The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN Security Clearance: Analysis: Will national security scandal create national security risk?
The fallout from the scandal involving now disgraced CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and possible connection to top Afghan commander Gen. John Allen comes at a transition time for the Obama administration. Politicians, journalists and every other political wonk are calculating who could be filling the major Cabinet positions that will be opening as some begin to step down. It raises the question of what effect all this could have on the country's national security.
CNN: 5 things to watch in Obama's news conference
President Barack Obama is scheduled to have his first news conference since March on Wednesday. It will be the 16th of his presidency and the first since his reelection last week. He are five things to watch for.
CNN: Five reasons why time may be right for immigration reform
Comprehensive immigration reform has so far eluded President Barack Obama. But with his re-election victory in battleground states propelled by strong Latino support, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have a stronger interest in cultivating support from a group with growing political clout. Here are five reasons why the time may be right for immigration reform to take hold in Washington.
CNN: Pelosi’s guessing game
Will she or won't she? Since last Tuesday's elections, speculation has swirled on Capitol Hill about whether House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi would run for another term as leader or whether she would step aside.
CNN: Rick Perry doesn't support secession petition on White House website
An appeal calling on the federal government to allow Texas to "withdraw from the United States of America" following President Barack Obama's re-election doesn't have the support of the Lone Star State's governor, his office said in a statement Tuesday.
CNN: Widening scandal focuses on 'flirtatious' e-mails
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan allegedly exchanged "flirtatious" e-mails with a woman who was supposedly being threatened by the CIA director's mistress, according to a Defense Department official. Now, the commander, Marine Gen. John Allen, is being investigated by the Defense Department, the woman who traded flirty e-mails with Allen is asking for privacy, and the home of the former spy chief's lover has been searched by the FBI.
CNN: Google: 'Government surveillance is on the rise'
The tangled David Petraeus scandal highlights how easily the U.S. government can access citizens' private e-mails. The FBI's request to access Paula Broadwell's personal Gmail account was one of 7,969 similar requests Google received from the U.S. government in the first half of 2012, according to Google and news reports. The company said it complied with the requests, either fully or partially, 90% of the time.
CNN: Infant deaths: Searching for answers in Mississippi
Babies born in Mississippi are less likely to reach their first birthday than in any other state, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For every 1,000 Mississippi babies born in 2011, 9.4 died before their first birthday, according to the state's health office. There's not one clear explanation. Experts cite a multitude of factors that are also seen in other parts of the country and around the world.
CNN: Jordanians call for overthrow after gas price hike
Protesters in Jordan have often lambasted parliamentarians, cursed the prime minister and called for the government to go, but they do not speak out against their king. Tuesday night they did - rudely and loudly - using the standard battle cry that has echoed from Tunisia to Syria: "The people want to topple the Regime!" This refrain has been the calling card of the Arab spring. In this case, a government price hike triggered the demonstrations.
CNN: Chinese petitioners claim hotel used as 'black jail'
Xie Jinghua, her husband and three other sources have told CNN they were held against their will at the Holiday Inn Express Nanhuizui – located on the outskirts of Shanghai – to keep them from airing grievances to the central government during the 10-day annual meeting of China's legislature in March. The hotel management and owners deny their claims. But people being detained without charge is nothing new in China, according to Human Rights Watch, which says authorities use hotels, homeless shelters, and other obscure facilities as unofficial prisons where Chinese officials hold citizens without charge.
CNN: Workers exhuming Yasser Arafat's body in probe of death
Work began Tuesday to exhume the body of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat amid an investigation of his 2004 death. The exhumation comes after French authorities opened a murder inquiry into his death this year after high levels of a radioactive substance were found on some of his personal belongings.
CNN: Project to turn desert green trials in Qatar
In a region known for its towering skyscrapers, the erection of a modestly-sized greenhouse might not appear worthy of much attention. But this small construction site near the coast in Qatar's Mesaieed Industrial City could help transform the landscape forever, says its developers, turning desert land into flourishing centers of food and freshwater production.
CNNMoney: Toyota recalls another 2.77 million cars
Toyota Motors said Wednesday it was recalling 2.77 million cars worldwide, its second major recall in as many months. The recall mainly covers certain Prius models and was prompted by a problem with the steering intermediate extension shafts, which can suffer damage if sharp turns are made at slow speeds.
CNNMoney: AMT: Biggest fiscal cliff tax headache
If lawmakers fail to protect the middle class from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax by Dec. 31, next year's tax filing season will be a mess for tens of millions of taxpayers. That was the gist of a letter sent Tuesday from Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller to top tax writers in Congress as lawmakers are poised to start negotiations about the fiscal cliff.
CNNMoney: Stocks in rut as fiscal cliff dominates
U.S. stocks ended modestly lower Tuesday, as investors question whether lawmakers will cut a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 both lost about 0.4%, while the Nasdaq ended 0.7% lower. Stocks were mostly wafting around the breakeven line for much of the day.
In case you missed it…
In a 911 call, Jill Kelley, one of the women involved in the Petraeus and Allen scandals, says she's entitled to diplomatic protection because of her volunteer work with the military.