Today’s Terrorism News

Congress Strikes Deal to Extend Patriot Act Until 2015

Congressional leaders reached a deal Thursday that will extend key provisions of the Patriot Act until June 2015, according to reports. In February, Congress passed a 90-day extension on the provisions, which concern roving wiretaps, the ability to track foreigners not suspected of being tied to terror groups, and the ability to seize personal or business records for terrorism investigations, and the measures are due to expire at the end of this month.

Under the deal, these provisions would be extended without changes until June 1, 2015. According to the Washington Post’s 2Chambers blog, “[t]he Senate will take up the measure first, with the vote on ending debate slated for next Monday and a final-passage vote possible Wednesday. The House would then follow suit by the end of the week.” The Atlantic reports that despite vocal opposition from civil libertarians and some members of Congress over extending these provisions, “[w]hat’s odd about PATRIOT Act politics is that the Obama administration has agreed more with congressional Republicans than with its Democratic allies.”
Leaders Forge Deal on Four-Year Extension of Patriot Act Provisions (WaPo’s 2Chambers blog)
Patriot Act Extension Deal Is Reached (NYT)
Patriot Act to Be Extended to 2015 in Congressional Accord (Bloomberg)
With Deal to Renew Patriot Act, Reformers Will Have to Wait (The Atlantic)
Top U.S. Lawmakers Strike Anti-Terrorism Powers Deal (AFP)

In other congressional news, federal budget cuts are resulting in 33 midsize U.S. cities losing most of their federal funding under a DHS counterterrorism program for urban areas, according to the Wall Street Journal. Cities losing funding include New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, San Antonio, Jacksonville, and Milwaukee. The WSJ reports that “[m]any cities left out [of funding for DHS’s Urban Areas Security Initiative] likely will still get some grant money indirectly through smaller programs that provide funds for security efforts in states, transit systems, ports and elsewhere, although those amounts also are being significantly reduced.”
Some Cities Lose Funds to Counter Terrorism (WSJ)

A lawyer for a detainee who apparently killed himself at Guantanamo this week said his client had a long history of mental illness and had tried to kill himself before, according to reports. The lawyer was quoted in the Associated Press as saying that the 37-year-old Afghan identified as Inayatullah “was a young man who suffered significant psychosis, a paralyzing psychosis beginning many years ago, long before he got to Gitmo,” and that he had twice before attempted suicide at the prison. The Miami Herald also reports that the lawyer suggested the detainee “was never known as Inayatullah anywhere but in Guantanamo, never had a role in Al Qaeda and was in fact named Hajji Nassim and ran a cellphone shop in Iran near the Afghan border.”

New details also emerged about the detainee’s death on Thursday. Reports say that he was found hanging by a bed sheet in one of the prison’s recreation yards. A Pentagon spokeswoman said the death was under investigation.
Pentagon: Captive Was Hanging by Bedsheet (Miami Herald)
Lawyer: Gitmo Prisoner Who Died Was Mentally Ill (NYT)
Guantanamo Suicide Had Long History of Mental Illness (Miami Herald)
U.N. Human Rights Chief Pillay Criticizes U.S. on Guantanamo Bay (Bloomberg Businessweek)

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack – reported both as a car bomb and as a suicide bomber on a motorcycle – on a two-car U.S. consulate convoy in Peshawar, according to reports. One Pakistani passerby was killed, and at least ten others were wounded, including several Americans in the convoy.
Pakistan Taliban Claim Responsibility for Attack on U.S. Convoy (Reuters via NYT)
Car Bomb Targets Americans in Pakistan (WSJ)
Pakistani Dies from Attack on U.S. Vehicles (NYT)
Car Bomb Targets U.S. Consulate Vehicles in Pakistan (LAT)
Pakistan Taliban Bomb U.S. Consulate Convoy in Peshawar (BBC News)
More Pakistan News:
Pakistani Army’s Rank and File Seethes at U.S. Over bin Laden Raid (WaPo)
After Abbottabad (Newsweek Pakistan)

New filings in a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan allege that Iranian officials had “foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks” and provided assistance and later safe haven to al Qaeda operatives before and after the attacks, according to reports. The new filings in the long-running lawsuit, which was originally brought in 2002 on behalf of dozens of families of 9/11 victims, rely on testimony from two Iranian defectors, whose names and testimony are under seal. The lawsuit “names as defendants Iranian officials and ministries, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, among others,” according to the New York Times, and families of the victims are seeking a default judgment.
Court Filings Assert Iran Had Link to 9/11 Attacks (NYT)
Court Filings Advance Claim Iran Aided 9/11 Hijackers (Philadelphia Inquirer)

In a post at Opinion Juris, State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh has presented the administration’s legal justification for killing Osama bin Laden. Citing a speech he gave at the American Society of International Law in March, Koh writes that “[g]iven bin Laden’s unquestioned leadership position within al Qaeda and his clear continuing operational role, there can be no question that he was the leader of an enemy force and a legitimate target in our armed conflict with al Qaeda.” Koh continues that bin Laden “continued to pose an imminent threat” to the United States, and that “there is no question that he presented a lawful target for the use of lethal force.” Finally, Koh argues that “[t]he laws of armed conflict require acceptance of a genuine offer of surrender that is clearly communicated by the surrendering party and received by the opposing force, under circumstances where it is feasible for the opposing force to accept that offer of surrender. But where that is not the case, those laws authorize use of lethal force against an enemy belligerent, under the circumstances presented here.”
The Lawfulness of the U.S. Operation Against Osama bin Laden (Opinio Juris: Harold Koh)
Obama Administration Offers Legal Justification for Capture or Killing of Osama bin Laden (ABC News)

Al Qaeda Leadership:
Asra Nomani highlights the role of Saif al-Adel, the man who has reportedly been named interim leader of al Qaeda in the wake of bin Laden’s death, in the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl. Nomani and the Pearl Project reported earlier this year that it was al-Adel who delivered Pearl into the hands of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who later confessed to killing Pearl, but recent documents revealed by WikiLeaks suggest that al-Adel also advised against Pearl’s murder.
Saif al-Adel and the Death of Daniel Pearl (FP’s AfPak Channel: Asra Nomani)
New al Qaeda Leader Played Complicated Role in Daniel Pearl’s Death (The Atlantic Wire)

In other al Qaeda news, Ayman al-Zawahiri has now been moved to the No. 1 spot on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Al Zawahiri Moves to the Top of the FBI’s Most Wanted List (The Atlantic Wire)
Napolitano: Bin Laden Items Show Commercial Aviation Still Targeted (WSJ)
A New Test for Taliban and al Qaeda Ties (WaPo)

One of three men charged last weekend with aiding the Pakistani Taliban has been denied bail by a federal judge in California, where he was arrested, and he is to be sent to Miami to face charges. Irfan Khan, 37, was charged alongside his father, a Miami imam, and his brother, also a Florida imam, of material support of the Pakistani Taliban and other terrorism charges. Two other family members and another man, all of whom are in Pakistan, have also been charged.
Judge Denies Bail for Accused Taliban Backer (Reuters)
Bail Denied for Alleged Pakistani Taliban Funding Conspirator (CNN)
Federal Judge Denies Bond for Fla. Man Indicted on Charges of Supporting Pakistani Terrorists (AP via WaPo)

Muslim Convert Charged with Threats to ‘South Park’ Creators (CNN)
Some FBI Agents Are Angered by Plan to Extend Tenure of Director Mueller (WaPo)
FBI Investigating Unabomber in ‘82 Tylenol Deaths (AP via Salon)
U.S. Sailor Pleads Guilty to Passing Secrets in ‘Chinese Spy’ Sting (USA Today)
A New AUMF, Ctd. (Adam Serwer at the American Prospect)
Adam Serwer on the AUMF (Lawfare blog)

35 in Afghan Road Crew Die in Paktia Province Attack (NYT)
Indonesia’s Islamic Vigilantes (NYT)
Guyana Detains U.S. Muslim Cleric in Terrorism Probe (AP)
Arab Uprising Disturbing Flow of Anti-Terror Intel (AP)
Terror Suspect Found in Mumbai Jail (Bloomberg)

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