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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1000 on: June 28, 2011, 09:31:13 PM »



Why Was a Man in Panties and a Bra Allowed to Fly?
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Dennis Prager
On June 9, a man boarded a US Airways flight from Fort Lauderdale to Phoenix, dressed in women's panties, a bra and thigh-high stockings.

No US Airways employee at the Fort Lauderdale airport asked him to cover himself. Nor did any flight attendant ask him to do so. And obviously, no one demanded that he get off the plane.

US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder was asked how the airline allowed a nearly naked cross-dresser to board a plane and sit next to other passengers who, one assumes, did not appreciate being seated next to an exhibitionist.

As reported by the San Francisco Examiner, she "said employees had been correct not to ask the man to cover himself. 'We don't have a dress code policy. Obviously, if their private parts are exposed, that's not appropriate. ... So if they're not exposing their private parts, they're allowed to fly.'"

The decline of American civilization since the 1960s has been so fast and so dramatic that it takes one's breath away.

That a woman speaking on behalf of a major airline can say with a straight face that her airline allows anyone dressed or undressed to fly on its airplanes so long as they do not expose their genitals perfectly encapsulates this decline.

The only question is: How did we get here?

For one thing, the concept of decency is dying. I suspect that if an adult were to say to a group of randomly chosen American college students that this man indecently exposed himself and should not have been allowed to fly, that adult would be a) not understood -- what does "indecent" mean? -- and/or b) roundly condemned for intolerance and bigotry.

To judge this man as acting indecently, not to mention to bar him from flying, is to engage in violating the only values a generation of Americans has been taught: not to judge, not to discriminate, to welcome diversity and to fully accept those who are different, especially in the sexual arena.

That is why I think it is very difficult to have a dialogue on this matter. For those who believe in public "decency," the matter is as clear as a bell -- this was profoundly indecent -- and for those who do not believe in such a concept, the matter is equally clear -- "decency" is an anachronism.

One caller to my radio talk show simply could not see what was so bad about what the man did and that US Airways allowed him to fly. I asked my caller if he thought an airline should ban naked passengers. While he acknowledged that public nudity is against the law, he saw no reason that it should be so. Basically, I suspect that in my caller's view, my opposition to this man being allowed to fly constituted a "hang up."

So the god of tolerance is one reason for the death of the concept of "public decency."

Another is the age of secularism in which we live. In a more religious America, the human being was regarded as created in God's image, a being that ideally aspires to a level of holiness. As secularism proceeds with the increasing force of an avalanche, however, man is increasingly regarded as just another animal.

One way in which higher civilizations have demonstrated the human-animal difference has been the wearing of clothing. Animals are naked in public; humans are clothed. But secularism eats away at such religious ideals. Thus religion-based concepts such as holiness and decency die out. You can see it in the widespread acceptance of public cursing as well as in public exhibitionism, among many other manifestations.

I don't know if US Airways is alone among airlines in allowing anyone to fly as long as their genitals are covered. But it seems to me that if restaurants can post dress codes and announce that they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, an airline -- in which people, unlike in restaurants, are forced to sit two inches from strangers -- should be able to do so.

In the meantime, this is the Brave New World that mindless tolerance, diversity and lawsuits on their behalf have wrought.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1001 on: June 30, 2011, 11:19:28 AM »

By Scott Stewart
Stratfor:

On June 22 in a Seattle warehouse, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif pulled an unloaded M16 rifle to his shoulder, aimed it, and pulled the trigger repeatedly as he imagined himself gunning down young U.S. military recruits. His longtime friend Walli Mujahidh did likewise with an identical rifle, assuming a kneeling position as he engaged his notional targets. The two men had come to the warehouse with another man to inspect the firearms the latter had purchased with money Abdul-Latif had provided him. The rifles and a small number of hand grenades were to be used in an upcoming mission: an attack on a U.S. Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in an industrial area south of downtown Seattle.

After confirming that the rifles were capable of automatic fire and discussing the capacity of the magazines they had purchased, the men placed the rifles back into a storage bag intending to transport them to a temporary cache location. As they prepared to leave the warehouse, they were suddenly swarmed by a large number of FBI agents and other law enforcement officers and quickly arrested. Their plan to conduct a terrorist attack inside the United States had been discovered when the man they had invited to join their plot (the man who had allegedly purchased the weapons for them) reported the plot to the Seattle Police Department, which in turn reported it to the FBI. According to the federal criminal complaint filed in the case, the third unidentified man had an extensive criminal record and had known Abdul-Latif for several years, but he had not been willing to undertake such a terrorist attack.

While the behavior of Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh in this plot demonstrates that they were amateur “wannabe” jihadists rather than seasoned terrorist operatives, their plot could have ended very differently if they had found a kindred spirit in the man they approached for help instead of someone who turned them into the authorities. This case also illustrates some important trends in jihadist terrorism that we have been watching for the past few years as well as a possible shift in mindset within the jihadist movement.


Trends

First, Abu-Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh, both American converts to Islam, are prime examples of what we refer to as grassroots jihadists. They are individuals who were inspired by the al Qaeda movement but who had no known connection to the al Qaeda core or one of its franchise groups. In late 2009, in response to the success of the U.S. government and its allies in preventing jihadist attacks in the West, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) began a campaign to encourage jihadists living in the West to conduct simple attacks using readily available items, rather than travel abroad for military and terrorism training with jihadist groups. After successes such as the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, this theme of encouraging grassroots attacks was adopted by the core al Qaeda group.

While the grassroots approach does present a challenge to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in that attackers can seemingly appear out of nowhere with no prior warning, the paradox presented by grassroots operatives is that they are also far less skilled than trained terrorist operatives. In other words, while they are hard to detect, they frequently lack the skill to conduct large, complex attacks and frequently make mistakes that expose them to detection in smaller plots.

And that is what we saw in the Seattle plot. Abdul-Latif had originally wanted to hit U.S. Joint Base Lewis-McChord (formerly known as Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base), which is located some 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of Seattle, but later decided against that plan since he considered the military base to be too hardened a target. While Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh were amateurs, they seem to have reached a reasonable assessment of their own abilities and which targets were beyond their abilities to strike.

Another trend we noted in this case was that the attack plan called for the use of firearms and hand grenades in an armed assault, rather than the use of an improvised explosive device (IED). There have been a number of botched IED attacks, such as the May 2010 Times Square attack and Najibullah Zazi’s plot to attack the New York subway system.

These were some of the failures that caused jihadist leaders such as AQAP’s Nasir al-Wahayshi to encourage grassroots jihadists to undertake simple attacks. Indeed, the most successful jihadist attacks in the West in recent years, such as the Fort Hood shooting, the June 2009 attack on a military recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark., and the March 2011 attack on  U.S. troops at a civilian airport in Frankfurt, Germany, involved the use of firearms rather than IEDs. When combined with the thwarted plot in New York in May 2011, these incidents support the trend we identified in May 2010 of grassroots jihadist conducting more armed assaults and fewer attacks involving IEDs.

Another interesting aspect of the Seattle case was that Abdul-Latif was an admirer of AQAP ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki. Unlike the Fort Hood case, where U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been in email contact with al-Awlaki, it does not appear that Abdul-Latif had been in contact with the AQAP preacher. However, from video statements and comments Abdul-Latif himself posted on the Internet, he appears to have had a high opinion of al-Awlaki and to have been influenced by his preaching. It does not appear that Abdul-Latif, who was known as Joseph Anthony Davis before his conversion to Islam, or Mujahidh, whose pre-conversion name was Frederick Domingue Jr., spoke Arabic. This underscores the importance of al-Awlaki’s role within AQAP as its primary spokesman to the English-speaking world and his mission of radicalizing English-speaking Muslims and encouraging them to conduct terrorist attacks in the West.


Vulnerabilities

Once again, in the Seattle case, the attack on the MEPS was not thwarted by some CIA source in Yemen, an intercept by the National Security Agency or an intentional FBI undercover operation. Rather, the attack was thwarted by a Muslim who was approached by Abdul-Latif and asked to participate in the attack. The man then went to the Seattle Police Department, which brought the man to the attention of the FBI. This is what we refer to as grassroots counterterrorism, that is, local cops and citizens bringing things to the attention of federal authorities. As the jihadist threat has become more diffuse and harder to detect, grassroots defenders have become an even more critical component of international counterterrorism efforts. This is especially true for Muslims, many of whom consider themselves engaged in a struggle to defend their faith (and their sons) from the threat of jihadism.

But, even if the third man had chosen to participate in the attack rather than report it to the authorities, the group would have been vulnerable to detection. First, there were the various statements Abdul-Latif made on the Internet in support of attacks against the United States. Second, any Muslim convert who chooses a name such as Mujahidh (holy warrior) for himself must certainly anticipate the possibility that it will bring him to the attention of the authorities. Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh were also somewhat cavalier in their telephone conversations, although those conversations do not appear to have brought them to the attention of the authorities.

Perhaps their most significant vulnerability to detection, aside from their desire to obtain automatic weapons and hand grenades, would have been their need to conduct preoperational surveillance of their intended target. After conducting some preliminary research using the Internet, Abdul-Latif quickly realized that they needed more detailed intelligence. He then briefly conducted physical surveillance of the exterior of the MEPS to see what it looked like in person. Despite the technological advances it represents, the Internet cannot replace the physical surveillance process, which is a critical requirement for terrorist planners. Indeed, after the external surveillance of the building, Abdul-Latif asked the informant to return to the building under a ruse in order to enter it and obtain a detailed floor plan of the facility for use in planning the attack.

In this case, the informant was able to obtain the information he needed from his FBI handlers, but had he been a genuine participant in the plot, he would have had to have exposed himself to detection by entering the MEPS facility after conducting surveillance of the building’s exterior. If some sort of surveillance detection program was in place, it likely would have flagged him as a person of interest for follow-up investigation, which could have led authorities back to the other conspirators in the attack.


A New Twist

One aspect of this plot that was different from many other recent plots was that Abdul-Latif insisted that he wanted to target the U.S. military and did not want to kill people he considered innocents. Certainly he had no problem with the idea of killing the armed civilian security guards at the MEPS — the plan called for the attackers to kill them first, or the unarmed still-civilian recruits being screened at the facility, then to kill as many other military personnel as possible before being neutralized by the responding authorities. However, even in the limited conversations documented in the federal criminal complaint, Abdul-Latif repeated several times that he did not want to kill innocents. This stands in stark contrast to the actions of previous attackers and plotters such as John Allen Mohammed, the so-called D.C. sniper, or Faisal Shahzad, who planned the failed Times Square attack.

Abdul-Latif’s reluctance to attack civilians may be a reflection of the debate we are seeing among jihadists in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Algeria over the killing of those they consider innocents. This debate is also raging on many of the English-language jihadist message boards Abdul-Latif frequented. Most recently, this tension was seen in the defection of a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan faction in Pakistan’s Kurram agency.

If this sentiment begins to take wider hold in the jihadist movement, and especially the English-speaking jihadist community in the West, it could have an impact on the target-selection process for future attacks by grassroots operatives in the West. It could also mean that commonly attacked targets such as subway systems, civilian aircraft, hotels and public spaces will be seen as less desirable than comparably soft military targets. Given the limitations of grassroots jihadists, and their tendency to focus on soft targets, such a shift would result in a much smaller universe of potential targets for such attacks — the softer military targets such as recruit-processing stations and troops in transit that have been targeted in recent months.

Removing some of the most vulnerable targets from the potential-target list is not something that militants do lightly. If this is indeed happening, it could be an indication that some important shifts are under way on the ideological battlefield and that jihadists may be concerned about losing their popular support. It is still too early to know if this is a trend and not merely the idiosyncrasy of one attack planner — and it is contrary to the target sets laid out in recent messages from AQAP and the al Qaeda core — but when viewed in light of the Little Rock, Fort Hood and Frankfurt shootings, it is definitely a concept worth further examination.

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G M
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« Reply #1002 on: July 06, 2011, 12:21:53 PM »

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303365804576429741400016376.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories




U.S. NEWSJULY 6, 2011, 12:51 P.M. ET.
U.S. Warns Airlines on Human Bomb Implants .

By KEITH JOHNSON And SIOBHAN GORMAN
Militants from al Qaeda's branch in Yemen are mulling plans to surgically implant explosive devices in would-be suicide bombers, possibly targeting airlines, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

That intelligence about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered the group's most dangerous affiliate, led the Obama administration to warn foreign governments and American and international airline executives over the past several days that terrorists might attempt to board planes with explosives concealed in their bodies.

"It's more than aspirational," a U.S. official said. "They're trying to make this happen."

The Department of Homeland Security hasn't warned of a specific plot, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. But the specter of militants carrying bombs within them will prompt additional security measures at U.S. airports and overseas airports serving U.S. destinations, the Transportation Security Administration said in a written release.

Mr. Carney said terrorists have repeatedly expressed interest in trying new techniques to conceal explosives.

"That fact that terrorists are interested in finding ways to attack us is pretty much self-evident," Mr. Carney said. "Our security procedures are multifaceted, and we adjust them according to the threat all the time."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1003 on: July 28, 2011, 06:54:04 PM »

BTW, note the role of the gun store owner.

http://enews.earthlink.net/article/us?guid=20110728/afbed598-085d-480e-bfec-eba126496407
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G M
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« Reply #1004 on: July 28, 2011, 06:57:18 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/07/28/surprise-anti-war-group-a-little-embarrassed-by-connection-to-abdo/

Surprise: Anti-war group a little embarrassed by connection to Abdo

 

posted at 6:54 pm on July 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

 
Raw Story should get a lot of credit for covering the attempted cover-up by a well-known anti-war group after cause celebre-turned-embarrassment Nasser Jason Abdo’s arrest earlier today.  Earlier today, commenters reminded us of the sympathetic treatment Abdo got from CNN for borderline insubordination when Abdo decided that he suddenly didn’t want to go to Afghanistan after, er, enlisting in the Army while we were at war there.  At least they didn’t scrub their sites of the connection:
 

Pfc. Nasser Abdo, the 21-year-old soldier arrested Thursday in connection with an alleged plot to attack Fort Hood, had ties to a number of prominent anti-war organizations, including Iraq Veterans Against the War and Courage to Resist, Raw Story can confirm.
 
Abdo, who went AWOL from duty over the July 4 weekend after being charged with possession of child pornography, was an applicant for conscientious objector (CO) status, supported by the Oakland-based GI rights group Courage to Resist. In turn, his efforts to resist deployment were supported by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), one of the best-known anti-war groups in the nation. …
 
In the wake of Abdo’s arrest, Courage to Resist removed a page on their website that detailed Abdo’s plight, but it was preserved through Google cache. Reached by Raw Story, Jeff Paterson, the group’s project director, acknowledged that they had tried to cover up their involvement with the soldier and said they would be issuing a statement in the coming hours.
 
IVAW hasn’t done anything to cover up its link to Abdo, but they hastened to tell Raw Story that they’re ditching him now.  Or, more accurately, they’re denying that there is any connection to ditch:
 

“We have worked with him in the past, but he was not ever a member of this organization,” the spokesperson said. “We have had three interactions with him in the past: We supported his application as a conscientious objector; we publicized a statement by him condemning Islamophobia; and finally, he lended his support to our ‘Operation Recovery’ campaign last Veteran’s Day. Besides that, we do not have a concrete link with him.
 
That makes the same kind of sense as Abdo’s enlisting in the military during a war in Afghanistan and then suddenly declaring he has moral compunctions about the war in Afghanistan.  Here’s a clue, folks; if he worked on your campaign and you published his statement, then you’re connected to him.  It doesn’t take a W-4 or a membership card to make that connection, especially if the group publicly defended Abdo for his odd request.
 
Raw Story’s source at Courage to Resist engages in a little more denial as well:
 

“We’re shocked [at Abdo's arrest],” Paterson said. “I believe he had some significant mental health issues that became apparent as we worked with him. He had a particular version of Islam that was certainly … He was disrespectful to women. These were the kinds of issues we argued over late last year. It’s not a religious thing, it’s a matter of human decency.”
 
I suspect that the “thing” will turn out to be religious at least on Abdo’s part, just as it was on Nidal Hasan’s part when he massacred 14 people at Fort Hood almost two years ago.  The question will be whether Abdo had connections to certain other groups — like, for instance, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as Hasan did — and whether the Army knew that Abdo presented a risk and didn’t address it, as also happened with Hasan.
 
CBS has a feel-good update to the story this afternoon.  Abdo got caught because of an alert retired police officer — who happens to work at a gun store:
 

A law enforcement official told CBS News that Abdo had asked how to build explosives at a gun store near Fort Hood. His questions about explosives made the gun store worker suspicious and contact police, the official said. When police questioned Abdo at his motel, he made references to a plan to kill or injure people.
 
Gun store clerk Greg Ebert, a 17-year veteran of the Killeen police force who retired in 2010, said a customer arrived by taxi Tuesday at Guns Galore LLC, where the 2009 Fort Hood rampage suspect bought a pistol used in the attack. The customer bought 6 pounds of smokeless gunpowder, three boxes of shotgun ammunition and a magazine for a semi-automatic pistol, paying about $250. …
 
“(We) felt uncomfortable with his overall demeanor and the fact he didn’t know what the hell he was buying,” Ebert said. “I thought it prudent to contact the local authorities, which I did.”
 
As we continue to press the Obama administration on their Fast and Furious debacle, which seems as if it was aimed to paint gun shops as enablers of arms trafficking, this serves as a good reminder that the employees at these stores are usually conscientious about their work.
 
Update: Andrew Malcolm noticed the retired-cop connection earlier today.
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G M
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« Reply #1005 on: July 29, 2011, 10:10:28 AM »

http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=25999



"Isn’t a phobia an irrational fear? Well if Abdo is found to have been part of a terror plot, I guess he wasn’t experiencing an irrational fear."

Read it all.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1006 on: July 31, 2011, 12:28:02 AM »





http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/07/major-islamic-attack-on-fort-hood-thwarted-very-devoutly-religious-muslim-abdo-ululated-nidal-hasan-.html

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1007 on: August 01, 2011, 12:20:15 AM »

I note with pride that this thread too has well over 100,000 reads.  Be proud of our work gentlemen!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1008 on: August 17, 2011, 12:34:44 PM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/new-warning-about-muslim-brotherhoods-influence-on-white-house-from-liberal-marxist-muslim/
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JDN
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« Reply #1009 on: August 28, 2011, 11:43:48 AM »

The chance of drowning in a bathtub is more dangerous than Muslim terrorists.  Obviously, there is a long long list of dangers greater than Muslim terrorists. Besides the paranoia, the emotional fear of Islam, why do we spend billions upon billions every year?  Imagine if the government said we are going to spend billions upon billions of dollars to stop the chance of people being killed by lightening?  Does it make sense?  Or could the money be better spent? 

"The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It's basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.

"So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?" he said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/september11/la-na-911-homeland-money-20110828,0,5318393.story
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G M
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« Reply #1010 on: August 28, 2011, 02:07:40 PM »

The chance of drowning in a bathtub is more dangerous than Muslim terrorists.  Obviously, there is a long long list of dangers greater than Muslim terrorists. Besides the paranoia, the emotional fear of Islam, why do we spend billions upon billions every year?  Imagine if the government said we are going to spend billions upon billions of dollars to stop the chance of people being killed by lightening?  Does it make sense?  Or could the money be better spent? 

"The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It's basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.

"So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?" he said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/september11/la-na-911-homeland-money-20110828,0,5318393.story

Anything from Leftangeles times would have to be this stupid. It's like the static tax analysis, you just assume that there are not large shifts in behavior in reaction to policy shifts. If the results wouldn't be so horrific, I'd like to see the Libertarians shut down the TSA for a while just to see how bloody and expensive it would be in very short order.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1011 on: August 28, 2011, 05:38:13 PM »

JDN:

I get the point, but for arguments sake lets say that the measures taken have been effective and have stopped additional 911 attacks.   As best as I can tell the numbers this guy is using cannot measure and therefore do not take account of, this possibility, yes?   And as such, the value of the numbers is , , , less than as presented, yes?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1012 on: August 28, 2011, 05:59:24 PM »

" "So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?" he said."

Correcting his math, how much did we spend to get it down from 1 in 1, certain death, to 1 in 3.5 million and was it worth it.

If at some point you will have to fight or die, at what point, as your enemy builds in numbers, weaponry, organization and momentum, would you like to get started?

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JDN
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« Reply #1013 on: August 28, 2011, 09:01:50 PM »

With no offense Doug, I think that was the author's point.  In our lifetime, our children's lifetime and more, and throughout the past 100's of years, the supposed "enemy", i.e. Muslim terrorists have never been able and frankly never will be able to "build in numbers, weaponry, organization and momentum" to directly threaten America.  Unlike Israel, we don't have to "fight or die" because they will never be sending overwhelming troops or military to our soil.  As you erroneously reference, it will never be "1 in 1, certain death".  I worry far more about China, or Russia's resurgence than I do the Muslim "military" attacking America (that's a joke right?) yet I don't begrudge the money spent during the cold war.  Russia was a real threat to America's survival.  Nor am I denigrating that there is a terrorist threat, nor am I advocating that we do nothing, we need to be vigilant, and I acknowledge as Crafty has pointed out, our actions "may" have stopped additional attacks, but the author's question and my question is, "At what cost"?  Cost in terms of billions upon billions upon billions of dollars.  The price has been almost unfathomable.  Plus, costs in terms of our personal freedom. 

Let's forget bath water for the moment which as the author pointed out, kills more people every year than Muslim terrorists.  In LA alone, to date this year (remember, the year is only a little more than half over) 377 people were killed.  As terrible as it is, if terrorists do blow up a plane, or a train, the death toll is still far less than just one county's death toll from violent crime in America than terrorists.  Why is death by terrorism more important?
http://projects.latimes.com/homicide/map/

Now I'm sure we are spending money to stop homicides, but it's a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the resources being applied to "terrorism".  Yet statistically, far far more die in just one American county by homicide (violent crime) than supposed terrorism will ever threaten America.  Doug, don't "correct the math" just do the actual math.  I suppose Martians might invade too, probably the odds of that happening are higher than Muslim terrorist military invading America and causing "certain death" to "1 in 1" American.

Of course we want zero tolerance.  No terrorism.  But again it begs the question, at what cost?  The question is allocation of limited (money) resources.  Where can it be better spent?  Where will more lives be saved?  How about medical research?  Find a cure for cancer and you will save far far more lives than the threat of Muslim terrorism will ever be to America.  Not to mention our freedom being terribly infringed. 
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G M
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« Reply #1014 on: August 28, 2011, 09:33:38 PM »

What's the cost of a nuke detonating in a cargo container in Long Beach? What's the cost of a 9/11 every week?
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JDN
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« Reply #1015 on: August 28, 2011, 09:42:11 PM »

What's the cost of the Martians invading?  That's about the same probability as "a 9/11 every week".
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1016 on: August 28, 2011, 11:18:16 PM »

OK then, how about a 911 every month?  every quarter? semi-annually? annually?  Bi-annually?  At what point does it get your attention?

Remember 911 was the second time they went after the WTC.  Also to be remembered is that plane #3 was targeting the White House (and went after the Pentagon after it missed) and Flight 93 was after either the Capitol Building or Three Mile Island.  Methinks the one in 3.5 million datum misses quite a bit and misleads quite a bit.

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JDN
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« Reply #1017 on: August 29, 2011, 12:43:58 AM »

Crafty, I understand your point, although the numbers are accurate.  But your point, what if....   is true.

My only point is that can you imagine (I can't) the cost we have paid?  In money?  In freedom....

And realistically?  They are not a military threat to America.  Doug's comment of everyone dying, everyone fighting for their life (certain death) in America is absurd.

Of course we need to be diligent.  And proactive.  Still, we need to consider risk/cost.  But I do know if we spent half as much (how many billion is that?) and used the rest for cancer or to reduce homicides, or heart attacks, we would statistically be much further off on number of lives saved.  Yet terrorism gets the headlines; even if only 5 die.  Front page.  Nearly 400 have died in LA this year and 95% don't even make the paper.  I find that an interesting dichotomy.  I've always wondered why terrorist acts get the attention and others don't.  Why those who helped at 9/11 are rewarded over and over again with money, yet policeman and fireman who die every week are rarely recognized nor are they given $100,000's of dollars those at 9/11 have received.  What is the difference?  They all died serving us.  They are ALL heroes to me.

It's just a thought.  I have no desire to debate the subject.  Just ask you to think about it.
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G M
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« Reply #1018 on: August 29, 2011, 08:00:05 AM »

JDN,

You might want to read up on the word defined below:



asymmetric warfare


noun
warfare in which opposing groups or nations have unequal military resources, and the weaker opponent uses unconventional weapons and tactics, as terrorism, to exploit the vulnerabilities of the enemy.
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JDN
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« Reply #1019 on: August 29, 2011, 09:55:19 AM »

GM; I know and understand "asymmetric warfare".  I don't doubt it's effectiveness. And no doubt it costs lives and property.  And in the name of
security; our freedoms.  It needs to be addressed and fought.

But in a world, our world, of limited financial resources, the question is where to allocate resources?  If we used, for example, half of the billions upon
billions we spend on Homeland Security, not even counting the daily private intangibles which are huge, and spent that money on one area, be it crime, gangs, or cancer, heart attacks or whatever, would that save more lives in the next 20 years than spending the money on terrorism?  And I think this author's point is that, "Yes, more lives would be saved". 

Terrorism is terrible, but it is not a "we all die" scenario like Doug erroneously points out.  That might be true if Russia had attacked or even China one day.  But not middle eastern camel jockeys who probably can't even swim.  It's as you point out, asymmetric warfare.  Effective, disruptive, but no threat to everyman dying in America.  Yes, a few might die; that's tragic.  But all sudden death is tragic.  But as the author points out, bath water is more fatal.  As I pointed out, homicides in just one American County are far far more prevalent than death from terrorist attacks.  And Cancer and Heart Attacks kills far far more than terrorism in America.  Think of the lives we would save spending this money on Cancer and Heart Disease.  Far more than the money saved spending it on terrorism. 

We are not, like Israel, literally fighting Muslims for our lives and worried about the enemies overwhelming boots on the ground.  It will never happen here.  So I don't understand this "fear". 

So the author's question is good; given limited resources, should we be allocating some of these resources to areas that best save lives in America?  Simple Risk/Reward analysis.
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G M
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« Reply #1020 on: August 29, 2011, 10:05:51 AM »

Because modern technology allows for "mass casualty" terrorism that wasn't possible in the past. Nation states like Iran or our dear friends in Pakistan can use "non-state" actors such as AQ to detonate a "loose nuke" in an American city. What's the cost/benefit ratio in us avoiding that?

No one is arguing that AQ will do a Normandy-style invasion of America and roll tanks across the heartland. What the global jihad wants is to collapse us from within, including "creeping sharia" within our legal system.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1021 on: August 29, 2011, 10:31:30 AM »

On 9/11 they had two hits on what they consider symbolic for the business center of the US (WTC), and they hit the Pentagon and almost / would have hit the White House.  3000 dead, that's the carnage.  300 million terrorized, that was the point.  Add in the attacks that followed in western Europe and it is more like a half billion terrorized.

Does anyone remember the first Superbowl after 9/11.  The game was delayed by a week because of 9/11.  There was a feeling in the air that they would love to blow up 73,000 in the Superdome with 100 million watching, maybe right while U2 was playing Beautiful Day.  What are the odds of that - with and without security?  [Reading the posts since writing, how about with half the place secured, or half of known al Qaida terrorists on the run, lol] One reason they didn't was because the master planners were running and hiding and having their satellite phones monitored.

Asymmetric warfare, yes, to their advantage. I have no idea how to fight back against someone who is willing to blow themselves up to accomplish a point I can't understand. We had to throw out our own rules of innocent until proven guilty.  They are pulling mostly young Arab-Islamic men, and GM would argue from all demographics, individuals from a pool of over a billion potential who are willing to do this.  They want Israel.  They want Western Europe.  They want Russia.  They want China, and they want the USA.  Of course they won't kill every one of us because we will fight back at some point. Sooner is better than later in terms of when to fight back.  Post-911 is not the time to fight back?  They would have quit attacking?  It's not true, they didn't.  Just write it off as small numbers of casualties and ignore it?  Why?  It's not small in numbers or locations.  They are trying to build a base of operations nearly everywhere.  If you don't believe everywhere, then try Madrid, London, NYC, LA and Minneapolis.  Do none of those hit close enough to home for you?  They do for me.

Regarding the radical-Islam threat being unreal, because it happened before I was born, Hitler's march seems unreal to me as well, no one would even want to do that or ever get any support - but it happened! He took Germany without force, no problem. Then he took Austria, Czechoslovakia, part of Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, The Channel Islands (UK), Greece, Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia), Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia... and some were still arguing here that he didn't pose a threat here.  From my secure midwest location, the local police and the water patrol are strict enough.  I am thankful they don't display Nazi flags and enter my home.  If that analogy fails it is because Jihadists have far less compassion.

The best way to understand who the jihad wants to kill would be to listen to them.  They want to kill you.

The math-logic problem in the piece is that they measure the losses with a decade of our offense in place, including taking down all bases of harbor we could find and hunting down and killing their leaders, and with all our defenses in place including search and seizure of everyone in almost every public place.  To then say those efforts weren't that necessary because we are suffering so few deaths is absurd.  If you don't see a flaw in that math I unfortunately cannot help you.  Once again, they have said they want to kill you.  From their point of view: so many infidels, so little time.

[There are other places to cut the budget!]
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G M
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« Reply #1022 on: August 29, 2011, 10:37:11 AM »

I was in a law enforcement training class where we were shown a power point presentation AQ had on their 100 year plan to islamicize the world, that was captured in Afghanistan early on in the war after 9/11.
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JDN
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« Reply #1023 on: August 29, 2011, 11:02:28 AM »

doug, somehow you are missing the point.  Of course they want to kill us.  Probably if you asked a variety of dictators and despots they all want to kill us.  So what?  They don't realistically have the means.  In your previous quote, you worried about everyone of us dying.  It's not going to happen.  As GM even agreed, they will never put boots on the ground and overwhelm America.  We are blessed with distance and might.  Israel on the other hand, very existence  is threatened.  Every life. Any nickel they spend on defense against Muslims is money well spent.

But if we could solve Cancer for example we save millions of lives in America.  if we could prevent homicides in Los Angeles County, just one county in America, we would save more lives than terrorism takes.  Those are bigger threats to America than terrorism.

Nor is anyone saying we shouldn't be diligent.  Or not spend billions on defense.  But if we allocated half the money to Cancer or Homicides we would save more lives.  And frankly, infringe on my personal freedoms a lot less.

You do cost analysis when you buy property.  You compare two or more properties before spending the money.  You ask yourself where is the greater risk and potential greater reward.  The author is merely pointing out that some of the money could be better allocated and would save more lives elsewhere.

Doug, if I remember, you have a daughter; what are the odds of her dying from a terrorist attack, a homicide, or Cancer?

GM "AQ 100 year plan is to conquer the world".  That's about as realistic as my 100 year plan to be the richest person in the world.  100 year plans are dreams; then there is reality.  IMHO I suggest we focus on reality. And think about cost/benefits. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1024 on: August 29, 2011, 11:31:12 AM »

Working from memory:  Pakistan is now the 4th largest nuke power in the world.  The irresponsibility of those running it is well established and the risk of hand off to AQ et al or loss of materials or bombs to AQ et al is substantial.  Their will to act is irrefutable.

Sounds to me like this is well worth dealing with NOW.
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JDN
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« Reply #1025 on: August 29, 2011, 11:54:53 AM »

I agree.  When you recognize a specific threat, do something about it.
That said, Pakistan presents a difficult challege. What should be done
and what would the ramifications be is not easy to decide.  But if a palatable solution
can be found, it's money well spent.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1026 on: August 29, 2011, 12:39:05 PM »

Pakistan, Afpakia really, IS a fiendish problem-- as together we document in the Afpakia thread.

In that it seems we are not likely to succeed in dealing with it there, where then are we to deal with hand-off and related risks if not here?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1027 on: August 29, 2011, 01:47:59 PM »

There are some like Ron Paul who think they will stop attacking if we stay home and stop fighting back.  Some like Huntsman share the JDN view that we mostly stay home and just strike out in perfect high threat situations like the Osama kill op.  But that intelligence comes only from being out there chasing every threat, and the information even then is never perfect.

Unfortunately wink it has been GM and Crafty who have been right on this.  Their commitment and patience to attack can be measured in hundreds or thousands of years, and look at us, losing our patience and commitment after about 10 pretty good years at home filled with horrific, mostly failed attempts.
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ccp
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« Reply #1028 on: August 31, 2011, 11:41:12 AM »

These photos certainly bring the horror of that day back to "life":

http://news.yahoo.com/photographer-behind-9-11-falling-man-retraces-steps-recalls-unknown-soldier.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1029 on: September 01, 2011, 07:30:35 AM »

Why Al Qaeda is Unlikely to Execute Another 9/11
September 1, 2011


Related Special Topic Page
The Devolution of Al Qaeda
STRATFOR Book
The Devolution of Jihadism: From Al Qaeda to Wider Movement
By Scott Stewart

It is Sept. 1, and that means we are once again approaching the anniversary of al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. In the 10 years that have passed since the attacks, a lot has happened and much has changed in the world, but many people can still vividly recall the sense of fear, uncertainty and helplessness they felt on that September morning. Millions of people watched United Airlines flight 175 smash into the south tower of the World Trade Center on live television. A short while later they heard that another plane had struck the Pentagon. Then they watched in horror as the World Trade Center’s twin towers buckled and collapsed to the ground.

It was, by any measure, a stunning, cataclysmic scene, a kind of terrorist theater that transformed millions of television viewers into vicarious victims. Excerpts of the just-released memoir of then-Vice President Dick Cheney demonstrate that it was not just ordinary people who were affected by the attacks; America’s leaders where shocked and shaken, too. And judging from the statements of foreign citizens and leaders in the wake of 9/11, those who proclaimed, “We are all Americans,” it was also apparent that the toll on vicarious victims did not stop at the U.S. border.

One result of this vicarious victimization and the fear and helplessness it produced was that many people became fixated on the next attack and began anxiously “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” This spawned an entire industry of fear as dire warnings were propagated by the Internet of the impending “American Hiroshima” that was certain to result when al Qaeda detonated all the nuclear devices it had hidden in major U.S. cities. Chain emails were widely circulated and recirculated quoting a dubious Israeli “security expert” who promised simultaneous catastrophic terrorist attacks against a number of American cities — attacks that never materialized outside of Hollywood productions.

Fast forward a decade and we are now commemorating 9/11’s 10th anniversary, which seems more significant somehow because it is a round number. Perhaps of more meaningful significance is that this anniversary closely follows the  death of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011. Indeed, the buzz regarding this coincidence has caused many of our clients and readers to ask for our assessment of the terrorist threat inside the United States on this 10th anniversary of 9/11.

While we believe that today holds some degree of symbolism for many, the threat of an attack on Sept. 11, 2011, is no higher than it was on Aug. 11 or than it will be on Sept. 12, and below we explain why.


The State of Al Qaeda and the Jihad

All threats have two basic components: intent and capability. Al Qaeda’s leaders have threatened to conduct an attack more terrible than 9/11 for nearly a decade now, and the threats continue. Here’s what Ayman al Zawahiri, now al Qaeda’s No. 1, said to his followers on Aug. 15, 2011, in a message released on the internet via as-Sahab media:

“Seek to attack America that has killed the Imam of the Mujahideen and threw his corpse in the sea and then imprisoned his women and children. Seek to attack her so history can say that a criminal state had spread corruption on earth and Allah sent her his servants who made her a lesson for others and left her as a memory.”

The stated intent of al Qaeda and  the rest of the jihadist movement is, and has been, to strike the United States as hard and as often as possible. It logically follows, then, that al Qaeda would strike the United States on Sept. 11 — or any other day — if possible. With intent thus established, now we need to focus on capability.

One of the primary considerations regarding al Qaeda’s capability to strike the United States is the state of the jihadist movement itself. The efforts of the U.S. government and its allies against the core al Qaeda group, which is based in Pakistan, have left it badly damaged and have greatly curtailed its operational ability, especially its ability to conduct transnational attacks. In January we forecast that we believed the al Qaeda core was going to be marginalized on the physical battlefield in 2011 and that it would also struggle to remain relevant on the ideological battlefield. Indeed, it has been our assessment for several years now that al Qaeda does not pose a strategic threat to the United States.

Since we published our 2011 forecast, bin Laden has been killed as well as senior al Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who reportedly died in a strike by a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle Aug. 22 in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region. We continue to believe that the al Qaeda core group is off balance and concerned for its security — especially in light of the intelligence gathered in the raid on bin Laden’s hideout. The core group simply does not enjoy the operational freedom it did prior to September 2001. We also believe the group no longer has the same operational capability in terms of international travel and the ability to transfer money that it had prior to 9/11.

Some people believe there is a greater chance of an attack on this year’s 9/11 anniversary because of the killing of bin Laden, while others note that al Zawahiri may feel pressure to conduct an attack in order to prove his credibility as al Qaeda’s new leader.

Our belief, as noted above, is that al Qaeda has been doing its utmost to attack the United States and has not pulled any punches. Because of this, we do not believe it possesses the ability to increase this effort beyond where it was prior to bin Laden’s death. As to the pressure on al Zawahiri, we noted in December 2007 that the al Qaeda core had been under considerable pressure to prove itself relevant for several years and that, despite this pressure, had yet to deliver. Because of this, we do not believe that the pressure to conduct a successful attack is any heavier on al Zawahiri today than it was prior to bin Laden’s death.

Finally, we believe that if al Qaeda possessed the capability to conduct a spectacular attack it would launch the attack as soon as it was operationally ready, rather than wait for some specific date. The risk of discovery is simply too great.

There are also some who still believe that al Qaeda maintains a network of “sleeper operatives” inside the United States that can be called upon to conduct a spectacular terrorist attack. We do not believe this for two reasons. First, because the pressure on the core al Qaeda leadership to conduct an attack in the United States has been so high for several years there is no reason that it would not have activated any sleepers by now. It would certainly not be in the group’s best interest to keep any such operatives idle for a decade, especially since U.S. intelligence has made such headway in rolling up the organization. Al Qaeda has been faced with a use-it-or-lose-it scenario.

Second, while there is a long history of al Qaeda and other jihadist groups employing covert operatives and inspiring jihadist grassroots operatives or lone wolves like Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, there is no history of al Qaeda employing true sleeper operatives, that is, operatives who burrow undetected into a society and then remain dormant until called upon to act. Because of this, we remain extremely skeptical that al Qaeda has ever had a sleeper network in the United States. If it had, it would have used it by now.

Would the al Qaeda core leadership like to conduct a spectacular terror attack on the 9/11 anniversary? Absolutely. Does it have the capability? It is unlikely.


A Grassroots Focus

As we noted in our annual jihadist forecast, we believe the greatest threat to the United States and the rest of the West in 2011 emanates from grassroots jihadists and regional franchises. However, the civil war in Yemen and developments in Somalia have preoccupied the attention of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Shabaab — the two regional jihadist franchises that have shown the intent and capability to conduct transnational attacks — leaving them very little opportunity to do so. Therefore, we believe the greatest threat of an attack on the 9/11 anniversary will come from the grass roots.

The bad news is that grassroots operatives can be hard to identify, especially if they operate alone; the good news is that they tend to be far less capable than well-trained, more “professional” terrorist operatives. And this means they are more likely to make critical mistakes that will allow their attacks to be detected and thwarted.

As the past few years has demonstrated, there are almost certainly grassroots jihadists operating in small cells or as lone wolves who are presently planning attacks. In fact, we know that since at least 1990 there has not been a time when some group of grassroots jihadists somewhere in the United States has not been planning some kind of attack.

Is it possible, then, that such individuals could be inspired to try to conduct an attack on the 9/11 anniversary if they can coordinate their attack cycle in order to be ready on that date. However, given the increased law enforcement vigilance that will be in place at hard targets on that day and the capabilities of most grassroots operatives, we can anticipate that such an attempt would be conducted against a soft target rather than some more difficult target such as the 9/11 Memorial or the White House. We also believe that any such attack would likely continue the trend we have seen away from bombing attacks toward more simple (and effective) armed assaults.

It must be remembered that simple terrorist attacks are relatively easy to conduct, especially if the assailant is not concerned about escaping after the attack. As jihadist groups such as AQAP have noted in their online propaganda, a determined person can conduct attacks using a variety of simple weapons, from a pickup truck to a knife, axe or gun. Jihadist ideologues have repeatedly praised Nidal Hassan and have pointed out that jihadists operating with modest expectations and acting within the scope of their training and capability can do far more damage than operatives who try to conduct big, ambitious attacks that they lack the basic skills to complete.

And while the authorities in the United States and elsewhere have been quite successful in foiling attacks over the past couple of years, there are a large number of vulnerable targets in the open societies of the West, and Western governments simply do not have the resources to protect everything. Indeed, as long as the ideology of jihadism survives, its adherents will pose a threat.

All this means that some terrorist attacks will invariably succeed, but in the current context, it is our assessment that a simple attack in the United States or some other Western country is far more likely than a complex and spectacular 9/11-style operation. In their primary areas of operation, jihadists have the capability to do more than they do transnationally.

Indeed, despite the concept of a “war on terrorism,” the phenomenon of terrorism can never be completely eliminated, and terrorist attacks can and will be conducted by a wide variety of actors (recently illustrated by the July 22 attacks in Norway). However, as we’ve previously noted, if the public will recognize that terrorist attacks are part of the human condition like cancer or hurricanes, it can take steps to deny the practitioners of terrorism the ability to terrorize.

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prentice crawford
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« Reply #1030 on: September 04, 2011, 01:39:54 AM »

 

  WASHINGTON (AP) — We are safer, but not safe enough.

In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, the government has taken giant steps to protect the nation from terrorists, spending eye-popping sums to smarten up the federal bureaucracy, hunt down enemies, strengthen airline security, secure U.S. borders, reshape America's image and more. Still, the effort remains a work in progress, and in some cases a work stalled.

Whole alphabets of acronyms have been born and died in pursuit of homeland security, a phrase that wasn't even used much before 9/11.

Hello, TSA, DNI, DHS, NCTC, CVE, NSI and ICE. Goodbye, TTIC, INS and more.

How quaint that travelers used to be asked a few questions about whether they'd packed their own bags. Now, people routinely strip off their belts and shoes, dump their gels in small plastic bags, power up their laptops to prove they aren't bombs and submit to full body scans and pat downs once reserved for suspected criminals.

We have gone from "Let's roll" to "Don't touch my junk."

The bipartisan Sept. 11 Commission in 2004 laid out a 585-page road map to create an America that is "safer, stronger, wiser."

Many of the commission's recommendations are now reality. But in some cases, results haven't lived up to expectations. Other proposals are just that, ideas awaiting action.

"What I've come to appreciate is there's no magic wand on some of these things," says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who says that progress overall has been significant.

But remember how some of the police and firefighters who rushed to the twin towers in New York couldn't talk to one other because their radios weren't in sync? There's still no nationwide communications network for disasters, as the commission envisioned, although individual cities have made progress.

It's understandable if you've never heard of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created to ensure that the government doesn't go overboard with new terrorism-fighting powers bestowed by the Patriot Act and other counterterrorism measures. The board has no members, no staff, no office.

Despite a top-to-bottom reorganization of the country's intelligence superstructure, it's still a challenge for analysts to tease out the critical clues needed to prevent an attack.

On Christmas Day 2009, lots of people in government had information about a Nigerian man whose behavior was raising red flags. But because no one had pieced all the information together, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab managed to stroll on to a plane headed for Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. Only his failure to detonate the explosives properly saved the people on that plane.

Lee Hamilton, a co-chairman of the Sept. 11 commission, says it's probably a combination of hard work and good luck that's kept the U.S. from experiencing another all-out terrorist attack. But he worries that success is breeding complacency.

"The lack of urgency concerns me," Hamilton says. "The likelihood is that sometime in the future, we will be attacked again."

A look at some of the 9/11 commission's recommendations, and the results:

___

RECOMMENDATION: Tighter security checks on all airline passengers. The Transportation Security Administration and Congress "must give priority attention to improving the ability of screening checkpoints to detect explosives on passengers."

RESULT: There have been awkward moments as the government searches for a system that will protect passengers without infuriating them: A gravely ill 95-year-old woman had to remove her wet diaper before she could get through security in Florida in June. Video of a 6-year-old girl getting frisked in Louisiana in March went viral. "Don't touch my junk," became a national rallying cry.

The TSA was created soon after the attacks, underscoring the priority placed on securing the sky. Since then, the U.S. has poured $50 billion into aviation security. The commission suggested specific actions for the agency: check travelers against terrorist watch lists and screen every passenger who warrants extra security for explosives. Both are now being done. But airport security procedures continue to evolve as the threat mutates. Those intrusive pat-downs began after Abdulmutallab boarded that flight for Detroit.

___

RECOMMENDATION: "We recommend the establishment of a National Counterterrorism Center. ... The current position of Director of Central Intelligence should be replaced by a National Intelligence Director."

RESULT: The government has turned its intelligence-sharing policies nearly upside down as it tries to make it easier to manage and share all the rushing streams of information that flow through 15 agencies. There's a new National Counterterrorism Center; its mission is to bring together intelligence and analysts from across the government. There's a new director of national intelligence, a distinct agency, to coordinate it all. Overall, the intelligence budget has more than doubled since Sept. 11.

But Hamilton says "it's not clear that the DNI is the driving force for intelligence community integration that the commission envisioned."

The vision of a strong director supreme over all the intelligence agencies has yet to be fully realized in large part because of the way the job is structured, with lots of responsibility but not much authority. In a town where dollars equal clout, the intelligence director has no ability to redirect, cut off or increase spending at the different agencies.

The position, sometimes derided as the "convener-in-chief," is fast becoming one of the most thankless jobs in Washington. Three directors have come and gone since the job was created in 2005. Each was engaged in turf battles with the CIA and the National Security Council.

Retired Adm. Dennis Blair, who held the job from 2009 to 2010, complained in a recent address that the White House had undermined his authority.

"They sided enough with the CIA in ways that were public enough that it undercut my position," Blair said.

Asked with whom the president would side among current officials at the DNI, CIA and Pentagon, Blair said the White House would do the coordinating. He then added, "My experience is that the White House isn't a very good place to coordinate intelligence, much less to integrate it."

The current director, retired three-star Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, is said to be well thought of by the White House, partly because he is openly deferential to the CIA.

After the 9/11 attacks, the government did work to combine its terrorist watchlists. Now even a beat cop in Seattle can check to see if the person pulled over for speeding is a known or suspected terrorist.

There are some worries that all this broad sharing of information has made it too easy for national secrets to leak. Think WikiLeaks.

___

RECOMMENDATION: Creation of a nationwide radio network to allow different public safety agencies to communicate with one another during disasters. "Congress should support pending legislation which provides for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes."

RESULT: Still no network, legislation still pending.

As fires raged at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, firefighters, police and other emergency personnel couldn't effectively communicate with one another because of their archaic and incompatible radios.

To fix the problem, the commission recommended creating a network that would allow different public safety agencies to talk to each other during disasters, from forest fires to terrorist attacks.

But lawmakers, public safety officials and telecommunications companies have spent years haggling over the best way to build the system, which would cost billions to construct and operate. Legislation backed by the Obama administration would devote high-quality radio spectrum to a nationwide wireless public safety network, and raise the money to pay for it by auctioning other airwaves to spectrum-hungry wireless companies.

Even if a law is enacted this year, setting up the network would take time. "Congress must not approach this urgent matter at a leisurely pace, because quite literally lives are at stake," Hamilton and commission co-chairman Tom Kean said in a June letter to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

___

RECOMMENDATION: "There should be a board within the executive branch to oversee adherence to the guidelines we recommend and the commitment the government makes to defend our civil liberties."

RESULT: Within weeks of the attacks, President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act, giving the government powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. That generated worries that personal and civil liberties would be overrun.

The five-person Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was established and operated for a few years. But since 2008 it has been dormant. President Barack Obama nominated two people to serve, but they have not been confirmed by the Senate.

___

RECOMMENDATION: "Afghanistan must not again become a sanctuary for international crime and terrorism." The commission called for a "long-term commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan."

RESULT: And how: The U.S. commitment has been long term, both in dollars and military might. But Afghanistan is far from secure. Afghan civilian deaths remain alarmingly high. President Hamid Karzai's corruption-riddled government has little power outside of Kabul. As Obama seeks to pull out combat troops over the next three years, the government's hand may weaken further. Al-Qaida, however, has had to relocate much of its operational planning to Pakistan and Yemen, where weak governments leave terrorists an opening.

___

RECOMMENDATION: "The United States should support Pakistan's government in its struggle against extremists with a comprehensive effort that extends from military aid to support for better education, so long as Pakistan's leaders remain willing to make difficult choices of their own."

RESULT: Pakistan has embraced democracy, after years under the military-led regime of Pervez Musharraf. Increased U.S. aid has helped shore up the weak democratic government and deliver some counterterrorism successes.

Yet all of Washington's money and support haven't severed links between militants and Pakistan's army and intelligence services. The Taliban can cross into Afghanistan freely to fight U.S. forces, and Pakistanis harbor extremely negative opinions of the U.S.

Relations between U.S. and Pakistani authorities have been consistently difficult. The U.S. discovery and killing of Osama bin Laden in a military town near Pakistan's capital in May only deepened the mutual mistrust and tension. Pakistani officials were furious that the raid was carried out without any warning to authorities in Islamabad, and that has jeopardized cooperation in the fight against al-Qaida. The U.S. has provided about $20 billion in assistance to Pakistan since 9/11, and many Americans are questioning the wisdom of giving more.

The country's direction is very unpredictable.

___

RECOMMENDATION: "The problems in the U.S.-Saudi relationship must be confronted, openly."

RESULT: The Saudi government has fought al-Qaida on its own turf and proved a sturdy ally of the U.S. against Iran, yet has struggled to stem the flow of support for groups hostile to the United States. The two countries also haven't seen eye to eye on the wave of protests in North Africa and the Middle East. The commission's call for a "shared commitment to political and economic reform" is unfulfilled.

___

RECOMMENDATION: A new approach to the Muslim world, one less tolerant of undemocratic governments. "One of the lessons of the long Cold War was that short-term gains in cooperating with the most repressive and brutal governments were too often outweighed by long-term setbacks for America's stature and interests."

RESULT: The Obama administration has seized on the anti-government uprisings of the Arab spring to reposition U.S. foreign policy, moving away from support for strongmen such as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and more toward democratic reforms and respect for human rights. The administration hopes that new democracies in the region will offer frustrated young men greater dignity and new economic opportunities, leaving them less vulnerable to the appeal of extremism. But efforts to re-establish the U.S. as a moral leader around the globe have been hindered somewhat by the stalled U.S.-led peace effort between Israelis and Palestinians, high civilian death rates in Afghanistan and Obama's failure to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay as he promised.

___

RECOMMENDATION: "The United States should engage other nations in developing a comprehensive coalition strategy against Islamist terrorism."

RESULT: Bush got strong backing from much of the world after 9/11, but that unity splintered when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. Still, countries are sharing more intelligence and working together to combat terrorist financing. No government has permitted al-Qaida to operate freely within its borders. Obama's election ushered in a new spirit of cooperation among countries which had often complained of U.S. heavy-handedness and unilateralism under Bush.

___

RECOMMENDATION: "Congress should create a single, principal point of oversight and review for homeland security."

RESULT: When the Sept. 11 commission issued its report, 88 congressional committees, subcommittees and caucuses claimed at least some jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security.

The commission called the oversight system splintered, dysfunctional, an impediment to improving national security. It also was keenly aware of how hard it is to pry even one inch of turf away from a power-hungry member of Congress, warning presciently that "few things are more difficult to change in Washington than congressional committee jurisdiction and prerogatives."

By 2011, the number of congressional panels claiming jurisdiction had risen to 108. In 2009 alone, the department calculated it spent a collective 66 work years responding to questions from Congress.

"We are constantly briefing staff, appearing at hearings, preparing reports, responding to inquiries," says Napolitano. "It is a problem." And the problem goes way beyond the hassle of answering to lots of congressional chieftains. Hamilton warns: "When everyone has oversight, nobody has oversight."

                                       P.C.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1031 on: September 05, 2011, 10:16:57 AM »

Although not a perfect fit, I post this here because much of the book is about Homeland Security

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/books/counterstrike-by-eric-schmitt-and-thom-shanker-review.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha28
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #1032 on: September 09, 2011, 11:56:24 PM »

Woof,
 I'm putting this here just to remind folks that illegal immigration and the border isn't just about a few farmhands sneaking in to pick crops. Luckily this guy wasn't out to do anything but the potential harm that could come from an enemy of the U.S. doing the same thing is off the chart. Which begs the question, how many are already here?
.................................................................................................
  Police officer who faked U.S. citizenship gets 3 months in jail
By Yereth Rosen | Reuters – Thu, Aug 25, 2011tweet4Share0EmailPrintANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - An illegal immigrant from Mexico who admitted faking U.S. citizenship while serving as an Anchorage police officer for six years was sentenced on Thursday to three months in prison.

Rafael Mora-Lopez, 47, who pleaded guilty in June to federal charges of passport fraud and falsely claiming to be a citizen, was also fined $10,000 and ordered placed on three years of supervised release after his jail term.

Mora-Lopez, who was known for two decades in Anchorage under the assumed name of Rafael Espinoza, was a local police officer from 2005 until he was arrested in April of this year.

The real Rafael Espinoza is a natural-born U.S. citizen who was a neighbor of Mora-Lopez's wife in Guadalajara in the 1980s.

According to court documents and Mora-Lopez's admissions, he claimed the birth date and Social Security number of the other man in a fraud that came to light when both men applied for passport renewals.

The revelation shocked fellow police officers, Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said at the time, because the man known as Rafael Espinoza was an exemplary officer who was popular with co-workers. Shortly before he was arrested, he had been formally commended for helping rescue a hypothermic hiker.

He had worked as a city bus driver before being hired by the police department.

Several of Mora-Lopez's former colleagues and friends wrote letters to the judge seeking leniency and expressing hope that he will be able to remain in the United States. Many attended the sentencing.

Whether he will be deported is a matter for federal immigration officials to decide, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bradley said.

Mora-Lopez's wife is a naturalized citizen, but her status was granted on the basis of her husband's supposed citizenship, Bradley said. The two have a daughter who is a citizen, he added.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)

                            P.C.
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« Reply #1033 on: September 10, 2011, 08:08:41 PM »

By JUDITH MILLER A specter has haunted the New York Police Department during this week's torrent of 10th anniversary commemorations of 9/11—the 13 terrorist plots against the city in the past decade that have failed or been thwarted thanks partly to NYPD counterterrorism efforts.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and his 50,000-strong department know that the 9/11 gatherings are an occasion not only to reflect on that terrible day. They're also a prime target for al Qaeda and other Islamist extremists who long to convince the world, and perhaps themselves, that they're still capable of killing in the name of their perverse interpretation of Islam.

Commissioner Kelly allocates some $330 million of his $4.6 billion annual budget and 1,200 of his staff to counterterrorism. He and his staff, not surprisingly, spent the week bolstering security at the remembrance gatherings throughout the city. On Wednesday, he came to the Manhattan Institute to tout the NYPD's counterterrorism record and defend his department against press allegations that his intelligence division has been spying illegally on Muslims and infringing on their privacy and civil rights.

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New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly
.The police have to factor terrorism into "everything we do," Mr. Kelly said. If that means following leads that take NYPD undercover detectives into mosques, Islamic bookstores, Muslim student associations, cafes and nightclubs, so be it. Mr. Kelly vowed to continue stationing liaisons in 11 cities abroad to "ask the New York question"—much to the occasional chagrin of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA.

It was an undercover officer in an Islamic bookstore who helped stop Shahawar Matin Siraj, a homegrown Muslim extremist and self-professed al Qaeda admirer, from bombing the Herald Square subway station during the 2004 Republican convention, Mr. Kelly said. Another undercover officer prevented homegrown terrorists Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, from bombing a Manhattan synagogue and trying to "take out the entire building."

Would he continue sending NYPD officers across the Hudson into deepest, darkest New Jersey? Yes, he declared, if that was what was needed to keep tabs on the likes of Carlos Almonte and Mohammed Alessa—al Qaeda sympathizers arrested en route to Somalia at JFK Airport in 2010 "who were determined to receive terrorist training abroad only to return home to kill us here."

Michael Sheehan, a former NYPD deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, says that the NYPD has succeeded thanks to its collection and sharing of domestic and foreign intelligence through "humint" (human sources) and "sigint" (signals intelligence) such as electronic intercepts and the monitoring of Internet, cellphone and other communications. Tip-offs from concerned family or community members have also been vital.

Related Video
 Former editorial page deputy editor Melanie Kirkpatrick recollects her experiences on September 11th.
..Sigint was key in disrupting at least two of the most serious al Qaeda plots targeting New York since 9/11: the 2006 "Liquid Bomb Plot," or "Operation Overt," in which 25 British citizens of Pakistani descent targeted some seven transatlantic commercial flights from London to North America; and Operation Highrise, an attempt to use suicide bombers to blow up New York City subways in 2009.

The homegrown Islamist in that plot was Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant with al Qaeda ties who grew up in New York City and staged his operation from there and Colorado. In Zazi's case, investigators say, officials were initially tipped off by the intercept of an email he sent from Colorado to an address in Pakistan that was associated with another group of terrorists who had been arrested earlier that year in Manchester, England.

The "link man," or coordinator in Pakistan, writes Mitchell D. Silber, director of Intelligence Analysis for the New York Police Department, in his forthcoming book, "The Al Qaeda Factor," was corresponding with operatives in three different al Qaeda plots. Zazi's New York subway plot took off only after he contacted the coordinator, identified only as "Ahmad," and informed him that the "wedding," or suicide operation, "was ready to proceed," writes Mr. Silber.

Another serious plot that was disrupted thanks to Internet intercepts was a 2006 scheme by Assem Hammoud, a 31-year-old Lebanese al Qaeda member, and several other still unnamed Islamists—all overseas—to flood Lower Manhattan by setting off explosives in the PATH railway tunnels under the Hudson River. While no arrests in America were made, several suspects have been detained in Lebanon and other Arab states.

Mr. Silber argues that humint has proven even more valuable than sigint in detecting and thwarting homegrown threats—the fastest-growing category of militant Islamist terror. This explains Mr. Kelly's determination to preserve the NYPD's vast intelligence capabilities, even if he's forced to scale back elsewhere in the department due to budget cuts.

With Osama bin Laden dead and al Qaeda under pressure, some terrorism experts argue, as does Peter Bergen, author of the book "The Longest War," that al Qaeda, or at least its "core," "no longer poses a national security threat" to America "that could result in a mass-casualty attack anywhere close to the scale of 9/11."

Mr. Kelly isn't buying it. He's fixated on the recent jump in homegrown extremist plots throughout the country—to 10 in 2009 and 12 in 2010 from four in 2007 and just one in 2005. The increase, says John Miller, a former deputy director for analysis for the Director of National Intelligence, is most likely due to the influence of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric now hiding in Yemen whose stirring Internet sermons have inspired many of the would-be jihadis detained in recent plots.

Mr. Kelly also knows that in too many cases, New York has been lucky. Faisal Shazad, a middle-class Pakistani–American resident of Connecticut, failed last year to detonate a bomb in Times Square only because he received too little training in Pakistan.

Mr. Kelly calls the killing of bin Laden "success with complications." Those include the numerous references to New York found in his documents in Abbottabad, all of which suggest that bin Laden never abandoned his dream of striking the city again. The discovery on Thursday night of a specific and "credible" al Qaeda linked plot tied to the 9/11 commemorations suggests that Mr. Kelly's concern is justified.

Ms. Miller is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a commentator for Fox News.
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« Reply #1034 on: September 11, 2011, 09:39:03 AM »

There remains a line of thought within our political spectrum that our own foreign policy is the problem and that our response should be to absorb the losses, bring forces home, and move on.  This seems to me a moment to remember that related attacks on Americans and American interests were occurring before 9/11 and have continued since.  Examples include the 1993 WTC bombing, two 1998 embassy bombings, and the 2000 USS Cole bombing.  Our strategy of not responding or not being able to respond to these attacks against us served only to embolden and empower, not to dissuade the planners and perpetrators of the devastating attacks that followed.

Always prudent to question the details and strategies of war but I cannot ever agree that it is sufficient or wise to absorb and accept losses and not take war to our enemies wherever they are for as long as they are committed to destroy us.

To point out the obvious: The carnage of terror and the war against terror and against the terrorists and those who plan, harbor or help the destruction is the fault of the forces of destruction, not of those who seek to stop and end it.
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« Reply #1035 on: September 15, 2011, 11:30:10 PM »


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqQPzmKSnIA&feature=youtu.be
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« Reply #1036 on: September 20, 2011, 03:46:44 PM »

"Who is being told to keep quiet here and why?  Posted by Robert Spencer today:"

www.jihadwatch.org/2011/09/fbi-covering-up-florida-based-saudi-familys-link-to-911-jihad-plot.html


FBI covering up Florida-based Saudi family's link to 9/11 jihad plot?
This family abruptly fled the country shortly before 9/11, "leaving behind three vehicles, food in the refrigerator and toys in the swimming pool." Mohammed Atta may have visited their home. The FBI insists they had nothing to do with the 9/11 jihad plot, and has been extremely reticent about sharing information about their investigation.

Just how compromised is the FBI? First we see their full retreat from telling anti-terror investigators the truth about Islam after a hard-Left journalist and Hamas-linked CAIR complained, and now this. "FBI: No link between Sarasota family and 9/11 plot," by Dan Christensen for The Miami Herald, September 16 (thanks to Ken):

A top Florida FBI agent said Thursday that members of a Saudi family living quietly near Sarasota were questioned after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but no evidence was found that linked them to the hijackers who slammed jetliners into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
A week after The Miami Herald published a story showing ties between the family and some of the terrorists, Tampa’s head FBI agent, Steven Ibison, released a statement Thursday saying the FBI investigated “suspicions surrounding” the Sarasota home, but never found evidence tying the family members to the hijackers.

“There was no connection found to the 9/11 plot,” said the statement, released to the St. Petersburg Times.

The agency’s statement came just days after U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., asked for a House investigation into the events surrounding the Sarasota family, which abruptly left the home several days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, leaving behind three vehicles, food in the refrigerator and toys in the swimming pool.

The FBI’s official version, the second in a week, conflicts sharply with reports from people who worked at the homeowners’ association and a counterterrorism officer who joined the investigation.

A senior administrator at the luxury community told The Herald that cars used by the 9/11 hijackers — the tag numbers noted by security guards at the gate — drove to the entrance asking to visit the family at various times before the attacks. One of the cars was linked to terrorist leader Mohamed Atta, said administrator Larry Berberich.

In addition, a counterterrorism officer who requested anonymity said agents also linked telephone calls between the home and known hijacking suspects in the year before the attacks.

So far, the FBI’s response to the discovery has drawn criticism from former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who said he was never told of the Sarasota investigation when he was co-chair of the congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. Thursday’s FBI statement said the agency provided all the information to the congressional inquiry.

Graham, who appeared on national television this week, said the FBI failed to provide information in the years after 9/11 linking members of the terrorist team to other Saudis in California until congressional investigators discovered it themselves.

“It was not because the FBI gave us the information. We had a very curious and effective investigator who found out,” Graham told the MSNBC cable television network.

In an appearance Monday on MSNBC, Graham said he spoke with President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism advisor. He said he has gone to the White House’s chief of counterterrorism to ask that the administration look into the Sarasota case.


Oh, that's gonna help.

The FBI, which has not released any results of its investigation, said family members who lived in the home owned by Saudi financier Esam Ghazzawi were tracked down and interviewed about the case after the attacks.
It was not clear from Thursday’s statement whether the FBI or Saudi intelligence conducted the interrogations. The family was believed to have flown to Saudi Arabia after briefly stopping in Virginia several days before Sept. 11....


Where in Virginia, and for what purpose?
Posted by Robert on September 19, 2011 2:38 AM | 18 Comments
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« Reply #1037 on: September 22, 2011, 06:46:06 AM »

Cutting Through the Lone-Wolf Hype
September 22, 2011


By Scott Stewart

Lone wolf. The mere mention of the phrase invokes a sense of fear and dread. It conjures up images of an unknown, malicious plotter working alone and silently to perpetrate an unpredictable, undetectable and unstoppable act of terror. This one phrase combines the persistent fear of terrorism in modern society with the primal fear of the unknown.

The phrase has been used a lot lately. Anyone who has been paying attention to the American press over the past few weeks has been bombarded with a steady stream of statements regarding lone-wolf militants. While many of these statements, such as those from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, were made in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, they did not stop when the threats surrounding the anniversary proved to be unfounded and the date passed without incident. Indeed, on Sept. 14, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, told CNN that one of the things that concerned him most was “finding that next lone-wolf terrorist before he strikes.”

Now, the focus on lone operatives and small independent cells is well founded. We have seen the jihadist threat devolve from one based primarily on the hierarchical al Qaeda core organization to a  threat emanating from a broader array of grassroots actors operating alone or in small groups. Indeed, at present, there is a far greater likelihood of a successful jihadist attack being conducted in the West by a lone-wolf attacker or small cell inspired by al Qaeda than by a member of the al Qaeda core or one of the franchise groups. But the lone-wolf threat can be generated by a broad array of ideologies, not just jihadism. A recent reminder of this was the July 22 attack in Oslo, Norway, conducted by lone wolf Anders Breivik.

The lone-wolf threat is nothing new, but it has received a great deal of press coverage in recent months, and with that press coverage has come a certain degree of hype based on the threat’s mystique. However, when one looks closely at the history of solitary terrorists, it becomes apparent that there is a significant gap between lone-wolf theory and lone-wolf practice. An examination of this gap is very helpful in placing the lone-wolf threat in the proper context.


The Shift Toward Leaderless Resistance

While the threat of lone wolves conducting terrorist attacks is real, the first step in putting the threat into context is understanding how long it has existed. To say it is nothing new really means that it is an inherent part of human conflict, a way for a weaker entity — even a solitary one — to inflict pain upon and destabilize a much larger entity. Modern lone-wolf terrorism is widely considered to have emerged in the 1800s, when fanatical individuals bent on effecting political change demonstrated that a solitary actor could impact history. Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who assassinated U.S. President William McKinley in 1901, was one such lone wolf.

The 1970s brought lone wolf terrorists like Joseph Paul Franklin and Ted Kaczynski, both of whom were able to operate for years without being identified and apprehended. Based on the success of these lone wolves and following the 1988 Fort Smith Sedition Trial, in which the U.S. government’s penetration of white hate groups was clearly revealed, some of the leaders of these penetrated groups began to advocate “leaderless resistance” as a way to avoid government pressure. They did not invent the concept, which is really quite old, but they readily embraced it and used their status in the white supremacist movement to advocate it.

In 1989, William Pierce, the leader of a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance and one of the Fort Smith defendants, published a fictional book under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald titled “Hunter,” which dealt with the exploits of a fictional lone wolf named Oscar Yeager. Pierce dedicated the book to Joseph Paul Franklin and he clearly intended it to serve as an inspiration and model for lone-wolf operatives. Pierce’s earlier book, “The Turner Diaries,” was based on a militant operational theory involving a clandestine organization, and “Hunter” represented a distinct break from that approach.

In 1990, Richard Kelly Hoskins, an influential “Christian Identity” ideologue, published a book titled “Vigilantes of Christendom” in which he introduced the concept of the “Phineas Priest.” According to Hoskins, a Phineas Priest is a lone-wolf militant chosen by God and set apart to be God’s “agent of vengeance” upon the earth. Phineas Priests also believe their attacks will serve to ignite a wider “racial holy war” that will ultimately lead to the salvation of the white race.

In 1992, another of the Fort Smith defendants, former Ku Klux Klan Leader Louis Beam, published an essay in his magazine “The Seditionist” that provided a detailed roadmap for moving the white hate movement toward the leaderless resistance model. This roadmap called for lone wolves and small “phantom” cells to engage in violent action to protect themselves from detection.

In the white-supremacist realm, the shift toward leaderless resistance — taken because of the government’s success in penetrating and disrupting group operations — was an admission of failure on the part of leaders like Pierce, Hoskins and Beam. It is important to note that in the two decades that have passed since the leaderless-resistance model rose to prominence in the white-supremacist movement there have been only a handful of successful lone-wolf attacks. The army of lone wolves envisioned by the proponents of leaderless resistance never materialized.

But the leaderless resistance model was advocated not only by the far right. Influenced by their anarchist roots, left-wing extremists also moved in that direction, and movements such as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front actually adopted operational models that were very similar to the leaderless-resistance doctrine prescribed by Beam.

More recently, and for similar reasons, the jihadists have also come to adopt the leaderless-resistance theory. Perhaps the first to promote the concept in the jihadist realm was jihadist military theoretician Abu Musab al-Suri. Upon seeing the success the United States and its allies were having against the al Qaeda core and its wider network following 9/11, al-Suri began to promote the concept of individual jihad — leaderless resistance. As if to prove his own point about the dangers of belonging to a group, al-Suri was reportedly captured in November 2005 in Pakistan.

Al-Suri’s concept of leaderless resistance was embraced by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the al Qaeda franchise group in Yemen, in 2009. AQAP called for this type of strategy in both its Arabic-language media and its English language magazine, “Inspire,” which published long excerpts of al-Suri’s material on individual jihad. In 2010, the al Qaeda core also embraced the idea, with U.S.-born spokesman Adam Gadahn echoing AQAP’s calls for Muslims to adopt the leaderless resistance model.

However, in the jihadist realm, as in the white-supremacist realm before it, the shift to leaderless resistance was an admission of weakness rather than a sign of strength. Jihadists recognized that they have been extremely limited in their ability to successfully attack the West, and while jihadist groups welcomed recruits in the past, they are now telling them it is too dangerous because of the steps taken by the United States and its allies to combat the transnational terrorist threat.


Busting the Mystique

Having established that when a group promotes leaderless resistance as an operational model it is a sign of failure rather than strength, let’s take a look at how the theory translates into practice.

On its face, as described by strategists such as Beam and al-Suri, the leaderless-resistance theory is tactically sound. By operating as lone wolves or small, insulated cells, operatives can increase their operational security and make it more difficult for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify them. As seen by examples such as Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan and Roshonara Choudhry, who stabbed British lawmaker Stephen Timms with a kitchen knife in May 2010, such attacks can create a significant impact with very little cost.

Lone wolves and small cells do indeed present unique challenges, but history has shown that it is very difficult to put the lone-wolf theory into practice. For every Eric Rudolph, Nidal Hasan and Anders Breivik there are scores of half-baked lone-wolf wannabes who either botch their operations or are uncovered before they can launch an attack.

It is a rare individual who possesses the requisite combination of will, discipline, adaptability, resourcefulness and technical skill to make the leap from theory to practice and become a successful lone wolf. Immaturity, impatience and incompetence are frequently the bane of failed lone-wolf operators, who also frequently lack a realistic assessment of their capabilities and tend to attempt attacks that are far too complex. When they try to do something spectacular they frequently achieve little or nothing. By definition and operational necessity, lone-wolf operatives do not have the luxury of attending training camps where they can be taught effective terrorist tradecraft. Nasir al-Wahayshi has recognized this and has urged jihadist lone wolves to focus on simple, easily accomplished attacks that can be conducted with readily available items and that do not require advanced tradecraft to succeed.

It must also be recognized that attacks, even those conducted by lone wolves, do not simply materialize out of a vacuum. Lone wolf attacks must follow the same planning process as an attack conducted by a small cell or hierarchical group. This means that lone wolves are also vulnerable to detection during their planning and preparation for an attack — even more so, since a lone wolf must conduct each step of the process alone and therefore must expose himself to detection on multiple occasions rather than delegate risky tasks such as surveillance to someone else in order to reduce the risk of detection. A lone wolf must conduct all the preoperational surveillance, acquire all the weapons, assemble and test all the components of the improvised explosive device (if one is to be used) and then deploy everything required for the attack before launching it.

Certainly, there is far more effort in a truck bomb attack than a simple attack with a knife, and the planning process is shorter for the latter, but the lone wolf still must follow and complete all the steps. While this operational model offers security advantages regarding communications and makes it impossible for the authorities to plant an informant in a group, it also increases operational security risks by exposing the lone operator at multiple points of the planning process.

Operating alone also takes more time, does not allow the lone attacker to leverage the skills of others and requires that the lone attacker provide all the necessary resources for the attack. When we consider all the traits required for someone to bridge the gap between lone-wolf theory and practice, from will and discipline to self-sufficiency and tactical ability, there simply are not many people who have both the ability and the intent to conduct such attacks. This is why we have not seen more lone-wolf attacks despite the fact that the theory does offer some tactical advantages and has been around for so long.

The limits of working alone also mean that, for the most part, lone-wolf attacks tend to be smaller and less damaging than attacks conducted by independent cells or hierarchical organizations. Breivik’s attack in Norway and Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood are rare exceptions and not the rule.

When we set aside the mystique of the lone wolf and look at the reality of the phenomenon, we can see that the threat is often far less daunting in fact than in theory. One of the most vocal proponents of the theory in the white supremacist movement in the late 1990s was a young California neo-Nazi named Alex Curtis. After Curtis was arrested in 2000 and convicted of harassing Jewish figures in Southern California, it was said that when he made the jump from “keyboard commando” to conducting operations in the physical world he proved to be more of a “stray mutt” than a lone wolf.

Lone wolves — or stray mutts — do pose a threat, but that threat must be neither overstated nor ignored. Lone attackers are not mythical creatures that come out of nowhere to inflict harm. They follow a process and are vulnerable to detection at certain times during that process. Cutting through the hype is an important step in dispelling the mystique and addressing the problems posed by such individuals in a realistic and practical way.

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« Reply #1038 on: October 11, 2011, 03:57:58 PM »

  
  U.S. says it foiled Iranian-backed terror plot targeting Saudi ambassador

By Laura Rozen
Senior Foreign Affairs Reporter
PostsEmailRSSBy Laura Rozen | The Envoy – 7 mins agotweet0Share0EmailPrint
The United States accused Iranian-backed agents Tuesday of plotting a foiled terrorist plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The stunning accusations came in a Justice Department criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday afternoon at a press conference featuring Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and a team of Justice Department prosecutors. The key suspected charged in the terror plot, identified as Manssor Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American, was arrested late last month at JFK Airport; a second accused conspirator named in the complaint, an alleged Iranian Qods Force official identified as Gohlam Shakuri, remains at large and is believed to be in Iran. The five-count criminal complaint also discusses other unidentified conspirators in the plot and suggested they were members of the Qods force in Iran.

The alleged assassination plot--unraveled by federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency and FBI--was "conceived, sponsored and was directed from Iran" Holder said in a statement Tuesday. "The U.S. is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions."

Federal officials "said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.," ABC News reported on the complaint.

"The new case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas,"--Arbabsiar--"approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador," the ABC News report on the unsealed complaint said.
But the man Arbabsiar approached who he thought to be a member of a brutal Mexican drug cartel turned out to be a confidential informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

From May through September, Arbabsiar traveled to Mexico twice to meet with the DEA Confidential Informant to arrange the assassination. Arbabsiar is also accused in the complaint of having transfered $100,000 to the recruited-assassin's bank account--the downpayment on what he said would be $1.5 million paid in total after the assassination.

Arbabsiar, 56, "thought he was dealing with a member of the feared Zetas Mexican drug organization," ABC News reported. He claimed "he was 'directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government,' including a cousin who was 'a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform.'" Officials suggested the cousin may be a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards corps' Qods force.

The United States has previously accused the Qods Force of sponsoring militant attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Arbabsiar and a second man, Gohlam Shakuri, an Iranian official, were named in a five-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday afternoon in federal court in New York," ABC reported. "They were charged with conspiracy to kill a foreign official and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, a bomb, among other counts. Shakuri is still at large in Iran, Holder said."



"U.S. officials said Arbabsiar met twice in July with the DEA informant in the northern Mexico city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, and negotiated a $1.5 million payment for the assassination of the Saudi ambassador," ABC reported. "As a down payment, officials said Arbabsiar wired two payments of $49,960 on Aug. 1 and Aug. 9 to an FBI undercover bank account after he had returned to Iran."

The Saudi King sent a private letter to President Obama in September hand-delivered by Saudi ambassador to the United States al-Jubeir, who has been frequently absent from Washington much of that month. U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon traveled to meet with the Saudi King in Riyadh earlier this month.

 Sounds like it came right out of the book I'm writing. grin Of course we don't need no stinking fence and why on earth would we enforce our immigration laws?
                                        P.C.

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« Reply #1039 on: October 11, 2011, 11:46:51 PM »

It was "Operation Bombwalker" that Iranian law enforcement set up to catch high ranking terrorists willing to use WMD in the US.

Nothing to see here, move along....   wink
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« Reply #1040 on: October 12, 2011, 01:36:51 PM »

One month to the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11 comes a sobering moment in the history of the U.S. war on terror: The Department of Justice has charged that "factions of the Iranian government" plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States by blowing him up inside a Washington, D.C., restaurant.

Had it succeeded, this would have constituted an act of terror by the Islamic Republic of Iran on U.S. soil, and arguably an act of war. To those, notably an emerging isolationist wing in the Republican party, who've argued lately that the U.S. should pull its efforts back from a waning international terrorist threat to focus on domestic concerns, this event is a wake-up call.

Related Video
 Matt Kaminski on Iranian plots to bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington D.C.
..One of the two central figures in the alleged plot, Manssor Arbabsiar—described as a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen with Iranian and U.S. passports—was arrested September 29 at JFK Airport in New York. At a July 17 planning meeting in Mexico, an undercover U.S. agent suggested to Arbabsiar that the assassination would cause mass casualties. Arbabsiar replied: "They [the Iranians] want that guy done; if the hundred go with him, f**k 'em."

The announcement was made yesterday in Washington by Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller, an assistant attorney general for national security and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In short, this is not a group of American guys gone off the rails in New Jersey.

The second figure named in the alleged plot, and Arbabsiar's Iranian contact, was identified as Gholam Shakuri, a member of Iran's Qods force and still at large. Qods is described in the Justice charge sheet as "a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that is said to sponsor and promote terrorist activities abroad."

Justice also makes clear that this effort in Iran extended beyond these two men, referring several times to their "Iran-based co-conspirators." After Arbabsiar's arrest, he was directed to phone Shakuri in Iran, who said on October 5, last Wednesday: "[j]ust do it quickly; it's late . . ."

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at a news conference on the details of a bomb plot targeting the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
.This appalling news needs to be placed in the broader context of Iran's behavior. One of the charges brought by the U.S. against the two men is "conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries." That aptly describes what seems to occupy much of the Iranian government's waking hours.

This June, the International Atomic Energy Agency made public its recent reporting on Iran's nuclear program. Listed in the report's suspected activities were "producing uranium metal . . . into components relevant to a nuclear device" and "missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature."

The good news in yesterday's announcement, and in earlier successes, is that U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence appear to have taken the lessons of 9/11 to heart. They got serious about terror and are able to thwart potential disasters such as this, though we wonder how many others are in train.

Less reassuring is the lapsed seriousness by the West's political leadership about Iran's threat. The U.S. and its allies have imposed sanction regimes on Iran, but they have allowed legalistic definitions to free Iranian officials with ties to its nuclearization program to flout travel bans and such.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives annually to rant from a podium at the United Nations on the East River. Iran is about much more than these antic rants, and its resources are vastly greater than al Qaeda's. It sees itself as at war with the U.S., Europe, Israel and now obviously Saudi Arabia. As obvious, it sees itself as immune to effective retaliation against its repeated, or planned, offensives. It's past time for U.S. policy toward Iran to reflect the reality of what it is dealing with.

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G M
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« Reply #1041 on: October 12, 2011, 01:42:03 PM »

Iran has been waging war on us since 1979. Unfortunately, it's been totally one sided.
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« Reply #1042 on: October 12, 2011, 01:46:39 PM »

GM:

Forgive me, but that is quite incomplete.  Before '79 we were more than a little involved in its internal affairs and we acatively supported Saddam in his war with Iran, a war which cost some million plus lives.
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« Reply #1043 on: October 14, 2011, 06:21:55 AM »



Growing Concern Over the NYPD's Counterterrorism Methods
October 12, 2011

 

By Scott Stewart
In response to the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department (NYPD) established its own Counter-Terrorism Bureau and revamped its Intelligence Division. Since that time, its methods have gone largely unchallenged and have been generally popular with New Yorkers, who expect the department to take measures to prevent future attacks.
Preventing terrorist attacks requires a much different operational model than arresting individuals responsible for such attacks, and the NYPD has served as a leader in developing new, proactive approaches to police counterterrorism. However, it has been more than 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, and the NYPD is now facing growing concern over its counterterrorism activities. There is always an uneasy equilibrium between security and civil rights, and while the balance tilted toward security in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, it now appears to be shifting back.
This shift provides an opportunity to examine the NYPD’s activities, the pressure being brought against the department and the type of official oversight that might be imposed.
Under Pressure
Reports that the NYPD’s Intelligence Division and Counter-Terrorism Bureau engage in aggressive, proactive operations are nothing new. STRATFOR has written about them since 2004, and several books have been published on the topic. Indeed, police agencies from all over the world travel to New York to study the NYPD’s approach, which seems to have been quite effective.
Criticism of the department’s activities is nothing new, either. Civil liberties groups have expressed concern over security methods instituted after 9/11, and Leonard Levitt, who writes a column on New York police activities for the website NYPD Confidential, has long been critical of the NYPD and its commissioner, Ray Kelly. Associated Press reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo have written a series of investigative reports that began on August 24 detailing “covert” NYPD activities, such as mapping the Muslim areas of New York. This was followed by the Aug. 31 publication of what appears to be a leaked NYPD PowerPoint presentation detailing the activities of the Intelligence Division’s Demographics Unit.
In the wake of these reports, criticism of the NYPD’s program has reached a new level. Members of the New York City Council expressed concern that their constituents were being unjustly monitored. Six New York state senators asked the state attorney general to investigate the possibility of “unlawful covert surveillance operations of the Muslim community.” A group of civil rights lawyers also asked a U.S. district judge in Manhattan to force the NYPD to publicize any records of such a program and to issue a court order to prevent their destruction. In response to the AP investigation, two members of Congress, Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., and Rush Holt, D-N.J., asked the Justice Department to investigate. The heat is on.
After an Oct. 7 hearing regarding NYPD intelligence and counterterrorism operations, New York City Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Peter Vallone said, “That portion of the police department’s work should probably be looked at by a federal monitor.”
Following Vallone’s statement, media reports cited Congressional and Obama administration officials saying they have no authority to monitor the NYPD. While Vallone claims the City Council does not have the expertise to oversee the department’s operations, and the federal government says that it lacks the jurisdiction, it is almost certain that the NYPD will eventually face some sort of new oversight mechanisms and judicial review of its counterterrorism activities.
New York City and the Terrorist Threat
While 9/11 had a profound effect on the world and on U.S. foreign policy, it had an overwhelming effect on New York City itself. New Yorkers were willing to do whatever it took to make sure such an attack did not happen again, and when Kelly was appointed police commissioner in 2002, he proclaimed this as his primary duty (his critics attributed the focus to ego and hubris). This meant revamping counterterrorism and moving to an intelligence-based model of prevention rather than one based on prosecution.
The NYPD’s Intelligence Division, which existed prior to 9/11, was known mainly for driving VIPs around New York, one of the most popular destinations for foreign dignitaries and one that becomes very busy during the U.N. General Assembly. Before 9/11, the NYPD also faced certain restrictions contained in a 1985 court order known as the Handschu guidelines, which required the department to submit “specific information” on criminal activity to a panel for approval to monitor any kind of political activity. The Intelligence Division had a very limited mandate. When David Cohen, a former CIA analyst, was brought in to run the division, he went to U.S. District Court in Manhattan to get the guidelines modified. Judge Charles Haight modified them twice in 2002 and 2003, and he could very well review them again. His previous modifications allowed the NYPD Intelligence Division to proactively monitor public activity and look for indications of terrorist or criminal activity without waiting for approval from a review panel.
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau was founded in 2002 with analytical and collection responsibilities similar to those of the Intelligence Division but involving the training, coordination and response of police units. Differences between the two units are mainly bureaucratic and they work closely together.
As the capabilities of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division and Counter-Terrorism Bureau developed, both faced the challenges of any new or revamped intelligence organization. Their officers learned the trade by taking on new monitoring responsibilities, investigating plots and analyzing intelligence from plots in other parts of the United States and abroad. One of their biggest challenges was the lack of access to information from the federal government and other police departments around the United States. The NYPD also believed that the federal government could not protect New York. The most high-profile city in the world for finance, tourism and now terrorism, among other things, decided that it had to protect itself.
The NYPD set about trying to detect plots within New York as they developed, getting information on terrorist tactics and understanding and even deterring plots developing outside the city. In addition to the challenges it also had some key advantages, including a wealth of ethnic backgrounds and language skills to draw on, the budget and drive to develop liaison channels and the agility that comes with being relatively small, which allowed it to adapt to changing threat environments. The department was creating new organizational structures with specific missions and targeted at specific threats. Unlike federal agencies, it had no local competitors, and its large municipal budget was augmented by federal funding that has yet to face cyclical security budget challenges.
Looking for Plots
STRATFOR first wrote about the NYPD’s new proactive approach to counterterrorism in 2004. The NYPD’s focus moved from waiting for an attack to happen and then allowing police and prosecutors to “make the big case” to preventing and disrupting plots long before an attack could occur. This approach often means that operatives plotting attacks are charged with much lower charges than terrorism or homicide, such as document fraud or conspiracy to acquire explosives.
The process of looking for signs of a terrorist plot is not difficult to explain conceptually, but actually preventing an attack is extremely difficult, especially when the investigative agency is trying to balance security and civil liberties. It helps when plotters expose themselves prior to their attack and ordinary citizens are mindful of suspicious behavior. Grassroots defenders, as we call them, can look for signs of pre-operational surveillance, weapons purchasing and bombmaking, and even the expressed intent to conduct an attack. Such activities are seemingly innocuous and often legal — taking photos at a tourist site, purchasing nail-polish remover, exercising the right of free speech — but sometimes these activities are carried out with the purpose of doing harm. The NYPD must figure out how to separate the innocent act from the threatening act, and this requires actionable intelligence.
It is for this reason that the NYPD’s Demographics Unit, which is now apparently called the Zone Assessment Unit, has been carrying out open observation in neighborhoods throughout New York. Understanding local dynamics, down to the block-by-block level, provides the context for any threat reporting and intelligence that the NYPD receives. Also shaping perceptions are the thousands of calls to 911 and 1-888-NYC-SAFE that come in every day, partly due to the city’s “If you see something, say something” campaign. This input, along with observations by so-called “rakers” (undercover police officers) allows NYPD analysts to “connect the dots” and detect plots before an attack occurs. According to the AP reports, these rakers, who go to different neighborhoods, observe and interact with residents and look for signs of criminal or terrorist activity, have been primarily targeting Muslim neighborhoods.
These undercover officers make the same observations that any citizen can make in places where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Indeed, law enforcement officers from the local to the federal level across the country have been doing this for a long time, looking for indicators of criminal activity in business, religious and public settings without presuming guilt.
Long before the NYPD began looking for jihadists, local police have used the same methods to look for mafia activity in Italian neighborhoods, neo-Nazis at gun shows and music concerts, Crips in black neighborhoods and MS-13 members in Latino neighborhoods. Law enforcement infiltration into white hate groups has disrupted much of this movement in the United States. Location is a factor in any counterterrorism effort because certain targeted groups tend to congregate in certain places, but placing too much emphasis on classifications of people can lead to dangerous generalizations, which is why STRATFOR often writes about looking for the “how” rather than the “who.”
Understanding New Threats and Tactics
As the NYPD saw it, the department needed tactical information as soon as possible so it could change the threat posture. The department’s greatest fear was that a coordinated attack would occur on cities throughout the world and police in New York would not be ramped up in time to prevent or mitigate it. For example, an attack on transit networks in Europe at rush hour could be followed by an attack a few hours later in New York, when New Yorkers were on their way to work. This fear was almost realized with the 2004 train attacks in Madrid. Within hours of the attacks, NYPD officers were in Madrid reporting back to New York, but the NYPD claims the report they received from the FBI came 18 months later. There was likely some intelligence sharing prior to this report, but the perceived lack of federal responsiveness explains why the NYPD has embarked on its independent, proactive mission.
NYPD officers reportedly are located in 11 cities around the world, and in addition to facilitating a more rapid exchange of intelligence and insight, these overseas operatives are also charged with developing liaison relationships with other police forces. And instead of being based in the U.S. embassy like the FBI’s legal attache, they work on the ground and in the offices of the local police. The NYPD believes this helps the department better protect New York City, and it is willing to risk the ire of and turf wars with other U.S. agencies such as the FBI, which has a broader mandate to operate abroad.
Managing Oversight and Other Challenges
The New York City Council does not have the same authority to conduct classified hearings that the U.S. Congress does when it oversees national intelligence activity. And the federal government has limited legal authority at the local level. What Public Safety Committee Chairman Vallone and federal government sources are implying is that they are not willing to take on oversight responsibilities in New York. In other words, while there are concerns about the NYPD’s activities, they are happy with the way the department is working and want to let it continue, albeit with more accountability. As oversight exists now, Kelly briefs Vallone on various NYPD operations, and even with more scrutiny from the City Council, any operations are likely be approved.
The NYPD still has to keep civil rights concerns in mind, not only because of a legal or moral responsibility but also to function successfully. As soon as the NYPD is seen as a dangerous presence in a neighborhood rather than a protective asset, it will lose access to the intelligence that is so important in preventing terrorist attacks. The department has plenty of incentive to keep its officers in line.
Threats and Dimwits
One worry is that the NYPD is overly focused on jihadists, rather than other potential threats like white supremacists, anarchists, foreign government agents or less predictable “lone wolves.”
The attack by Anders Breivik in Oslo, Norway, reminded police departments and security services worldwide that tunnel vision focused on jihadists is dangerous. If the NYPD is indeed focusing only on Muslim neighborhoods (which it probably is not), the biggest problem is that it will fail in its security mission, not that it will face prosecution for racial profiling. The department has ample incentive to think about what the next threat could be and look for new and less familiar signs of a pending attack. Simple racial profiling will not achieve that goal.
The modern history of terrorism in New York City goes back to a 1916 attack by German saboteurs on a New Jersey arms depot that damaged buildings in Manhattan. However unlikely, these are the kinds of threats that the NYPD will also need to think about as it tries to keep its citizens safe. The alleged Iranian plot to carry out an assassination in the Washington area underscores the possibility of state-organized sabotage or terrorism.
That there have been no successful terrorist attacks in New York City since 9/11 cannot simply be attributed to NYPD. In the Faisal Shahzad case, the fact that his improvised explosive device did not work was just as important as the quick response of police officers in Times Square. Shahzad’s failure was not a result of preventive intelligence and counterterrorism work. U.S. operations in Afghanistan and other countries that have largely disrupted the al Qaeda network have also severely limited its ability to attack New York again.
The NYPD’s counterterrorism and intelligence efforts are still new and developing. As such, they are unconstrained compared to those of the larger legacy organizations at the federal level. At the same time, the department’s activities are unprecedented at the local level. As its efforts mature, the pendulum of domestic security and civil liberties will remain in motion, and the NYPD will face new scrutiny in the coming year, including judicial oversight, which is an important standard in American law enforcement. The challenge for New York is finding the correct balance between guarding the lives and protecting the rights of its people.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1044 on: October 19, 2011, 10:18:48 AM »


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/10/19/terror-alert-bomb-scare-after-san-antonio-courthouse-break-in/?test=latestnews#ixzz1bEc9d78e
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1045 on: October 19, 2011, 07:25:34 PM »

This is rather pathetic from a security perspective.  If they could steal the entire truck unhindered, then they could just as easily have planted explosives in the President's lecterns.
 
Do you really want to count on a dog sweep (highly probable) as your only layer of security between the President and an item he might be standing right next to?  I see this as no better than leaving a protectee's vehicle unsecured at night.
 
--------------
 
Obama’s speech equipment stolen in Virginia: report
By David Nakamura
Washington Post October 19, 2011
 
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Opportunistic thieves, opposition party operatives or just fans of President Obama really eager to know what he has to say?
 
A Henrico, Va., television station, WWBT-NBC12, is reporting that a truck carrying $200,000 worth of equipment — including several lecterns with the presidential seal, teleprompters and portable audio equipment — for Obama’s appearance in Chesterfield on Wednesday was stolen outside a Marriott hotel.
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« Reply #1046 on: October 19, 2011, 07:32:00 PM »

"fans of President Obama really eager to know what he has to say? "
 

I thought those were extinct, banished far and away to times of long ago.
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G M
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« Reply #1047 on: October 19, 2011, 08:16:59 PM »

This is rather pathetic from a security perspective.  If they could steal the entire truck unhindered, then they could just as easily have planted explosives in the President's lecterns.
 
Do you really want to count on a dog sweep (highly probable) as your only layer of security between the President and an item he might be standing right next to?  I see this as no better than leaving a protectee's vehicle unsecured at night.
 
--------------
 
Obama’s speech equipment stolen in Virginia: report
By David Nakamura
Washington Post October 19, 2011
 
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Opportunistic thieves, opposition party operatives or just fans of President Obama really eager to know what he has to say?
 
A Henrico, Va., television station, WWBT-NBC12, is reporting that a truck carrying $200,000 worth of equipment — including several lecterns with the presidential seal, teleprompters and portable audio equipment — for Obama’s appearance in Chesterfield on Wednesday was stolen outside a Marriott hotel.


There has been some serious security breaches in recent times that demonstrate some serious problems within the US Secret Service.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1048 on: October 20, 2011, 11:20:06 AM »

Reflections on the Iranian Assassination Plot
October 20, 2011

 

By Scott Stewart
On Oct. 11, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that two men had been charged in New York with taking part in a plot directed by the Iranian Quds Force to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, on U.S. soil.
Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri face numerous charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national borders and conspiracy to murder a foreign official. Arbabsiar, who was arrested Sept. 29 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, is a U.S. citizen with both Iranian and U.S. passports. Shakuri, who remains at large, allegedly is a senior officer in Iran’s Quds Force, a special unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) believed to promote military and terrorist activities abroad.
Between May and July, Arbabsiar, who lives in the United States, allegedly traveled several times to Mexico, where he met with a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confidential informant who was posing as an associate of the Mexican Los Zetas cartel. The criminal complaint charges that Arbabsiar attempted to hire the DEA source and his purported accomplices to kill the ambassador. Arbabsiar’s Iranian contacts allegedly wired two separate payments totaling $100,000 in August into an FBI-controlled bank account in the United States, with Shakuri’s approval, as a down payment to the DEA source for the killing (the agreed-upon total price was $1.5 million).
Much has been written about the Arbabsiar case, both by those who believe the U.S. government’s case is valid and by those who doubt the facts laid out in the criminal complaint. However, as we have watched this case unfold, along with the media coverage surrounding it, it has occurred to us that there are two aspects of the case that we think merit more discussion. The first is that, as history has shown, it is not unusual for Iran to employ unconventional assassins in plots inside the United States. Second, while the DEA informant was reportedly posing as a member of Los Zetas, we do not believe the case proves any sort of increase in the terrorist threat emanating from the United States’ southern border.
Unconventional Assassins
One argument that has appeared in media coverage and has cast doubt on the validity of the U.S. government’s case is the alleged use by the Quds Force of Arbabsiar, an unemployed used car salesman, as its interlocutor. The criminal complaint states that Arbabsiar was recruited by his cousin, Abdul Reza Shahlai, a senior Quds Force commander, in spring 2011 and then handled by Shakuri, who is Shahlai’s deputy. The complaint also alleges that, initially, Arbabsiar was tasked with finding someone to kidnap al-Jubeir, but at some unspecified point the objective of the plot turned from kidnapping to murder. After his arrest, Arbabsiar told the agents who interviewed him that he was chosen for the mission because of his business interests and contacts in the United States and Mexico and that he told his cousin that he knew individuals involved in the narcotics trade. Shahlai then allegedly tasked Arbabsiar to attempt to hire some of his narco contacts for the kidnapping mission since Shahlai believed that people involved in the narcotics trade would be willing to undertake illegal activities, such as kidnapping, for money.
It is important to recognize that Arbabsiar was not just a random used car salesman selected for this mission. He is purportedly the cousin of a senior Quds Force officer and was in Iran talking to his cousin when he was recruited. According to some interviews appearing in the media, Arbabsiar had decided to leave the United States and return permanently to Iran, but, as a naturalized U.S. citizen, he could have been seen as useful by the Quds Force for his ability to freely travel to the United States. Arbabsiar also was likely enticed by the money he could make working for the Quds Force — money that could have been useful in helping him re-establish himself in Iran. If he was motivated by money rather than ideology, it could explain why he flipped so easily after being arrested by U.S. authorities.
Now, while the Iranian government has shown the ability to conduct sophisticated operations in countries within its sphere of influence, such as Lebanon and Iraq, the use of suboptimal agents to orchestrate an assassination plot in the United States is not entirely without precedent.
For example, there appear to be some very interesting parallels between the Arbabsiar case and two other alleged Iranian plots to assassinate dissidents in Los Angeles and London. The details of these cases were exposed in the prosecution and conviction of Mohammad Reza Sadeghnia in California and in U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks pertaining to the Sadeghnia case.
Sadeghnia, who was arrested in Los Angeles in July 2009, is a naturalized U.S. citizen of Iranian descent who at one point ran a painting business in Michigan. Sadeghnia was apparently recruited by the Iranian government and allegedly carried out preoperational surveillance on Jamshid Sharmahd, who made radio broadcasts for the Iranian opposition group Tondar from his residence in Glendora, Calif., and Ali Reza Nourizadeh, who worked for Voice of America in London.
Sadeghnia’s clumsy surveillance activities were a testament to his lack of tradecraft and were noticed by his targets. But even though he was fairly inept, a number of other factors seem to support claims that he was working as an agent for the Iranian government. These include his guilty plea, his international travel, and the facts that he conducted surveillance on two high-profile Iranian dissidents on two continents, was convicted of soliciting someone to murder one of them and then returned to Tehran while on supervised release.
Sadeghnia’s profile as an unemployed housepainter from Iran who lived in the United States for many years is similar to that of Arbabsiar, a failed used car salesman. Sadeghnia pleaded guilty of planning to use a third man (also an Iranian-American) to run over and murder Sharmahd with a used van Sadeghnia had purchased. Like the alleged Arbabsiar plot, the Sadeghnia case displayed a lack of sophisticated assassination methodology in an Iranian-linked plot inside the United States.
This does raise the question of why Iran chose to use another unsophisticated assassination operation after the Sadeghnia failure. On the other hand, the Iranians experienced no meaningful repercussions from that plot or much negative press.
For Iranian operatives to be so obvious while operating inside the United States is not a new thing, as illustrated by the case of David Belfield, also known as Dawud Salahuddin, who was hired by the Iranian government to assassinate high-profile Iranian dissident Ali Akbar Tabatabaei in July 1980. Salahuddin is an African-American convert to Islam who worked as a security guard at an Iranian diplomatic office in Washington. He was paid $5,000 to shoot Tabatabaei and then fled the United States for Iran, where he still resides. In a plot reminiscent of the movie Three Days of the Condor, Salahuddin, who had stolen a U.S. Postal Service jeep, walked up to Tabatabaei’s front door dressed in a mail carrier’s uniform and shot the Iranian diplomat as he answered the door. It was a simple plot in which the Iranian hand was readily visible.
There also have been numerous assassinations and failed assassination attempts directed against Iranian dissidents in Europe and elsewhere that were conducted in a rudimentary fashion by operatives easily linked to Iran. Such cases include the 1991 assassination of Shapour Bakhtiar in Paris, the 1989 murder of Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou in Vienna and the 1992 killing of three Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin.
All that said, there was a lengthy break between the Iranian assassinations in the West in the 1980s and 1990s and the Sadeghnia and Arbabsiar cases. We do not know for certain what could have motivated Iran to resume such operations, but the Iranians have been locked in a sustained covert intelligence war with the United States and its allies for several years now. It is possible these attacks are seen as an Iranian escalation in that war, or as retaliation for the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists in Iran, which the Iranians claim were conducted by the United States and Israel.
South of the Border
One other result of the Arbabsiar case is that it has re-energized the long-held U.S. fears of foreign entities using the porous U.S.-Mexico border to conduct terrorist attacks inside the United States and of Mexican cartels partnering with foreign entities to carry out such attacks.
But there are reasons this case does not substantiate such fears. First, it is important to remember that the purported Iranian operative in this case who traveled to the United States, Arbabsiar, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He is not an Iranian who illegally crossed the border from Mexico. Arbabsiar used his U.S. passport to travel between the United States and Mexico.
Second, while Arbabsiar, and purportedly Shahlai, believed that the Los Zetas cartel would undertake kidnapping or assassination in the United States in exchange for money, that assumption may be flawed. Certainly, while Mexican cartels do indeed kidnap and murder people inside the United States (often for financial gain), they also have a long history of being very careful about the types of operations they conduct inside the United States. This is because the cartels do not want to incur the full wrath of the U.S. government. Shooting a drug dealer in Laredo who loses a load of dope is one thing; going after the Saudi ambassador in Washington is quite another. While the payoff for this operation seems substantial ($1.5 million), there is no way that a Mexican cartel would jeopardize its billion-dollar enterprise for such a small one-time payment and for an act that offered no other apparent business benefit to the cartel. While Mexican cartels can be quite violent, their violence is calculated for the most part, and they tend to refrain from activities that could jeopardize their long-term business plans.
One potential danger in terms of U.S. mainland security is that the Arbabsiar case might focus too much additional attention on the U.S.-Mexico border and that this attention could cause resources to be diverted from the northern border and other points of entry, such as airports and seaports. While it is relatively easy to illegally enter the United States over the southern border, and the United States has no idea who many of the illegal immigrants really are, that does not mean that resources should be taken from elsewhere.
As STRATFOR has noted before, many terrorist plots have originated in Canada — far more than have had any sort of nexus to Mexico. These include plots involving Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, a Palestinian who was convicted of planning a suicide bombing of the New York subway system in 1997; Ahmed Ressam, who was arrested when he tried to enter the United States with explosives in 1999; and the so-called Toronto 18 cell, which was arrested in 2006 and later convicted of planning a string of attacks in Canada and the United States.
Moreover, most terrorist operatives who have traveled to the United States intending to participate in terrorist attacks have flown directly into the country from overseas. Such operatives include the 19 men involved in the 9/11 attacks, the foreigners involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the follow-on New York landmarks bomb plot, as well as failed New York subway bomber Najibulah Zazi and would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. Even failed shoe bomber Richard Reid and would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to fly directly into the United States.
While there is concern over security on the southern U.S. border, past plots involving foreign terrorist operatives traveling to the United States have either involved direct travel to the United States or travel from Canada. There is simply no empirical evidence to support the idea that the Mexican border is more likely to be used by terrorist operatives than other points of entry.
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« Reply #1049 on: November 02, 2011, 06:24:24 AM »

http://news.yahoo.com/georgia-men-charged-plotting-ricin-012138938.html
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