Tag Archives: Director of National Intelligence

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

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.

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Today’s Terrorism News

Drone Policy Questioned

News

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.’”

Commentary

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.

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Today’s Terrorism News

“Most Guantanamo detainees low-level  fighters, task force report says” (Washington Post)

“Strike Is Said to Kill a Top Qaeda Leader” (NY Times)

“NBC: Man held in Montreal is terror suspect” (MSNBC)

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Today’s Terrorism News

“India Train Attack Kills Dozens” (Wall Street Journal)

Note: A timeline of previous attacks on mass transit is available here

“Sectarian Attacks Hit Two Pakistani Mosques” (NY Times)

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Today’s Terrorism News

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has announced his resignation, effective after next Friday. The AP reports that the move is not unexpected, and follows a turbulent tenure and recent criticism that the nation’s multiple intelligence agencies are still insufficiently coordinated. The Atlantic Wire has a guide to potential replacements, with links to commentary about each of them. The list includes James Clapper, the current Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; White House adviser John Brennan; and former senator Chuck Hagel. The New York Times reports that President Obama asked Blair to step down, and that Clapper is his most likely successor.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has written a letter to Loretta Preska and George Yanthis, chief judge and chief magistrate judge for the Southern District respectively, describing the legal procedures surrounding the questioning of Faisal Shahzad since his arrest. The New York Times describes the contents of a public and partially redacted version the letter, including a link to the letter itself. “On each day since his arrest, the defendant has been re-advised of his Miranda rights and his right to speedy presentment, and on each day through and including the date of this letter he has executed a new written waiver of his rights,” prosecutors wrote on May 19th. Politico addresses disagreement among legal experts as to whether those waivers will be considered effective or if the length of time before Shahzad was brought before a judge may hinder efforts to prosecute him.

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Today’s Terrorism News

*Faisal Shahzad, who has been charged with the Times Square bombing attempt, may gain little leniency from the help he has provided to law enforcement officials, especially given the strength of the evidence against him, the New York Times reports. “Just the fact he was on an airplane trying to leave the country was brutal,” CLS fellow Joshua Dratel told the Times. Defense attorney Gerald Shargel said that the government may want to provide at least some benefit for Shahzad’s cooperation as an incentive for future suspects to be similarly helpful.

*Khalid Ouazanni, a U.S. citizen from Morocco who runs an auto parts dealership in Kansas City, has pleaded guilty to sending $23,500 to al Qaeda. In addition to Kansas City, Ouazanni has also had addresses in St. Louis, Brooklyn, Forest Hills, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, according to the AP.

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