June 20th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Experts: Taliban talks will be tough

A day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States is in preliminary talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan to quell the violence, experts say don't expect miracle results.

Michael O'Hanlon, a national security expert at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, said negotiating with "Taliban Central" will be difficult, especially because of the hard-core ideology espoused by Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and the powerful Haqqani network.

An effective strategy the U.S. and its allies can employ is reaching out to local insurgents, O'Hanlon said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban • Uncategorized • World
Will bin Laden death image silence doubters or fan flames?
A passer-by looks at newspapers reporting the death of Osama bin Laden.
May 3rd, 2011
12:56 PM ET

Will bin Laden death image silence doubters or fan flames?

While the White House and the CIA deliberate whether to release a photo of Osama bin Laden's body, there's debate outside the White House on what impact such graphic images might have.

A key counterterrorism adviser to President Barack Obama said that if the White House does decide to release images, it wants to do it in a "thoughtful manner."

"We also want to anticipate what the reaction might be on the part of al Qaeda or others to the release of certain information so that we can take the appropriate steps beforehand," John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, said on CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday. "So any other material, whether it be photos or videos or whatever else, we are looking at it and will make the appropriate decisions."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, said he was conflicted over whether the administration should release an image of bin Laden.

"It's something that we're gonna have to work through," Rogers said. "We want to make sure that we maintain dignity, if there was any, in Osama bin Laden, so that we don't inflame problems other places in the world, and still provide enough evidence that people are confident that it was Osama bin Laden."

A senior government official involved in the discussions told CNN's John King that the photo release "could" come Tuesday by the CIA, adding that no decision has been made at the White House.

A government official familiar with intelligence matters says deliberations are leaning toward release and said that there is "growing consensus" to release the photo but emphasizes, "it isn't unanimous and everyone has understandable hesitation."

A senior U.S. official told CNN's Jessica Yellin that the photos were taken at a hangar in Afghanistan. The official described it as a clear picture of bin Laden's face, but he has a massive open head wound across both eyes.

Emad El-Din Shahin, a professor of religion at the University of Notre Dame, said the administration is in a "tough situation."

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • September 11 • Terrorism
April 8th, 2010
06:03 PM ET

U.S.-Russia arms treaty to face GOP scrutiny in Senate

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a major nuclear arms treaty Thursday, but critics in the Senate will have their say before anything is put in place.

Among them is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who said in a statement Thursday that the Obama administration "will need to meet three requirements if it expects favorable consideration of the START follow-on treaty."

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Filed under: National security • Politics
March 31st, 2010
01:13 PM ET

McCain to Obama: 'Drill baby, drill!

The "drill baby, drill" rally cry is back.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, on Wednesday hailed President Obama's decision to open U.S. coastal waters to oil and natural gas drilling.

Arizona's senior senator, who faces a tough Republican primary fight this year, tweeted: "Drill baby drill! Good move – where are Reid and Pelosi on this?"

During the 2008 presidential campaign, McCain - as well as his running mate Sarah Palin - wholeheartedly favored offshore drilling as gas prices rose throughout the country.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Energy • John McCain
March 22nd, 2010
07:28 AM ET

Health care reform now faces Senate challenge

Now that the House has passed the Senate's health care reform bill and a package meant to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills, the next step is for members of the Senate to sign off on those changes.

That won't be as easy as it sounds.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Congress • Health Care • Politics