U.S. May Have Missed Opportunity to Take Out Top Al Qaeda Leaders

Screen-Shot-2014-04-16-at-10.06.28-AMBY: Washington Free Beacon Staff:

April 16, 2014 10:14 am

Al Qaeda leaders were able to hold a large meeting somewhere in south Yemen despite U.S. drone warfare targeting that region, according to a video published on Hot Air.

The video comes from a CNN report:

A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn’t know about it or couldn’t get a drone there in time to strike.

U.S. officials won’t comment on that, but every frame of the video is now being analyzed by the United States.

In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda’s crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen. Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States. But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.

The video started appearing on jihadist websites recently, drawing the attention of U.S. officials and global terrorism experts. U.S. officials say they believe it’s authentic.

Hot Air writer Ed Morrisey wonders if the United States may have missed a “golden opportunity to take out a large number of al Qaeda leaders.”

Did the U.S. know about this [meeting] ahead of time? If they did, they must have either had difficulty arranging the logistics of an attack — or perhaps had other assets in place for other reasons. 

Morrisey speculates that the lost opportunity could have been caused by the effort to transfer the drone program from the CIA to the Defense Department.

Holder confirms Petraeus probe still open, amid questions over whether case used as leverage

petrausBy :

Two years after the FBI first began investigating former CIA director David Petraeus, Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed to lawmakers that the case remains open — amid allegations it is being used as leverage to keep the former general quiet.

“All I can say is that this is an ongoing investigation,” Holder testified Tuesday, in response to a series of questions from Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who wrote to the Justice Department last month about the matter. “I’m really not in a position to say much more about it than that.”

Fox News was told there may be friction between the FBI — whose investigators are on the Petraeus case – and the Justice Department over how to proceed, though Holder dismissed that claim.

“I’ve been briefed on this matter, and I did not detect any friction in what is an ongoing investigation,” he said.

In March, Chaffetz wrote to Holder, asking why the probe remained open 16 months after Petraeus resigned as CIA director following an affair with his biographer. At the time, Chaffetz suggested it was kept open to keep Petraeus quiet on controversies like the Benghazi terror attack, telling Fox News: “If there is something serious and sinister, then let Congress know. If not, give this man’s reputation back. But I worry that the White House is just holding this over his head to keep him quiet.”

In a series of questions before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Holder could not remember when he first learned about the FBI investigation or when the president was notified. He also could not recall when then-White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan (who is now the CIA director) learned, or when former CIA deputy director Mike Morell, who offered conflicting testimony on the question to the House Intelligence Committee last week, learned.

Read more at Fox News

More Obfuscation on Benghazi

Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA, examines an enlargement of the Obama administration's Benghazi 'talking points' during congressional testimony, April 2. Associated Press

Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA, examines an enlargement of the Obama administration’s Benghazi ‘talking points’ during congressional testimony, April 2. Associated Press

By MICHAEL B. MUKASEY:

Last week’s encounter between former acting CIA Director Michael Morell and the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence may have brought us a bit closer to the truth of how four Americans came to be killed at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, and how their countrymen came to be lied to about it. But the progress toward truth was probably not made in a way that Mr. Morell intended. The encounter on Capitol Hill also made clear that the forum that will take us all the way to the truth must be something other than a congressional hearing.

Mr. Morell announced at the start of the hearing that he was there to refute claims that he had “inappropriately altered CIA’s classified analysis and its unclassified talking points . . . for the political benefit of President Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton.” Critics of the government’s performance on Benghazi have charged that Mr. Morell’s revisions principally although not exclusively involved changing the description of the violence and its perpetrators, and removing the suggestion that they might have had ties to a terrorist organization. These changes, it is argued, enabled Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the time, to promote the discredited and since abandoned narrative that the violence was a reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube video produced by a probationer in Los Angeles.

The acting CIA director’s changes to the talking points did indeed enable the blame-it-on-the-video fiction, which served the interest of a president seeking re-election based in part on having put al Qaeda on the run, although in fairness it is not clear that was Mr. Morell’s motive. Thus he edited out a description of the warnings that the CIA had provided to the State Department of earlier terrorist attacks on the British embassy and on the Red Cross that caused them to withdraw their personnel, and a description of an attack that blew a hole in the U.S.’s own installation—events that might have suggested that Sept. 11, 2012, was not an isolated event.

Mr. Morell said he did the revising because it would have looked unseemly for the CIA to appear to be pounding its chest and blaming the State Department.

He substituted “demonstration” for “attack” despite the direct statement by the CIA’s Libya station chief in Tripoli that there was no demonstration; Mr. Morell changed “terrorist” to “extremist.” His explanation is that he relied on the CIA’s analysts, who he said had comprehensive information available to them, rather than on the CIA’s station chief, who relied on the testimony of eyewitnesses who arrived soon after the attack started. He used the term “extremist” because that’s what CIA analysts call terrorists.

Here it is actually possible that Mr. Morell fell victim to a bifurcated culture within the CIA. On one side is the directorate of operations, made up of those who do things, from gathering information to carrying out covert activities. On the other is a directorate of intelligence staffed by analysts who evaluate the information gathered by the directorate of operations and others. Mr. Morell spent his career in the directorate of intelligence. By his own account, when faced with a contradiction between what people on the ground were saying and what analysts were saying, his view was that unless the analysts—whom he called “my analysts”—changed their view, he would go with their version, even though they relied in large measure on local press reports.

The directorate of intelligence functions according to a protocol whose rigidity we more often associate with the military. So analysts whose deductions put them at odds with those on the scene wouldn’t have considered, and apparently didn’t consider, simply ringing up those on the scene and getting their input. To the contrary, analysts deal only with information that comes in the prescribed way. The CIA station chief’s communication to headquarters came in an email and did not get circulated within the intelligence community as it would have if it had been contained in a cable.

Read more at WSJ

Morell Hurt CIA’s Reputation in Benghazi Hearing

John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly AyotteBy Fred Fleitz:

Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte put it best yesterday in a joint statement they issued in response to former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell’s testimony yesterday to the House Intelligence Committee:

“This looks an awful lot like misleading the Congress.”

It’s hard to come to any other conclusion after watching Morell squirm for three hours as he explained CIA’s drafting of talking points a week after the attacks on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi.  The final version of these talking points were used by Ambassador Susan Rice on September 16, 2012 to deny that the attacks were related to terrorism and to instead claim they were the result of a spontaneous demonstration in response to an anti-Muslim video.

This explanation was politically convenient six weeks ahead of the 2012 presidential election and helped President Obama defend his dubious campaign theme that because of his leadership, Osama bin Laden was dead and al Qaeda was on the run.

During the hearing, Morell denied altering the talking points for political reasons.  He said he sided with CIA analysts who believed the attacks were in response to a demonstration and the anti-Muslim video even though the CIA Libya station chief told him there was no demonstration and that he believed the attacks were an act of terrorism.

Morell tried to convey that relying on career CIA analysts – even though they were thousands of miles away from the Benghazi attack – was a responsible decision that had nothing to do with politics.

This is nonsense.  Having worked as a CIA analyst for 19 years, I can attest that the lower levels of the CIA analysis bureaucracy know exactly what their managers want.  They know the line they need to take to get promoted and to earn bonuses.  Moreover, the analysis side of the house is well known for its liberal political bias and for being gun-shy in drawing politically controversial conclusions since the 9/11 and Iraq WMD intelligence failures.

Maybe Morell didn’t alter the talking points for the White House because he didn’t have to – his analysts and managers knew what he and the White House expected.  Regardless of who was responsible for drafting and altering the talking points, we now know Morell approved them even though he knew the senior CIA officer in Libya had a very different view.  He also knew the memo he approved said exactly what the White House wanted to hear.

Morell made many other head-spinning statements, such as his claim that we can’t know the motivations of the attackers since we haven’t caught them yet.  He said the events on September 11, 2012 were both a terrorist attack and a protest.

Morell also said he took out the word “Islamic” in a sentence that described the attackers as “Islamic extremists” because he did not want to fuel anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.  This was a policy call and was politically convenient for the White House which has been extremely reluctant to use the terms “Islamic” or Islamist” in describing terrorists or terrorist attacks.

This was a bad day for the CIA since Morell’s testimony will further undermine the Agency’s reputation as a non-political and objective source of information on national security matters.  Morell was right when he said the CIA probably should not have been involved in drafting unclassified talking points.  If there was a compelling reason for the CIA to engage in such a task, CIA managers had a responsibility to be politically neutral and not ignore inconvenient facts like reports by the Libya Chief of Station.

Also see:

Here’s What Ex-CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkison Noticed During Wednesday’s Benghazi Hearing

Screen-Shot-2014-04-03-at-11.22.46-AM-300x151The Blaze, By :

Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who recently resigned from CBS News, dissected former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell’s Wednesday testimony on the infamous Benghazi talking points. She not only outlined his claims in detail on Twitter, but she also produced a new article on her website,SharylAttkisson.com.

She noted that it’s still unclear “why federal officials seemed so confused and provided so much contradictory info about how the talking points evolved.”

sa tweets

sa 2

sa3

sa4

sa5

 

Ex-CIA leader Morell denies role in Benghazi ‘cover-up’ during heated Hill hearing

morell2By Guy Taylor:

A high-level former CIA leader flatly denied allegations on Wednesday that he had “inappropriately altered and influenced” the the now infamous Benghazi talking points to downplay the role of terrorism in the incident by inaccurately playing up the idea that the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks had been born out of a spontaneous protest — and then later “covered up” his actions.

“These allegations accuse me of taking these actions for the political benefit of President Obama and then [former] Secretary of State [Hillary RodhamClinton,” former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell told lawmakers on the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

“These allegations are false,” he said in prepared remarks given to committee members and the press as the highly-anticipated hearing on the Benghazi talking points got underway — disputes over which have long sat at the center of political fireworks hanging over an exhaustive series of congressional investigations into the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans more than 18 months ago.

Mr. Morell moved quickly in his testimony to address the heart of the matter: Why did senior CIA and White House officials in Washington ignore pointed assertions by the CIA’s chief of station in Libya that there had been no protest prior to the attacks and why were those assertions not included in talking points that former U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice used on Sept. 16 when she appeared — five days after the attacks — on several news talks shows to claim that there had been a protest.

Mr. Morell said the CIA station chief’s assertions were not used in the talking points because they were outmatched by other streams of information being weighed at the same time by CIA analysts crafting the points.

Read more at Washington Times

 

 

Also see:

 

Report: US Knew About Tsarnaev Brothers Long Before Bombing

140324-boston-bombing-aftermath_9db7cf06bc8658793421e2cfb308ba49By Tova Dvorin:

US officials knew about the potential danger of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, according to a soon-to-be-released Congressional report – but a spelling error led them to miss his frequent flights out to Dagestan for terror training.

Russian officials warned the US that Tsarnaev was armed and dangerous as much as a year and a half before the April 2013 bombingNBC News reports Wednesday. But Tsarnaev’s name was misspelled in a security database, leading authorities to miss him completely.

In March 2011, Russian intelligence agency FSB notified the FBI with concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the Tsarnaev family, which had emigrated to Massachusetts nearly ten years earlier. In the letter, FSB included contact information, with addresses and phone numbers, for many of the members of the Tsarnaev family, including Tamerlan and his mother, and warned that Tamerlan was gaining a reputation for associating with violent Islamists.

That same month, the FBI recruited the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force, a multiagency anti-terrorism group, to open an investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev. An FBI member from the Force interviewed Tsarnaev, but no surveillance was conducted; another member then entered a memo about Tsarnaev into a Customs and Border Protection database called TECS, putting Tsarnaev on a “Hot List” every time he left or entered the US.

However, just four months later, the investigation was closed. According to the June 2011 report, “the assessment found no links to terrorism.”

US authorities missed the mark yet again in September 2011, after three Jewish men linked to Tsarnaev were found murdered in Waltham, Mass. Two years later, Tsarnaev’s associate, Ibragim Todashev told the FBI about the Waltham murders – but Tsarnaev himself was not questioned in the aftermath of the killings.

A US intelligence official confirmed to NBC News that the US missed yet another opportunity to catch Tsarnaev, however; this time, when the FSB contacted the CIA, shortly after the Waltham murders. The FBI allegedly did not reopen the case, despite the second warning.

On Oct. 19, 2011, the CIA shared information on Tsarnaev with the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), DHS, the State Department and the FBI. The information shared included two possible dates of birth, his name and a possible alternate spelling of his name. The CIA then nominated Tsarnaev for inclusion on the terrorism watch list – the massive Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database - and it was. But there was one fatal error: the entry reads “Tsarnayev” instead of Tsarnaev.

Read more at Arutz Sheva

Because We Are at War

UTT, By John Guandolo:

“The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing the Islamic State.”
By-Laws of the International Muslim Brotherhood
“Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jizyah after they are humbled or overpowered.”
Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani
One of the leading Islamic Scholars alive today.
Deputy Chairman, Fiqh Council for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
Former Judge, Pakistani Supreme Court
“We do not disassociate Islam from war.  On the contrary, disassociating Islam from war is the reason for our defeat.  We are fighting in the name of Islam. Religion must lead to war.”
Sheikh Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi
Preeminent Islamic Scholar in the world
Leading Legal Jurist of the International Muslim Brotherhood
Chairman – International Union of Muslim Scholars
“This means that you wage war so that the evil sovereignty of beings other than that of Allah is wiped out and only the law of God operates in the world.”
U.S. Training Guide for Muslims published by
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS)
 
“To be true Muslims we must prepare and be ready for jihad in Allah’s way…The military education is glued to the faith and it’s meaning, and the duty to follow it.”
Islamic High School text book, Islamic Center of Oakland (and elsewhere)
“America will become a Muslim country.”
Former Islamic Advisor to President Clinton and convicted Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi
The civilian and military leadership in America, and much of the West, is strikingly blind to and grossly ignorant of the swiftly growing threat we face from the Global Islamic Movement.
Yet those inside government agencies, members of the military, and American citizens who have taken the time to get educated on this threat are horrified at the grand canyon size schism between the reality of the threat and the posture the United States government continues to take – a position which can only be characterized as “Aiding and Abetting” the enemy, Material Support for Designated Terrorist organizations (Al Qaeda and others), and Treason.
Patriots are asking themselves, “How can this be happening?
It is happening because we are at war – and we are losing.

In 2005, the current leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri said “I say to you that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.  We are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Ummah (global Muslim community).”

Al Qaeda understands the majority of this war is being fought in the Information Battlespace – propaganda, influence operations, and political subversion, are but a few of the tools.
When the Muslim Brotherhood states in their strategic memorandum they are waging Civilization Jihad to “destroy Western civilization from within” and they are going to do it by getting U.S. leadership to do their bidding for them – they mean it.
We are in a war against an enemy who states they are Muslims fighting Jihad in the Cause of Allah in order to impose Islamic Law and re-establish the global Islamic State (Caliphate).  Al Qaeda says it, the Muslim Brotherhood says it, nation-states say it, martyrs say it on their videos, and all of the jihadis we have captured before or after the act (if they lived) all say they did what they did because it is a command to wage jihad until Sharia is the law of the land.  Yet, in the FBI, DHS, and U.S. military, all training on Islamic Law, specifically the requirements of Jihad and the Law of Jihad cannot be taught.  Why?
Because we are in a war – primarily an information war – and we are losing.
100% of all published Islamic Law only defines “Jihad” as warfare against non-Muslims.  Yet, at the leadership level of our civilian government and military, they are still “pondering” what the “root meaning” of Jihad really is.  How can something so objectively clear be so difficult for our leadership to grasp?
How can it be that the most prominent Islamic organizations in America have been identified as being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Movement, yet their leaders serve in advisory roles across the entire spectrum of our government – including the FBI, CIA, and DHS?
In 2012, five Republican Members of Congress layed out the evidence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in America and asked the Inspector Generals of key government agencies to consider opening investigations.  These Members of Congress were not publicly blasted by Democrats or the media for this, but by John McCain, John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Eric Cantor, and others.  Why?
Because we are losing in the Information Battlespace.  As a matter of fact, we are not even engaging the enemy there.
The U.S. Department of State wrote the Constitutions in Iraq and Afghanistan which created Islamic States under which Sharia is the law of the land.  Two check marks on Al Qaeda’s regional objectives list.  Civilization Jihad “by our hands.”  How could this happen considering our military crushed the enemy on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan?
How can Jewish Rabbis across America hold “religious outreach” events with known members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who are usually also leaders of Hamas?  How was Sheriff Baca of America’s largest county – Los Angeles – able to regularly raise money for Hamas (dba CAIR) without being prosecuted after being told publicly in a hearing by a U.S. Congressman that CAIR is a Hamas entity?
How are elected and appointed officials and law enforcement officers able to publicly promote known Hamas, Al Qaeda, and Muslim Brotherhood organizations with no repercussions?
Because we are at war – a war in the information battlespace – and we are losing.
Our government provided material support to the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda in Libya and are now doing the same in Syria.  Isn’t this in violation of U.S. law?  Wouldn’t any U.S. citizen be prosecuted for this?
Sharia Compliant Finance (SCF) is now promoted by major banks across the globe because Islamic Scholars (like Taqi Usmani and Yusuf Qaradawi – see above) tell the leaders of major financial institutions that SCF is simply a way for Muslims to handle their money in accordance with “religious practices.”  Yet, a portion of the money associated with SCF must go to support Jihad – “terrorism” – in accordance with Sharia.  How can this be?
Because we are at war – and we are losing.
Friends, our enemy has insinuated itself inside local school boards, civic groups, universities, political circles, and is driving the “religious outreach” efforts across this country.  Well intentioned but naive people are being drawn in an used by the enemy to defend the enemy and “stand up” for their “religious” rights.
Men and women in positions of leadership in this nation have not even taken the time to get to know an enemy that unequivocally states he wishes to destroy us.
But, the enemy has taken the time to know us.  This enemy knows us very well.  The enemy knows American leaders are more concerned with their reputations and not being embarrassed than defending the Constitution by all means necessary.
The enemy uses intimidation and pressure tactics – they call it the “political pressure approach” – to get what they want.  What do they want?  They never want us to look at authoritative Islamic Law.  They want to shut down all conversations about the Islamic threat.  They want us looking anywhere but to Islam to define the threat.  Therefore, “Violent extremism” or some other made up and useless phrase becomes the focus of the day.
Advising our senior leaders, controlling the language we use to describe the threat, and shutting down any critique of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Doctrine are their goals.  It appears they are batting a thousand.
This is much more a counterintelligence and espionage issue than it is a counterterrorism one.  So we will keep focusing on Counterterrorism – things that go boom and people who want to make them go boom.  That will be our focus.  And while we are doing it, the enemy will continue to work with our leaders to create foreign and domestic counterterrorism policy which serves the enemy’s purposes, softens the ground domestically gets law enforcement to back off so as not to “offend” the Muslim Community, and turns a blind eye to facts and evidence identifying the threat to the American people.
We will continue to let Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Al Qaeda leaders to teach our military and law enforcement about “Islam” while the Brotherhood and Hamas build $100 million dollar Islamic Centers across America which their own documents state are military outposts from which jihad will be launched.
And all the while the “mainstream” media in America – ABC, NBC, CBS – is silent…even when Al Qaeda is involved.
Friends, until we realize how dire the situation is, we cannot even begin to discuss solutions. Once you understand how dire the situation is, the solutions required become a whole lot clearer.

Chief of CIA division for spying on Iran is suspended over internal mutiny

CIA Headquarters at Langley, Va.

CIA Headquarters at Langley, Va.

DEBKAfile:

The CIA’s chief of Iran operations, Jonathan Bank, 46 a veteran of the service, was sent home on paid leave over disarray in his department, US, Russian and Iranian media reported Tuesday, March 18. The department was notified of this step last week at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. after its members rose up in “open rebellion” against Banks, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Given the high importance and sensitivity of this department, it was most likely Intelligence Director John Brennan in person who delivered the notice.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that internal crises in US clandestine agencies are normally kept under tight wraps and rarely see the light of day. But with major crises hitting the roof for Washington with the threatened meltdown of relations with Moscow over Ukraine and Crimea, unresolved Mid East issues and the missing Malaysian airliner, John Brennan would have been obliged to step in expeditiously to contain the breakdown of a complete CIA division in “open revolt” against its chief.

Three former officials said the Iran operations division was in “open rebellion” to Bank’s management style and several key employees demanded transfers. Their ultimatum was clear: It’s him or us.

An internal investigation ordered by Brennan found that Jonathan Bank “had created an abusive and hostile work environment that put a crucial division in disarray.”

Therefore, in mid-course of high-powered US-led international nuclear negotiations with Iran, the very department supposed to be feeding President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry with daily briefings, updated to the last minute, on Iran’s nuclear program and its political and military leaderships, was in no state to perform its duties.

“Iran is one of most important targets, and the place was not functioning,” one of the former officials said.

This disclosure hangs a big question mark over the assurances Obama and Kerry gave Israel and the Arabian Gulf leaders. They said repeatedly that there was nothing to fear from the US-Iranian rapprochement, because Washington was fully abreast with every move in Iran’s nuclear program and would know in good time if supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the final step for building a nuclear weapon.

In recent months, Israeli and other Middle East intelligence sources have warned that Iran already possesses all the components, materials and technology for manufacturing a nuclear bomb – and stands ready to go on the order from the ayatollah..
The dysfunctional condition of the CIA Iran division, now disclosed, reduces President Obama’s chances of success in his forthcoming fence-mending visit to Saudi Arabia later this month and hopes of fruitful cooperation between US and Saudi intelligence on Iran and Syria.

Jonathan Bank’s cover was first broken in 2010 when, as CIA station chief in Islamabad, his name was published and he was pulled out after receiving death threats. US officials suspected Pakistan’s intelligence service of leaking his name in protest over CIA drone attacks on Islamist terrorist targets in the country’s lawless tribal region.

CIA Chief: Jihad a Product of Injustices, Economics, and Ignorance

130114101304-oconnell-brennan-story-topBy Raymond Ibrahim:

CIA director John Brennan is at it again—equivocating over the nature of jihad by evoking paradigms familiar to the West.

Last Tuesday, “during an event at the Council of Foreign Relations, Brennan was asked about the ‘war of ideas’ surrounding Islam, which the questioner said many Americans tend to equate with violence.”

The CIA chief responded by saying that al-Qaeda’s ideology is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Qur’an”; that “al-Qaeda has hijacked” Islam; that “they have really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

Even so, “that ideology, that agenda of al-Qaeda,” confirmed Brennan, “has gained resonance and following in many parts of the world.”

So what is the CIA chief’s explanation as to why such a “perverse and very corrupt” understanding of Islam—one that has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad”— resonates among Muslims?

He gives none—other than to say that this ideology is “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement, by, you know, lack of education and ignorance, so there—there are a number of phenomena right now that I think are fueling the fires of, you know, this ideology.”

Interestingly, if you watch the video clip of Brennan talking, you will note that he only “you knows” in the above quotation (four times) and right before it, when he says that al-Qaeda has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad, you know, for violent purposes.”

The rest of his talk is relatively smooth.

Could Brennan be self-conscious of his own equivocations—hence all these stilted “you knows” in one sentence?

Could he be aware of the Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009?   It found that “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

At any rate, this is all déjà vu.  Back in May 2010, I closely examined Brennan’s Islamic apologetics in an article that, in light of these recent remarks of his, is as applicable today as it was nearly four years ago.  It follows:

Obama’s Top Counterterror Adviser’s Inability to Think Outside the Box Bodes Disaster

“The greatest hurdle Americans need to get over in order to properly respond to the growing threat of radical Islam is purely intellectual in nature; specifically, it is epistemological, and revolves around the abstract realm of ‘knowledge.’ Before attempting to formulate a long-term strategy to counter radical Islam, Americans must first and foremost understand Islam, particularly its laws and doctrines, the same way Muslims understand it—without giving it undue Western (liberal) interpretations. This is apparently not as simple as expected: all peoples of whatever civilizations and religions tend to assume that other peoples more or less share in their worldview, which they assume is objective, including notions of right and wrong, good and bad. …. [T]he secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples may fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of radical Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the ‘other,’ irrespective of grievances…. Being able to understand all this, being able to appreciate it without any conceptual or intellectual constraints is paramount for Americans to truly understand the nature of the enemy and his ultimate goals.”

Read more

John Brennan: From Mecca to Washington

Graphic by Bosch Fawstin http://fawstin.blogspot.com/

Graphic by Bosch Fawstin
http://fawstin.blogspot.com/

Front Page, February 18, 2013, by Daniel Greenfield:

In 1853, the British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton visited Mecca. Since Mecca was and is off limits to non-Muslims on pain of death, Burton passed himself off as a Muslim by undergoing circumcision and disguising himself as a Pashtun. “Nothing could save a European detected by the populace, or one who after pilgrimage declared himself an unbeliever,” Burton wrote.

Three hundred and fifty years earlier, the Italian adventurer Ludovico di Varthema became the first non-Muslim to enter Mecca since the Muslim conquest. Ludovico had enlisted as a mercenary and succeeded in passing as a Mamluk, one of the white slave soldiers of the Sultanate, who had been converted to Islam.  Ludovico was eventually caught out as a Christian, but escaped after a love affair with one of the Sultan’s wives.

Other Christians had visited Mecca, but always disguised as Muslims. The British cabin boy Joseph Pitts, captured by Muslim slavers and forcibly converted to Islam, visited Mecca, before managing to return home and return to his religion. Similar accounts were told by other European Christian slaves.

In 1979, hundreds of Islamists using weapons smuggled in a coffin seized the Grand Mosque of Mecca. The Saudi military, commanded by the sons of important men, rather than by competent men, proved absolutely hopeless in fighting them. So instead they turned to the French.

The French commandos of GIGN were expert at dealing with terrorist crises, but they were not Muslim and so could not be allowed into Mecca. The solution was simple. The Frenchmen underwent a rapid conversion to Islam and the siege of the Great Mosque commenced. The conversion did not take hold, but the principle remained. An infidel could not enter Mecca, even to save the House of Saud.

During his time as the CIA Station Chief in Saudi Arabia, John Brennan spoke of marveling “at the majesty of the Hajj and the devotion of those who fulfilled their duty as Muslims by making that pilgrimage.”  If Brennan did indeed visit Mecca during the Hajj, then he could have only done it by converting to Islam, like John Pitts, or pretending to have done so, like the GIGN commandos.

John Guandolo, a former FBI agent and Islam expert, has alleged that the conversion took place during Brennan’s time in Saudi Arabia. And he also alleges that this conversion has been confirmed by other American officials who were in Saudi Arabia at the time. These allegations are especially explosive as Brennan has moved up through the ranks to become Obama’s nominee to head the CIA.

Guandolo’s allegation goes beyond the question of religion. Rather he alleges that the conversion was part of an espionage recruitment process.  In an interview with Tom Trento of The United West, he said, “Mr. Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in a senior official capacity in Saudi Arabia. His conversion to Islam was the culmination of a counter-intelligence operation against him to recruit him.”

The Soviet Union recruited spies by convincing them of the virtues of Communism. Saudi Arabia might well recruit its infidel agents by convincing them of the worth of Islam. There is of course no way to know what is in Brennan’s heart. But while we may not know what Brennan believes, as John Guandolo has pointed out, we do know what he has done.

Brennan’s supposed conversion to Islam was only the third of two other points that the former FBI agent argued make him unfit for duty. The first is that Brennan has developed links with the Muslim Brotherhood and that he has brought “known leaders of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood into the government in positions to advise the US Government on counterterrorism strategy as well as the overall quote unquote War on Terror.” And the second is that Brennan reduces the War on Terror to Al Qaeda.

While Brennan did not innovate either of these two approaches, if he was indeed recruited by the Saudis, then they may be more than mere cluelessness. It’s not unusual for military and intelligence officials to visit Saudi Arabia and then leave it repeating the classic Saudi talking points about Islam as a stabilizing influence on the region and Israel as a destabilizing influence.

There are countless generals and diplomats who robotically insist that Bin Laden must not be referred to as a Muslim to diminish his influence and that the Muslim Brotherhood and other political Islamists are the only hope for countering the violent Islamism of Al Qaeda. The fundamental question is whether such disinformation is spread out of ignorance, or out of knowledge.

That is the final question that Guandolo raises about John Brennan. “The fact that foreign intelligence service operatives recruited Mr. Brennan when he was in a very sensitive and senior US Government position in a foreign country means that he is either a traitor, which I’m not saying, but that’s one of the options, and he did this all unwillingly and unknowingly ,or he did this unwittingly, which means that he is naive and does not have the ability to discern, to understand how to walk in those environments, which makes him completely unfit to be the Director of Central Intelligence.”

What is problematic in a general or a senator is even more troubling in the Director of the CIA. Military men are expected to be somewhat direct and take things as they are. But the director of an intelligence agency is expected to see threats where no one else does, to test the waters and look past the obvious. And if he cannot do that, then he is simply not qualified. And that is the larger point that John Guandolo makes.

Whether or not Brennan had a moment of submission on the road to Mecca or whether he is simply acting as a useful idiot for the people who perpetrated the attacks of September 11, he is not qualified to be the point man in the War on Terror. As the military side of the war draws to a close with a defeat in Afghanistan, the Central Intelligence Agency will take on a greater degree of importance in the fight against Islamic terrorism.

During the Cold War, the CIA was often infiltrated by the KGB, nullifying America’s intelligence capabilities in the Cold War. It would be a terrible shame if history repeated itself with Islam in the War on Terror.

Much more on John Brennan in CJR archives

‘Very upset’: CIA sat on Benghazi investigation, US personnel fuming

Sept. 11, 2012: A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames.REUTERS

Sept. 11, 2012: A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames.REUTERS

By :

American personnel on the ground in Benghazi the night of the 2012 terror attack are outraged after learning that the CIA’s inspector general never conducted an investigation into what happened — despite two CIA workers being killed in the attack and despite at least two complaints being filed by CIA employees.

Former Ambassador Chris Stevens, another State official and two ex-Navy SEALs working for the CIA were killed in that attack.

Many in the agency were told, or were under the impression, that an investigation was in the works, but that is not the case.

One person close to the issue told Fox News: “They should be doing an investigation to see what the chief of base in Benghazi and station chief in Tripoli did that night. If they did, they’d find out there were some major mistakes.”

This source claimed an investigation would likely uncover a lot of details the public does not know.

Asked why such a probe has not been launched, a CIA spokesman said: “CIA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) always reviews carefully every matter that is brought to its attention, and takes appropriate action based on a variety of factors.”

Still, at least two complaints were filed by CIA employees concerned about the attack, which began at the U.S. compound and eventually spread to the CIA annex one mile away. There is no question that CIA personnel saved a lot of lives; those on the ground that night continue to herald the heroism of the individuals who responded to try and help Stevens and others under attack.

Yet questions remain about the overall decision-making, possible destruction of evidence and warnings of an impending attack.

“There needs to be a CIA investigation … there was a lot of things done wrong,” one special operator said.

But a CIA spokesman said the OIG has already “explained fully” to the agency’s congressional oversight committees “why it did not open an investigation into Benghazi-related issues.”

“That decision was based on a determination that the concerns raised fell under the purview of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, and that a separate OIG action could unnecessarily disrupt the FBI’s criminal investigation into the Benghazi attacks,” the spokesman said.

The Accountability Review Board probe was ordered by the State Department, and the board reported its findings in December 2012.

But separate investigations haven’t stopped the OIG from investigating issues before. Why they held back in this instance is a question starting to filter through the agents at the CIA. Fox News has been told some of the investigators initially assigned to review the Benghazi complaints are “very upset and very frustrated” that they were told to stop the process.

 

Some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee expressed some of these same concerns in their review of the Benghazi attacks. On page 15 of the Republican response on Jan. 15, it states: “… the committee has learned that the CIA Inspector General did not investigate complaints relating to the Benghazi attacks from CIA whistle blowers. Whether these complaints are ultimately substantiated or dismissed is irrelevant. On a matter of this magnitude involving the deaths of four Americans, the Inspector General has a singular obligation to take seriously and fully investigate any allegation of wrongdoing. His failure to do so raises significant questions that we believe the Committee must explore more fully.”

Fox News has also learned that the Senate Committee was told by the CIA that the investigation did not take place because it would interfere with the State Department Accountability Review Board, which was conducted to “examine the facts and circumstances of the attacks.” While that review contained major criticism aimed at State Department officials in Washington, it didn’t directly mention the CIA.

“Since when does the CIA defer to State? The ARB is in a total different agency anyway,” one special operator said.

Read more at Fox News

 

Lebanese Media Report Shift In U.S. Attitudes Towards Hizbullah, Despite Its Being A Designated Terrorist Organization

MEMRI:

Introduction

In February 2013, Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Na’im Qassem said that the Americans had “contacted us in various ways and via mediators and asked to sit down with us. We answered via the mediators that the images [of such a meeting] would do no good, and that the only thing that would help is a change in your [i.e. the Americans'] mentality and your recognition of the legitimate rights of peoples.”[1]

This statement, if authentic, could attest to a change of strategy vis-à-vis Hizbullah on the part of the U.S., which declared Hizbullah a terrorist organization in 1990. According to Lebanese media reports, the U.S. administration has been conducting contacts with it since April-May 2012; these contacts, mostly indirect and through intermediaries, have more recently become direct as well. The reports state that at first, the U.S. administration and Hizbullah exchanged intelligence information, but later expanded the contacts into a diplomatic and political relationship, and even into dealings concerning domestic Lebanese politics.

The media reports focus on the relationship between the U.S. and the director of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate, ‘Abbas Ibrahim; although it is an official Lebanese body, this directorate, and Ibrahim himself, are close to Hizbullah. Before heading General Security, from 2005 to 2008, Ibrahim headed military intelligence in South Lebanon – and, according to many Lebanese Sunnis, this apparatus and those in charge of it in South Lebanon are pro-Hizbullah. At Qatar’s request, Ibrahim also mediated between this country and Hizbullah in November 2013.[2]

This paper will review the reports on the contacts and the relationship between the U.S. and Hizbullah, on the development of these contacts and this relationship, on their possible reasons and purposes, and on their possible connection with the shift in U.S. foreign policy towards Iran and towards the entire region.

 

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale (left) and Lebanese General Security Directorate head ‘Abbas Ibrahim

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale (left) and Lebanese General Security Directorate head ‘Abbas Ibrahim

Direct And Indirect CIA-Hizbullah Security Cooperation

According to Lebanese media reports, indirect CIA-Hizbullah contacts were apparently initiated by the U.S., and have been underway since at least April 2012, conducted by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and Hizbullah through Ibrahim. These contacts culminated in cooperation fighting Al-Qaeda and its offshoots and other extremist Sunni organizations.[3] It should be noted that since Hizbullah’s announcement of its military involvement in Syria, it has been targeted by Sunni terrorist organizations operating in Syria and Lebanon, which have attacked Hizbullah itself as well as Shi’ite population centers in Lebanon considered to be Hizbullah strongholds.

Read more at MEMRI

CIA Files From Benghazi: Now in the Hands of Al Qaeda?

ben7

15 individuals with information helpful to the U.S. Benghazi investigation have been killed? Did Al Qaeda find out who they were?

BY CLARE LOPEZ:

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released its Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 on January 15, 2014.

One of the most disturbing sections in the entire report comes on page 42, where the report cites then-FBI Director Robert Mueller in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies telling Congress that “as many as 15 individuals supporting the investigation or otherwise helpful to the United States have been killed in Benghazi since the attacks [of September 11, 2012].”

While Director Mueller rightly noted the “lawless and chaotic circumstances in eastern Libya,” the SSCI report also added that “It is unclear whether their killings were related to the Benghazi investigation.”

While calling post-Qaddafi Libya “lawless and chaotic” is something of an understatement, the SSCI’s suspicions about these particular killings and the possibility that they could be connected to the Benghazi investigation should be noted and noted carefully.

The identity of these individuals has not been revealed publicly, but it is certain that the SSCI and the Intelligence Community for which it holds oversight responsibility know who they were. And while it is certainly possible that each and every one of these 15 killings can be explained by the continuing battles among the Al Qaeda militias that led the uprising against former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, the possibility that these are targeted killings – assassinations – must also be considered, even as the SSCI seems to hint that it has thought of this, too.

In an insightful early report about the Benghazi attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported on November 1, 2012 that “…the day after the attack…the CIA appears to have dispatched local Libyan agents to the annex to destroy any sensitive documents and equipment there.”

The WSJ use of the term “agents” would seem to indicate that these local Libyans were CIA recruited assets, who either were trusted enough for this assignment or perhaps were all they had to turn to at that point. They may have been Libyan officials, whether uniformed police or others such as intelligence and security officials.

We do not know and the SSCI report does not tell us. In any case, what that short section of the SSCI report does tell us, at a minimum, is that sensitive documents and equipment were believed by the CIA to have remained in the CIA Annex the day after the attack, that they had not been destroyed or removed by the fleeing Americans and were of sufficient concern to the CIA that it was willing to take a chance on tasking local Libyans to retrieve whatever was there.

What became of any such materials and whether they were successfully recovered or not is not noted in the SSCI report. Tom Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), writing in the Weekly Standard on January 7, 2014 about the Obama administration’s belated admission about the role that Abu Sufian Ben Qumu (a former GITMO detainee) and his group — the Derna, Libya branch of Ansar al-Shariah — played in the Benghazi attack provides a possible follow-up, however.

In the very last line of his piece, “Obama Administration’s Benghazi Bombshell,” Joscelyn writes that two U.S. intelligence officials say that Faraj al Chalabi, an identified Libyan jihadi, “is suspected of bringing materials from the compound in Benghazi to senior al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.”

This report begs the question: How is it possible for U.S. intelligence officials to so specifically name al-Chalabi as someone who may have taken materials from Benghazi to al-Qa’eda leadership in Pakistan?

What materials have they identified as having been removed from the CIA Annex and how do they know (or why would they suspect) such materials have been taken to Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan in the first place? In fact, it doesn’t seem possible – unless U.S. intelligence officials themselves perhaps were the ones who dispatched al-Chalabi or an associate to the compound to recover those “documents and equipment.”

Read more at Clarion Project

Herridge: Fmr. CIA Director Morell May Have Altered Benghazi Talking Points to Benefit Obama Admin.

morrelBY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
February 3, 2014 

Former CIA Director Mike Morell may have altered the Benghazi talking points to benefit the Obama administration during the 2012 election, Catherine Herridge of Fox News reports.

On September 15 one day before Susan Rice made her infamous appearances on various Sunday shows, according to the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report Morell received an email from the CIA station chief in Libya indicating the Benghazi attacks were “not/not an escalation of protests.” The report does not indicate when Morell read the email, but that same day Morell cut the word “Islamic” from the talking points and left the word “demonstration.”

On September 16, Morell emailed embassy staff in Tripoli asking for more information. The FBI and CIA reviewed the closed circuit footage on September 18 showing there were no protests. Yet, President Obama still employed the “demonstration” verbiage just days later.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Morell accompanied Susan Rice in a closed November meeting to discuss the attack. According to Graham, Morell defended Rice and tried to emphasize there was confusion about what happened in Benghazi. Moreover, Graham alleged Morell did not accept responsibility for altering the talking points, instead blaming the FBI. ”I called the FBI. They went ballistic. Within 24 hours, his statement was changed where he admitted the CIA had done it,” Graham said.

Adding another layer of complexity to the Morell’s backstory, Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) told Fox News many of Morell’s recent statements on the war on terror run contrary to what he told Senate committees over the previous decade as a CIA employee.

Herridge goes on to report some speculate Morell may have higher political ambitions considering his employment at Beacon Global Strategies, a government relations firm founded by close Hillary Clinton confidante Philippe I. Reines.

Morell declined to comment on the story but said the Senate Intelligence Committee report supports the contention that the Benghazi talking points were not politically altered in a written statement.