Today’s Terrorism News

In Association with The Soufan Group

Republicans Criticize Handling of Somali Terror Suspect

GOP leaders are criticizing the White House’s decision to hold a captured Somali terror suspect on a U.S. Navy ship for interrogation for two months before bringing him to New York this week to face terror charges in civilian court. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that “Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame is a foreign enemy combatant. He should be treated as one; he should be sitting in a cell Guantanamo Bay, and eventually be tried before a military commission….The administration’s actions are inexplicable, create unnecessary risks here at home, and do nothing to increase the security of the United States,” according to ABC News. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said that “[t]he transfer of this terrorist detainee directly contradicts Congressional intent and the will of the American people….Congress has spoken clearly multiple times — including explicitly in pending legislation — of the perils of bringing terrorists onto U.S. soil,” according to the NYT.
McConnell Blasts Administration for Handling of Somali Terrorism Suspect (ABC News)
U.S. to Prosecute a Somali Suspect in Civilian Court (NYT)

The Washington Post reports that the White House’s handling of Warsame may constitute a new detention policy that “blends civilian and military options for handling captured foreign militants.” Warsame is believed to be a “senior commander for al-Shabab,” a U.S. official tells the WaPo, and is also believed to have been in contact with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula figure Anwar al-Awlaki. That link helped justify Warsame’s detention, according to the New York Times, because “the government decided that Mr. Warsame and a handful of other individual Shabab leaders could be made targets or detained because they were integrated with Al Qaeda or its Yemen branch and were said to be looking beyond the internal Somali conflict.” The NYT also reports that a representative of the ICRC met with Warsame during a break in his interrogation about two months after his capture, and that the White House pursued civilian charges for Warsame because they do not want to add another detainee to Guantanamo and because a military trial could be problematic.
In Somali Terror Suspect’s Case, Administration Blends Military, Civilian Systems (WaPo)
U.S. Tests New Approach to Terrorism Cases on Somali Suspect (NYT)
Terrorism Case Reignites National Security Debate (NPR)
Somali Arrested by U.S. Sought to Expand al Shabab (Reuters)

At the Lawfare blog, Robert Chesney explains the obstacles to a military commission in Warsame’s case and the legal theory supporting Warsame’s two-month detention.
Warsame and the Obstacles Associated with the Military Commission Option in this Particular Instance (Lawfare blog)
Ahmed Warsame and Law of War Detention (Lawfare blog)

At the Daily Beast, CLS Executive Director Karen Greenberg argues that with the Warsame case, “the Obama administration has taken its first steps to create a post-Guantanamo world.” But many questions remain: “What are the criteria for whom we detain on terrorism charges?…Are we now firmly wed to the idea of capturing high-value detainees on whom there is evidence?…[and] Is the United States moving closer to a policy of de facto detention without counsel and without charge in the case of terrorism suspects who will be tried on U.S. soil?”
A Step Toward Closing Gitmo (Daily Beast: Karen Greenberg)
David Kris on Criminal Prosecution as a Counterterrorism Tool (Lawfare blog)
How This Ship Became a Floating Gitmo (Wired’s Danger Room)
Obama’s Terrorist ‘Catch and Release’ Policy (WaPo’s PostPartisan: Marc Thiessen)
EU Still Supports Resettling Guantanamo Detainees (Miami Herald)

The United States is warning foreign governments and airlines that intelligence relating to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula suggests the terror group is considering using surgically implanted ‘body bombs’ to attack airlines, according to reports. In response to the intelligence, “passengers flying from international locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place,” a TSA spokesman said, according to the WSJ.
U.S. Warns Airlines on Human Bomb Implants (WSJ)
U.S. Adds Body Bombs to Concerns on Air Travel (NYT)
Al Qaeda ‘Belly Bombs’ Entirely Possible, Doctor Says (ABC News)
TSA Warns Airlines of ‘Human Bombs’ (Politico)
Everyone P-P-Panic! The Joker al Qaeda Is Sewing Bombs into People! (Wired’s Danger Room)

Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood in 2009, will face a military court martial and could be given the death penalty if convicted, the Army announced Wednesday. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the attack. The next step is for Hasan to be arraigned; no date has been set.
Accused Fort Hood Shooter Could Face Death Penalty (Politico)
Fort Hood Shooting Suspect to Face Court Martial (Reuters)
Military Trial for Fort Hood Suspect (WSJ)
Fort Hood Shooting Suspect to Face Court-Martial, Possible Death Penalty (Austin American-Statesman)
Some Victims Celebrate Ruling, Others Solemn (AP via WaPo)

The FBI has added a former Michigan man to its list of most-wanted terror suspects as a two-year-old indictment against the man was unsealed this week, accusing him of plotting to bomb Israel for Hezbollah. Faouzi Ayoub, 44 years old and also a Canadian citizen, faces one count of passport fraud for trying to travel to Israel to conduct the bombing. His whereabouts are reportedly unknown.
Indictment Unsealed in Detroit Accuses Man on FBI Terror List of Seeking to Set Bomb in Israel (AP via WaPo)
FBI Adds Canadian Citizen to List of Most Wanted Terrorists (Detroit News via Toronto Star)
Indictment: U.S. Says Ex-Dearborn Man Plotted Bombing in Israel (Detroit Free Press)

Militant Pipeline in Pakistan
In a new paper for the New America Foundation, Paul Cruickshank writes that while the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen poses a great threat to the United States, “the terrorist safe haven in Pakistan remains the more dangerous to the United States as well as other Western countries….[O]f the 32 ‘serious’ jihadist terrorist plots against the West between 2004 and 2011, 53 percent had operational or training links to established jihadist groups in Pakistan and just 6 percent to Yemen.” The drone campaign and offensives by the Pakistani military have been somewhat effective at reducing the threat, but militants have shown “a significant ability to adapt.”
The Militant Pipeline (New America: Paul Cruickshank)

A Fragmented al Qaeda
At the National Interest blog, Benjamin Friedman writes that the myth that al Qaeda remains a hierarchical organization with a centralized command structure is “destructive to counterterrorism.” He argues that “[b]ecause tightly-run organizations are better at mass violence than disparate movements, the myth creates needless fear that encourages overly ambitious and expensive policies, like the war in Afghanistan….My anecdotal sense is that events since 9/11 have increasingly brought commentators around to truth. Even so, the media, for simplicity’s sake, tends towards the myth.”
Al Qaeda’s Mythical Unity (The National Interest blog: Benjamin Friedman)

Questions about Assimilation on the Anniversary of 7/7
On the sixth anniversary of the 7/7 attacks, Kenan Malik argues in the New York Times that to understand why many young people find reactionary ideology attractive in Europe, “we need to look not at extremist preachers or university lecturers but also at public policy, and in particular the failed policy of multiculturalism.” In Britain, Malik writes, “[m]any second-generation British Muslims now find themselves detached from both the religious traditions of their parents, which they often reject, and the wider secular society that insists on viewing them simply as Muslims. A few are drawn inevitably to extremist Islamist groups where they discover a sense of identity and of belonging. It is this that has made them open to radicalization.”
Assimilation’s Failure, Terrorism’s Rise (NYT: Kenan Malik)

Is This the Guy Who Killed bin Laden? (Gizmodo)
Muslim in America: On Radicalization (WaPo’s Under God)

Taliban Commander Back on the Air in Pakistan (AP via NYT)
Taliban Blamed in Deadly Attacks on Afghan Border Police (NYT)
Mali on Alert, Mauritania Chases al Qaeda to Border (Reuters)
Al Qaeda Advances in Yemen’s Hidden War (CNN’s Security Clearance)
Born in New Mexico, He Is Now One of the Most Hunted Men in the World. How Much Longer Can Anwar al-Awlaki Survive? (Al Arabiya)

2 Responses to Today’s Terrorism News

  1. Pingback: Lawfare » Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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