(CNN)–It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.
On our radar: With our exclusive interview with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, we focus on foreign policy and the Obama administration.
Check out what we're reading and watch the show today at 9AM/12PM ET.
Afghan officials cite security firms with U.S. ties for violations
The Afghan government has accused several prominent private security companies, including some that work with the U.S. government, of committing "major offenses," a move that U.S. officials fear could hasten their departure from the country. A list compiled by Afghan officials cites 16 companies, including several American and British firms, for unspecified serious violations and seven others for having links to high-ranking Afghan officials, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.
Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program Close With No Progress
A senior American official said that the Iranians were skillful negotiators, and that “this will be a real test of our patience and resolve.” But with no new talks scheduled, the Obama administration will now face new pressures from Congress and some allies to ramp up another round of sanctions against Iran in a strategy that has always attempted to combine increasing pressure on the country with a continued willingness to negotiate.
Former Spy With Agenda Operates a Private C.I.A.
Duane R. Clarridge parted company with the Central Intelligence Agency more than two decades ago, but from poolside at his home near San Diego, he still runs a network of spies. Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class.
How Congress helped thwart Obama's plan to close Guantanamo
In cable after cable sent to the State Department in Washington, American diplomats make it clear that the unwillingness of the United States to resettle a single detainee in this country — even from among 17 ethnic Muslim Uighurs considered enemies of China's communist government — made other countries reluctant to take in detainees.
PREVIEWING THE STATE OF THE UNION
Obama to Press Centrist Agenda in His Address
As State of the Union Nears, Congress Plays Musical Chairs
Interest groups vie for a moment of Obama's time in State of the Union address
Economy Probably Sped Up as U.S. Consumer Spending Rose Most in Four Years
The economy in the U.S. probably grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter, driven by the biggest gain in consumer spending in four years, economists projected a report this week will show.
Gross domestic product rose at a 3.5 percent annual pace, up from a 2.6 percent rate in the previous three months, according to the median estimate of 67 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before a Jan. 28 Commerce Department report.
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The job killing republicans now are taking credit for the jobs created in 2010, while voting, "Hell no!" on every job creating bill for the past two years. The job killers have a number of reasons for the brighter economic picture: 1. Reagan's trickle down economics is starting to kick in, 2. Bush's unfunded tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is just starting to work, and my favorite, 3. The repeal of health reform which eliminates help for small businesses and increases the national debt, has created consumer confidence.
Wire Palladin, S. F... Just another radical liberal spouting nonsense. I just love the way these radicals make claims on the behalf of another party. Their hatred and distortion of truth is why I could no longer affiliate myself with Democrats.
The state of the union should be obvious........the worst since 1945.
Perhaps Wire Palladin, S. F. would like to inform everyone that the top 5% pay 95% of the countries taxes too? Oh, but that really doesn't support his arguments why business can't afford to hire. Or why families struggle from paycheck to paycheck with the federal, state, city, county, etc taxes that we pay to support "entitlement" (aka socialism" programs?
All in 2012 by the DNC or ads should show Boehner's reaction "Hell No" and McConnell's statement "Our #1 priority is to make sure President Obama is a one term president". Not once have either of them mentioned putting America back to work.
I'd like to say that if anyone thinks the employment rate will drop to 5% you are CRAZY!!! All of the jobs lost approx. 8 mil between 2001-2008 are not coming back. The new norm is probably 7% or 8%.
jobs, jobs, and jobs....strict immigration, and fuel-efficiency...oil Independence...