(CNN) - The biggest threats to America's national security come not from Iran or North Korea, but from trans-national non-state actors, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN's Candy Crowley in an exclusive interview to air Sunday.
"Most of us believe the greater threats are the trans-national non-state networks, primarily the extremists – the fundamentalist Islamic extremists who are connected to al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula," Clinton said. "Or al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan."
"They continue to try to increase the sophistication of their capacity," the nation's top diplomat added. "The attacks that they're going to make and the…biggest nightmare that any of us have is that one of these terrorist member organizations within this syndicate of terror will get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction."
In the wide-ranging interview that will air on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," Clinton also said Iran's latest behavior is a clear indication the country has nuclear ambitions.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama's foreign policy agenda may have "run out of steam" and he must now take risks and provide effective leadership, former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said Friday.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, he said Obama's foreign policy agenda is suffering from gridlock in Washington.
"I have the feeling that because of domestic problems, he has run out of steam, and I don't know really how determined he is to resume what he started doing so well, which is to engage the world constructively," Brzezinski said.
Brzezinski, who is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the only way to break the stalemate is for Obama to take the lead.
Washington (CNN) – Democrats have been hounding former Sen. Dan Coats since he announced this week he will challenge Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, in this year's midterm election.
Coats served as U.S. ambassador to Germany in his post-Senate life, but he also worked as a lobbyist representing Wall Street banks, health insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies. Democrats also pointed out that Coats is actually registered to vote in Virginia, not the Hoosier state.
Now, hoping to paint Coats as even more out of touch with the people he hopes to represent, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is pushing a video in which Coats suggests he'd rather live in North Carolina than Indiana.
"If you don't tell the good people of Indiana, Marcia and I decided that there might be a better place where some of these older bones can absorb, so we have joined her parents in North Carolina," Coats says in the video, which was recorded during a speech he delivered to North Carolina delegates at the most recent Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
Coats and his wife bought a $1.8 million home in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2006, according to documents provided by the DSCC.
(CNN) – When South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford returned to the United States last June from Buenos Aires, where he had been having one last secret tryst with his Argentine mistress, he hopped in a vehicle driven by a former aide who had sped through the night to meet him at the Atlanta airport.
Sanford was on his way back to Columbia, to appear before a phalanx of reporters and television cameras to explain to South Carolina and the nation why he had mysteriously disappeared from the state a week earlier.
But first, he had to call and check in with his trusted political adviser - who also happened to be the wife he had betrayed.
"Do you know what kind of storm you are returning to?" an incredulous Jenny Sanford said she asked her husband. "And where do we stand?"
Her husband told her the "good news": the affair, which Jenny Sanford had discovered the previous January, was finally over after a year. "I told you, it's all behind us," he explained. "Everything's good."
"Good?" Sanford writes in her new memoir, "Staying True," which landed in bookstores Friday. "What part of this did he think was good?"
Mark Sanford's office had no comment on the book.
Chris Allen, the aide who sat alone in the car with Sanford as he spoke to his furious wife on the phone, told CNN in an e-mail Friday that the long drive to Columbia was "awkward, emotional, almost fictitious, and at this point a blur."
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama paid tribute Friday to seven CIA officers killed in Afghanistan in December, calling them "American patriots who loved their country and gave their lives to defend it."
Obama delivered the remarks during a memorial service at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The service was closed to the media to protect the identities of undercover officers in attendance. A transcript of Obama's speech was provided to members of the press.
"There are no words that can ease the ache in your hearts," Obama told families, friends and co-workers of the seven officers. "But to their colleagues and all who served with them - those here today, those still recovering, those watching around the world, I say: Let their sacrifice be a summons. To carry on their work. To complete this mission. To win this war, and to keep our country safe."
A suicide bomber killed the CIA officers, as well as a Jordanian intelligence official, on December 30 at a U.S. base in Khost, in southeastern Afghanistan.
Nashville, Tennessee (CNN) – The organizer of the Tea Party Convention says he agrees with Tom Tancredo's description of President Barack Obama as a socialist.
The former congressman from Colorado and 2008 Republican presidential candidate blasted President Obama, saying "people who could not even spell the word 'vote', or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama."
Tancredo made his comments Thursday night as he gave the kickoff speech for the convention, which is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville.
Judson Phillips, a Tennessee lawyer who formed Tea Party Nation and who organized what's being billed as the first national Tea Party Convention, told reporters Friday that "Tom Tancredo gave a fantastic speech last night. I think he is an amazing politician."
Asked if he agrees with Tancredo's description of Obama, Phillips said "the word socialist is a word you don't want to be labeled with in the American Political system. It's got a lot of negative connotations, but it also has a very specific political meaning. It refers to a specific political ideology. I think it is very clear that that is the political ideology of Barack Obama."
Phillips added that he thinks "Tancredo doesn't feel like a lot of people who supported Barack Obama understand the basics of this country."
(CNN) - The National Tea Party Convention is going on through Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee. On CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday, the Washington bureau chief of left-leaning Mother Jones magazine, David Corn, said of the convention, "The only thing that is happening is people that can afford $600 tickets in order to pay Sarah Palin a $115,000 speaker fee will be eating steak and lobster. It's not the heart of the movement."
Fact Check: Are Tea Party Convention tickets $600, and will Sarah Palin be paid $115,000 to speak at the convention?
- Convention organizers told CNN on Thursday that about 600 people paid $549 each for convention tickets. Tickets for the banquet alone are $349, and some are still available.
- A spokeswoman for Palin and convention organizers would not confirm to CNN reports that she will be paid about $100,000 for the appearance. Palin said in an opinion piece for USA Today that "any compensation for my appearance will go right back to the cause."
- The convention center chef's office said that filet of beef with grilled shrimp will be served as the entree at the Palin banquet. No lobster.
Bottom Line: David Corn overshot on the ticket price. It cost $549 to attend both the convention and the banquet. Palin won't say how much she's being paid, but she apparently won't be eating lobster.
(CNN) - President Obama will hold his second bipartisan Super Bowl party this weekend, his aides announced Friday morning.
It will be a much smaller affair than last year when more than 75 people gathered to watch the game at the White House theater. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said about 40 people altogether are invited Sunday to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
White House aides say House and Senate lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, representing competing states on behalf of the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts have been invited. So far those who've accepted the invitations include Indiana Democratic Reps. Andre Carson, Baron Hill, and Brad Ellsworth, and Louisiana Republican Rep. Joseph Cao. Military service members who've been injured fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan will also be guests, along with their spouses and children.
Gibbs says the White House will put out a more complete list of attendees later in the day.
(CNN) – The impending blizzard expected to slam the White House and its surrounding neighborhoods over the weekend is not interfering with President Obama's schedule, White House aides say.
The president was traveling freely around town as the potentially record-breaking snow storm nicknamed by locals as "the snowmageddon" got under way Friday afternoon.
When spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked whether the storm would impact Obama, he said "no" and noted that the president "doesn't even have to shovel the walk."
Obama was on the move Friday morning, attending events nearby at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia and at the Oasis Mechanical Contractors business in Lanham, Maryland. On Saturday he is expected to address the DNC Winter Meeting held at a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
The president traveled in a black souped-up armored suburban while other support vehicles and the 16-passenger vans that normally carry the press corps in the presidential motorcade were replaced with black "Aspen" Chrysler SUVS because of their four-wheel drive capability.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The fate of a consumer financial protection agency was thrown in doubt Friday, as the Senate Banking Committee chief said he planned to push a bill forward without Republican support.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said on Friday that banking committee staff will draw up draft legislation on all regulatory reform to be voted on later this month - even though, "for now, we have reached an impasse" with the ranking Republican on that committee, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
The sticking point is the consumer financial protection agency, which has long been considered the signature piece of the legislation offered by the Obama administration for redoing the regulatory system after the financial collapse.
Shelby said he supports consumer financial protection, but he's concerned about the financial health of companies. He wants the regulator who protects consumers to also consider financial firms' health, to strengthen "both consumer protection and safety and soundness regulation."