Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.
The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.
“If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent. The watchlisting system, he adds, is “revving out of control.”
— Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, says in his latest manifesto
Having dispensed with the unit, Mr. Bratton as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio must now deal with the underlying problem: the Police Department’s longstanding tendency to trample on people’s rights during investigations of groups engaged in political activities.
The alleged US drone strike that reportedly killed up to 15 people on their way to a wedding in Yemen on Thursday is just one more reason why the Obama administration has to start talking more – and more honestly – about its drone war.
Local officials in Yemen say this is the second strike this week, which has now reportedly seen the deaths of 18 Yemenis at the hands of the U.S. government, without explanation. That is unacceptable.
On Monday, a U.S. drone reportedly killed three unidentified men driving on a main road in Hadramout province. The U.S. government said nothing.
Then on Thursday, news reports indicate a convoy of vehicles traveling to a wedding in central al-Bayda province was hit by a U.S. drone that killed ten passengers instantly; another five died after arriving at the hospital. There were conflicting reports about whether suspected al Qaida “militants” were traveling in the convoy.
This time, it’s imperative that the U.S. government respond. As human rights organizations argued (again) in a letter to President Obama last week, his administration’s so-called “targeted killing” program will never be seen as lawful and legitimate if U.S. officials don’t explain what right they have to kill the people they’re targeting. In this case, where the strike apparently either missed its target or misidentified it, acknowledging the error and doing everything possible to make amends is critical to U.S. interests.
As Yemeni activist Farea al-Muslimi told The Guardian, this latest U.S. strike “saved AQAP’s image” after the group was broadly condemned for killing more than 50 people in an attack on the Yemeni defense ministry. “Nothing could have made Yemenis forget the horrible images of the attack in Sanaa more than the images of this current drone strike that targeted a wedding party,” al-Muslimi said.
Even CIA Director John Brennan has said that the United States should publicly acknowledge mistaken killings and “make public the overall numbers of civilian deaths resulting from U.S. strikes targeting al-Qa’ida.”
With the US drone campaign evidently being stepped up in Yemen, now is the time to start that practice.
In Iraq’s western desert near the Syrian border, in a landscape of sand and rock, a signpost announces that you are entering al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).A short video of the sign was broadcast on jihadi websites last month and reflects a long-held goal of al Qaeda fighters to establish an Islamic emirate.ISIL insurgents have increased attacks on strategic targets in parts of western Iraq in the past three months in a bid to make their putative state a reality, security officials and analysts say.”Al Qaeda believes these areas do not have strong security and social ties to the central government so it would be easy to separate them from Iraq,” independent analyst Hashim al-Habobi said. “This is the goal of all these attacks.”Al Qaeda fighters seized control of most of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim areas after the 2003 U.S. invasion. American troops and local allies finally beat them back in heavy fighting during the “surge” of 2006-07, but today the fighters once again aim to control towns and cities and realise their dream of a state ruled according to strict medieval Sunni Islamic practice.
After years of plotting underground and on the Internet, they have joined forces with powerful groups fighting in neighbouring Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, and aim to establish a Caliphate that would transcend modern state borders.
"They want to establish their own state on the ground. It is not enough to have a state in the virtual world anymore," said a senior federal police officer who has attended interrogations of al Qaeda detainees in Baghdad.
— Philly.com writer Will Bunch nails it on the head, discussing who could be the next Mandela for America or across the world.
Americans are in more danger of terrorist attacks than ever before, the leaders of congressional intelligence panels said on Sunday.
“The threat level has never been more diverse than it is today,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union.”
“The more efforts [extremists] try, the more perfect you have to be in trying to stop something, and that’s a challenge,” he said.
“There are more groups than ever and there is huge malevolence out there,” Feinstein said. “The fatalities are way up, the numbers [of attacks] are way up.”
New updates in the intelligence field say America is under grave danger of different kinds of terrorist attacks, the U.S. intelligence committee shares. Feinstein also adds, “There is a real displaced aggression within this fundamentalist, jihadist Islamic community. And that is, the West is responsible for all the things that are going wrong.”
And I don’t know about the whole blaming the Islamic community; aren’t there jihads that aren’t Islamist? Rather bad on her part.
An al Qaeda-linked terrorist, who was resettled in the U.S. as an Iraq war refugee after allegedly killing American soldiers, was caught on camera in Kentucky handling heavy weapons that the FBI said he believed would be sent to insurgents back in Iraq. The 2010 video, obtained exclusively by ABC News, was part of a broader ABC News investigation into the flawed refugee vetting program, which officials said may have let “dozens” of terrorists into the country.
Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky — who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq — prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists’ fingerprints.