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Posts tagged ‘Osama bin Laden’

9-11 Investigators Never Learned About FBI, CIA al-Qaida Mole.


al-Qaida operatives in Bosnia killed an FBI mole who met with Osama bin Laden and provided intelligence on al-Qaida after suspecting he was with the CIA, but the man’s death came several years before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attacks and the FBI did not report the informant’s existence to investigators.

The dead informant, was a Los Angeles-based “driver and confidante” of “Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the cleric in prison for masterminding the first attempt on the World Trade Center in 1993, NBC News reported Thursday.

Because the mole died at least six years before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congressional investigators or the 9/11 Commission never learned about the Sudanese man.

NBC reported the news of the mole’s death one day after it reported the man’s existence, saying the informant had been been recruited by the FBI years ago and had even met with bin Laden a full eight years prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The mole revealed a great deal of information to the FBI, including revealing a plan that helped stop a bin Laden plan to destroy a Masonic lodge in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, according to courtroom testimony by Ed Curran, who was the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s L.A. office then.

Sources told NBC the informant was recruited in 1993 after learning he was a known associate of the Blind Sheikh, who had been an FBI target since 1990 when follower El Sayyid Nosair, shot and killed radical Rabbi Meir Kahane in a Manhattan hotel.

The Sheikh moved to Los Angeles, where the future mole lived and became his driver.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service tipped off the FBI about the driver, and the federal agency learned that he was on a terrorism watch list. INS tried to deport him, and his status as a potential terrorist made it difficult to move him. Jordan took him and put him jail for three months, and eventually, the driver ended up in Yemen, where the FBI recruited him.

The first World Trade Center attack also occurred at about time, when a truck filled with explosives detonated in an underground garage on Feb. 26, 1993.

FBI agent Bassem Youssef, the bureau’s highest-ranking Arabic speaker, approached the informant as a friend, saying he could reunite the man with his family in California.After several meetings with Youssef and other agents, he agreed to provide information and started talking about al Qaeda.

The man also provided about a dozen U.S. and Canadian passports, with the original photos being replaced with those of al-Qaida operatives.

The driver also met with bin Laden, who one Justice Department official said “was not that hard to get to” because he was not yet famous.

After the Blind Sheikh was arrested in 1993, the informant continued working with the FBI, but in 1994, a woman working for the CIA was able to convince him to work with the CIA.

The CIA sent him to Bosnia in 1994 or 1995, but the FBI didn’t know its informant was working for the other agency or why he disappeared.

Youssef started asking al-Qaida sources what had happened to the man, and learned that operatives in Bosnia killed him because they suspected he was working for the CIA.

The mole’s existence was actually first revealed in 2010, when Youssef sued the FBI, claiming discrimination and accusing the agency of passing him over for promotion.

Former FBI agent Ed Curran, in testimony during the discrimination trial, revealed Youssef developed the mole, reported The Washington Times during the trial.

“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al-Qaida, directly involved,” Curran testified, noting the mole was “tight, close” with al-Qaida leadership.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Obama to O’Reilly: Fox News Reason for My Problems.


President Barack Obama twice blamed Fox News Channel for misinforming the public on issues that have bedeviled his presidency in the past year during a pre-Super Bowl interview with the network’s Bill O’Reilly.

The two sat down in the White House on Sunday for a live pregame interview that started about 4:35 p.m. and aired for about 10 minutes.

Story continues below video.

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O’Reilly first noted that Obama’s detractors believe he did not initially say the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was terrorism because it happened in the heat of an election.

Obama had just weeks earlier said al-Qaida was on the run after U.S. Navy SEALs assassinated its leader, Osama bin Laden.

“That’s what they believe,” O’Reilly said of Obama’s detractors.

“And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that,” Obama said in the often testy interview.

“No, I’m not telling them that. I’m asking you whether you were told it was a terror attack,” O’Reilly countered.

Obama said it was “inaccurate” to say that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told him the attack was terrorism when he first gave him the news. O’Reilly noted that Gen. Carter Ham, head of operations in Libya, has testified he immediately told Panetta the attack was terrorism, and not the result of a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Muslim video.

“But it’s more than that because of Susan Rice,” O’Reilly said, noting that Rice, who was then U.N. ambassador, used the video explanation days later on the Sunday talk shows.

“Just as an American, I’m just confused,” he said.

“Bill, I’m trying to explain it to you if you want to listen,” Obama countered.

The president also turned on Fox News when questioned about the IRS scandal, in which conservative groups were scrutinized more heavily when seeking tax-exempt status.

“These kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part, because you and your TV station will promote them,” Obama said.

O’Reilly asked if Obama was saying there was no corruption in the IRS scandal.

“No,” Obama said.

“There was some boneheaded decisions out of a local office,” adding that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.”

O’Reilly also asked why Obama didn’t fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the botched rollout of the Obamacare website in October.

Obama argued that while glitches had been anticipated, no one expected a complete failure of the site. He said everything had been fixed, and the site is now running as it should.

O’Reilly noted that only 8 percent of Americans agree with Obama, and again pressed about firing Sebelius.

“I’m sure that the intent is noble,” O’Reilly said, “But I’m a taxpayer, and I’m paying Kathleen Sebelius’ salary, and she screwed up. And you’re not holding her accountable.”

“Well, I promise you that we hold everybody up and down the line accountable,” Obama said. “But when we’re midstream, Bill, we want to make sure that our main focus is, how do we make this think work so that people are able to sign up, and that’s what we’ve done.”

O’Reilly asked if Obama considered the biggest mistake of his presidency telling “the nation over and over, if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance?”

“Oh, Bill, you’ve got a long list of my mistakes in my presidency,” Obama said.

But he did admit he regretted that the “grandfather clause” written into the Affordable Care Act didn’t cover everyone.

“That’s why we changed it,” he said.

“You gave your enemies a lot of fodder for it,” O’Reilly said.

The interview was scheduled to continue after the live broadcast. The recorded interview is set to air Monday night on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

“I know you think maybe we haven’t been fair,” O’Reilly noted near the end of the live interview, “but I think your heart is in the right place.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

2013 Marked a Comeback for al-Qaida.


Image: 2013 Marked a Comeback for al-QaidaAl-Qaida claimed responsibility for a Dec. 5 attack on the Yemeni defense ministry that killed 52 people, saying the complex hosted U.S. personnel behind drone strikes against its militants.

By Lisa Barron

As controversy continues to swirl around the New York Times’ report claiming al-Qaida was not behind the Benghazi attacks, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the terrorist organization and its affiliates were responsible for some of the deadliest violence of 2013.

The resurgence of the group founded by Osama bin Laden was so pronounced that the Obama administration stepped back from its assertions that his death spelled the end of it, saying instead that only the core leadership in Pakistan had been contained, reports Politico Magazine

The year started with a jihadist retaliation for France’s military intervention in northern Mali, an operation that led to the death of at least 39 foreign hostages at Algeria’s In Amenas gas complex, notes the publication.

The following day, Jan. 17, a series of explosions on buses in predominantly Shiite areas of Iraq killed 19 people and injured more than 100.

Al-Qaida in Iraq has in fact accelerated the pace of its attacks since the pullout of U.S. troops at the end of 2011, culminating in a surge of violence in mid-2013 that has led to roughly 800 civilian deaths a month, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

At the same time, the group has spread into neighboring Syria, where it calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, fighting against both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and other opposition factions, according to the council.

And a report published this month by the International Center for the Study of Radicalism indicates there are up to 11,000 foreign fighters from 74 nations involved in the Syrian conflict.

“The concern is that the al-Qaida networks of the future are being created in this jihadist melting pot,” Paul Cruickshank, a terrorism analyst who has specialized in studying al-Qaida, told CNN.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, headquartered in Yemen, is thriving as well, reports the network, which said it has learned about recent intercepts of messages between senior operatives in that country.

“There are multiple indications that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is plotting attacks both within Yemen, against U.S. and Western structures, and overseas,” Seth Jones, an analyst at Rand Corp., told CNN.

The al-Qaida faction in Somalia, al-Shabab, also had a prolific year, most notably carrying out a bloody assault in September on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall that killed 67 and injured at least 175.

Al-Qaida’s future capabilities have been helped in part by a series of jailbreaks in three different countries, the most significant one taking place on July 21 at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison that freed about 500 jihadist prisoners, reports Politico magazine.

A week later, prison riots and an outside attack freed more than 1,100 inmates from Benghazi’s Kuafiya prison, while some 250 prisoners escaped during a jailbreak in Pakistan on July 30.

As for the implications for Americans, the leaders of both the House and Senate intelligence panels maintained earlier this month that the country is not as safe as it was a year ago.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Nation,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said, “I think terror is up worldwide, the statistics indicate that, the fatalities are way up.

“The numbers are way up. There are new bombs, very big bombs, trucks being reinforced for those bombs. There are more groups than ever and there’s huge malevolence out there.”

Asked whether he thought so as well, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, said, “Oh, I absolutely agree that we’re not safer today for the same very reasons.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

NY Times Reporter: No Attempt to Clear Hillary on Benghazi.


Image: NY Times Reporter: No Attempt to Clear Hillary on BenghaziSecretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on Jan. 23, 2013 before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

By Greg Richter

New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick called accusations “preposterous” that his controversial story on Benghazi was written to boost Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes.

The story does not reflect well on the administration of President Barack Obama, Kirkpatrick said Monday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” 

Though Kirkpatrick concludes that the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was caused by an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States, he says he doesn’t think the attack started spontaneously from a street protest, as then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice asserted on all five Sunday morning news shows days after the incident.

“Her statements clearly were misleading,” Kirkpatrick told CNN. A lot of the confusion and misinformation that have proliferated since were a result of Rice’s initial misstatements, he said.

“It was not a street protest. It was clearly an attack that began very deliberately and very suddenly. There was certainly some planning,” Kirkpatrick said. “There is evidence there was surveillance earlier that morning, he said.

But Rice’s initial misstatements set up a “false dichotomy” that either it was a spontaneous street protest or it was a planned al-Qaida attack, he said. Neither of those extremes is true, he says.

“In fact, it was an attack, in response to this movie, by local militants,” he said.

It’s pretty easy to find out who was involved, Kirkpatrick said. “This is not like someone secretly planted a car bomb under a car.” It was a “mob attack” that happened “in broad daylight” with a large crowd of people watching.

It also isn’t difficult to find out that Ahmed Abu Khattala, a local militia leader for the group Ansar al-Sharia, was a significant and central player, as was his group, Kirkpatrick said.

“They’re well known. They’re local people with friends and neighbors and histories,” he said.

But Abu Khattala isn’t a member of al-Qaida, he said. “He’s an anti-Western, anti-democratic, Islamic militant.”

One could stretch the term and call Abu Khattala part of al-Qaida, but he’s not part of the al-Qaida organization founded by Osama bin Laden, Kirkpatrick said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

King: Terror Group Ansar al-Shariah ‘New Face of al-Qaida’.


The terror group Ansar al-Shariah, suspected of carrying out the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, is the “new face of al-Qaida,” Rep. Peter King asserted Monday.

“The fact is, this is the new face of al-Qaida. We have to face up to that. That is what a number of us have been saying for several years now,” King, the former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News.

Story continues below video.

The New York Republican agreed with the Obama administration that the core al-Qaida group founded by Osama bin Laden has been “weakened,” but insisted that it has “metastasized” and “morphed” into “more of a threat” than when the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001.

He added that if the U.S. State Department does not recognize al-Shariah or certain other terrorist groups as affiliates at al-Qaida, “then that is a very, very real policy issue that has to be discussed.”

King made the comments in response to a New York Times report over the weekend claiming the Benghazi attack was not carried out by a al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group, but was prompted in part by an American-made anti-Muslim video, as initially claimed by the White House. The Times report put the blame for the attack directly on extremist militia leaders in Libya who had helped to overthrow dictator Muammar Gaddafi with the aid of both the U.S. and NATO.

King, like many other Republicans who have blasted the Times report since its release on Saturday, also suggested the article could serve to “defuse” what many believe could be a Republican issue against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president in 2016.

Republicans blame Clinton for failing to beef up security at the Benghazi compound, despite repeated warnings to the State Department that it was vulnerable to attack.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

AK-47, Africa And The Curse Of A Weapon By Evelyn Tagbo.


By Evelyn Tagbo

The man who invented AK-47, Michail Kalashnikov is dead.  He died Monday, according to Russia Today.  Kalashnikov died peacefully at the age of 94.  He spent much of his life in the Ural Mountains, the region in his home country of Russia where his popular rifle is produced.
Kalashnikov’s invention is a Russian invention that has found huge market in Africa.  It’s the most common weapon of destruction in Nigeria’s Niger Delta and the northeast where Islamic terrorists and militants continue to engage government in the struggle for power.

Nigeria’s chief of army standards and evaluation, Major-General Shehu Abdulkadir, recently noted 70 per cent of the 10 million illegal weapons in circulation in West Africa are in Nigeria.  Most of these weapons are AK-47s.  In many corners of Africa, these weapons are favored by political thugs, militants, religious terrorists, drug gangs, kidnappers, autocrats, guerrillas, child soldiers and armed robbers.

Last December, a British policeman Gary Hyde, 42, was jailed for seven years for overseeing an £800,000 consignment of rifles, among which were 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, from China to Nigeria in 2007. Hyde was jailed for shipping weapons without a licence and hiding more than £620,000 in commission payments.  Security experts say, many such dealers exists helping to facilitate the flow of weapons into Africa.

The Automatic Kalashnikov — Avtomat Kalashnikova, or AK-47, (1947 is the year the rifle’s design was finalized) went from an unknown weapon after the second world war to becoming the most prized possession of rebels, terrorists and despots. This is largely because of its ease of use, resistance to corrosion, light weight and relatively cheap price.

From its earliest days, the AK-47 has been judged a superior weapon because of its simplicity and reliability. In a compact, 10-pound package, a single fighter holds the fully automatic firepower of a machine gun. It has only eight moving parts, can be broken down and reassembled in 30 seconds and will fire when very dirty.

Experts say there are at least 100 million AKs in the world today and at least 1 million new ones are manufactured each year.   There are probably more Kalashnikovs in South Sudan now, with its many years of conflict, than there are books for primary school children to read.  According to The Independent, there is thought to at least one AK-47 per family in South Sudan, a country which ranks among the poorest in the world.

The gruesome attack in Kenya’s Westgate Mall last September that resulted in the death of over 60 persons was executed by young AK-47 wielding terrorists.  Similar attacks in Nigeria by the Boko Haram group are regularly carried out with the same rifle and Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the group, just like Osama bin Laden shows off his AK-47 in all his youtube messages.

AK-47 is now a global brand produced in different countries across the world with China producing even more than Russia.  The assault rifle is the world’s most popular weapon.  Praising the inventor during his 90th birthday, the  then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev said “what you’ve done has made Russian weapons one of our best national brands…Kalashnikov is one of the most famous Russian words.”

Inventor Kalashnikov is not one of Russia’s billionaires and is not even ranked rich at all.  He is reported as never having a patent for his invention and so never earning much other than popularity from it.  His compatriot Viktor Bout, the poster boy of illegal gun sale in Africa, otherwise known as ‘merchant of death’ made more from Kalashnikov’s invention than the inventor himself.

Bout – perhaps the gunrunning world’s Pablo Escobar – was notorious for arming rebels in Liberia, Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria.  He was the biggest and most brazen gunrunner in Africa and the Middle East using his fleet of aging Russian cargo planes to hop between warzones, often selling his Soviet-era weaponry to both sides.

The then Soviet Union granted licenses to 18 countries including China and Egypt to produce AK rifle during the Cold War, but these countries continue to produce the weapon illegally years after those licenses expired.  There are at least 30 countries where the weapon is produced today.

For Africa, the name Kalashnikov is a sad reminder of all that’s wrong with the continent; its violent struggles of the part, and present. For the many victims of war and gun violence on the continent, Kalashnikov evokes bitter memories.  AK-47 is the instrument with which many of their husbands, father children, wives, mothers, sons, and daughters were killed.  For them, it would, perhaps, have been better that Michail Kalashnikov never invented AK.  Even with the fragile state of security in most parts of the continent, AK-47 remains a big nightmare.

When asked whether he feared that he may one day fall to his own invention, Kalashnikov said “I sleep well.”  And on how he feels when he sees terrorists and criminals with it, he said: “Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question: ‘How did it get into their hands?’ ” Kalashnikov said.

“It is painful for me to see when criminal elements of all kinds fire from my weapon,” he explained on his 90th birthday in 2009.  “I didn’t put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists, and it’s not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon? …It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,” he said.

Armed conflict costs Africa about $18 billion yearly and about $300 billion between 1990 and 2005, according to Oxfam.  The proliferation of arms in parts of Africa is a tickling time bomb. It’s a major threat to security and development.  80 percent of all arms held in Nigeria are illegal and in private hands, according a study titled ‘The Violent Road’ by the National Working Group on Armed Violence (NWGAV) in conjunction with the United Kingdom based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

Some admirers say criticizing Kalashnikov for his invention is like criticizing Henry Ford for making the Model T.  It is, perhaps, the failure of leadership, on one hand, and followership, on the other, that AK-47 seems more abused in Africa than anywhere else in the world.  Originally designed for soldiers who have to endure terrible conditions on the battlefield, it is now more popular among the continent’s terrorists, child soldiers and political thugs.

Evelyn Tagbo is a Massachusetts-based journalist, statistician and blogger.

Source:  SAHARA REPORTERS.

Snowden to WashPost: My ‘Mission’s Already Accomplished’.


In his first face-to-face interview since Edward Snowden found asylum in Moscow, the National Security Agency leaker told the Washington Post his “mission is already accomplished,” as news reporters are validating his revelations and NSA policies are being reassessed.
Snowden also told the Post’s Barton Gellman — one of three reporters to whom he has leaked documents — that he has “no relationship with” nor “loyalties to” Russia or China.
“If I defected at all, I defected from the government to the public,” Snowden said.
The oath of allegiance he signed was “not an oath of secrecy,” Snowden said. It was “an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept.”
He declared victory over the NSA.
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”
Snowden insisted he is “working to improve” not destroy the NSA. Only because congressional and judicial overseers had not fulfilled their mandate — had, in fact, “abdicated their responsibility” — did he feel obligated to act.
Snowden wants the agency to pursue individual targeting rather than vacuum huge amounts of data, he told Gellman somewhere in Moscow.
“I don’t care whether you’re the Pope or Osama bin Laden. As long as there’s an individualized, articulable, probable cause for targeting these people as legitimate foreign intelligence, that’s fine,” he said. “I don’t think it’s imposing a ridiculous burden by asking for probable cause. Because, you have to understand, when you have access to the tools the NSA does, probable cause falls out of trees.”
Snowden insisted that he tried to dissent from within recalling that he told colleagues that “we are collecting more in the United States on Americans than we are on Russians in Russia.”
According to Snowden, “What the government wants is . . . total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?”
Snowden had recommended to superiors that the NSA adopt failsafe measures to require a second set of credentials for any attempt to access security and auditing controls. “Sure, a whistleblower could use these things, but so could a spy.”
After he himself removed a treasure drove of secrets, the NSA put these controls in place.
Gellman described Snowden as someone who does not like to talk about himself; as an “orderly thinker with an engineer’s approach to problem-solving.”He said Snowden was “relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry.”

Snowden, 30, described himself as goal-oriented, “ascetic,” and as someone who does not “have a lot of needs.”
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© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Elliot Jager

Saudi Arabia Must Face 9/11 Victims in Revived US Lawsuits.


NEW YORK — Lawsuits claiming Saudi Arabia aided al-Qaida and should be held liable for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack were revived by a U.S. appeals court in a decision that allows victims and their families another chance to seek compensation from the kingdom.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York Thursday said a lower-court judge “rested on an error of law” in rejecting a request to reopen the cases against the country’s government and an affiliated charity.

Editor’s NoteAbe Transforming Japan’s Defense to Counter Chinese Threat 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia and Herzegovina won a ruling dismissing them from the lawsuits on the grounds that a foreign government is immune from suit.

Subsequently, the appeals court made inconsistent rulings on whether the terrorism claims made in the case fall under sovereign-immunity rule, according to yesterday’s opinion.

The lower-court judge should have granted a request to re- open the cases to allow the inconsistency to be addressed, the appeals court said.

The inconsistent rulings caused “a disparity” between two cases “where none should ever have existed,” the appeals court said.

“We conclude that the circumstances of this case are extraordinary,” warranting its re-opening the three-judge panel said in the ruling. The case will be returned to the lower-court judge for consideration as to whether it should move forward.

Michael Kellogg, a lawyer for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, didn’t immediately return a call yesterday seeking comment on the ruling.

Jerry S. Goldman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the decision is “soundly grounded and restores this case to the proper procedural posture.”

“This is a big step forward in the process of obtaining fair justice for the victims of this tragedy,” he said.

Goldman’s clients include family members of John O’Neill, a former federal counter-terrorism agent who had led investigations of Osama bin Laden and was working as the chief of security for New York’s World Trade Center when the attacks occurred.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest source of funds for militant Islamic groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a 2009 cable obtained by Wikileaks.

Editor’s Note: Outclassed Chinese Navy Defies Outnumbered 7th Fleet

Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most “significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” according to the cable.

Drew C. Bailey, a spokesman for the state department, declined to comment on the cable.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Obama Won’t Release Senate Report on CIA Torture.


Image: Obama Won't Release Senate Report on CIA Torture

By Lisa Barron

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence adopted a 6,300 page report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program a year ago — but it remains classified, meaning nobody else has seen it.

That’s because the Obama administration has yielded to pressure from a faction in the CIA to keep the agency’s rendition, detention, and interrogation tactics secret, The Atlantic reports.

Senators from both parties, however, have pushed the White House to make the contents of the report public.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona has said the report “confirms for me what I have always believed and insisted to be true—that the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners is not only wrong in principle and a stain on our country’s conscience, but also an ineffective and unreliable means of gathering intelligence.”

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the intelligence committee, said she thinks releasing the information “will settle the debate once and for all over whether our nation should ever employ coercive interrogation techniques such as those detailed in this report.”

In addition, the study contradicts the belief that these techniques were what led to finding Osama bin Laden‘s courier, suggesting that “the CIA detainee who provided the most accurate information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques,” according to McCain, Feinstein, and Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, reports Politico Magazine.

And Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told the publication that the reports details how “the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information about its interrogation program to the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress.”

The CIA reportedly sent a response to the report to Congress, criticizing many of its findings, but has apparently addressed just the bullet points that come before the executive summary.

Meanwhile, the Center for Victims of Torture is pressing not only for the release of the study but also for a response from the government.

“The Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-plus page report, containing more than 35,000 footnotes, is a serious and comprehensive review of the CIA’s past torture program. The report is a significant step to making sure the U.S. government does not return to official policies of torture and cruel treatment,” said Curt Goering, executive director of CVT.

“The Administration needs to get right its response to it. While the CIA certainly has a role in reviewing the report and providing feedback to the Intelligence Committee, given the agency’s large hand in policies of torture and cruel treatment, their comments should not be allowed to pass through without an independent assessment from other relevant agencies, including the White House.”

“Not doing so would be like letting the fox guard the henhouse,” he added.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Lawyer Tied to bin Laden Raid Flees Pakistan.


The lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who played a pivotal role in helping the U.S. track and kill Osama bin Laden has fled to Dubai, Pakistan‘s Express Tribune reports.

A relative of Samiullah Afridi said terrorists threatened to blow up the lawyer’s car and kill his family.

“We cannot disclose the country he left for due to security threats to his life,” the relative said, asking for anonymity, according to The New York Post.

“Militants warned him to stop pleading the case, or else he and his family would face the consequences.”

Afridi is one of three attorneys representing Dr. Shakil Afridi — the two are not related — a surgeon who helped the CIA carry out a phony hepatitis vaccine campaign that allowed Dr. Afridi to collect the DNA of bin Laden’s children from the family compound in Abbottabad.

The Pakistani government arrested Dr. Afridi as he tried to cross the border days after the May 2011 raid. He was purportedly taken into custody for his involvement, though it was later stated that it was for alleged ties to Islamist terror group Lashkar-e-Islam, something Dr. Afridi denies.

He was serving a 33-year sentence that in August was overturned for procedural errors. While awaiting a retrial, Dr. Afridi was charged with murder related to the death of a patient eight years ago.

His lawyers recently received a hand-written letter smuggled from Dr. Afridi’s prison cell — their first contact with him in 15 months — saying he was being denied his right to a fair trial, the BBC reports.

Qamar Nadeem, who also represents Dr. Afridi, told the BBC that Samiullah Afridi left Pakistan on Wednesday.

“I had met him a day earlier but he did not indicate he had any plans to leave the country. I have now been told he is gone,” Nadeem said. “I didn’t ask and he never told me who was threatening him, or what was the nature of those threats.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Melissa Clyne

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