National Security Brief: CIA Did Not Request Help In Benghazi

— Acting CIA Director Mike Morell is expected to tell Congress in closed door hearings this week that the CIA never requested assistance from Europe-based assets or armed drones the night of the Sept. 11 attack is Benghazi, Libya.

— Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. military’s Africa Command, said that some of attackers that assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi had links to al-Qaida’s North Africa arm but it was unclear if the terror network led or organized the deadly attack.

— Xi Jinping replaced outgoing Communist Party chief Hu Jintao on Thursday as head of the powerful Central Military Commission, which controls the armed forces, making Mr. Hu the first Communist Chinese leader to cede all formal powers without bloodshed, purges or political unrest.

— The New York Times reports from Israel: Israeli warplanes struck dozens of militant sites in Gaza early on Thursday, the second day of Israel’s deadly offensive against Hamas and other militant groups, and rockets fired from the enclave reached far into Israel, killing three civilians when one struck an apartment block in this small southern town.

— President Obama praised the new Syrian political opposition as “a legitimate representative of the Syrian people” but the U.S. is not yet prepared to recognize the group as a government in exile or provide arms to antigovernment rebels.

— The New York Times reports: Israel’s Foreign Ministry has warned foreign governments that a successful Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations this month could lead Israel to cancel the Oslo peace accords and, possibly, to oust President Mahmoud Abbas and dismantle his Palestinian Authority.