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  • Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Zazi Pleads Guilty

    The plea is sealed but here's the DOJ press release:

    Najibullah Zazi guilty plea

    It's clear from the information revealed in this release that Al Qaeda Core is now focusing on smaller scale attacks.

    The conventional wisdom for years has been that AQ wanted to stage an attack even more spectacular than 9/11 and was not interested in smaller operations. I personally doubt whether this was ever true (there was already strong evidence to the contrary), but at this point no one can credibly mount this claim.

    This has to be seen as a negative development, since smaller attacks are easier to accomplish and pressing small attacks does not preclude the simultaneous deployment of a spectacular attack.

    In fact, if the operations are properly compartmentalized, smaller attacks could distract focus away from a larger operation. U.S. counterterrorism focus is highly reactive. For instance, we might be preoccupied chasing breast impant bombs with body scanners while someone is stowing a dirty bomb on an LNG tanker from Yemen.

    Another interesting point here is that Zazi traveled specifically to fight for the Taliban and only after arriving on the ground was he diverted to Al Qaeda. Since 2003, we’ve seen an increase in cases where potential foreign fighters are diverted to terrorism before they gain any battleground experience.

    Prior to 2001, fighters would more often cut their teeth in a more traditional foreign fighter combat or even regular military environment, and after proving themselves under those conditions then be recruited to receive specialized training for terrorism.

    For instance, Khalid Shaik Mohammed went to Bosnia in 1992 to play a support role for the mujahideen, but returned in 1995 to recruit terrorist operatives from the pool of experienced fighters.

    There is a useful distinction and transition to explore between jihadist (which I am defining as a foreign fighter taking part in a localized armed conflict or insurgency) and what I would call a “networked terrorist” (attacking non-combatant civilian targets outside of a hot conflict zone). I'll get into this more in my forthcoming book.


    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Al Qaeda's Breast Implant Bomb Plot

    I appeared on Channel 7, WHDH NBC Boston, tonight during the 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts to discuss reports that Al Qaeda is planning to equip female jihadists with breast implants that have been filled with explosives. Believe it or not.

    This kind of tactic would be very effective, if all the pieces were in place. However, it would be extraordinarily difficult to make it happen. You need a competent surgeon with a specialty in cosmetic surgery, you need a fundamentalist woman jihadist (rare enough) who is willing to undergo the procedure in violation of Islamic modesty taboos, and that individual also needs to be able to extract the explosives from the implant and make them into a bomb in an airplane restroom. Most Al Qaeda operatives can't even manage to set their shoes or underwear on fire, let along perform surgery on themselves, then build a bomb, then detonate it.

    Video of the report is here, but for a more rounded discussion, check out the new INTELWIRE podcast:

    Podcast: Al Qaeda's Breast Implant Bomb Plot

    I will post video when it becomes available.


    Tuesday, February 09, 2010

    American Arrested in Raid on Bosnian Village

    An American citizen was arrested during a police raid on a Bosnian village populated by Wahhabis, according to Balkans media outlets.

    Enis Bosnic, of Jacksonville, Florida, was among several people arrested in "Operation Light," a sting operation conducted in Gornja Maoca, in northern Bosnia. The residents of Gornja Maoca live under Shariah law.

    Some members of the community are believed to have relocated there after the Bosnian government shut down a notorious village of former mujahideen known as Donja Bocinja.

    According to Bosnian news outlets, Edis Bosnic is a Bosnian national who became a naturalized American citizen. A person by that name was nominated to the board of directors of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in 2004.

    According to the Bosnian TV news magazine "60 Minutes" (no relation to CBS), Bosnic was in close contact with Adis Medunjanin, the Queens man arrested in the U.S. on suspicion of taking part in a bomb plot led by Afghan national Najibullah Zazi.

    Bosnian journalist Esad Hecimovic contributed to this report.


    Glas Srpske

    International Relations and Security Network

    Washington Post


    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    CIA May Set Drone Sights on Anwar Awlaki

    Interesting -- and significant -- story in the Washington Post today. Radical imam Anwar Alwaki -- an American citizen -- may soon be added to the CIA's drone target list.

    Much ado has been made about the fact that this would be the first time an American has been targeted -- although as I have noted elsewhere, it would not be the first time an American Jihadist was killed in a drone attack. In 2002, a U.S. drone strike in Yemen (as it happens) killed Kamal Derwish, a Buffalo native connected to the Lackawanna Six.

    It was reported earlier that the U.S. may have missed an opportunity to kill Awlaki due to wrangling over the legalities that his citizenship may or may not complicate. The questions include:

  • What standard of evidence gets you on the kill list?
  • Who reviews that decision?
  • Do you (as a citizen) have any recourse to get off of the list?

    These are not idle questions. In at least one case, U.S.-aligned forces killed an Al Qaeda suspect whose terrorist credentials were (at the least) questionable. That person wasn't a U.S. citizen, but it's still a troubling precedent. What if Eliot Ness has simply whacked Al Capone?

    The kill list is -- currently -- about two dozen names long. Most of them are active in command and control of terrorist attacks. While there are strong reasons to suspect Awlaki falls into that category, extremely significant unanswered questions remain -- not only about his role in the Detroit Christmas bomb attempt and the Nidal Hasan massacre, but about his connection to September 11.

    Realistically, the only way most of those questions are ever going to be answered in the public sphere is if Awlaki is captured and returned to the U.S. for a trial. As I have mentioned before, trials are the public's most important window into Al Qaeda and how terrorism works. And there is no case we need to understand more than 9/11.

    Read more about Awlaki on American Jihadists.


  • Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Jihadis

    You may have heard that Mrs. Ayman Al Zawahiri has released a new communique urging Muslim mothers to raise their children with a healthy love for jihad.

    The other part of that message is an appalling video released by the Ansar Al Jihad Web forum showing exactly what those children can expect. In addition to training in guns and fitness, child jihadis around the age of 11 or 12 shown in the video (titled "The Next Generation of Mujahideen") can be seen taking part in bare-fisted beatdowns that don't end until one kid is down for the count. Younger children are shown using boxing gloves, for whatever protection that provides when a child is repeatedly smashing another child in the face, before a crowd of laughing peers, with minimal adult supervision.


    Monday, December 14, 2009

    As-Sahab: The College Years

    A new "video" from Ayman Al Zawahiri came out today from Al Qaeda's As-Sahab production arm, just a day after a video release from American Al Qaeda Adam Gadahn. Aside from the message (more on this later), what's interesting here is that the video is actually an audio message with still photos and some rather basic graphics, and no subtitles.

    This is similar to Osama bin Laden's messages of the last few years. However, Zawahiri has traditionally been able to provide full video -- and often video of a rather high quality. Gadahn's video from this weekend was true video, but of extremely low quality and low production values -- probably recorded from a webcam.

    The Zawahiri release adds weight to previous observations around the CT community that As-Sahab (which is basically Gadahn) is on the ropes.

    While this downgrade could be financially driven, it's most likely to be drone-driven. If As-Sahab (Adam and Ayman) are on the move, it makes sense they would be working with lower quality material -- it takes a lot less time to edit and upload audio and webcam video than the high-end stuff that As-Sahab used to produce.

    So this could signal one of the following:

  • lack of electicity,
  • lack of Internet access,
  • lack of courier (i.e. drone killed the guy who was supposed to carry the video to Peshawar on a thumb drive), or
  • adequate Internet/courier access but great concern about security (i.e., they aren't where they are supposed to be, which is somewhere along the Af-Pak border).

    Any of these considerations could be temporary or permanent. Will the new As-Sahab be like the new Scrubs -- an obvious and disappointing downgrade that should have been canceled last year?

    And more importantly, are the days of fancy studios and Al Qaeda-logo coffee mugs finally finished?


  • Sunday, December 13, 2009

    U.S. Air Force Contracts With Binladin Group For Communications Security

    The U.S. Air Force paid more than $38 million in federal contracts to Baud Telecommunications, a subsidiary of the Saudi Binladin Group, since 2001. More than half of those contracts are dated after the attacks of September 11 -- and the contracts continued through 2007.

    Air Force Contracts With Binladin Group, 2001-2007

    The majority of the contracts deal with security issues. About $21 million of the contracts were to provide communications security equipment and components for the Air Force's Electronic Systems Center. Another contract provided $17 million to the same office for modifications of communication equipment, including about $500,000 for cryptology equipment.

    The Army had two contracts with Baud prior to September 11, worth a bit more than $2 million, but no contracts after the attack. Prior to 2000, the Army, Air Force and Navy had contracts with Binladen Telecommunications, which changed its name to Baud in 1999 after Osama bin Laden's role in global terrorism became widely known.



    Jihadi Art Show

    As you can see from this adorable ad, the folks at Al-Ansar are running an art show for jihadists. Well, a Photoshop show, really. The call went out for Web-friendly designs celebrating one of the following: "The Triumph of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan," "Good Times in the Islamic State of Iraq," or "The Winds of Victory in Somalia."

    The first perplexing entry to be submitted shows a Godzilla-sized mujahideen in a ski mask pointing a rifle at U.S. troops.

    Extra points for inserting the high-tension wires (a staple of Godzilla movies) to provide a sense of scale, but minus 100 due to the fact that the 400-foot-high protagonist appears to be standing in a 250-foot-deep hole. Also, isn't the rifle overkill? He's 400 feet high!

    The prize is "to be announced."


    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Yahya Al Libbi: The Plot Thickens

    Pakistani officials speaking anonymously have claimed that the senior Al Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan this week by a drone attack was, in fact, Yahya Al-Libbi. See stories here, here and here.

    As reported here first yesterday, the jihadi forums have been rife with rumors that Al-Libbi was killed in the attack. However, a source at a leading Al Qaeda forum today posted that Al-Libbi was "100 percent alive and well," and the report was validated by the forum's moderator, which suggests the poster has some claim to credibility.

    Shykh Abu Yahya Al Libi Hafizaullah is alive and 100% ok with good health n eman the recent rumor spread by kuffar is just their stupidity insha'Allah they will get answer for it.
    All of this falls under the label "speculation," however. The Pakistanis have been eager to name names when these drone attacks occur. They have prematurely buried Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al Zawahiri and Mustafa Al Yazid on multiple occasions. They are, to be blunt, completely unreliable in these matters.

    UPDATE: According to the New York Times, Pakistani officials are insisting and U.S. officials are denying that Al-Libbi was killed in the attack. END UPDATE

    If Al-Libbi is dead, it's extremely good news for the U.S. I was one of the very first analysts to start making noise about the threat Al-Libbi poses to Western interests on many levels.

    On the down side, if he's alive, this false report is likely to enhance his standing. One of Al-Libbi's strengths, as I wrote before, is the fact he escaped from a U.S. run prison in Bagram air base in Afghanistan. This is a feat of military prowess which is very specific and very impressive, and the escape went a long way to establishing Al-Libbi's bonafides as a top-level jihadist -- he's a thinker and he's a tough guy, which is a compelling combination.

    For Al-Libbi to "come back from the dead" after a premature announcement by the Pakistanis or (God forbid) by U.S. officials would thrust him even further into the limelight. Which is a bad thing. Al-Libbi -- young, charismatic and tough as nails -- is potentially more dangerous as a long-term leader for Al Qaeda than the fading stars of Zawahiri and Bin Laden. The last thing he needs is any help from us.

    Previous stories on Al Libi:

  • A Leader Who Could Revitalize Al Qaeda
  • Infidel Bug Spoils Speech
  • The New Al Qaeda Central

    Other news on INTELWIRE:

  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: 'Pakistan Five' Struck From The Mold
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: Five American Jihadists Arrested in Pakistan
  • INTELFILES: Hal Turner Court Records
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: David Coleman Headley
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: American Muslims Threatened Over Nidal Hasan
  • INTELWIRE WEBLOG: Convicting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: A Key Failure In Understanding Nidal Hasan


  • Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Yahya Al Libi: 'I'm Not Dead Yet!'

    This is far from a reliable source, but the jihadis at Ansarnet, an Al Qaeda-linked forum, are reporting on rumors that top Al Qaeda ideologue Yahya Al Libi was killed in a U.S. drone attack. The thread was locked by forum moderators for being entirely speculative. Rumors always run thick, however, so take this with more than the usual grains of salt.

    UPDATE: A rather cranky and surprisingly swift rebuttal has been posted to Al Ansar:

    Shykh Abu Yahya Al Libi Hafizaullah is alive and 100% ok with good health n eman the recent rumor spread by kuffar is just their stupidity insha'Allah they will get answer for it.

    The posting was done by a member but endorsed by a moderator, who threatened to start banning anyone who spread "kuffar" lies on the forum.

    The most important takeaway here: Who knew it was so easy to ring up Yahya Al Libi and check on his health? While there are a number of possible explanations for where and how this update originated, the fact that it came so quickly suggests that Al Libi is currently in a city in Pakistan (Peshawar?) and not out hiking in the mountains with Osama bin Laden. I don't think his iPhone gets reception out there.

    SECOND UPDATE: The rumors are starting to take on more force and are now being reported by other CT experts (such as here and here). On the off chance it turns out to be true, remember you read it here first... And on the off chance it turns out to be untrue, well, you read that here first too... Never let it be said I don't cover all the bases.

    Previous stories on Al Libi:

  • A Leader Who Could Revitalize Al Qaeda
  • Infidel Bug Spoils Speech
  • The New Al Qaeda Central

    Other news on INTELWIRE:

  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: 'Pakistan Five' Struck From The Mold
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: Five American Jihadists Arrested in Pakistan
  • INTELFILES: Hal Turner Court Records
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: David Coleman Headley
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: American Muslims Threatened Over Nidal Hasan
  • INTELWIRE WEBLOG: Convicting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
  • AMERICAN JIHADISTS: A Key Failure In Understanding Nidal Hasan


  • Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Jihad Forum Threatens American Muslims

    The Al Ansar Web site, a jihadist forum in English and Arabic, has published a statement which threatens American Muslims who criticize Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan.
    We ... issue this statement due to the unfortunate yet expected wave of apologetic statements being given around the world which smack of apostasy, especially in the land of the Lead Crusaders, the United States of America, the likes of which are only given either to safeguard their worldly gains from living there, due to their misguidance and ignorance of firm principles which they easily throw away based on their false concepts of "general interest", or due to the verdicts of misguided or evil scholars.

    In the Al-Ansar worldview, apostasy is punishable by death. The threat is repeated again at the end of this message, which is largely concerned with justifying Hasan's attack on a theological basis.
    We warn all Muslims, both individuals and organizations, to fear Allah in the views they hold and statements they make in regards to the validity of Nidal's actions, the character of our brother, and the correct Islamic views in relation to matters of this sort. They must be very careful that they do not knowingly or unknowingly fall into disbelief and apostasy.


    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Convicting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

    I am out of the office, but I wanted to post a couple of quick thoughts about Attorney General Eric Holder's press conference today on the decision to prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others for the attacks of September 11.

    I am a bit ambivalent about this specific decision, due to several background issues, but I'm generally in favor of criminal trials for terrorism, especially for attacks which took place on U.S. soil. Trials are an important tool for educating the public. We the people will likely learn far more about 9/11 from this trial than we did from the 9/11 Commission (if the defendants don't plead guilty). The importance of an informed public cannot be overstated.

    A couple of concerns have been raised about the trial. September 11 family members have pointed out that the suspects are likely to use this occasion to spew jihadist propaganda. This is a fair point. The sentencing statements by Ramzi Yousef and the "blind sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and others show both the validity of this concern but also the power of a judge to cut off comments when he or she so chooses.

    Rahman mixed those talking points with protestations of his innocence and was eventually cut off by the judge. Most of Rahman's co-defendants spent their time praising America in an effort to get a lighter sentence, which did not exactly make them into international icons. Yousef, on the other hand, spouted off incendiary jihadist talking points at some length. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is more likely to follow the example of his cousin Yousef than to grovel.

    The other major issue raised at the press conference was the admittedly unlikely prospect that through some technicality or twist these suspects could be acquitted or released.

    This concern isn't groundless, and Holder's response -- that he's super-sure it won't happen -- was not ideal. If prosecutors controlled outcomes, we wouldn't ever see an acquittal. As far as KSM specifically, in the unlikely event of an acquittal, there are numerous other crimes he could be charged with, including an outstanding 1996 sealed indictment for the Bojinka plot.

    One factor in this consideration, which seems to have gone over the heads of many pundits: Holder rather specifically said there is evidence which has not yet been released to the public, and he seemed to be pretty confident that this evidence equates to a smoking gun. That should be interesting.

    One last point -- the defendants named today have confessed and pleaded guilty in their earlier tribunal appearances and basically begged to be executed. Everyone seems to be assuming this case will go to trial. This is an interesting question and shouldn't be taken for granted.

    On the one hand, pleading guilty will elevate their status if the U.S. eventually decides to grant their wish for martyrdom. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that these guys wouldn't embrace the opportunity to make some noise by dragging this out into a full trial. Either way, though, the media and pundits should not assume this is going to be a full-scale production number.


    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Was Nidal Hasan A Rational Actor?

    As the hours of coverage mount, we're seeing more and more discussion of Maj. Nidal Hasan's connection to extremist imam Anwar Aulaqi, prior to his killing spree at Fort Hood last week. There's a fundamental question that comes out of that analysis, which I have not seen articulated yet.

    Was Hasan acting rationally when he killed 13 people?

    Culturally, we tend to view mass shootings as a manifestation of mental illness, in which someone's unfathomable disease prompts them to act in an inexplicable way.

    But when you look at Anwar Aulaqi's role and his comments on the shootings, we have to question that assumption.

    Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people. This is a contradiction that many Muslims brush aside and just pretend that it doesn't exist. Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier. The US is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam. Its army is directly invading two Muslim countries and indirectly occupying the rest through its stooges.

    One can certainly disagree with this sentiment, and one can challenge its factual underpinnings. But within the factual underpinnings, the statement is rational, which is to say it's based on recognizable reasoning.

    So the key question regarding Nidal Hasan is: Were his actions based on this kind of reasoning, or the result of a collapse of reasoning due to mental illness?

    Certainly his lawyers will be considering this question. It's a standard question in murder cases and bears directly on the punishment a convicted murderer receives.

    In this instance, there's also a broader problem, because if he was acting rationally, it was likely the result of radicalization. In other words, did Aulaqi or like-minded thinkers bring Hasan around to a worldview in which his actions are considered rational?

    If Hasan was a radicalized rational actor, his actions stem from the worldview of Anwar Aulaqi. Without such a motive, we're left only with his desire to avoid deployment, and the truly rational decision based on that motive would have been to desert the Army without killing anyone.

    If Hasan was rational, the case raises enormous concerns about the success of ideologues like Aulaqi. Because -- unlike mental illness -- ideology is contagious.

    To some extent, of course, the point is moot. The media depiction is increasingly focused on Hasan's ideology. If those who share his ideological inclinations believe he was acting rationally, it will inspire imitators. But understanding if and how ideology influenced the initial act helps us understand how this worldview spreads, who is susceptible to its charms, and what factors cause ideology to transform into violent intent.

    A radical-leaning English-language Islamic forum discussing Aulaqi and Hasan was heavily populated by people who found the shootings quite rational:

    Despite his motives, Muslims all over the world are celebrating and they would've been happy even if a kafir did this. Thirteen less kuffar [infidels] who would otherwise quite possibly have raped your Muslim sisters and/or killed them and other Muslims. [...]

    Imam Anwar Awlaki has spoken the truth again and the hypocrites have been exposed. May Allah preserve him and continue to make him a beacon of truth for this Ummah and a cancer against the Kuffar no matter how much they may dislike it. Ameen. [...]

    my point was that, there lies a great disconnect between muslims and their actions and reactions as dictated by the media[.] the same type of attack that happens in afghanistan and iraq daily, and there are no condemnations[.] we dont get small biographies, photos, names, etc, we get a headline and we move on[.] here, an attack was made (whether he was sane or not, or whatever his motivation) and we have people clamoring over the fact that 13 innocent people were killed[.] i fail to see that in this story[.] and i am not talking about the kuffar and their responses, i can understand their responses[.] i am more concerned about the muslims and their responses [...]

    When the other party has murdered millions of Muslims...(need I continue with this?) would it not be better, since one is not bound by any oath, treaty or covenant, to do what nidal did [instead of just leaving the Army]? Why waste a golden opportunity like this? [...]

    Nidals "treachery" + attack = 13 less soldiers going out to kill more members of our ummah

    Whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, the concept of "13 less soldiers" fighting against those perceived as "our ummah (community)" is rational. It may be based on false assumptions or wrong facts or unattractive values, but it's a logical rationale that justifies the act. The fact that this particular audience would be as likely to cheer someone who opened fire in a mall is somewhat tangential to the point.

    If the worldview and reasoning of Anwar Aulaqi is gaining traction in the United States, that's a real problem for law enforcement and intelligence officials. Aulaqi is an advocate of the radical Islamic version of "leaderless resistance" in which individuals and very small groups take action against perceived enemies independently. That's a very difficult problem in counterterrorism.



    Anwar Aulaqi Web Site Suspended

    Radical imam Anwar Aulaqi's Web site has been suspended, after he posted comments praising Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan.


    Monday, November 09, 2009

    Breaking News: Anwar Aulaqi Praises Foot Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan

    Anwar Aulaqi, a radical imam who served as inspiration to Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and two 9/11 hijackers, has posted to his Web site with words of praise for the Army major:

    Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.

    For more details, check out our new site,



    Anwar Aulaqi FBI Files

    If you're following the latest on the Fort Hood shootings and Major Nidal Hasan, you can read the FBI's files on radical imam Anwar Aulaqi (also spelled Awlaki) at I'll be updating the page later with some more general information about Aulaqi and his teachings.


    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    Major Nidal Malik Hasan Identified As Fort Hood Shooter

    The person who killed 12 people at Fort Hood today appears to be Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist formerly stationed at Walter Reed Medical Center. Some details can be found here. A records search by INTELWIRE turned up no court or medical board disciplinary actions concerning Hasan. A search of INTELWIRE databases also returned negative results. A criminal records search turned up a couple of apparent minor traffic violations.

    What elevates this case from a random shooting are the reports that two other suspects have been taken into custody in the case. If these arrests are legitimate, it obviously implies terrorism or at least conspiracy. If the arrests are simply people swept up in the confusion, the shootings would appear more likely the act of a deranged individual.

    UPDATE: The Army has just corrected earlier reports that the shooter was dead. It turns out he isn't, and the suspect said to be in custody is Hasan himself. The Army says they believe Hasan was the only shooter. So it appears likely that there is not a broad conspiracy here, but as the Army said, the investigation continues... END UPDATE

    If it does turn out to be terrorism, it certainly wouldn't be the first time the Army has been infiltrated by such operatives. INTELWIRE will continue montioring the situation. If it turns out to be terrorism, look for updates on INTELWIRE's new sister site,



    Tarek Mehanna Superseding Indictment and Evidentiary Proffer

    A must-read document posted to



    American Jihadists is a new Web site in the family. This site will start as a blog connecting to resources and documents on the subject of American citizens who take part in military jihad activities.

    The blog will give way in 2010 to a broader and more ambitious Web site that provides detailed source material from my forthcoming book, "American Jihadists." I hope to have an update soon with details about the book release.

    The topic of "American Jihadists" is fairly complex and has not received the media attention it deserves. There are dozens of cases of American citizens who have been arrested and indicted for various jihad-related activities. There are also cases in which Americans have taken part in military jihad overseas but have not been indicted and those who are not directly linked to terrorism.


    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    More Documentation of Al Qaeda's Origin

    Earlier this year, I posted some material about the date of Al Qaeda's founding, and a corollary issue, the earliest date of a U.S. government document that mentions the name of Al Qaeda.

    The document question stems from an assertion by the House and Senate Select Intelligence Committees Joint Inquiry Into September 11 that the earliest reference they could find mentioning Al Qaeda by name was late 1996 (see Report Of The Joint Inquiry, page 745).

    Although the original document has not been released to the public, we know from a reference in a later document that the FBI was told the name Al Qaeda in 1993 by Ali Mohamed, a former U.S. Special Forces sergeant who had infiltrated the U.S. on behalf of Al Qaeda.

    Here's a another interesting example, a State Department cable dated Feb. 2, 1994, detailing a published interview with Talaat Fouad Qasem (aka Talaat Fouad Qassem, Abu Talal Al-Qasem and Abu Talal al-Qasimy), an extremely important leader of the Islamic Group. This document is full of interesting (and possibly fanciful) claims, but here's one of the highlights:

    Some of the group of Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahry went to Saudi Arabia, and he went to Peshawar. In the beginning, they were called 'The Accused In The Jihad Organization Case.' When they got acquainted with Osama Ben Laden, a wealthy Saudi who believes in the principle of Jihad, he trusted them, and they jointly started to establish the 'Base,' a guest house for those desiring to participate in the Afghan Jihad. Ever since, they named themselves The Jihad Group ("Gama'at Al-Jihad").

    "The Base" is, of course, the English translation of "Al Qaeda." Given that the "Base" is referenced in quote marks in two different places in this cable, it's safe to assume the translator realized it was supposed to be a name -- but neglected to provide the original Arabic as he or she did for "The Jihad Group" just one sentence later.

    At any rate, this is an interesting document both for its early reference to Al Qaeda (firmly situating it with the known terrorist group Al Jihad) and for its confirmation of other documents placing the founding of Al Qaeda as roughly concurrent to the waning years of the Afghan Jihad.

    Perhaps more significantly, it also corroborates other intelligence that specifies the importance of Ayman Al-Zawahiri to Al Qaeda from day one. Qasem here indicates Zawahiri is an equal co-founder of Al Qaeda. Although many sources refer to a 1998 "official" announcement as the date of the merger between Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda, it's quite clear from a wide variety of sources that the two organizations were joined at the hip from Al Qaeda's earliest days.



    Saturday, October 03, 2009

    Zazi Not The First Afghan Al Qaeda

    Many otherwise excellent stories about Najibullah Zazi (such as this one) describe him as the first or only Afghan national to be involved in an international terrorism plot.

    Even discounting Pakistani border regions for the moment, this statement is not true. Wali Khan Amin Shah was an Afghan national and close friend to Osama bin Laden, who was convicted in 1996 of plotting alongside Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to bomb 11 U.S.-bound airliners.

    KSM's mentor during his early career was Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the founder of an Al Qaeda training camp and jihad instructor par excellence. Another of Sayyaf's protege's was Abdurajak Janjalani, the Filipino founder of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group.

    It's true that very few Afghans have been visibly involved in Al Qaeda's external operations, but Zazi is far from the first, and most likely not the last.


    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Secret Oklahoma City Bombing Footage Released

    The FBI has released surveillance tapes showing the Okahoma City bombing from several angles. The videos have been kept secret for years by the FBI and were only released in response to a Freedom of Information Act action by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue (story).

    Surveillance video from downtown library

    Southwestern Bell surveillance video

    Speaking to the Associated Press, Trentadue said:
    "Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain't no such thing as a coincidence," Trentadue said.

    He said government officials claim the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because "they had run out of tape" or "the tape was being replaced."

    "The interesting thing is they spring back on after 9:02," he said. "The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn't want anybody to see."

    A spokesman for the FBI in Oklahoma City, Gary Johnson, declined to comment and referred inquiries about the tapes to FBI officials in Washington, who were not immediately available for comment Sunday.

    The soundless recordings show people rushing from nearby buildings after the bomb went off. Some show people fleeing through corridors cluttered with debris. None show the actual explosion that ripped through the federal building.

    FBI agents did not report finding any security tapes from the federal building itself.

    The FBI in the past refused to release the security camera recordings, leading Trentadue and others to contend the government was hiding evidence that others were involved in the attack.

    "It's taken a lawsuit and years to get the tapes," Trentadue said.

    He received the latest batch of tapes over the summer in response to an April request for video from security cameras in 11 different locations. Nothing on the tapes was unexpected.

    "The more important thing they show is what they don't show," Trentadue said. "These cameras would have shown the various roads and approaches to the Murrah Building."


    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Reuters: Bosnians Arrested In Queens Raid

    The item below is from Reuters. I am available for media interviews if anyone is looking for an expert on Al Qaeda in Bosnia to discuss this case. I am currently finishing work on "Sarajevo Ricochet," a television documentary being produced by Fenris Films, Oslo.

    The documentary investigates U.S. policy and covert action toward Bosnia during the war. It also examines the activities and financing of foreign fighters in Bosnia. The documentary is scheduled for release in Spring 2009. I am featured in an on-camera interview and investigative role in both Bosnia and the United States.

    NEW YORK: New York City police and the FBI raided homes in the borough of Queens early on Monday as part of an investigation that has tracked a man suspected of sympathising with al-Qaeda, officials said.

    NYPD and FBI officials provided few details, calling it part of an ongoing investigation by a joint terrorism task force, but members of US Congress briefed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation said there was no imminent danger.

    Authorities raided the apartment when a suspect they had under surveillance met with people in Queens, the ethnically diverse borough across the East River from Manhattan.

    Neighbours described an operation in which heavily armed FBI agents arrived in a phalanx of unmarked vehicles and stormed at least two apartment buildings in the early morning hours.

    Four Bosnians — a couple and their two adult children — were arrested at an apartment they have shared for three years, said John Choe, an aide to City Councilman John Liu and a candidate for the seat in Queens that Liu is vacating.


    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Khalid Bin Mahfouz Dead

    Alleged terrorist financier Khalid Bin Mahfouz has died, according to Arabic newspaper Al Sharq Alawsat. Allegations have circulated for years that bin Mahfouz was a key financier of Al Qaeda and other extremist organizations. Bin Mahfouz vigorously contested these claims in British courts (where standards for libel are much less rigorous than in the United States).


    Friday, June 26, 2009

    ATF Crackdown In Progress On White Supremacists

    UPDATE: Bombing Investigation Leads To ATF Raids Of White Supremacists In Three States

    The arrest of Dennis and Daniel Mahon in Arizona was followed yesterday took place on the same day as an ATF raid on Thomas Metzger, the architect of "leaderless resistance," in Warsaw, Indiana. No arrest took place in the Metzger raid.

    Is the ATF stepping in to act where the FBI would not? And will we see more raids and arrests reported in the next few days?



    OKBOMB: Dennis Mahon Indictment

    White supremacist brothers Dennis and Daniel Mahon have been indicted in Phoenix, Arizona, for an alleged bombing plot:

    Indictment of Dennis and Daniel Mahon

    The name of Dennis Mahon will be familiar to those who have followed the Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy investigation.

    Chairman's Report, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation

    A relevant excerpt:
    Carol Howe came from a prominent Tulsa family. She was attracted to the white supremacist movement in February 1994 after she was allegedly attacked by three African-American men. She became a paid informant for the ATF and a frequent visitor to Elohim City in June 1994. Howe testified in Terry Nichols' federal trial that she saw McVeigh with [German national Andreas] Strassmeir at Elohim City in July 1994.

    Howe dated Strassmeir in 1994 and January 1995. Howe asserted that Strassmeir trained Elohim City racist radicals in weaponry and had discussed assassinations, bombings and mass shootings. Strassmeir, according to Howe, frequently called for direct action against the U.S. federal government. Howe reported these statements to the ATF. It is not clear how seriously they were taken, as authorities have tried their best to discredit Howe as a witness. She was a former drug abuser and had other personal weaknesses; nonetheless, she was a paid ATF informant and in the aftermath of Waco and Ruby Ridge must have been considered an important source of information.

    Howe also talked to the ATF regarding Dennis Mahon, an occasional inhabitant of Elohim City who is listed as a terrorist in several countries (including Germany and Canada) and is a leader of the White Aryan Resistance. Strassmeir also stayed with Mahon while attending weekend gun shows in Tulsa. Howe reported that Mahon talked about targeting federal buildings for bombings. Her reports could be interpreted as warnings of the upcoming Oklahoma City bombing. Howe, for example, claimed that Mahon and Strassmeir took three trips to Oklahoma City, in November 1994, December 1994, and February 1995, on one of which she accompanied them.


    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Third World Relief Agency

    A story in the New York Times yesterday ("Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists" by Eric Lichtblau) focused on the Third World Relief Agency, a Bosnian "charity" with links to the Saudi government on one hand, and to Al Qaeda on the other.

    For several months now, I've been studying the key document for that story as part of the documentary, Sarajevo Ricochet, a Norwegian TV production dealing with the war in Bosnia and its connection to terrorism.

    I am available for media outlets looking for someone who can knowledgeably discuss this document, Third World and its connection to Al Qaeda. You can contact me through the Multifaceted Media Group Web site.


    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    INTELWIRE Now on Twitter

    The address is:

    I expect to be relatively low-volume most of the time. However, as an experiment, I will be twittering live from the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Foreign Fighters Conference in Washington, D.C., on July 14-15. Feel free to join me online (or in person if you're going to be there)...


    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Oklahoma City Bombing Videotapes Release May Be Imminent

    A dozen or more surveillance videotapes showing the Oklahoma City bombing may soon be released under the Freedom of Information Act. The videotapes are described in documents released to Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, who is also seeking the tapes themselves. The actual tapes "are due any day," Trentadue said Thursday.

  • Read the full story

    INTELWIRE is now part of the Multifaceted Media Group. Read more.


  • Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Terror Plot Targeted Newburgh Air Base Where High-Value Al Qaeda Detainees Landed

    An Air Force based allegedly targeted by terrorists in Newburgh, N.Y., was used as a landing site to transport high-value Al Qaeda detainees into U.S. custody. The Justice Department alleges four Newburgh Muslims were planning to use "surface-to-air missile system to destroy military aircraft at the New York Air National Guard Base located at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York." That air base was used in August and October of 1998 to receive two key operatives in the 1998 East African Embassy Bombings case -- Al Qaeda members Khalfan Khamis Mohamed and Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-'Owhali.

    Read the full story


    Wednesday, May 20, 2009
  Is Now Part Of
    The Multifaceted Media Group

    INTELWIRE is now part of the Multifaceted Media Group, a full-service media and information consortium, providing a broad menu of information-related services. Our team of professionals can take your media project of any size from conception to execution, or they can simply pitch in as needed to complement your existing team.

    Click here for more information.


    Friday, May 01, 2009

    Affadavit: Al Marri Planned Chemical Attack

    Information in an affidavit revealed in the court case of former enemy combatant Al Saleh Kahlah al-Marri reveals a number of interesting allegations:

    In the summer of 2001 al-Marri was introduced by Khalid Shaykh Muhammed, September 11th mastermind, to Usama Bin Laden, and al-Marri offered to be an al Qaeda martyr or do anything else al Qaeda requested. He was directed to enter the United States as a "sleeper agent," and to explore computer hacking methods to disrupt bank records and the U.S. financial system. Through this relationship al-Marri began receiving assistance from Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi, an al Qaeda financier who maintained contact with and provided logistical support and funds for the September 11th hijackers.

    Al Marri collected more than 1,000 credit card numbers, the document revealed, as well as full account information on 36 different accounts. He also collected research on poisons:

    Analysis of al-Marri's laptop computer revealed research regarding use of chemical weapons of mass destruction including bookmarks relating to the purchase of chemicals such as potassium cyanide, sodium cyanide, sulfuric acid, and arsenic. Other information found on al Marri's computer included references to instructions for making hydrogen cyanide, cyanide poisoning and antidotes. [...]

    Read the full document


    Sunday, April 05, 2009

    Americans Featured In New English-Language Jihadist Magazine

    A new English-language Jihad magazine called "Jihad Recollections" was released online, featuring articles adapted from the writings and videos of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, as well as original content such as military training tips, an analysis of the attitudes of American Muslims, and a fanciful piece about the prospect of EMP grenades (electromagnetic pulse) which could disrupt American military technology during combat situations.

    An article entitled "The Emphasis For An Identity In The Storm Of Kufr" specifically targets American Muslims, criticizing them for assimilation and claiming they distort Islam for the sake of an American audience.

    The author, "Abu Risass," claims to be an American Muslim, "a resident of one of the most atrocious and egotistical regimes to date." According to the Jawa Report, Abu Risaas is an alias for Samir Khan, a U.S.-based jihadist blogger.

    "[T]he effect of America's War of Terrorism has left the American Muslim community with an identity crisis that is founded upon their fears of a decline in worldly possessions," writes Risaas, who criticizes American Muslims for being afraid to express their real views, lest they be subject to media scrutiny.

    It "amazes the intellect when it sees a believer more afraid of what a Kafir would say rather than worrying about being flung into the Hellfire," he writes.

    Another American, Abu Mansour Al Amriki, is featured in a full-page promo for a video released by the Somalian Al Shabaab Islamist insurgent group.

    The magazine also featured an article by the notorious Anwar Aulaqi, a spiritual guide to some of the 9/11 hijackers who operated in San Diego and Washington, D.C. The article discusses the life of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, one of the Companions of the Prophet.


    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    Abu Mansour, American Fighting Jihad in Somalia

    Abu Mansour Al Amriki is the newest American to show up in an Al Qaeda-linked organization, namely the Al Shabab militia, which was highlighted a few weeks ago in a communique from Al Qaeda's nominal No. 2, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

    Abu Mansour Al Amriki

    Abu Mansour is shown speaking in English and Arabic. Published reports suggest that he may have volunteered in Bosnia during the 1990s.

    If you recognize this picture or have any information on this individual, please contact me.

    He's characterized as a military trainer and is shown taking part in an ambush of of what was characterized as Ethiopian and Somali troops at a location the video calls "Bardal," or Bargaal.

    Abu Masnor also delivers an after-action report on the attack. "Many of them were killed and injured," Abu Mansour said.

    Masnour eulogized the two fallen fighters. One was singled out as a particular inspiration.

    "We need more like him. If you can encourage more of your children and more of your neighbors and even your own to send people like him to this [indiscernable] it would be a great asset."

    "Our main objective, one of the things that we seek for [indiscernible] is to die as martyrs," said Mansour. "So the fact that we got two martyrs is nothing more than a victory in itself."

    Mansour has been featured before in Al Shahab videos, but his face has never been shown.

    The video also features another English-speaking jihadist and a brief clip of Osama bin Laden from an older Al Qaeda video.


    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Yemen Bomb Fulfils Zawahiri Threat

    An Al Qaeda suicide bomber carried out Sunday's attack in Yemen, according to officials there.

    INTELWIRE readers will recall that a little more than three weeks ago Ayman Al Zawahiri released a video specifically targeting Yemen. All of the media coverage of this video focused on Somalia and virtually ignored the Yemen section. I suggested this was a mistake.

    As it turns out, both sections were relevant. The bomber was trained in Somalia.

    One a lesson in this -- listen to what Zawahiri says when he talks. The invocation of the Yemen attack was unmistakable, and clearly differed from Zawahiri's ordinary invective.

    (Interestingly, there have been some unsubstantiated rumors floating around that Zawahiri was spotted recently in Somalia. This seems somewhat unlikely, but not impossible.)

    Another lesson -- corporate Al Qaeda is apparently back (if it was ever really gone). Three weeks ago, Zawahiri released a video featuring himself, his colleagues in Somalia and Al Qaeda's emir Yemen. An attack followed like clockwork.

    While this isn't a major operation on the scale of 9/11 or the African embassy bombings, I think there's a deliberate effort here to show some recovery in the core Al Qaeda organization -- especially in the command and control department. "We said we'd do it, we showed the people who would do it, and we did it."


    Wednesday, March 04, 2009

    Timothy McVeigh as Straw Man

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently repeated an incorrect statement that cuts to the heart of one of the most serious debates in the arena of terrorism studies. At a Senate hearing, she said:

    We do not portray the Oklahoma City bombing as Christian terrorism, even though Timothy MacVeigh [sic] thought of himself as a Christian. MacVeigh [sic] was guilty of mass murder -- and there was nothing Christian about it. The same principle applies with Islam. When Muslims commit terrorist acts, they are not practicing their faith; they are betraying it.

    I generally try to stay out of political discussions of any stripe, but this statement is flatly incorrect in its factual basis, on an issue which deserves some serious consideration.

    McVeigh was not a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word. He did not identify himself in that way, nor was he a member of any religious group or congregation. He claimed no religious motivation for what he did, and he wasn't radicalized by a self-proclaimed religious leader or through his association with a religious organization.

    For a more detailed discussion of this, see my posting from last year around this time:

    Why 'Islamic Terrorists' And Not 'Christian Terrorists'?

    I first spotted Albright's testimony in a link from the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report Web site.


    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Date of Al Qaeda's Founding

    Rob at Arabic Media Shack recently posted an item to the effect that Al Qaeda wasn't founded until February 1998 and offers as evidence of this assertion the fact that Osama bin Laden never mentioned it publicly until then.

    I disagree. First, because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And second, because there is no real absence of evidence.

    What bin Laden said in public has no particular bearing to whether the group existed or not, especially when there is a wealth of documentary evidence to show that it did. Terrorism is sometimes carried out by overt and well-known groups, but sometimes it's a secret enterprise.

    First off, we have the actual minutes of Al Qaeda's founding (in both English and low-quality photocopies), including a preliminary discussion in August 1988 and the first official meeting in September 1988:

    8/11/1988 to 9/10/1988 -- Minutes of Al Qaeda founding

    These documents were seized by authorities in Bosnia who were searching the offices of an Al Qaeda-linked charity. The documents were provided to INTELWIRE by Motley Rice, the law firm representing the victims of 9/11.

    I have reviewed hundreds of additional pages covering Al Qaeda's activities between 1988 and 1992, but these two are sufficient, I think, to show the organization existing under the name "Al Qaeda."

    The account contained in these documents was separately confirmed to Lawrence Wright in "The Looming Tower" by the author of these documents, Mohamed Loay Bayazid, one of Al Qaeda's founders.

    In addition to the documents and the corroborating testimony by Bayazid, two Al Qaeda informants testified to the same approximate dates during U.S. v. Bin Laden, which is required reading for anyone interested in Al Qaeda's history.

    So that's three direct witnesses, plus corroborating documents -- and the two posted here are just the tip of a large iceberg of contemporaneous documents using the name Al Qaeda.

    There's no real motivation for any of these witnesses to lie about this particular detail. The date of Al Qaeda's founding isn't pertinent to the charges in U.S. v. Bin Laden, and I see no reason why Bayazid would have lied about this particular item in talking to Wright.

    I am not aware of any credibly documented and sourced narrative to suggest any other date. So this material, in addition to being very convincing on the face of it, is not refuted by comparable material.

    In addition to these well-known accounts, I've been working on a quixotic quest for some time to figure out when the name "Al Qaeda" first appeared in a U.S. intelligence document. The earliest document discovered by the 9/11 Commission containing the name "Al Qaeda" was 1996. However, in 1992, Ali Mohamed told the FBI that Osama bin Laden was running an organization called "Al Qaeda" (source).

    Mohamed's account is the earliest reference I can document. Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, told me in an interview that the CIA first learned the name "Al Kaida" in early 1993, so that came after.

    However there might be earlier references still. A former U.S. military officer, who asked not to be identified, told me he had heard the name in Afghanistan in 1991. It's not clear if there is any paperwork to back that claim up, but I have no reason to doubt the source's account.

    U.S. v. Bin Laden -- Complete Transcripts

  • Transcript Of Sentencing Hearing [PDF]
  • Khalfan Khamis Mohamed Death Phase Closing Arguments- 07/02/2001 [PDF]
  • Khalfan Khamis Mohamed Death Penalty Phase Opening Arguments [PDF] - 06/19/2001
  • al-'Owhali Death Phase Closing Arguments - 06/05/2001 [PDF]
  • Verdict Form - Part 1 [PDF]
  • Verdict Form - Part 2 [PDF]
  • Superseding Indictment - Part 1 [PDF]
  • Superseding Indictment - Part 2 [PDF]
  • Superseding Indictment - Part 3 [PDF]
  • CNN interview with Osama bin Laden - 02/21/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 05/31/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 05/08/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 05/07/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 05/03/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 05/02/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 05/01/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 04/23/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 03/19/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 03/07/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 02/27/01-02/28/01 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 02/28/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 02/27/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 02/14/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 02/07/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 02/06/2001 [PDF]
  • Trial Transcript - 02/05/2001 [PDF]
  • Indictment [PDF]
  • Jury Questionnaire [PDF]
  • Labels:


    Target: Yemen

    Most of the coverage of Ayman Al Zawahiri's latest video message has focused on his support for Somalia and the Al Shabaab faction (Islamists so hardcore that they have transformed the previously scary Islamic Courts Union into Somalia's "moderate" faction).

    While Zawahiri's discussion of Somalia was the better part of the tape and quite important, his discussion of Yemen in the second part of the tape was extremely alarming. For a while it was fashionable to analyze these tapes for secret code words that would trigger attacks.

    In this video, there's no secret about it. Zawahiri repeatedly called for attacks in Yemen, specifically on U.S. interests in Yemen. There have already been strong signs of trouble in Yemen, and there's a healthy contingent of Al Qaeda terrorists in the country who have sworn loyalty to Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri specifically. The video showed messages of solidarity from released Guantanamo detainee Said Ali al-Shihri and Al Qaeda in Yemen's emir, Nasir al-Wuhayshi.

    The latest video elevates the threat level in Yemen to red plus plus plus.


    Monday, February 23, 2009

    The Peril of Pakistan

    As if the situation in Pakistan wasn't precarious enough, there are now rumblings that the upcoming Indian elections could push that country into a more confrontational posture with its northwestern neighbor.

    Should India's hawkish Bharatiya Janata Party take power, Pakistan could be caught in a deadly vise, with a forced redeployment of military might to the Indian border and away from the Taliban. The Pakistani Taliban have already demonstrated they have the clout to force a near-complete capitulation from the Pakistani government in the Swat province -- and the Taliban have since consolidated rival factions in North and South Waziristan.

    The situation in Pakistan has almost nowhere to go except further into chaos. Almost any regime change in Pakistan -- with the possible exception of a military coup -- is going to create an intractable problem for U.S. national security, and one that will dwarf both Iraq and Afghanistan in the final analysis.

    It's hard to imagine any outcome that helps either U.S. or regional security interests, and it's far too easy to imagine any number of outcomes that end with a nuclear detonation. History will harshly judge the American failure to anticipate the impending disaster of Pakistan. It was all too predictable -- and it was eminently predictable before the U.S. squandered its resources and alliances on an unnecessary war in Iraq.

    The problem of Pakistan was daunting before Iraq. Now, it's virtually impossible. At this stage, we're left with only a bare hope that some unexpected and improbable miracle can change the playing field before it's too late.

    UPDATE: And less than 12 hours later, here's a punctuation mark on this comment from the always impressive Long War Journal:

    Waziristan Taliban alliance declares support for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar


    Saturday, February 07, 2009

    Exporting Terrorist Tactics From Iraq

    EXCLUSIVE TO INTELWIRE: This newly declassified 2005 State Department analysis highlights one of the most signficant concerns about blowback from the invasion of Iraq -- its use as a proving ground for terrorist tactics and terrorist operatives.

    The analysis warns that "the terrorist tactics that have been tested and
    refined in [Iraq] may soon become globalized."

    Although much of the report has been redacted prior to release by the State Department (an appeal is underway), several specific threat areas are identified:

  • Improvements to the design of vehicular improvised explosive devices (car bombs)
  • Proliferation of other types of IEDs -- the report states "Anything can be a bomb."
  • Improvements and establishment of networks for forged identities and diguise
  • Advances in the use of technology by terrorists

    3/17/2005: State Department Cable, Exporting Terrorist Tactics From Iraq


  • Thursday, February 05, 2009

    Saudi Arabia's 85 Most Wanted

    The Saudi government published a list of names of 85 "most wanted" terrorists in newspaper Okaz. The names are listed below. Note that these are Saudi government allegations -- it's unclear what is the source of the intelligence and all claims should be understood as "alleged." The list here is machine translated and imperfect -- you'll note, for instance, that it has more than 85 names. C'est la vie.

    1. Saleh Abdullah Saleh Qaraawi.
    Aliases: Abu Yahya Qaraawi - Abu Abdullah - Sami - star - star good - good result Kuwaiti - Behrouz - Najm Al Areen - Hamad - your little brother - Abdullah bin Qaraawi - Rahman Ibn Abu-mail - Fruits - Moatassem.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Abu Musab Al Zarqawi

    2. Abdullah Asiri
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Affiliated with Al Qaeda, infiltrated UK, allegedly affiliated with AQ in Yemen

    3. Salah Suleiman Hamad
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Relationship with al Qaeda abroad, believed to be in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran.

    4. Fahed Samir Alqaiqai Ruwaili [???]
    Aliases: Abu Silk (?)
    Nationality: Saudi
    Born in Qatar. Linked to al Qaeda, weapons, recruitment and travel document forgery, believed in Syria

    5. Mustafa Abdul Elah Mohamed Jubairi
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to leadership of al-Qaeda in Yemen

    6. Naif Mohammad Said al-Qahtani Alkodri
    Aliases: Abu Hamam, Al-Qahtani Abohemem
    Nationality: Saudi
    Planned assassinations, targeted oil facilities in Saudi, linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen, financed terrorist operations in Spain

    7. Ali Abdul Aziz Ali
    Aliases: Obuabdaziz - Abu Usama - Abu Nasser - Abu Nasser Algosaimi
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi

    8. Ibrahim Hassan Asiri
    Aliases: Abosslah
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen, expert in explosives and poison

    9. Ibrahim Mohammed Salman Rabic
    Aliases: Mohammed
    Linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen

    10. Ahmed Abdullah Saleh Al-Zahrani Alkhozmri
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda centeral (Afghnistan/Pakistan), believed active in Iran

    11. Badr Saud Owaid Awfi Jihad
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Published in Al Qaeda magazine

    12. Mcaoui Zayed Al Asiri
    Aliases: Moatassem Makki
    Nationality: Saudi
    Place and Date of Birth: 8/3/1398 in Tabuk e
    Point of travel: United Arab Emirates on e 14/4/1422 There were a return has been received to date from Guantanamo Bay, on 29/10/1428 e.
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    13. Ali Jabir Jubran Alfifi
    Aliases: Abu Jaafar Al-Ansari Abu Ibrahim
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen leadership

    14. Hassan loss Bdah Al-Qahtani Saad
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Al Qaeda links, active in Iraq

    15. Hassan Ibrahim Hamad Alcavan
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, document forgery, terrorist financing, active in Iran, Iraq

    16. Hussein Mohamed Abdou
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Escaped prisoner, possibly active in Somalia

    17. Khalid Ibrahim Ahmed Hyacinth Alasiri.
    Aliases: Abu Abdul Rahman Aljhiman
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al Qaeda, document forgery, sabotage, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    18. Ryan Hamidi Mohammad Zaidi
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al-Qaeda in Iran

    19. Khaled Saleh Ali Al Zrabh Acommti
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    20. Name: Hamad Hussein Nasser Hussein
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Yemen, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    21. Ahmed Saleh Ali Alchihp
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al Qaeda

    22. Abdul Rahman Abdullah Mohamed Albhimh Jihad
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al-Qaeda, believed active in Yemen

    23. Saleh Naiv Almakhlvi Day
    Aliases: Abu Hafs - Abu Hafs al-Najdi - Abdulghani.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    24. Ibrahim Mohammed Abdullah Almzian
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Document forgery, believed active in Iraq

    25. Saeed Ali Jabir Kthim
    Aliases: Abu Sufyan - Abu Sufian kadhdhaab matrook - Salah - Salah al-Din - Osama Abu - Abu Sulaiman - Nur al-Din Afghani Azibk - Salah Abu Sufyan - Alakhaddm happy.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Al Qaeda in Yemen

    26. Tleihan Amuallbi-Mutairi
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    27. Abdulla Salem Al-Qahtani Dhim Alaliani
    Aliases: Shaker
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to leadership of Al Qaeda in Iran, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    28. Radi Smelel Aldllake Sultan Al-Otaibi
    Aliases: Abu Abed - Abu Mohammed Makki - Abu Mohammed.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi, believed active in Yemen

    29. Abdul Rahman Abdullah
    Aliases: Mohammed
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al-Qaeda, active in Syria, Iraq

    30. Adel Fulayyih Salem al-Jaafari
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    31. Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim Tuwaijri
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, believed active in Lebanon

    32. Khaled Selim Owaid Luhaybi
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    33. Bader Nasser Al-Mohammed Kinani
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    34. Abdulrahman Abdullah Abdulrahman Al-Dosari
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, active in trafficking from Syria to Iraq, believed currently in Syria

    35. Abdul-Aziz Abdullah Baheej Albhigi.
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Syrian and/or Iraq

    36. Khaled Al-Otaibi Galab Alrougui
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi, believed active in Iran

    37. Raed Abdullah Salem Al [???]
    Aliases: Abu Omar, the military - Abu Askar.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen

    38. Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed Sulaiman
    Aliases: Abu Salman - Abu Abdallah
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia

    39. Ibrahim Suleiman Hamad
    Aliases: [???]
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, and/or Lebanon

    40. Mohammed Saad Saeed Siyam
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi, believed active in Iraq

    41. Hamid Fayez Ghneim [???]
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    42. Mohammad Hilal Al-Otaibi Almqati
    Aliases: Abu-Hajar
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    43. Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim Tuwaijri
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

    44. Fahd Saleh Suleiman Aljtili
    Aliases: Abu-Saleh
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen

    45. Fawaz Al-Otaibi Humaidi Hajd Alhabrdi
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Iran

    46. Fahad Saad Mohamed Ajlan
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq

    47. Faisal Jassim Mohammed Khalidi
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    48. Fauzan Aouiz [???] Ateeq Zhimi
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq

    49. [???] Attia Karim Fahmi Al-Zahrani
    Aliases: Abu Ibrahim
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    50. Abdullah Nasser Sulaiman Riai
    Aliases: Abu Saleh.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi, believed active in Syria and/or Yemen

    51. Mohammed Yusuf Abdallah Altkroni Jamil
    Aliases: Abu Jarrah
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    52. Yousef Mohammad Mubarak Jubairi
    Aliases: Abu Harith - monthly Abul Hakim - Al-Ansari Hakim - Hakim Altbuque - Abu Hilal
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    53. Walid Abdullah bin Ibrahim Brgsh[?]
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    54. Ahmed Ali Atallah Alfarhod
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    55. Waleed Ali [???] Alasiri
    Aliases: Abu Hafs - Saad
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, assassinations and the targeting of oil facilities

    56. Abdullah Muhammad Abdullah Ayed
    Aliases: Abu Yasser
    Nationality: Saudi
    Traveling without a passport

    57. Abdul Karim Abdullah Ibrahim Salloum
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Place and Date of Birth: Riyadh, 9/4/1404 e
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Iraq

    58. Abdullah Osman Abdulrahman Aldbeji
    Aliases: Camry
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Iraq

    59. Mohammed Ateeq Awaed Awfi
    Aliases: Aboisamh - Qutaiba - Abojulh - Abu Harith - Abu Usama - Mohammed al-Harbi
    Nationality: Saudi
    Former Guantanamo inmate, released to Saudi, fled to Yemen

    60. Abdullah Faraj Mohammed Hammoud Juweir.
    Aliases: Abu Awad - Awad - Awad al-Yemeni.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq

    61. Murtaza Ali Said Mqurm [???]
    Aliases: Abu Disavowal Hadrami - Murtada Hadrami - Mauritanian Khallad - Abdulmalik Abu Musab - Abu Shahed - Murtaza Ali Said Kerem
    Nationality: Saudi
    Former Guantanamo inmate, released to Saudi, fled to Yemen

    62. Fahd Mohammed Ali Aldjaitn
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq

    63. Mashaal Mohamed Rashid Alcdokhi
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    64. Majed Abdullah Mohammed Al-Majed
    Aliases: unknown.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq

    65. Ahmed Ali Barakat Al Zahrani traditional concept
    Aliases: Abu Hanadzlah Makki
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    66. Mohamed Ali Mohamed [???]
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    67. Mohammed Abdullah Hassan Abu Khair
    Aliases: Abu Muhjin - Abu Abdullah - Hamid - Mohanad - Al Jiddawi - Abdullah Al-Makki – Muhammad Al Jiddawi - Abdullah Al-Halabi
    Nationality: Saudi
    Al Qaeda, former bin Laden bodyguard, active in Egypt, Afghanistan

    68. Muhammad Qasim Mehdi Reemy
    Aliases: Abu Hurayrah - Abu Ammar
    Nationality: Yemeni
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen, Saudi Arabia,

    69. Osman Ahmed Osman Amira Al-Ghamdi
    Aliases: Abu Ahmed
    Nationality: Saudi
    Place and Date of Birth: 1/7/1399 in Al-e.
    Former Guantanamo inmate, released to Saudi, fled to Yemen

    70. Adnan Mohammed Ali Ahmed
    Aliases: Haidera Lebanese - Abu Malik
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    71. Abdullah Azzam Rizieq Alslake born.
    Aliases: Abu Suleiman - Mansour - Abu Abdullah - Abu Muslim Al Mecca
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    72. Name: Othman Bin Sulaiman Dikhil Sweden
    Aliases: Rahman
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Iraq

    73. Abdul Rahman Abdullah Al-Obaid
    Aliases: Abu Asim
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia

    74. Abdullah Ibrahim Abdulmohsen Sharekh
    Aliases: [???]
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, currently believe in Iran

    75. Atiq Faraj [???] Al_husnani.
    Aliases: [???]
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    76. Osama Hammoud Grman monthly
    Aliases: Abu Hafs - Abu Hafs monthly.
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    77. Obaid Mubarak Obaid Alagafil
    Aliases: Abu Osama - Abu Aisha
    Nationality: Saudi of Yemeni origin
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Lebanon and/or Syria.

    78. Naif Mohammad Said al-Qahtani Alkodri
    Aliases: Abu Hamam, Al-Qahtani Abohemem
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen, financed terrorist operations in Spain

    79. Nasser Abdulkarim Abdullah Louhichi
    Aliases: Abu Basir - Abu Basir Louhichi
    Nationality: Yemeni
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    80. Ali Abdul Aziz Ali [???]
    Aliases: Obuabdaziz - Abu Usama - Abu Nasser - Abu Nasser Algosaimi
    Nationality: Saudi
    Date and place of birth: 23/12/1404 in e-mail.
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia

    81. [???] Almqati
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    82. Bdah Mqahs Bdah Qahtani
    Aliases: Abu Qutaiba
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq

    83. Ahmed Mohamed Kotaim Da'di Alhzli
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia

    84. Amir Ali Saud [???] Shanbari
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    85. Aqeel Aqeel Omeish Aqili-Mutairi
    Aliases: Abu Omeish
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Iraq

    86. Mohammed Thamer [???]
    Aliases: Unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    87. Osama Abdullah Ali Dmjan
    Aliases: unknown
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda, believed active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Iran

    88. Basil Jerbuai Ali Al-Qahtani [???]
    Aliases: Abu Ahmad - Besbs
    Nationality: Saudi
    Linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen


    Friday, January 16, 2009

    'Killing Abu Baraa' Online

    Al Jazeera Arabic has posted on YouTube the full hour of "Killing Abu Baraa," an Arabic-language documentary by Yosri Fouda on the life and death of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. I'm featured in the piece.


    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    J.M. Berger Radio Interview

    I was a guest on the January 13 edition of "The Jeff Santos Show," on Boston radio station WWZN 1510 AM. We discussed the challenges ahead for the Obama administration regarding homeland security, the threat of terrorism and Al Qaeda, as well as the question "Are we safer today than we were before 9/11?" Click here to listen to the segment (MP3 format).

    If you're interested in booking me as a talking head for radio, podcast or TV, feel free to drop me a line.


    Monday, January 12, 2009

    A.Q. Khan Added To Treasury List

    The U.S. Treasury has frozen the assets of A.Q. Khan -- the scientist who created Pakistan's nuclear program. Khan was added to the Specially Designated Nationals list, used to seize assets from suspected terrorists. Treasury also designated companies and individuals associated with Khan, who is believed to have tried to sell the secrets of Pakistan's nuclear technology.


    Monday, December 22, 2008

    Trentadue Takes Aim At AG Nominee

    Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue is taking aim at President Barack Obama’s nominee for Attorney General.

    In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy late last week, Trentadue charged that Eric Holder -- a Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton Administration -- took part in covering up the alleged murder of Trentadue’s brother, Kenneth, in August 1995. Trentadue included copies of several internal Justice Department documents which he alleges show
    Holder’s role in a cover-up.

    Read the letter and documents

    Kenneth Trentadue's death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the Bureau of Prisons and the FBI. But Jesse Trentadue believes his brother was murdered because of his resemblance to a bank robbery suspect connected to the Oklahoma City bombing.

    Trentadue sued the government for wrongful death and won. The family was awarded about $1 million. The court ruled that the death was a suicide, but said the government mishandled the case so severely that it merited an award for intentionally inflicting emotional distress. An internal Justice Department investigation also ruled Kenneth Trentadue’s death a suicide but found extensive irregularities in how the case was handled.


    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Siddiqui Found Unfit

    Al Qaeda suspect Aafia Siddiqui has been declared unfit to stand trial due to mental impairment. See this story from ABC News. Siddiqui's diagnosis was first reported on INTELWIRE in September -- at which time this outcome was also predicted.


    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Trentadue Sues CIA, FBI on OKBOMB

    Salt Lake City Attorney Jesse Trentadue today sued the CIA for records relating to the Oklahoma City bombing, including any documents related to Andreas Strassmeier, a German national believed by many to have played a role in the terrorist attack. In the same court action, Trentadue also sued the FBI for copies of all surveillance videotapes related to the bombing, including several videos known to exist which have never been released.

    Read the full story


    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    Early Warnings on 9/11 -- June 2001

    New 9/11 documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal: Less than three months before September 11, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned the Taliban that American intelligence had "high confidence" that "Afghan-based and other operatives are now planning on carrying out attacks against Americans." Powell's warning was conveyed to the Taliban by U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan William B. Milam, who specifically discussed Osama bin Laden with the Taliban's representative Abdul Salam Zaeef.

    Full Story

    6/27/2001: State Dept. cable, threats to U.S. by Bin Laden

    6/29/2001: State Dept. cable, threats to U.S. by Bin Laden

    7/5/2001: State Dept. cable, meeting with Saudi Prince Abdullah


    Monday, November 03, 2008

    An Unfunded Service

    The New York Times and ProPublica want a $1 million Knight News Challenge grant to create an online repository for documents related to news stories.

    I couldn't restrain myself from pointing out that this site performs a rather similar function without external financing. I go out and get documents myself about 90 percent of the time, funding costs out of my own pocket at about the same percentage. The remaining 10 percent are either donated by sources or funded by freelance employers.

    I can't imagine why someone would need $1 million to simply publish source documents, especially since both the NYT and ProPublica already operate their own Web sites, which are eminently suited to the task.

    While it's great to see the mainstream media finally coming around to the idea of providing primary source material to readers, I am not the only one out here who has been doing it for free, for years.

    A seven-figure grant would, in my opinion, be much better spent providing litigation support to independent journalists working through the Freedom of Information Act than giving free money to for-profit media companies in order to subsidize something they're already able to do.


    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Bosnia Veterans Sought For Interviews

    INTELWIRE is seeking Bosnia veterans to interview on-camera in Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C. between the dates of October 19 and October 31. We're open to hearing about all types of wartime experience, but we're especially interested in discussing Operations DENY FLIGHT and SHARP GUARD. We'd also like to speak with people who worked with UNPROFOR, or who worked at NGOs in Bosnia and Croatia between 1992 and 1995. If we can't work out a schedule to film, we're happy to make contact via phone or e-mail as well. For more information on the documentary or to contact J.M. Berger, click here.


    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    John McCain's Affiliation with the U.S. Council for World Freedom


    Paul Begala speaking on "Meet the Press" this morning mentioned John McCain's association with the United States Council for World Freedom, an organization linked to the Iran-Contra scandal.

    1984 990-Form, United States Council for World Freedom, listing John McCain as member of the board of advisors


    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Aafia Siddiqui Indictment

    The Justice Department indicted alleged al Qaeda member Aafia Siddiqui in New York yesterday. According to the indictment, she was carrying handwritten notes on a "mass casualty attack" at the time of her arrest, including notes on chemical and radioactive dispersal devices (dirty bombs), along with photos of U.S. landmarks (a familiar-sounding list including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and more).

    She was also carrying a thumb drive with "correspondence that referred to specific 'cells' and 'attacks' by certain 'cells.' Other documents referred to 'enemies,' including the United States, and discussed recruitment and training."

    The date of that arrest, as stated in the indictment, was July 17, 2008, despite numerous claims to the contrary. The government has, at this point in time, several non-prosecutorial options for dealing with prisoners. Given that it's now fairly unusual to introduce al Qaeda suspects into the criminal justice system, it would be logical to play such cases strictly by the book.

    Of course, we've seen some notable lapses in logic over the last seven years, so take that with a caveat. For instance, why introduce someone carrying detailed information about terrorist cells into the criminal system so swiftly, when other similar suspects have been detained for years of interrogation?

    Indictment of Aafia Siddiqui



    Yet More Awakening Worries

    The New York Times rings in. See previous posts here and here.


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