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February 2023


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: libya

U.S. Citizen Gets 20 Years For Leading an All-Women Military Terrorist Battalion in Syria

By Allan Lengel

A U.S. citizen was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday in Virginia for organizing and leading an all-female military battalion in Syria on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Allison Fluke-Ekren (police photo)

The government alleges that Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, formerly of Kansas, traveled overseas from around September 2011 to May 2019 and engaged in terrorist acts in countries including Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Fluke-Ekren ultimately served as the leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion known as the Khatiba Nusaybah, where she trained women to use AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts. Over 100 women and girls, some as young as 10, received military training from Fluke-Ekren in Syria on behalf of ISIS, authorities alleged.

During the sentencing hearing, the court put in the record two separate letters submitted by Fluke-Ekren’s adult daughter and adult son, both of whom accused her of abusing them in Kansas and overseas while they were still minors.

Her daughter also delivered a victim impact statement in court describing abuse in Syria, including coercing her to marry an ISIS fighter, who raped her. She was 13 at the time.

Around 2008, Fluke-Ekren departed the U.S. and moved to Egypt with her now-deceased second husband, who was a member of the terrorist organization, Ansar al-Sharia.

In 2011, they lived in Benghazi, Libya. After the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Fluke-Ekren’s husband claimed that he removed at least one box of documents and at least one electronic device from the U.S. compound in Benghazi.

Fluke-Ekren assisted him in reviewing and summarizing the stolen contents. The documents and electronic device, along with the summaries, were then turned over to the leadership of the terrorist organization, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, the government alleged.   

DOJ to Announce New Charges in Connection with 1988 Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103

Crashed Pan Am Flight 103/Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is expected to announce new criminal charges Monday against a former Libyan intelligence officer in connection with the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

U.S. authorities are speaking with Libyan official to take Abu Agila Masud, an alleged bombmaker, into custody, CNN reports.

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the attack, which killed 270 people, most of whom were Americans, who were aboard a Pan Am Boeing 747 that was traveling from London to New York.  

The case is significant to Attorney General William Barr, who was attorney general in the 1990s when the U.S. first charged two Libyan men in the bombing. 

Barr spoke of the case at a memorial for the victims in 2019. 

“I must say that, to this day, I am not satisfied with our country’s overall response to the attack. I never thought that putting two Libyan intelligence officers on trial should be the sum and substance of our response,” Barr said at the Arlington Cemetery ceremony last year.

Paul Abbate, Head of FBI’s Washington Field Office, Going to Headquarters

Paul Abbate

Paul Abbate

By Allan Lengel

Paul Abbate, assistant director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, is moving several blocks over to headquarters.

Abbate, who was assigned to the Washington field office in September 2015, will assume the new post of executive assistant Director for the Criminal Cyber Response and Service Branch at headquarters after  the presidential inauguration in January.

Abbate jointed the FBI in March 1996 and was assigned to the New York City Field Office, where he worked in the Criminal Division and served as a member of the SWAT team.

In December 2003, Abbate transferred to the Counterterrorism Division as a supervisory special agent in the Iraq Unit, overseeing FBI counterterrorism operations and personnel deployments in Iraq. In October 2005, Abbate deployed to Iraq, serving as senior FBI liaison officer to the U.S. Department of Defense and leading a group of FBI personnel conducting counterterrorism operations in theater, according to the FBI.

From February 2006 to December 2009, he served as a supervisory special agent within the Newark Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and in February 2008, he headed to Afghanistan to serve as FBI deputy on-scene commander.

In December 2009, Abbate returned to the Counterterrorism Division as assistant section chief.

In July 2010, Abbate he served as assistant special agent in charge for counterterrorism matters in Los Angeles, and the following year, he returned to the Counterterrorism Division, where he served as section chief.  In 2012,  he was named special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office’s Counterterrorism Division. During that time, he also served as the FBI on-scene commander in Libya.

From October 2013 to September 2015, Abbate headed up the FBI Detroit Division.

FBI Prohibited from Entering Libya to Arrest Terror Suspects

Steve Neavling

The Libyan government is barring the FBI from arresting suspects in last year’s deadly terror attack on the U.S. that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, CNN reports.

A top State Department official delivered the news to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Republicans expressed shock that no one has been brought to justice, especially since federal authorities have already filed charges against suspects in connection with the attack.

“Not one terrorist perpetrator has been captured or killed, despite the president saying that this was his highest priority,” said Rep. Ed Royce, the panel’s Republican chairman.

Some Republicans noted that a CNN reporter interviewed the suspected leader of the attack.

“After a year, we can’t find these people but yet a CNN reporter can go to Benghazi at a hotel, at a coffee shop and have coffee with the suspected ringleader of (of this group) indicted by our government,” Rep. Ted Poe said. “Maybe the FBI ought to just ask the CNN reporter `how did you get a hold of this guy?'”

FBI: Evidence Stacking Against Five Suspects in Benghazi Attacks, But Not Enough for Civilian Court

Steve Neavling 

FBI agents have enough evidence against five men accused in the Benghazi attack to seize them by military force as suspected terrorists, the Associated Press reports.

But the AP reported that the agents don’t have enough evidence to charge the men in a civilian court, which is the Obama administration’s preference.

In the meantime, the men remain at large while the FBI continues to investigate.

The AP wrote that the probe is being complicated by the reduction in U.S. investigators in the region and the restrictions of helping Libyan law enforcement.

Obama has been shifting away from holding terrorists as enemy combatants and holding them at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


Whistleblower Says Obama Administration at Fault for Delayed Benghazi Investigation

Steve Neavling 

The Obama administration’s characterization of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, slowed the down the investigation, a key Benghazi whistleblower said, Fox News reports.

“I definitely believe that it negatively affected our ability to get the FBI team quickly to Benghazi,” Greg Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya, said during a Congressional hearing Wednesday.

Some Republicans are accusing the administration of downplaying the attack for political reasons.

Democrats scoffed at the idea.

“People who have actually seen the documents, who have actually conducted a real investigation completely reject the allegation that they were made for political purposes,” Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., said.

FBI Not Informed That Suspect in Libya Attacks Was Released from Tunisian Court

Steve Neavling 

A Tunisian court released a leading suspect in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, without telling the FBI, Fox News reports.

Before the release of Ali Ani al-Harzi, the FBI interviewed the terrorism suspect last month for about two hours, Fox News wrote.

The interrogation was not sufficient to determine whether al-Harzi was involved in the attack, officials told Fox News.

An extremist group with ties to Al Qaeda posted a video purportedly of al-Harzi walking away from court Jan. 7.

“A lot of these groups are emboldened after Benghazi and after a series of basically missteps by the American government trying to investigate what happened in Benghazi,”  Tom Joscelyn, with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said. ”

He continued: “We’re still compiling the evidence on how these groups are interlinked,” Joscelyn said. “But here you have with al-Harzi, you have an individual who was involved in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. We know that members of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi were involved in that same attack and now we know that Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia has been celebrating and really urging for the release of al-Harzi in Tunis. Therefore you’re seeing this common interest in what happened in Benghazi and the individuals responsible.”

Investigation: State Department Failed to Properly Secure U.S. Consulate in Libya

Steve Neavling 

The State Department was blasted for having inadequate security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, during an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, National Public radio reports.

The report by the Accountability and Review Board, released Tuesday night, criticized the State Department for relying heavily on Libyan militias for protection and ignoring calls for more security, NPR wrote.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the panel to investigate security at the consulate and make recommendations for preventing another attack.

NPR reported that the U.S. is sending hundreds of additional Marine guards to high-threat areas overseas.