Obama targets US citizen for ‘kill or capture’

From TimesOnline.co.uk:

The Obama Administration has authorised the targeted killing of an American citizen in what is believed to be an unprecedented move in the War against Terror.

According to US media reports, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who has been linked to last November’s attack on Fort Hood, Texas, and the failed Christmas day airline bomb plot, has been approved for capture or killing.

Mr Awlaki, who is in hiding in Yemen, is understood to have moved from encouraging attacks on the United States to participating in them directly, The New York Times reports.

He has been directly linked to Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the US army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, and to Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab, the Nigerian who tried to blow up a Detroit bound plane with a bomb in his underwear on Christmas Day.

American counter-terrorism officials told the newspaper that Mr Awlaki was an operative of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the affiliate of the terror network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. He is also believed to actively recruit new members for the terror network.

Experts said that targeting him was was extremely rare, if not unprecedented. A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush told The New York Times he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president.

But the director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, told a House of Representatives hearing in February that such a step was possible, without naming Mr Awlaki as a possible target. “We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community,” he said. “If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

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Dismantling of Saudi-CIA Web site illustrates need for clearer cyberwar policies

From The Washington Post:

By early 2008, top U.S. military officials had become convinced that extremists planning attacks on American forces in Iraq were making use of a Web site set up by the Saudi government and the CIA to uncover terrorist plots in the kingdom.

“We knew we were going to be forced to shut this thing down,” recalled one former civilian official, describing tense internal discussions in which military commanders argued that the site was putting Americans at risk. “CIA resented that,” the former official said.

Elite U.S. military computer specialists, over the objections of the CIA, mounted a cyberattack that dismantled the online forum. Although some Saudi officials had been informed in advance about the Pentagon’s plan, several key princes were “absolutely furious” at the loss of an intelligence-gathering tool, according to another former U.S. official.

Four former senior U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified operations, said the creation and shutting down of the site illustrate the need for clearer policies governing cyberwar. The use of computers to gather intelligence or to disrupt the enemy presents complex questions: When is a cyberattack outside the theater of war allowed? Is taking out an extremist Web site a covert operation or a traditional military activity? Should Congress be informed?

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Intelligence officials ‘certain’ U.S. will be attacked in the next six month

They’ve been ‘predicting’ this sort of thing regularly since 9/11. Eventually it will happen, even if they have to ‘help’ it along.

From NewJerseyNewsRoom.com:

America’s top intelligence officials have delivered a sobering assessment to Congress, saying that the al-Qaida terrorist network remains a persistent threat to the United States because its followers have been able to adapt their methods to make detection difficult.

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair testified Wednesday to the House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that the threat from al-Qaida remains strong.

“We have been warning in the past several years that al-Qaida itself, and its affiliates and al-Qaida-inspired terrorists remain committed to striking the United States. And in the past year, we have some names that go behind these warnings,” he said.

Blair named as examples from the past year Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-born man charged with plotting to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

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School Calls in Bomb Squad To Inspect Kid’s Science Project

Absolute insanity… and a total lack of any type of common sense or critical thinking on the parts of all the adults involved. I think it’s especially nice that they decided not to prosecute the kid. Also, just what type of school policies did he violate? Bringing some type of functional science project to a science fair? Having electronic components?

From NoOneHasToDieTomorrow.com:

Slashdot points us to the story of an 11-year-old student who tried to build his own motion-detector system as a science project, and when he brought it to school to show people, school officials thought it was a bomb and freaked out.

They called the police, evacuated the school and all of the expected chaos followed. Law enforcement even brought in a robot to examine the device, and the student’s house was searched for explosives (none found, of course). After all of this (and it was said that the student and his parents were “very cooperative” throughout the ordeal) you might think the family deserves an apology. Instead:

The student will not be prosecuted, but authorities were recommending that he and his parents get counseling, the spokesman said. The student violated school policies, but there was no criminal intent….

I’m trying to figure out what “policies” could have been violated, and why it would require that he and his parents get counseling. It wasn’t the kid who did anything wrong. It was the school officials who freaked out. Perhaps they should be the ones to seek counseling?

Body scanners run afoul of UK child pornography laws

If this is what it takes to keep these things out of airports, I’m all for it.

From Raw Story:

It has been said that terrorism is a zero-sum game. But try telling that to the manufacturers of three dimensional body scanners, the use of which at airports worldwide is set to soar after the failed bombing of a Christmas day flight into Detroit.

In the United Kingdom, however, a proposed “gradual” introduction of devices which take nude photos of their subjects has run afoul of child pornography law, according to British newspaper The Guardian.

“Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws,” a Monday report reads.

“A 12-month trial at Manchester airport of scanners which reveal naked images of passengers including their genitalia and breast enlargements, only went ahead last month after under-18s were exempted,” it continued.

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Detroit flight plot may prove boon for security firms

Gee, at least this piece of theater will prove beneficial for someone.

From Raw Story:

NEW YORK — The failed attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit flight last week could prove a bonanza for airport security firms, especially the makers of full-body scanners.

“It might put some pressure to buy more full-body scanners… The US Congress will probably do something to increase the funding,” Michael Boyd, an aviation consultant, told AFP.

The high-tech body scanners can detect hidden objects, such as explosives, even when they are concealed by clothing, unlike the metal detectors passengers walk through in airports worldwide to access flight gates.

The Netherlands, Britain and Nigeria have announced plans to rapidly deploy the use of full-body scanners at their airports.

In the United States, the scanners are already in use at 19 airports, a practice that could become widespread.

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Fort Hood Shooting ‘Oddities’

From Citizens For Legitimate Government:

‘Three people are involved. That, by definition, means it is a conspiracy.’

  • CNN: Over one hundred shots were fired in the attack. (Logic dictates that ‘over one hundred shots’ were not fired by a single individual, surrounded by military personnel and special police forces.
  • CNN: FBI was investigating Major Nidal Hasan six months ago
  • Curiouser and Curiouser: –Video surfaces of alleged shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, attending Homeland Security Task Force conference –Major Hasan’s name appears on page 29 of The George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute’s ‘Thinking Anew—Security Priorities for the Next Administration‘ –Proceedings Report of the HSPI Presidential Transition Task Force – April 2008 – January 2009. The report is dated 19 May 2009.
  • Numerous media accounts: Major Hasan’s neighbors, medical trainers, colleagues, friends, cousin, uncle– even the store owner to where he bought his food — all heap praise on Major Hasan’s temperament. This appears to be psy-ops, six ways to Sunday. –LRP
  • The alleged shooter received his medical degree from the military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., in 2001 and is a graduate of Virginia Tech. Early on Thursday, he showed no signs of worry or stress when he stopped at 7-Eleven for his daily breakfast of hash browns, said Jeannie Strickland, the store’s manager. “He came in (Thursday) morning just like normal,” she said, “nothing weird, nothing out of the ordinary.”

Are you ready? Wait for it… it’s good: Fort Hood shooting: Texas army killer linked to September 11 terrorists –Major Nidal Malik Hasan worshipped at a mosque led by a radical imam said to be a “spiritual adviser” to three of the hijackers who attacked America on Sept 11, 2001. 07 Nov 2009 Hasan, the sole suspect in the [‘Manchurian Candidate’-style] massacre of 13 fellow US soldiers in Texas, attended the controversial Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, in 2001 at the same time as two of the September 11 terrorists, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. His mother’s funeral was held there in May that year. The preacher at the time was Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni scholar who was banned from addressing a meeting in London by video link in August because he is accused of supporting attacks on British troops and backing terrorist organisations.

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