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Archive for the ‘Al Qaeda’ Category

A police officer stands guard in New York's Times Square as the ABC news ticker displays news of an al-Qaida terror threat, Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. Just days before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. counterterrorism officials are chasing a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaida threat to use a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington. It is the first "active plot" timed to coincide with the somber commemoration of the terror group's 9/11 attacks a decade ago that killed nearly 3,000 people. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Officials chase unconfirmed al-Qaida bomb threat

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and KIMBERLY DOZIER

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. counterterrorism officials are chasing a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaida threat to set off a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington. It was the first word of an “active plot” timed to coincide with the somber commemoration of the terror group’s 9/11 attacks a decade ago that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Counterterrorism officials were investigating the threat throughout the night and into Friday, as police in New York and Washington said they would increase their already stepped-up staffing levels in light of the recent intelligence.

Law enforcement officials were pursuing three people who may be traveling to the U.S. or who have recently entered the country, based on the detailed information received by the U.S. intelligence community late Wednesday, officials said. The intelligence suggested that al-Qaida planned to car bomb one of the two cities that were hit 10 years ago.

Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that there was no confirmation that anyone had traveled into the U.S. for such a plot although the tip came from a credible source. “There’s no certitude,” he said.

“The thing we are all most worried about is what they call a `lone ranger,’ a lone actor, not some extremely complicated plan like it took to take down the World Trade towers,” said Biden, who appeared on the trio of network morning TV shows Friday.

A U.S. official said the source of the terror tip indicated that al-Qaida’s new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, was involved in planning the plot. But the official also said that many in the intelligence community question that and other aspects of the source’s information.

The nation’s terror alert level has not changed, but raising it was under consideration Thursday night.

The officials described the threat to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

MORE HERE

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CIA Spied On Bin Laden From Safe House

TPM MUCKRAKER

Eric Lach | May 6, 2011, 9:45AM

The CIA had for months been spying on the compound where Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. forces earlier this week, according to reports.

The agency maintained a rented safehouse near bin Laden’s compound, where a small team of spies “relied on Pakistani informants and other sources to help assemble a ‘pattern of life’ portrait of the occupants and daily activities at the fortified compound where bin Laden was found,” officials told The Washington Post.

A variety of technologies were used, according to The New York Times:

Observing from behind mirrored glass, C.I.A. officers used cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to study the compound, and they used sensitive eavesdropping equipment to try to pick up voices from inside the house and to intercept cellphone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels.

Despite the efforts, technology and millions of dollars used in the operation, agents were never able to photograph or record the voice of the man living on the top floor of the compound. According to the Times, agents called a man who took regular walks in the compound’s courtyard “the pacer,” but they were never able to confirm that he was bin Laden.

“You’ve got to give him credit for his tradecraft,” a former senior CIA official who played a leading role in the manhunt told the Post.

On the other hand, the official said, bin Laden’s decision to go to Abbottabad left him vulnerable. While it was not an obvious place to hide, and took him out of range of the U.S. drones that patrol the border with Afghanistan, Abbottabad is a place where “anybody can go.”

“It makes it easier for the CIA to operate,” the official said.

According to the Post, the safehouse was shut down after the raid.

SOURCE

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Thanks To Obama’s Rejection Of Torture, Abdulmuttalab Has Been Providing Intel On Al Qaeda

Think Progress- By Matt Duss at 12:35 pm

President Obama’s counter-terrorism approach — especially his decision to publicly reject torture — received a huge vindication yesterday with the news that the FBI has been working with the family of the failed Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab, and that “Abdulmuttalab has been cooperating with authorities and sharing intelligence since last Thursday”:

The agents and key family members arrived in back in the US on January 17th. The family members met with officials from the Justice Department and the FBI to plan a way forward.

“One of the principal reasons why his family came back is because they had complete trust in the US system of justice and believed that Umar Farouq would be treated fairly and appropriately,” the senior official said. “And that they would be as well.”

The FBI and Abdulmuttalab’s family approached the subject and “gained his cooperation. He has been cooperating for days,” the official said.

A key point here is that there is very little chance that Abdulmuttalab’s family would have agreed to cooperate with the U.S. government in getting Abdulmuttalab to talk if they suspected that he was in any danger of being tortured. This is a clear example of how President Obama’s bringing U.S. counter-terrorism practices back within the rule of law is making Americans safer.

A federal official told the New York Times that “the intelligence gained has been disseminated throughout the intelligence community,” and “the best way to get him to talk was working with his family.”

ABC also reported that “Abdulmuttalab was talking to FBI agents on Saturday, at the same time Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, issued the Republican response to the president’s weekly address, decrying Abdulmuttalab’s presence in the criminal justice system.”

It’s ironic that that Abdulmuttalab was providing information at the very moment conservatives were hyperventilating about the administration’s terrorism approach. The case also indicates that Obama’s decision to try the terrorist in criminal court has not served to cut off any information the U.S. could glean from Abdulmuttalab, as many critics have claimed. As CAP’s Ken Gude recently wrote, “The facts are clear: Criminal courts are a far tougher and more reliable forum for prosecuting terrorists than military commissions”:

The record of recent terrorism investigations demonstrates that interviews with terrorists who have attorneys have produced “an intelligence goldmine.”

False assumptions are driving the debate about the tools available to fight terrorism. President Obama needs to cut through the noise and use the tough and proven criminal justice system as a vital weapon in the fight against Al Qaeda.

Fortunately, it seems the president is doing just that.

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Alleged Christmas day bomber pleads not guilty

RAW STORY

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, January 9th, 2010 — 10:48 am

Hobbled by leg irons, a young Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a US plane on Christmas Day pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance amid heightened security.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, spoke softly from the dock Friday to confirm his name, how it was spelled and his age. His expression flat, his eyes averted from the gathered crowd, he said he understood the six charges against him.

His court-appointed lawyer, Miriam Siefer, entered the plea of not guilty to all six charges, including attempted murder of 290 people on board the plane and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.

“At this time our client would like to enter a plea of not guilty,” Siefer said, but added “we have — with our client’s consent — consented to detention.”

Abdulmutallab, son of a prominent Nigerian banker, was arrested after the botched Al-Qaeda plot, in which explosives allegedly stitched into his underwear failed to detonate aboard a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

MORE HERE

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Egypt’s complicity in the Gaza’s siege underlines the role of western support for such regimes in the spread of war

Seumas Milne, The Guardian/UK, Jan 7, 2010

An an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor had gone on hunger strike in support of a besieged people in another part of the world, and hundreds of mostly western protesters had been stoned and beaten by police, you can be sure we’d have heard all about it. But because that is what’s been happening in western-backed Egypt, rather than Iran, and the people the protesters are supporting are the Palestinians of Gaza instead of, say, Tibetans, most people in Europe and north America know nothing about it.

Continues >>


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The Republican record on terrorism is pretty damn terrible. Naturally, this hasn’t stopped them from milking whatever remains of their purely cosmetic tough-guy reputation in order to fear-monger the failed Underpants Bomber incident irrespective of their lengthy history of failure, cowardice and stupidity on the issue.

I think we all understand and begrudgingly accept that Americans have a short attention span, and an even shorter memory, but the Republicans are really counting on it as they exploit the post-underpants freakout.

For example, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said the other day:

I’m hopeful that the president will become forceful, that we will return back to the direction where we are prosecuting the war on terror

I know. It doesn’t read very well, but the senator was suggesting that we go back to the way the Bush/Cheney team ran the “war on terror” — that the previous administration’s strategy was much more effective. Another attempt to sell the inaccurate notion that shit-kicker boots, a southern drawl, a waterboard and hillbilly bumper-sticker justice succeeded in knocking al-Qaeda into oblivion.

Wrong.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new threat assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts says that al-Qaeda has used its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border to restore its operating capabilities to a level unseen since the months before Sept. 11, 2001.
A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the document — titled “al-Qaeda better positioned to strike the West” — called it a stark appraisal. The analysis will be part of a broader meeting at the White House on Thursday about an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

This wasn’t some sort of early, post-9/11 assessment that can be scapegoated on the Clinton administration. If you recall, this NIE was released to the press in July of 2007. A year and a half before President Obama was elected, six and a half years after Bill Clinton left office, and six and a half years into the Bush presidency.

(more…)

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