partners With Many Goals Cooperate
Before Chrysler can start building cars that more Americans want to buy, it will have to overcome considerable challenges.
U.S. May Drop Key Condition For Iran Talks
The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing proposals that would shift strategy toward Iran by dropping a long-standing American insistence that Tehran rapidly shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic program, according to officials involved in the discussions.
U.N. Says Iran Enriched More Uranium Than Reported
In their first appraisal of Iran’s nuclear program since President Obama took office, atomic inspectors have found that Iran recently understated by a third how much uranium it has enriched, UN officials said Thursday.
Speech Spanned History But Tiptoed Around Bush
Though couched in indirect terms, Barack Obama’s inaugural address was a stark repudiation of the era of George W. Bush and a vow to drive the United States into “a new age” by reclaiming the values of an older one.
At U.S. Prodding, Switzerland Destroyed Kahn Network Data
The president of Switzerland stepped to a podium in Bern in May and read a statement confirming rumors that had swirled through the capital for months. The government, he acknowledged, had indeed destroyed a huge trove of computer files and other material documenting the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran.
Shift in Pakistan Could Curtail Attacks on Terrorist Suspects
American officials reached a quiet understanding with Pakistan’s leader last month to intensify secret strikes against suspected terrorists by unmanned aircraft launched inside Pakistan, senior officials in both governments say. But the prospect of changes in Pakistan’s government has the Bush administration worried that the new operations could be curtailed.
The Bush administration has agreed to turn over to international inspectors intelligence data it has collected that it says proves Iran worked on developing a nuclear weapon until a little more than four years ago, according to American and foreign diplomats.
Petraeus, Viewing Gains as Fragile, Is Wary of Pullbacks
Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has told President Bush that he wants to maintain heightened troop levels in Iraq well into next year to reduce the risk of military setbacks, but could accept the pullback of an initial brigade beginning in January, according to senior administration and military officials.
Top U.S. Commander Warns Against Hurried Iraq Pullout
Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, warned in stark terms against the kind of rapid pullback favored by the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, in a day of testimony that drove home the continuing inability of the Democrats to force a change in strategy in Iraq.
Iran Is Enriching Uranium on Large Scale, Inspectors Say
Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency have concluded that Iran appears to have solved most of its technological problems and is beginning to enrich uranium on a far larger scale than before, according to the agency's top officials.
Pentagon Chief Gates Sought Early Guantanamo Shutdown
In his first weeks as defense secretary, Robert M. Gates repeatedly argued that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had become so tainted abroad that legal proceedings at Guantanamo would be viewed as illegitimate, according to senior administration officials. He told President Bush and others that it should be shut down as quickly as possible.
Iran Expands Nuclear Effort In Defiance of United Nations
In open defiance of the United Nations, Iran is steadily expanding its efforts to enrich uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Thursday.