Category Archives: Taliban

Today’s Terrorism News

NCTC Head Discusses Al Qaeda

Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, on Wednesday asserted that “the U.S. government has that same right of self-defense internationally” as a police officer who has a gun pulled on him – neither has to wait for a court order to respond. The remarks came during a question-and-answer session at the Aspen Security Forum, where Leiter defended the possibility that U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – believed to be in Yemen – and other U.S. citizens could be targeted by U.S. drones in Pakistan and elsewhere, if they were involved in terrorist plots. Leiter affirmed that al-Awlaki had “a direct operational role” in the Christmas Day bombing attempt, and that it would be “irresponsible” for him and other senior intelligence and defense officials to not consider him and other U.S. citizens involved in plots to kill Americans as potential targets. Leiter stressed that while drone strikes have proven effective in weakening al Qaeda, there are still 50-100 operatives in Afghanistan and over 300 in Pakistan, specifying that “weaker does not mean harmless.” AP, CNN, Freep.com, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times.

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Today’s Terrorism News

As you know, the Center on Law and Security is closed this week for our move to beautiful new quarters. However, we are forwarding the articles for you to read and digest on your own. We’ll be back with the full news summary next week.

Questioning Gen. McChrystal’s Future

McChrystal’s fate in limbo as he prepares to meet Obama: The New York Times (1).

General faces unease among his own troops, too: The New York Times (2).

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Today’s Terrorism News

As you know, the Center on Law and Security is closed this week for our move to beautiful new quarters. However, we are forwarding the articles for you to read and digest on your own. We’ll be back with the full news summary next week.

Faisal Shahzad Pleads Guilty:

Covered in ABC News; The Wall Street Journal; The Los Angeles Times; The New York Times.

Excerpts from the transcript available from AP.

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Today’s Terrorism News

Faisal Shahzad Indicted

Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the May 1st attempted Times Square bombing, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on ten charges, two of which carry a minimum sentence of life. His arraignment on these charges will be on Monday, June 21st, in the Manhattan courthouse for the Southern District of New York. Shahzad is accused of receiving training from  the Pakistani Taliban group Tehrik-e-Taliban and of receiving $12,000 from a yet-to-be identified co-conspirator. The charges against him include conspiracy to commit acts of international terrorism and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, which are among the most serious charges available for prosecuting suspected terrorists. NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, Politico.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the single Guantanamo detainee whose case is now before a federal court, was denied his request not to be strip-searched before and after his court appearances. Ghailani is standing trial for the embassy bombings that took place in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Ghailani’s lawyers claimed that his treatment while in CIA custody has led to post traumatic stress symptoms during the searches authorized by standard Bureau of Prisons policy. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan supported his decision to continue the searches on the grounds that the “defendant’s body cavities would risk the safety of the guards, other inmates, and court personnel by creating opportunities for the defendant to secrete weapons or contraband in his person.” Ghailani’s trial is set to commence on September 13th. NY Times, Reuters, AP.

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Today’s Terrorism News

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.

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Today’s Terrorism News

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.

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Today’s Terrorism News

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.

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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.

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Views on Afghanistan

Camp Victory, Afghanistan, a film by CLS Fellow Carol Dysinger, shows how U.S. National Guardsmen in Herat worked with Afghan officers to develop the Afghan National Army’s 207th Corps. It will be showing this weekend and next Thursday at Lincoln Center.  The screenings are part of the annual Human Rights Watch film festival. Showtimes and details are available here. The showings on Saturday and Sunday will include a discussion with Prof. Dysinger and Col. Michael Shute (ret.).

Tresha Mabile, a friend of the Center, traveled with a film crew to the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan to produce “Talibanistan,” an episode of Explorer airing tonight on the National Geographic Channel. The crew embedded with the U.S. military’s Human Terrain Team, visited former Taliban headquarters, and interviewed young, abandoned Taliban recruits, a Pakistani police inspector general, and a captured fighter.

Today’s Terrorism News

Texas Man Indicted for Funding AQAP, Ohio Couple Arrested for Supporting Hezbollah

Following e-mail correspondence with Anwar al-Awlaki, Barry Walter Bujol Jr. of Hempstead, Texas, was arrested Sunday on a ship to the Middle East with GPS equipment and other material allegedly intended for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He received the equipment from an undercover F.B.I. informant. He was indicted yesterday in Houston.

Hor and Amera Akl, a Lebanese-American couple, were arrested yesterday in Toledo. They allegedly conspired with an undercover F.B.I. informant “to conceal some 500,000 dollars in the hollow sections of a vehicle and to ship the vehicle to Lebanon,” according to AFP. The money was intended for Hezbollah, officials say.

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