Workers continue construction on the World Trade Center site in July 15, 2010 New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - The United States has spent more than $1 trillion on wars since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, a recently released Congressional report says.
Adjusting for inflation, the outlays for conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world make the "war on terrorism" second only to World War II.
The report "Cost of Major U.S. Wars" by the Congressional Research Service attempts to compare war costs over a more than 230-year period - from the American Revolution to the current day - noting the difficulties associated with such a task.
Since the the 9/11 terror attacks, the United States has spent an estimated $1.15 trillion. World War II cost $4.1 trillion when converted to current dollars, although the tab in the 1940s was $296 billion.
Washington (CNN) - Four U.S. senators have requested a formal meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to the United States this week to discuss the 2009 release of a man convicted of playing a role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The 1988 bombing killed 270 people, most of them Americans.
The Scottish government released Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds last August after doctors said he had terminal prostate cancer and just three months to live. But al-Megrahi is still alive, and news reports in recent days have questioned whether he was as sick as depicted. Questions also have been raised about whether a deal was cut to release him to protect British business interests in Libya.
(CNN) – A group of U.S. lawmakers have called for an investigation into whether BP may have played a role in lobbying for the release of Abdelbaset al Megrahi to secure an oil contract with the Libyan government.
Megrahi, now 58, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.
He was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds in August after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"Reports have surfaced indicating that a 2007 oil agreement may have influenced the U.K. and Scottish governments' positions concerning Mr. Megrahi's release in 2009," wrote Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey in a letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Monday.
Washington (CNN) - A divided Supreme Court has ruled the government's power to criminalize "material support" of a terrorist organization is constitutionally permissible.
The 6-3 ruling preserves a key provision of the 2001 Patriot Act, amid claims it threatens the free-speech rights of Americans who would assist non-violent activities of certain militant and terror groups.
At issue was whether the federal law allows prosecution of those with knowledge of "any service, training, expert advice or assistance" to a foreign terrorist organization, as designated by the U.S. government.
(CNN) - In some of his most candid comments since leaving the White House, former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he has no regrets about authorizing the controversial waterboarding technique to interrogate terrorist suspects and wouldn't hesitate to do so again.
"Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," the former president said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Press.
"I'd do it again to save lives," he added.
In a question-and-answer session following his speech to the group of local business leaders, the former president also defended his 2003 decision to invade Iraq.
Washington (CNN) – For the first time in nearly four years, a majority of Americans think that a terrorist attack is likely to occur somewhere in the United States in the next few weeks, according to a new national poll.
But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning indicates only one in 20 Americans think that terrorism is the most important problem facing the country today.
Fifty-five percent of people questioned say an act of terrorism in the U.S. over the next few weeks is likely, up 21 points from last August. Forty-three percent said such an attack is not likely, down 21 points from August.
"Eight in ten Americans don't think that a terrorist attack is likely in their community, but the 17 percent who do worry about being targeted by terrorists is the highest that number has been since 2002," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Nonetheless, terrorism ranks dead last when Americans are asked to name the country's most important problem."
The economy, at 45 percent, tops the list, with the deficit, at 12 percent, and health care, at 11 percent, the only other issues in double digits. Only four percent of those questioned in the poll say terrorism is the country's top issue.
Washington (CNN) - Vowing to continue to "underwrite global security" - but not alone - the Obama administration Thursday released its first National Security Strategy, a 52-page outline of the president's strategic approach and priorities.
The NSS, required by Congress of every administration to be prepared every four years, for the first time combines homeland security and national security, focusing not only on threats internationally but on the threat of home-grown radicals inspired and recruited by al Qaeda.
"We view this as an important and emerging challenge," Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, told reporters. Al Qaeda, he said, is less capable of using safe havens for training abroad and is now "trying to inspire Americans to carry out attacks on the U.S."
Those Americans, he said, may have less direct contact with the terrorist organization but they carry American passports and know the strengths and weaknesses of the United States.
"Several recent incidents of violent extremists in the United States who are committed to fighting here and abroad have underscored the threat to the United States and our interests posed by individuals radicalized at home," the NSS states. "Our best defenses against this threat are well informed and equipped families, local communities and institutions."
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration unveils its National Security Strategy on Thursday and it will be the first time a president explicitly recognizes the threat posed to the country by radicalized individuals at home, the president's chief counterterrorism adviser said.
The security strategy acts as a blueprint for how a White House administration intends to protect Americans. In the past, it has focused mostly on international threats.
But a spate of terror-related plots in the United States recently prompted the Obama administration to include homegrown terrorism in the document, National Security Adviser John Brennan said Wednesday.
Homegrown terrorism represents a new phase of the terrorist threat, he said.
Speaking at the U.S. Military Academy commencement in New York, Obama praised the graduates for their achievements and laid out a scenario of military and societal challenges in what is the ninth consecutive West Point commencement during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against international terrorism.
"This time of war began in Afghanistan - a place that may seem as far from this peaceful bend in the Hudson River as anywhere on Earth," Obama said, referring to a conflict that started after the al Qaeda terror network attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
"The war began only because our own cities and civilians were attacked by violent extremists who plotted from that distant place, and it continues only because that plotting persists to this day."