The Bradley Manning crisis occurred: TOO MUCH ACCESS! The Edward Snowden Crisis occurred: TOO MUCH ACCESS! Congress has relaxed security clearances for federal workers,contractors and sub-contractors making “security” a joke! Rep. Darrell Issa is Chairman of the U.S. Oversight Committee. Why is he not looking into this long-standing problem of a system of thousands of workers for the government having federal security clearances to information that goes beyond what is required to do their basic job descriptions? Yesterday’s gun massacre asks the question: Is card-key access to military bases a travesty? Why do security systems have poor or no audit trails? Where are the High Definition surveillance cameras? Who reviews federal security? Who is in charge? Who is responsible? Darrell Issa should watch the recent movie, “Olympus Has Fallen.” It would give him something to think about. —GoodOleWoody
By Barbara Starr. Chris Lawrence and Holly Yan, CNN
(CNN) — What started as an unprecedented move to close almost two dozen diplomatic posts for a day has broadened to week-long closures for most of them as the United States mulls the threat of a possible attack.
A trio of factors prompted officials to extend most of its embassy and consulate closures until Saturday: an intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives, the end of Ramadan, and concerns over several major prison breaks in the region.
Originally, officials decided to close 22 embassies and consulates this past Sunday — a day when they would normally be open for business.
But Sunday afternoon, the State Department extended embassy and consulate closures in 15 of the locations through Saturday, and added four other posts — all in Africa — to the list. This brings the total to 19.
“This is not an indication of a new threat stream, merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees including local employees and visitors to our facilities,” the State Department said.
The statement, however, does not address why then it added four additional posts.
By Michael O’Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News
Under increasing scrutiny from congressional Republicans, the White House on Wednesday released copies of emails and other additional supporting documents related to its response to last fall’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
The White House released the materials in the wake of Republicans’ clamor for more information about how the Obama administration crafted its explanation for the incident, which came at the height of last year’s campaign season, and resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The emails convey different parts of the administration — the White House, the State Department, and the CIA — trading drafts of talking points for use not just by representatives of the administration, but also by members of Congress.
First on CNN: The White House released 100 pages of e-mails that detailed the back and forth between the CIA, State Department and the White House in developing talking points following the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
According to senior Obama administration officials, the e-mails demonstrate that the process of developing the so-called talking points was not focused on politics but rather on events. The e-mails indicate that the CIA was likely the lead organization on developing the talking points, with the State Department recommending significant changes.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attacks on September 11, 2012.
Watch complete coverage on CNN and go to http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com to read the e-mails.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is tapping his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to ask for the release of a Korean-American man sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in the North.
“I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him `Kim’, to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,” Rodman said on Twitter. He later called the tweet a direct response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release if the two are really buddies.
Rodman visited North Korea in February and sat next to Kim as they watched an exhibition basketball game. His trip came at a time of high tension between Pyongyang and Washington and was not endorsed by the U.S. State Department.
Bae is a tour operator who was arrested in North Korea in November. The North’s Supreme Court sentenced him last week for unspecified “hostile acts” against the state. In a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday, North Korea said the 44-year-old Washington state man entered the country with a disguised identity.
Bae is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. The others eventually were deported or released, some after trips to Pyongyang by prominent Americans, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry rejected speculation that it was seeking a U.S. envoy to negotiate Bae’s release, saying he is not a political bargaining chip.
Analysts have said North Korea may be using Bae as bait to open direct negotiations with the United States over its nuclear arms programs. Bae’s sentencing came during a lull after weeks of threats of war from Pyongyang against the U.S. and South Korea.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, joined by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, today hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the State Department for dinner. “This is a great opportunity for us to attempt, in a very humble way, to repay some of the hospitality I’ve enjoyed over the years,” Clinton could be heard saying during a press photo op.