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.
Posted in al Qaeda, Department of Homeland Security, Guantanamo, Taliban, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged Adis Medunjanin, Adnan el Shukrijumah, Anwar al-Awlaki, David Petraeus, drones, Ghazi Force, Hamid Karzai, Iran, Janet Napolitano, Joseph Lieberman, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Michael Leiter, Mosab Hassan Yousef, Najibullah Zazi, National Counterterrorism Center, Noor Uthman Mohammed, Rangzhieb Ahmed, Russell Defreitas, Susan Collins, U.S. Air Force, United Kingdom, waterboarding, Zarein Ahmedzay
Jan Fedarcyk to Lead the FBI in New York
Jan Fedarcyk has been tapped to head the FBI’s New York office, which includes 2,000 agents. She is “one of the first women ever to hold such a high-ranking operational post in the FBI,” according to the AP. Her counterterrorism experience includes service as the FBI representative to the National Counterterrorism Center’s directorate of strategic planning and as special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterterrorism division in Los Angeles.
On Friday, a defense attorney for one defendant charged in connection with the Bronx Synagogue plot accused prosecutors of bad faith after prosecutors delivered a shipment of documents that the defense believed should have been disclosed months before. The defendants were not granted bail.
Posted in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Pakistan, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged Bradley Manning, Bronx Synagogue plot, David Petraeus, Dianne Feinstein, FBI, Hamid Karzai, Haqqani network, Jan Fedarcyk, John Mica, John Pistole, Leon Panetta, Lynne Stewart, TSA, United Kingdom
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
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