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What the Fed is doing to boost gold?
By Chris Vermeulen - CommodityOnline.com
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." ~ Thomas Jefferson
Well here we are, caught between resistance in the S&P 500 around the 1,330 area and support around the 1,300 price level. My last two articles have discussed why I was expecting a top in the coming days and weeks ahead, but prices just continued to work higher.
Interview with John Williams of Shadow Statistics Pt 1
John Williams Pt. 2: Hyperinflation
Silver may be poised for solid gains in 2012
LONDON (Commodity Online): Silver may be poised for solid gains in 2012 after a poor showing in 2011 and strong demand for the metal, said optionsXpress in a research note.
"Technically, the (Comex) March Silver contract has made significant progress, but prices need to sustain rallies above $35 to keep the rally going" optionsXpress added.
Silver has been one of the strongest commodities during January. "Oversold conditions and increased demand from industrial users of the metal have contributed to the rebound," OptionsXpress said.
Silver Opportunity Begins Anew
By Kevin McElroy - SeekingAlpha.com
....I still believe we'll breach new record highs in silver - and I stand by my prediction of $130 an ounce or so.
I'm still buying physical silver, as well (and you'll be the first to know when I stop buying and start selling).
And hopefully you're well aware of the main reason that I prefer to buy physical silver - but here it is again:
I buy physical silver (and gold) to protect some portion of my cash savings from the likelihood of currency crisis and inflation. I don't have the expectation of getting rich from my physical silver and gold holdings - but I expect my holdings will be safe from government fiat.
The U.S. Dollar Is Under Attack
By Robert Hallberg - SeekingAlpha.com
The U.S. dollar has enjoyed a rally since the middle of last year, partly as a result of the debt crisis erupting in Europe, taking the problems of the dollar out of the headlines. However, there are good reasons to believe that this rally is soon coming to an end as the dollar is back under attack again. First, Iran and India announced that they will start trading crude oil using gold instead of dollars. Then shortly after the Fed announced that it is going to keep interest rates low until 2014.
Keiser Report: Starving the Economy (E243)
Deficit Is Again Set to Top $1 Trillion
By DAMIAN PALETTA - WSJ.com
WASHINGTON—Tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January 2013 would slow the economy and raise unemployment next year unless policy makers strike a deal to keep those changes from kicking in or offset their impact, the Congressional Budget Office warned.
But while such an agreement would boost the economy in the short term, it also would expand the federal budget deficit over time if not combined with other policy changes, the nonpartisan CBO said.
Policy makers will have to decide soon how to handle the near-term economic strains as well as the future problems caused by rising government debt, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said.
Why the Latest Euro Zone Debt-Crisis Agreement
Shows How Europe Just Doesn’t Get It
By MICHAEL SCHUMAN - Business.Time.com
I just landed in Rome for some on-the-ground reporting on the latest twists and turns in the euro zone debt crisis, and I immediately got some sound insights from our reporter here, Stephan Faris. Stephan watches the situation in Italy more closely than I do, and he makes the point that Rome simply would not pursue any meaningful economic reform if Italy got bailed out or received more help from the European Union. The pressure of the crisis, he contends, is necessary to force Italy’s politicians to implement pro-growth reforms and reduce debt. Without it, Italy would simply continue on as usual, no matter what poor growth the economy may suffer, or how many young people are unable to find jobs. The entrenched interests are simply too powerful, the politicians too wary of taking unpopular measures. What most people don’t understand about the euro zone, Stephan explained, is that reform is impossible without the crisis.
Davos 2012 - Global Economic Outlook
Greece Fights for Second Bailout
By Jonathan Stearns and James G. Neuger - Bloomberg.com
Greece pledged a last-ditch effort to prevent the collapse of a second rescue package from creditors, aiming to complete talks this week on a financial lifeline that’s been in the works for six months.
Greek Premier Lucas Papademos said he would try to meet German-led demands for a bigger debt writedown by investors and deeper budget cuts by his government. Stocks rose after European Union leaders endorsed key planks of a strategy to fight the financial crisis, agreeing to accelerate the setup this year of a full-time 500 billion-euro ($659 billion) rescue fund and backing a deficit-control treaty.
Greek officials attack EU and IMF as debt talks stall
Prime minister Lucas Papademos calls crisis meeting to ask backers for further concessions after 'tough and honest' discussions in Brussels and Frankfurt
By Phillip Inman and Helena Smith - Guardian.co.uk
Greek officials launched a vociferous behind the scenes attack onEuropean Union and International Monetary Fund negotiators as talks in Athens over the country's mounting debts appeared to stall.
Prime minister Lucas Papademos told aides that a crisis meeting of party leaders would be called as early as Thursday to thrash out a response to an increasingly intransigent negotiating team sent by Brussels, which is demanding severe austerity measures before sanctioning a further €130bn (£109bn) of bailout funds.
German jobs miracle as Latin unemployment soars
Germany is enjoying the greatest jobs boom in 20 years even as unemployment rises to post-EMU highs across southern Europe, stretching the euro's North-South divide ever closer to breaking point.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
The latest Eurostat data shows that the two halves of the currency bloc have diverged dramatically. Germany's jobless rate dropped to 5.5pc in December, the lowest since reunification in 1990, with even lower rates of 4.9pc in Holland and 4.2pc in Austria.
The jobs miracle is in cruel contrast to the slump in the southern bloc, where unemployment has risen relentlessly as austerity bites.
Are Companies More Powerful Than Countries?
By RANA FOROOHAR - Business.Time.com
In 2008, after Lehman Brothers fell and the financial crisis and global recession began, the conventional wisdom was that we were entering an era in which government would take back power from business. In fact, just the opposite has happened.
The high profile political figures here at Davos disappointed — Merkel was angry and depressed by turns, and Geithner was defensive. Europe remains a mess, the U.S. vulnerable, and emerging markets — the only bright spot in the last three years — are slowing down. Politicians have few solutions to the huge problems of the day — labor bifurcation, debt, and inequality. Markets want answers, but leaders can’t give them — in part because for them, nearly any sort of action poses political risk.
JIM ROGERS INTERVIEW 30 JAN 2012
The Debt Supercycle Part II: On Borrowed Time
BY JAMES J PUPLAVA CFP - FinancialSense.com
"In particular, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that economic conditions–including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run–are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014."
Something is wrong with our economy. Given the recent pronouncements by the Fed, it is unlikely to improve in the short or intermediate term. America is drowning in debt and our financial experts keep advocating larger doses of "debt heroin" to fix the problem. In the last decade, total outstanding debt has increased from $28 trillion in 2000 to approximately $54 trillion in 2010. During that same period of time U.S. GDP has grown from $9.9 trillion in 2000 to $14.6 trillion in 2010. It is now taking close to $6 of debt to produce $1 in GDP. This is clearly unsustainable. America's economy is now beginning to malfunction.
Why Economists are Rooting for Inflation
By STEPHEN GANDEL - business.time.com
In most people’s minds inflation is up there with unemployment as one of the main ills you don’t want an economy to come down with. But in fact a growing number of economists are arguing that rising prices are exactly what we need to cure our the current economic maladies. It may not be the best answer, but it could be the easiest one to achieve.
The latest economists to get on the inflation bandwagon are Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Jeffry Frieden, who teaches international monetary policy at Harvard. The two professors, who wrote a book about the financial crisis called Lost Decades that was published in September, and who recently penned an articlefor Foreign Policy magazine, argue that the reason recoveries after financial crises are painfully slow is that credit shocks stymie everyone. Banks stop making loans in order to heal. Consumers use extra cash to pay down debts. And governments lapse into gridlock as politicians argue over who should take the hit for their countries’ debts: taxpayers, government workers or the poor. But Chinn and Frieden argue there is a way to heal banks, borrowers and the government at the same time: Higher prices.
Fed Bank Presidents’ Holdings
Range From Ranchland to Equities
By Joshua Zumbrun - Bloomberg.com
Federal Reserve regional bank presidents provided unprecedented disclosure of their wealth, revealing assets ranging from a Missouri farm and Texas ranchland to stocks and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities.
The officials, who oversee Fed operations ranging from bank supervision to emergency lending, disclosed the documents today in response to requests from Bloomberg News under the Freedom of Information Act. The regional banks said they weren’t subject to the terms of the act, even as they responded to the request.
Baltic Dry Index Signals Renewed Market Collapse
By Brandon Smith - Alt-Market.com
Much has been said about the Baltic Dry Index over the course of the last four years, especially in light of the credit crisis and the effects it has had on the frequency of global shipping. Importing and exporting has never been quite the same since 2008, and this change is made most obvious through one of the few statistical measures left in the world that is not subject to direct manipulation by international corporate interests; the BDI. Today, the BDI is on the verge of making headlines once again, being that is plummeting like a wingless 747 into the swampy mire of what I believe will soon be historical lows.
Fed heads reflect America’s wealth gap
Wide wealth gap revealed between regional presidents
By Greg Robb, MarketWatch.com
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — It turns out the Federal Reserve is lot like America.
The Fed’s 12 district-bank presidents on Tuesday disclosed their assets in 2010, and lo and behold there’s a wide gap between the few very rich presidents and the others — not exactly like the gap between the so-called 1% and the 99%, but close.
There are nine presidents who could be called members of the middle class: James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed; Charles Evans, the president of the Chicago Fed; Esther George, the new president of the Kansas City Fed Bank; Narayana Kocherlakota of the Minneapolis Fed; Jeffrey Lacker of the Richmond Fed; Sandy Pianalto of the Cleveland Fed; Charles Plosser of the Philadelphia Fed; Eric Rosengren of the Boston Fed; and John Williams of the San Francisco Fed.
Three female regulators' warnings
about financial crisis were ignored
By Keith Chrostowski | The Kansas City Star
More people in positions of power — government regulators, especially — should have foreseen the subprime financial crisis coming.
They could have saved us from this mess.
But wait …
Three regulators did indeed ring warning bells — at the right time, in the right places, and loud enough for other banking and financial system overseers.
All three were women: Brooksley Born, Sheila Bair and Susan Bies.
All three were ignored.
You may have heard before about the warnings issued by Born, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the 1990s, and Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from 2006 to 2011.
UPS profit falls 29% on pension accounting changes
By Mia Lamar - MarketWatch.com
United Parcel Service Inc.'s fourth-quarter earnings dropped 29% on a hefty charge tied to the shipping giant's recent decision to change its pension accounting method.
UPS last week reported it would shift to a mark-to-market system of accounting under which the company will recognize gains and losses in its pension plans on an annual basis instead of spreading the impact over time. The change has no impact on benefits paid to plan participants or its pension funding.
Washington state considering changes
to government pension plans
By Brad Shannon - McClatchyDC.com
State lawmakers carved some $7 billion in long-term pension costs last year by putting a freeze on cost-of-living-adjustments in two older retirement plans. New ideas this year could further trim the state’s long-term liabilities.
Republican Sen. Joseph Zarelli has floated a bill that would force new hires in state and local governments into what are called hybrid pension plans, which are optional now. Hybrid plans are split – one half providing a traditional pension payment in a worker’s retirement years, the other half providing a contribution to an investment fund much like an IRA or 401(k) that the worker would manage.
Is Freddie Mac Betting Against the American Homeowner?
By CHRISTOPHER MATTHEWS - Business.Time.com
The non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica, in cooperation with National Public Radio, published a story yesterday revealing that Freddie Mac, the government-owned mortgage financier, has recently been purchasing derivatives that would make the company money “if homeowners stay trapped in expensive mortgages with interest rates well above current rates.” The story, titled “Freddie Mac Bets Against American Homeowners” argues that these derivative purchases are unethical because they give Freddie Mac “a powerful incentive” not to help homeowners refinance at today’s historically low rates. The article states that “no evidence has emerged that these two decisions were coordinated,” but it does imply that there is something wrong with Freddie tightening its lending standards and then attempting to profit off the knowledge that these standards would be tighter.
Freddie Mac Betting Against Struggling Homeowners
by CHRIS ARNOLD - NPR.org
Freddie Mac, a taxpayer-owned mortgage company, is supposed to make homeownership easier. One thing that makes owning a home more affordable is getting a cheaper mortgage.
But Freddie Mac has invested billions of dollars betting that U.S. homeowners won't be able to refinance their mortgages at today's lower rates, according to an investigation by NPR andProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom.
These investments, while legal, raise concerns about a conflict of interest within Freddie Mac.
"We were actually shocked they did this," says Scott Simon, who heads the mortgage-backed securities team at the giant bond trading and investment firm called PIMCO. "It seemed so out of line with their mission, out of line with what Congress wanted them to do."
Home prices decline for a third straight month
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 large U.S. cities fell 1.3% in November from October as foreclosures continue to drag down the housing market.
By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
Three straight months of home-price declines in the biggest U.S. cities showed that foreclosures remain a significant drag on a housing market that is entering its fifth year of deterioration.
Nineteen of the 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index fell in November — the second consecutive month that every metro area other than Phoenix was down and the third consecutive month that the overall index has declined. The index fell 1.3% from October to November and 3.7% from November 2010.
Home Prices Tumble
By MIA LAMAR - WSJ.com
U.S. home prices fell again in November, according to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller indexes, indicating continued struggles for the beleaguered housing market.
The sector has remained sluggish despite lower prices and interest rates due to a slowly improving economy, an abundance of foreclosures and tighter mortgage requirements.
Case Shiller Home-Price Index Falls 3.7%
By Alex Kowalski - Bloomberg.com
Residential real estate prices fell more than forecast in November, showing distressed properties are hampering improvement in the U.S. housing market.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities declined 3.7 percent from November 2010 after decreasing 3.4 percent in the year ended in October, the group said today in New York. Economists projected a 3.3 percent drop, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.
House prices continue to fall
despite broader signs economic improvement
Average prices drop to 2003 levels in 19 out of 20 US cities, with only Phoenix bucking the trend, new survey shows
By Dominic Rushe - Guardian.co.uk
House prices have continued to fall across the US even as the wider economy has picked up, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.
For the second consecutive month home prices fell in 19 out of 20 cities measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller index, leaving average prices at levels seen in mid-2003. This was the third month in a row that average prices had fallen.
Homeownership rates fall to 66% as downturn nears a bottom
By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY
Fewer Americans own homes and many of them are continuing to see values decline.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the nation's homeownership rate fell to 66% in the fourth quarter, continuing a seven-year drop from a fourth-quarter peak of 69.2% in 2004.
At the same time, U.S. home prices fell 1.3% in November from October and were 3.7% below 2010 levels, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index indicates.
Foreclosures Draw Private Equity as U.S. Rents Homes
By John Gittelsohn - Bloomberg.com
Private equity firms are jumping into distressed housing as the U.S. government plans to market 200,000 foreclosed homes as rentals to speed up the economic recovery.
GTIS Partners will spend $1 billion by 2016 acquiring single-family homes to manage as rentals, Thomas Shapiro, the fund’s founder said. That followed announcements this month that GI Partners, a Menlo Park private equity fund, expects to invest $1 billion, and Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LP will spend $450 million on similar housing.
Real House Prices and House Price-to-Rent
A monthly update: Case-Shiller, CoreLogic and others report nominal house prices. It is also useful to look at house prices in real terms (adjusted for inflation) and as a price-to-rent ratio.
Below are three graphs showing nominal prices (as reported), real prices and a price-to-rent ratio. Real prices are back to 1999/2000 levels, and the price-to-rent ratio is also back to 2000 levels.
The first graph shows the quarterly Case-Shiller National Index SA (through Q3 2011), and the monthly Case-Shiller Composite 20 SA and CoreLogic House Price Indexes (through November) in nominal terms as reported.
Homeowner wins back her house after fighting foreclosure
Karen Mena managed to get a foreclosure on her San Bernardino home rescinded. But she continues to negotiate with Bank of America over loan terms and could still lose the house.
By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
Foreclosure commonly represents the end of a struggle. A borrower can't pay a mortgage, loses a home and moves on.
But Karen Mena, a 38-year-old county worker, never gave up. Mena fought even after her San Bernardino home was no longer hers. And she won the three-bedroom house back — at least for now.
The ordeal isn't over yet. The eviction was stopped and Bank of America canceled the foreclosure because of the possibility that the loan would be modified to make it more affordable.
Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Declines
By Kathleen Madigan - WSJ.com
U.S. consumer confidence in January gave back some of the huge gains posted in the previous two months, according to a report released Tuesday. Views on labor markets darkened.
The Conference Board, a private research group, said its index of consumer confidence retreated to 61.1 this month from a revised 64.8 in December, first reported as 64.5. The January index was far less than the 68.0 expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.
What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism
As the Ten Commandments instruct, envy is corrosive to the individual and to those societies that embrace it.
By ARYEH SPERO - WSJ.com
Who would have expected that in a Republican primary campaign the single biggest complaint among candidates would be that the front-runner has taken capitalism too far? As if his success and achievement were evidence of something unethical and immoral? President Obama and other redistributionists must be rejoicing that their assumptions about rugged capitalism and the 1% have been given such legitimacy.
More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.
Verizon Crosses Web Lines
Wireless Arm Touts Comcast
Even as Phone Giant Battles Cable in FiOS Fight
By ANTON TROIANOVSKI, THOMAS CATAN
and SHALINI RAMACHANDRAN - WSJ.com
As Verizon Communications Inc. pushes for more cable-television and high-speed Internet subscribers, a new competitor is emerging: its own subsidiary, Verizon Wireless.
This month, Verizon Wireless stores in Seattle and Portland, Ore., began offering home Internet, cable and telephone service from Comcast Corp. as part of a new joint marketing deal between the cellphone provider and several cable companies.
Will Lifeline guarantee high-speed Internet access for all?
Life, liberty and high-speed Internet access for all?
By Deborah Netburn - LATimes.com
Under the Lifeline program, low-income Americans were guaranteed affordable access to basic phone services for the last 25 years. Soon, the program might also help subsidize their access to high-speed Internet as well.
On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission, which manages Lifeline, said it will spend $25 million on a pilot program to examine what it would take to ensure low-income Americans have affordable access to broadband Internet.
The Coming Tech-led Boom
Three breakthroughs are poised to transform this century as much as telephony and electricity did the last.
By MARK P. MILLS AND JULIO M. OTTINO - WSJ.com
In January 1912, the United States emerged from a two-year recession. Nineteen more followed—along with a century of phenomenal economic growth. Americans in real terms are 700% wealthier today.
In hindsight it seems obvious that emerging technologies circa 1912—electrification, telephony, the dawn of the automobile age, the invention of stainless steel and the radio amplifier—would foster such growth. Yet even knowledgeable contemporary observers failed to grasp their transformational power.
Drug-Resistant Bugs Found in Organic Meat
By Jill U. Adams, ScienceNow - Wired.com
If you’re paying premium prices for pesticide- and antibiotic-free meat, you might expect that it’s also free of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Not so, according to a new study. The prevalence of one of the world’s most dangerous drug-resistant microbe strains is similar in retail pork products labeled "raised without antibiotics" and in meat from conventionally raised pigs, researchers have found.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA), a drug-resistant form of the normally harmless S. aureus bacterium, kills 18,000 people in the United States every year and sickens 76,000 more. The majority of cases are linked to a hospital stay, where the combination of other sick people and surgical procedures puts patients at risk. But transmission also can happen in schools, jails, and locker rooms (and an estimated 1.5% of Americans carry MRSA in their noses). All of this has led to a growing concern about antibiotic use in agriculture, which may be creating a reservoir of drug-resistant organisms in billions of food animals around the world.
Niall Ferguson on Japan and the welfare state
Ferguson Says China `Engine' of Global Economy
Youtube video - Embedding disabled by Bloomberg
47 Signs That China Is Absolutely Destroying America
On The Global Economic Stage
Have you ever watched a football game or a basketball game where one team dominates the other team so badly that calling it a "blowout" would be a huge understatement? Well, that is what China is doing to the United States. China is absolutely destroying America on the global economic stage. Once upon a time, the Chinese economy was a joke and the U.S. economy was the most powerful the world had ever seen. But over the past couple of decades the U.S. economy has decayed and declined while the Chinese economy has skyrocketed. Today, China makes more steel, more automobiles, more beer, more cotton, more coal and more solar panels than we do. China has the fastest train in the world, the fastest computer in the world and they export twice as much high-tech equipment as we do. In 2011, our trade deficit with China was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world, and China has now accumulated more than 3 trillion dollars in foreign currency reserves. Every single day, we lose more jobs, more businesses and more of our national wealth to China. In technical economic terms, China has "taken us out behind the woodshed" and has beaten the living daylights out of us. Unfortunately, most Americans are so addicted to entertainment that they don't even realize what is happening.
Soros Helped Nazis During WWII: Infowars Nightly News
Iran launches Spanish TV channel
Hispan TV will deal blow to 'dominance seekers',
says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
AP - Guardian.co.uk
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has officially launched a Spanish-language satellite TV channel, saying it would deal a blow to "dominance seekers" – remarks that were an apparent dig at the US and the west.
Iran's broadcasting company said Hispan TV, the first Spanish-language channel airing from the Middle East, will broadcast news, documentaries, movies and Iranian films 24 hours a day.
The launch is Tehran's latest effort to reach out to friendly governments in Latin America and follows Ahmadinejad's tour of the region earlier in January, which included stops in Cuba and visits to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
Iran Now a 'Top Threat' to U.S. Networks, Spy Chief Claims
By Noah Shachtman - Wired.com
American officials have complained for years that U.S. networks were crawling with Russian and Chinese hackers. On Tuesday, the nation’s top intelligence official told Congress that there’s a new danger to America’s information security: Iran. Too bad he didn’t provide much evidence to back up the claim.
"Russia and China are aggressive and successful purveyors of economic espionage against the United States," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper noted in his prepared testimony (.pdf) to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "Iran’s intelligence operations against the United States, including cyber capabilities, have dramatically increased in recent years in depth and complexity. We assess that FIS [Foreign Intelligence Services] from these three countries will remain the top threats to the United States in the coming years."
Iran, perceiving threat from West,
willing to attack on U.S. soil, U.S. intelligence report finds
By Greg Miller - WashingtonPost.com
U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Iran is prepared to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States in response to perceived threats from America and its allies, the U.S. spy chief said Tuesday.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said in prepared testimony that an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington that was uncovered last year reflects an aggressive new willingness within the upper ranks of the Islamist republic to authorize attacks against the United States.
Niall Ferguson- By 2021 There Could Be
A Restored Middle Eastern Caliphate
Iran now may support attacks in U.S., official says
By Jonathan S. Landay - McClatchyDC.com
WASHINGTON — Iran's top officials now may be more willing to sponsor attacks in the United States, the top U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday in a warning that reflected rising tensions over Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper also said that while al Qaida remained a danger, the deaths of Osama bin Laden and other key figures had seriously degraded the core terrorist organization's ability to mount major strikes.
Iranian attack on America
and allies increasingly likely – intelligence chief
Washington openly blames Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei for first time over Saudi ambassador plot
By Julian Borger - Guardian.co.uk
The head of US intelligence has warned that there is an increasing likelihood that Iran could carry out attacks in America or against US and allied targets around the world.
The warning from the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, reflects rapidly rising tensions over Iran's nuclear programme after the US and EU announced embargoes on the Iranian oil trade in the past few weeks, Israel leaked details of its preparation for a possible conflict and both the west and Iran boosted their military readiness in the Gulf.
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