11.9.01

Archive for the ‘al Qaeda’ Category

New SecDef Panetta: Defeat of al Qaeda Within Reach

In al Qaeda on July 10, 2011 at 8:24 am
 

KABUL, Afghanistan — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who arrived in Kabul on Saturday, said the United States was “within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda” and that the American focus had narrowed to capturing or killing 10 to 20 crucial leaders of the terrorist group in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

Mr. Panetta, who took over as defense secretary from Robert M. Gates on July 1, made his comments aboard his plane before arriving on an unannounced trip to Afghanistan.

They were Mr. Panetta’s first public remarks in his new post and among the most positive from a senior American national security official about the decade-old war against the terrorist organization, founded by Osama bin Laden, that was responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Panetta, who as director of the Central Intelligence Agency ran the American commando raid that killed Bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2, said that vanquishing Al Qaeda was one of his most important goals as defense secretary.

“Obviously we made an important start with that in getting rid of Bin Laden,” Mr. Panetta said. “We’re within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda. And I’m hoping to be able to focus on that, working obviously with my prior agency as well.”

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President Obama’s Speech on Announcing Death of Osama bin Laden

In 9/11 News, al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Targeted Killing on May 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

For more reactions see the companion website: The Death of Osama bin Laden

President Obama: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

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U.S. KILLS OSAMA BIN LADEN

In 9/11 News, al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Targeted Killing on May 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm

In the most momentous day in recent War on Terror history, President Barack Hussein Obama declares that U.S. has killed Osama bin Laden: (for more see the companion website, The Death of Osama bin Laden)

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced.

In a dramatic late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that “justice has been done” as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader who had eluded them for nearly a decade. American officials said Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head. He was later buried at sea.

The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the ground zero site, waving American flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” In New York City, crowds sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Throughout downtown Washington, drivers honked horns deep into the night.

“For over two decades, Bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” the president said in a statement televised around the world. “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”

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Gitmo Files: Would-Be Terrorists Sought 9/11 Follow-Up

In al Qaeda, Guantanamo Bay, Muslims and Arabs after 9/11, Pakistan and Afghanistan on April 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

More reveals from the Gitmo leaks, though this is not so surprising:

WASHINGTON — He peers out from the photo in the classified file through heavy-framed spectacles, an owlish face with a graying beard and a half-smile. Saifullah Paracha, a successful businessman and for years a New York travel agent, appears to be the oldest of the 172 prisoners still held at the Guantánamo Bay prison. His dossier is among the most chilling.

In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Paracha, 63, was one of a small circle of Al Qaeda operatives who explored ways to follow up on the hijackings with new attacks, according to the classified Guantánamo files made available to The New York Times.

Working with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 planner who in early 2002 gave him $500,000 to $600,000 “for safekeeping,” Mr. Paracha offered his long experience in the shipping business for a scheme to move plastic explosives into the United States inside containers of women’s and children’s clothing, the files assert.

“Detainee desired to help Al Qaeda ‘do something big against the U.S.,’ ” one of his co-conspirators, Ammar al-Baluchi, told Guantánamo interrogators, the files say. Mr. Paracha discussed obtaining biological or nuclear weapons as well, though he was concerned that detectors at ports “would make it difficult to smuggle radioactive materials into the country,” the file says.

Mr. Paracha’s assessment is among more than 700 classified documents that fill in new details of Al Qaeda’s efforts to make 9/11 just the first in a series of attacks to cripple the United States, intentions thwarted as the Central Intelligence Agency captured Mr. Mohammed and other leaders of the terrorist network.

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Dept. Homeland Security Chief: Terrorism Threat at “its most heightened state”

In al Qaeda, Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts, Yemen on February 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

DHS Chief Napolitano warns of heightened terrorist threat:

The threat of terrorism is at “its most heightened state” since the 9/11 attacks nearly a decade ago, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said today.

“The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly in the last ten years — and continues to evolve — so that, in some ways, the threat facing us is at its most heightened state since those attacks,” she said before the House Homeland Security Committee.

Her comments were a sobering reminder that the potential of another attack is real and growing, most notably from individuals radicalized inside the United States, despite elaborate security measures implemented by the government since 2001.

“One of the most striking elements of today’s threat picture is that plots to attack America increasingly involve American residents and citizens,” Napolitano said, referring to so-called homegrown terrorists fueled by the Internet and connections with operatives overseas.

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Bergen’s “The Longest War” Reviewed

In al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan on January 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

NYTimes review of Peter L. Bergen’s “The Longest War:”

Al Qaeda And the U.S., Still Battling
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
THE LONGEST WAR

The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda

By Peter L. Bergen

Illustrated. 473 pages. Free Press. $28.
By now there are already dozens of books — a few of them, groundbreaking works of reportage — about Al Qaeda and 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Bush and Obama administrations’ management of national security.

What makes “The Longest War,” a new book by Peter L. Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, particularly useful is that it provides a succinct and compelling overview of these huge, complex subjects, drawing upon other journalists’ pioneering work as well as the author’s own expertise in terrorism and interviews with a broad spectrum of figures including leading counterterrorism officials, members of the Taliban, failed suicide bombers, family and friends of Osama bin Laden and top American military officers.

For readers interested in a highly informed, wide-angled, single-volume briefing on the war on terror so far, “The Longest War” is clearly that essential book.

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“A lot of the evidence here died with the people:” CIA Warned about al Qaeda Double Agent

In al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Targeted Killing on October 20, 2010 at 7:46 am

New information based on a CIA review:

WASHINGTON — Three weeks before a Jordanian double agent set off a bomb at a remote Central Intelligence Agency base in eastern Afghanistan last December, a C.I.A. officer in Jordan received warnings that the man might be working for Al Qaeda, according to an investigation into the deadly attack.

But the C.I.A. officer did not tell his bosses of suspicions — brought to the Americans by a Jordanian intelligence officer — that the man might be planning to lure Americans into a trap, according to the recently completed investigation by the agency. Later that month the Qaeda operative, a Jordanian doctor, detonated a suicide vest as he stood among a group of C.I.A. officers at the base.

The internal investigation documents a litany of breakdowns leading to the Dec. 30 attack at the Khost base that killed seven C.I.A. employees, the deadliest day for the spy agency since the 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut. Besides the failure to pass on warnings about the bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the C.I.A. investigation chronicled major security lapses at the base in Afghanistan, a lack of war zone experience among the agency’s personnel at the base, insufficient vetting of the alleged defector and a murky chain of command with different branches of the intelligence agency competing for control over the operation.

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How Is Germany like Yemen?

In al Qaeda, Status of Islam on October 13, 2010 at 9:27 am

The community of “security experts” say things about Germany that they also say about Yemen, regarding breeding grounds for terrorists:

Germany, Unscathed, Is in Eye of Terrorism Scare

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN

HAMBURG, Germany — This wealthy port city advertises its bustling canals and bridges and its towering 19th-century churches to draw visitors from around the world.

It is less interested in drawing more attention to Al Quds Mosque, where the Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta prayed and which has become a destination for jihadi tourism. This summer, local authorities closed the mosque, since renamed Taiba Mosque, altogether.

Although Germany has been spared the terrorist attacks that have hit the United States, Britain and Spain, Hamburg — and Germany in general — remains a breeding ground for Islamic radicals, security officials acknowledge. A spate of recent arrests and terrorism warnings in Europe and Afghanistan has underscored the risk that a small number of German citizens are under the sway of terrorist groups determined to stage new attacks, either in Germany or elsewhere in Europe.

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The Cole Bombing Legacy

In al Qaeda, Other Terrorist Events on October 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Ali Soufan writes another op-ed for NYTimes, this time about the legacy of the Cole bombing:

TEN years ago, Qaeda terrorists blew a hole in the side of the Navy destroyer Cole in Yemen, killing 17 sailors. Yet the attack’s mastermind still hasn’t been prosecuted, and many of the men tried and imprisoned for the bombing are again free.

As Washington debates whether to increase aid to Yemen, it should first remember its duty to seek justice for those sailors — and to heed the broader national-security lessons from the attack.

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al Qaeda Focusing on “Small Scale” Attacks

In al Qaeda on September 23, 2010 at 8:08 am

Accordng to Obama administration officials, al Qaeda is focusing on “small-scale” attacks:

Al-Qaeda and its allies are likely to attempt small-scale, less sophisticated terrorist attacks in the United States, senior Obama administration officials said Wednesday, noting that it’s extremely difficult to detect such threats in advance.

“Unlike large-scale, coordinated, catastrophic attacks, executing smaller-scale attacks requires less planning and fewer pre-operational steps,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Accordingly, there are fewer opportunities to detect such an attack before it occurs.”

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