(MIR HAMID/DAILY DAWN/Gamma-Rapho, JIM WATSON/AFP, via Getty Images)
The new bin Laden documents make clear that there was intelligence politicization during the 2012 campaign.
Jenna Lifhits reports: A top foreign correspondent at the New York Times said Friday that the Obama administration deliberately downplayed al Qaeda’s strength in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.
“The overall narrative that I think was being pushed to the press, and if you look back at the editorials that were done when that trove came out, was an image of bin Laden isolated, he had lost control of this group,” Rukmini Callimachi said during an event at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, referring to the 17 hand-picked documents released by the Obama administration in May of 2012.
“The narrative I would get is that . . . it had opportunistically taken the al Qaeda name in order to have prestige and scare people, and that in fact those people were just criminals.”
— Rukmini Callimachi
Her remarks triggered the following question from Kim Dozier, a former top correspondent for the Associated Press and CBS, and current executive editor of the Cipher Brief: “Do you think that was something that was kept from the public’s view because it revealed that there had to be reams of communication going back and forth, which means U.S. intelligence, Western intelligence, was missing this?”
“Suddenly, my worldview, which had been informed by officials . . . started to fall apart. Suddenly, I was seeing that this group that I was told really had no ties, with no connection . . . was in fact being micromanaged by al Qaeda central.”
— Rukmini Callimachi
“Think back to when bin Laden was killed. It was 2011, it was right before a major campaign season. I don’t want to underplay the role that the killing of Osama bin Laden had,” said Callimachi. “But I think that that was theorized into something much bigger.”
“The head of the organization has been killed, and now—these are literally quotes that I would get: the organization has been ‘decimated,’ the organization is in ‘disarray,’ the organization is ‘on the run,’” she continued. “At the same time that we were preparing to pull out troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, I think that it was important to portray this as a problem that no longer existed.”
* * *The Trump administration released roughly 470,000 files in November that were captured in the Abbottabad raid. Only a few hundred were released under the Obama administration, despite one official’s description of the haul as enough to fill a “small college library.”
When Callimachi was covering West Africa in 2011, Obama administration officials and others told her that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which had just taken over the northern half of Mali, “was actually not really connected to al Qaeda.” Read the rest of this entry »
* There’s a file with bin Laden’s hand-written, 228-page private journal.
* There’s a good deal of evidence that at the time of his death, bin Laden was still actively leading al Qaeda.
* Also, there’s a great deal of information on bin Laden’s ties to Iran and Iraq.
Here’s Joscelyn and Roggio on al Qaeda and Iran:
One never-before-seen 19-page document contains a senior jihadist’s assessment of the group’s relationship with Iran. The author explains that Iran offered some “Saudi brothers” in al Qaeda “everything they needed,” including “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others. Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, an influential ideologue prior to 9/11, helped negotiate a safe haven for his jihadi comrades inside Iran. But the author of the file, who is clearly well-connected, indicates that al Qaeda’s men violated the terms of the agreement and Iran eventually cracked down on the Sunni jihadists’ network, detaining some personnel. Still, the author explains that al Qaeda is not at war with Iran and some of their “interests intersect,” especially when it comes to being an “enemy of America.” Read the rest of this entry »
After eight years as an autocratic president with amaximalist view of executive authority, Barack Obama is handing his successor an expansive interpretation of the commander in chief’s authority to wage war around the globe.
…In his final weeks in office, Obama has broadened the legal scope of the war on extremism, the White House confirmed Monday, as it acknowledged for the first that the administration now asserts it is legally justified to take on the extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia.
The determination is based on an expanded application of a 9/11-era use of force authorization, a statute Obama has repeatedly leaned on to justify military operations. That rationale has raised concerns about how Trump might use Obama’s precedent to justify other overseas entanglements — without consulting Congress.
The White House staunchly defends Obama’s use of military power, arguing in a detailed report Monday that all operations have been firmly grounded in domestic and international law. White House counsel Neil Eggleston called the report — the first of its kind — a demonstration of how Obama has ensured “that all U.S. national security operations are conducted within a legal and policy framework that is lawful, effective and consistent with our national interests and values.”
Yet the report, which Obama said should be updated annually, also reveals how his administration has relied overwhelmingly on the 2001 authorization, which even Obama acknowledges is outdated.
Though the law’s targets were al-Qaida and the Taliban, a clause in the bill includes “associated forces” of al-Qaida, in Afghanistan or beyond. That clause is now being used as a catch-all for military action in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya, the report shows, plus the basing of U.S. troops in other countries.
As for al-Shabab, until recently, the U.S. determined only that its individual leaders were linked to al-Qaida, which limited targeting of those individuals. Now the broader group is included.
Trump has promised a more muscular and militaristic approach to counterterrorism, occasionally using expletives to suggest he’d aggressively bomb ISIS militants, although he has been vague on details.
Deborah Pearlstein, a former White House official and international law professor at Yeshiva University, said it’s likely the next administration will use Obama’s framework as its starting point. “By practice and long history, those opinions tend to stand,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Gutowski reports: More gun-related FBI background checks were done in 2016 than in any other year in history after November set yet another record for gun sales in the United States.
So far this year, the FBI has processed24,767,514 checks through its National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as NICS, which puts 2016 more than 160,000 checks above the yearly record set in 2015. The record comes after November 2016 set its own monthly record with 2,561,281 checks, nearly 320,000 more than the previous record set last November. This gun sales spike has lasted for over a year and resulted in monthly records for 19 straight months.
November’s record comes as the firearms industry is beginning its seasonal upswing with millions of Americans purchasing firearms in the lead up to the holiday season. That upswing is likely to add to 2016’s record because December has traditionally seen the highest number of NICS checks for the year.
The number of checks processed through the FBI’s system is generally considered one of the strongest indicators of gun sales in the United States because nearly all sales made through federally licensed firearms dealers require a NICS check. However, the number of NICS checks made in a given period of time is not a perfect representation of the number of guns actually sold in that same period of time for a number of reasons. Read the rest of this entry »
Paul Bedard reports: The Obama administration resettled 9,000 Somali refugees in the United States in 2014, and a total of 50,000 during Obama’s eight years, a huge number that is now raising concerns after a Somali refugee led a one-man attack spree on the campus of Ohio State.
“We have no way of vetting people from any of the failed states of the Islamic world, whether Somalia or Libya or Yemen or Afghanistan or Iraq.”
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping spoke late Sunday and set a tone of “mutual respect.” But if Mr. Trump’s earlier campaign rhetoric is put in motion, U.S.-China relations look set for a significant shift. WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains.
The world is at the start of a renaissance in hypersonic flight, but the U.S. will need steady commitment and funding if it wants to lead the way.
MOJAVE, California — The world is at the start of a renaissance in supersonic and hypersonic flight that will transform aviation, but the effort will need steady commitment and funding if the United States wants to lead the way, congressional leaders and industry officials said at a forum late last month.
“What’s exciting about aerospace today is that we are in a point here where suddenly, things are happening all across the board in areas that just haven’t been happening for quite a while,” said former U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Bedke.
“There was a period where engine technology had just sort of stagnated — a point where all materials technology was going along at about the same pace,” Bedke added. “There just wasn’t much happening. But suddenly, in all sorts of areas that apply to aerospace, things are happening.”
The weapons arsenal was discovered during a top secret raid by a SWAT team in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Local politician Ismail Tipi revealed details of the raid and warned of “the danger of fundamentalists”.
“The danger of fundamentalist Salafists who are ready to use violence arming themselves in Germany is very large. This secret raid finding this weapons cache makes this more than clear.”
The weapons were found in a cold room of a greengrocer near a mosque.
The state is the most populous state in Germany with nearly 18million people in the area, which includes Dusseldorf.
Mr Tipi, who is a member of the Hessian parliament, warned of the dangers of Salafi fundamentalists.
“Through the weapons arsenal, the sleeper cells and militant jihadis can be armed with weapons and prepare for their likely attack. This is exactly what I have always feared.”
Germany has seen sharp increases in the number of ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists in recent years, with the total number of sympathisers now seen at 8,900, up from 7,000 at the end of 2014, German officials said.
“If these fears are substantiated, we can assume that secret weapons arsenals are being set up for a big terrorist attack not only in Germany, but throughout Europe. It would be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t recognise this danger and find these weapons arsenals.”
He said: “According to my information, a weapons arsenal with war grade weapons was found in this search.”
“The danger of fundamentalist Salafists who are ready to use violence arming themselves in Germany is very large. This secret raid finding this weapons cache makes this more than clear.”
Three Syrian men were earlier this month suspected of planning large-scale attacks in Dusseldorf.
Mr Tipi, who is said to have received death threats for his comments against jihadis, raised concerns sleeper cells are gearing up for a terror attack on Germany.
He said: “The information about this is increasing. The fear is large that Salafist sleeper cells, jihadis, and ISIS terrorists in Germany get support from foreign intelligence services that are not friendly to us.”
Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith who was murdered at the Benghazi Consulate on 9-11-3012, screamed out “Hillary is a liar!” after watching the movie ’13 Hours.’
An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11, 2012. The alleged ringleader in the attack has been captured by involving Special Operations forces. (AFP/Getty Images)
Guantanamo rarely appears in jihadist propaganda, whether ISIS or al Qaeda, and reviews of recent propaganda materials from ISIS and al Qaeda – online videos and audio recordings, glossy magazines, etc. – found very few mentions of the facility.
Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Jocelyn write: President Barack Obama says his administration will continue releasing terrorists from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, so long as those released are less dangerous than the jihadists currently fighting against the U.S. and its interests.
“I am absolutely persuaded, as are my top intelligence and military advisers, that Guantanamo is used as a recruitment tool for organizations like ISIS. And if we want to fight ’em, then we can’t give ’em these kinds of excuses.”
The bizarre argument comes in a new interview with Olivier Knox of Yahoo! News and is one of several comments in their discussion that reinforces the president’s stubborn nonchalance on issues related to jihad. Obama also shrugs off concerns about recidivism of former Guantanamo detainees, suggesting that only a “handful” of former detainees have returned to the fight and claiming that only “low-level” terrorists have been released from the detention facility. Both claims are demonstrably false.
“Virtually everything Obama said in his Yahoo interview about Guantanamo is false. Guantanamo is not a leading recruitment tool for jihadists. From the earliest days of the facility, many of those detained there were deemed more than the “low-level” fighters the president would have us believe. And far more than a “handful” of released detainees – nearly 200 suspected or confirmed – have returned to the fight.”
Al Qosi appeared in a propaganda video disseminated by the group last week. Knox asked Obama whether having someone return to the fight “in a big way,” like Qosi, has caused the administration to revisit its vetting procedures.
“There is no reason that Obama would need to be ‘persuaded’ of something that can be easily demonstrated. Either Guantanamo is a major recruitment tool or it’s not. Administration officials have been making this claim for years and it’s not true.”
“I am absolutely persuaded, as are my top intelligence and military advisers, that Guantanamo is used as a recruitment tool for organizations like ISIS,” Obama began. “And if we want to fight ’em, then we can’t give ’em these kinds of excuses.” Read the rest of this entry »
FBI Director James Comey appeared to refute a report that said that Tashfeen Malik had pledged her support for Islamic jihad on Facebook messages and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.
At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said that no evidence had been found to indicate that the couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on December 2 were members of a terrorist cell or had any contact with overseas militant groups. Most notably, he said that Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his 29-year-old wife, Tashfeen Malik, had expressed support for “jihad and martyrdom” in private communications but never did so on social media.
“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright?”
The statement appeared to contradict a report that appeared in the Los Angeles Times citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials who said that Malik “sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.” The messages were reportedly written in Urudu, a common language in Pakistan. One of the officials was quoted as saying the messages were “her private communications.”
“The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”
— FBI Director James Comey
“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom,” Comey said. “I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright? The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”
It remains unclear whether Malik had declared loyalty to the Islamic State on Facebook on the morning that she and Farook killed 14 people who were attending an employee holiday party at a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.
A report first appeared on CNN and later circulated elsewhere citing unnamed US officials who said that Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State using a Facebook account that was registered under a different name. The sources did not say how they knew for certain that Malik made the post. Read the rest of this entry »
Within minutes of the news of the bomb scare in LA, ISIS supporters created a web forum titled ‘Panic in the American Los Angeles.’
James King and Gilad Shiloach report: ISIS supporters took to social media to gloat about the disruption caused by “credible” bomb threats made against the Los Angeles school system on Tuesday. The threats closed more than 900 schools across the city, abruptly sending hundreds of thousands of students home and throwing the city into disarray.
“Allah Akbar, closure of all the school in Los Angeles because of threats. 640,000 returned to their homes, Oh God, increase their panic!!”
Within minutes of news of the closure, ISIS loyalists created a thread on an online forum with the title “Panic in the American Los Angeles,” Vocativ’s deep web analysis found. Islamic State adherents are using the thread to gloat about the panicked response—though none so far have taken credit for the attack.
“Thanks God, they are panicked of everything. The soldiers of the Caliphate will look after you until the world will be under the rule of Allah,” wrote one supporter. Another responded with, “Oh God, never make them safe. Put panic in their hearts.”
Another ISIS supporter took to Twitter to comment on the school closings in Los Angeles. “The city of Los Angeles is closing schools and vital areas because of the security threat. Oh God, destroy the worshipers of the cross,” the tweet, written by someone who identifies himself as Ali al-Baghdadi, reads. On another ISIS-friendly Twitter feed that is regarded as an unofficial arm of the ISIS propaganda machine, an ISIS supporter celebrated the fact that nearly 650,000 kids were sent home from school. Read the rest of this entry »
EXCLUSIVE: Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne report: An intelligence community review has re-affirmed that two classified emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Hillary Clinton’s unsecured personal server despite a challenge to that designation by the State Department, according to two sources familiar with the review.
“The sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News that while the emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Clinton’s server, one of them remains “top secret” to this day — and must be handled at the highest security level.”
The sources described the dispute over whether the two emails were classified at the highest level as a “settled matter.”
“The findings have been transmitted to the State Department, which continues to challenge the intelligence community’s conclusions about the classification of all the emails. But the department has no authority to change the classification since it did not originate the information.”
The agencies that owned and originated that intelligence – the CIA and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency or NGA – reviewed the emails to determine how they should be properly stored, as the State Department took issue with their highly classified nature. The subject matter of the messages is widely reported to be the movement of North Korean missiles and a drone strike. A top secret designation requires the highest level of security, and can include the use of an approved safe.
The sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News that while the emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Clinton’s server, one of them remains “top secret” to this day — and must be handled at the highest security level. The second email is still considered classified but at the lower “secret” level because more information is publicly available about the event.
The findings have been transmitted to the State Department, which continues to challenge the intelligence community’s conclusions about the classification of all the emails. But the department has no authority to change the classification since it did not originate the information. Read the rest of this entry »
Yale University have confirmed that the lecturer who sent an email stating that students should not seek to censor Halloween costumes has today resigned from her teaching position.
Richard Lewis reports: Erika Christakis, an expert in childhood education, sent the email as a result of student activist complaints about cultural appropriation and perceived racism on campus. The protests will best be remembered for producing this video where a female student screamed into the face of Nicholas Christakis, husband of Erika and a Bowdoin Prize winning academic, making the bold claim that the university campus isn’t an “intellectual space.” Mr. Christakis shall also be taking a one term sabbatical in the aftermath of the incident.
Why the email generated any controversy is anyone’s guess. Mrs. Christakis asked the question, “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” Read the rest of this entry »
Hollie McKay reports: The online romance between Southern California terrorists Farook Rizwan Syed and Tashfeen Malik was more a meeting of like minds than lonely hearts, with two radical jihadists forming a bond of hate and bloodlust in the dark recesses of the Internet.
Family members have said Syed, 28, and Malik, 29, met online and embarked on a whirlwind digital relationship capped by their 2014 marriage. But if they did, it was not on any dating site resembling those that bring people together every day in the civilized world. Their meeting brought together two already-radicalized soulmates who would go on to kill 14 people and wound 21 more in last week’s massacre at a San Bernardino social services facility
“They were actually radicalized before they started [dating online],” FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Wednesday. “As early as the end of 2013 they were talking about jihad and martyrdom, before they became engaged.”
“As early as the end of 2013 they were talking about jihad and martyrdom, before they became engaged.”
– FBI Director James Comey
Farook seemingly set up several profiles years ago in his search for a wife – reportedly using sites like Dubaimatrimonial.com, BestMuslim.com and iMilap.com, which is an Indian-centered matrimonial and dating site “for people with disabilities and remarriage.
A spokesperson for iMilap.com confirmed to FoxNews.com that while Farook has an inactive profile not in public view, Malik never belonged to the site and they have no history of any such name or details. In his profiles, Farook described himself as a “devout” Muslim and added that he spends “much free time in the [mosque] memorizing the Quran and learning more about the religion.”
As for Malik, she was an online ghost, and experts said absent her participation in hardcore jihadist chat forums or use of a pseudonym, it is unlikely that she met Farook innocently. Read the rest of this entry »
Chris Cox writes: Just when we think that politics can’t sink any lower, President Obama once again proves us wrong by politicizing the tragedy in San Bernardino before the facts were even known. What we do know is that the American people are heartbroken by these horrific crimes — and despite what the president would have us believe — America’s law-abiding gun owners are heartbroken by these horrific crimes as well. At the same time, we are sick and tired of this president suggesting the men and women of the National Rifle Association are somehow to blame.
The National Rifle Association is not to blame. Neither is our Second Amendmentfreedom. An act of evil unfolded in California. President Obama used it not as a moment to inform or calm the American people; rather, he exploited it to push his gun control agenda.
Policy discussions should be intellectually honest and based on facts, not politics. And the fact remains that California has already adoptedPresident Obama’s gun control wish list: “universal” background checks, registration, waiting periods, gun bans, magazine bans and an expansion of prohibited gun categories. But those laws did nothing to prevent this horrific crime from taking place. Nothing.
Adam Kredo reports: Democratic lawmakers are planning to attend prayer services at a Washington-area mosque that has been accused of acting as a front for Hamas and that served as the home of terrorist spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly mentored two of the 9/11 hijackers.
“That Democrats in the name of tolerance and diversity are mainstreaming extremists like this is inherently damaging to the Muslim community.”
On the heels of a deadly mass shooting by two Muslim individuals in San Bernardino, California, a group of Democratic lawmakers said they would attend Friday prayer services at the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque in Virginia, which has been linked to the financing of terrorists and where al-Awlaki served as the spiritual leader.
“These same folks just yesterday wanted to take away the Second Amendment rights of those on the terror watch list, and now they want to embrace a mosque that we know from FOIAs was on the terror watch list. Unbelievable.”
— Patrick Poole, a terrorism analyst and national security reporter
The Democrats set to attend include Reps. Don Beyer (D., Va.), Joseph Crowley (D., N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D., Minn.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D., D.C.), and several Virginia state lawmakers, according to the New York Times.
Beyer told the Times that the visit could help diffuse tensions with the Muslim community in the wake of the San Bernardino attack and the recent terrorist massacre in Paris.
“After Paris and after the House resolution a few weeks ago, we just thought it was really important to continue to reiterate to the many, many peace-loving Muslim Americans that they were still a welcome part of our community,” Bayer said.
“A founding member of Dar al-Hijrah, Ismail Elbarasse, also has been accused of working for Hamas’s top leadership. The FBI accused Elbarasse of wiring $735,000 to a Hamas operative in 2004, according to the Investigative Project.”
The accused attackers in San Bernardino reportedly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State before carrying out the rampage.
Al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, began service as Dar al-Hijrah’s imam in January 2001. He is accused of acting as a key recruiter for al Qaeda and as serving as a spiritual adviser for those aligned with the terror group.
After police announced that two suspects — a male and a female — were dead following a car chase and shoot out with police, a search began at a nearby Redlands apartment linked to the suspects.
A man who identified himself as Farook’s father told the Daily News his son worked as a health technician inspecting restaurants and hotels.
“I haven’t heard anything. He worked in a county office,” Farook’s dad told The News. “He’s married and has a kid. We’re estranged because my wife got the divorce, and they are together. She doesn’t want to see me.”
Farook said he hasn’t seen his son in some time.
“He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.”
The Daily Beast has learned that the police have just executed a search warrant at a Redlands, California address—an address that belongs to Farook’s family.
Police pursued a car leaving from the Redlands address, Chief Jarrod Baraugan said at a Wednesday evening press conference. A male and female suspect were inside the car, and both of them have been killed. Both of the suspects were armed with assault rifles and handguns, Baraugan said.
Police have apprehended a third man, but have not identified his relation to the attacks yet.An eyewitness at the Inland Regional Center, where gunmen killed 14 and wounded at least 18 more, told police he saw a man leaving a meeting of county employees this morning. At 11 a.m., at least two men entered the center and opened fire…(read more) Source: DailyBeast
This is a scandal. And those involved believe that it reaches into the White House.
Stephen F. Hayes writes: Barack Obama says he wants the truth. On November 21, the New York Times reported allegations that military intelligence officials provided the president with skewed assessments that minimized the threat from ISIS and overstated the success of U.S. efforts against the group. The Times story was an update of reporting from theDaily Beast earlier this fall. “More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials,” the Beast reported in September. These analysts say their superiors regularly massaged pessimistic assessments to make them more upbeat before sending them up the chain of command. The analysts registered their grievances with the inspector general at the Pentagon, who is investigating their claims.
Obama was asked about this investigation at a press conference on November 22. The president said he doesn’t know the details of the allegations. But he added: “What I do know is my expectation, which is the highest fidelity to facts, data—the truth.”
“We were certainly blocked from seeing all the documents, and we were given limited time and resources to exploit the ones we had.”
— Michael Pregent, a DIA analyst on the CENTCOM team
The allegations are serious. We’re told by sources with knowledge of the investigation that the analysts who made them knew well in advance they’d be filing an official complaint. So they were ready when they did, providing the IG with extensive documentation—going back more than a year—to support their claims.
In this May 19, 2007, file photo, a portion of the new U.S. embassy under construction is seen from across the Tigris river in Baghdad. In 2014, by contrast, CIA officers have been largely hunkered down in their heavily fortified Baghdad compound since U.S. troops left the country in 2011, current and former officials say, allowing a once-rich network of intelligence sources to wither. (AP Photo)
Why were they so well prepared?
Among other reasons: They’d seen such pressures before, up close. And they understood that by formalizing their complaints they would be challenging not their immediate superiors alone but in some important respects an entire system that had encouraged analysts and other national security officials to downplay the jihadist threat.
“The obvious question: Why would the president’s National Security Council intervene to block access to the bin Laden documents for analysts from the DIA and CENTCOM—analysts who are providing intelligence to those on the frontlines of America’s battle with jihadists?”
The current storm over ISIS intelligence is not a new controversy, though most of the media are treating it as such. It’s better understood as an installment in a long-running scandal that extends beyond CENTCOM in Tampa, into the upper reaches of the U.S. intelligence community and perhaps into the White House.
James Clapper, director of national intelligence
“After a bitter interagency dispute, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, allowed analysts from CENTCOM and the Defense Intelligence Agency to have time-limited, read-only access to the documents. What they found was fascinating and alarming.”
Readers of this magazine are familiar with the story of the documents obtained in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Sensitive Site Exploitation team on the raid collected more than a million documents—papers, computer hard drives, audio and video recordings. Top Obama administration officials at first touted the cache as the greatest collection of terrorist materials ever captured in a single raid and boasted that the contents would fill a “small college library.”
An interagency intelligence team, led by the CIA, conducted the initial triage—including keyword searches of the collection for actionable intelligence. And then, according to senior U.S. intelligence officials with firsthand knowledge of the controversy, the documents sat largely untouched for as long as a year. The CIA retained “executive authority” over the documents, and when analysts from other agencies requested access to them, the CIA denied it—repeatedly.
The house where Osama bin Laden was finally hunted down. SAEED SHAH — MCT
“What they found was fascinating and alarming. Much of what these analysts were seeing—directly from Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders—contradicted what the president and top administration officials were saying publicly.”
After a bitter interagency dispute, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, allowed analysts from CENTCOM and the Defense Intelligence Agency to have time-limited, read-only access to the documents. What they found was fascinating and alarming. Much of what these analysts were seeing—directly from Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders—contradicted what the president and top administration officials were saying publicly. While drone strikes had killed some senior al Qaeda leaders, the organization had anticipated the U.S. decapitation strategy and was flourishing in spite of it; bin Laden remained intimately involved in al Qaeda decision-making and operational planning; the relationship between al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban remained strong despite the Obama administration’s attempts to weaken it by negotiating with Taliban leaders; al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran, while uneven and fraught with mutual distrust, was far deeper and more significant than U.S. intelligence assessments had suggested. Read the rest of this entry »
Catherine Herridge reports: ISIS claims of responsibility for Friday’s Paris massacre are being reviewed by US intelligence analysts Sunday morning, with a focus on the English-language version, which is delivered in American-accented English, Fox News has been told. It is now clear the plot included a rollout of ISIS propaganda, which was prepared in advance, including threats directed toward the Russian people, Rome, London and Washington DC.
Separately, Fox News has learned that four credible, ISIS-linked social media accounts began sharing messages 72 hours before the Paris attack, including images of weapons, the Eiffel tower, as well as blessings for the attackers’ mission. A military intelligence source says the social media traffic is now seen as evidence the three teams had gone operational.
The translations include “God bless you in your mission” and “Support the deployment,” as well as a reference to our “sister,” suggesting an operative, or member of the support team was a woman.
Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey has told field offices across the country to intensify surveillance on ISIS suspects, hoping to…(read more)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has nearly 1,000 active probes involving the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside the United States, dozens of law enforcement officials disclose in a letter to President Obama.
The officials are elected sheriffs in Colorado making a case against the administration’s plan to transfer terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to facilities in the state. Forty-one of Colorado’s elected sheriffs fired off the letter after two federal prisons in Florence (Supermax and the U.S. Penitentiary) along with a state complex near Canon City were reviewed by the Pentagon for the potential transfer. The plan is part of the president’s longtime promise to close the top-security compound at the U.S. Naval base in southeast Cuba.
The big question is what will the government do with the remaining captives, indisputably the world’s most dangerous terrorists? Just a few weeks ago Obama’s Defense Secretary said that around half of the remaining 112 prisoners at Gitmo must be locked up “indefinitely.” They include 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi as well as Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Al-Qaeda terrorist charged with orchestrating the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole.
Chuck Ross reports: Hillary Clinton sent an email to her daughter, Chelsea, on Sept. 11, 2012 in which she asserted that an al-Qaida-like group was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, it was revealed on Thursday during the former secretary of state’s testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The email, which was revealed by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan , indicates that Clinton knew early on that the attacks which left four Americans dead was carried out by terrorists. But as Jordan pointed out, Clinton and others in the Obama administration had already begun crafting the narrative that the attack was spontaneous and that the attackers were motivated by a YouTube video many Muslims found offensive.
“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like [sic] group,” Clinton wrote.
But shortly before the email, after it was revealed that Ambassador Chris Stevens had been murdered in the onslaught, Clinton implied that the YouTube video had served as a motive.
“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted to the Internet,” Clinton said in a statement shortly after Stevens’ death.
The Obama administration continued for days after the attack to claim that the YouTube video — entitled “Innocence of Muslims” — had sparked protests which turned violent. Critics of the administration’s handling of the response to the attack assert that the YouTube video was used as political cover to protect Obama ahead of his re-election bid. Obama had been on the campaign trail insisting that he had destroyed al-Qaida.
“Your experts knew the truth, your spokesperson knew the truth, Greg Hicks knew the truth,” Jordan said during a House Benghazi Committee hearing. “But what troubles me more is I think you knew the truth.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) relentlessly questioned former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday over why she and other administration officials initially blamed a YouTube video for the Benghazi terror attacks, a claim contrary to available intelligence at the time.
“The American people want to know why. If you look at the statement that I made, I clearly said it was an attack. Calling it an attack is like saying the sky is blue — of course it was an attack.”
“Your experts knew the truth, your spokesperson knew the truth, Greg Hicks knew the truth,” Jordan said during a House Benghazi Committee hearing. “But what troubles me more is I think you knew the truth.” Jordan accused Clinton of telling the president of Libya, Egyptian prime minister and even family members that terrorists were behind the attack, but later suggested an anti-Muslim video sparked the attack.
“The American people want to know why,” Jordan added. “If you look at the statement that I made, I clearly said it was an attack,” Clinton replied. “Calling it an attack is like saying the sky is blue — of course it was an attack,” Jordan shot back.
At one point, Clinton looked visibly annoyed by Jordan’s line of questioning….
After six years of renovations, the “Museum of Mankind” (Musee de l’Homme) in Paris will reopen its doors this week, after being inaugurated on Thursday (October 15) by French President Francois Hollande.
“Mankind hasn’t changed but the science of mankind has — we know that to understand mankind we must really grasp the biological and cultural aspects and there are plenty of questions in our society’s current events that require this double-understanding, this double-competence.”
— Evelyne Heyer, curator
Although the exterior of the art deco building, located in the famous Trocadero square overlooking the Eiffel tower, remains unchanged, inside visitors will discover 2,500 square metres of entirely renovated exhibitions, offering a new perspective on the history and evolution of mankind.
“What we wanted to do is present three questions: Who are we? What is mankind? To show in this part that mankind is part of the animal kingdom and that mankind is an interaction between biological and cultural elements, so that’s the first part. The second part is ‘Where do we come from?’ It’s the history of the evolution of our species and its expansion with a transitional period, what we call the Neolithic period, the moment where man began to domesticate nature. And the third part, it’s a bit along the lines of, ‘Where are we going?’
— Evelyne Heyer
The permanent exhibition revolves around three fundamental questions, explains curator Evelyne Heyer.
“What we wanted to do is present three questions: Who are we? What is mankind? To show in this part that mankind is part of the animal kingdom and that mankind is an interaction between biological and cultural elements, so that’s the first part. The second part is ‘Where do we come from?’ It’s the history of the evolution of our species and its expansion with a transitional period, what we call the Neolithic period, the moment where man began to domesticate nature. And the third part, it’s a bit along the lines of, ‘Where are we going?’ We focused on three questions — globalisation, the impact of mankind on our environment and our biological evolutionary future,” Heyer told Reuters Television.
“What we would like visitors to come away with for this last part of the exhibition is that the big questions faced by our society currently, about man’s adaptation to himself, are in the end questions that mankind has faced for 10,000 years. And it might be interesting to ask ourselves how humanity has resolved these issues, or not, in order to think about it or at least to tackle the solutions that we can come up with today to the erosion of biodiversity, for example, or the consequences of climate change.”
— Deputy curator Jean Pierre Vigne
The museum contains some of the largest and most reputable collections of prehistoric artefacts in the world, featuring recently acquired ethnological artefacts.
These remarkable objects are presented in chronological order — from the skull of man’s ancestor Cro-Magnon to that of French philosopher Rene Descartes — along with a gallery of 19th century busts representing human diversity in a modern way.
More than 96 million euros were invested by the French government to revamp the historic museum, which first opened its doors in 1938.
Heyer said that the methods of research into humanity have changed since then — researchers now know how important the relationship between biology and culture is in the functioning of human beings.
“Mankind hasn’t changed but the science of mankind has — we know that to understand mankind we must really grasp the biological and cultural aspects and there are plenty of questions in our society’s current events that require this double-understanding, this double-competence,” she said.
In the final part of the museum, visitors are greeted by a large Senegalese bus, a Mongolian hut and modern handmade objects, all elements that remind visitors of the impact human beings have had on their environment.
Deputy curator Jean Pierre Vigne said that visiting the museum should raise questions for visitors, including how the questions of our ancient ancestors are still relevant today. Read the rest of this entry »
Neil Munro writes: Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas youth who was briefly detained Sept. 14 when he brought a clock-like device that looked like a bomb in to school, met with Sudan’s genocidal dictator Oct. 13.
That visit may prove embarrassing to President Barack Obama, whose science deputy personally invited the boy to an Oct. 19 science fair in the extended White House grounds.
Mohamed was invited to the White House after progressives and the media accepted and broadcast his claim that the arrest was prompted by unreasonable anti-Muslim and anti-African views supposedly prevalent among cops in Irving.
The boy’s hug for the genocidal Muslim theocrat prompted much criticism among his progressive supporters.
On October 13, Ahmed, his sisters and his Sudan-born father flew out of Saudi Arabia into Sudan, a theocratic Muslim state that split into two states after waging a long war against Christian and tribal minorities in the south of the country.
It’s so genocidal that the International Criminal Court has posted a warrant for Bashir’s arrest. So theocratic that Bashir was Osama bin Laden’s host for several years. In March, Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, posed for a photo with Bashir, to the displeasure of left-wing outlets. In a tweet, the Texas-born boy described Sudan as his “home.”
The post appeared as recently as Thursday morning but has since been taken down. It sourced to the Sudanese Military Establishment and asserts a truther philosophy that 9/11 was an inside job, calling these “so-called” events a “rumor.”
Through the social media site’s Arabic translation, the post also describes 9/11 as “just an American industry media” that “some tried leveled terrorism ‘Islamist.” Conversely, it also alleges America deserved the Al Qaeda perpetrated attack, calling it the “egg that lays golden eggs for America has terrorism” that “came to her on a plate to invade Muslim countries.”
Presently, Mohamed tours the Middle East with his clock-making son, but he is also a Sudanese Reform Party activist and the repeatedly failed Sudanese National Reform party candidate for president of that country, although he and his family reside in Irving, a Dallas suburb.
Two days after the 9/11 truther post, on Sept. 14, son Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing in the unassigned homemade clock-in-a-box that appeared to be a suitcase timepiece hoax bomb to school district officials and local law enforcement, although charges were dropped.
Again, on Sept. 28, Mohamed’s National Reform Party Facebook page posted a 15 minute English language video chockful of 9/11 conspiracy theories insinuating the collapse of the Trade Center’s twin towers was because “explosives were placed in these buildings before the attacks.” Read the rest of this entry »
Russia launched its first airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday. They were almost all in western Syria. They did not fall on the Islamic State or the other terrorist groups raping and pillaging the Syrian countryside, creating the largest international refugee crisis in decades.
Rather, the Russian airstrikes fell on the moderate rebel groups that the U.S. has been notionally supporting against the country’s tyrant Bashar al-Assad.
President Obama seems surprised by this, but his surprise is inexcusably disingenuous or obtuse.
McCain: Putin’s Ambitions ‘Blindingly Obvious’
Assad is and has long been an ally of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Russia entered the Syrian civil war as any rational person would have expected, on the side of his ally and of the Iranian paramilitaries that support him.
Does anyone in the administration dare to say they were shocked — shocked — that Putin is indifferent to both the horror and the strategic threat posed by the Islamic State. Why, yes the Obama administration does dare to claim surprise. When Russian bombs began to fall on their predictable targets, American officials reacted by claiming they were “taken aback,” as if they were genuinely wounded and upset.
On Monday, Obama had addressed the United Nations with the ridiculous idea that Washington and Moscow might would work together in Syria. “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama said. Read the rest of this entry »
What’s it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator? A monster on the Stalin level? What’s it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil?
Jay Nordlinger set out to answer that question, and does so in this book. He surveys 20 dictators in all. They are the worst of the worst: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on. The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it. It’s about their children.
Some of them are absolute loyalists. They admire, revere, or worship their father. Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator—as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti. Some of them have doubts. A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors. A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father. Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval.
Obviously, the children have things in common. But they are also individuals, making of life what they can. The main thing they have in common is this: They have been dealt a very, very unusual hand. Read the rest of this entry »
Why emotionalism is the problem, not the solution, when it comes to foreign policy.
Nick Gillespie writes: Call me a heartless bastard, but images of dead Syrian children washing up on beaches should have absolutely nothing to do with American foreign policy, refugee quotas, or immigration schemes. Photo-based emotionalism is no way to conduct the affairs of nations. That way madness—and all too often, even more carnage—lies.
It’s one thing when highly charged images speak to pressing domestic concerns whose solutions are clear and within a single country’s ability to effect. In late 18th-century England, for instance, Thomas Clarkson’s illustration of slaveswedged into a ship’s hold like barrels of rum helped jump-start Britain’s abolitionist movement. Footage from Bull Connor’s Birmingham and Vietnam electrified the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. In such cases, the solutions were self-evident (if difficult to achieve): Stop your own countrymen from perpetuating evil. Nothing is so simple when it comes to wars and catastrophes in which you are not even a direct participant. Read the rest of this entry »
KYLE BECKER When college students at George Mason University are asked by the Young America’s Foundation what caused 9-11, several give baffling or just plain wrong answers about the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history. This is an inexcusable failure of the U.S.’ education system and the major news media.
The 9-11 terrorist attacks fundamentally changed Americans’ way of life and its foreign policy for the last fourteen years. On that harrowing morning in 2001, two planes struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Two other planes were hijacked: one struck the Pentagon building, and the other was brought down by brave passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 over Pennsylvania.
Border Patrol Retaliates Against James O’Keefe after Osama bin Laden Exposé; O’Keefe Fights Back and Releases Recording of Unconstitutional Detentions. Hidden Recording Device Reveals Border Patrol Grilling a Detained O’Keefe on Numerous Inappropriate Topics Including Trade Secrets, Financial Issues and Presidential Politics, Specifically Donald Trump…
Killing sparks renewed fears of growing radicalization of Islamic fundamentalists
DHAKA, Bangladesh— Syed Zain Al-Mahmood reports: Another Bangladeshi blogger was hacked to death in Dhaka on Friday—the fourth such attack on writers who had been critical of Islam this year—raising renewed fears about growing radicalization in the South Asian country.
Police and family members said 40-year-old Niloy Chattopadhyay, who wrote under the pen name Niloy Neel, was killed by machete-wielding assailants who entered his home in the capital on Friday afternoon.
His wife, Asha Moni, said four men entered their two-room apartment under the pretext of renting a room and attacked her husband.
Krishnapada Roy, a joint commissioner of police in Dhaka, said the attack appeared to be “a targeted killing” and that police would pursue all leads.
Mr. Chattopadhyay is the fourth blogger critical of Islam to be murdered in Bangladesh this year. American-Bangladeshi writer Avijit Roy, who championed atheism through his Mukto-Mona [Freethinker] blog, was killed in a machete attack in February. Two other writers, both admirers of Mr. Roy, were killed by suspected Islamic militants in similar attacks in March and May.
The rise of religious extremism in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people, could affect regional stability, analysts say. Read the rest of this entry »
Raheem Kassam: Global printing firm Spreadshirt.com has refused to create a design for a supporter of the anti-Islamism ‘PEGIDA’ group, but still sells t-shirts of Osama Bin Laden’s face.
Spreadshirt, which is based in Germany, has refused to create the design for one of its native customers, Kerstin Bergel, instead replying with strongly worded e-mail that sought to distance the company from the idea of free speech.
A Spreadshirt spokesman said: “What PEGIDA represents is in our eyes not an opinion, but rather a series of racist, discriminatory and inhuman pronouncements.
Spreadshirt still sells Bin Laden swag
“For this reason, we have decided on ethical grounds not to print the name of this ridiculous association. I hope that one day, you realise that you are taking to the streets alongside Nazis.”
But PEGIDA’s followers say it isn’t a Nazi or Neo-Nazi group, but rather, stands for “Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes”, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West. Read the rest of this entry »