ISIS Baffling U.S. Intelligence Agencies

1408103028210.cachedBy Eli Lake:
It’s been two months since ISIS took over Iraq’s second-largest city. But U.S. analysts are still trying to figure out how big the group is and the real identities of its leaders.
The U.S. intelligence community is still trying to answer basic questions about the jihadists who tried to wipe out Iraq’s remaining Yazidis and who now threaten to overrun the capital of the country’s Kurdish provinces.

In a briefing for reporters Thursday, U.S. intelligence officials said the government is re-evaluating an estimate from early this year that said the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had only 10,000 members. These officials also said intelligence analysts were still trying to determine the real names of many of the group’s leaders from records of Iraqis who went in and out of American custody during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

While many U.S. officials have warned publicly in the last year about the dangers posed by ISIS, the fact that the U.S. intelligence community lacks a consensus estimate on its size and the true identities of the group’s leadership may explain why President Obama over the weekend said the U.S. was caught off-guard by the ISIS advance into Kurdish territory.

That said, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that ISIS poses a particularly difficult problem. One American official said ISIS had attracted thousands of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq, some of whom had returned to their home countries and formed terror cells in Europe.

U.S. intelligence officials said the Islamic State makes frequent mention of its intent to attack the U.S., though officials said there is no evidence yet that its operatives have the skills of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) master bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri. AQAP has tried to bring down U.S.-bound airliners three times using bombs he helped design or build.

Read more at Daily Beast

Also see:

NYPD’S Surveillance Program: It’s Not About Islam, It’s About Protecting New york


 Breitbart, by Dr.Sebastian Gorka:

National security should serve policy objectives. It should not be a victim of political correctness. Politics should be kept especially far away from the practice of intelligence.

Today’s decision by the NYPD to close the unit that was mapping Muslim communities in New York is very likely a product of political pressure. It is a decision that will make the city targeted in the largest terrorist attack in modern history less safe.

I have gone on record in the past—on Al Jazeera, of all places—to explain why the program was a good idea and crucial to preventing terrorist plots in the future.

In short: this was not a program to blanket surveil ​all Muslims living in and around New York. That would be pointless and impossible even for the NYPD. The fact is terrorists live in and exploit the communities Muslims have built. From Richard Reid the Shoebomber to Anwar al-Awlaki, the American al Qaeda leader in Yemen, terrorists have been recruited and have used mosques and Islamic centers around the world to organize and plan. A cop knows his community and who fits in and who doesn’t. That’s how you prevent all types of crime, not just mass-murdering terrorists.

After 9/11, the political leadership in New York determined that the federal government had failed the people of their city and decided not to rely on Washington to prevent the next attack. Fourteen of the 19 plots hatched by al Qaeda since 9/11 have targeted New York, so this was a very wise decision.

Subsequently, they built a world-class counterterrorism intelligence capability, deployed NYPD “attaches” to key CT-relevant cities around the world, and published the best operational analysis of jihadi radicalization available today.

This decision is likely the product of the successful campaign launched by CAIR and its allies to delink Islam and al Qaeda and otherwise undermine other counterterrorism efforts across America. See Patrick Poole’s excellent report on their assault on national security here. They are doing this despite the fact that CAIR and its compatriots have been designated in federal court as unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terrorist financing trial in history, the Holy Land Foundation Trial. See the original documents here.

NYPD is target No.1 for al Qaeda. On the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, someone decided to make it easier for jihadi terrorist to attack it.

Sebastian Gorka, Ph.D. is the National Security Editor for Breitbart News.

Blockbuster Interview With Steven Emerson on the Glazov Gang

download (21)Front Page:

Steven Emerson recounts his career as a journalist from its beginnings in 1978 through the beginning of his focus on radical Islamic groups in the US after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The accumulation of massive amounts of data which resulted from research for his first documentary “Jihad in America”  led to the creation of the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 1995. His organization has become the world’s largest archival data center on radical Islam. As an investigative agency, Emerson says, “We are not a think tank, we are a “do tank”.


In this second video Emerson talks about CAIR and much more. He does not mince words and there are some explosive comments like “Eric Holder is a hit man and a thug and corrupt…and should be indicted. Information on his corruption will be coming out in the next few months and it will be pretty shocking”


You can follow Steve Emerson on twitter @TheIPT where he engages members of CAIR and others, lately using CAIR’s #LegislatingFear to rain on their parade.


Why Expanded Government Spying Doesn’t Mean Better Security Against Terrorism

images (61)By Barry Rubin:

What is most important to understand about the revelations of massive message interception by the U.S. government is this: in counterterrorist terms, it is a farce.

There is a fallacy behind the current intelligence strategy of the United States, behind this collection of up to three billion phone calls a day, of emails, and even of credit card expenditures, not to mention the government spying on the mass media. It is this:

The more quantity of intelligence, the better it is for preventing terrorism.

In the real, practical world this is untrue, though it might seem counterintuitive. You don’t need — to put it in an exaggerated way — an atomic bomb against a flea.  Basically the NSA, as one of my readers suggested, is the digital equivalent of the TSA strip-searching an 80 year-old Minnesota grandmothers rather than profiling and focusing on the likely terrorists.

Isn’t it absurd that the United States — which can’t finish a simple border fence to keep out potential terrorists; can’t stop a would-be terrorist in the U.S. Army who gives a PowerPoint presentation on why he is about to shoot people (Major Nidal Hasan); can’t follow up on Russian intelligence warnings about Chechen terrorist contacts (the Boston bombing); or a dozen similar incidents — must now collect every telephone call in the country?

Isn’t it absurd that under this system, a photo-shop clerk has to stop an attack on Fort Dix by overcoming his fear of appearing “racist” to report a cell of terrorists?

That it was left to brave passengers to jump a would-be “underpants bomber” from Nigeria, because his own father’s warning that he was a terrorist was insufficient?

Isn’t it absurd that terrorists and terrorist supporters visit the White House, hang out with the FBI, and advise the U.S. government on counter-terrorist policy, even while — as CAIR does — advising Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement? And that they are admiringly quoted in the media?

Meanwhile, a documented, detailed revelation of this behavior in MERIA Journal by Patrick Poole – ”Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy” — a report which rationally should bring down the governmentdoes not get covered by a single mass media outlet?

Imagine this scene:

“Sir, we have a telephone call about a potential terrorist attack!”

“Not now, Smithers, I’m giving a tour of our facility to some supporters of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

How about the time when the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem had a (previously jailed) Hamas agent working in their motor pool with direct access to the vehicles and itineraries of all visiting U.S. dignitaries and senior officials?

Instead of this kind of nonsense, the two key elements of counterterrorism are as follows:

First, it is not the quantity of material that counts, but the need to locate and correctly understand the most vital material. This requires your security forces to understand the ideological, psychological, and organizational nature of the threat. Second, it is necessary to be ready to act on this information not only in strategic terms but in political terms.

For example: suppose the U.S. ambassador to Libya warns that the American compound there may be attacked. No response.

Then he tells the deputy chief of mission that he is under attack. No response.

Then, the U.S. military is not allowed to respond.

Then, the president goes to sleep without making a decision about doing anything because of a communications breakdown between the secretaries of Defense and State, and the president goes to sleep because he has a very important fundraiser the next day.

But don’t worry — because three billion telephone calls by Americans are daily being intercepted and supposedly analyzed.

In other words, you have a massive counterterrorist project costing $1 trillion, but when it comes down to it, the thing repeatedly fails.

To quote the former secretary of State: “What difference does it  make?”

If one looks at the great intelligence failures of the past, these two points quickly become obvious. Take for example the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941: U.S. naval intelligence had broken Japanese codes — they had the information needed to conclude the attack would take place. Yet a focus on the key to the problem was not achieved. The important messages were not read and interpreted; the strategic mindset of the leadership was not in place.

Or, in another situation: the plans of Nazi Germany to invade the USSR in 1941, and the time and place of the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944, were not assessed properly, with devastating results. Of course the techniques were more primitive then, but so were the means of concealment. For instance, the Czech intelligence services — using railroad workers as informants — knew about a big build-up for a German offensive against the USSR. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin overrode the warnings. Soviet analysts predicting a Nazi invasion were punished.

Nothing would have changed if more material was collected.

So what needs to be in place, again, is a focus on the highest-priority material, on analyzing correctly what is available, on having leaders accept it and act upon it. If the U.S. government can’t even figure out what the Muslim Brotherhood is like, or the dangers of supporting Islamists to take over Syria, or the fact that the Turkish regime is an American enemy, or if they can’t even teach military officers who the enemy is … what’s it going to do with scores of billions of telephone calls?

Read more at PJ Media



images (73)

Breitbart, by JOEL B. POLLAK:

Yesterday America learned that the U.S. government is gathering information on our phone calls and can follow our every keystroke. We are reassured that the information is to stop terrorists. And yet the government fails to stop terrorists when it has information about them, because President Barack Obama refuses to understand that our enemy is radical Islam and the agencies he directs follow his disastrous lead.

As Mark Levin observed yesterday in an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Russian intelligence had contacted the U.S. and warned our government directly about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The FBI interviewed him directly and decided to close the file. How would more information have helped stop the Boston Marathon bombing when the law enforcement agencies that had been provided information did not or could not act?

On Sep. 11, 2012, President Barack Obama was informed that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was under attack. Warning signs had been detected by U.S. intelligence but had been ignored. And yet even when told about the live threat to U.S. diplomats, President Obama failed to act and the directors of several national security agencies failed even to speak to each other that night. How would more information have helped?

The creation of the mammoth Department of Homeland Security was meant to promote the sharing of information across government agencies after the intelligence failure of the first 9/11. And yet those agencies failed to share information necessary to stop the Christmas Day bomber from boarding a flight in 2009. President Obama criticized his own government’s failure–then proceeded to repeat it, over and over.

A correspondent to Breitbart News writes in frustration: “The FBI and NSA were reading [Nidal] Hassan’s emails to [Anwar] Al Awlaki and monitoring his phone calls and didn’t think he was a threat at Ft. Hood. The FBI was also monitoring the phone calls of the Times Square bomber and didn’t do anything. So much for the value of phone call and email monitoring. Check the old news clips on these stories. It’s all there.”

The problem is that President Obama does not want to believe that radical Islam is at war with us. He told the nation last month that “this war, like all wars, must end,” promising to repeal–not refine–the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Al Qaeda. And yet he has increased the federal government’s snooping–dramatically. What use is that information, if it will not be used against terror?

And then comes a reminder of which information the government has been most interested in: information about Tea Party and conservative groups, information about individual activists in the conservative movement, information about the prayers of pro-life groups–information, in other words, about its political opponents, who have been treated since the beginning of the Obama administration like the real national enemy.

Kimberly Strassel observes of the IRS scandal–which now seems almost quaint in the context of Verizon and Prism–that President Obama set the tone from the beginning with vicious rhetorical attacks on conservative non-profit groups and their donors, calling them “a threat to our democracy.” Meanwhile, the Obama administration missed real threats–blind to the danger its own behavior poses to our democratic republic.


Sebastian Gorka: Counterterrorism and Threat Denial

AmericasIslamistThreat-viDr. Sebastian Gorka (Military Affairs Fellow and Director, National Security Fellows Program, Foundation for Defense of Democracies) addressed the Canter for Security Policy’s Stanton Group on Capitol Hill. The topic of his briefing was “Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence in the Second Obama Administration: Persistence of Threat Denial?”

Book Review: The Company of Shadows

by Steven Emerson:

Reviewed by IPT News
March 1, 2013

Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors


If truth is the first casualty of war, author Kerry Patton has ably attempted to correct that dictum in his highly entertaining novel, Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors, a fictionalized account of the heroic but overlooked work performed by civilian contractors in Afghanistan.

As a military veteran and expert in intelligence, security and counter-terrorism who has worked at the highest levels of government, including the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, Patton initially began Contracted as an autobiography.

However, fear of breaching intelligence secrets led Patton to switch gears, writing a fictionalized story instead, one based on true events, but told through the voice of Declan Collins, a former military man recruited out of civilian life by the CIA for intelligence work in Afghanistan.

There, Declan and his civilian partner, Rex Browhart, himself a former military vet, find themselves assigned as military advisors at a Forward Operating Base in eastern Afghanistan.

At the FOB, Collins and Browhart form a working alliance with a varied group of officers and enlisted men on a plan to arm Afghan warlords eager to fight the Taliban, a plan Collins believes will save American lives.

Most of the men aiding Collins in this task are a mixture of Special Forces, including Delta Force, Navy Seals and Army Rangers and Green Berets. To Collins, these men are modern day warriors, part of a dying breed, driven to sacrifice their lives for God, family and country.

It’s a patriotic theme Patton employs throughout his book, one in which money isn’t the primary motivating factor driving these contractors — most of whom are former military — but rather a deep love of country further fueled by an abiding loyalty to aid their brothers-in-arms.

Unfortunately, the press has helped to paint a picture of civilian contractors as either nothing more than mercenaries in search of a quick paycheck or out-of-control homicidal maniacs, such as those in Blackwater, the private security consulting firm employed by the US government during the Iraq war.

Not surprisingly, that negative portrayal tends to overlook the heroism and sacrifices that many contractors have performed and endured once they have left the comfort and safety of the civilian world for life in a combat zone.

In fact, it is to that point that Patton reportedly wrote Contracted, noting it is “truly meant for those unsung heroes who never get recognized yet often get chastised.”

Patton also doesn’t neglect the hardships faced by the family and loved ones left behind, weaving into his book the struggles and fears faced by Collins’ new young wife, Brannagh. As Patton has noted, “This book is not just for them (the contractors) but for their friends and family as well. They too deserve some recognition.”

That recognition comes at the same time as the use of civilian contractors in combat zones by American corporations, defense contractors, and governmental agencies — including the DOD, State Department and CIA — is growing in both prominence and danger.

Specifically, in 2012 American civilian contractors constituted 62 percent of the US presence in Afghanistan. These contractors are used in many unarmed roles, including transporting supplies, staffing food services, building homes and commercial facilities and serving as interpreters.

However, they are also employed in armed capacities, jobs which include providing security for State Department and Pentagon officials, guarding US installations, gathering intelligence and training the Afghan army and police.

Still, whether operating in armed or unarmed roles, the risks these civilian contractors face are great. In 2011, 430 American contractors were reported killed in Afghanistan — 386 who worked for the Defense Department — and 1,777 injured or wounded.

Read more at Front Page

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog,

Blockbuster: Revolt of the Spooks

Intelligence officials angered by Obama administration cover up of intelligence on Iranian, al Qaeda surge in Egypt and Libya

BY: Bill Gertz:

Weeks before the presidential election, President Barack Obama’s administration faces mounting opposition from within the ranks of U.S. intelligence agencies over what careerofficers say is a “cover up” of intelligence information about terrorism in North Africa.

Intelligence held back from senior officials and the public includes numerous classified reports revealing clear Iranian support for jihadists throughout the tumultuous North Africa and Middle East region, as well as notably widespread al Qaeda penetration into Egypt and Libya in the months before the deadly Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

“The Iranian strategy is two-fold: upping the ante for the Obama administration’s economic sanctions against Iran and perceived cyber operations against Iran’s nuclear weapons program by conducting terror attacks on soft U.S. targets and cyber attacks against U.S. financial interests,” said one official, speaking confidentially.

The Iranian effort also seeks to take the international community’s spotlight off Iran’s support for its Syrian ally.

Two House Republicans, Reps. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) and Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), stated in a letter sent this week to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that officials “with direct knowledge of events in Libya” revealed that the Benghazi attack was part of a string of terror attacks and not a spontaneous uprising against an anti-Muslim video produced in the U.S. The lawmakers have scheduled congressional hearings for Oct. 10.

Susan Phalen, spokeswoman for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), said the panel is “reviewing all relevant intelligence and the actions of the [intelligence community], as would be expected of the oversight committee.”

But she noted: “At this point in time it does not appear that there was an intelligence failure.”

Intelligence officials pointed to the statement issued Sept. 28 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) that raised additional concern about the administration’s apparent mishandling of intelligence. The ODNI statement said that “in the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo.”

Officials say the ODNI’s false information was either knowingly disseminated or was directed to be put out by senior policy officials for political reasons, since the statement was contradicted by numerous intelligence reports at the time of the attack indicating it was al Qaeda-related terrorism.

Among the obvious signs of terrorism was the arms used by the attackers, who were equipped with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.

A U.S. intelligence official who disputes the idea of an Obama administration coverup said: “Intelligence professionals follow the information wherever it leads.”

“When there isn’t definitive information, it makes sense to be cautious,” the official said. “There has never been a dogmatic approach to analyzing what happened in Benghazi. Staying open to alternative explanations—and continually refining assessments as new and credible information surfaces—is part of the intelligence business.”

Officials with access to intelligence reports, based on both technical spying and human agents, said specific reporting revealed an alarming surge in clandestine al Qaeda activity months before the attack in Benghazi.

Yet the Obama administration sought to keep the information from becoming public to avoid exposing what the officials say is a Middle East policy failure by Obama.

Officials said that the administration appeared to engage in a disinformation campaign aimed at distancing the president personally during the peak of the presidential election campaign from the disaster in Benghazi, where numerous warning of an attack were ignored, resulting in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other officials.

Read more at Free Beacon

And Al Qaeda in Syria: An FSA Terrorist Message to the West

Ray Kelly & NYPD Scuttled 14 Conspiracies Against New Yorkers

Police Commissioner Kelly gets his morning briefing


As an American and a New Yorker, I have just two words for Police  Commissioner Ray Kelly and the New York Police Department, which he leads: Thank  you.

Gratitude towards Kelly and the NYPD is surprisingly rare these days,  especially regarding the enormous success that Gotham’s cops have enjoyed in  preventing America’s largest city from enduring Islamic terrorism in the years  since al-Qaeda’s mass murder on September 11, 2001. Rather than salute the NYPD  for averting hundreds or even thousands more deaths, critics slam the  law-enforcement professionals who successfully have guarded one of the War  on Terror’s most active fronts.

“The FBI considers the NYPD’s intelligence gathering practices since 9/11 not  only a waste of money but a violation of Americans’ rights, “Newsmax’s chief  Washington correspondent, Ronald Kessler, reveals  in his new book, The  Secrets of the FBI, published Tuesday. “The NYPD has been sending  undercover operatives to political meetings,” one FBI official complains  to Kessler. “We are not engaging in that kind of aimless intelligence gathering  on mosques or political meetings without a predication that terrorist activities  might be involved.”

The FBI’s jealousy and turf-mindedness aside, it often is tough to develop  “predication” without “aimless intelligence gathering.”

Last May, Congressman Rush Holt (D., N.J.) sponsored an amendment to condemn  law-enforcement agencies that practice religious, racial, or ethnic profiling.  As the New York Post noted,  Holt also demanded  that the Justice Department investigate “a pattern of surveillance and  infiltration by the New York Police Department against innocent American Muslims  in the absence of a valid investigative reason.”

This liberal attack on the NYPD’s counterterrorism activities was defeated  193 to 232  on a mainly party-line vote, with Democrats largely supportive   and Republicans opposed.

Similarly, the Associated Press this April won the Pulitzer Prize for  investigative reporting for highlighting “the New York Police Department’s  clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities.”  Responding in the June Commentary,  however, Mitchell D. Silber – the NYPD’s former director of intelligence  analysis – argues  that these AP articles are “rife with inaccuracies” and “confuse events and  policies in ways that are misleading and cast the tale they are telling in the  worst possible light.”

As an American and a New Yorker, I have just two words for detractors of  Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD:

Back off.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Romney slams Obama on security leaks – Michele Van Cleave tells just how much damage done


RENO, Nev. — Mitt Romney accused the Obama White House of risking the lives  of U.S. troops for “political gain,” undermining Israel and being complicit in  Iranian nuclear proliferation.

In a speech here Tuesday that featured some of the strongest language Romney  has used about Obama since the general election began, the presumptive nominee  made a move to gain a foothold in the foreign policy debate on the eve of his  trip to Europe.

“This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your President. You have that President today,” Romney told the crowd at the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference. Obama spoke Monday before the same group.

Romney delivered a harsh condemnation of the leaks of classified information  regarding American involvement in cyber-attacks on Iran and details of a planned  attack by al Qaeda on a U.S.-bound airplane, saying the leaks risked American  lives.

He pinned the blame squarely on the White House.

“This conduct is contemptible. It betrays our national interest. It  compromises our men and women in the field,” Romney said. “Whoever provided  classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the  administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished. The time for  stonewalling is over.”

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee demanded a “full and prompt  investigation” and said an investigation being conducted by the attorney  general’s office is not enough.

“Obama appointees, who are accountable to President Obama’s Attorney General,  should not be responsible for investigating the leaks coming from the Obama  White House,” he said. “It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into,  and leave it at that.”

Arguing that the concerns weren’t partisan, Romney pointed to Democratic Sen.  Dianne Feinstein’s Monday remarks in which she said of the leaks: “I think the  White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.”

In a statement today, Feinstein attempted to walk back her earlier statement,  which included a disclaimer that she didn’t think Obama himself was authorizing  the leaks.

“I stated that I did not believe the president leaked classified information.  I shouldn’t have speculated beyond that, because the fact of the matter is I  don’t know the source of the leaks,” Feinstein said. “I’m on record as being  disturbed by these leaks, and I regret my remarks are being used to impugn  President Obama or his commitment to protecting national security secrets.”

Read more: Politico

Senator Feinstein states that the national security leaks did indeed come form the White House (July 23, 2012):

Michelle Van Cleave: Recent Administration Leaks — Legal and Legislative Developments….Damage Has Been Done

Michelle Van Cleave is former U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive.


CAIR Wants Former Iranian Rev. Guard Fired From Counter Intel

Radical Islam:

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called upon the Department of Defense to drop yet another important counter intelligence trainer from its academy in Elkridge, Maryland. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism funding trial in U. S. history, U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation.

The trainer in question – whose writings appear regularly on – goes by the pseudonym “Reza Kahlili.” Khalili is a former member of the dreaded Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who became a spy for the CIA to save his country from the Islamists.

Kahlili continues to this day to live in the shadows, all the while using his contacts inside the Iranian regime to expose its dangers to the West.

Kahlili is a tremendous asset to the United States military, yet CAIR finds Kahlili objectionable because he wrote on a website that he “renounced Islam and began the quest to find the real God.”

For the “crime” of exercising his freedom of religion, a freedom denied in many Islamic countries, CAIR is demanding that he be sacked by the Department of Defense and that all his valuable knowledge about counter terrorism be left unused by the next generation charged with the job of keeping America secure.

Related articles:



Islam and the Battle For Our Minds

CBN: On this week’s episode of the Stakelbeck on Terror show, author Michael Widlanski joins us to discuss his new book, Battle For Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat.

Widlanski says our government decision makers, the mainstream media and even our intelligence community are misleading the American people about the nature of the Islamic jihadist threat.

He descibes how they’re doing it, why they’re doing it and why it is so dangerous for America’s national security. 


Islamophilia in U.S. media, education and government intelligence

The following is an article written by Michael Widlanski on 3/25/2012 at the Jerusalem Post:
Terror aims at the human mind.
The goal is seizing the mind, not territory. Terrorists want to get into our head, while we, to survive, need to get into theirs.

The average citizen does not have time to study Arabic or Farsi, and he or she must rely on the gatekeepers of our minds – our media, our academia and our government/intelligence agencies.

These elites are essentially our public intellectuals. They should be our best and our brightest, the guardians of Western democratic society. Instead they became our worst and our dimmest, purveyors of a politically correct and factually inaccurate ideology of idiocy, a doctrine of willful ignorance.

This is true in the United States, in Europe and in Israel.

Top anti-terror officials in the Obama administration give speeches at NYU or Georgetown describing the beauty of Islam and speaking of jihad as a spiritual journey. The New York Times wins prizes for disclosing the most sensitive counter-terror surveillance programs, a program to monitor phone communication and a program to monitor money transfers.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press launches a real jihad, a holy war, against the New York City Police for being too watchful of the same Muslim community that spawned the NY attacks of 1993 and 2001.

These same institutions did not launch serious investigations of the mosques in Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City after the World trade Center attack of 1993 or the attack of 2001.

Nor have they probed the way Islamic terrorists are manufactured inside prison systems in America, Britain and Israel.

Inside Israel, many of our elites automatically support protests by Palestinian security prisoners inside Israeli jails, and they also protest when Israeli officials try to stem the tide of illegal immigration by thousands of Sudanese and others who swamp our borders.

Our media, many in academia and even officials in government prefer to claim they see a plague of what they call Islamophobia – an unreasoning fear of Islam, and a rise in hate crimes against Muslims. This is not true.

Actually, the terror attacks in France this week, and the earlier Iranian attacks in Thailand, India and Kazakhstan show increased attacks on Jews.

There is no wave of hate crimes against Muslims in America, in Europe or in Israel, and there is no phobia of Islam, no Islamophobia.

Actually, our elites exhibit Islamophilia – a reflexive love or protection of anything Islamic. I discuss the intellectual basis for these trends in my book – Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat. Here are some highlights of the intellectual perversion that infected our elites for the past two generations, causing America to be unready for 9/11 and Israel to be unable to admit the mistakes of the Oslo Process of 1993: Prof. Edward Said redefined Middle East studies for Western universities, but he knew almost no Arabic, and he used no Arabic sources in his work. Yet, Said became the gold standard for Middle East studies in the United States, and he was consulted on hiring decisions in this field, though he was himself a professor of English.

Edward Said became a virtual patron saint for MESA, the Middle East Studies Association. On September 11,2002, MESA presented its first annual Edward Said Award, on the first anniversary of 9/11. Said campaigned against anyone who said Ayatollah Khomeini was an extremist, and he lampooned and harpooned anyone who said Saddam Hussein was a vicious tyrant. Said’s views, not those of Bernard Lewis, were published in the New York Times.

Said’s popular teachings promoted the careers of Said “wannabes” like John Esposito at Georgetown, and Fred Halliday at the London School of Economics who spoke of the “myth” of Arab-Islamic terror before 9/11, while focusing, after 9/11, on the supposed persecution of Muslims rather than on growing Islamic terror.

Then there’s Michael Scheuer, the CIA’s “hunter” of Osama bin Laden, who never served as a field agent knew no Arabic, and misidentified Islamic holy sites. Scheuer admired bin Laden, blamed the US and Israel for vexing him, and called American Jews a dangerous minority that threatened America’s interests.

Scheuer even says that they have to be destroyed.

Paul Pillar, a top CIA Middle East analyst, showed a colossal off-base percentage for his predictions over a decade: claiming before 9/11 the US was not threatened by terror, then, that Iran was not seeking an atom bomb, and that the US should reach out to Iran and Syria, despite their terror roles and their bloody, repressive regimes.

Like Scheuer and Pillar, CIA director George Tenet never was a field agent, and he promoted their writings and their careers even as he censored talented field agents who said the CIA had become “too political” and was unprepared for terror.

CNN’s Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Peter Arnett, producer Robert Wiener and news director Eason Jordan played ball with Saddam Hussein’s government, ignoring some of his worst atrocities; CNN’s Wiener removed all the Jewish mezuzahs from the doorways of CNN’s rented offices in Jerusalem.

Tom Friedman, who got a Pulitzer Prize for directly blaming Israel and its ally, Sa’ad Haddad, for the Sabra-Shatila massacre of 1982, passed up countervailing evidence, including his own face-to-face interview with Sa’ad Haddad.

To battle terror efficiently, citizens must re-establish a cadre of Middle East specialists who are experts in history and language rather than politically correct nostrums that lead only to wishful thinking and strategic surprise.

American spies outed, CIA suffers in Lebanon

By Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo


Sheik Hassan Nasrallah

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA’s operations in Lebanon have been badly damaged after Hezbollah identified and captured a number of U.S. spies recently, current and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press. The intelligence debacle is particularly troubling because the CIA saw it coming.

Hezbollah’s longtime leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted on television in June that he had rooted out at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group closely allied with Iran. Though the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon officially denied the accusation, current and former officials concede that it happened and the damage has spread even further.

In recent months, CIA officials have secretly been scrambling to protect their remaining spies — foreign assets or agents working for the agency — before Hezbollah can find them.

To be sure, some deaths are to be expected in shadowy spy wars. It’s an extremely risky business and people get killed. But the damage to the agency’s spy network in Lebanon has been greater than usual, several former and current U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about security matters.

The Lebanon crisis is the latest mishap involving CIA counterintelligence, the undermining or manipulating of the enemy’s ability to gather information. Former CIA officials have said that once-essential skill has been eroded as the agency shifted from outmaneuvering rival spy agencies to fighting terrorists. In the rush for immediate results, former officers say, tradecraft has suffered.

The most recent high-profile example was the suicide bomber who posed as an informant and killed seven CIA employees and wounded six others in Khost, Afghanistan in December 2009.

Last year, then-CIA director Leon Panetta said the agency had to maintain “a greater awareness of counterintelligence.” But eight months later, Nasrallah let the world know he had bested the CIA, demonstrating that the agency still struggles with this critical aspect of spying and sending a message to those who would betray Hezbollah.

The CIA was well aware the spies were vulnerable in Lebanon. CIA officials were warned, including the chief of the unit that supervises Hezbollah operations from CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and the head of counterintelligence. It remains unclear whether anyone has been or will be held accountable in the wake of this counterintelligence disaster or whether the incident will affect the CIA’s ability to recruit assets in Lebanon.

In response to AP’s questions about what happened in Lebanon, a U.S. official said Hezbollah is recognized as a complicated enemy responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist group before September 2001. The agency does not underestimate the organization, the official said.

The CIA’s toughest adversaries, like Hezbollah and Iran, have for years been improving their ability to hunt spies, relying on patience and guile to exploit counterintelligence holes.

In 2007, for instance, when Ali-Reza Asgari, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran, disappeared in Turkey, it was assumed that he was either killed or defected. In response, the Iranian government began a painstaking review of foreign travel by its citizens, particularly to places like Turkey where Iranians don’t need a visa and could meet with foreign intelligence services.

It didn’t take long, a Western intelligence official told the AP, before the U.S., Britain and Israel began losing contact with some of their Iranian spies.

The State Department last year described Hezbollah as “the most technically capable terrorist group in the world,” and the Defense Department estimates it receives between $100 million and $200 million per year in funding from Iran.

Backed by Iran, Hezbollah has built a professional counterintelligence apparatus that Nasrallah — whom the U.S. government designated an international terrorist a decade ago — proudly describes as the “spy combat unit.” U.S. intelligence officials believe the unit, which is considered formidable and ruthless, went operational in about 2004.

Using the latest commercial software, Nasrallah’s spy-hunters unit began methodically searching for spies in Hezbollah’s midst. To find them, U.S. officials said, Hezbollah examined cellphone data looking for anomalies. The analysis identified cellphones that, for instance, were used rarely or always from specific locations and only for a short period of time. Then it came down to old-fashioned, shoe-leather detective work: Who in that area had information that might be worth selling to the enemy?

The effort took years but eventually Hezbollah, and later the Lebanese government, began making arrests. By one estimate, 100 Israeli assets were apprehended as the news made headlines across the region in 2009. Some of those suspected Israeli spies worked for telecommunications companies and served in the military.

Back at CIA headquarters, the arrests alarmed senior officials. The agency prepared a study on its own vulnerabilities, U.S. officials said, and the results proved to be prescient.

The analysis concluded that the CIA was susceptible to the same analysis that had compromised the Israelis, the officials said.

CIA managers were instructed to be extra careful about handling sources in Lebanon. A U.S. official said recommendations were issued to counter the potential problem.

But it’s unclear what preventive measures were taken by the Hezbollah unit chief or the officer in charge of the Beirut station. Former officials say the Hezbollah unit chief is no stranger to the necessity of counterintelligence and knew the risks. The unit chief has worked overseas in hostile environments like Afghanistan and played an important role in the capture of a top terrorist while stationed in the Persian Gulf region after the attacks of 9/11.

“We’ve lost a lot of people in Beirut over the years, so everyone should know the drill,” said a former Middle East case officer familiar with the situation.

But whatever actions the CIA took, they were not enough. Like the Israelis, bad tradecraft doomed these CIA assets and the agency ultimately failed to protect them, an official said. In some instances, CIA officers fell into predictable patterns when meeting their sources, the official said.

This allowed Hezbollah to identify assets and case officers and unravel at least part of the CIA’s spy network in Lebanon. There was also a reluctance to share cases and some files were put in “restricted handling.” The designation severely limits the number of people who know the identity of the source but also reduces the number of experts who could spot problems that might lead to their discovery, officials said.

Nasrallah’s televised announcement in June was followed by finger-pointing among departments inside the CIA as the spy agency tried figure out what went wrong and contain the damage.

The fate of these CIA assets is unknown. Hezbollah treats spies differently, said Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism and intelligence expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies who’s writing a book about the terrorist organization

“It all depends on who these guys were and what they have to say,” Levitt said. “Hezbollah has disappeared people before. Others they have kept around.”

Who’s responsible for the mess in Lebanon? It’s not clear. The chief of Hezbollah operations at CIA headquarters continues to run the unit that also focuses on Iranians and Palestinians. The CIA’s top counterintelligence officer, who was one of the most senior women in the clandestine service, recently retired after approximately five years in the job. She is credited with some important cases, including the recent arrests of Russian spies who had been living in the U.S. for years.

Officials said the woman was succeeded by a more experienced operations officer. That officer has held important posts in Moscow, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Balkans, important frontlines of the agency’s spy wars with foreign intelligence services and terrorist organizations.