(CNN) – National Security Council Spokesman Mike Hammer issued the following statement Sunday on violence in Iran"
We strongly condemn the violent and unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights. Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States. Governing through fear and violence is never just, and as President Obama said in Oslo – it is telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.
Former Acting Director of the CIA John McLaughlin and CNN Terrorism Analyst Peter Bergen say the foiled terrorist attack on Christmas Day may suggest yes.
"It certainly feels that way," McLaughlin said when asked if the terror group is making a comeback. "This man had been in London, where there is frequent evidence of recruitment by Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda-related people. He claims to have been in touch with Yemenis. And Yemen is a place where Al Qaeda is on the move, a strong movement there. And I think it's an exaggeration to say that Al Qaida has been weakened to the point where we don't have to worry about it anymore."
Meanwhile, Bergen said the suspect's ties to Yemen may suggest Al Qaeda is involved.
"We've seen multiple attacks - or attempted attacks on the American embassy [in Yemen]," Bergen said. "Al Qaeda has a strong foothold in Yemen. And the fact that this guy has said that he got the device in Yemen, I think, just speaks for itself."
New York (CNN) - Civil rights attorney Percy Sutton, who represented Malcolm X and became an influential New York politician and broadcaster, has died at age 89, associates said Sunday.
As a businessman, Sutton was credited with leading the revitalization of Harlem, including the restoration of the famous Apollo Theater. In a statement issued after Sutton's death Saturday night, New York Gov. David Paterson called the former Manhattan borough president "a friend and mentor."
"Percy was fiercely loyal, compassionate and a truly kind soul," Paterson said. "He will be missed, but his legacy lives on through the next generations of African-Americans he inspired to pursue and fulfill their own dreams and ambitions."
And in a statement issued by the White House, President Barack Obama called Sutton a "true hero to African Americans in New York City and around the country."
(CNN) - White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton issued the following statement Sunday:
At around 6:00 a.m. Hawaii Time, the President received an update from his Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan and National Security Staff chief of staff Denis McDonough on the latest information regarding the investigation into the incident on Flight 253, the security measures being taken to keep the traveling public safe, the most recent intelligence regarding that incident as well as on the reviews the President ordered into watch lists and detection capabilities. The President will continue to receive intelligence updates and monitor the situation closely throughout the day.
(CNN) - President Obama has ordered a review of security screening processes after Friday's botched terror attack on a U.S. airliner, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday.
Appearing on the ABC program "This Week" and the NBC program "Meet the Press," Gibbs said Obama is receiving regular briefings by his national security staff on the incident in which a suspect allegedly tried to detonate an explosive device on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, making its final approach to Detroit, Michigan.
The suspect, 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was on a broad watch list of 550,000 names since last month, Gibbs said.
That list does not automatically bring tighter screening of individuals, Gibbs said, and Obama has ordered a review of the procedures for determining which people on the list undergo more stringent checking.
(CNN) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday there was no indication so far that a botched terror attack on a U.S. airliner was part of a broad international effort.
"Right now we have no indication that it is part of anything larger," Napolitano told CNN's "State of the Union" program.
A lone suspect allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan on Christmas Day.
The device apparently failed to detonate and the suspect was subdued.