Patterico's Pontifications


Decision on 9/11 Trials may be Postponed

Filed under: Law,Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Politico reports the Obama DOJ may put off a decision on the 9/11 trials until after the November elections. The article points out that, unless the Obama Administration decides to try the 9/11 detainees in a civilian trial, its position will be “largely indistinguishable” from the Bush Administration’s policy.

For a candidate that ran on Hope and Change, “largely indistinguishable” would be quite a comedown.



Times Square Bomber Indicted

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 3:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was indicted on 10 counts of terrorism, conspiracy and weapons counts.

The article states Shahzad cooperated for 2 weeks before he asked for a lawyer. The authorities initially declined to advise him of his Miranda rights, claiming a public safety exception.



American Arrested in Pakistan

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 1:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Pakistanis have arrested American Gary Brooks Faulker, a 50-year-old Greeley, Colorado, man who needs dialysis three times a week and may have traveled overseas to kill Osama Bin Laden.

Friends and family members describe Faulkner as a smart, good man and a Christian who had a lengthy criminal record. His brother, a physician, says Faulkner is not crazy. His sister says he wanted to do one last thing before dying. Both suggest he wanted to do something for his country.



Incident at MacDill AFB

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Fox News reports there has been an incident at McDill MacDill AFB in Florida:

“Base public affairs officer Senior Airman Katherine B. Holt reports a man and woman were unable to show proper identification Monday evening, and their vehicle was searched. Security found military-style gear and weapons in the sport utility vehicle but no explosives. Holt says she didn’t know how many weapons were removed but they were rifle-type.”

Both persons were in custody and presumably being questioned.



The Definition of a Dirty War

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 2:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Sun reports on the despicable Taliban tactics in Afghanistan:

“TALIBAN fighters are burying dirty needles with their bombs in a bid to infect British troops with HIV, The Sun can reveal.
Hypodermic syringes are hidden below the surface pointing upwards to prick bomb squad experts as they hunt for devices.

The heroin needles are feared to be contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. And if the bomb goes off, the needles become deadly flying shrapnel.”

I doubt the Taliban leaders waste their time pondering the ethics of Guantanamo or waterboarding. With adversaries like this, I don’t understand why our leaders do, either.

H/T Drudge Report.



Tracing Iraq’s WMDs

Filed under: Government,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 12:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

One of the side effects of President Obama’s nomination of General James Clapper to be his Director of National Intelligence is that it has revived discussion of whether Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). Clapper reportedly believes he did, and PJ Media’s Ryan Mauro reviews evidence that indicates Saddam’s WMDs went to Syria. This section of Mauro’s report both interests and disappoints me:

“I also asked [the Iraq Survey Group’s head WMD investigator Charles] Duelfer if he was aware of the intelligence provided by the Ukrainians and other sources that the Russians were in Iraq helping to cleanse the country shortly before the invasion. His facial expressions before I even finished the question showed he genuinely had never even heard of this.

As explained in detail in Ken Timmerman’s book Shadow Warriors, high-level meetings were held on February 10-12, 2004, involving officials from the U.S., the UK, and Ukraine. Among the attendees were Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John A. Shaw, the head of MI6, and the head of Ukrainian intelligence, Ihor Smeshko. The Ukrainians provided all the details of the Russian effort, including the dates and locations of meetings to plan the intervention and even the names of the Russian Spetsnaz officers involved. Shaw also worked with a British source that ran an intelligence network in the region and provided substantiation and additional details.

The former head of Romanian intelligence during the Cold War, Ion Pacepa, has provided supporting testimony. He says that he had personal knowledge of a Soviet plan called “Operation Sarindar” where the Russians would cleanse a rogue state ally of any traces of illicit activity if threatened with Western attack. The plan’s purpose was to deny the West of any evidence incriminating Russia or its ally. The presence of Russian advisors in Iraq shortly before the invasion, some of whom received medals from Saddam Hussein, is a strong indication that this plan was followed.

Dave Gaubatz, who was the first civilian federal agent deployed to Iraq, told me that he saw intelligence that “suggested that some WMD had been moved to Syria with the help of Russian intelligence.” Iraqis personally confirmed to him that there was a Russian presence before the American soldiers arrived.

Amazingly, Duelfer seems to have never been informed of this intelligence. “This does not mean … that it was not passed on to ISG [Iraq Survey Group],” he said to me later. The fact that the head of the WMD search was never even made aware of this indicates something went seriously wrong. In Timmerman’s book, Shaw says that Smeshko complained about the CIA’s station chief in Kiev not being cooperative. Timmerman researched the station and chief and found that he was very close with other people in the intelligence community who were doing their best to fight Bush administration policies.”

If this is true, shame on the so-called intelligence community.

H/T Red County Pete.



Intelligence Thoughts

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 12:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ed Morrissey has some thoughts about James Clapper, President Obama’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence:

“If anything, Clapper’s nomination to the post highlights both the lack of competence at the White House and the structural problems created by the reorganization of the intel communities five years ago. Why would Obama choose someone who has spent the last couple of years attempting to make the position weaker? And why are we still looking to find the next unlucky candidate to get all the blame and little authority, rather than undoing the 9/11 Commission “reform” and fixing the very obvious problems in organization, lines of authority, and turf battles in the American intelligence community? Blair’s resignation gives us an opportunity to fix those problems, but Obama seems intent on making them even worse.”

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about the topic so consider this post an invitation to pontificate on the topic and educate me. But my thoughts about Clapper’s nomination are positive for at least three reasons:

  • As discussed in Ed’s post, Clapper apparently believes Saddam sent his WMDs to Syria before the Iraq War. If so, then perhaps Clapper hasn’t drunk the Democrats’ Kool-Aid when it comes to Iraq and other terrorism issues. That he has a long career in intelligence and was an investigator in the Khobar Towers bombing also makes me hope he is deadly serious about terrorism.
  • Clapper has broad experience with a range of intelligence assets. Not only has he has worked extensively with satellite intelligence resources, but his belief in human intelligence earned him the nickname Godfather of HUMINT. Thus, I am encouraged that Clapper legitimately advocates the synthesis of various elements of intelligence – human intelligence, communication, electronic, imagery, geospatial, financial and other methods – which he says “all contribute to the war on terrorism.”
  • I don’t think reforms exist that can resolve the turf wars between the CIA, the FBI, the military, and other intelligence agencies. Further, I’m not sure a monolithic intelligence agency would be effective. By choosing Clapper, I wonder if Obama isn’t acknowledging that — for now — the military plays the primary role in fighting terrorism, and his intelligence chief must have a good working relationship with the Pentagon?
  • In other words, I support Obama’s decision.

    Fire away, mates.

    — DRJ


    Obama’s Secret Stick

    Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 10:18 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The Bush Doctrine expressly authorized preemptive military action against America’s enemies and potential enemies, and President Bush was relentlessly pilloried by Democrats for his public stand. But now it turns out President Obama may talk sweetly but he’s using a bigger and more controversial preemptive secret stick:

    “Beneath its commitment to soft-spoken diplomacy and beyond the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups, according to senior military and administration officials.”

    The moral is President Obama gets to have his cake and eat it, too … at least until someone decides to call his bluff.

    — DRJ

    New DNI James Clapper

    Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 7:34 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    President Obama has named retired Air Force General and current Pentagon intelligence official James Clapper to be director of national intelligence.

    The report says there is bipartisan opposition to a former military man heading the civilian intelligence gathering. Nevertheless, if Clapper’s nomination is approved, he has my best wishes and I hope he does an outstanding job keeping America and Americans safe.

    — DRJ


    Houston Man Indicted On Terror Charges (Updated)

    Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 8:23 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    A Houston man has been charged with trying to provide aid to al Qaeda. The details are sketchy and these are only charges, not proof. But in general, doesn’t it seem like there could be a lot of people like Barry Walter Bujol?

    — DRJ

    UPDATE 6/4/2010: Guess who was in contact with Anwar Al-Awlaki? Barry Walter Bujol.

    The only good thing about al-Awlaki is that (hopefully) the government knows to investigate everyone he talks to.

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