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Posts tagged ‘Samir Khan’

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

Al-Qaida Magazine Warns of More ‘Lone Wolf’ Attacks.

Are there more Tsarnaevs in the hunt? (RNS)

The online English-language al-Qaida magazineInspire, which once printed instructions for building a pressure-cooker bomb, has published a special edition that attempts to take credit for motivating the Boston bombers and warns the West of more “Lone Wolf” terrorist attacks.

The Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors jihadist Web forums and Internet sites, was the first to publish excerpts from the 11th edition of the 3-year-old magazine, published by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

MEMRI says most of the articles focus on the Boston bombings in hopes of inciting Muslims in the West to carry out similar attacks.

Steven Stalinsky, executive director of MEMRI, says it is “absolutely” clear that al-Qaida rushed out this “special edition” to take advantage of the intense coverage of the Boston bombings and the knife attack on a British soldier in London on May 22.

A message from al-Qaida’s Arabian Peninsula’s military commander Qassem Al-Rimi warns Americans that such attacks will continue and that the U.S. government is unable to stop them.

The magazine was founded by American-born cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, another American. Both were killed by U.S. drone strikes.

MEMRI says “the relatively small size of the issue as compared to previous ones, and the sloppy translation and editing” indicate that al-Qaida has not found adequate replacements for Al-Awlaki and Khan.

Stalinsky says the latest “special edition,” which is the first in about two months, also makes numerous references to spreading its message on Twitter, reflecting an increased focus on social media.

According to MEMRI, Inspire’s current editor, Yahya Ibrahim, mocks the West for not heeding the magazine’s previous threats from “lone-wolf” jihadists.

“The responsibility for fighting America and allies is not limited to Al-Qaeda, it is also the duty of every Muslim,” he writes. “And as long as America’s hand is in the Muslim countries, we will always have our hands in their backyard; their streets, universities, ceremonies, sports events and even forests.”

Ibrahim credits Inspire with motivating Boston bombings suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar in the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 27, was killed four days after the April 15 bombings during a police shootout that left his 19-year-old brother injured.

One article in Inspire features a photoshopped image of Tamerlan, holding a cellphone, against a heavenly backdrop. The caption reads, “Tamerlan’s SMS to his mom: ‘My dear Mom, I will lay down my life for Islam. I’m gonna die for Islam Inshaa Allah.’”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been charged in the attacks and is being held at a prison medical center near Boston, told officials under questioning that the brothers learned how to build their bombs from Inspire’s infamous 2010 article “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” according to The Washington Post.

“In the past few weeks, the expression ‘Inspired by Inspire’ has been tweeted and retweeted,” Ibrahim writes. “Yes, the brothers have been inspired by Inspire. This is not only because Inspire offers bomb recipes, but also because of the contents of the magazine as a whole (referring to religious instruction and calls to jihad).”

MEMRI’s Stalinsky says one article, called “America’s Bitter Harvest,” also stressed how much money the U.S. authorities had to spend in Boston to respond to an attack that cost the bombers only $400.

The magazine also writes about the brutal killing May 22 on a London street of a British soldier, allegedly by two Britons of Nigerian descent who had converted to Islam.

“The Western nations should comprehend that the type of these young men who killed the British soldier, are many,” according to a writer with the pen name Muhammad Al-San’ani. “They all witness your governments’ invasion of Muslim lands.”


US Acknowledges Killing 4 Americans in Drone Strikes.

Image: US Acknowledges Killing 4 Americans in Drone Strikes

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 6 as Code Pink demonstrator Medea Benjamin protests against the use of drone strikes.

By Todd Beamon

The Obama administration acknowledged on Wednesday that the United States had killed four American citizens in drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder disclosed the deaths in a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, The New York Times reports.

The Times obtained a copy of the letter.

The acknowledgment comes a day before President Barack Obama is to deliver a major speech on national security, the Times reports.

Holder said that the administration had deliberately killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was killed in a drone strike in September 2011 in Yemen.

The U.S. responsibility for Awlaki’s death has been widely reported, but the administration had refused to confirm or deny it, the Times reports.

The United States also had killed three other Americans, Holder said in the letter.

They are Samir Khan, who was killed in the same strike; Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was also killed in Yemen; and Jude Mohammed, who was killed in a strike in Pakistan.

“These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States,” Holder wrote in the letter.

While rumors of Mohammed’s death had appeared in local news reports in Raleigh, N.C., where he lived, his death had not been confirmed by the U.S. government until Wednesday, the Times reports.

Former acquaintances of Mohammed in North Carolina told the Times that he appeared to have been killed in a November 2011 drone strike in South Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal area.

Mohammed’s wife, whom he had met and married in Pakistan, subsequently called his mother in North Carolina to tell her of his death, the friends told the Times.

Holder, in a speech at Northwestern University Law School last year, said that, legally, American citizens who are deemed to be operational terrorists, who pose an “imminent threat of violent attack” and whose capture is infeasible may be targeted.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Memo sets rationale to kill Qaida-linked citizens.


WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal Justice Department memo says it is legal for the government to kill U.S. citizens abroad if it believes they are senior al-Qaida leaders continually engaged in operations aimed at killing Americans.

The document provides a legal rationale behind the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects.

The 16-page document says it is lawful to target al-Qaida linked U.S. citizens if they pose an “imminent” threat of violent attackagainst Americans, and that delaying action against such people would create an unacceptably high risk. Such circumstances may necessitate expanding the concept of imminent threat, the memo says.

“The threat posed by al-Qaida and its associated forces demands a broader concept of imminence in judging when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat,” the document added.

A September 2011 drone strike in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both U.S. citizens.

The memo does not require the U.S. to have information about a specific imminent attack against the U.S. But it does require that capture of a terrorist suspect not be feasible and that any such lethal operation by the United States targeting a person comply with fundamental law-of-war principles.

“A decision maker determining whether an al-Qaida operational leader presents an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States must take into account that certain members of Al-Qaida … are continually plotting attacks against the United States” and that “al-Qaida would engage in such attacks regularly to the extent it were able to do so,” says the document, which was reported by NBC.

The document also says that a decision maker must take into account that “the U.S. government may not be aware of all al-Qaida plots as they are developing and thus cannot be confident that none is about to occur; and that … the nation may have a limited window of opportunity within which to strike in a manner that both has a high likelihood of success and reduces the probability of American casualties.”

With this understanding, the document added, a high-level official could conclude, for example, that an individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States where he is anoperational leader of al-Qaida or an associated force and is personally and continually involved in planning terrorist attacks against the United States.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the document is “profoundly disturbing.”

“It’s hard to believe that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances,” the ACLU said.

The document says that the use of lethal force would not violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution when a targeted person is an operational leader of an enemy force and an informed, high-level government official has determined that he poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S.

The document said the courts have no role to play in the matter.

“Under the circumstances described in this paper, there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations. It is well established that ‘matters intimately related to foreign policy, and national security are rarely proper subjects for judicial intervention,'” the white paper said.


By PETE YOST | Associated Press

Would Al Qaeda’s Wildfire ‘Ember Bomb’ Really Work?.

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Al Qaeda’s bizarre plan to attack America by         using an “ember bomb” to ignite wildfires is so impractical that the terror group would be better off armed with a cigarette lighter, according to California fire officials who recently tested an al Qaeda-prescribed incendiary device.

In early May, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the state’s threat assessment center conducted a “practical evaluation” of a home-made “ember bomb,” a complex device described in detail in a recent edition of the al Qaeda-produced Inspire magazine under the title “It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb.”

“In America, there are more houses built in the [countryside] than in the cities,” the Inspire article’s author says under the pseudonym The AQ Chef. “It is difficult to choose a better place [than] in the valleys of Montana.”

In response, California officials went about building and testing a sophisticated version of the device, complete with time-delay ignition, according to a “For Official Use Only” document published online today by the         anti-secrecy website Public Intelligence.

During the test, which was conducted on the concrete floor of a training facility, the device lit a fire that burned on its own fuel for just under 12 minutes. While the testers said the fire could have potentially spread to any nearby brush, the device itself did not produce any embers and all the heat was concentrated in one location – meaning it would not start other fires on its own – and left behind a large, black, “obsidian-like substance” where the device had burned.

“The ‘Ember Bomb’ device is an effective heat source and will ignite vegetation; however, we judge it is highly impractical based on the amount of energy and time it takes to construct the device, and the amount of physical evidence that will likely remain following its use,” the document said. “…[T]here appears to be little practicality associated with employing this method versus other that would likely leave far less physical evidence, such as manually starting a burn with a cigarette lighter.”

Capt. Ryan Stonebraker, head of the California State Threat Assessment Center and trooper with the California Highway Patrol, told ABC News he has not seen any indication anyone has attempted to start a fire with such a device, but said that regardless of how a blaze starts, the “threat is still on my mind.”

“It’s very difficult to stop fires,” he said. “I think what’s important is that first responders are aware of the methodology… The threat isn’t just from al Qaeda [abroad], but homegrown extremists as well.”

Stonebraker said the test was the first-ever collaboration between the threat assessment center and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the results were sent to law enforcement agencies across the country.

“We thought this was kind of obviously something different, so we did the tests so that first responders could see how it worked… and what to look for,” he said.

The firebomb device was described in the ninth edition of Inspire, a magazine produced by al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, AQAP. Earlier editions of the sleek magazine were believed to be crafted by         U.S.-born radical Samir Khan before he was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in September 2011.


ABC NewsBy Lee Ferran | ABC News

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