Al-Qaeda in Iran

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was in Washington yesterday where he met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. With the meetings closed to the press, details were hard to come by, but State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that Clinton and Barak wanted to touch base about “security cooperation” and “larger regional issues” in light of “the continuation of the Arab Spring.” Pentagon spokesman George Little said Panetta expressed Washington’s commitment to “ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge.”

The Treasury Department filed documents accusing Tehran of supporting al-Qaeda by allowing a Syrian who runs a donor network for the terrorist organization to operate in Iran freely. Al-Qaeda members are also allegedly allowed to travel across Iranian territory. Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said, “By exposing Iran’s secret deal with al-Qaeda, allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism.”

Positive vibes from the administration about the debt ceiling are dwindling. The White House's proposed deal to cut the deficit by nearly $4 trillion over the next ten years is “on the table,” according to spokesman Jay Carney, and, adding a lot of conditionals, he said, “If there is the political will to make it happen, it could happen before August 2.” He described what a compromise would look like if that deal can’t be struck before the Tuesday deadline: “significant deficit reduction; a mechanism by which Congress would take on the tough issues of tax reform and entitlement reform; and a lifting of the debt ceiling . . . into 2013.”