A strong warning about the possibilities of an attempted or completed attack by al Qaeda came today from Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, who spoke before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The Department of Homeland Security moved Thursday to increase random checks for explosives at American airports after officials cited a heightened concern over possible terror plots against the aviation system.
...“We must remain vigilant about the continued threat we face” from Al Qaeda, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. “We are facing a determined enemy and we appreciate the patience of all Americans and visitors to our country, and the cooperation of our international partners as well as a committed airline industry.”
In an alarming security breach in the United States, an airport security manual has been posted on the internet.
The confidential airport passenger screening procedures offer insight into how to sidestep security.
The 90-page Transportation Security Administration (TSA) manual was marked "sensitive security information".
It had been sitting on the internet since March but the blunder has only just been made public by a blogger.
...But the release of this manual is not the only security loophole that has been highlighted today.
Eight years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, including airport shuttle buses, are not allowed to screen their employees against the terrorism watch list.
A 19-year-old year-old Muslim by the name of Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was arrested today for planting what he thought was a car bomb near Fountain Place, a tall building in downtown Dallas:
The FBI says agents arrested Smadi after he placed what he thought was a bomb at the base of Fountain Place, a 60-story skyscraper located at 1445 Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas.
The FBI says undercover agents found out about Smadi's intent to commit violent attacks in Dallas. The FBI says agents tried to get him to change his mind about committing the attacks, but were unsuccessful.
...Agents say they arrested Smadi Thursday afternoon after he placed the dummy car bomb next to the building. The FBI says the public was never in any danger.
Another bulletin was sent by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on Friday and apparently on Monday repeating recent warnings to be on high alert in mass transit facilities. Hydrogen-peroxide explosives is the likely weapon. The warning is precautionary.
"...Local officials in Washington said the notice specifically mentioned Grand Central Station in New York City, but said they nevertheless increased the number of random patrols being conducted. Because there was no specific threat for this region, officials said, the patrols stopped short of passenger bag checks.
In Denver, a federal judge followed the recommendation of Justice Department prosecutors Monday and refused to release Najibullah Zazi, a permanent U.S. resident, who allegedly told federal agents that he had received weapons and explosives training in a conflict-laden region of Pakistan with ties to al-Qaeda. Zazi was pulled over earlier this month while driving on the George Washington Bridge in New York, where FBI agents say they uncovered a handwritten recipe for making and handling explosives in a file stored on his laptop computer.
...Counterterrorism experts said U.S. officials were taking the case "very seriously" because of the apparent similarities to recent plots in the United Kingdom linked to al-Qaeda.
The investigation is on-going.
Update 1:08 PM: Two bulletins were sent Monday to local authorities nationwide, with federal officials saying they know of no specific plots against such sites. The warnings — the latest in a flurry circulated as authorities investigate a possible bomb plot in Denver and New York City — say those sites remain attractive targets to groups like Al Qaeda...The directives came after a similar bulletin about the vulnerabilities of mass transit systems was sent out Friday...The bulletin on stadiums notes that an Al Qaeda training manual specifically lists "blasting and destroying the places of amusement, immorality, and sin... and attacking vital economic centers" as desired targets of the global terror network."
That three national security alerts since Friday.
Meanwhile, CAIR is pleased they have stopped the documentary 'Obsession' from being shown in a high school - claiming it is anti-Islam. This film basically uses Muslims own words and actions to demonstrate this very real and on-going threat from the unlimited supply of jihadists who seek to martyrdom themself for the sake of Islam or to please Allah. Once again, CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas minion, has successfully imposed Sharia Law in the United States to stop a film that warns of the danger of jihadists. This was to take place at Council Rock High School in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
Islamic terror suspect Najibullah Zazi, along with his father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, and a third Muslim, Imam Ahmad Wais Afzali, of Queens, New York were arrested Saturday night for lying to investigators in an on-going terror probe that may have involved plans to set off bombs within the United States, probably in New York City. Afzali was an FBI informant who tipped Zazi's father about the investigation. Najibullah refused a 4th day of FBI questioning last Friday.
"...According to affidavits, on Sept. 11, 2009, defendant Mohammed Zazi placed a call to Afzali which lasted approximately 20 minutes. That same day, the FBI lawfully intercepted a phone conversation between Mohammed Zazi and his son, Najibullah Zazi. An affidavit alleges that, during the conversation, Mohammed Zazi told his son that he had spoken to Afzali who had informed him about being visited by law enforcement and shown photographs. Mohammed Zazi told his son that Afzali would call him and he advised his son to speak with Afzali "before anything else," according to affidavits.
In the midst of this phone call, Najibullah Zazi allegedly received a call from Afzali, who discussed his meeting with law enforcement the day before. According to a draft summary of the transcription, Afzali allegedly stated: "I was exposed to something yesterday from law enforcement. And they came to ask me about your characters." Afzali also allegedly asked Najibullah Zazi about his last trip to Pakistan and added, "Listen, our phone call is being monitored."
According to the affidavits, in another legally intercepted phone conversation on Sept. 11, 2009, Najibullah Zazi told Afzali that his car had been stolen and that he feared he was being "watched." Afzali allegedly asked if there was any "evidence in his car," and Najibullah Zazi said no.
The New York Daily reports that police sources said probers still have up to eight suspects in New York and several in Denver under watch. The Daily claims this is the first al-Qaeda cell since 9/11 but I am not sure this is accurate.
Toledo Terror Cell (Northern District of Ohio) -- In June 2008, Mohammad Amawi, Marwan El-Hindi and Wassim Mazloum were convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts against Americans overseas, including U.S. armed forces in Iraq, and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Amawi and El-Hindi were also convicted of distributing information regarding suicide bomb vests and Improvised Explosive Devices.
Christopher Paul (Southern District of Ohio) – In June 2008, Paul pleaded guilty to conspiring with members of a German terrorist cell to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosive devices) against Americans vacationing at foreign tourist resorts, against Americans in the United States, as well against U.S. embassies, diplomatic premises and military bases in Europe.
Hassan Abujihaad (District of Connecticut) – In March 2008, Abujihaad, a former member of the U.S. Navy, was convicted of providing material support to terrorists and delivering classified information on the movements of a U.S. Navy battle group to Azzam Publications, a London-based organization alleged to have provided material support to persons engaged in terrorism.
Mohammed Jabarah (Southern District of New York) – In Jan. 2008, Jabarah was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to terrorism charges stemming from his participation in a plot to bomb U.S. embassies in Singapore and the Philippines. Jabarah trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and spent time with Usama bin Laden, to whom he swore an oath of allegiance.
California Prison Plot (Central District of California) – In Dec. 2007, Kevin James, who formed a radical Islamic organization while in California state prison, and two of his recruits, Levar Washington and Gregory Patterson, pleaded guilty to terrorism conspiracy charges, admitting they conspired to attack U.S. military facilities and Jewish facilities in Los Angeles.
Jose Padilla and co-defendants (Southern District of Florida) -- In Aug. 2007, a federal jury convicted Padilla, Adham Hassoun and Kifah Jayyousi of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim individuals in a foreign country, conspiracy to provide material support, and providing material support to terrorists. Padilla was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison.
Zacarias Moussaoui (Eastern District of Virginia) -- In May 2006, Moussaoui was sentenced to six consecutive life terms after pleading guilty in April 2005 to various terrorism violations, admitting that he conspired with al Qaeda to hijack and crash planes into prominent U.S. buildings as part of the 9/11 attacks.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali (Eastern District of Virginia) – In Nov. 2005, Ali was convicted on all counts of an indictment charging him with, among other violations, providing material support to al Qaeda, conspiracy to assassinate the U.S. President, and conspiracy to commit air piracy and conspiracy to destroy aircraft. Ali was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Denver terror suspect, Najibullah Zazi, has reportedly admitted to al-Qaeda ties:
...Zazi reportedly told officials that he had received explosives training and his possible guilty plea would be part of a deal to cooperate with the government.
Najibullah Zazi was questioned for a third day on Friday. The FBI wouldn't comment on the investigation.
FBI agents were to question Aazi's father today, a spokeswoman for the defense team said.
...An official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that the younger man had contact with a known al-Qaeda associate. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, would not provide details on the location or nature of the encounter..."
Still, no official word from the FBI so its premature to think this is the final word about this investigation.
The New York Daily reports today a dozen Muslim men are under constant FBI watch, including Najibullah Zazi of Aurora, Colorado. Zazi completed a 2nd day of questioning by the FBI in Denver yesterday. He was quiet with reporters on Thursday - a noticeable change from when he first was identified. Earlier this week agents carted away several boxes of documents in the search of his parents apartment.
While the interrogators focused on Zazi, authorities expanded their attention to include more potential suspects in a plot that raised concerns about the city's subway system.
When the probe began this week, five Colorado men cited as members of the cell were under a round-the-clock watch.
By yesterday, police sources said, that number had risen to as many as 12. A half-dozen were reportedly in New York, where Zazi arrived for a visit last week.
The Homeland Security Department beefed up security in the nation's airports as a result of the Colorado-based probe, a senior official disclosed yesterday.
"Even a casual observer will notice a more visible presence of uniformed officers this week in the airports," the Homeland Security Department official told the Daily News.
The FBI asked Zazi to return for a 3rd day of questioning today. I would remiss not to mention that the FBI has not issued an official statement about this terror investigation so information is fluid and could be somewhat misleading. But, this is a serious investigation that prompted a nationwide alert.
Its time for another reality check on our national security risks from the head of the FBI who spoke yesterday at the Council of Foreign Relations. This assessment appears not to speak well for the Religion of Peace followers and their ability to rein in Islamic extremists with their own Muslim community:
Photo credit FBI
"FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III today warned that extremists "with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons" to sow terror, raising the specter that recent attacks in Mumbai that killed 170 people last year could embolden terrorists seeking to attack U.S. cities.
At a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Mueller said that the bureau is expanding its focus beyond al-Qaeda and into splinter groups, radicals who try to enter the country through the visa waiver program and "home-grown terrorists."
"The universe of crime and terrorism stretches out infinitely before us, and we too are working to find what we believe to be out there but cannot always see," Mueller said.
One particular concern, the FBI director said, springs from the country's background as a "nation of immigrants." Federal officials worry about pockets of possible radicals among melting-pot communities in the United States such as Seattle, San Diego, Miami or New York.
A Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the FBI, for instance, continues to investigate a group in Minneapolis after one young man last fall flew to Somalia and became what authorities believe to be the first U.S. citizen to carry out a suicide bombing. As many as a half-dozen other youths from that community in Minnesota have vanished, alarming their parents and raising concerns among law enforcement officials that a dangerous recruiting network has operated under the radar..."
Why isn't this considered a national security alert?
Dozens of federal inspector credentials giving access to airports have gone missing, an NBC 5 (Dallas) investigation revealed.
According to the investigation, 122 Federal Aviation Administration safety inspector badges have been stolen or lost in the past five years. The credentials are one of the few forms of identification that give complete and unfettered access to airport facilities, including the cockpits of planes in flight.
"The FAA badge is probably of all the badges just as dangerous if not more so than any other," aviation expert Denny Kelly said.
..."The FAA badge allows you not only on one airline, plus getting through security, it allows you to get on any airline, any airplane, anyplace," he said.
The FAA said it is concerned but insisted the public is not in danger. The agency is taking an aggressive stance to prevent the loss of those badges in the future, the FAA said.
The agency refused NBC 5's request for an on-camera interview. Over the phone, a spokesman could not guarantee that FAA badge holders always go through security checkpoints.
A former Russian top spy says his agents helped the Russian government steal nearly $500 million from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Sergei Tretyakov, who defected to the United States in 2000 as a double agent, says he oversaw an operation that helped Saddam's regime manipulate the price of Iraqi oil sold under the program — and allow Russia to skim profits.
Tretyakov, former deputy head of intelligence at Russia's U.N. mission from 1995 to 2000, names some names, but sticks mainly to code names. Among the spies he says he recruited for Russia were a Canadian nuclear weapons expert who became a U.N. nuclear verification expert in Vienna, a senior Russian official in the oil-for-food program and a former Soviet bloc ambassador. He describes a Russian businessman who got hold of a nuclear bomb, and kept it stored in a shed at his dacha outside Moscow.
"It's an international spy nest," Tretyakov said of the U.N., during an interview this week with The Associated Press. "Inside the U.N., we were fishing for knowledgeable diplomats who could give us first of all anti-American information."
Tretyakov defected to the United States with his wife and daughter in 2000, after serving as a double agent passing along secrets to the U.S. government. He calls his defection "the major failure of Russian intelligence in the United States" and warns that Russia, despite the end of the Cold War, harbors bad intentions toward the United States.
The decision to defect, he said, was made only after his mother died in 1997, and he had no other close relatives alive in Russia who could be used to blackmail him. The Tretyakovs now live in retirement in an undisclosed location.