Attorney General Holder in Kabul
Attorney General Eric Holder is visiting Kabul today to meet with Afghan officials about the elimination of corruption and the establishment of an “effective criminal justice system”. CNN, AP. The Department of Justice has the text of Holder’s official statement made in Kabul.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has unanimously confirmed General David Petraeus as the new top general in Afghanistan, although both Democrats and Republicans made it clear that they had reservations about the Afghan strategy. In the hearing, General Petraeus hinted at a number of possible strategic changes, including a reevaluation of the use of artillery and air support, which has been discouraged in previous years in order to prevent civilian casualties. The full Senate is expected to vote on his confirmation today. New York Times, New York Times’s At War blog, LA Times, Washington Post, NPR’s The Two-Way blog.
Posted in Afghanistan, Cyber Security, Department of Justice, NYPD, Somalia, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged Abdel Nur, Abdul Kadir, ACLU, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, al Shabaab, David Petraeus, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Elena Kagan, Eric Holder, Faisal Shahzad, General Accountability Office, Iran, King Abdullah, Metro Transit Police, Russell Defreitas, Saudi Arabia, Senate Armed Services Committee, Shahram Amiri
U.S. Citizen Arrested in Paraguay for Conspiring to Support Hezbollah
An American-Lebanese man suspected of smuggling merchandise to foreign countries in order to provide material support to Hezbollah was arrested in Paraguay yesterday, confirming suspicions of some officials that the Tri-Border area of Paraguay is becoming a “haven” for Islamic groups. The suspect faces extradition to America for prosecution in a Philadelphia federal court. AP, Newsweek‘s Declassified blog, Philly.com.
Police in Kosovo have arrested a man believed to be connected to a terrorist plot with a North Carolina target.
Posted in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Counterterrorism, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Guantanamo, Interrogation policy, Iran, NYPD, Pakistan, Somalia, State Department, Taliban, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News, Yemen
Tagged Abdul Salam Zaeef, Anwar al-Awlaki, Ciro Rodriguez, Dianne Feinstein, Director of National Intelligence, Ezabad, Fort Bliss, Gaza, General Petreaus, Hamid Karzai, Haqqani network, Harry Teague, Hezbollah, ICE, ISI, Israel, James Clapper, John Yoo, Jose Padilla, Kosovo, military suicides, Nancy Pelosi, Ninth Circuit, Paraguay, Ray Kelly, Richard Durbin, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, Silvestre Reyes
Arrest at Fort Gordon, “Several Possible Grenades” Found
In two separate incidents, U.S. military officials have arrested individuals trying to carry weapons onto bases in the United States. At CENTCOM headquarters – MacDill Air Force Base outside of Tampa, Florida – a couple was discovered attempting to bring ammunition and weapons onto the base on Monday. Little information has been released on the pair of intruders. Spc. Christopher Paul Kilburn had been stationed with Alpha Company, 1-16th 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. and was AWOL; his companion was Palm Beach resident Micah Noel Goodier. Reuters, AP, TBO.com. On Tuesday, “several possible grenades” were found in a vehicle at Fort Gordon, near Augusta, Georgia. The vehicle’s driver was impersonating a soldier and is now in FBI custody. CNN, NBC Augusta.
A Washington Post editorial highlights the case of Mohamed Mohamed Hassan Odaini, a Yemeni who has served eight years in Guantanamo, and urges the government to make an exception to the ban on returning detainees to Yemen for Mr. Odaini. The Post echoes the implications of the ruling made by Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr., who, in a decision publicly released last week, determined that Odaini should be freed. “The evidence before the Court shows that holding Odaini in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the United States more secure,” wrote Kennedy. The editorial briefly describes the story of Odaini, who inadvertently spent the night at a friend’s house that was raided as an al Qaeda sanctuary – and who as a result was incarcerated at Gitmo from the ages of 18-16 for this “life-altering decision to spend the night.”
Posted in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, CLS Fellows, Counterterrorism, Cyber Security, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Guantanamo, Joshua L. Dratel, Karen J. Greenberg, Pakistan, Somalia, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged CENTCOM, Fort Gordon, Gary Brooks Faulkner, Hizbul Islam, Human Terrain System, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, James M. Cole, Lashkar-e-Taiba, MacDill AFB, Micah Noel Goodier, Mohamed Mohamed Hassan Odaini, Osama bin Laden, Paul Kilburn, Peter Erlinder, Rwanda, Steve Fondacaro, Yahya Wehelie
Two Arrested with Rifles at CENTCOM HQ Entrance
A man and a woman armed with rifles and other “military gear” were arrested at the gates of MacDill Air Force Base in Florida yesterday afternoon. MacDill is the headquarters of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the military’s efforts in both Iraq an Afghanistan. Washington Post, TBO.com.
General Petraeus “Slumped Over” During Senate Hearing
The House and Senate are holding hearings over the next few days to address the slower than expected progress of military surges in the southern Afghani provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, delays that could interrupt President Obama’s planned timeline for troop withdrawal. General Petreaus was taken from a Senate hearing room after he “slumped over” but quickly revived. He returned to the room about twenty minutes later.
Posted in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Counterterrorism, Cyber Security, Department of Defense, Guantanamo, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Supreme Court, Taliban, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged Bashar al-Assad, China, Director of National Intelligence, FBI, General Petreaus, Guantanamo Review Task Force, Hamid Karzai, James R. Clapper, Joseph Lieberman, MacDill Air Force Base, Maher Arar, Mohammed Iqbal, Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, Osama bin Laden, Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board, Syria, Thailand, Witnesses Against Torture
New Jersey al Shabaab Suspect Said to Be Engaged, Has “Anger Management Issues”
The two young men in last week’s terrorism arrest in North Bergen, New Jersey – one the son of Palestinian immigrants, the other from a Dominican family – showed signs of angry, disruptive behavior in their teens. According to the New York Times, “Their stories began like many others: troubled teenagers who scare and mystify their neighbors; run-ins with the police while still in high school; parents who cannot compete with the sense of belonging or purpose their boys find elsewhere.” Nadia Alessa, mother of defendant Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, said that her son is “stupid” but not a “terrorist” and had seen “16 or 17 psychiatrists for what she called ‘anger management issues,’” according to CNN. Meanwhile Siham Abedar, 19, has come forward to claim that Alessa was traveling to Egypt to marry her as part of an arranged marriage. His desire to marry her and have children belies any believed terrorist intent, she claims. CNN, NJ.com.
Intelligence and Secrecy
Newsweek reports the newest draft of a bill that would authorize increased congressional oversight of intelligence agencies is likely to pass without a presidential veto and may lessen objections to the nomination of James Clapper as DNI. Foreign Policy notes that inherent to the debate over Clapper’s nomination is a concern with the effectiveness and supervisory competence of both the current nominee and the DNI itself.
Posted in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Counterterrorism, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Guantanamo, Iran, Somalia, State Department, Taliban, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News, Yemen
Tagged Abu Sayyaf, Adrian Lamo, al Shabaab, Anwar al-Awlaki, Bradley Manning, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Director of National Intelligence, Hamas, Hamid Karzai, ISI, Israel, James Clapper, John Brennan, Julian Assange, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, Mosab Hassan Yousef, Palau, Peter Erlinder, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, wikileaks
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 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.
Posted in CIA, Cyber Security, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Interrogation policy, Pakistan, Somalia, State Department, Taliban, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged al Shabaab, Amnesty International, Carlos Eduardo Almonte, Center for a New American Security, Center for Constitutional Rights, CIA, David Headley, Human Rights Watch, James R. Clapper, John Pistole, Joseph Lieberman, Joshua R. Claus, Matthew Olsen, Michele Flournoy, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini, NSA, Omar Khadr, Physicians for Human Rights, TSA, USS Ashland, World Cup
Hashmi Sentenced to 15 Years
Syed Hashmi was sentenced to 15 years yesterday, for allowing a “friend to store gear like waterproof socks, ponchos and sleeping bags in his apartment” and providing money to purchase a plane ticket to Pakistan for an individual who was going to deliver the gear to terrorists in Waziristan, according to the New York Times. The Hashmi case had drawn intense criticism from civil rights groups, as Hashmi was held for almost three years under pretrial Special Administrative Measures, amounting almost to solitary confinement, even though the allegations against him were completely nonviolent.
While stating that his decision to aid terrorists was the product of mistakes made when he was “ignorant of Allah and his message,” Hashmi further referred to terrorists as “noble mujahadeen,” stating that “if they seek your help it is your duty to help them.”
Posted in al Qaeda, Cyber Security, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Iran, Somalia, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News, Yemen
Tagged Aftab Khan, al Shabaab, Anthony Romero, Barack Obama, Bradley Manning, Gaza, General Accountability Office, International Atomic Energy Agency, James R. Clapper, John Pistole, Mahmoud Abbas, Philip Alston, Phillip G. Alston, Syed Hashmi, Times Square bombing attempt, TSA, UN Security Council, West Bank
Twelve Americans Detained in Yemen
The State Department said yesterday that 12 Americans are being detained in Yemen, although the reasons they are being detained aren’t known, according to the New York Times.
Other U.S. Citizens Held Abroad
A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry says the country has no intention of trading the three American hikers detained there for an Iranian scientist the country believes to be held in the U.S., says the AP. The hikers have been charged with spying.
A judge in Rwanda has refused bail to Peter Erlinder, lead defense counsel for top genocide suspects at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Erlinder is charged with denying the 1994 genocide and publishing articles threatening Rwanda’s security. The U.S. has called on the Rwandan authorities to release Erlinder, a U.S. attorney, who has denied all charges.
The Center on Law and Security wonders how many American citizens are being held abroad on terrorism-related charges.
Posted in al Qaeda, Counterterrorism, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Iran, Karen J. Greenberg, Security contractors, Somalia, State Department, Supreme Court, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News, Yemen
Tagged al Shabaab, Amnesty International, Anwar al-Awlaki, Blackwater, Carlos Eduardo Almonte, Daved Coleman Headley, homegrown terrorists, Hor and Amera Akl, Hutaree, James R. Clapper, Miranda, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, Office for Rule of Law and International Humanitarian Policy, Peter Erlinder, Robert Gates, Rwanda, Senator Chuck Shumer, Senator John Cornyn, Syed Hashmi
Two New Jersey Men Arrested en route to Somalia
Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte were arrested at JFK airport while attempting to board a plane bound for Somalia on Saturday. The New Jersey men were allegedly traveling to Somalia to join al Shabaab and “face charges of conspiring to kill, maim and kidnap persons outside the United States,” according to the AP. Both men are U.S. citizens, one by birth and one by naturalization. The arrests were in conjunction with a years-long investigation involving federal officials and the NYPD. The AP reports that “they had no known connections to terrorist groups, and their planned trip to Somalia apparently amounted to a leap of faith that they’d be embraced by the jihadists,” while the NY Times says that the number of U.S. citizens seeking to join al Shabaab has apparently slowed after the deaths of people who previously traveled to join the group.
In a mysterious case, a man who served as a government informant and helped almost 300 Somalis illegally enter the U.S. was sentenced to fourth months of time served on Friday. Because Anthony J. Tracy’s guilty plea is sealed, “the exact nature of his misconduct is unclear,” according to the AP via the NY Times.
Posted in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, CIA, Cyber Security, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Guantanamo, Iraq, Somalia, State Department, Terrorism prosecutions, Yemen
Tagged "Freedom Flotilla", al-Shabab, Anthony J. Tracy, Bagram, Bangladesh, Bradley Manning, Carlos Eduardo Almonte, China, Director of National Intelligence, George Bush, Ghalib al-Zayedi, Hamza Ali al-Dayan, Israel, James R. Clapper, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, NSA, Peter Erlinder, Physicians for Human Rights, Quadrennial Diplomacy and Defense Review, Robert Gates, Turkey
Drone Policy Questioned
Philip Alston, U.N. special representative on extrajudicial executions, has filed a report criticizing U.S. drone policy. As reported by the New York Times, Mr. Alston is concerned that the existing policy “could quickly lead to a situation in which dozens of countries carry out ‘competing drone attacks’ outside their borders against people ‘labeled as terrorists by one group or another.’”
Newsweek‘s The Gaggle blog, like Alston, is concerned that the drone policy has no inherent geographic limitations. “Terrorists can be lurking in any country, including our own,” they say, “and striking them with missiles is not a feasible approach to eliminating them entirely.” While the drones may be useful in disrupting specific plots, the piece suggests they may also create hostility and are not a solution to underlying problems.
Posted in al Qaeda, Counterterrorism, Cyber Security, Department of Justice, Pakistan, Somalia, State Department, Supreme Court, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged "Freedom Flotilla", Abdirahman Ali Gaall, al Shabaab, China, Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, drones, Faisal Shahzad, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Furkan Dogan, Hutaree, Israel, Joseph Lieberman, Mohamed Ali Samantar, Mohamud Said Omar, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, Philip Alston, Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board, Susan Collins, Times Square bombing attempt, U.N.