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Tag: al Qaeda

Justice Dept. Fights Release of bin Laden Photos After Killing

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes curiosity just isn’t enough reason to do something.

At least that’s what the government seems to believe as it fights efforts by the group Judicial Watch, which has asked under the Freedom of Information Act for photos and videos of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden after he was killed in May.

Politico reports that the Justice Department filed papers in federal court in Washington Monday night saying the release of the videos and photos would reveal military and intelligence secrets and could lead to violence against U.S. personnel. The CIA and the Pentagon are against releasing the materials.

The CIA has described the photos as “gruesome.”

President Obama said, according to Politico:

“It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool. You know, that’s not who we are. You know, we don’t trot out this stuff as trophies. We don’t need to spike the football.”

Head of Chicago FBI Says al-Qaida Still Obsessed With Planes; Office is Probing Mail Bombs


Robert Grant/fbi photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A decade later and it appears that al-Qaeda members are still trying to turn airplanes into deadly weapons.

“Al-Qaida has been obsessed with airplanes, they continue to be obsessed with airplanes,” said Robert Grant, head of the Chicago FBI., according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “They want to use airplanes to kill people. … It continues to be a desire on their part to bring a plane down.”

Grant also disclosed publicly for the first time that Chicago investigators have been looking into international terrorism plots involving mail bombs sent on Chicago-bound flights from over seas. In October of last year the devices were found hidden in printer cartridges pulled from flights in England and the United Arab Emirates following a tip, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Sent from Yemen, the packages “were addressed to former Chicago area synagogues bearing the names of historical figures as a way to stick it in their eyes,'” reports the Sun-Times.

“The person who built that bomb still remains at liberty, somewhere in Yemen,” Grant said in an appearance before the Niagra Foundation in Chicago, according to the Sun-Times. “He has been hunted for a long time, but he is a very, very skilled bomb-maker.” Officials believe al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch are responsible for the plot, according to the Sun-Times.

Investigators said last year that they found links between the Chicago-bound explosives and the one intended for use by the “underwear bomber” in Detroit.

To read more click here.

The CIA Wants Cuts in Ex-FBI Agent’s Book That’s Critical of Spy Agency

By SCOTT SHANE
New York Times

WASHINGTON — In what amounts to a fight over who gets to write the history of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath, the Central Intelligence Agency is demanding extensive cuts from the memoir of a former F.B.I. agent who spent years near the center of the battle against Al Qaeda.

The agent, Ali H. Soufan, argues in the book that the C.I.A. missed a chance to derail the 2001 plot by withholding from the F.B.I. information about two future 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego, according to several people who have read the manuscript. And he gives a detailed, firsthand account of the C.I.A.’s move toward brutal treatment in its interrogations, saying the harsh methods used on the agency’s first important captive, Abu Zubaydah, were unnecessary and counterproductive.

Neither critique of the C.I.A. is new. In fact, some of the information that the agency argues is classified, according to two people who have seen the correspondence between the F.B.I. and C.I.A., has previously been disclosed in open Congressional hearings, the report of the national commission on 9/11 and even the 2007 memoir of George J. Tenet, the former C.I.A. director.

To read full story click here.

Top Ten List About Paranoia: FBI Investigating Radical Muslim’s Death Threats Against David Letterman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If talk show host David Letterman were to put out a “Top 10 List” of reasons to be paranoid, this would be at the top.

The FBI has said it will investigate a death threat made by a radical Muslim, the International Business Times reports.

The radical person called for Letterman’s tongue to be cut out and his neck broken for mocking former al Qaeda leader and former senior al-Qaeda member Ilyas Kashmiri, the publication reported.

“So [al Qaeda] picked a successor to Osama bin Laden, and his name was Ilyas Kashmiri,” Letterman said during his opening monologue on June 8. “Well, guess what: He was blown up by an American drone.”

The International Business Times  reported that “Omar from Basra, Iraq”  posted on the al Qaeda online forum Shumoukh al-Islam: “We pray to Allah to paralyze his tongue, and that the righteous believers will break his neck.”

The International Business Times reported that CBS and Letterman declined comment and that New York police notified CBS and local police wher Letterman lives.

FBI Mueller’s Full Statement Before Judiciary: “FBI Has Never Faced a More Complex Threat Environment”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III began the process on Wednesday of getting a two- year extension when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Committee is considering a bill that would extend his stay two years beyond the 10-year term, which expires in September.

Currently legislation limits the term of an FBI director to 10 years, a move that was taken after J. Edgar Hoover died. Many thought Hoover had stayed on too long and gathered too much political power.

The following is Mueller’s statement before the Judiciary Committee:

Good morning Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee today.

As you know, my term as FBI Director is due to expire later this summer. In early May, the president asked if I would be willing to serve an additional two years, and I told him I would be honored to do so.

The president has further asked that Congress pass the legislation necessary to extend my term, and the committee is considering that legislation at today’s hearing. If my term is extended, I look forward to working with the committee and the men and women of the FBI to meet the challenges that face us in the years to come.

The FBI has never faced a more complex threat environment than it does today. Over the past year, we have seen an extraordinary array of national security and criminal threats, from terrorism and espionage to cyber attacks and traditional crimes. These threats have ranged from attempts by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to place bombs on airplanes bound for the United States to lone actors seeking to detonate IEDs in public squares and subways, intent on mass murder.

Read more »

Fingerprint Links al Qaeda Bomb Maker to Underwear Bomber and Bombs in Printers

Ibrahim Hassan Al-Siri

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The hand of al Qaeda is on key evidence involving attempted terrorist attacks against the U.S.

The Associated Press reports that the fingerprints of al-Qaida’s top bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri in Yemen has been linked to the bomb hidden in the underwear of  a Nigerian man on Christmas day on a Detroit-bound flight in 2009.

And AP reported that the underwear bomb is chemically identical to the bombs hidden inside two printers that were shipped from Yemen to the U.S.

The wire service said the original fingerprint used for the match probably came from Saudi Arabia where al-Asiri and his brother were once arrested for terrorist activity.  AP reported that they were released and eventually fled to Yemen in 2006.

Column: Al Qaeda Bent on Revenge: Watch Out for Assassinations

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

James Cavanaugh/atf photo

By James Cavanaugh
For ticklethwire.com

Dingdong the witch is dead.

Yet the Al Qeada organization remains active and no doubt bent on revenge to show the world it is viable and deadly.

Law-enforcement leaders now have a special challenge: To learn the lessons of history that can help formulate a forward-looking strategy. Don’t count al Qaeda out. Like a wounded cobra, it still may be able to strike out and kill, with the wound only fueling its determination.

Yes, we all remember the attacks on 9/11, and the attacks on the trains of London, Madrid and Moscow. Yes, these were deadly and theatrical attacks we will never forget.

But Al Qaeda has another long-standing tactic of death rarely talked about in law-enforcement command circles: A long history of assassinating leaders. We must be conscious of this and respond if we want to stay ahead of the curve.

One of the seminal events of the modern terrorist era was the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the hands of the Muslim brotherhood.

Read more »

Time Magazine: How The G-Man Got His Groove Back

“They haven’t done everything perfectly. They’ve made mistakes. By and large, he has moved the FBI in the right direction.” — Glenn A. Fine, former Justice Dept. Inspector General in Time article on Robert Mueller

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Barton Gellman
Time

FBI Director Bob Mueller glanced at the black chronograph he wears Marine-style, the face inside his wrist. It was 7:38 a.m. Not quite time. He reviewed his inbox. Drummed a four-fingered staccato on the desk. Consulted his wrist again: 7:39.

Mueller had already slashed through the red leather briefing book that headquarters dispatched to his Georgetown home before dawn. The title embossed on the cover was simply “Director,” above the words “Top Secret/Contains Codeword Material.” Yellow highlights flagged the points Mueller wanted to probe.

An al-Qaeda affiliate was evading surveillance with a new covert channel of communication. Cyberintruders had breached a defense contractor’s firewall. The Tucson, Ariz., shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords had become a grotesque recruiting tool for antigovernment extremists. Turmoil in Bahrain had left FBI agents unable to serve a fugitive warrant. Egypt’s meltdown was causing trouble for a valuable counterintelligence source.

One of three deputy U.S. marshals shot in West Virginia had succumbed to his wounds. Two more federal officers, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had been ambushed in northern Mexico, one fatally. Mexican authorities wanted access to FBI files, and Mueller had to decide how much to share. (See pictures of a Mexican drug gang’s “holy war.”)

Something more pressing was on Mueller’s mind on Feb. 17, when TIME shadowed him through much of his day. The director had locked his sights on Lubbock, Texas, and Spokane, Wash., where his agents were closing in on a pair of unrelated terrorist plots.

To read full article click here.