It's been five years
since the death
of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh
in Damascus. No one ever claimed responsibility for killing him. Hezbollah publicly blames
Israel's Mossad, a charge they unsurprisingly deny. So, who killed The Driver? [more inside]
The Permanent War
(video). "This project, based on interviews with dozens of current and former national security officials, intelligence analysts and others, examines evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing." Part 1: Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists.
Part 2: A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy.
Part 3: Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations. [more inside]
Double or Nothing:
9/11 Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke Speculates That the CIA Tried and Failed to Recruit the Hijackers, and Then Engaged in a Cover-Up. Admitting that he has no proof, he nonetheless alleges
that CIA Director George Tenet and others concealed their knowledge that the suspected Al-Qaeda members were inside the country, which in turn prevented the FBI and other agencies from thwarting the 9/11 attack. Tenet et al. have responded
to this charge via a prepared statement.
"... Al Qaeda was forcing local affiliates (or at least its Iraqi one) to sustain themselves financially. If local groups must make their own money, governments and counterterror operatives can use Al Qaeda’s need to raise money - often using illicit means and pressure against local citizens - against the organization. That kind of counterterrorism would look less like war, and more like careful police work against what amounts to a criminal syndicate or mafia." [Inside Al Qaeda’s hard drives
Constant led a paramilitary organization called FRAPH that terrorized Haiti
after the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide
. When FRAPH's fortunes declined, Toto mysteriously appeared in New York City, where he was scorned by the Haitian community
. Justice eventually caught up to Toto
, who is now imprisoned in New York state. [more inside]
"George W. Bush defended harsh interrogations by pointing to intelligence breakthroughs, but a surprising number of counterterrorist officials say that, apart from being wrong, torture just doesn’t work. Delving into two high-profile cases, the author exposes the tactical costs of prisoner abuse."
Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted.
A newly declassified report
(PDF) by the Pentagon's inspector general claims that Iraq was not working with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion and that the intelligence was manipulated
by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith
. On the same day as the report came out, Dick Cheney claimed that they did have a relationship
via Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
. Zarqawi may be dead, but he's still useful
. [Via TalkLeft.]
Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook (PDF) If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.
- Sun Tzu
In 2005 Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies
& West Point's Combating Terrorism Center
worked together to translate what appears to be one of the most important works defining al Qaeda's strategic goals & methods, Management of Savagery (PDF)
by al Qaeda strategist Abu Bakr Naji. Then they analyzed it along with three other al Qaeda works: Knights Under The Banner of The Prophet
by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Between Two Methods
by Abu Qatada and Observations Concerning the Jihadi Experience in Syria
by Abu Mus’ab al-Suri. The result is Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook (PDF)
(also Google cached HTML
). If you want to understand more of al Qaeda than the simplistic cant that "they're evil", these two books are the place to start.
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
CIA Warned of Attack 6 Years Before 9-11
Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA warned in a classified report that Islamic extremists likely would strike on U.S. soil at landmarks in Washington or New York, or through the airline industry, according to intelligence officials.
Bush Was Warned of Possible Attack in U.S., Official Says
"President Bush was told more than a month before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that supporters of Osama bin Laden planned an attack within the United States with explosives and wanted to hijack airplanes, a government official said Friday.
The warning came in a secret briefing that Mr. Bush received at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Aug. 6, 2001. A report by a joint Congressional committee last year alluded to a "closely held intelligence report" that month about the threat of an attack by Al Qaeda, and the official confirmed an account by The Associated Press on Friday saying that the report was in fact part of the president's briefing in Crawford." Then again, he had more important things
to deal with that Summer.
That U.S. intelligence agencies confuse terrorists with children
on passenger jets is a reminder that data collection is easy, but data analysis is hard. That must be why the six-year-old daughter of one of Boing Boing's co-founders is on the CAPPS list as a security risk
. All this is also a reminder that we need privacy safeguards for these data mining programs
the administration is "underestimating the enemy."
It has failed to address the root causes of terror, he said. "The difficult, long-term issues both at home and abroad have been avoided, neglected or shortchanged and generally underfunded."
Would we prefer to have this man providing intelligence information to our president more than a woman who has an oil tanker named after her
On PBS last week,
Senator Bob Graham said that there is "evidence that there were foreign governments
involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States," but that "It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it's relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today." Do you trust the government to keep the right informatin classified, or do we need to know?
Official confirms that Syria allowing Qaida to operate in Lebanon
Ok Israeli intelligence so I assume some will dismiss this as propaganda, though clearly US knows of this and works along with Israeli intelligence. And Syria occupies Lebanon with thousands of troops and thus runs the country. Meanwhile, we will (or will not) busy ourselves with Iraq.
U.S. had agents inside al-Qaeda
U.S. intelligence overheard al-Qaeda operatives discussing a major pending terrorist attack in the weeks prior to Sept. 11 and had agents inside the terror group, but the intercepts and field reports didn't specify where or when a strike might occur, according to U.S. officials. ... But later in the article it says: Electronic intercepts as late as Sept. 10 of al-Qaeda members speaking cryptically of a major attack. Two U.S. intelligence officials, paraphrasing highly classified intercepts, say they include such remarks as, "Good things are coming," "Watch the news" and "Tomorrow will be a great day for us." Yeah, that whole "tomorrow" thing...that's a little tricky.
so which "officials" do we believe?
is this a final salvo from the "now disbanded" office of military misinformation?
i don't know which is spookier the thought of the threat, or the folks in charge getting their "credible" info from some clown in las vegas??
California Governor Announced
that there is a credible threat against the bridges of the state of California. Including the Golden Gate Bridge. The attacks are likely to take place between the second and ninth of November, during rush hour.
Realism Urgently Needed - Or Not?
David Ignatius's column today in The Washington Post addresses the question of effectiveness in the war against terrorism. He tells the sobering story of the CIA's collaboration with the terrorist Ali Hassan Salameh.
The downside: "The most obvious (lesson) is that collecting intelligence about terrorists is a truly dirty business. This world cannot be penetrated without help from members or friends of the terrorist network".
The upside: "Paradoxically, these tragic days have probably been an ideal time for the CIA to be recruiting new sources of intelligence about terrorism. The barbaric attacks Tuesday aroused disgust around the world --- not least among civilized Muslims. Some of these disgusted Muslims will surely want to help the United States and its allies put the terrorists out of business."
The crucial moral question: It's really a classic means/ends debate. Is it right - or just acceptably expedient - to collaborate with known terrorists in order to strike out at those we don't yet(or otherwise will never) know about?
A German newspaper, FAZ
is reporting that the U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies received warnings at least three months ago that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft
to use as weapons to destroy important symbols of American and Israeli culture.