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Posts tagged ‘CIA’

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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By Sandy Fitzgerald

Ex-CIA Analyst: Snowden Journalist Could Have Blood on Hands.


The journalist who holds a cache of documents stolen by National Security Agency secrets leaker Edward Snowden not only disrupts U.S. intelligence but must ultimately take responsibility for any deadly consequences of the leaked information, former CIA analyst and LIGNET contributor Lisa Ruth said Tuesday.

“There is an absolute direct correlation between leaks and problems on the ground,” Ruth said in an exclusive interview with John Bachman on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV.

Former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald should have “months ago” considered withholding the NSA information in light of killings in 2010 of Afghan tribal leaders after the release of military documents by WikiLeaks, she said.

“I understand journalists believe part of their view is to give information, that’s what they’re trying to do,” she said. “With WikiLeaks, when this information first came out, we know that there were Afghan tribal leaders who were beheaded and killed. These were our sources.”

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She said the WikiLeaks release was responsible for “not only disrupting our intelligence sources, but that journalist, in my opinion, is carrying the weight of those deaths on his shoulders, and at some point there is an ethical decision, what’s right.

“Obviously we can’t decide that for [Greenwald], but I agree that there is a point where the damage they are doing is far greater than any benefit,” she said.

Ruth said the intelligence community thinks it’s “absurd” that the public is debating the issue of how the government conducts drone strikes overseas, particularly how the military and CIA often rely on data from the NSA’s electronic spy program for targeted drone strikes and killings.

“I just can’t get my head around why we’re all debating this,” she said. “We don’t throw out for a referendum, ‘OK, folks, should we go after this guy or not?’ This is a government decision.”

According to a report from a news website launched by Greenwald, NSA documents confirm the agency “played a key supporting role” in the drone strike in September 2011 that killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as another American, Samir Khan, in Yemen.

“I have to say that it is horrifying to me that we are talking about this,” she said. “I have to go out and say the fact that this is in the press is completely absurd to the intelligence community — the fact that we’re debating drone strikes.”

She said classified information is paramount “if you’re going to carry out operations.”

“Until yesterday, most Americans didn’t know there was a guy in Pakistan, American citizen, who’s with al-Qaida,” she said. “Did it make them feel more safe to know we’re considering attacking him with a drone? Probably not.

“If you look at overall, it’s about trust in your government, really, trust, and right now perhaps that’s not at its highest peak, and I don’t know how you get that back but in terms of intelligence. I don’t’ believe that’s something that needs to be aired,” she said.

She said the reason the CIA “holds . . . the controls to the drone strikes” is that it can “move quickly.”

“Going through military bureaucracy, as you know, takes time,” she said. “The reason they put it in the hands of the CIA was to get things done quickly . . . So, now we’re in a situation where we’re talking about this American, and again, all over the press, all over the news, and whether NSA information is going to be used. From a CIA officer standpoint, that’s only one piece we would use . . . you need a lot of other pieces of information to target in.”

Ruth noted the United States is not getting the “human intelligence” it used to, partly “because of the drones” and partly because of “the way intelligence is done, and cutbacks.”

“The idea that, oh, we can put a bug somewhere or we can use a listening device. That’s not really accurate,” she said.

“Without human intelligence in many cases we’re operating blind, and keep in mind, if I’m hearing something perhaps from a cellphone or other places, I have no way of knowing how accurate that is . . . as a human, I can sit across from you, I’m evaluating you, I’m spotting, I’m assessing, I’m making these decisions, and it usually provides more targeted information, in conjunction with NSA information, of course.”

Ruth said she hopes debate on the issue spurs change for the good.

“From my perspective and some of my contacts at the intelligence community, the hope is to get back on track . . . and that these kinds of debates can really highlight the importance of human intelligence and why we need that, and particularly with a terrorist threat,” she said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Cathy Burke

Terror Experts: Power Plant Assault ‘Very Serious’.


A possible terrorist assault on a California power station last April, which got little publicity, was a very serious breach that reveals how vulnerable the nation is, counterterrorism experts say.

“This is very serious . . . This was a trial run for a terrorist attack,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and FBI agent who is now chief analyst for the global intelligence forecaster LIGNET.

“We now have something called a smart grid system, where our electric grid is linked to other grids over the Internet and by computers, and a major attack on one part of the grid could cause a devastating outage that could put tens of millions of Americans in the dark,” Fleitz told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

Wall Street Journal report this week that a sniper attack had knocked out an electrical substation near San Jose is raising fears that the country’s power grid is vulnerable to terrorism.

Nobody has been arrested or charged in the attack.

“The FBI is still not prepared to say that this was a terrorist attack even though this power station was attacked with AK47s and there was a systematic plan to cut the phone lines, the fiber-optic cables, in a way that couldn’t be detected or easily repaired,” Fleitz said.

John Guandolo, a former FBI agent, told Malzberg he is convinced the power plant incident was a planned attack.

“If this was only one individual, which it does not look like it was, they would’ve had to been moving out pretty good,” he said.

“They’ve got the telephone cables cut at the underground vault and then within about 30 minutes you’ve got a shooter open-firing on transformers and, according to the police reports, there are over 100 rounds fired from a semi-automatic rifle. So, that’s pretty serious.

“They knew what to shoot, to take it out, and they knew what lines to cut, and they did it all, so far as we can tell, without any person getting on any of the security cameras. So, I’d say it was a pretty well-executed job.”

See “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Report: Ex-CIA Deputy Director May Have Altered Benghazi Talking Points.


Image: Report: Ex-CIA Deputy Director May Have Altered Benghazi Talking PointsMichael Morell

By Lisa Barron

The recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi suggests that the former deputy director of the CIA played a role in shaping the official “talking points” about the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Michael Morell may have altered the government’s explanation for the assault to benefit the Obama administration, reports Fox News.

Editor’s Note: Govt Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking) 

The panel’s reports showed that on Sept.15, four days after the attacks and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on various Sunday talk shows, Morell received an email from the CIA station chief in Libya stating that they were “not/not an escalation of protests.”

But that same day, according to Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, although Morell cut the word “Islamic” from the talking points, he left the word “demonstration.”

And despite the fact that the CIA and the FBI on Sept. 18 reviewed the closed circuit footage showing there were no protests, President Obama still referred to a demonstration two days later, reported Fox.

Intelligence analysts stayed with the explanation “without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion. The IC (intelligence community) took too long to correct these erroneous reports,” said the Senate report.

In November 2012, as the controversy over the talking points escalated, Morell accompanied Rice to a meeting with Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Morell defended Rice’s TV appearances and maintained there was confusion about what happened in Benghazi, Graham told Fox.

“What I found curious is that he did not accept responsibility for changing the talking points. He told me the FBI had done this. I called the FBI — they went ballistic. And I am sure somebody from the FBI called Mike Morell, but within 24 hours, his statement was changed where he admitted the CIA had done it,” Graham said.

Herridge pointed to an interview Morell gave to The Wall Street Journal last August in which he spoke about his interest “in advising future presidential campaigns,” and noted that The Journal, citing unnamed officials, also reported that Morell “is close to Hillary Clinton.”

“He’s put himself out there as a political player,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is reportedly suing in federal court for the talking points documents and recently obtained 70 heavily redacted pages.

“You have to wonder what he was thinking at the time he was deleting these talking points in a way that benefited the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton personally,” Fitton said.

Since leaving government Morell has joined Beacon Global Strategies, a government relations firm founded by Philippe Reines, whom the New York Times magazine recently described as “Clinton’s principal gatekeeper.”

Morell issued a written statement to Fox saying that the Senate report “…strongly supports the CIA’s long-standing position that neither the unclassified talking points nor the classified analysis on which they were based were in any way politicized. While not perfect, neither the talking points nor the analysis were produced with any political agenda in mind. None.”

“I think given what was said by him and others, and where they’re headed, down the political road, would justify revisiting this issue,” Graham told Fox.

Editor’s Note: Govt Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking) 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Booz Allen: Snowden Targeted Our Firm to Get at NSA Secrets.


Image: Booz Allen: Snowden Targeted Our Firm to Get at NSA Secrets Booz Allen Hamilton vice chairman Mike McConnell

By Elliot Jager

Edward Snowden went to work at Booz Allen Hamilton, the federal contractor, because he wanted access to high-level national security secrets, Mike McConnell, a Booz Allen vice chairman and ex-NSA director told  The Wall Street Journal.

In McConnell’s telling, Snowden began his national security career as a NSA security guard. He then entered the CIA’s information-technology section and was sent overseas. He had disciplinary problems, left for the private sector, and was posted in Japan.

He then decided he wanted to rejoin the NSA at the highest level of operations. Snowden broke into the agency’s computer system “administratively,” gained access to the answers to the admittance exam, then “aced” the test, McConnell told the Journal.

“He walked in and said you should hire me because I scored high on the test,” McConnell said.

But Snowden was dissatisfied with the level of the job that the NSA offered him.

“That’s when he turned,” said McConnell.

He said the “narcissistic” Snowden decided to work for Booz Allen because he wanted higher level security access than would have been available to him at the NSA.

“He targeted my company because we enjoy more access than other companies. Because of the nature of the work we do…he targeted us for that purpose,” said McConnell.

Booz Allen hired Snowden in 2013. The government had already vetted him— contractors do not provide security clearances, only the government does that, said McConnell. The company confirmed that his resume was accurate, though in hindsight, McConnell acknowledged, there were gaps in his history.

Snowden worked for the company only three months. He never entered a Booz Allen facility.

“The government invited him into its space for training. That’s when he did his download,” said McConnell.

Snowden transferred data he wanted to a storage disk, went back to Hawaii, and then left for Hong Kong.

As damaging as Snowden’s access turned out to be, he chiefly penetrated only the first two of four information levels. At the first level, though, he gained information to the FISA court order authorizing NSA eavesdropping.

At the second level Snowden was able to access intelligence reports from around the world— though how the information was collected was basically shielded. McConnell said Snowden had very little access to the third tier, and almost none at all to the top level.

With all that, said McConnell, Snowden compromised more intelligence capability than any previous spy.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper previously described Snowden’s disclosures as the “most damaging theft of intelligence information in our history,” according to the Journal.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ex-NSA Chief Hayden: Snowden Always Intended to ‘Scrape’ Data.


Image: Ex-NSA Chief Hayden: Snowden Always Intended to 'Scrape' Data

By Bill Hoffmann

Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and the NSA, says that in no way can Edward Snowden be considered a whistleblower on the National Security Agency’s surveillance policies.

“I really do think he had evil intent. This is not an innocent who went to work under one set of expectations and then was just shocked and appalled by what he found at work and was driven to some sort of action,” Hayden, a retired four-star general, told “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll 

“This is somebody who sought the job he had in order to scrape information off of NSA’s systems. I’m fond of saying he was a hunter, not a gatherer. He went there with a plan and malice aforethought.”

Snowden has been baring classified information about the NSA’s spying programs since he fled the United States for Hong Kong and then Russia, where he has been given asylum.

“When you look at the totality of Snowden’s actions, certainly one hypothesis that jumps out at you, that seems to explain his ability to do all these things, is that he had help, and had help from somebody who was very competent in these matters,” Hayden said.

Hayden said he thinks President Barack Obama wants to keep the NSA’s spying programs going, despite saying last week that new restrictions were necessary to protect privacy.

“In his heart, I’m now convinced that he wants to keep it, and he’s willing to give up a few things from operational capacity, perhaps, at the margins, a little more oversight, a slower approach to it so that he’s got more checks and balances,” Hayden said.

“But, fundamentally, he wants to keep it. And that might be the cause of some of the confusion that folks who listened to the speech had.”

In a 45-minute speech at the Justice Department, Obama unveiled new guidelines and reforms for the NSA.

He placed restrictions on the agency’s access to domestic phone records, but noted that the collection of personal data from billions of people around the world, Americans and foreigners, will continue.

“We cannot prevent terrorist attacks or cyberthreats without some capability to penetrate digital communications, whether it’s to unravel a terrorist plot, to intercept malware that targets a stock exchange, to make sure air traffic control systems are not compromised or to ensure that hackers do not empty your bank accounts,” the president said.

“We are expected to protect the American people. That requires us to have capabilities in this field.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll
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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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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