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

new-york-police-officers-afp


 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.

A detailed look at ‘the purge’ of U.S. counter-terrorism training by the Obama administration

By Patrick Poole:

Tonight’s episode of For The Record investigates a series of policies established by the Obama Administration during 2011-2012 that effectively neutered FBI counter-terrorism training and blinded our nation’s intelligence agencies to the threat from Islamic terrorism.

In what some experts have termed a hostile “political warfare campaign” driven by an alliance between the administration, Islamic organizations and cooperating media figures, analysts and subject matter experts were blacklisted, and books and training materials were purged from official counter-terrorism training programs government-wide.

This “purge” has contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon recounted this past September in an episode of For The Record:

Institutional Failure

One of the first indicators of these efforts was the cancellation of an anti-terrorism conference scheduled for August 10-12, 2011 hosted by the CIA’s Threat Management Unit.

As reported by veteran Pentagon reporter Bill Gertz at the Washington Times, the conference was cancelled at the demand of Islamic groups who objected to presentations that were to be conducted by former Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence analyst and international law expert Stephen Coughlin (who is featured in tonight’s episode) and Steve Emerson of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. An email sent to conference registrants explained that the Department of Homeland Security would be formulating new guidelines for vetting speakers and screening presentation content.

The cancellation of the CIA terrorism conference was followed in September 2011 by a series of articles by far-Left blogger Spencer Ackerman at WIRED Magazine that claimed counter-terrorism trainers and materials used by the FBI were promoting “Islamophobia.” One of Ackerman’s targets was books in the library at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, that he deemed offensive. It should be noted that as a general rule banning books in government-funded libraries is considered rank censorship.

While a number of claims made by Ackerman in his series of articles were later found to be manifestly false, inside U.S. government agencies individuals targeted by Ackerman’s articles were prohibited from speaking publicly in defense of themselves and their work and “The Purge” continued apace.

Black October

Then in October 2011, a remarkable series of events dramatically shifted U.S. government policies largely fueled by Ackerman’s reporting.

The first event was the circulation by Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to government agencies of a list of “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training Do’s and Don’ts.” Among those targeted in the DHS training ban were what the document called “self-professed ‘Muslim reformers,’” who the agency warned “may further an interest group agenda instead of delivering generally accepted, unbiased information.”

Among other “don’ts” declared by DHS was this warning:

Don’t use training that relies on fear or conspiracies to motivate law enforcement. Don’t use training premised on theories with little or no evidence to support them. Examples (from the report “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace”) of unsubstantiated theories include…Mainstream Muslim organizations are fronts for Islamic political organizations who true desire is to establish Sharia law in America.

Remarkably, some of the very organizations that the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties had partnered with had been identified by the Justice Department as fronts for international terrorist organizations in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial in 2007 and 2008, including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). At the time these guidelines were published, the president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Majid, was serving on the DHS Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.

Not only had the Justice Department named these organizations as unindicted co-conspirators during the trial, but federal prosecutors had outline in court documents that these organizations were integral parts of an international conspiracy to funnel money to the terrorist group HAMAS. In one Justice Department filing, prosecutors noted that “numerous exhibits were entered into evidence establishing both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case.”

In another filing they observed:

ISNA and NAIT, in fact, shared more with HLF than just a parent organization. They were intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financing support to HAMAS. Shortly after HAMAS was founded in 1987, as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, Govt. Exh. 21-61, the International Muslim Brotherhood ordered the Muslim Brotherhood chapters throughout the world to create Palestine Committees, whose job it was to support HAMAS with “media, money and men.” Govt. Exh. 3-15. The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood created the U.S. Palestine Committee, which documents reflect was initially comprised of three organizations: the OLF (HLF), the IAP [Islamic Association for Palestine], and the UASR [United Association for Studies and Research]. CAIR was later added to these organizations. Govt. Exh. 3-78 (listing IAP, HLF, UASR and CAIR as part of the Palestine Committee, and stating that there is “[n]o doubt America is the ideal location to train the necessary resources to support the Movement worldwide…”). The mandate of these organizations, per the International Muslim Brotherhood, was to support HAMAS, and the HLF’s particular role was to raise money to support HAMAS’ organization inside the Palestinian terrories. (p. 13, emphasis added)

During the Holy Land trial, FBI Agent Lara Burns testified in court that CAIR was a front for HAMAS. One trial exhibit submitted by federal prosecutors – and stipulated to by the defense in the case – explained that these organizations were dedicated to a “civilizational-jihadist process” to destroy America from within and replace the Constitution with sharia (Islamic law):

The Ikhwah [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions. (p. 21)

Federal prosecutors specifically cited this internal Muslim Brotherhood planning document as the strategic goal of these U.S.-based Islamic groups – the very same group advising the Obama Administration. The federal judge in the Holy Foundation case agreed with the case presented by the federal prosecutors had made regarding these organizations, stating in one ruling that “the Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations with CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF…and with HAMAS.” (p. 14-15)

One of the architects of the new DHS guidelines was Mohamed Elibiary, who served on the DHS Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, was appointed in October 2010 by Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Homeland Security Advisory Council and is now a senior fellow for the agency, who has publicly admitted to his role in developing the DHS guidelines. Unsurprisingly, he was a regular source for WIRED’s Spencer Ackerman.

Much more at The Blaze

Patrick Poole is a counter-terrorism and national security consultant for TheBlaze. You can follow him (@pspoole) on Twitter.

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

In Their Own Words

20140216_canada_train_largeFamily Security Matters, by CLARE M. LOPEZ:

In an unusual move, one of the suspects in the 2012-13 Via Railway terror plot has been allowed to give an interview to the Canadian National Post. That interview is remarkable because it explains the jihadist motivations behind the plot in clear and unambiguous language that leaves no room for doubt about “why they hate us.” Those who would confront and defeat this hate and the terror plots it inspires would do well to listen to the words of Chiheb Esseghaier.

Esseghaier was a Tunisian doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, a branch of the Université de Quebec and a landed immigrant who’d come to Canada in 2008. His travel to Zahedan, in eastern Iran, caught the attention of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which launched a complex investigation that eventually led to the unraveling of a joint al-Qa’eda-Iran plot to blow up a passenger train over the Niagara River gorge. Esseghaier and fellow suspect, Raed Jaser (from the United Arab Emirates), were arrested in the conspiracy and now face terror charges in Canadian court. Over the months since their April 2013 arrest, Esseghaier has made a number of court appearances as well as public statements, of which the recent National Post interview includes just the latest.

Although thanks to good intelligence and police work, Canada to date has been spared the kind of horrific terror attacks that have made headlines elsewhere in the West (Burgas, London, Madrid, U.S.), there have been jihadist attempts, including the August 2010 Ottawa Parliament plot and the earlier 2006 Toronto 18 plot.  National Post coverage of the Via Railway terror plot has been extensive and its multiple reports quoting the very vocal Esseghaier are revealing, even though it is clear the Post itself doesn’t understand what he’s been trying to tell them. Faced with the reality that their country, too, is a target, Canadians have been struggling to make sense out of Esseghaier’s simple pronouncement: “I am a Muslim.” The so-called “experts on extremism” consulted by the National Post weren’t much help: Prof. Lorne Dawson, ex-director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, opined that Esseghaier’s views were “very comparable to what one might hear from a strident anti-abortion activist coming from a Christian perspective.”

In fact, Esseghaier is nothing like a Christian pro-life activist. In his own words, he has explained that he sees himself as a faithful member of the global Islamic ummah. He calls Muslim Afghans his “brothers and sisters,” because according to Islamic doctrine, national borders and the world order that Canadian and other NATO members seek to defend in Afghanistan are meaningless. He believes it is his duty to follow the commands of Islam, which obligate every Muslim to wage jihad as an individual duty (fard ‘ayn) whenever non-believers (kufar) invade Islamic lands. In his court appearances, Esseghaier repeatedly has asserted his allegiance to Islamic Law (shariah) and rejected the authority of Canadian law. Challenged by the National Post to explain why he plotted to kill Canadian and American rail passengers, Esseghaier accused Canada of “[making] lawful what God made unlawful…”], which is an explicit reference to Qur’anic verse 9:29, which says

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

It is critical that national security experts and leadership grasp what Esseghaier is trying to tell us. Pretending that authoritative Islamic law and scripture are not the doctrinal source of justification for Islamic jihad (terrorism), as does A Guide to Refuting Jihadism, just out from the Henry Jackson Society, only serves to blind and neutralize our ability to confront the shariah threat. Likewise, getting hung up on group names and affiliations misses the point that Esseghaier describes so clearly: Islamic terrorism is conducted not just to kill people but to establish the pre-conditions for the ultimate objective which is the universal enforcement of Islamic Law. The 5 February 2014 War on Error from Foreign Policy offers another good illustration. Starting out by making a valiant effort at sorting out the many off-shoot franchises of Usama bin-Laden’s original al-Qa’eda, this piece unfortunately winds up taking an already muddled topic and compounding the muddling. Terming Islamic jihadis “violent extremists” or al-Qa’eda “nihilistic” with “an outlier interpretation of Islamic Law” is to miss the point entirely. Esseghaier is obviously both well-educated and well-versed in the doctrine of his faith; he is also representative of jihadis the world over who are indeed violent, but neither extremists nor nihilists within the parameters of authoritative Islam. They seek well-defined objectives based on widely-available Islamic scriptures and do not hesitate to declare them and pursue them both openly and by guile.

It is not often that a self-avowed Islamic jihadi like Esseghaier is given this sort of platform. It behooves us all to pay attention to what he says.

U.S. Lifts Ban on Immigrants With Links to Terrorism

immigrants oath

The Obama admin.is overriding the U.S. Criminal Code for individuals who have provided material support to terrorism.

BY CLARE LOPEZ:

Muslim Brotherhood affiliates scored a major victory in their efforts to degrade U.S. national security measures in early February 2014 when the Obama administration decided to override by fiat portions of the U.S. Criminal Code and immigration policy pertaining to individuals who provide “material support to terrorism.”

As published in the Federal Register on February 5, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State issued a joint notice that, henceforth, certain asylum seekers and refugees who only provided “limited material support” to terrorism would be allowed into the U.S.

The earlier law as written, The Real ID Law of 2005, states quite explicitly that the definition of engaging in terrorist activity includes:

To commit an act that the actor knows, or reasonably should know, affords material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit … to a terrorist organization [emphasis added]

Such activity, no matter how minor, constituted grounds for exclusion from entry to the U.S.

By unilaterally lifting restrictions — without so much as consulting Congress — for those intending immigrants who engaged in “(1) certain routine commercial transactions or certain routine social transactions (i.e., in the satisfaction of certain well-established or verifiable family, social, or cultural obligations), [or] (2) certain humanitarian assistance,” that benefited terrorist organizations, the Obama administration simply overrode existing law. So far, both the judicial and legislative branches of the U.S. government have let the administration get away with it.

According to the Daily Caller, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry signed the exemptions despite very real concerns about the legality of the executive branch deciding to ignore aspects of an existing law it doesn’t want to enforce and replacing them with its own guidelines.

Former State Department official and current director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies Jessica Vaughan worried as well that “those evaluating these cases will be ordered to ignore red flags in the applications, especially if the applicant is supported by one of the many advocacy groups that have the ear of senior DHS staff.”

The new policy decree marks a significant win for agents of influence belonging to advocacy groups acting on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood agenda to pursue “civilization jihad” “to destroy Western civilization from within…by [our] hands,” as asserted in the “Explanatory Memorandum,” a key Brotherhood document introduced as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial.

As described at some length in “The Islamists’—and their Enablers’—Assault on the Right: The Case Against Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan,” an February 11, 2014 dossier of particulars published by the Center for Security Policy (CSP), it is precisely in executing political influence operations aimed at U.S. national security leadership (whether Republican or Democratic) that the Muslim Brotherhood so excels.

The CSP paper explains in exhaustive detail and with meticulously referenced citations how the Muslim Brotherhood targeted the Republican Party and the conservative movement over a period of years and succeeded in placing senior operatives such as Abdurahman Alamoudi, Sami al-Arian, Nihad Awad, and Khaled Saffuri deep inside senior leadership circles.

It was at those top levels of government—the Executive Branch, the Intelligence Community, and the National Security Council—where critical decision-making took place, especially in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, that set U.S. counterterrorism strategy on a hopeless loop that deliberately avoided, and indeed later would forbid, knowledge about Islamic doctrine, law and scripture as the animating inspiration for Islamic terrorism.

By divorcing the enemy’s core ideology from study of the enemy threat doctrine, Muslim Brotherhood agents of influence succeeded in ensuring that U.S. blood and treasure would be endlessly and fruitlessly expended in Counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare, nation-building exercises and democracy experiments in the most unsuitable places possible: Muslim lands under rule of Islamic law (sharia).

As noted in CSP’s 2010 Team B II Report, “Shariah: The Threat to America,” Americans do pretty well at defending against military-style frontal assaults. We do far less well, though, at either recognizing or countering the “menace posed by jihadist enemies who operate by deceit and stealth from inside the gates.

And yet it is the latter threat that poses a far more serious threat to open, tolerant societies like ours than the openly terrorist attack like the one that struck on 9/11.

Read more at Clarion Project

Clare Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 20 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Also see:

Congress Warned About Evolution of Jihadist Networks

download (73)By Rodrigo Sermeño:

WASHINGTON – Terrorism experts warned Congress last week that Islamist terrorist groups are expanding in complex networks across the Middle East, highlighting the evolving nature of the threat these organizations pose to the region.

Seth Jones, a national security analyst with the RAND Corporation, told the House Armed Services Committee that there has been an increase in the number of Salafi jihadist groups, particularly in North Africa and the Levant. Al-Qaeda is the largest one, and all emphasize the importance of returning to a pure Islam and believe that violent jihad is a religious duty.

He said that while about a half-dozen terrorist groups have sworn allegiance to al Qaeda’s core, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, there now exists various Salafi jihadist groups that have not formally pledged allegiance to the militant group, and yet they share a common goal of establishing an extreme Islamic emirate.

“They are committed to establishing an Islamic emirate, and several of them have plotted attacks against the U.S., against U.S. embassies, against U.S. diplomats, against U.S. targets overseas,” Jones said.

Among these groups are also al-Qaeda-inspired individuals and networks, including the Boston Marathon bombers, who had no direct ties to the terrorist organization but listened to al-Qaeda’s propaganda and used it to plan attacks.

“I think there’s been a tendency among some journalists and pundits to lump all Sunni Islamic groups under the title al-Qaeda, which I think has clouded a proper assessment of the movement,” Jones said.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate hearing recently there are at least five al-Qaeda franchises in 12 countries that “this movement has morphed into.”

According to data compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, more then 6,800 terrorist attacks killed more than 11,000 people in 2012, making it the most active year of terrorism on record.

Bill Braniff, a terrorism analyst at the University of Maryland, said the six most lethal groups in 2012 – the Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in Iraq, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Shabaab – were responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths.

He noted that these groups are generally considered affiliates of al-Qaeda, and yet al-Qaeda itself has not been directly responsible for an attack since 2012.

Braniff said that a dozen of the 20 most lethal terrorist organizations and half of the 20 most active organizations had connections to al-Qaeda in 2012, suggesting that al-Qaeda remains a “central hub in a network of highly lethal and active terrorist groups.”

“What should we take from these seemingly contradictory developments?” he said. “Did al-Qaeda succeed by inspiring widespread jihadism, or has it lost to a variety of more parochial, albeit popular, actors?”

Braniff warned that it would be wrong to conclude that because al-Qaeda itself is not carrying out violent attacks that the group’s strategy has become ineffective.

“This has been the most active two years in the history of modern terrorism and al-Qaeda remains at the historical, organizational and ideological center of the most lethal terrorist threats of our time,” Braniff said.

Several Republicans have accused the Obama administration of downplaying the threat from al-Qaeda, its affiliates and the groups that it has inspired.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said that while President Obama has declared that al-Qaeda was on a path of defeat, the organization currently controls over 400 miles of territory in the Middle East – the most in its history.

“While the president seeks an end to war on terrorism and is not providing the leadership necessary for our efforts in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda seeks a continued war against the United States and the west. This is the reality and this is what our policy and strategy must address,” McKeon said.

Read more at PJ Media

US DHS and State Department Disregard US Law and Supreme Court Ruling and Allow Terrorist Supporters to Become Citizens

picture11Understanding the Threat, By John Guandolo:

Last week – on February 5th – the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State issued a “Notice of Determination” in which it unconstitutionally disregarded U.S. law and the 2010 Supreme Court ruling by creating policy allowing individuals who have materially supported terrorism to become U.S. citizens.

Specifically, the relevant portions of the “Notice” reads:  “The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General, hereby conclude, as a matter of discretion in accordance with the authority granted by INA section 212(d)(3)(B)(i), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(3)(B)(i), as amended, as well as the foreign policy and national security interests deemed relevant in these consultations, that paragraphs 212(a)(3)(B)(iv)(VI)(bb) and (dd) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(iv)(VI)(bb) and (dd), shall not apply with respect to an alien who provided limited material support to an organization described in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III), or to a member of such an organization, or to an individual described in section 212(a)(3)(B)((iv)(VI)(bb) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(iv)(VI)(bb).”

Translation:  People providing material support to terrorist organizations which this Administration deems as “minor” (as defined later in the notice) will not be subject to US Criminal Code (Title 8) nor the provisions of the “Immigration and Naturalization Act.”

This news was carried over the weekend by several news agencies.  This decision by the Obama Administration will, yet again, weaken America’s security.

The wrinkle on this is the 2010 Supreme Court ruling (Holder, Attorney General Et al v Humanitarian Law Project, No. 08-1498, June 21, 2010) the court ruled the pertinent U.S. laws Constitutional and that any support to designated terrorist organizations constitutes “Material Support.”  This includes teaching terrorists hygene, cooking, first aid, vehicle repairs, etc.  The Court recognizes – as U.S. law and precedent does in Narcotrafficking and similar crimes – that terrorists co-mingle their funds and their activities, but that all of these activities go to further the cause of the organization.  This is the legal and common sense approach, which is why it is the law in these United States.

This new government mandate via the DHS and the State Department cuts across the law, the Supreme Court ruling and common sense.  Over twelve years after 9/11, the U.S. government has decided that a “little” support to terrorists is okay.  This Administration and the U.S. Attorney General seems to have willingly walked onto the soggy ground of Treason in – like in Syria and Libya – giving direct aid and support to “terrorists” (Jihadis) and enemies of the United States.

Also see:

Some Issues with “Counter Terrorism – The Right Approach and Solutions”

20101101_TalibanTerroristFamily Security Matters , by JANET LEVY:

(See Alan Kornman’s article here.)

Three important points need to be emphasized here:
1)  It is accurate that Carter was naive about Khoumeni’s goals as a religion leader.  However, the fact that the Shah refused to give Carter’s cronies some contracts in Iran was a significant part of the equation.
2)  The Russian position vis a vis Islam is nuanced and not a clear case of doing what is necessary to fight terrorism.  Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky maintains that the Russians privilege Muslim citizens in the service of regaining territory that was part of the former Soviet Union.  See his white paper:  Made in Moscow Terrorism:  The Hidden Hand of the KGB.  - Click Here
3) It is very important to distinguish between terrorist groups as, at times, it is expedient to forge a temporary alliance with one side over the other.  Such is the case with the current relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel to fight the soon-to-be-nuclear Shias in Iran.  In 2012, the Saudis abandoned the Muslim Brotherhood after a six decade relationship.  When the Brotherhood took control of Egypt with the election of Morsi, the Kingdom switched its allegiance to the Egyptian military.  Essentially, the Saudis broke with the MB to protect their domestic grip on power
Also see:

A new definition for al-Qaeda

 

Image Credit: AEI's Critical Threat's Project

Image Credit: AEI’s Critical Threat’s Project

above image source: http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/09/the-al-qaeda-network-today/

 

 

Washington Post, By Katherine Zimmerman, Jan. 31:

What exactly is al-Qaeda? And who cares? Confusion about how to define the terrorist group is rife. Was al-Qaeda involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead? The Obama administration says no. Are the groups proliferating around Africa and the Middle East really part of the al-Qaeda that toppled the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon?

There is no simple answer. Al-Qaeda is a global terrorist organization that relies on secrecy to survive. Even al-Qaeda members are confused about each other’s status: The leader of the group in Yemen had to ask his Algerian counterpart for clarification about Ansar al-Din’s relationship to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The covert nature of the network intentionally obscures many relationships.

Here’s the problem: According to recently declassified testimony of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before the House Armed Services Committee in October, the U.S. military regards itself as legally barred from going after the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks (and, presumably, others who attack Americans) unless they are affiliated with al-Qaeda. The Obama administration’s parsing of words to deny al-Qaeda’s direct involvement effectively precludes a military response in these situations.

But the United States can neither disrupt nor defend itself from an enemy it cannot define. Nor are we safer because of arbitrary definitions. The question demands an answer: What is al-Qaeda?

Al-Qaeda’s leadership regulates the use of its name and resources; it has formally and publicly recognized affiliates in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and West Africa. In each of these cases, the regional leadership pledged loyalty to the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who accepted their oaths. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki may have been right when she said last month that “they don’t give out T-shirts or membership cards,” but any sensible definition of group membership must surely recognize the explicit and public exchanges of oaths of loyalty and command between Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri, on the one hand, and the leaders of overt franchises on the other.

Many experts disagree about the extent to which locally oriented militants are officially part of al-Qaeda. The White House has focused on terrorists currently targeting the United States, which form a small subset of the overall al-Qaeda movement. In the course of the debate over Benghazi, that focus has narrowed further to the question of whether “al-Qaeda core” ordered a specific attack.

There is even disagreement over the definition of “core” al-Qaeda. Most administration officials suggest that it is the small group keeping company with Zawahiri in Pakistan. Others define it as veteran members of the al-Qaeda network, active before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But this core has long been dispersed, with only a small part still in Pakistan. Some members now lead regional franchises: Nasir al-Wuhayshi, bin Laden’s former secretary, is both emir of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qaeda’s general manager.

In reality, al-Qaeda’s goals are furthered by the so-called core, affiliates and local groups that enjoy no formal relationships with the Zawahiri contingent. The Jamal Network in Egypt, al-Mulathamun in the Sahel and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have a direct but informal relationship with al-Qaeda. The TTP poses a particular definitional problem because it has neither sought nor received formal membership in al-Qaeda, yet it conducted the attempted Times Square bombing in May 2010.

The greatest al-Qaeda threat to the United States is AQAP, which has attempted to attack the U.S. homeland three times since 2009 and whose leader is clearly a member of al-Qaeda core, despite his location in Yemen. Still, most of AQAP’s efforts in recent years have gone into seizing control of parts of Yemen, making it “locally focused.” And what to make of al-Shabab, the formally recognized affiliate in Somalia that does not use the al-Qaeda name? It has been fixated on Somalia but has conducted attacks throughout the region and recruits directly, and in English, from the American Somali community.

Al-Qaeda today is the realization of bin Laden’s broader vision. He did not limit himself only to the founding and running of al-Qaeda but imagined a network uniting like-minded groups extending far beyond state borders. The al-Qaeda operatives around bin Laden’s successor in Pakistan are — at least for the time being — hemmed in by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and they are under siege from Afghanistan-based U.S. drone attacks. But the al-Qaeda network — a defined set of groups running from West Africa to Southeast Asia — carries on bin Laden’s legacy and remains a danger.

An excessively narrow definition of al-Qaeda is just as dangerous as one that includes every Sunni Muslim extremist group. Clearly not all parts of the broader al-Qaeda network are equally dangerous. Nor does dealing with each automatically require the use of military force. Decisions to use force against al-Qaeda must be shaped by strategy and prioritization, like any other national security decision. But excluding large portions of the al-Qaeda network from consideration and hiding behind semantics guarantees strategic failure. Defining the enemy down is not the answer.

Katherine Zimmerman is a senior analyst at the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project and authored the report “The al-Qaeda Network: A New Framework for Defining the Enemy.”

Also see:

Counter Terrorism – The Right Approach and Solutions

20130805_FLAGATGROUNDZERO_911_LARGEby ALAN KORNMAN:

On a chilly Thursday night while most of Orlando residents were at home keeping warm Wallace Bruschweiler was connecting the dots on terrorist cell operations from the 1970′s to today.

Mr. Bruschweiler was in the field disrupting the terrorist activities of the Baader-Meinhof Group, Red Brigades, Action Directe, IRA, and ETA.  These groups were responsible for over 296 bomb attacks, arson, counterfeiting, murder, kidnapping, kneecapping,  assassinations, to further their left-wing anti-colonialist / Communist politics.

The lessons learned from fighting the terrorist groups of the 1970′s is relevant today as we fight Jihadi’s moving their agenda of Islamic Expansionism into the West.

Terrorism is defined as the systematic use of violence to achieve a political objective.  Mr. Brushweiler says understanding the definition is something the majority of the American people get.  It is the business model the terrorists use that is the important element in understanding the issues behind the headlines.   The mainstream press and academia have done a great disservice to the American people by focusing on the gruesome effects of terrorist operations rather than the solutions needed to combat the philosophical, political, and ideological roots of modern terrorism.

What the American people yearn for is someone to explain the structure of how terrorist groups operate freely inside the United States using our free and open society to their greatest tactical advantage.

The first clue in unraveling this mystery of terrorism is information Mr. Bruschweiler gathered while conducting counter terrorist operations against many terrorists group only a few short decades ago.  To confuse law enforcement, the Red Brigades used the names of approximately 500 terrorist groups to appear bigger and more numerous than in reality they were.  The effect of this successful tactic resulted in law enforcement spending time and resources going after empty terrorist shells rather than cutting off the head of the terrorist snake.  Islamic terrorists today are using this same methodology to confuse the American people.

What Does It Take To Get Our Country Back 

“On 9/11 Bin Laden outsmarted us and got what he really wanted.  It wasn’t only to terrorize the West, but to get the USA out of the Middle East.  Today, Egypt is no longer a friendly country towards us for very specific reasons.  Saudi Arabia was the first to realize this when President Obama threw Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak under the bus.”

“Vladimir Putin is accepting 40,000 Christians from the Middle East.  Obama just took in 4,000 Muslims from Syria.  Two days ago an Egyptian journalist declared we must attack Hamas in Gaza until they kiss the Egyptian shoes.  We should teach them a lesson like Israel did.”  This is today’s situation in the Middle East and how the Middle East looks at us.

“In Iraq we lost 4,000 soldiers, pumped billions into the country to liberate it.  Today,  the Ayatollahs and Mullahs in Iran are running the country of Iraq.”

“The wolf is guarding the hen house in Washington DC.  Six men of strange Muslim Brotherhood backgrounds are directly responsible to the White House.”  Those men are Arif Alikhan, Mohammed Elibiary, Rashad Hussain, Salam al-Marayati, Imam Mohamed Magid, and Eboo Patel.”

“My message is very clear, we have to stop Islamic expansionism and stop importing trouble.  This can be accomplished by a complete Congressional overhaul of the Refugee Resettlement Act and slowing down Muslim immigration from terrorist supporting countries until we can properly vet the lives of these refugees.”

President Obama’s current policies regarding a Nuclear Iran are eerily reminiscent of Chamberlain negotiating ‘Peace In our Time’ with the Adolf Hitler.  I believe our current policy of appeasement is dangerous and misguided.

On the domestic political front, “We need more candidates like Colonel Allen West, Michelle Bachmann, and so on.”

“I want to give you a little sideline about the Jewish vote in the United States.  I was surprised by the fact Jews vote 75-80% Democrat.  In my modest opinion, there is a reason for that.  Remember, Israel was born in 1948 as a Socialist State.  The movement of Kibbutzim was a Socialist movement.  Today, the Kibbutzim exist only by name.  The Kibbutzim who survive today are very successful capitalist enterprises. The older Jewish populations in Miami, Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, etc have brought the Kibbutzim mentality to their communities and are reluctant to evolve.  They must finally see that the policies of the Democratic party do not have Israel’s best interests at heart.

The most prolific killers of Muslims in the Middle East are not American’s or Israelis, it is Muslim on Muslim violence.  This is an untold story:  Did you know that Jordan’s King Hussein killed in 48 hours more  Arabs than Israel in all her wars since 1948. King Hussein got fed up with what was going on in his kingdom and gave carte blanche to his army and they killed 15,000 Palestinian Arabs with allegiance to Arafat.

The rest fled, many of the high ranking Palestinian officers crossed into Israel asking for protection, the rest went to Lebanon via the Chouf area.  The Druze said they wanted $100 for each Palestinian crossing into Lebanon and earned a lot of money.  That is how Arafat escaped and established himself in Beirut.

Today in Iraq and Syria, Sunni and Shia Muslims are murdering each other on a daily basis as they wrestle for power and avenge tribal disagreements going back hundreds of years.  There are no ‘good guys’ in this never ending civil war.  The only time the Sunni and Shia combine forces is to wage war or commit terrorist activities against a common enemy.  This same formula holds true for Benghazi in Libya.

All I will say about Benghazi, is that all the lies spit out about what happened there was smoke and mirrors cleverly used to help President Obama’s 2012 reelection.  Let’s not forget  the Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy is only 90 minutes from Benghazi and I will leave it there for you to make your own conclusions.

This is the one thing I insist that people have to understand.  Do not disregard messages issued by terrorists, what they write or say in videos, they will definitely try to execute.  What the terrorist say is vitally important to our national security.  The NSA is tasked with tracking communications of terrorists and their supporters, both domestic and foreign.  If you look behind the anti-NSA headlines you will often see the people screaming the loudest are Muslim Brotherhood groups operating on US soil.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Alan Kornman is the regional coordinator of The United West-Uniting Western Civilization for Freedom and Liberty. His email is: alan@theunitedwest.org

CAIR Blasts President Obama for His State of the Union Address

state-of-the-union-APClarion Project, BY RYAN MAURO:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, is blasting President Obama for the comments he made about the Middle East in his State of the Union speech. By criticizing Obama’s pledge to support Israel as a Jewish state, CAIR indirectly expressed its support for the elimination of the democratic U.S. ally.

“American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side,” said President Obama.

Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director of CAIR, responded by calling the statement a “very negative precedent.” He compared the identification of Israel as a Jewish to apartheid South Africa.

The opposition to Israel’s status as a Jewish state is a carefully-worded way of opposing Israel’s existence. This manipulative use of semantics was one of CAIR’s foundational purposes.

In 1993, the FBI wiretapped a secret meeting of Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas operatives in Philadelphia. The get-together led to the founding of CAIR the next year by two of the present leaders. The discussion focused on creating a new organization with a clean track record that could present a message more palatable to an American audience.

Omar Ahmad, one of CAIR’s later founders and former board chairman and Nihad Awad, CAIR’s current executive director, discussed how to handle the posing of a question about whether they want to destroy Israel.

“There is a difference between you saying ’I want to restore the ’48 land’ and when you say ‘I want to destroy Israel,’” Ahmad said.

In another exchange on the topic, someone said to Ahmad, “We don’t say that publicly. You cannot say that publicly, in front of Americans.” He concurred, replying, “We didn’t say that to the Americans.”

CAIR also expressed its disappointment with President Obama on the topic of National Security Agency intelligence-gathering. CAIR accuses the NSA of “cultivating Islamophobia” and says Congress should “restore the privacy rights of all citizens.”

The organization has helped spread exaggerated impressions of NSA operations and even sued the NSA alongside a Unitarian church. In October, it helped put together an interfaith coalition to protest the NSA. The Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro debated one of the organizers of the protest on Chinese television.

Another issue CAIR criticized President Obama for was the use of drones to eliminate terrorists. President Obama said he would scale back the usage of the weapon overseas to minimize anti-American sentiment.

CAIR is asking President Obama to address “the drone program’s lack of public accountability and transparency, claims of executive overreach, possible lack of due process in lethally targeting American citizens, and the high number of civilian casualties that have resulted from these attacks.”

Drone strikes are precise and the projected civilian casualty toll is always taken into account when launching them. There is no proof to the contrary. CAIR uses the relative term of “high number” to reinforce the impression that the U.S. government is essentially massacring civilians.

CAIR is also referring to the controversial drone strike that killed American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who joined Al-Qaeda and became a senior leader involved in planning operations against the U.S.. CAIR feels that the U.S. should have captured him and put him on trial and that his death is a violation of due process.

If the U.S. could have captured al-Awlaki, it would have—but he was hiding in Yemen and on the move. The killing of al-Awlaki, an American citizen, is no different than the killing of a bank robber or school shooter that is an American citizen. CAIR doesn’t tell that side because it would rather that its audience see the U.S. government as an out-of-control tyrant with an anti-Muslim agenda.

CAIR’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union raises a separate but related point. The organization references thecongressional testimony of its government affairs manager about drones in May 2013.

CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history. The federal government labeled it a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The FBI’s official policy bans personnel from using CAIR as an outreach partner because of its links to Hamas and other Islamist radicals.

So why is CAIR being used for congressional testimony on counter-terrorism operations? How can CAIR, which was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in terror funding, be invited to educate the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights?

CAIR’s deception-laced political influence operation was never aimed at the Left, Center or Right. This is not a partisan issue. The Islamists have friends and adversaries in each party.

Those concerned about Islamism must fight efforts to frame it as a Left/Right issue. If that is how it is viewed, then CAIR and its allies will know it can always count on one side to reflexively support it like a good teammate.

Liberals, conservatives and libertarians all have plenty of reasons to oppose Islamism and its apologists in the U.S. With the proper information, this can be a uniting issue.

 

Video: Jonathan Matusitz and Robert Spencer on Hamas-linked CAIR’s intimidation and harassment

cair5Robert Spencer:

Hamas-linked CAIR has been hounding University of Central Florida Professor Jonathan Matusitz. Find out why on this episode of my ABN Jihad Watch program.

 

 

See also:

Al-Qaida faction in Syria contemplating US attack, intelligence officials warn

From left: National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen, director of national intelligence James Clapper, and CIA director John Brennan. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

From left: National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen, director of national intelligence James Clapper, and CIA director John Brennan. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Guardian, by :

Intelligence officials have claimed that a faction linked to al-Qaida in Syria has a desire to launch a domestic attack on the US, an assertion that underscored the growing importance of the Syrian civil war to global terrorism.

The Nusra Front, one of the jihadist factions in Syria that aligns itself with al-Qaida, “does have aspirations for attacks on the homeland”, James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, told the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday.

Clapper pointed to the deterioration of Syria during three years of violence – a situation he compared to the federally administered tribal areas (FATA) in Pakistan that became a haven after the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan for the core leadership of al-Qaida.

“What’s going on there, may be in some respects a new FATA force … and the attraction of these foreign fighters is very, very worrisome,” Clapper said.

Clapper did not discuss the capabilities of the Nusra Front, which pledged loyalty to al-Qaida in April, nor another al-Qaida-centric organization in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has recently emerged as a rival to Nusra. Neither faction has yet shown interest in attacks on the US, focusing their violence on the Bashar al-Assad regime, rival Syrian rebels, and neighboring Lebanon and Iraq.

But Clapper estimated there were more than 7,000 foreigners fighting in the Syrian carnage, coming from 50 countries, “many of them from Europe and the Mideast”. Clapper stopped short of warning that Americans were a significant component of Syrian jihadist groups, the subject of considerable speculation as Syria’s civil war has dragged on.

Clapper said approximately 26,000 Syrian combatants could be classified as “extremists”, out of an estimated 75,000 to 110,000 armed opponents of Assad. An anonymous Israeli intelligence officer recently estimated to the Associated Press that al-Qaida’s allies in Syria topped 30,000.

US intelligence had picked up indications of “training complexes” within Syria, Clapper said, “to train people to go back to their countries and conduct terrorist acts, so this is a huge concern”.

Yet Clapper, in his prepared testimony for the committee, listed cyber threats and counter-intelligence before focusing on terrorism. Among those threats were leaks from “trusted insiders with the intent to do harm”, an apparent reference to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, whom Clapper excoriated during the hearing.

Al-Qaida’s “locus for operational planning” has dispersed around the world, Clapper said, with “some five different franchises at least in 12 countries” of particular concern, including in Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and Syria.

That dispersal is in keeping with a years-long trend in al-Qaida toward decentralization. An academic debate exists among counter-terrorism analysts concerning the control and relevance of the “core al-Qaida”, based in Pakistan, which Clapper called the “ideological center” of the terrorist organization.

Despite the focus on Syria, Clapper said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based affiliate that twice attempted unsuccessfully to bomb US aircraft in 2009 and 2010, remains the franchise with the strongest interest in attacking the US, with many of the others principally interested in more localized assaults and contests for power.

“Of all the franchises, that’s the one that poses the most immediate threat for a potential attack on the homeland,” Clapper said. “The probability of an attack now, compared to 2001 is, at least to me, is a very hard question to answer, principally because this very dispersion and diffusion of threat.”

Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said it was difficult for the US intelligence agencies – which had a 2013 budget of $67.6bn after congressionally imposed restrictions, according to officially declassified figures – to provide tactical warning of a terrorist attack domestically.

“The nature of the threat has become significantly more geographically spread out, and that challenges the community in collecting the kinds of information that would provide that kind of tactical warning,” Olsen said.

Attacks like the September assault on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall “using small arms, a small number of individuals, puts a great deal of pressure on us to provide the kind of tactical warning that would save lives under those circumstances”, Olsen said.

 

See also:

The Long War Journal’s reply to Marie Harf

harfBy THOMAS JOSCELYN & BILL ROGGIO:

Our coverage of a recent press briefing conducted by the State Department’s deputy spokesperson, Marie Harf, has struck a nerve. Since we published our piece on Friday, Jan. 24, Ms. Harf has responded to us in emails and on Twitter. We have published a reply from Ms. Harf, in full, here.

She says that we have “misconstrued” or “entirely misread” her comments. On Twitter, she accused us of making “false claims.”

Ms. Harf is flat wrong. We quoted Ms. Harf’s full comments, at length, for all of our readers to see. And our characterization was entirely accurate.

Ms. Harf’s response is telling and actually reinforces both of our key points. Zawahiri is operationally tied to terrorists in Syria and Ms. Harf mistakenly tried to dismiss his relevance. More importantly, the Obama administration has not offered a precise definition of al Qaeda’s “core” – even though this concept is the linchpin of the administration’s assessment of the al Qaeda threat. We encourage journalists to ask more questions about what administration officials mean, precisely, when they speak of al Qaeda’s “core.”

Al Qaeda, Zawahiri, and Syria

In her response, Ms. Harf does not dispute our well-documented claim that Zawahiri is, in fact, operationally tied to terrorists inside Syria. In her initial briefing she tried to downplay this possibility. She now claims, however, that our criticism of her comments is “patently false” because she said, in effect, “I didn’t know and that I needed to check with our team.”

We put Ms. Harf’s words (“Not to my knowledge”) in bold in our original piece, making it easy to see that she was speaking from her own personal knowledge. Still, it is absolutely clear from the transcript that Ms. Harf was trying to downplay the idea that Zawahiri had any operational relevance – not only in Syria, but also elsewhere.

Consider the full context surrounding her claim, “… I don’t know of more of an operational link between Zawahiri and folks in Syria.”

With respect to Zawahiri’s message, Ms. Harf began by saying, “I haven’t seen it.” She soon added, “I haven’t, quite frankly, seen the Zawahiri message.” But she also claimed that “this is not new rhetoric we’ve heard from Zawahiri.”

This is odd and shows how quick she was to dismiss Zawahiri’s importance. If she hadn’t seen, heard, or read a transcript of Zawahiri’s message yet, how did she know it was nothing new?**

Ms. Harf then proceeded to argue that the message she hadn’t seen was unimportant. We will again quote from the transcript of Harf’s press briefing:

…I think [Zawahiri] spends, at this point, probably more time worrying about his own personal security than propaganda, but still is interested in putting out this kind of propaganda to remain relevant.So we’ve seen al-Qaida in the past try to take advantage for propaganda purposes of local – of conflicts in places like Iraq, places like Yemen, and places like Syria, to use that for propaganda purposes. But beyond that, I don’t know of more of an operational link between Zawahiri and folks in Syria.

 

So, from the State Department deputy spokesperson’s perspective, Zawahiri is more concerned about “his own personal security” than putting out propaganda (there is no room for an operational Zawahiri here). Zawahiri’s message was “nothing new,” and simply “propaganda” intended “to remain relevant.” It was also similar to other pieces of al Qaeda “propaganda” because the group tries “to take advantage … of local … conflicts in places like Iraq, places like Yemen, and places like Syria, to use that for propaganda purposes.”

Ms. Harf’s response, therefore, was an aggressive attempt to downplay the operational relevance of Zawahiri and al Qaeda’s senior leadership not only with respect to Syria, but also in other hotspots such as Iraq and Yemen. We obviously disagree.

It was after all of this that Ms. Harf said, “But beyond that, I don’t know of more of an operational link between Zawahiri and folks in Syria.”

Our interpretation of Ms. Harf’s comments was, therefore, spot on. The specific comment we criticized came after a string of similar claims, all intended to dismiss Zawahiri as more or less irrelevant.

Read more at Long War Journal