Tag Archives: 9/11

Critical Reading from Andrew McCarthy

A Mismanage-able Problem
Obama’s belief that he can “manage” the Islamic State may collide with reality.
By Andrew C. McCarthy

President Obama says he intends to shrink the al-Qaeda-spawned Islamic State into a “manageable problem.” Perhaps we’ll learn more about how when he speaks to the nation on Wednesday evening. Still, the question presses: Is he the manager for the job?

In answering that question, past performance is more a guarantee of future results than is any statement of newfound purpose from a president whose innate dishonesty has turned his signature phrase “Let me be clear” into notorious self-parody.

In late September 2012, Mr. Obama’s administration quietly approved the transfer of 55 jihadist prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. As Tom Joscelyn explained at the time, most of the detainees had previously been categorized as “high risk” because they were deemed “likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies” if released. Almost all of the rest had been assessed “medium risk” — still posing a threat, albeit one less certain than the “high risk” jihadists.

But Obama officials overruled those judgments. Rife with members of the Lawyer Left vanguard who had stampeded to volunteer their services to al-Qaeda detainees during the Bush years, who had smeared Gitmo as a gulag, and who had fought bitterly against the Bush/Cheney paradigm that regarded al-Qaeda’s jihad as a war rather than a crime wave, the administration determined that the anti-American terrorists were fit to be sprung from American custody.

Wait a second . . . two years ago in September . . . what was going on then? Why yes, the Benghazi massacre — whose second anniversary we mark this Thursday.

The Obama administration would like us to forget that bit of old news since “dude, this was like two years ago.” You may nonetheless recall it as an act of war in which al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists attacked a sovereign American government compound. The terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya, killed three other Americans, and wounded many more in an eight-hour siege during which President Obama declined to take any meaningful responsive action. Indeed, agents of the U.S. security team in Benghazi say they were prevented from trying to save Ambassador Stevens.

Among those carrying out the attack were operatives of Ansar al-Sharia. That’s the al-Qaeda affiliate with cells in Eastern Libya’s jihadist hotbeds, Benghazi and Derna. Ansar is led by Sufian Ben Qumu, a former Gitmo detainee who, inexorably, went right back to the jihad.

News of Obama’s approval of the mass transfer of Gitmo detainees came less than two weeks after the Benghazi massacre. Let that sink in: The Obama administration knew that a former Gitmo detainee was complicit in the most humiliating defeat suffered by the United States since the 9/11 attacks that took the nation to war; yet, the president approved the transfer of dozens more Gitmo terrorists. Just as, only a few months ago, he approved the transfer of five top Taliban commanders even as the Taliban was (and is) continuing to conduct terrorist operations against American troops in Afghanistan.

Shocking, yes, but how surprising from Barack Obama? Mind you, this is the president who, though AWOL (and still unaccountable) while terrorists were killing and wounding American personnel in Benghazi, had the temerity not just to fly off to a Vegas fundraiser the very next day but to pick that setting, and that moment, to declare victory: “A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.”

Yes, bin Laden is dead. But the terrorist hordes chanted, “Obama, we’re all Osama!” as they torched our embassies and raised the black flag of jihad — the flag the Islamic State vows to fly over the White House. And just two days after Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” fundraiser, Ansar al-Sharia’s Tunis cell attacked the American embassy there. That al-Qaeda franchise is led by Seifallah ben Hassine, long-time jihadist confidant of bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Some path to defeat.

Of course, the Benghazi massacre would never have happened had Obama not switched sides in Libya, dumping the Qaddafi regime — theretofore an American counterterrorism ally — and partnering with Eastern Libyan jihadists. The president’s strategy ensured that enemies of the United States would acquire much of Qaddafi’s arsenal, empowering jihadist cells throughout North Africa and the Middle East, growing al-Qaeda and what would become the Islamic State. And as we have seen in just the last few weeks, Obama’s “lead the jihad from behind” strategy has resulted in the near complete disintegration of Libya, with Ansar al-Sharia and its allies now controlling much of Tripoli.

Nor is that all. Hours before the Benghazi attack began on September 11, 2012, there had been rioting at the American embassy in Cairo. It was stoked by al-Qaeda leaders — including Zawahiri’s brother, Mohammed. The latter had called for attacks against the United States to avenge the recent killing of the network’s leader in Libya. The al-Qaeda leaders had also been threatening to besiege the embassy to extort the release of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, imprisoned in the U.S. on terrorism charges. These jihadists had been enabled in their incitements against America by the Muslim Brotherhood–controlled government — a government the Obama administration had pressured Egypt’s military leaders to make way for.

When the Left says it intends to make the challenge of international terrorism “manageable,” that is usually code for saying it wants to return counterterrorism to the law-enforcement paradigm, in which terrorism is a crime addressed by indictments. Crime — petty theft, graft, racketeering, and the like — is a constant that society manages. National-security threats, on the other hand, cannot be indicted into submission. And they are not “managed” by imagining that if we ignore them they will go away.

President Obama probably does believe the Islamic State could become a manageable problem. Unfortunately, he also believes that when his ideology collides with reality, it is reality that must give. Reality does not see it that way.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, was released by Encounter Books on June 3.

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Help Award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the Heroes of United Flight 93

Please sign my petition to the White House to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the heroic passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93.  These brave souls were the first to fight back against terrorism on September 11, 2001, and spared the nation from further devastation on that tragic days.

You can sign the petition by clicking HERE.Image

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AP: Radical preacher goes on trial in Jordan

This jihadist is linked to Shoebomber Richard Reid.  The shoebomb attack occurred 12 years ago today. AA

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A radical al-Qaida-linked preacher deported from Britain pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges at the start of his trial Tuesday in one of two terror cases against him before a Jordanian military court.

Abu Qatada, 53, is charged with plotting terror attacks against Israelis, Americans and other Westerners in Jordan in two foiled attempts in 1999 and 2000. In both cases, Abu Qatada, who was abroad at the time, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison.

But on his deportation to his homeland in July, those sentences were suspended and he had to be re-tried under Jordanian law.

Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has been described in courts in Britain and Spain as a senior al-Qaida figure in Europe who had close ties to the late Osama bin Laden.

Britain accused him of links with Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States over the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and with shoe bomber Richard Reid. Audio recordings of some of the cleric’s sermons were found in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, used by some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

On his arrival in Amman on July 7, Jordanian prosecutors charged him with conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Jordan twice — once in 1999 for a foiled plot against the American school in the Jordanian capital, and another time in 2000 for allegedly targeting Israeli and American tourists and Western diplomats during Jordan’s Millennium celebrations.

On Tuesday, the tribunal — consisting of two civilian judges and a military one — said the cases will be heard separately, and proceeded with the hearing in the case involving Israeli and American tourists.

But Abu Qatada objected to the presence of the military judge — Col. Mohammad Afif — and said it violated an agreement with Britain that paved way for his extradition and meant to guarantee him a fair trial in his homeland.

Sporting his tradition salt-and-pepper beard and wearing a dark brown prison uniform, Abu Qatada appeared defiant as he stood in the dock, his back to the bench. Later, he asked for a microphone and addressed the tribunal.

“I will not answer questions by this court because I do not recognize its jurisdiction,” he said. His relatives, including his son Qatada, and reporters crowded the courtroom. Cameramen and photographers were not allowed inside.

“This tribunal includes a military judge and this is a violation of the deal with Britain that encouraged me to return home for re-trial,” he added somberly.


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More on al-Suri, from the National Journal

By Michael Hirsh

“I think al-Qaida’s capabilities for a strike into the United States are more dangerous and more numerous than before 9/11.” Congressman Mike Rogers

Ever since the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama and his senior lieutenants have been telling war-weary Americans that the end of the nation’s longest conflict is within sight. “Core al-Qaida is a shell of its former self,” Obama said in a speech in May. “This war, like all wars, must end.” That was the triumphal tone of last year’s reelection campaign, too.

The truth is much grimmer. Intelligence officials and terrorism experts today believe that the death of bin Laden and the decimation of the Qaida “core” in Pakistan only set the stage for a rebirth of al-Qaida as a global threat. Its tactics have morphed into something more insidious and increasingly dangerous as safe havens multiply in war-torn or failed states—at exactly the moment we are talking about curtailing the National Security Agency’s monitoring capability. And the jihadist who many terrorism experts believe is al-Qaida’s new strategic mastermind, Abu Musab al-Suri (a nom de guerre that means “the Syrian”), has a diametrically different approach that emphasizes quantity over quality. The red-haired, blue-eyed former mechanical engineer was born in Aleppo in 1958 as Mustafa Setmariam Nasar; he has lived in France and Spain. Al-Suri is believed to have helped plan the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 bombings in London—and has been called the “Clausewitz” of the new al-Qaida.

Whereas bin Laden preached big dramatic acts directed by him and senior Qaida leaders, al-Suri urges the creation of self-generating cells of lone terrorists or small groups in his 1,600-page Internet manifesto. They are to keep up attacks, like multiplying fleas on a dog that finds itself endlessly distracted—and ultimately dysfunctional. (A classic Western book on guerrilla warfare called The War of the Flea reportedly influenced al-Suri.) The attacks are to culminate, he hopes, in acts using weapons of mass destruction.


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CNN: The Next Bin Laden?

Interesting piece with Cong. Rogers and Peter Bergen on the Syrian terrorist who might be the next bin Laden.

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November 16, 2013 · 11:01 am

(CNN) — LAX shooting underlines security vulnerabilities

A deadly shooting at a checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport emphasizes airport security vulnerabilities, according to analysts and a union chief.

A gunman opened fire on Friday at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at LAX, killing a TSA officer. The suspect was eventually shot and taken into custody, police said.

The slain officer was the first TSA employee killed in the line of duty, according to J. David Cox Sr, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, a union that represents many TSA workers.

The TSA’s checkpoint officers are not law enforcement and are not armed.

While Friday’s tragedy was a first, “assaults of officers occur on a daily basis,” said Cox, in a telephone conference call.

Asked what could be done to improve security at the airport, Cox said he would like “our officers to be able to make arrests. That would be a big improvement if they had arrest power.” Instead, they have to turn to local law enforcement when assaulted.

Even with the most highly trained TSA officers, some incidents can’t be prevented, said Richard Bloom, director of terrorism, intelligence and security studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

If security officials choose to focus on terrorism in a post-9/11 world, “other threats to security may not be attended to as much as they should be,” he said. Bloom suggested that training and better pay would go a long way in developing more sophisticated security.

“Are they paid as much as they should be, trained appropriately and recognized and rewarded for doing a good job?” he asked. “Do you want a highly paid security and intelligence officer or a rent-a-cop?”

American airports are not prepared for violence on the ground, said Rafi Ron, president of Virginia-based New Age Security Solutions. Most of the measures taken since 9/11 are aimed at protecting aircraft from attack.

“In the United States, we don’t have vehicle checkpoints and we don’t have people watching who comes into the terminals and the presence of armed personnel is very, very thin,” said Ron, a former head of security of Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Vehicles driving into Ben-Gurion Airport must clear a vehicle checkpoint, and there are security personnel at all terminal entrances, he said. “It would be almost impossible to walk into the terminal with a gun. If he started shooting, he would probably be dead in a matter of seconds because of the heavy presence of security personnel.”

The gunman on Friday approached a checkpoint at Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m. and began shooting at the TSA employee, according to an ex-LAPD officer who happened to be at the scene.

The shooting was not the first at the airport. In 2002, an Egyptian national killed two people and wounded four others at the ticket counter of Israel’s El Al Airlines before a security guard shot and killed him.

Despite these violent incidents, unauthorized guns at the airport are often discovered in passenger carry-on bags as they pass through checkpoints.

The TSA screens about 1.8 million passengers every day. The total number of guns seized by the TSA at airports around the country has been on the rise since 2007. The agency seized 1,556 guns in 2012, nearly double the 803 guns confiscated in 2007, according to agency figures.

In 2013, the agency seized 1,343 guns through the end of September, 13 of which were confiscated at LAX. The Los Angeles airport is the sixth busiest in the world based on total passengers (63.7 million in 2012), according to Airports Council International.

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Benghazi suspect al-Kashef added to al Qaeda sanctions list

One day, there will be a price to pay for what happened in Benghazi on 9/11/12.  At least there ought to be.  In any event, this from The Long War Journal:

The United Nations added Muhammad Jamal al Kashef, a longtime subordinate to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, to its sanctions list on Oct. 18. The UN’s sanctions web page for Jamal, as he is commonly known in intelligence circles, contains many of the same details included in the US government’s designation earlier this month. [See LWJ report, State Department designates longtime Zawahiri subordinate.]

However, the UN mentions two key aspects of Jamal’s career that were omitted from the announcement of the US government’s designation.

The UN notes that both Jamal and members of his network (the Muhammad Jamal Network, or “MJN”) are “reported to be involved in the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on 11 Sep. 2012.” The US announcement did not mention Jamal’s connection to the attack in Benghazi, even though it was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and subsequently other outlets, including The Long War Journal.

The UN describes Jamal as the head of the “Nasr City terrorist cell in Egypt in 2012.” The Long War Journal has reported on Jamal’s role in the Nasr City cell, which has multiple ties to al Qaeda.

The Nasr City cell has been tied to terrorist plots inside Egypt, according to Egyptian officials, including a planned attack on a Western embassy.

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US Airline Pilots Warn of Terrorists’ Dry Runs

An internal memo obtained by security experts at the U.S. Airline Pilots Association reportedly details a “dry run” by terrorists just last month during a flight from Washington to Orlando.

Several “Middle Eastern men” caused a commotion and appeared to be conducting a test run to gauge procedure and reaction to an in-flight threat during an incident aboard US Airways Flight 1880 from Reagan National Airport to Orlando International Airport on Sept. 2, according to the U.S. Airline Pilots Association security memo, first obtained by 10 News in Tampa, Fla.

“They are trying to pull out air marshals if they are on board, or law enforcement if they are on board,” an unidentified federal air marshal told the station. “They are looking for how the crew reacts.”

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., has since called for an investigation into the “suspicious” incident.

“It is government’s obligation and responsibility to remain vigilant,” the statement read. “While the specifics of the US Air incident are not public, federal authorities must review the matter.”

Experts said the incident could be an indication of another attempt to detonate a bomb aboard an airplane while midflight. Ret. Col. Mike Pheneger, former director of intelligence at Special Operations Command, said it’s “impossible” to absolutely prevent terrorist attacks.

“We can only make it more difficult for people to attack an airplane or a facility,” he said. “We can’t make it impossible. We have to be lucky 100 percent of the time and they only have to be lucky once.”

Despite the constant threat, Pheneger said the odds of being on a plane taken over by terrorists are slim.

“But somebody is eventually going to be unlucky, and that will happen,” he said. “And I’m surprised quite frankly it hasn’t.”

Four passengers aboard the flight were detained by local law enforcement authorities upon arrival in Orlando due to suspicious behavior during the flight, according to a statement by Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways.

“TSA performed a full security sweep of the aircraft before it departed for its next scheduled flight,” the statement read. “The aircraft was cleared, and it departed on a slight delay as a result of the additional security precautions taken by US Airways and the TSA.”

Federal authorities also downplayed the incident, saying it required no additional investigation.

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Clarion Project: NYPD Designates Certain Mosques as Terrorist Enterprises

The New York Police Department has labeled certain mosques as terrorist organizations, allowing police to keep an eye on worshipers and imams who might be involved in terrorist activity.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” (TEIs) as part of an initiative to help police infiltrate and investigate secret terrorist cells.

Information about the TEIs were revealed by Associated Press after the news organization recently saw a number of documents on the subject. The TEIs are also part of a new book, “Enemies within: inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America,” by AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, as well as interviews with current and former NYPD, FBI and CIA officials.

Before the NYPD could target mosques for surveillance, the procedure had to be approved by a federal judge who established guidelines on how police can conduct surveillance on citizens.

David Cohen, a former CIA executive who became the NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence in 2002, told the judge deciding the case that mosques could be used “to shield the work of terrorists from law enforcement scrutiny by taking advantage of restrictions of the investigation of First Amendment activity.”

The recent revelations of the NYPD’s investigation have outraged some, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who says that mosque programs are unconstitutional.

Yet, as the Clarion Project reported, the ACLU has a history of fiercely fighting against essential U.S. counter-terrorism programs and actions, possible due to the background of one top ACLU official, Jameel Jaffer .  (Interestingly, the ACLU chose not to protect the right of freedom of expression when the White House tried to pressure YouTube to take down the film Innocence of Muslims, a provocative presentation of Mohammed’s life, which provoked worldwide riots.)

NYPD police commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have denied that TEI is unconstitutional and insist they are following leads.

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My Response to a Post by Peter Bergen on Benghazi

Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst and the author of “Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden — From 9/11 to Abbottabad,” an outstanding book. He’s also one of my favorite commentators on terrorism and is consistently on target. However, I took issue with his defense of the Obama administration on the opinion page of CNN.com. Here’s an excerpt from his piece: 

What is the Republican theory of the case against Rice? It appears to boil down to the idea that leading Democrats covered up the involvement of terrorists in some way connected to al Qaeda in the Benghazi attack during the run-up to the close presidential election because President Obama and others in his administration had for some time said that al Qaeda was close to strategic defeat.


Does this case make sense? First, you would have to accept that Obama, Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all knowingly deceived the American public about what had happened at the Benghazi consulate.

Read the whole piece at CNN.com HERE

In response, I offer the following:

Peter, you ignore the point that by creating a cause entirely out of whole cloth–namely, citing The Innocence of Muslims–the administration also provoked more unrest, protests, and riots in Libya and other Middle Eastern nations. The president in turn made unnecessary statements on national TV and before the UN decrying a video no one would have seen had they not created such a lie. And Ansar al-Sharia isn’t so stupid as to not know they would be immediate suspects especially when they were claiming responsibility.

I’ve not received a response.

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