Today’s Terrorism News

No Bail for New Jersey al Shabaab Suspects

Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, accused of trying to join al Shabaab in Somalia, were denied bail yesterday.  The two allegedly acquired military gear and had attempted some type of training, in the form of paintball and working out, before they attempted to leave the U.S.  Almonte had exhibited anti-Jewish sentiment (“Death to all Juice”) in the past, along with attempting to legitimize terrorism on his Facebook page, according to the Daily News.

David Headley

David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American who has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his involvement in the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, was interrogated by Indian investigators over the course of the past week in Chicago.  Headley’s cooperation with Indian officials was an agreed upon aspect of his plea agreement.  Headley was interrogated over seven days, without any restrictions as to content. BBC, AP, Chicago Tribune.


Gitmo detainee Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini’s petition for habeas has been granted, bringing the number of successful challenges to detention under the Obama administration to 36. A Yemen citizen, Odaini had been in Guantanamo for eight years and is now 26 years old. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Kennedy said that the incarceration of Odaini had “done nothing to make the  United States more secure,” according to the Miami Herald.

In an editorial this morning, the Washington Post calls for the re-admission to Guantanamo coverage of four reporters who were banned last month for publishing the name of  former Army Sgt. Joshua R. Claus, one of the interrogators of Omar Khadr, the young Canadian who is currently standing trial before a military commission. As the editorial points out, “Mr. Claus’s identity and his role in the Khadr case were well-known long before he took the stand; the information is a matter of public record and, as a lawyer for the journalists notes, can be found on Mr. Khadr’s Wikipedia page.” According to a lawyer for the journalists, the judge had failed to respond to the reporters’ request for clarification on the publication of the name.

Interrogation Policy

Rights group are seeking further investigation into the role of CIA medical personnel in performing experiments on detainees apprehended in the war on terror.  The allegations were made in a report released last week by Physicians for Human Rights. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Center for Constitutional Rights have joined others in seeking further investigation.  The CIA has denied the allegations made in the report.

Militant Networks

A Taliban Web site has apparently been hacked into, according to a warning issued on the site to its users. Wired‘s Danger Room notes a previous post from the spring of 2009 about the Defense Department’s stated intention to begin shutting down extremist media outlets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Foreign Policy reports of growing evidence that groups from Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas are joining hands with militant outfits from other regions of the country.

Defense Planning

Michele Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, addressed the annual conference of the Center for a New American Security yesterday. Among the Department of Defense’s top goals for the future that she identified are  “increased training, equipping and joint operations with partner militaries — alongside the Department of State, which for years tussled with Defense for budgetary influence over foreign-military financing — so that the U.S. doesn’t take on security burdens alone,” in the words of  the Washington Independent. Before moving to her current position with the DoD, Flournoy was one of CNAS’s founders.

Cyber Security

CNN reports a cyber security bill that would grant the president emergency powers and create a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications to advise the president in the event that private networks “come under attack” is receiving bipartisan support in Congress despite concerns that the proposal may have “unintended consequences”.  Senator Joseph Lieberman, according to Federal News Radio, is optimistic that this session of Congress will pass a cyber bill which can combat threats to national and private sector security. James Fallows, writing for The Atlantic, reports on an Intelligence Squared debate in which audience members were persuaded that the idea of a potential cyber war is not “grossly exaggerated.”


Somali soccer fans have to watch the World Cup in hiding because al Shabaab considers the tournament to be “un-Islamic,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Attorneys for six Somali men charged in the Eastern District of Virginia for an attack on the USS Ashland have argued that their clients “did not take control of the USS Ashland, did not board her, and did not successfully obtain anything of value from her,” and therefore that the case should be thrown out, according to the AP, via MSNBC.

DNI and TSA Nominations

A memo from retired General James Clapper’s office at the Pentagon has raised questions in both the intelligence community and Congress over Clapper’s view on the Director of National Intelligence’s scope of authority. The Obama administration has nominated Clapper for the position.

John Pistole, the Obama administration’s nominee to run the leaderless Transportation Security Administration,  faced off with Republican senators this week over whether airport screeners should be allowed to unionize.  Washington Post, CNN.

General Counsel for the NSA

According to Newsweek, the Obama administration’s appointee for chief lawyer of the National Security Agency, Matthew Olsen, a Justice Department lawyer with experience in matters of “sensitive intelligence,” has accepted the request to become general counsel pending security clearances.

News stories compiled by the staff of the Center on Law and Security

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