Obama Loyalists Pressured Intel Analysts to Downplay ISIS Assessments, Deleted Incriminating Emails

President Barack Obama delivers remarks after meeting with members of his national security team concerning ISIS at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on Monday, July 6, 2015. Photo by Drew Angerer/Pool/Sipa USA

President Barack Obama delivers remarks after meeting with members of his national security team concerning ISIS at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on Monday, July 6, 2015. Photo by Drew Angerer/Pool/Sipa USA

PJ Media, by Debra Heine, Nov. 25, 2015:

Whether it was because they understood that the president was determined to ignore inconvenient threat assessments, or because they were under direct orders, top Obama officials pressured analysts to downplay  “multiple assessments” from military intelligence and the CIA regarding the “rapid rise” of ISIS in Iraq and North Africa in the year before the group took over huge swaths of Iraq in 2014.

Emails obtained by the Pentagon inspector general reveal that intelligence analysts at U.S. Central Command were pressured to avoid negative assessments about the Islamic State threat and were even at one point told to “cut it out.” Moreover, sources are accusing two senior intelligence officials at CENTCOM of “deleting emails and files from computer systems before the inspector general could examine them.”

Via Fox News:

Fox News is told by a source close to the CENTCOM analysts that the pressure on them included at least two emails saying they needed to “cut it out” and “toe the line.”Separately, a former Pentagon official told Fox News there apparently was an attempt to destroy the communications. The Pentagon official said the email warnings were “not well received” by the analysts.

Those emails, among others, are now in the possession of the Pentagon inspector general. The IG’s probe is expanding into whether intelligence assessments were changed to give a more positive picture of the anti-ISIS campaign.

“This is rich,” said Andrew Peek, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, on Fox News yesterday. “How rich was it for the president to give a news conference where he essentially explained to all the reporters who were too dumb to get it — and to all of us — how much better his advisers were to anyone else’s.”

“Of course he likes them, right?” Peek laughed. “They tell him what he wants to hear! I think this is appalling.”

It appears that Obama’s yes-men have been caught trying to cover their tracks.

The Daily Beast reports that the allegations of misconduct include a possible cover-up, with some analysts accusing two senior officials at CENTCOM, Maj. Gen. Steven Grove and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman, of deleting incriminating emails.

One U.S. official said the alleged activity could amount to obstruction and interference with the inspector general’s investigation, which began last summer. He noted that files relevant to the investigation began to disappear from Centcom computers after the Pentagon watchdog’s staff began their work.Two sources said that investigators are piecing together a trail of emails and reports to find out what may have been deleted, as well as what officials outside CENTCOM knew about potential manipulation of intelligence.

The Guardian reported back in September that the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was in “frequent and unusual contact” with Army Major General Steven Grove – “which is highly, highly unusual,” according to a former intelligence official.

Grove is said to be implicated in a Pentagon inquiry into manipulated war intelligence.In communications, Clapper, who is far more senior than Grove, is said to tell Grove how the war looks from his vantage point, and question Grove about Central Command’s assessments. Such a situation could place inherent pressure on a subordinate, sources said.

As the Daily Beast reported, Grove is now suspected of deleting incriminating emails.

James Clapper, meanwhile, has been at the center of several Obama-era controversies.

In February of 2011, he testified before Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular,”  has “eschewed violence,” decries al-Qaeda as a “perversion of Islam,” and really just wants “social ends” and “a betterment of the political order in Egypt.”

This was a little over a year before the Obama administration’s preferred candidate — a  Muslim Brotherhood leader — won Egypt’s presidential election. It took only a year of his ruthless reign for Egyptians to throw Morsi and his Islamist henchmen out and have them arrested. So much for the “betterment of the political order in Egypt.”

On Sept 28, 2012, DNI James Clapper fell on his sword for Obama on Libya.

Regarding the infamous Benghazi talking points, he said, “I got it wrong – not the White House.”

Ace of Spades HQ made a very perceptive observation at the time.

Now people are saying it was indeed Clapper. Actually they’re saying it was his office — the Director of National Intelligence — and any of several people might have made the changes.But I will stick with Clapper. He’s proven himself to be a perfect Obama appointee, by which I mean incompetent and eminently malleable in his claims according to Obama’s political needs.

During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March of 2013, Clapper seemingly lied under oath.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had asked him whether the National Security Agency collects data on millions of Americans.

Clapper insisted that the NSA does not — or at least does “not wittingly” — collect any information on Americans in bulk.After documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA collects records on virtually all U.S. phone calls, Clapper apologized for the false comment.

In early 2015, while the president was brokering a nuclear deal with Iran,  the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities did not include Iran or Hezbollah after years in which they were featured in similar reports.

Clapper cited “a change in formatting” as the reason for their removal, an explanation that John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN, called a “flat lie.”

It’s worth noting here that investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson last week revealed that intel sources have been telling her that President Obama refuses to listen to intelligence assessments of certain terrorist groups which he doesn’t consider terrorists.

“Designated Fall Guy” James Clapper never did take the fall for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2012 over Benghazi, but three years later he and two officials at CENTCOM seem to be skating on very thin ice. It remains to be seen whether any of this tommyrot reaches the Oval Office.

Also see:

Did FBI Director Mislead on Americans Joining ISIS Before Mid-Term Elections?

60comey100514In October, he claimed “about a dozen” U.S. fighters were in Syria. Now we’re told 180 — with 40 already having returned.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 17, 2015:

For more than a year, U.S. officials have been warning of the potential terror blowback from Americans who have fought in Syria. Senior counter-terrorism officials have repeatedly claimed that more than 100 individuals have traveled from the U.S. to fight with terror groups in Syria and Iraq.

However, FBI Director James Comey began to walk those claims back in late September and early October — just weeks before the November mid-term elections.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, he claimed that “roughly a dozen” U.S. persons were fighting with extremist groups in Syria.

That was a marked change from his own comments in May, when his own figures were considerably higher:

Comey declined to give a precise figure for Americans believed to be involved in the Syrian struggle but said the numbers are “getting worse.”

“I said dozens last time,” said Comey, referring to an interview with reporters four months ago. “It’s still dozens, just a couple more dozen.”

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official estimated this year that 60 to 70 Americans have traveled to fight in Syria. Comey said that Americans in Syria are actively recruiting other Americans to join the fight.

Several dozen in May 2014 is still considerably more than “roughly a dozen” just a few months later.

An Associated Press article allowed Comey to explain his walk-back on his own numbers:

“When I use a number of more than 100, that means people who have gone and come back, people who have attempted to go and we locked them up, people who have gone and stayed,” Comey said during an interview with reporters at FBI headquarters. “The figure that I’ve been operating with is, ballparkish, a dozen still there fighting with terrorist groups.”

The AP reporters deemed the 100-plus Americans fighting in Syria claim that had been repeated by a number of U.S. senior officials — including Comey himself — as having reached “urban legend status”.

But once America was past the mid-term elections, the stated numbers provided by senior officials quickly soared.

In early March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed that 180 U.S. persons had traveled to Syria. More remarkably, he claimed that 40 such individuals had already returned to the United States.

According to Reuters, Clapper also said that he was not aware of any plots that anyone who had returned from Syria had been involved in. However, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud had already been arrested on state terror charges at the request of the FBI a week before Clapper made his comments.

Just yesterday, a federal grand jury indicted Mohamud on charges of traveling to fight with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. Having received training, he returned to the U.S. with the mission of conducting terrorist attacks here at home. This is the first known case of a fighter returning from Syria with terrorist intent.

According to the indictment, Mohamud became a naturalized U.S. citizen in February 2014. A week later, he applied for his U.S. passport to travel to fight in Syria.

(This case is of particular interest to me not only because Mohamud lived just a few miles from my home in Columbus, Ohio — I have been warning of terrorist recruitment in Central Ohio for more than a decade — but also because Mohamud roamed freely around our city for eight months before he was arrested, during which time he could have committed any number of terrorist acts.)

Was the Director of National Intelligence not informed of this terror plot, or was he keeping critical information away from the American public?

Additionally, why was this rapidly escalating terror threat apparently never mentioned during President Obama’s three-day White House “radicalization summit” just days before Clapper’s Council on Foreign Relations speech? There, all the talk was about “right-wing terrorism,” based on a Homeland Security report that is still kept under wraps.

Earlier this month, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson appeared on 60 Minutes. He restated the claim that 180 U.S. persons have traveled to Syria and 40 have returned:

Lesley Stahl: As I understand it, of the 180 Americans who have gone overseas to fight in Iraq and Syria, 40 have come back. I assume you’re keeping close tabs on those 40?

Jeh Johnson: We have in fact kept close tabs on those who we believe have left and those who’ve come back. A number have been arrested or investigated and we have systems in place to track these individuals. But you can’t know everything.

Amazingly, Stahl never asked Johnson about the discrepancy between those numbers and the “roughly a dozen” claim made by FBI Director Comey – on her own program – just six months before.

Was the FBI director deliberately misleading the public about the nature of the threat just four weeks before the mid-term elections?

Our national security leaders have been less than forthcoming about the nature of the threat from returnees who have fought with terrorist groups overseas, and this dishonesty is occurring while these terrorist groups are publicly threatening attacks on the American homeland.

The Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud indictment yesterday, which says he made statements indicating his intention to attack police and soldiers here at home, makes clear that this is not an imaginary threat. But as we saw in both the Fort Hood massacre and the Boston bombing, playing politics with national security will cost American lives, and our leaders are still playing games.

Obama Removes Iran from Terror List, Praises it for Fighting Terrorism

obama-iran-450x286Frontpage, March 16, 2015 by Daniel Greenfield:

The mask is coming off faster than ever.

You know the country responsible for killing hundreds of marines, which provided sanctuary to Al Qaeda and whose terrorist proxies helped give Al Qaeda the skills to carry out 9/11?

They’re no longer terrorists. Sure their terrorist groups currently control parts of Lebanon and Yemen, but they’re not terrorists. Because if Iran was a state sponsor of terror, then Obama letting them have the bomb might look bad. This way it’s fine.

An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports

In describing Iran’s regional role, the report noted the Islamic Republic’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia,” but cautioned that “Iranian leaders—particularly within the security services—are pursuing policies with negative secondary consequences for regional stability and potentially for Iran.

The only time the report mentions Hezbollah is when describing it as a victim of attacks.

Lebanon faces growing threats from terrorist groups, including the al-Nusrah Front and ISIL. Sunni extremists are trying to establish networks in Lebanon and have increased attacks against Lebanese army and Hizballah positions along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Lebanon potentially faces a protracted conflict in northern and eastern parts of the country from extremist groups seeking to seize Lebanese territory, supplies, and hostages.

That clarifies that Obama no longer considers Hezbollah an enemy (not that he ever did). Instead it’s an ally that is classed together with Lebanon, rather than a threat to it.

Here’s what Obama chose to turn his back on.

“The worst part for me is that nobody remembers,” Mark Nevells said last year on the anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

A Marine had thrown his body in front of the truck to try stop the vehicle and afterward for five days, Nevells and other Marines had dug through the rubble for the bodies of the men they had served with.

One of the first Marines on the scene heard voices coming from underneath the rubble. “Get us out. Don’t leave us.”

The Marines lost more people that day than at any time since Iwo Jima and the number of Americans murdered that day by a terrorist group was a record that would stand until September 11.

And more of it still.

The Marines who died in the bombing were lucky. Another Marine did not die as quickly.

Colonel William R. Higgins was captured by Hezbollah, the terrorist group acting as Iran’s hand in Lebanon, and tortured for months until his body was dumped near a mosque.

An autopsy report found that he had been starved and had suffered multiple lethal injuries that could have caused his death.  The skin on his face had been partially removed along with his tongue and he had also been castrated.

Fred Hof, a diplomat who had been a friend of the murdered man, said, “I am one of a small handful of Americans who knows the exact manner of Rich’s death. If I were to describe it to you now – which I will not – I can guarantee that a significant number of people in this room would become physically ill.”

Like Higgins, William Francis Buckley, the CIA station chief, was also captured and tortured for months. On video tapes released by his Hezbollah captors, he was incoherent and his mind had been broken by the horrors inflicted on his ravaged body and his soul.

“They had done more than ruin his body,” CIA Director William Casey said. “His eyes made it clear his mind had been played with. It was horrific, medieval and barbarous”

Robert Stethem, a Navy diver, was brutally murdered when Hezbollah terrorists took over TWA flight 847. The Iranian-backed terrorists, one of whom was Imad Mughniyah, beat and kicked him to death.

“They were jumping in the air and landing full force on his body. He must have had all his ribs broken,” Uli Derickson, the stewardess, described. “I was sitting only 15 feet away. I couldn’t listen to it. I put my fingers in my ears. I will never forget. I could still hear. They put the mike up to his face so his screams could be heard by the outside world.”

Obama wants you to believe that the 47 Senators who stood up to him on Iran are traitors. The truth is he’s the traitor.

Also see:

DNI: 2014 Was Deadliest Year for Terror Attacks in 45 Years



Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, Feb. 27, 2015:

Terrorist attacks and resulting deaths increased sharply last year, according to statistics made public Thursday by the director of national intelligence.

“When the final counting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled,” DNI Director James Clapper told Congress, adding that about half of all attacks took place in three states: Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Last year from January to September, around 13,000 terror attacks were carried out, killing 31,000 people. By contrast, in 2013, 22,000 people were killed in terrorist violence in over 11,500 attacks, Clapper disclosed during a wide-ranging world threat briefing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

More than 3,400 foreign jihadists have joined the al Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State (IS) that is showing signs of establishing its own nation state, Clapper said.

The DNI also testified that IS (also known as ISIL or ISIS) is expanding outside Iraq and Syria into the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, and South Asia. The group also is planning terror attacks on Western interests and against Shiite Muslims, he said.

Establishing chapters in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and South Asia are designed to project an image of a “global scale caliphate,” Clapper said, adding that the new affiliates do not appear under a central command of senior IS leaders.

“ISIL’s rise represents the greatest shift in the Sunni violent extremist landscape since al Qaida affiliates first began forming, and it is the first to assume at least some characteristics of a nation state,” he said.

Of particular concern are IS supporters who can conduct terror attacks on their own. IS is “able to appeal to people who then can act on their own at a time, and place, and circumstance of their choosing,” Clapper said. “And that is a very worrisome challenge, particularly in this country.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said IS is expanding and its successes are increasing the risk jihadists will attack the West. “We are engaged in the generational fight for civilization against brutal enemies, and defeating these enemies requires significant intelligence resources and focus, given the diffuse and constantly evolving nature of the threat,” McCain said.

U.S. intelligence estimates of the number of fighters that have joined IS range between 20,000 to 32,000, the DNI said, including an estimated 3,400 from 90 foreign nations. At least 13,400 of the fighters have known ties to other terrorist groups.

The statistics were made public as British authorities revealed the identity of the video-taped IS executioner shown in the beheading murders of several foreign hostages as Kuwait-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.

Several of the estimated 180 American jihadists who traveled to Syria have returned and are under surveillance, he said, adding that that so far none of the American jihadists have not indicated planning for terrorist attacks.

FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that Islamic radicals linked to IS are being investigated in all 50 states.

“ISIL in particular is putting out a siren song with their slick propaganda through social media,” Comey said.

“Troubled soul, come to the caliphate, you will live a life of glory, these are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning here, fighting for our so-called caliphate. And if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are,” the FBI director said of the group’s recruiting pitch.

Recent shooting attacks by Muslim jihadists in France and Denmark highlight the threat posed by the resurgent al Qaeda offshoot.

Clapper said IS has launched a sophisticated propaganda and media operation that highlights the group’s success and that has been instrumental in attracting new recruits.

“So their success on the battlefield, or perceived success, or the way they’re presented, certainly helps them in gaining recruits for the fight,” he said.

On funding, Clapper said IS was able to gain a large amount of money by overrunning Iraqi banks last year. Those funds, he said are “going to dry up.”

Air strikes against IS oil facilities also have forced the group to gain funds from smaller oil instillations, he said.

“And as a consequence of the brutality, the donations that they’ve received are tapering off,” Clapper said.

Asked about the rapid increase in IS fighters from around an initial estimate of 5,000 to now as many as 32,000, Clapper said the “mushrooming” was due to an early favorable reception by Sunnis opposed to the Shiite-leaning government in Baghdad.

As funds become short for the group, IS is turning to conscription to fill its ranks, especially after taking heavy losses—3,000 IS fighters killed—in the northern Syrian town of Kobani, he said.

The Obama administration’s strategy of air strikes combined with ground support for foreign militaries has degraded IS efforts to conduct large-scale offensive ground operations. But the terror group remains “a formidable and brutal threat,” Clapper said.

In Libya, terror groups linked to both al Qaeda and IS are using the country to conduct training and plotting for attacks, he said.

Clapper also said the conflict in Syria is increasing the danger of instability in the region, including in Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. And in Iraq, Sunni-Shiite conflict in growing and, if not curtailed, “will undermine progress against ISIL,” he said.

Clapper, appearing with Defense Intelligence Agency Director Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, came under critical questioning from McCain over the Obama administration’s refusal to supply arms to Ukraine in its battle against Russian separatists and Russian forces.

Clapper said providing arms to the Ukrainians would “provoke” Russian President Vladimir Putin to further aggression, and he also warned that a separatist attack aimed at taking over the key port of Mariupol, Ukraine, is “imminent.”

“This idea that somehow we will provoke Vladimir Putin—he’s done everything he wanted to do, general,” McCain said to Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general.

“Well, I don’t think he will view it happily if the United States provides lethal support,” Clapper said during the exchange.

Clapper said a lasting solution that allows Ukraine to pursue western integration “will be difficult to say the least.”

On other issues, Clapper outlined a series of international security threats, including:

  • Cyber attacks from both states and groups that are increasing in frequency, scale, sophistication, and severity of damage.
  • Russia is among the most sophisticated cyber warfare states and is preparing to attack critical infrastructure such as power grids, air traffic control, and oil and gas distribution. The cyber threat posed by Moscow is “more severe than we have previously assessed.”
  • Chinese advanced cyber espionage is “a major threat” and is continuing despite U.S. pressure on Beijing
  • Sunni terrorists pose the most likely threat of conducting deadly attacks in the United States.
  • North Korea is bolstering its nuclear weapons and missile forces that pose a “serious threat” to the United States.
  • Russia’s new Iskander cruise missile violates the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
  • China and Russia are increasingly threating U.S. strategic space systems with anti-satellite weapons.

On cyber threats to the financial industry, Clapper said the most pervasive threat comes from cyber criminals. “Criminals were responsible for cyber intrusions in 2014 in the JPMorgan, Home Depot, Target, Neiman Marcus, Anthem, and other U.S. companies,” he said.



Also see:

FBI Director: ‘I Have Home-Grown Violent Extremist Investigations in Every Single State’

Published on Feb 25, 2015 by PoliPix

FBI Director James Comey explains why fighting terrorism is still one of the FBI’s top priorities during a speech at the National Association of Attorneys General meeting, February 25, 2015.


By Susan Jones, Feb. 26, 2015:

(CNSNews.com) – “Counterterrorism remains the bureau’s top priority, FBI Director James Comey told a gathering in Washington on Wednesday — the same day federal authorities in New York charged three immigrants, all Muslim, with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State.

“I have home-grown violent extremist investigations in every single state,” Comey told a meeting of state attorneys general. “Until a few weeks ago, there was (sic) 49 states. Alaska had none, which I couldn’t quite figure out, but Alaska has now joined the group. So we have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states.”

Comey said the terror threat has “metastasized” in recent years, as the “progeny of Al Qaida take root” in safe havens such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya, using the Internet and social media to spread their propaganda and recruitment “at the speed of light.”

“So why do I tell you this?” Comey asked. “To explain to you why this remains at the top of the FBI’s list, and to explain to you why the conversations I have with our state and local partners in all 50 states matters so much today.

“Because ISIL in particular is putting out a siren song through their slick propaganda, through social media, that goes like this: ‘Troubled soul, come to the Caliphate; you will live a life of glory; these are the apocalyptic end times; you will find a life of meaning here fighting for our so-called Caliphate. And if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are.'”

Comey said terror attacks no longer have to be large-scale to advance the terrorists’ mission. While Osama bin Laden’s followers flew planes into buildings, today’s terror groups advocate the killing of small groups and individuals: And if (they) can capture it on video and if it’s somebody in uniform, all the better, because it will advance (their) mission.”

Comey also said it’s “highly unlikely” that a federal agent will be the first to hear about suspicious behavior: “It’s going to be a deputy sheriff,” he said. “It’s going to be a police officer who knows that neighborhood.”

Comey emphasized the importance of joint terrorism task forces that have been set up all around the country to counter the emerging “lone wolf” or returning-foreign-fighter threat.

“So all of us leaning forward to push information to each other and to make sure that if we see something, it quickly gets to the right place, is critical to responding to this threat.”

On Wednesday, a joint terrorism task force in New York announced the arrests of three men from Brooklyn, two of whom were planning to join Islamic State fighters in Syria.

One of the suspects, 19-year-old Akhror Saidakhmetov of Kazakhstan, was arrested at Kennedy Airport, where he was trying to board a flight to Istanbul, with plans to head to Syria, authorities said.

Another man, 24-year-old Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev of Uzbekistan, had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors said. Both men were in the country legally.

A third defendant, 30-year-old Abror Habibov of Uzbekistan, is accused of helping to fund Saidakhmetov’s travel plans. Habibov was in the U.S. on an expired visa.

Earlier this week, two immigrants with ties to Southern California were sentenced to 25 years in prison for plotting to murder U.S. troops in Afghanistan and for providing material support to al Qaeda.

As CNSNews.com reported, one of the men was a naturalized U.S. citizen who came here from Afghanistan (and later returned). The other was a legal permanent resident from the Philippines.


Published on Feb 27, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Also see:

Intel chief says 2014 deadliest year for terror ever recorded, in counter to upbeat Kerry

Published on Feb 26, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Figures. James Clapper Contradicts John Kerry Less Than 24 Hrs After His Testimony Before Congress (gatewaypudit.com)




Fox News, Feb. 26, 2015:

The top U.S. intelligence official on Thursday gave a drastically different assessment than Secretary of State John Kerry of the terror threat — declaring 2014 the deadliest year for global terrorism ever recorded, after Kerry claimed that threat was diminishing.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, testifying on Capitol Hill, catalogued the growing terror-fueled violence in stark terms.

“When the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He offered statistics that would appear to challenge other administration officials’ claims that the country and world are safer today.

A day earlier, Kerry testified at a separate hearing that, “Despite ISIL, despite the visible killings that you see and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally; less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century.”

That prompted a quick response from lawmakers and from inside the intelligence community.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn , former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Fox News that Kerry is “out of touch with reality, he clearly is not listening to the entire U.S. intelligence community.”

Clapper on Thursday said that in 2013, about 11,500 worldwide attacks killed about 22,000 people. But in the first nine months alone of 2014, he said, preliminary data from a University of Maryland research unit show nearly 13,000 attacks killed 31,000 people.

Half of those attacks and fatalities were in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said. He said the Islamic State conducted more attacks than any other terror group in those first nine months.

The Clapper testimony came as Congress focused attention Thursday on what’s being done to defeat the Islamic State — at all levels of government — as more cases surface of westerners trying to link up with the terror network, including a disturbing case out of New York City.

Clapper said Thursday that about 180 Americans have been involved in various stages of traveling or trying to travel to fight in the region. He said more than 3,400 total western fighters have gone to Syria and Iraq.

He spoke after the Justice Department announced Wednesday that three New York City residents plotted to travel to Syria to join ISIS militants and “wage jihad.”

One of the defendants also offered to kill the president of the United States if ordered to do so, the criminal complaint alleged.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, has forged ahead with a campaign of airstrikes against ISIS, with the help of Middle East allies. At the same time, though, President Obama has downplayed the threat. In a recent interview with Vox.com, he accused the media of overplaying the issue.

“If it bleeds, it leads, right?” he said.

FBI Director James Comey has said his bureau is investigating possible ISIS supporters in all 50 states.

Aside from Clapper’s testimony, a House judiciary subcommittee was holding a separate hearing on Thursday on the threat of ISIS in America. FBI and other local law enforcement officials were set to testify.

Fox News’ Bret Baier contributed to this report. 

White House Statement Ignores Brotherhood’s Continuing Hamas Support

797IPT News
December 5, 2014

The White House this week issued a statement explaining why it does not view the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. It was in response to an online petition which attracted more than 213,000 signatures in support of designating the Egyptian-based group.

The statement emphasizes a lack of “credible evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has renounced its decades-long commitment to non-violence.”

The Brotherhood has another decades-long commitment, however, one that clearly endorses and supports terrorist attacks against Israel. That support began with Article Two of the Hamas charter, which clearly identifies it as “one of the wings of Muslim Brothers in Palestine.” It continues today with statements inciting and supporting Hamas attacks.

As the war between Israel and Gaza raged in August, a statement on the Brotherhood’s website translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism praised “the valiant resistance factions [who] gave them [Palestinians] a lesson in heroism, faith, and courage. They decimated their soldiers and their officers…” Violent confrontation, the statement continued, “is the natural position which must be adopted with the heroes of Palestine, who have proven that the defeat of the Zionists as possible, which is closer when the will of the Umma [people] is united, with God’s will.”

President Obama publicly stood by Israel’s “right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas,” including its indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli civilian communities. The Brotherhood, by contrast, called for more attacks and “the defeat of the Zionists.”

That was not enough for the administration to question its “decades-long commitment to non-violence.” Other Brotherhood statements show that this is consistent rhetoric, even in more peaceful times.

A June message called “resistance to the occupier Zionist enemy” – a sterilized reference to terrorism – “a legitimate right and a sacred duty approved by all laws and customs and constitutions, and it is the only viable way to restore rights and reply to aggression.”

An April 2010 statement, marking the 62nd anniversary of Israel’s creation – what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe – said the only acceptable path is to continue trying to destroy an existing country.

“T]he Zionist destruction will only be by an Islamic, Arab plan which rejects peace begging initiative proposed since 2002; rejects normalization measures with the Zionist entity; reviews peace agreements and diplomatic relations with it; rejects foolish negotiations between Zionists and Palestinians which are like negotiations between the lamb and the wolf pack,” the Brotherhood statement said.

The United States has considered Hamas a terrorist group since 1995, when President Bill Clinton signed an executive order decrying “grave acts of violence committed by foreign terrorists that disrupt the Middle East peace process” and threaten American national security.

The United States has a record of aggressively pursuing Hamas-support operations within the country. It shut down the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF)’s assets in December 2001, labeling it a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. This action was based on the foundation’s routing of millions of dollars to Hamas-controlled charities in the West Bank and Gaza. Later, the governmentprosecuted and a jury convicted the foundation and five former officials.

Internal records seized by the FBI and entered into evidence in that prosecution showed that HLF operated under the umbrella of a group called the Palestine Committee, which was created by the Muslim Brotherhood and tasked with supporting Hamas politically and financially.

Some might argue that was a long time ago. But a look at Brotherhood actions and rhetoric indicates it continues to be fully supportive of Hamas and its violent attacks against Israelis.

Reports earlier this week indicate that members of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood branch were arrested for trying to smuggle weapons into the West Bank to facilitate terror attacks.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered the Brotherhood’s most influential cleric, urged Muslimsto wage “the greatest battle of liberation” against Israel and the Jews in an online posting last month. Qaradawi, who also has a highly-rated program on Al-Jazeera, has an ever-expanding record of endorsing terrorist attacks and has prayed for the chance to “go to the land of Jihad and resistance” and “shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews,” before he dies.

Interpol issued a bulletin Friday indicating that Qaradawi, 88, was wanted by Egyptian authorities for “incitement and assistance to commit intentional murder.”

After Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood official, was forced from office in July 2013 in the wake of massive street protests against his rule, the Brotherhood’s political party posted a memo on Facebook inciting followers to take out their frustrations by burning Coptic churches.

“The Pope of the Church (Coptic Pope Tawadros II) took part in the ouster of the first elected Islamist president. The Pope of the Church charges Islamic Sharia with underdevelopment [and] stagnation,” the memo from the Freedom and Justice Party’s branch in Egypt’s Helwan Governorate, near Cairo, said.

“And for the Church to adopt a war against Islam and Muslims is the worst crime. For every action is a reaction.”

Before Morsi’s ouster, the White House welcomed a delegation of Muslim Brotherhood officials, even helping clear their path to avoid standard airport inspections as they landed in the United States.

State Department officials had numerous contacts with Brotherhood officials in the years leading up to Egypt’s Arab Spring revolution.

U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson reported in an April 2010 cable that Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie had “reaffirmed the MB was a non-violent” movement.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper similarly described the Muslim Brotherhood in February 2011 as “largely secular” and said that it “eschewed violence.” Four months later, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. planned to expand dialogue with the Brotherhood as part of a commitment “to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence.”

Read more

AP: CIA given stand-down order in Europe

renderHot Air, by Ed Morrissey, Sep.19,2014:

At first blush, this report looks like common sense. After all, the Edward Snowden cache’s exposure of espionage and surveillance on our allies in Europe created no small amount of humiliation for all sides, and at least publicly, impacted our diplomatic and security relationships. A pause to determine the legitimate intelligence needs of the US, as opposed to a desire to just grab everything possible, makes sense under the circumstances — assuming it doesn’t blind us altogether to the issues in Europe.

That, however, might have been the result, at least according to Associated Press sources:

Under the stand-down order, case officers in Europe largely have been forbidden from undertaking “unilateral operations” such as meeting with sources they have recruited within allied governments. Such clandestine meetings are the bedrock of spying.

CIA officers are still allowed to meet with their counterparts in the host country’s intelligence service, conduct joint operations with host country services and conduct operations with the approval of the host government. Recently, unilateral operations targeting third country nationals — Russians in France, for example — were restarted. But most meetings with sources who are host nationals remain on hold, as do new recruitments.

The CIA declined to comment.

James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, said during a public event Thursday that the U.S. is assuming more risk because it has stopped spying on “specific targets,” though he didn’t spell out details.

Spying stand-downs are common after an operation is compromised, but “never this long or this deep,” said a former CIA official, who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity because it’s illegal to discuss classified material or activities. The pause, which has been in effect for about two months, was ordered by senior CIA officials through secret cables.

Needless to say, this is an odd time to go dark, and not just because of Russia and their own operations in Europe. The US needs to keep a close eye on the impact of ISIS in Europe, both in terms of recruitment to the battlegrounds of Syria and Iraq but also penetration into the governments of our allies. Assuming that ISIS isn’t attempting that kind of penetration may work out well in the short run while they’re desperate for fighters (and young women), but it won’t be long before the terrorists realize the value in having sympathizers burrow into the bureaucracies of the West, especially in national-security organizations.

The timing of this revelation is rather curious, too. James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, revealed earlier this week that the CIA missed significant signals in the rise of ISIS and in the collapse of Iraq’s military. In both cases, Clapper admitted, the CIA didn’t calculate the will to fight on either side properly:

The United States has made the same mistake in evaluating fighters from the Islamic State that it did in Vietnam — underestimating the enemy’s will, according to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Clapper’s comments came in a telephone interview Wednesday, in which he summarized the elements of a new National Intelligence Strategyreleased this week. Clapper also answered some broader questions about intelligence issues confronting the country. …

“What we didn’t do was predict the will to fight. That’s always a problem. We didn’t do it in Vietnam. We underestimated the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese and overestimated the will of the South Vietnamese. In this case, we underestimated ISIL [the Islamic State] and overestimated the fighting capability of the Iraqi army. . . . I didn’t see the collapse of the Iraqi security force in the north coming. I didn’t see that. It boils down to predicting the will to fight, which is an imponderable.”

It’s not that imponderable. Plenty of people warned over the last several years that an American withdrawal from Iraq would have a negative impact on Iraqi military morale. The abandonment of Sunni tribal leaders to the Shi’ite-dominant government of Nouri al-Maliki was also eminently “ponderable,” even while Barack Obama insisted that the Iraq we left behind was stable and secure. Maliki’s purge of Sunni military and political leaders wasn’t much of a secret, or at least shouldn’t have been to the CIA. The question is less of “imponderables” than of a determination to see the situation in Iraq only through the context of an Obama policy success, at least at the policy-developing levels of the intel community and the White House.

Given that DNI Clapper is now offering mea culpas about being blindsided on the capabilities of both friend and foe, this seems like a very odd — and bad — time to have the CIA closing its eyes even more.

U.S. Tracks Threats Against West by Al Qaeda Affiliate in Syria

In addition to Islamic State, groups in Syria that pose a threat to the U.S. include Nusra Front, shown above in Damascus in July. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

In addition to Islamic State, groups in Syria that pose a threat to the U.S. include Nusra Front, shown above in Damascus in July. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images


WASHINGTON—The U.S. is tracking multiple terror plots based out of Syria that target the West—threats that current and former intelligence officials say have been traced to al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and not to Islamic State, the extremist group that has seized the world’s attention.

Disclosures about the plots, which include bombings, are raising new questions about whether U.S. military strategy focusing on Islamic State militants could end up missing part of the threat Western countries face from Syria.

The U.S.-driven focus on Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, already has prompted questions from some senior military and intelligence officials as well as independent experts and analysts.

“Does ISIS represent a threat to the U.S.? Yes, of course, but it isn’t the only issue,” said John Cohen, who recently left his post as the top counterterrorism official at the Homeland Security Department to teach at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “The threats emanating from Syria go beyond the threat posed by ISIS.”

At the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the threat posed by Islamic State militants is different from that posed by other extremist groups in Syria and “if left unchecked” could present a risk to the U.S. domestically.

“ISIL is not the only group we focus on in the region. The actions we take—not all of which are public—are tailored appropriately to the threats we face,” she said.

Islamic State extremists, who have seized control of territory and towns across Iraq and Syria, represent a serious danger to U.S. and Western interests, mainly in the region, said the officials. But so do groups more tightly affiliated with the Pakistan-based leadership of al Qaeda.

Two such groups are the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and a cell of al Qaeda leaders now in Syria that works closely with Nusra Front known as Khorasan.

U.S. officials say Khorasan is a growing hazard, particularly to the U.S., because its members are focused on violence toward the West and have been eyeing attacks on American airliners.

On Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as Islamic State “in terms of threat to the homeland.” It was the first time a U.S. official has acknowledged the group’s existence.

The groups have shown an affinity for bomb plots. Officials say they have grown alarmed that terrorists could attempt some attacks soon, such as a number targeting European countries from operatives based in Syria and Turkey.

The plots emanating from Syria likely have been under development for months, but the groups are vying for prominence with Islamic State, which has catapulted to the top of the U.S. target list in the region, the current and former officials said.

In Australia on Thursday, police carried out early morning raids in Sydney and another major city aimed at disrupting what they said were plans by local Islamic State supporters to behead members of the public. That plot represents a new nightmare scenario for U.S. officials, in which the brutal tactics of Islamic State militants are adopted more broadly by sympathetic extremists.

Officials wouldn’t describe in any detail the nature, location or timing of the plots. Together, Nusra Front and Khorasan are suspected to have multiple plots in the works targeting countries in Europe as well as the U.S.

Read more at WSJ

National Intel Misled Congress About Brotherhood Contacts


The members of Congress – and the American people – have a right to know the truth: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence does have a relationship with domestic organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood – and, it is a truth that needs a formal evaluation and investigation.

By Ryan Mauro:

Newly declassified documents obtained by the Clarion Project show that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) misled members of Congress in 2012 about its involvement with Muslim Brotherhood-linked entities.

Further, the documents show that there were even a number of internal communications within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence expressing concerns about the Brotherhood links of these entities.

The story of the deception began when the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified to Congress on February 10, 2011 saying that the Muslim Brotherhood is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has described Al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”

In the same hearing, Clapper was asked by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) about the administration’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. He answered, “There have been outreaches to the Muslim community in general, but I guess we’re not aware of any direct outreach to these particular organizations. That is, if you’re speaking domestically.”

FBI Director Mueller then chimed in, saying there is “no relationship with the Brotherhood. Period.” The CIA Director Leon Panetta then agreed, dismissively laughing in the process.

Clapper’s office later issued a clarification, backtracking on his inaccurate statement that the Brotherhood is “secular.”

Just four months later, on June 12, 2012, a 90-minute “Roundtable Discussion” took place at National Intelligence’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia. At the meeting, Clapper met in person with a representative of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Also present were National Counter-Terrorism Center Director Matthew Olson and Alexander Joel, ODNI Civil Liberties Protection Officer.

The email invitation ISNA received to participate in a "Round-Table" discussion

The email invitation ISNA received to participate in a “Round-Table” discussion

In 2007, the Justice Department listed ISNA as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated them as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial of the history of the U.S. In that trial, the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front, was found guilty of funding Hamas.

Yet in 2012, the president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Magid, was invited to meet with the Director of National Intelligence. Unable to attend, he sent a substitute in his place.

The email that went out inviting ISNA’s president (among others) stated that he was chosen because, “We believe you have important insights to share with the Intelligence Community (IC) about how the IC pursues its mandate of providing the most insightful intelligence possible, while simultaneously safeguarding civil liberties and privacy.”

Magid’s replacement was ISNA’s Director of Community Outreach, Mohamed Elsanousi.

Read more at Clarion Project

Iran can now build and deliver nukes, US intel reports

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)


Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.

In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.

“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

In the past year alone, the report states, Iran has enhanced its centrifuge designs, increased the number of centrifuges, and amassed a larger quantity of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. These advancements have placed Iran in a better position to produce weapons-grade uranium.

“Despite this progress, we assess that Iran would not be able to divert safeguarded material and produce enough WGU [weapons grade uranium] for a weapon before such activity would be discovered,” he wrote.

Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper (photo credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper (photo credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

He said the increased supervision and other “transparency” to which Iran has agreed under the new interim deal, reached with the world powers in Geneva in November and finalized last week, could offer earlier warning of a breakout to the bomb. Should Iran cooperate with the interim deal, halt enrichment, and “provide transparency,” then “This transparency would provide earlier warning of a breakout using these facilities.”

Clapper told the Senate committee that the interim deal will have an impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program’s progress and “gets at the key thing we’re interested in and most concerned about,” namely, Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium.

Iran had also worked hard to advance its program at the Arak heavy water facility, wrote Clapper. Its ballistic missiles, he noted, of which it has “the largest inventory in the Middle East,” are “inherently capable of delivering WMD.” And its space program gives it the means to develop longer-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. But he noted that Iran’s overarching “strategic goals” were leading it to pursue the capability to do so.

The national intelligence director reiterated that imposing additional sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive” and would “jeopardize the [interim] agreement.” He advised that additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic should only be kept “in reserve.”

The report was released a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the interim nuclear agreement only set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by six weeks.

“This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks — no more — according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such [a deal] can indeed be achieved,” Netanyahu said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Last Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of mischaracterizing the terms of an interim nuclear deal. “We did not agree to dismantle anything,” Zarif told CNN.

Zarif repeated that “we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching [uranium] over 5%.”

Read more at The Times of Israel

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:

Truth leaking out? Nerve gas points to rebels

130907syriarebels-340x170By F. Michael Maloof:

Former U.S. intelligence analysts claim current intelligence analysts have told them Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, which killed 1,429 people, of whom more than 400 where children.

They claim the “growing body of evidence” reveals the incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters.

“The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war,” one former U.S. intelligence analysts said.

The analysts referred to a meeting a week before the Aug. 21 incident in which opposition military commanders ordered preparations for an “imminent escalation” due to a “war-changing development” that would be followed by the “U.S.-led bombing of Syria.”

In addition, the former U.S. analysts said that Israel welcomed limited U.S. military action but not so much that it would strengthen rebel groups, which are “increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.”

In an open memorandum to U.S. President Barack Obama, who is contemplating a strike on Syria’s military in response to this incident, members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, said that even British officials are aware that it wasn’t al-Assad who committed the atrocity.

The British Parliament recently voted not to engage British military forces, even though British Prime Minister David Cameron sought such an endorsement in support of the Obama administration.

Following the vote, Cameron said there would be no British participation in any military action against the Syrian government.

The veteran former U.S. intelligence analysts who remain in contact with current U.S. intelligence officials said they believe Obama wasn’t informed in order to preserve “plausible denial.”

Formed in January 2003, VIPS is a group of current and former U.S. intelligence community officials. Members include analysts from CIA, the State Department’s Intelligence Bureau, or INR, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Those signing the memorandum were Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the National Security Agency; Philip Giraldi, retired Central Intelligence Agency officer; Matthew Hoh, former Marine Corps captain with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan; Larry Johnson, retired CIA and State Department official; W. Patrick Lang, former senior executive and Defense Intelligence Officer; David MacMichael, who was on the National Intelligence Council; and Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army infantry intelligence office and CIA analyst.

Other signers of the memo were Elizabeth Murray, former deputy national intelligence officer; Todd Pierce, former U.S. Army judge advocate; Sam Provance, former sergeant, U.S. Army in Iraq; Coleen Rowley, former Division Council and FBI special agent; and Ann Write, retired U.S. Army colonel and foreign service officer.

The memorandum, with a subject line titled “Is Syria a Trap?” pointed out that the weight of the Obama’s evidence is reminiscent of intelligence used by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in a Feb. 5, 2003, speech before the United Nations, in which he “peddled fraudulent intelligence” – according to the memo – to support the March 18, 2003, U.S. military attack on Iraq for its weapons of mass destruction.

“Then, also, we chose to give President (George W.) Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised,” the analysts said.

“Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on Aug. 21 in a suburb of Damascus,” the analysts said, suggesting that they maintain contact with current U.S. intelligence community analysts. “They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal.”

In an apparent direct attack on CIA Director John Brennan, the former high-ranking analysts said that he was “perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you,” referring to Obama.

“We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years, and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe,” the memo said.

“Sadder still,” it said, “this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave ‘clearly erroneous’ sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.”

In claiming that the Aug. 21 chemical weapons incident was a provocation of the Syrian opposition, the former U.S. analysts said that the growing body of evidence came mostly from sources affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters.

They said that these reports revealed that canisters containing chemical agents were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened.

“We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area,” the analysts said. “In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.

Read more at WND

Related articles:


Cables Show State Department Disregarded Muslim Brotherhood Threat

by John Rossomando

Benghazi Burns and Petraeus Goes to Princeton?

David Petraeus accepting the James Madison Medal at Princeton, 2010

by: Diana West

Two weeks ago, I wondered whether CIA Director Petraeus was politicizing the intelligence after a source told Fox News  on September 27 that three days after the Benghazi assault, Petraeus briefed the House Intelligence Committee that “Benghazi was an out-of-control demonstration prompted by the YouTube video. According to the source, this was `shocking’ to some members who were present and saw the same intelligence pointing toward a terrorist attack.”

Knowing Petraeus’ sensitivities to the faux-stimulus of what he has called in Senate testimony “Arab anger,”  such politicization, or, perhaps better, such Arabizing of the intelligence would likely come naturally to him. No stranger to politicking, Petraeus as CENTCOM commander engaged in what was described as an “unprecedented” political push in early 2010 on behalf of Islam’s Israel-centered demonology in order to enhance Americas’s military standing in Iraq and Afghanistan. This dovetailed neatly with his perhaps surprising take on Gitmo — close it, its “existence has been used by the enemy against us” —  and his really shocking take on Hezbollah: “Hezbollah’s justifications for existence will become void,” Petraeus told the Al Hayat as reported in the Lebanese Daily Star, “if the Palestinian cause is resolved.” Given this Arabist sensibility (and don’t forget one of his thesis directors at Princeton was Stephen Walt of Walt & Mearsheimer), it’s no stretch to imagine the man taking up cry of Islamic video-rage as well.

Now, with so many of the adminstration’s bald lies about Benghazi being exposed, PJ Tatler’s Bryan Preston is asking not whether Petraeus was politicizing the intell, but whether he is “among the sources of the Benghazi deception.”

In a post called “You Know Who Still Hasn’t Called Benghazi a Terrorist Attack?” Preston reprises some of Petraeus’ appeasement of Koran Rage back in Afghanistan. Preston also notes that several senators sent a letter on October 9 to Petraeus, DNI Clapper and White House CT advisor John Brennan asking for a specific timeline on the Benghazi intelligence They haven’t received an answer.

Read more