Senators Accuse Obama Administration of Stonewalling Ft. Hood Probe

Leaders of the Senate\'s principal oversight committee are accusing the Obama administration of stonewalling an investigation they have been conducting into the background to the deadly shootings at the Ft. Hood military base last Nov. 5, for which Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan was arrested and charged. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the panel\'s ranking Republican, Sen. Susan Collins...

France Goes Against U.S. on Iran Less Than 24 Hours After Nuke Summit Ends

Only 24 hours after an Obama-led summit won solemn pledges from world leaders to crack down on proliferation of loose nuclear material and know-how, prosecutors in France signaled that they were backing away from supporting a U.S. attempt to extradite an Iranian businessman accused of acting as a clandestine purchasing agent for Iran\'s nuclear and missile programs. In March 2009, Iranian citizen and resident Majid Kakavand was arrested by French authorities after the U.S. lodged a...

Deputy CIA Director Steve Kappes Is Leaving the Agency

Steve Kappes, the CIA's powerful deputy director, is calling it quits. CIA Director Leon Panetta sent a message at 12:30 today to agency employees, who had been hearing rumors of Kappes's possible departure all morning. Michael Morell, a 30-year CIA veteran, will take over as deputy director. A CIA spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment. But a former senior intelligence official, who asked for anonymity when speaking about internal CIA discussions, said that Kappes's departure was...

When Will Terrorists Get Nukes?

There's no question that Al Qaeda and its partners have shown interest in atomic weapons. There's also little doubt that they've tried to get one, and even consulted with experts on how to design and build them. And based on the public statements and private expressions of interest of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, there's no question at all that if they had a nuclear device, they'd use it. But even as this week's nuclear summit in Washington underscores the need...

Polish President Had a Reputation for Pressuring His Pilots

All indications are that the air crash on Saturday that killed President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and dozens of other Polish dignitaries was the result of a flawed decision to land in extremely bad weather, Obama administration officials say. Official reports reaching Washington support media accounts that Kaczynski had a reputation for pressuring pilots to take unnecessary risks, according to a U.S. national-security official. One notable instance occurred during Russia's 2008...

'Jihad Jamie' Enters Silent Not-Guilty Plea

With a wordless shake of her head, Jamie Paulin Ramirez pleaded not guilty in a Philadelphia courtroom today to terrorism-support charges. Federal Magistrate Judge Jacob Hart allowed the Colorado woman, known in the media as "Jihad Jamie," to enter her plea by silent gesture after her lawyer, Jeremy Ibrahim, said voice identification could become an issue as the case against his client moved forward. During a short hearing Wednesday afternoon, Ibrahim also agreed on Paulin Ramirez's behalf to...

U.S. Officials Can't Confirm Former Envoy's Karzai Drug Allegation

U.S. foreign policy and intelligence officials say they have no information that would confirm allegations by a former United Nations envoy in Afghanistan that Afghan President Hamid Karzai's recent erratic behavior might be attributable to drug use. But the former U.N. official, Peter Galbraith, stands by the allegation, though with some caveats attached. Officials of the Obama administration and other allied governments involved in Afghanistan have become increasingly concerned by...

Obama's 'Intelligence Czar' Plugs a New Counterterrorism Catchphrase

Not long after President Obama took office, he unofficially put an end to a favorite phrase of his predecessor: the "global war on terror." True, George W. Bush used it so much that GWOT, as it became known in Washington, had largely lost its impact. But it got the job done—and Obama had yet to find a tough, pithy replacement. Until now. In a speech today before a conference on post-9/11 intelligence-reform efforts, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair didn't once utter the...

What's Karl Rove Doing in a Census Ad?

As the Obama administration prepares to dispatch U.S. Census Bureau head counters on their decennial door-to-door rounds, right-wing Web sites are feverish with conspiracy theories about how the census is the first step toward communism, totalitarianism, and other isms. But today the census received a strong endorsement from one of the Obama administration's most outspoken critics: Karl Rove. In a "public service" TV spot airing today on local TV stations around the country, Rove...

Why Karl Rove Agreed to Cut a Pro-Census TV Spot

As the Obama administration prepares to dispatch U.S. Census Bureau head counters on their decennial door-to-door rounds, right-wing Web sites are feverish with conspiracy theories about how the census is the first step toward communism, totalitarianism, and other isms. But today the census received a strong endorsement from one of the Obama administration's most outspoken critics: Karl Rove. In a "public service" TV spot airing today on local TV stations around the country, Rove talks...

No Americans Killed or Injured in Attack on U.S. Consulate in Pakistan

No Americans were either killed or injured in a series of attacks directed against the U.S. Consulate in the Pakistani frontier town of Peshawar on Monday, according to initial reports reaching Washington, say two U.S. officials. News reports from the region said several locals died in the attacks; the BBC said that four attackers and three security officers had been killed. An American official said that the consulate was still trying to account for of all its local...

The Hutaree Arrests and the New Militia Movement

Even in a subculture where outlandish conspiratorial thinking is common, the Hutaree militia of southeast Michigan is on the fringe. The group's leaders invented their own theology--the "doctrine of the Hutaree"--in which former NATO secretary-general Javier Solana is believed to be the Antichrist. The Hutaree's exalted commander is called a "radok"; deputies and lieutenants are known as "boromanders" and "zulifs." The secretive group was virtually unknown until last week, when the FBI arrested...

'Jihad Jamie,' Indicted for Supporting Terrorists, Returns to U.S. From Ireland

A Colorado woman who was arrested, and then released, by Irish authorities investigating an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist, has returned to the U.S. to face charges of providing material support to terrorists. Jamie Paulin Ramirez was one of six people arrested by police in the south of the Irish Republic last month as part of an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who was targeted for death by Islamic extremists after he published a cartoon...

U.S., Europeans Don't Expect Much From China's Cooperation on Iran Sanctions

While U.S. and European officials are pleased that China has become "engaged" in United Nations Security Council discussions over new economic sanctions on Iran, their expectations are modest at best as to what those negotiations will actually produce. The most the Security Council talks are likely to produce is "something quite limited," said a European diplomat, who asked for anonymity when discussing a sensitive issue. Any new sanctions regime likely to meet the approval of China—a major...

Hutaree Suspected Former NATO Chief of Being the Antichrist

The Hutaree Militia of southern Michigan, whose recently arrested leader and members consider themselves to be Christian warriors, evidently feared that a little-known (to most Americans) European politician and bureaucrat might be the antichrist. A lengthy posting on the Hutaree.com Web site, headlined "10 Horns of the European Super State; Mr. Europe and 7 years of peace in Israel," discusses at length—exhaustive length—a theory that Javier Solana, the former secretary-general of NATO and...

Chechen Rebel Leader Claims Credit for Moscow Subway Bombings

The leader of an Islamic rebel movement based in Russia's troubled Chechnya region has issued a video communiqué claiming credit for the March 29 suicide bombings of two Moscow subway stations. The video was posted the same day by the Kavkaz Center, a media outlet of the Chechen mujahedin movement, according to Evan Kohlmann, a private researcher who monitors jihadist groups and their media postings. U.S. government experts consider the claim "plausible," according to one counterterrorism...

Hutaree Militia Web Postings Deleted, Defaced

Web postings by and associated with the Michigan-based Hutaree militia—which has nine members facing federal charges for seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosives, and illegal firearms possession—are being defaced or deleted. A Hutaree video on YouTube has been taken down, it is unclear why or by whom; we linked to and described it in this Declassified item on Monday. The video seemed like a parody of jihadist beheading videos...

What Obama's Predator-Strike Policy Tells Us About Bush's Covert Attacks

Current and former U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials say they see little difference between Barack Obama's policy on remote-control drone attacks as articulated last week by a top administration lawyer and that of George W. Bush. As we reported, in a speech before a legal group last week, State Department legal adviser Harold Koh called it the "considered view of this administration ... that targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned...

Violent Video Clip May Give Insight Into 'Hutaree' Mindset

A grotesque and violent homemade video posted on YouTube may offer some insights into the mindset of the Michigan-based Hutaree Militia, nine of whose members have been arrested by the feds for allegedly plotting to kill an unidentified local cop and then attack other police officers who gathered for his funeral. The video, entitled "American Jihad," can be viewed here (WARNING: graphic content, though the violence is also rather cartoonish) (UPDATE, 3/30: The video has been...

Michigan Militia Group Has Bizarre Views

Members of the Michigan and Ohio-based Hutaree Militia, nine of whom were indicted today on federal terrorism-related and sedition charges, appear to follow bizarre principles that sound like something out of a Ku Klux Klan handbook or fantasy novel.   According to the Hutaree Web site, the group has its own system of rankings, with weird, sci-fi-sounding names. The top rank in the group, for example, appears to be someone who is called a "Radok," followed, in order of importance, by a...

Early Suspicion Is that Chechen 'Black Widows' Carried Out Moscow Subway Attacks

Initial reports reaching the U.S. indicate that Russian authorities believe that Chechen terrorists were probably responsible for Monday's deadly suicide bombings on Moscow's subway system and that the bombings may have been carried out by a particularly notorious group of female terrorists known as the "Black Widows." Two U.S. counterterrorism officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that it is much too early in the investigation to draw a...

The Politics of Terror In New York

The terror strikes of 2001 led to a boom in national-security spending, much of which has helped prevent another domestic attack. But at the state level, Homeland Security funds are often spent with less obvious results--as a recent case in New York makes clear. Since 2007 the Big Apple has been experimenting with a program designed to detect "dirty bombs" and other radiological threats. In theory it would allow law enforcement to sniff-test every vehicle headed into Manhattan, using...

New Justice Department Statistics Show Hundreds of Terrorist Cases Were Prosecuted in Civilian Courts Since 9/11

New Justice Department statistics sent to Congress on Friday support Obama administration assertions that hundreds of terrorism suspects have been successfully prosecuted through the U.S. civilian court system since the 9/11 attacks. Earlier this year, Republicans, including senators and Dana Perino, a former White House spokesperson for George W. Bush, accused the Obama administration of exaggerating, or even fabricating, statistics showing that civilian courts had effectively dealt with...

Obama Administration Official Publicly Defends Drone Attacks

A noted human-rights expert who is serving as the State Department's top lawyer issued an unusually full-throated public defense of drone missile attacks on terrorists. Harold Koh left his position as dean of Yale Law School to become State Department legal adviser when Barack Obama took office. As an academic, he had harshly criticized Bush administration policies on intelligence issues. But in a speech Thursday to the American Society of International Law, Koh vigorously defended the...

Gitmo Prisoner Freed by Obama Administration Reported to Have Rejoined Taliban

A Guantánamo detainee released last December has now returned to the battlefield to fight with Taliban insurgents, according to three U.S. counterterrorism officials who have reviewed intelligence reports on the matter. If the reports are accurate, the detainee, known as Abdul Hafiz, would be the first Guantánamo inmate released by the Obama administration to have returned to the front lines of terrorism.Among other alleged terrorist activities, Hafiz was accused by U.S. authorities to have...

Israeli 'Diplomat' Expelled by Britain Believed to be Mossad Officer

An Israeli diplomat whose expulsion from Britain was announced Tuesday by the British government is understood to be a member of Israel's legendary intelligence agency, Mossad. The diplomat's expulsion was announced in Parliament today by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in what has been the strongest reaction to date by any Western government to allegations by authorities in Dubai that Mossad was likely behind the Jan. 20 murder of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhouh in a luxury...

British Government Expected to Step Up Pressure on Israel Over Alleged Role in Dubai Killing

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington to try to heal rifts between Israel and the Obama administration, the British government today is expected to step up pressure on Israel over its suspected role in the January assassination in Dubai of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhouh. According to a report from the BBC, Britain is expected to announce the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat in response to the use of 12 forged British passports by alleged members of the hit...

After Spending Eight Years And $6 Billion in U.S. Cash, Afghan Police Training Program Is Still A Mess

Building a strong national police force is a cornerstone of the Obama Administration\'s effort to stabilize Afghanistan and create a permanent security structure to maintain civil order in the country. But according to a joint investigation by NEWSWEEK and the public interest journalism group ProPublica, after spending more than $6 billion in tax dollars over the last eight years trying to establish an Afghan police force, the U.S. government has little to show for its investment. The...

Swiss Government Asked United Nations to Drop Muslim Brotherhood Figure from Terror Sanctions List

The government of Switzerland has confirmed that it requested that the United Nations Security Council remove Muslim Brotherhood financier and diplomatic representative Youssef Nada from its list of alleged terrorist supporters subjected to international financial sanctions. In an e-mail to Declassified, Johann Aeschlimann, a spokesman for the Swiss Mission to the United Nations, said that Switzerland had \"intervened officially\" with the relevant Security Council committee. Aeschlimann said...

Will Bush Administration Figures Cooperate With British Iraq War Inquiry?

British government sources tell Declassified that investigators for Britain's official Iraq War inquiry panel—which has been conducting a lengthy probe into the origins and conduct of the war—want to make a fact-finding trip to the United States. One sensitive item on the agenda: trying to get interviews with former Bush administration officials. But the sources, who asked for anonymity when discussing private information, said there are already indications that Bush administration...

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