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Tag: al Qaeda

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Continues to Bang the Drum About the Dangers of Terrorists and the Cyber World

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo By Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
There’s was nothing particularly shocking — or for that matter new — in FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III’s speech Thursday, but it was another reminder of the havoc and mischief we can expect via cyber attacks against business and government in the future.

Terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority,” Mueller told a crowd in San Francisco at the RSA Cyber Security Conference, according to the text of his speech. “But in the not too distant future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country.”

Mueller talked about how increasingly “cyber savvy” terrorist have become, citing as example, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has produced a full-color, English-language online magazine.

“They are not only sharing ideas, they are soliciting information and inviting recruits to join al Qaeda. ”

“Al Shabaab—the al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia—has its own Twitter account. Al Shabaab uses it to taunt its enemies—in English—and to encourage terrorist activity, ” he said. “Extremists are not merely making use of the Internet for propaganda and recruitment. They are also using cyber space to conduct operations.”

“The individuals who planned the attempted Times Square bombing in May 2010 used public web cameras for reconnaissance. They used file-sharing sites to share sensitive operational details. They deployed remote conferencing software to communicate. They used a proxy server to avoid being tracked by an IP address. And they claimed responsibility for the attempted attack—on YouTube.”

To read the complete speech click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Brits Release Cleric With Suspected Ties to al Qaeda

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s something bound to cause a stir and heighten anxiety:

CNN reported Monday that a British court granted bail to a radical cleric Abu Qatada, who is accused of having links to al Qaeda.

CNN reported that Abu Qatada has been imprisoned for years and has been fighting deportation to Jordan after he was arrested for being a suspected terrorism.

The Home Office, which is the United Kingdom’s government agency responsible for immigration control, security, and order, opposed bail, according to CNN.

“This is a dangerous man who we believe poses a real threat to our security,” the Home Office said through a spokesperson,, according to CNN “… This is not the end of the road and we are continuing to consider our legal options.”

To read more click here.

Column: Retired ATF Official Warns that Law Enforcement Must Look Forward in the War on Terrorism

James Cavanaugh was an ATF agent and supervisor for 33 years before retiring in 2010.

James Cavanaugh/atf photo

 
By James Cavanaugh
For ticklethewire.com

Law-enforcement, security and intelligence professionals must have a forward-looking approach in the current climate of world events. Now is the time for police and intelligence personnel to think critically about the year ahead. While the threat from a wounded Al Qaeda won’t disappear, the looming threat from a cornered Iran – and it’s terrorist proxies like Hezbollah — may become the more deadly problem.

Here’s why. Western nations have ramped up the sanctions against Iran. Additionally, in the last few years, five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated. The most recent attack with a magnetic bomb was attached by a motorcyclist to the scientist’s vehicle. Just viewing the vehicle destruction on media footage shows the targeted nature of the bomb. It was no terroristic bomb trying to gain mass casualties.

Iran has ramped up its saber rattling and threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz. The Iranian Navy has sent small fast boats to harass U.S. Navy warships in the Persian Gulf. Iran is holding a 27-year-old former United States Marine Corps veteran of Iranian descent and accusing him of being a CIA spy. The New York Times reports Iran is vowing revenge against Israel and the United States over the scientists assassination. And this week, the European Union announced tougher sanctions still.

How this all plays out in the world stage is unclear. Ditto for how it could all play out here at home. But we know Iran’s and Hezbollah’s tentacles have reached our shores. Law enforcement has to be vigilante.

That’s where being proactive and smart counts. We have to look at the history of Iran and its terrorist proxies to try and predict the future. In the past years, Iran has wielded a formidable weapon, the dangerous and deadly proxies’ of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a fighting force with capabilities above and beyond even Al Qaeda. Hezbollah is supported by a nation-state, trained directly by military personnel, closely allied with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) and the Quds Force, and tempered in war, most recently the 2006 war between Hezbollah in Lebanon against Israel. They are likely heavily operating as thugs in Syria for the Assad government, a close ally of Iran in the most recent months.

Hezbollah is the modern father of suicide bombing. It was responsible for three major terrorist bombings in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon; The US Embassy, The French Military Barracks and the US Marine Corps Barracks, for a total of 316 deaths. The group was busy in Beirut in 1984 when it set a bomb outside the US Embassy annex that killed 24 people.

In 1985, the group hijacked TWA Flight 847 and killed a US Navy Diver, and later that same year, members captured, tortured and killed the CIA Station Chief in Lebanon. I was serving in The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and recall when we sent a team of ATF bomb investigators to the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1992, to help the Argentine Government investigate and deal with the 29 killed there. Once again Hezbollah and Iran were believed responsible. Hezbollah struck again with the Argentina bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 96 people. The group also struck the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 killing 19 US Military personnel.

Closer to home, in 2002, Sheriff’s Deputies, State Agents and ATF, FBI and federal prosecutors broke up and arrested members of a flourishing Hezbollah cell in North Carolina which was smuggling cigarettes and funneling huge amounts of cash and sophisticated military equipment to Hezbollah.

More recently, in October 2011, the DEA, FBI and federal prosecutors arrested a member of the Quds Force, an arm of the Revolutionary Guard, and an Iranian American for a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States.

The group also plotted to bomb the Israeli embassy in Washington and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Argentina. Luckily the effort was poorly executed and failed. US Law Enforcement exploited that weakness and broke up the plot. Hezbollah has direct connections to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds force. Also, we know from public information how closely they operate with direction from Iran.

The good news is that all of the training and preparation that law-enforcement and intelligence have done to defeat attacks by Al Qaeda are invaluable and directly applicable to the fight even against Hezbollah, Iran and all of its dispatched demons.

Notwithstanding that training, you often don’t see if you are not looking. Law enforcement has to look toward the next threat, not always the last threat, Al Qaeda is constantly looking behind themselves for drones, police can’t be constantly looking behind for Al Qaeda only, the next attack may come from another direction.

In the end, I refer to the United States Coast Guard’s motto, “Semper Paratus”, always ready.

 

 

Mass. Man Convicted on Terrorism Charges in Boston

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Massachusetts man is facing life in prison after being convicted on Tuesday in Boston federal court on terrorism charges.

After  10 hours of deliberation, the federal jury convicted Tarek Mehanna of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda, to commit murder in a foreign country and to charges of providing false statements to the government, according to a statement by the FBI.

Jurors heard testimony that the 29-year-old and others discussed committing  violent jihad against American interests and to die on the battlefield. Mehanna and two others went to the Middle East in February of 2004 for military-type training. He continued to support terrorist groups upon returning by translating for and posting to jihadi websites, according to the FBI.

He was interviewed by federal authorities in December 2006 about a trip to Yemen he made in 2004, in which he provided false information.

The conspiracy to kill in a foreign country conviction could bring a life sentence, and other carious charges could amount to 26 years additionally. All carry up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

From his travel to Yemen to receive training to kill American soldiers to his material support for terrorism at home, Mr. Mehanna’s efforts to use and support violence followed no pre-defined path and knew no bounds,” said Richard DesLauriers, the Special Agent In Charge of the Boston FBI in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

FBI Dir. Mueller Fires Off Letter Opposing Mandatory Military Custody for Terrorist Suspects

 

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not everyday that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III jumps into the political fray.

But the Associated Press reports that Mueller on Monday fired off a letter to lawmakers raising concerns about a proposed defense bill that would require military custody for someone captured who is suspected of being a member of al Qaeda or its affiliate and is involved in plotting or carrying out terrorist acts against the U.S.

“Because the proposed legislation applies to certain persons detained in the United States, the legislation may adversely impact our ability to continue ongoing international terrorism investigations before or after arrest, derive intelligence from those investigations and may raise extraneous issues in any future prosecution of a person covered” by the provision, Mueller wrote, according to AP.

Mueller also wrote, according to AP, that the provision could prevent the FBI from using a grand jury to gather records or subpoenaing witnesses.

“The legislation … will inhibit our ability to convince covered arrestees to cooperate immediately, and provide critical intelligence,” Mueller said.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Was FBI’s Disinterest in NY Terror Case an Indicator That It May Have Been Overblown?

Mayor Bloomberg

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Did police, district attorneys and Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg inflate the importance of a recent terror suspect arrest?  A New York magazine report suggests that was possibility.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and Mayor Bloomberg announced the arrest of Jose Pimentel at a city hall news conference Sunday night. But it turns out that the FBI had turned down requests to take part in the Pimentel investigation, citing some “issues” the agency had with the case.

“But more information on the seriousness of Pimentel’s threat, as suggested by the absence of the FBI in the investigation, could indicate that the arrest was more insignificant than it appeared last night,” New York magazine wrote.

Pimentel had been under investigation for more than two years. Bloomberg told the press the suspect had no connections to outside terror groups and was acting as “a total lone wolf.” Pimentel kept up the website www.trueislam1.com, which posted bomb-making directions from the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire, and had allegedly spoken of his desire to train in Yemen to carry out jihad in New York.

A law enforcement official, according to New York magazine, saw it this way:  “We weren’t going to wait around to figure out what he wanted to do with his bombs. He was in Harlem about an hour from actually having assembled the bombs” at the time of his arrest, but had all the “unassembled components ready to go.”

To read more click here.

Column: The Wrong Way to Fight Terrorism

Salam Al-Marayati is president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
 
By Salam Al-Marayati
Los Angeles Times Op-Ed Page

We in the Muslim American community have been battling the corrupt and bankrupt ideas of cults such as Al Qaeda. Now it seems we also have to battle pseudo-experts in the FBI and the Department of Justice.

A disturbing string of training material used by the FBI and a U.S. attorney’s office came to light beginning in late July that reveals a deep anti-Muslim sentiment within the U.S. government.

If this matter is not immediately addressed, it will undermine the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim American community — another example of the ineptitude and/or apathy undermining bridges built with care over decades. It is not enough to just call it a “very valid concern,” as FBI Director Robert Mueller told a congressional committee this month.

To read more click here.

Opinions Mixed on Assassination of US Born Radical Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

al-Awlaki

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On tv, radio and on the Internet, pro and con opinions are rapidly cropping up over the assassination in Yemen of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric.

Plenty folks in the U.S. were simply elated. Period.

But others  are questioning whether the U.S. has stepped over the line by assassinating the U.S. citizen.

President Obama called Awlaqi’s death “a major blow to al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate” and described him as “the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” according to the Washington Post.

“In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans,” Obama said at a ceremony honoring the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Fort Myer, Fla., the Post reported.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), when asked by CNN Friday whether he had a problem with President Obama approving the assassination of an American citizen, said the only problem he would have had would have been if the president had not ordered the assassination.

Charlie Dunlap, visiting professor of law at Duke University Law School and director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, said in a statement:

“In short, if a U.S. citizen overseas presents an imminent threat, or is a participant in an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict against the U.S., as the administration seems to be alleging is the case with al-Awlaki, the mere fact that he may also be accused of criminal offenses does not necessarily give him sanctuary from being lawfully attacked overseas as any other enemy belligerent might be.”

Here’s some samples of  opinions on newspaper websites around the country:

Reader DELewes wrote in the Washington Post:  “While a happy result, the means is a little frightening. We need a serious discussion of proper conduct of war…”

Reader battleground51 wrote in the Post: “This seems to be one of the things Obama is doing right.”

In the New York Times, Shane from New England wrote:  “Great news. With the murder of Bin Laden, this is a real feather in the president’s cap. The world is safer (I hope) today.”

A.S. of CA wrote in the Times: “Yes, Awlaki made videos supporting Al quaeda and wrote sermons. But as the Supreme Court has made it unambiguously clear in the past, advocating violence is protected free speech.”

Kevin D. Williamson, in a column in the National Review wrote:

“Here are two facts: (1) Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen and an al-Qaeda propagandist. (2) Pres. Barack Obama proposes to assassinate him. Between the first fact and the second falls the shadow.

“The Awlaki case has led many conservatives into dangerous error, as has the War on Terror more generally. That conservatives are for the most part either offering mute consent or cheering as the Obama administration draws up a list of U.S. citizens to be assassinated suggests not only that have we gone awry in our thinking about national security, limitations on state power, and the role of the president in our republic, but also that we still do not understand all of the implications of our country’s confrontation with Islamic radicalism.”

In response to the column, reader RobL wrote: “OK so if a policeman kills a criminal who is shooting at him, is this an assassination?

If a National Guardsman shoots and kills a looter during a state of emergency, is that an assassination?

If Major Hassan was killed by the guard woman who shot him, would that have been an assassination.

No, no and no!

al-Awlaki whether a citizen or not was declared war against the United States has plotted to kill and successfully organized missions to kill Americans.”