Archive for the ‘CIA’ Category

Losing Terror War? Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iran

March 11, 2009
Defense Intelligence Agency chief Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples tells senators during a Capitol Hill hearing that Al Qaeda has resurfaced in a country it was forced to flee seven years ago.
By Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times
March 11, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Al Qaeda has expanded its presence in Afghanistan, taking advantage of the sinking security situation to resurface in the country it was forced to flee seven years ago, the top U.S. military intelligence official testified Tuesday.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, described Al Qaeda’s efforts as one of the reasons for the Obama administration’s decision last month to order additional troops to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is no longer the haven for Al Qaeda that it was before the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. But in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Maples said, “I believe Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan is more significant, although still at a relatively minor scale, than we have seen in the past.”

Maples also cited intelligence indicating that Iran is playing a more active role in supporting a militant group based in Pakistan that is launching attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces.

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Intelligence Officials Testify On National Security Threats 
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, left, and Defense Intelligence Agency chief Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples testify on Capitol Hill at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Maples said Al Qaeda has resurfaced in Afghanistan in a way not seen since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Blair said the U.S. intelligence assessment is that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium.  Alex Wong / Getty Images


A progressive Presidency is a terrible thing to waste. It only comes around once every so often. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Americans’ hopes for the Obama Administration were squandered in Afghanistan?


Obama Policy On Gitmo, Taliban, Afghanistan, Intel: As Stupid as It Gets

March 10, 2009

President Obama  nominated Charles Freeman for a top intelligence job, even  though Freeman was a well known anti-Isreal guy and very pro-China.

The heat and light of media attention caused Freeman to withdraw.

President Obama has said (A) He wants to close the terrorist prison at Guantanomo Bay Cuba; and (B) He wants to open discussions with the Taliban; and (C) We need to send more troops to Afghanistan.

The president is in the process of sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and is begging European allies to do the same — even while Joe Biden is saying we are losing the war in Afghanistan.

Bad policy doesn’t help one achieve national goals…..

Well: Here’s a way the president can talk to the Taliban: talk to them at Gitmo before they get free and go to work against the U.S. again…. Then you don’t have to send U.S. troops overseas to kill them.

A former U.S. Marine Corps General Officer told us today, “The only good Taliban is a dead Taliban.”  But if that can’t be achieved, maybe Gitmo is as good as it gets….

Our foreign policy on Gitmo, the Taliban, Afghanistan and (we can no longer say TERRORISM) is about as stupid as government gets….

Who’s to blame?

Did Blair do this?  Panetta?  Rush Limbaugh?  Rahm Emanuel?  Hillary?

Maybe I am too stupid to get this.  Ya think?

 Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)


Guantanamo detainees gloat; say they planned Sept. 11

 Biden: “U.S., West Not Winning In Afghanistan”

Leon Panetta 
Above: Leon Panetta.  Photo by AP



The Taliban‘s new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan had been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the latest example of a freed detainee who took a militant leadership role and a potential complication for the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison. U.S. authorities handed over the detainee to the Afghan government, which in turn released him, according to Pentagon and CIA officials.

Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, formerly Guantanamo prisoner No. 008, was among 13 Afghan prisoners released to the Afghan government in December 2007. Rasoul is now known as Mullah Abdullah Zakir, a nom de guerre that Pentagon and intelligence officials say is used by a Taliban leader who is in charge of operations against U.S. and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan.

The officials, who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to release the information, said Rasoul has joined a growing faction of former Guantanamo prisoners who have rejoined militant groups and taken action against U.S. interests. Pentagon officials have said that as many as 60 former detainees have resurfaced on foreign battlefields.

Pentagon and intelligence officials said Rasoul has emerged as a key militant figure in southern Afghanistan, where violence has been spiking in the last year. Thousands of U.S. troops are preparing to deploy there to fight resurgent Taliban forces.

One intelligence official told the Associated Press that Rasoul’s stated mission is to counter the U.S. troop surge.

Although the militant detainees who have resurfaced were released under the Bush administration, the revelation underscores the Obama administration’s dilemma in moving to close the detention camp at Guantanamo and figuring out what to do with the nearly 250 prisoners who remain there.

In one of his first acts in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the jail next year. The order also convened a task force that will determine how to handle remaining detainees, who could be transferred to other U.S. detention facilities for trial, transferred to foreign nations for legal proceedings or freed.

More than 800 prisoners have been imprisoned at Guantanamo; only a handful have been charged. About 520 Guantanamo detainees have been released from custody or transferred to prisons elsewhere in the world.

A Pentagon tally of the detainees released show that 122 were transferred from Guantanamo in 2007, more than any other year.

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“One Man Abu Ghraib” CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes, Making Videos

January 28, 2009

“This will greatly embarrass America.  A one man Abu Ghraib.” That’s what a former CIA officer told us…


The CIA’s station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

ABC News

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Al-Qaeda, Gitmo Quandary: After Prison, Suppose Just One Terrorists Destroys Your Way of Life?

January 25, 2009

“We are in a zero-error tolerant engagement here.  If we allow just one Gimo prisoner to walk free and he destroys the World Trade Center, White House, Big Ben, or Eiffel Tower, what will everyone say.  What will liberals say?”

That quote is from a former CIA man with experiece dealing with terrorists.

We became much more interested in the Guantanamo Bay and torture issee after reporters started to doubt the Pentagon’s claims that several free men who formerly had lodgings in Gitmo has re-joined terrorists groups.

The point isn’t that men freed after terrorist prison confinement again become terrorists.  The point is that we are in a “zero defect” environment…..

“These are not nice people,” said my CIA friend….




Two men released from the US “war on terror” prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have appeared in a video posted on a jihadist website, the SITE monitoring service reported.

One of the two former inmates, a Saudi man identified as Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, or prisoner number 372, has been elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, a US counter-terrorism official told AFP.

Former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri

Three other men appear in the video, including Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, identified as an Al-Qaeda field commander. SITE later said he was prisoner No. 333.

A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, on Saturday declined to confirm the SITE information.

“We remain concerned about ex-Guantanamo detainees who have re-affiliated with terrorist organizations after their departure,” said Gordon.

“We will continue to work with the international community to mitigate the threat they pose,” he said.

On the video, al-Shihri is seen sitting with three other men before a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq, the front for Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

“By Allah, imprisonment only increased our persistence in our principles for which we went out, did jihad for, and were imprisoned for,” al-Shihri was quoted as saying.

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When a Terrorist Gets Free After Prison

January 24, 2009

In 1973, a young terrorist named Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary entered the United States and quickly began plotting an audacious attack in New York City.

He built three powerful bombs — bombs powerful enough to kill, maim and destroy — and put them in rental cars scattered around town, near Israeli targets.

By ADAM GOLDMAN and RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press Writers

Al-Qaeda, Gitmo Quandary: After Prison, Suppose Just One Terrorists Destroys Your Way of Life?

This photo obtained by The Associated Press shows Khalid Duhham ... 
This photo obtained by The Associated Press shows Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary in 2007. Al-Jawary is in federal custody, convicted of building a trio of powerful bombs that were part of a 1973 plot to destroy Israeli targets in New York. Al-Jawary’s bombs never detonated and he wasn’t brought to justice until two decades later after fleeing the country. On Feb. 19, Al-Jawary, 63, will be released.(AP Photo)

The plot failed. The explosive devices did not detonate, and Al-Jawary fled the country, escaping prosecution for nearly two decades — until he was convicted of terrorism charges in Brooklyn and sentenced to 30 years in federal penitentiary.

But his time is up.

In less than a month, the 63-year-old Al-Jawary is expected to be released. He will likely be deported; where to is anybody’s guess. The shadowy figure had so many aliases it’s almost impossible to know which country is his true homeland.

Al-Jawary has never admitted his dark past or offered up tidbits in exchange for his release. Much of Al-Jawary’s life remains a mystery — even to the dogged FBI case agent who tracked him down.

But an Associated Press investigation — based on recently declassified documents, extensive court records, CIA investigative notes and interviews with former intelligence officials — reveals publicly for the first time Al-Jawary’s deep involvement in terrorism beyond the plot that led to his conviction.

Pentagon: 61 ex-Guantanamo inmates return to terrorism

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Tortured Language Hides Torture Truth: Obama Policy Change Resolves a Domestic Political Problem

January 23, 2009

Mr. Obama’s Inaugural line that “we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals” was itself misrepresenting the choices his predecessor was forced to make. At least President Bush was candid about the practical realities of preventing mass casualties in the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal
Most politicians would rather do anything than make a difficult choice, and it seems President Obama hasn’t abandoned this Senatorial habit. To wit, yesterday’s executive order on interrogation: It imposes broad limits on how aggressively U.S. intelligence officers can question terrorists, but it also keeps open the prospect of legal loopholes that would allow them to press harder in tough cases.
While that kind of double standard may resolve a domestic political problem, it’s no way to fight a war. The human-rights lobby and many Democrats are still experiencing hypochondria about the Bush Administration’s supposed torture program, and their cheering about this “clean break” means they may be appeased. But the larger risk is that Mr. Obama’s restrictions end up disabling an essential tool in the U.S. antiterror arsenal.

Effective immediately, the interrogation of anyone “in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government” will be conducted within the limits of the Army Field Manual. That includes special-ops and the Central Intelligence Agency, which will now be required to give prisoners gentler treatment than common criminals. The Field Manual’s confines don’t even allow the average good cop/bad cop routines common in most police precincts.

The Army Field Manual is already the operating guide for military interrogations. The crux of the “torture” debate has been that the Bush Administration permitted more coercive techniques in rare cases — fewer than 100 detainees, according to CIA Director Michael Hayden. Yesterday Mr. Obama revoked the 2007 Presidential carve-out that protected this CIA flexibility.

“Torture” Debate is Academic, Abstract Until Real National Crisis Imminent

Why the Gitmo policies may not change

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[Review & Outlook]

Why the Gitmo policies may not change

January 23, 2009

There may be less than meets the eye to the executive orders President Obama issued yesterday to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and prohibit the torture of prisoners in American custody. Those pronouncements may sound dramatic and unequivocal, but experts predict that American policy towards detainees could remain for months or even years pretty close to what it was as President Bush left office.

Josh Gerstein

“I think the administration’s commitment to close Guantanamo is heartening; the fact they want to give themselves a year to do it, not so much,”, said Ramzi Kassem, a Yale Law School lecturer who represents prisoners like inmate Ahmed Zuhair, who was captured in Pakistan in 2001. “That would bring men like my client to eight years imprisonment for no apparent reason.”

Here are a few of the delays, caveats and loopholes that could limit the impact of Obama’s orders:

1. Everyone has to follow the Army Field Manual—for now…

Obama’s executive order on interrogations says all agencies of the government have to follow the Army Field Manual when interrogating detainees, meaning the CIA can no longer used so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, which have included waterboarding, the use of dogs in questioning, and stripping prisoners.

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“Torture” Debate is Academic, Abstract Until Real National Crisis Imminent

January 16, 2009

The current debate over “torture,” appropriate use of harsh interrogation techniques, and how best to honor the human rights of an individual that may be planning to kill hundreds, thousands or even millions of our fellow citizens, is a tricky one: and an abstract and largely academic debate to establish or re-affirm standards, guidlines and rules.

Suppose the United States his holding a known terrorists and has evidence that man or woman has been involved in activity that may result in acute or widespread national death and destruction like that we witnessed on 9-11.

Is “torture” appropiate then?

We asked a non-American colleague who said,  “When the life of my coutry was at steak, and threatened in its very future life, it seemed to us that we also had the right to use whatever means we could to prevent our own downfall and the destruction of our homeland.”

We reiterate this quote because just this morning we heard almost the exact same thing from John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the CIA.

McLaughlin told NPR the debate over what interrogation methods should be used is abstract until the day the U.S. government finds itself holding a terrorist who really does know about an upcoming attack on the United States.

“Then you do have a dilemma: Do you need to get that information, or do you not? If you don’t get that information, have you failed in your moral responsibility to your fellow citizens? And it’s only when it gets real that that debate begins to bite.”

Below is the text of a wonderful discussion on this tough topic from NPR….


By Tom Gjelten

Morning Edition, January 16, 2009 · In his confirmation hearing Thursday, Eric Holder, the president-elect’s choice to be attorney general, said he thinks waterboarding is torture. But waterboarding, or simulated drowning, is just one of the “coercive interrogation” techniques used by the CIA after Sept. 11 to extract information from suspected terrorists. It will be up to the new president to decide what procedures will be off-limits under his administration. So far, he’s getting conflicting advice.

During his campaign, Barack Obama spoke out against the use of anything like torture in the interrogation of suspected terrorists. He said that, as president, he’d order all interrogations to be carried out in accordance with the U.S. Army Field Manual, guidelines that are far more restrictive than the ones President Bush has given the CIA.

Obama was supported in that position by a group of retired generals and admirals; as military officers, they worried that interrogation methods tantamount to torture might someday be used on American prisoners. About a dozen of them even asked for a meeting with Obama’s transition team last month to make sure he wasn’t backing down from his campaign promises. Among them was retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.

“The Golden Rule is the Golden Rule — that you don’t do something to someone that you wouldn’t have done to an American citizen that was held for interrogation. And I think that’s as true for a CIA operative as it is for a person in uniform,” Hoar said.

The incoming Obama administration is also being pressured on this point by Congress; last year, it passed legislation that would have required CIA interrogators to abide by the Army Field Manual guidelines. President Bush vetoed the bill; but the incoming chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), has introduced it again, as she reminded Holder during his confirmation hearing Thursday.

“It has been revised by the military. It is a comprehensive, thoughtful manual. It has more than a dozen different techniques,” Feinstein said. “Do you believe that the Army Field Manual should comprise the standard for interrogation across the United States government?”

Holder, who has met with the retired military officers who favor that change, said President-elect Obama will make that call on his own.

“He’s giving all components an opportunity to express their views — not only the military, but those on the intelligence side. If there’s a contrary view, we want to give them an opportunity to make their case,” Holder said.

There are contrary views. Many military officers not only worry about harsh interrogation methods being used against their own troops, but they also doubt the reliability of information gained under any procedure that resembles torture.

But outgoing CIA director Michael Hayden vigorously disputes the idea that the coercive methods used by CIA interrogators did not produce useful information.

“These techniques worked,” Hayden insisted Thursday in a meeting with reporters. “I’m convinced,” he said, “that the program got the maximum amount of information” — particularly out of the first group of detainees taken into custody after 9/11.

Hayden says there are various interrogation methods that are not in the Army Field Manual but that are nevertheless legal. For that reason, he argues against limiting CIA interrogators to the Army manual.

In his Senate testimony Thursday, Holder took the military’s side in the debate over whose guidelines should govern CIA interrogations.

“It is my view, based on what I’ve had the opportunity to review and what I’ve been exposed to, that I think the Army Field Manual is adequate,” he said.

Obama himself appears to be keeping his decision options open. He may be realizing that this issue, like others, is not clear-cut. John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the CIA, says the debate over what interrogation methods should be used is abstract until the day the U.S. government finds itself holding a terrorist who really does know about an upcoming attack on the United States.

“Then you do have a dilemma: Do you need to get that information, or do you not? If you don’t get that information, have you failed in your moral responsibility to your fellow citizens? And it’s only when it gets real that that debate begins to bite.”

In the best case for the Obama administration, that scenario will not present itself — and there won’t be a dilemma.

Hear the audio:

Team Obama Learning: Governing Isn’t Campaigning

January 15, 2009

On Tuesday, America can take pride in a special transfer of power as Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be sworn in as president.

Shortly after the ceremony, the new president’s aides will slip away to inspect the offices they now inhabit. They’ve put much of their lives on hold to take jobs that will last, for most, two or three years. Hours will be long, pressure unrelenting, decisions momentous, and families often neglected. Every American should respect their sacrifices.

By Karl Rove
The Wall Street Journal

What these aides will soon realize is that they aren’t history, but passing through it. I learned that from an elderly man who told me “to honor the house” as he emptied my trash bin late my first day at work.

That is what an administration owes the country. But it is not all it owes. There is also the matter of governing. Team Obama is about to learn that it’s easier to campaign than to govern.

In fact, they are already learning it. Last February, Congress passed a stimulus bill, adding $152 billion to the deficit. Mr. Obama called it “deficit spending” and criticized the “disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting” in Washington. Now he forecasts trillion dollar deficits on his watch. Mr. Obama, the candidate, criticized the “careless and incompetent execution” of the Iraq war. But as president-elect, he decided to retain George W. Bush’s defense secretary and put a Bush adviser in charge of the National Security Council.

More significantly, Team Obama is stumbling on its biggest priority — an economic stimulus package. One stutter step came when Mr. Obama said he looked forward to signing a stimulus bill on Jan. 20 and then failed to lay out a proposal by mid-December so Congress could chew it over. That led House Appropriations Chairman David Obey to carp that “We’ve got to have some signals called by Obama . . . it’s hard to negotiate” when Team Obama “hasn’t decided what they want.”

Mr. Obama also tripped himself up by sending advisers to Capitol Hill on Dec. 18 to say that he wanted a stimulus bill to cost between $670 billion and $770 billion, but that he would accept $850 billion. This invited Congress to roll him and spend more. Now he may see not only his number shredded but the elements of his package as well.

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Lessons for Obama … From George W. Bush (And Bob Woodward)

January 15, 2009

There’s actually a lot that President-elect Barack Obama can learn from the troubled presidency of George W. Bush. Over the past eight years, I have interviewed President Bush for nearly 11 hours, spent hundreds of hours with his administration’s key players and reviewed thousands of pages of documents and notes. That produced four books, totaling 1,727 pages, that amount to a very long case study in presidential decision-making, and there are plenty of morals to the story. Presidents live in the unfinished business of their predecessors, and Bush casts a giant shadow on the Obama presidency: two incomplete wars and a monumental financial and economic crisis. Here are 10 lessons that Obama and his team should take away from the Bush experience.

By Bob Woodward
The Washington Post

1. Presidents set the tone. Don’t be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.

In the fall of 2002, Bush personally witnessed a startling face-off between National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in the White House Situation Room after Rumsfeld had briefed the National Security Council on the Iraq war plan. Rice wanted to hold onto a copy of the Pentagon briefing slides, code-named Polo Step. “You won’t be needing that,” Rumsfeld said, reaching across the table and snatching the Top Secret packet away from Rice — in front of the president. “I’ll let you two work it out,” Bush said, then turned and walked out. Rice had to send an aide to the Pentagon to get a bootlegged copy from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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