Bush Administration Was Concerned About Sanctions Used Against Alleged Terror Financiers

Some counterterrorism experts are criticizing the Obama administration for signing off on the cancellation of U.N. financial sanctions against Muslim Brotherhood representative Youssef Nada. But a former top adviser to George W. Bush says that before leaving office, the Bush administration was already reviewing how such financial sanctions had presented thorny legal and diplomatic challenges for the U.S. government. Juan Zarate, who served as both assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist...

U.S. Drone Attack Kills Suspected Organizer of Attack on Secret CIA Base

Obama administration officials say they believe an Al Qaeda operative who played a key role in organizing the Dec. 30 suicide bombing of a secret CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, was killed in a drone-fired missile attack last week. The officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, identified the target of the missile strike as Hussein al-Yemeni—a Yemeni native, described by one official as an "important Al Qaeda planner and facilitator based in the tribal areas of...

U.N. Drops Muslim Brotherhood Figure From 'Terrorist Finance' List

The U.N. Security Council has quietly dropped Youssef Nada, a prominent financial and diplomatic representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, from an international sanctions list directed at curbing the activities of alleged terrorist financiers. The delisting of Nada, by the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, was announced by this official notice posted on the Security Council's Web site. In addition to Nada himself, the notice declares that two businesses associated with him, Waldenberg...

Most of 'JihadJane's' Alleged Contacts in Ireland Are Freed Without Charge

Five of the seven foreigners—including a woman from Colorado—who were detained by Irish police investigating an alleged Internet plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist have now been released without charge, Irish law-enforcement officials said Tuesday. A spokesman for the Irish court system says two suspects still detained have been charged with minor criminal offenses and remain in custody pending a court hearing later this week. The seven were suspected of engaging in a supposed plot—or at...

Osama's Family Troubles Aired on 'Al Qaeda' Web Site

Terrorist leaders have families too—some times large and troubled ones, as an unusual communiqué published this past weekend on a well-known pro-Qaeda Web site appears to confirm. The message, from a little-known son of fugitive Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden named Khalid, moans loudly about how shabbily members of bin Laden's family are being treated as guests—unfriendly guests—of the government of Iran. Khalid bin Laden's message, posted on a site called the Global Islamic...

Intelligence Experts Skeptical of Dubai Spy-Expulsion Threat

While some European intelligence agencies are seriously concerned about the Dubai police chief's demand that all foreign spies leave his region in a week, U.S. and some allied intelligence experts are skeptical that it will come to pass. As we reported on Thursday, Dubai Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, told media in the United Arab Emirates that foreign agents currently operating in "the Gulf" should leave the area within a week or face unspecified consequences. A Gulf newspaper,...

Bye-Bye Spies, Says Dubai

Police in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai have advised all foreign spies to get out of town—and preferably out of the region—within a week. Although it is widely known in international spy circles, news of the expulsion threat has received little circulation beyond media in the Arab world. However, Gulf News, a newspaper based in Dubai, said the demand that foreign spies leave the area was confirmed to it by Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai's police chief and leader of the investigation...

Senators Accuse Homeland Security Spies

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and other prominent Senate Democrats have accused spies at the Homeland Security Department of basing official intelligence reports on dubious open-source material. Inquiries by Declassified indicate that at least some of the data that Feinstein and her colleagues deemed "questionable" came from a website set up by outspoken conservative activist David Horowitz to catalogue negative information about the political left.  In an official...

'JihadJane' Grew Frustrated When Alleged Co-Conspirators Wouldn't Move Fast Enough

Colleen R. LaRose, the alleged American Islamic militant who used the Internet nom de guerre "JihadJane," traveled to Ireland last year to meet a group of Internet acquaintances, expecting they would join her as co-conspirators in an alleged murder plot, according to sources in the United States and Ireland who are familiar with the investigation. But when she landed in Ireland, she discovered that her supposed collaborators weren't nearly as keen as she allegedly was on actually carrying...

A Deal to Send Home a Canadian Gitmo Inmate?

U.S. and Canadian government officials deny it, but the lawyer for one of the most controversial inmates at Guantánamo Bay says some members of the Obama administration are working on a possible plan to send his client home to Canada. If Omar Khadr is repatriated before his military trial, currently scheduled to begin this summer—and administration officials insist that's a very big "if"—the move is sure to fuel conservative attacks on Obama's counterterrorism policies,...

Pennsylvania 'JihadJane' Indicted in Bizarre Plot With Links to Ireland

A Pennsylvania woman who used the Internet moniker "JihadJane" has been indicted on terrorism charges in connection with an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist. Although she has yet to appear in court, the suspect, identified as Colleen R. LaRose, has been in U.S. custody since October while undercover investigations continued, according to a U.S. government official familiar with the case. The Justice Department issued a press release that LaRose, a Philadelphia-area woman born in 1963,...

Cold Water on Reports of 'American Al Qaeda' Capture

 U.S. counterterrorism officials say they doubt news reports that U.S.-born Al Qaeda frontman Adam Gadahn—or any other American jihadist—has been apprehended in the last few days by Pakistani authorities. On Sunday, U.S. news media went wild over reports from Pakistan, attributed to Pakistani government officials, that Gadahn, a.k.a. Azzam the American, a former Southern Californian who converted to Islam and became Al Qaeda's most prominent (and arguably most obnoxious)...

CIA Investigators Believe Suicide Bomber Was Qaeda Plant From the Outset

An investigation by the CIA into how and why a suicide bomber was invited onto a secret CIA outpost in Afghanistan last Dec. 30 has tentatively determined that the bomber, Humam Muhammed al-Balawi, most likely was a mole from the outset—an infiltrator planted by Al Qaeda on the Jordanian and American intelligence services. After being allowed through the gates of Forward Operating Base Chapman, an undercover CIA installation near Khost, Afghanistan, Balawi set off what investigators believe...

More Delays for Iran-Nuke Intel Report

A long-awaited update to the U.S. intelligence community's controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear ambitions has been kicked down the road yet again, Declassified has learned. The NIE update, expected to bring U.S. spy agencies more into line with their European and Israeli counterparts, was originally supposed to be completed at the end of last year. The target date then slipped to the end of February. But three U.S. national-security officials, who asked...

N.Y. Subway Bomb Plotter Now Helping Investigators

The leader of the foiled New York subway bombing plot is now helping U.S. authorities identify foreign co-conspirators, a U.S. law-enforcement official and a legal source close to the case tell Declassified.‬‪ Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-born permanent U.S. resident believed to have masterminded the plot, pleaded guilty in February to multiple terrorism-related charges. According to the sources—who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information—Zazi, as part of his plea deal,...

Feds Investigating Why Child Was Allowed to Direct New York Air Traffic

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how and why a child last month was allowed to clear airplanes for takeoff from the control tower of New York's JFK airport. In an incident that has now become a viral hit on the Web, an air-traffic controller working at the JFK tower apparently brought his son to work on Feb. 17 and let him give instructions to pilots in the air. The FAA said that two employees at the tower, who have not been identified publicly, have been placed on...

Australians Go to Israel to Investigate Potential Misuse of Its Citizens' Information

Investigators from the Australian passport office and the country's Federal Police are on their way to Israel to look into what Stephen Smith, the Australian foreign minister, described as a "serious abuse" of three Australian passports. Smith told a press conference that it was not yet clear whether the Australian passports used by suspected members of the hit squad that allegedly suffocated Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh were forgeries or whether they were real documents obtained under false...

House Republicans Probe Bizarre Actions by Airport Screeners

Republicans on the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have launched an inquiry into a series of bizarre incidents involving alleged abuse of passengers by government airport screeners. The alleged misbehavior includes forcing a handicapped child to walk unsupported through a metal detector and planting a bag of white powder in a college student's carry-on bag. On Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the oversight committee's ranking Republican, sent a...

French Passports Used by Dubai Hit-Squad Members Were Forged

The government of France says that French passports used by allegedmembers of a hit squad accused of killing a Hamas leader in Dubai wereforged. Emmanuel LeNain, a spokesman for the French Embassy inWashington, told Declassified that his government has determined thatfour French passports, which Dubai investigators say were used bysuspected hit-team members, were counterfeits and not genuine papersobtained from the French government under false pretenses. LeNain saidhe did not know if the...

Did the U.S. Have Contact With Terror Group That Attacked Iran?

After Abdolmalek Rigi—the suspected leader of the anti-Iranian jihadist group Jundullah—was arrested by Iranian authorities last week, he made a startling public claim: the Obama administration offered to give his group money and munitions to help in their efforts to undermine the government of Iran. Obama administration officials say Rigi is making up stories. They insist the United States has never had a relationship with Jundullah, a little-known group of Sunni jihadists based along...

Mullah Baradar Likely to Remain in Pakistan's Custody for a While

The Obama administration is playing down suggestions that it isclose to reaching a deal for Pakistani authorities to transfer capturedAfghan Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to Afghangovernment custody. Speculation about such a move has been building over the lastseveral days. A senior administration official, who briefed Washingtonreporters on condition of anonymity due to foreign-policysensitivities, said that earlier this week the interior ministers ofAfghanistan and Pakistan...

Exclusive: New Obama Interrogation Unit Not Deployed to Question Captured Taliban Chief

Last summer, the Obama administration announced that, as a replacement for the Bush administration's secret CIA terrorist detention and interrogation program, it would create a SWAT-style team of interrogation experts to travel the world squeezing terrorist suspects for vital information. Administration officials say that the interrogation unit, known as the HIG (for High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group) is now operational. But for reasons that are unclear, the administration has not...

Most Passports Used by Dubai Hit Squad Members Appear to Have Been Counterfeit

Intriguing details keep emerging in the killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai last month. It turns out that most of the European passports used by suspected members of the alleged hit team were counterfeits—but not all, according to two diplomats who are familiar with investigations into the matter by authorities in Britain and Ireland.

Mullah Baradar Talking—But Not Saying Much

The recently captured deputy leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Abdel Ghani Baradar, is now talking to Pakistani and American interrogators—a little. But three U.S. national-security officials familiar with the situation, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that Baradar is not saying much, at least so far. One of the officials also said Pakistani authorities are tightly controlling the circumstances under which U.S. personnel are allowed access to the man...

Afghan-American Pleads Guilty to N.Y. Subway Bombing Plot

Afghan-American and sometime Queens, N.Y., resident Najibullah Zazi on Monday pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges relating to an alleged plot to bomb the New York City subway system shortly after last year's 9/11 anniversary. Federal officials said that Zazi, who was born in Afghanistan but emigrated to the U.S. with his family, on Monday entered a guilty plea in federal court in Brooklyn to three terrorism-related charges: conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction within...

Baradar Capture Was Stroke of Luck

U.S. national security officials acknowledge that the capture two weeks ago of Mullah Abdel Ghani Baradar, military commander of the Afghan Taliban, was largely a stroke of luck. Two U.S. officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, tell Declassified that the initial American intelligence tip that led Pakistani security forces to the meeting where Baradar was captured did not specifically say he would be present. Friday's New York Times reported that when...

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