Friday, September 25, 2009

Increasing Activity By Suspected Terror Cells

Doesn't it seem like homeland security officials are uncovering one terror plot after another lately? This one, planned for the 9/11 anniversary, is making headlines:
An Afghan immigrant wanted to carry out a New York City terror attack involving hydrogen peroxide bombs to coincide with the Sept. 11 anniversary before federal authorities foiled the plan, a U.S. prosecutor said Friday.
Tim Neff told a federal judge that Najibullah Zazi "was in the throes of making a bomb and attempting to perfect his formulation."
"The evidence suggests a chilling, disturbing sequence of events showing the defendant was intent on making a bomb and being in New York on 9/11, for purposes of perhaps using such items," Neff declared in arguing for Zazi's transfer to New York.
Ken Deal, the chief deputy U.S. marshal in Denver, said Zazi was put on a U.S. government plane and flown out of southern Denver's Centennial Airport at 12:15 p.m. MDT — little more than an hour after U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer ordered Zazi transferred to New York City to face charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
Fox News reports that police may have as many as 24 persons may be under observation in this suspected cross-country terror plot. The Washington Post adds that "authorities in Washington and elsewhere were stepping up safety patrols on mass transit systems in response to an advisory issued in connection with the [Colorado] probe." The FBI and DHS have also warned state and local law enforcement official to keep an eye on stadiums, warehouses with rentable storage units and hotels for any unusual activity. The National Terror Alert website, a private homelands security blog, says that "In nearly 7 years of publishing this website, I can't recall ever covering as much at one time, as we have this week. With so much activity I remind you, be alert and report ANY suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately."

Netanyahu to U.N.: Wake Up

Congratulations to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for at long last forcefully bringing reality into the upside-down, propaganda drenched world that exists only inside the U.N. General Assembly:
Brandishing blueprints of the Auschwitz death camp, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday blasted the United Nations for turning a blind eye to terrorism and urged the world leaders to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Calling out those heads of state who remained in their seats for Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "anti-Semitic rants" earlier this week, Netanyahu also pulled out chilling evidence of the Final Solution.
It was a copy of the minutes of the infamous 1942 Wannsee Conference, where Nazi leaders fine-tuned their methodical plans for genocide.

Meantime, the situation with Iran's nukes is even worse than originally thought:
The United States, France and Britain have presented "detailed evidence" to the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog that "Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility," President Obama said Friday.
Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy -- all in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a G-20 economic summit -- accused Iran of intentionally hiding its nuclear facilities from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
They threatened a stiff response if Iran fails to conform to international obligations regarding nuclear development.
Let's face it; President Sarkozy appears to be the only member of this trio that has any credibility in addressing this threat. And isn't it about time that the American (and international) media starts reporting that all the regimes in the Middle East, not just Israel, have grave concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions?

Update: has the story of Sarkozy schooling Obama about the Iran nuclear threat. has more on Sarkozy's contempt for Obama, as reaffirmed by this FNC clip:

DHS Plans Cutback in Border Patrol Agents

Given the profound if not overwhelming security challenges at our southern border, how in the world does make sense?
Even though the Border Patrol now reports that almost 1,300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is not under effective control, and the Department of Justice says that vast stretches of the border are “easily breached,” and the Government Accountability Office has revealed that three persons “linked to terrorism” and 530 aliens from “special interest countries” were intercepted at Border Patrol checkpoints last year, the administration is nonetheless now planning to decrease the number of Border Patrol agents deployed on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Border Patrol Director of Media Relations Lloyd Easterling confirmed this week...that his agency is planning for a net decrease of 384 agents on the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2010, which begins on October 1.
A Department of Homeland Security annual performance review updated by the Obama administration on May 7 said the Border Patrol “plans to move several hundred Agents from the Southwest Border to the Northern Border to meet the FY 2010 staffing requirements, with only a small increase in new agents for the Southwest Border in the same year.”

Gitmo Deadline Slips, State Secrets Policy Advances

Other than as a publicity stunt, is there any logical or security based reason why administration wants to shut down the Gitmo prison?

The Washington Post, one of the administration's many house organs, concedes that the January 2010 deadline might have been overly ambitious:
With four months left to meet its self-imposed deadline for closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Obama administration is working to recover from missteps that have put officials behind schedule and left them struggling to win the cooperation of Congress.
Even before the inauguration, President Obama's top advisers settled on a course of action they were counseled against: announcing that they would close the facility within one year. Today, officials are acknowledging that they will be hard-pressed to meet that goal.
The White House has faltered in part because of the legal, political and diplomatic complexities involved in determining what to do with more than 200 terrorism suspects at the prison. But senior advisers privately acknowledge not devising a concrete plan for where to move the detainees and mishandling Congress.
Not to worry: As always in these matters, the Bush administration at fault--although, amazingly enough, only partially this time:
Senior administration officials said the central roadblock during those early months was the condition of the detainee files, which had been left in disarray by the previous administration.
The administration kind of likes its predecessor's "state secrets" policy, however, although it seems that it wants to have it both ways. From the Washington Times:
Liberals and conservatives alike harshly criticized a new Obama administration policy designed to make it harder for the government to hamper lawsuits against it by invoking a "state secret" claim, and even the support from privacy-rights groups was tepid and cautious.
From one side, civil-liberties advocate and best-selling author Glenn Greenwald called the new policy merely cosmetic and a continuation of "the very Bush/Cheney policies" that President Obama criticized. From the other, Sept. 11 families activist Debra Burlingame said even those changes would encourage jihadist lawsuits and chill counterterrorism operations
Such privacy-advocacy groups as the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center said the new rules looked good, but said the Obama administration still needed to deliver concrete results - by dropping its support for several Bush-era invocations of the privilege in court and by pushing through Congress a permanent law on the matter.
On Wednesday, the Obama administration appeared to vindicate such longstanding liberal criticisms by invoking the state-secret privilege to urge U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker to toss a 2004 warrantless-wiretapping lawsuit filed by the Ashland, Ore., branch of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.
Justice Department lawyer Anthony Coppolino made the same arguments at Wednesday's hearing in San Francisco that Bush administration lawyers had: "Foreign intelligence surveillance is so vital to national security that it is important for the government to maintain secrecy," he argued.
Does this sound like the type of word games that Edwin Howard Armstrong warned about?
The new policy, announced Wednesday, gives the attorney general the sole authority to invoke a "state secret" claim, which allows the government to exclude evidence it says will compromise national security. The new rules, which take effect Oct. 1, also set a higher standard to make that claim, saying that revealing the information would need to pose "the risk of significant harm to national security"; the previous standard, set by the Supreme Court, allowed a claim when there was a risk of "reasonable possibility of harm" to national security.