Archive for the ‘FBI’ Category

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

Read the rest:

America’s Top Intelligence Officer In India for Terror Talks

December 22, 2008

A top US Intelligence official on Monday held series of meetings with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and senior officials during when the progress in investigations into the Mumbai terror attacks was reviewed.

Director of National Intelligence John Michel McConnell, who flew into the Capital, is also believed to have met National Security Advisor MK Narayanan and discussed issues relating to evidence gathered so far in the probe in the 26/11 terror strikes, official sources said.

Hindustan Times

The sources said McConnell had a 30-minute long meeting with the Union Home Minister during which the two sides touched upon the progress in the probe into the terror strikes at the country’s financial capital. US Ambassador David C Mulford was also present at the meeting.

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is considered to be the most powerful intelligence official of the United States government under directs command and control of the US President and reports to him only.

The role of the DNI is to effectively integrate foreign, military and domestic intelligence in defence of the homeland and of the US’s interests abroad from its 16 spy agencies.

McConnell later met investigating officials including those from the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who are probing the Mumbai attacks, the sources said.

The US Intelligence head also met India’s Intelligence chiefs and discussed the evidence gathered during the probe.

DNI came into existence after the audacious 9/11 attacks in the US. India is hoping to benefit from DNI’s experiences in countering terrorism while it was formulating the policies for a proposed National Investigating Agency, a bill for which was cleared by Parliament.

India terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the new Al Qaeda?

Blagojevich: Wacko, Pathological, Grandiose and Narcissistic: But Criminal?

December 13, 2008

He’s accused of talking about an ambassadorship, a Cabinet post in the Obama administration, even someday running for president – all while clearly aware of a federal corruption investigation hovering over his administration.

“Wacko” is among the unscientific diagnoses suggested by many after prosecutors this week accused Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of essentially trying to sell the president-elect’s open U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Associated Press

Delusional, grandiose and narcissistic are some of the official terms offered up by mental health specialists, who have their own theories.

“When hubris creeps through the door, judgment just flies out the window,” said David Levy, a psychology professor at Pepperdine University’s graduate school.

Assessing the embattled governor’s state of mind has become a sort of parlor game as the enormity of the stunning allegations against him sinks in. Everyone seems to be wondering, was it lunacy, or just an extreme form of politics-as-usual?

“Blagojevich’s defense lawyers might want to consider an insanity defense,” wrote Mark Brown, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist. “He’s utterly mad. Completely and totally off his rocker.”

Not so fast, Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass said (any surprise the two papers differ?): “The pundits who make such diagnoses have never talked to a Chicago machine politician in their lives. How do they think Chicago politicians talk in private when they’re muscling some other guy for cash? Like Helen Mirren playing the queen?”

Yet, even in a state where corruption seems to flow like water, the governor’s alleged actions and words caught on tape stand out.

“These charges are absolutely stunning and it’s because it’s kind of transcended simple greed,” said Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. “This is not like giving somebody a sewer inspector job. This is an abuse of public trust 100-fold.”

Like rubberneckers drawn to a highway crash, Levy said he’s been riveted by the developments.

“I’m really intrigued by this guy’s brazenness,” he said. “The recklessness is remarkable.”

New York City therapist Jonathan Alpert said he was struck by “the grandiosity, the grand sense of self and entitlement,” the arrogance.

Those traits are consistent with a mental condition called narcissistic personality disorder, he said. Its other symptoms can include taking advantage of others for personal gain and lack of empathy.

That could be a cynical job description for politicians. They are, after all, often lured to the job at least partly by the heady sense of power it promises. And Alpert said just having some of those behaviors doesn’t guarantee mental illness.

But Chicago psychoanalyst Mark Smaller said Blagojevich’s alleged behavior seems to have gone beyond bad judgment.

“This is somebody who knew he was being investigated, so you would think that would be the type of person” who wouldn’t want to increase the probability of being caught, Smaller said.

Instead, according to the complaint against Blagojevich, he conspired to sell or trade Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat in recent weeks, knowing he was the target of a longtime federal probe of alleged pay-to-play politics.

Just a day before FBI agents arrested Blagojevich at his home Tuesday, he defiantly told reporters he didn’t care about reports he was being secretly taped because his words were “always lawful.”

Smaller said the self-destructiveness is stunning: “There’s something going on here that doesn’t look like normal political corruption.”

Still, some experts suggest that being in a position of power can make people feel they are impervious to danger. Levy said there’s no easy answer when it comes to Blagojevich.

“There really is no clear line between what’s normal and pathological,” he said.

Without Martin Luther King and Me; No Barack Obama

Blago in “Victim TV Tour” Quotes MLK; But Transcript Quotes May Land Him in Jail

 Blagojevich’s TV Defense: “Don’t Touch The Hair”

Again We Watch Spellbound At Personal Disaster: This Time Rod Blagojevich

December 12, 2008

Sunday he was a freewheeling, vocal, profane, daring Governor — one of only 50 men and women currently serving that had achieved that distinction.  Today he is disgraced, charged with high crimes, and the Supreme Court of Illinois has been asked to declare him unfit to serve.

His marriage may be unwinding and his friends, if he ever had any real friends, are likely gone.  He was visited this week by a group of churchmen: undoubtedly there was a call to God and some fear of suicide.

We watch in a kind of mixture of horror, amusement and concern.  Twenty-four hour news allows even the day shift to watch at night and the night shift to watch by day.  It is human drama: the best kind.  And much of it is live.

And it breaks some hearts and others shout: “GOOD!  He deserved this!”

Rod Blagojevich, it seems to me, is a kind of everyman.  He didn’t go to Harvard and had none of the blessings of many others.  He married well but he crossed his wife’s father which tripped him up.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal corruption charges.

Above: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal corruption charges.

But he was more blue jeans than Brooks Brothers.  He said he’d stand up for the union men and women because he was just like them.  But then he betrayed their trust and now will suffer consequences.

And he got in over his head: consumed, it seems, with greed and self.  His ego, in the end, did him in.  His ego and his mouth: both immense liabilities.

If he ever had ethics and admirable character traits, if he ever had integrity; he gave them away or lost them or both. 

And he seems to have had no fear and no regard for his own safety and the happiness of his family: he even goaded the FBI and the Feds about recording his phone calls, saying he only spoke the truth.  Which was a lie.

One wonders what his children will think?  And will he ever regain their trust and admiration?

He doesn’t seem to deserve our hate or admiration.  Rather; he is pitiable and bereft of qualities that earn anger or love, it seems.  Barack Obama almost said he felt sorry for the man, a remark I at first misunderstood.  Now I feel the same way myself.

Rod Blagojavich will make a plea or he’ll go to prison for a long time, where he’ll undoubtedly be abused and suffer both mental and physical anguish.

In any event, he is finished working as a lawyer and a politician, it seems, his family life is in disarray and dismay, perhaps damaged beyond repair.  And he must set a new course of some kind and get on with life.  That’s a challenge he doesn’t seem ready to accept: and that makes him even more pitiable indeed.

The Fall of the House of Blagojevich

December 12, 2008

Wednesday was Rod Blagojevich‘s 52nd birthday, but you can bet it was not a happy one. After having been charged by federal authorities with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that President-elect Barack Obama vacated, the Illinois governor spent most of the day hidden from view inside the state office building in downtown Chicago. The few allies he had left have vanished. And anyone who might have been among the unnamed Senate candidates in the detailed charges against Blagojevich have been busy putting distance between the governor and themselves. Among those were Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who has hired a lawyer to accompany him to a meeting with federal prosecutors on Friday…

By Steven Gray
Time Magazine

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich leaves his home in Chicago, ...
Stay away from the rats….they could be toxic….
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich leaves his home in Chicago, Illinois. President-elect Barack Obama said Thursday he is “absolutely certain” his team was not involved in any deal-making with Blagojevich and vowed to disclose a review of all contacts with his office.(AFP/Getty Images/Brian Kersey)

But it is Blagojevich who continues to be the target of public outrage. Talk-radio hosts in the state fielded calls from citizens who wondered how the governor could attempt anything so brazen amid what were clearly ongoing federal investigations into some of his activities. “It’s as if it didn’t register [with Blagojevich],” says Jay Stewart, executive director of the Illinois Better Government Association, in Chicago. “Even by our crass, low standards in Illinois, it’s stunning.” Most polls had the governor’s approval rating in the low two digits, from 16% to about 25%, but a recent survey had Blago (as the Illinois public has grown to call him, unflatteringly) at an incredible subbasement-level 4%.


Six years ago, Blagojevich, the son of a Serbian-born steelworker, seemed to have an almost inspiring rÉsumÉ. He worked as a dishwasher to pay for college. After graduating from Pepperdine University’s law school, he eventually found work as a prosecutor in Cook County, which includes Chicago, frequently handling domestic-abuse cases. He married well; his wife Patti, the daughter of influential Chicago alderman Richard Mell…

Read the rest:

Blagojevich, Obama, Jesse Jackson All Tied Together

December 11, 2008

Legally, some if not all will escape and remain free men.  But the fact that can never be denied is this: Illinois is the most corrupt state or a damned good competitor, according to the FBI.

My Dad, an FBI agent himself, used to say, “Buying politicians is the gift that keeps on giving.”

“If it is not the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” said FBI Special Agent Robert Grant  during a news conference announcing the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich: Wacko, Pathological, Grandiose and Narcissistic: But Criminal?

In Illinois, Corruption Often Expected, Accepted

This means Rod Blagojevich, Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson all come from the same gene pool.  The same Illinois and Chicago cesspool of corruption spawned the careers of all three men.  Each has a vast web of friends and helpers within this gene pool.

In this June 20, 2005 file photo, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., ... 
In this June 20, 2005 file photo, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., speaks as Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., listens during a news conference in St. Louis. Federal authorities arrested Blagojevich Tuesday Dec. 9, 2008 on charges that he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama to the
highest bidder. (AP Photo/James A. Finley)
Rod Blagojevich, Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson were all elected by the same voters: many of whom were duped and tricked and cheated by a long running system of corruption, bribes, influence peddling, quid pro quo and media manipulation.

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., pauses during his remarks at ... 
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., pauses during his remarks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008. Jackson, a 7-term House member and son of a famous civil rights leader, said he is not a target of the federal investigation that led to this week’s arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, that he eagerly and openly sought the Senate appointment, but was not involved ‘whatsoever in any wrongdoing.’ (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sounds like parts of Beijing to me.

The Illinois voters, therefore, are not to blame.  Unless they participated in the wrongdoing they were mostly taken for a ride.  Taken advantage of.

So now we know: the man to be elected President of the United States won his Senate seat by springboarding from one of the most corrupt political systems in the nation.  And the U.S. Senate seat he’ll vacate to become President of the United States went up for sale even before the leather chair was cold.

This doesn’t mean Rod Blagojevich, Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson are guilty of anything — other than growing up in the same fish tank and swimming with the dirtiest mutated sharks.

But it does mean that they have friends and aquaintences who are some of those mutated sharks — and that gives opportunity for wrongdoing in the White House, at the top of the State of Illinois, in the House of Representatives and perhaps, in the U.S. Senate.
Is this what we want?  

 In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Ill. Blagojevich was roused from bed and arrested Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008, after prosecutors said he was caught on wiretaps audaciously scheming to sell now President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for cash or a plum job for himself in the new administration
(AP Photo/Randy Squires, File)

What is Happening In Illinois?

By Eamon Javers and Fred Barbash 
A visibly disgusted FBI special agent Robert Grant stood at a podium in Chicago during a press conference Tuesday announcing the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and hurling his contempt at the entire political culture of the state of Illinois.

“If it is not the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” Grant said, his disheveled shock of black hair giving some indication of the dramatic and stressful events of the day.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald termed the events leading up to the governor’s early-morning arrest by the FBI, “a corruption crime spree,” and said it was “an appalling statement about what’s been happening in Illinois government.”

So just what is the problem with Illinois?

It certainly seems like Illinois has a particular sweet spot for corruption: Blagojevich’s own predecessor as governor, George Ryan, went to jail in 2007 in a 6-1/2 year sentence for corruption of his own.

And two other Illinois governors have faced legal trouble in modern times: Otto Kerner, who was mocked locally as “Blotto Otto,” and Dan Walker, who was charged in a savings and loan scheme involving fraudulent loans for repairs on his yacht, which was called The Governor’s Lady.

Fitzgerald, who is known as a crusading prosecutor for his role in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, seemed to throw up his hands in despair, saying: “We’re not going to end corruption in Illinois by arrests and indictments alone.” He stressed that rooting out corruption would depend on the willingness of the people of Illinois to solve the problem.

In that, Fitzgerald may be on to something. It turns out that a state’s culture is at least as important to its degree of corruption as the aggressiveness of its law enforcement officers.

And it’s also true that some states are just plain more corrupt than others.

In an early attempt to explain why that is, the late Temple University political science professor Daniel J. Elazar argued in the 1960s that the United States can be divided in to three general political cultures, moralistic, traditional and individualistic.

Read the rest:

Jesse Jackson Jr. is ‘Candidate 5’ In Illinois Governor Corruption Case

December 10, 2008

ABC News has a law enforcement source telling them that Jesse Jackson, Jr. is “Senate Candidate Five,” the one who was — according to Blagojevich — willing to supply campaign cash in exchange for the Senate seat.

(This, incidentally, doesn’t strike me as all that unusual in politics, or as obviously criminal as other things in the complaint — though the crudeness with which Blagojevich discussed it was.)

ABC reports:

Jackson Jr. said “I don’t know” when asked if he was Candidate #5, but said he was told “I am not a target of this investigation.”

Jackson Jr. said he agreed to talk with federal investigators “as quickly as possible” after he consults with a lawyer.

The Congressman, a son of the famed civil rights leader, denied that anyone had been authorized to make payments or promises to the Governor on his behalf.

“It is impossible for someone on my behalf to have a conversation that would suggest any type of quid pro quo or any payments or offers,” Jackson Jr. told ABC News. “An impossiblity to an absolute certainty.”

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at the Democratic National Convention in August.
Ron Edmonds/Associated Press

–From Politico


From the New York Times

Federal authorities on Wednesday identified Democratic Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois as the potential United States Senate candidate who was portrayed in court papers made public Tuesday as being the most deeply enmeshed in the alleged scheme by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to benefit from his appointment of a new senator to the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Mr. Jackson said in an interview with ABC News that he did not know whether he was the anonymous Candidate 5 mentioned by federal prosecutors in the affidavit supporting their criminal complaint against Mr. Blagojevich. He said that the prosecutors in Chicago told him he was not a target of the criminal inquiry. But he said they had asked him to answer questions about the selection process by Mr. Blagojevich to fill the seat.

Mr. Jackson, who has publicly sought the appointment, said he met with Mr. Blagojevich to discuss the job for the first time earlier this week, after not having spoken to him for more than four years. Mr. Jackson said he never authorized anyone to offer anything in return for the appointment. Mr. Jackson, the son of the civil rights leader, was first named by ABC News as the person identified in the criminal complaint as Candidate 5.

“It is impossible for someone on my behalf to have a conversation that would suggest any type of quid pro quo or any payments or offers,” Mr. Jackson said in comments broadcast by ABC News. “An impossibility to an absolute certainty.”

Ron Edmonds/Associated Press

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at the Democratic National Convention in August.

Federal prosecutors in Chicago would not discuss the identity of Candidate 5 and would not comment on whether Mr. Jackson would be interviewed in the case.

The identify of Candidate 5 has been a mystery since the filing of a legal complaint on Tuesday accusing Mr. Blagojevich and an aide of engaging in corruption and conspiracy, stemming in part from an alleged effort by the Governor to sell off Mr. Obama’s seat in return for campaign contributions and lucrative jobs for Mr. Blagojevich and his family.

Of the six candidates for the senate seat who are identified by number in the complaint, but not named, only Candidate 5 is said to have engaged in possible wrongdoing by engaging in discussions through an emissary about a possible quid pro quo with Mr. Blagovich’s camp. The emissary was also not identified by name.

According to the compliant, Mr. Blagojevich threatened to appoint Candidate….

Read the rest:

What We Know About Mumbai Terrorists: Mad Dogs Off The Leash

December 3, 2008

In Mumbai, it is now apparent that the terrorists that struck the hotels and other sites, killed nearly 200, tortured Jewish prisoners before putting them to death, and threw around hand grenades indiscriminately, were not your grandparents terrorists.

Because the Indian police captured one terrorist alive and a wealth of material and forensic evidence, we know several facts about the Mumbai terrorists:

–The surviving terrorist has told authorities he and the others were trained in Pakistan by the Islamist militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

–The terrorists were well armed with modern, first-rate automatic weapons and hand grenades.

–They used every conceivable modern technology to assist them in their deadly task: cell phones, GPS, Blackberries, text messaging and other tools were found.

–They had prepared physically and mentally for a long siege.  The dead terrorists are “beefy” well muscled men who seem to have worked out physically for months recently. There is some evidence that the terrorists used steroids.

–The susviving terrorist has spoken about mental and Islamic readiness and the fact that none of the terrorists had any fear of death.

–The terrorist, though Islamic fanatics, used cocaine, LSD and other drugs to assist them to stay awake and “one the edge.” Syringes, paraphernalia, and steroids were found on some of the terrorists.

–At least one terrorist wore a shirt bearing the Versace logo; a kind of Muslim taboo.  The use of the logo indicates that these men are unafraid to embrace what some Muslims consider “decadent.” 

The wearing of the “decadent” logo might seem a small, seemingly unimportant fact. But it could be evidence, combined with the drug use and other evidence, that these terrorist are unencumbered by any religious, cultural,  moral or other restrictions.

A criminal psychologist schooled in terrorism told Peace and Freedom, “these are mad dogs off the leash.”

Mumbai Terror Survivor Bought Cheap and Promised Pay “Dead or Alive” By Pakistan Handlers

This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with ... 
This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with a “Versace” logo carrying an automatic weapon as he enters a train station in Mumbai, late November 26. The man, Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, is being interrogated in a safe house in Mumbai, reports said.(AFP/NDTV/File)