U.S. Intel Officials On Edge As They Watch Egypt U.S. intelligence officials say that Egypt may move "in the right direction" — but that change could also destabilize a region vital to U.S. interests. Several Middle East countries have conditions similar to those that led to Egypt's popular uprising.
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U.S. Intel Officials On Edge As They Watch Egypt

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U.S. Intel Officials On Edge As They Watch Egypt

U.S. Intel Officials On Edge As They Watch Egypt

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

NPR's Tom Gjelten reports.

TOM GJELTEN: Panetta would not be pinned down, saying only a political transition in Egypt would have tremendous impact one way or another.

BLOCK: If it's done right, it will help us a great deal in trying to promote stability in that part of the world. If it happens wrong, it could create some serious problems for us and for the rest of the world.

GJELTEN: Democrat Jan Schakowsky wanted to know what the events in Egypt would mean for specific countries, including America's number one ally in the region.

SIEGEL: Have you done any particular analysis of what the changes would mean to Israel?

BLOCK: Yes, we have. And we'd be happy to share that with you in another forum.

GJELTEN: Panetta would not say more publicly about what exactly the CIA has concluded about the impact on Israel.

BLOCK: a lack of political freedom, economic stagnation and high youth unemployment.

BLOCK: I think all of those factors are at play in a number of nations across that region. All of which means we've got to pay a great deal of attention. Because I think the triggers, the factors that kicked off what happened in Egypt could very well impact in other areas.

GJELTEN: James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, zeroed in on one country, Yemen, and the challenges facing the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

BLOCK: He has secessionists in his own country, the presence of al-Qaida, and he's another leader who's been in place for a long time.

GJELTEN: Tom Gjelten, NPR News, Washington.

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