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Entries in National Security (9)


Biden Says Large Scale 9/11 Like Attack in the U.S. "Unlikely"

Vice President Biden says large scale terror attack against the United States unlikely while on CNN's Larry King Live.

recently I wrote a two part series on why I think the current administrations does not get the current situation when it comes to the Islamic terrorist threat you can view Part I here.

Additionally the day after the State of the Union Address the President gave a statement about traveling on trains since he is now backing future creation of a high-speed rail systems in the U.S. In that statement he said "besides, you don't have to take off your shoes" alluding to the fact that unlike traveling by planes we do not have to remove our shoes while traveling on trains.

There are several things wrong with this statement, the most important of which again shows the lack of understanding of the threat we face. Though it is true you do not have to remove your shoes while traveling by train, it is not impossible for a terror attack to occur on a train inside the U.S.

I would like to see more security on our trains, and at all major transprotation hubs that includes rail, bus, plane and ships.

Quite frankly these two statements scare me.



Chatter by Terrorists Increasing On Internet with Intent to Bypass Airport Security Measures

According to an exclusive CBS News report chatter among terrorists has increased recently and they are actively looking to bypass security on international flights.


Watch CBS News Videos Online


Time for the Administration and the Country to 'Get Real' on National Security: Part II of II

Before continuing where I left off in Part I of this article lets take a look at the issue of Yemen and the release of detainees.

First, let it be said that it was the Bush Administration who first released some of these detainees. However, that release was essentially ordered by a federal judge. According to a Duke University national security law professor, "This is a clear warning shot to the government. . . . These are probably not the last detainees to be ordered released."

The current Administration has recently announced that detainees will no longer be released to Yemen (it sounds good, but I'll get to why that doesn't matter a bit later). The reason for the announcement is that it has been discovered and reported sporadically that a good portion of those released are returning to their jihadist ways. Some of those released are now even heading their own terrorist cells, inside and outside of Yemen.

This of course goes back to Part I of this article in which I state that ALL detainees should be held until the close of war, as we have done in the past. The judges ruling makes this somewhat complex to do and we need a new ruling through Congress, which I feel the current Administration is not going to even look at, since they pretty much support these rulings. Further more, the Administration is withholding the release of the still classified Pentagon report most likely because it will increase calls for the reversal on these decisions even more. If this is true, we will continue to see some of that information slowly leak out.

Now, for why it doesn't matter if we no longer release detainees to Yemen. Many of these detainees were intended to be transferred to other countries and held, but were released by the receiving country. Even the United Kingdom has released detainees that were sent to them. Once they are released they are essentially free to go and in turn travel to regions like Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others. So it really makes no difference if we release them directly to Yemen or not they will find their way to the territories where their ideologies are embraced.

This also presents a problem for us here in the United States. If you send one of these detainees through our judicial system and if they were found "not Guilty" we are required to release them. Whether or not they release them here in the United States or deport them after the ruling remains to be seen. Napolitano has said that some of these people may be acquitted.

In addition to the catch and release issue, the successful conviction of these detainees presents an interesting issue as well. This would be if they had access to or were allowed contact with other prisoners at the facility. This includes other former detainees as well as those within the regular prison population. Though the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois is working on transferring the current minimum-security prisoners out of the facility, this may change in the future. It may also allow for other maximum security prisoners to be held among these detainees. Why is this an issue?

Well inside our prison population of those seeking faith an estimated 80 percent turn to Islam, with an estimated 30,000-40,000 converting each year. Of those who turn to Islam within the prison population an unknown number (not currently tracked) have turned to Radical Islam, believing and supporting Jihad against the United States. Consider the former Department of Correctional Services of New York State, Muslim Chaplain, Imam Warith Dean Umar (himself a former convict) who supported radicalism and indoctrinated his clerics with Wahhabism while himself preaching an extreme form of Islam to other convicts. Umar, directly oversaw the hiring of 45 other Muslim clerics within the N.Y. systems as well. Umar also said that he found that U.S. prisons "are a powder keg" and "the perfect recruitment and training ground" for his Wahhabi ideas and radicalism "under the cover of the Islamic Religion." (i)

There is another pervasive problem that we must address and that is the Myth that poverty breeds terrorism. Worse yet, the President and his Administration pointed to this as a cause in their recent statements when responding to the Christmas day failed bombing, which is just one more reason to point out they don't get it.

In study after study even those who supported such links have found that there is no such link between poverty and terrorism. (I have included a number of these as references below). Take for instance the 9/11 hijackers, 15 of the 19 were from Saudi Arabia (one of the Wealthiest Countries) and came from middle class families, if not wealthy house holds. Osama Bin Laden, himself a billionaire. The Christmas day terror suspect was himself from a wealthy Nigerian family as well.

This myth has been pointed out numerous times, even as far back as 2002 by Robert J. Barro an economic professor at Harvard, but nearly 8 years later we still hear this myth repeated over and over again by leaders throughout the world (there may be other studies prior to this but I have not yet come across one pre-dating this).

In addition to being from well off families, another myth prevails and that they are uneducated and illiterate, when the data shows the opposite to be true. Most suicide bombers tend to be well educated having at least some college if not higher level degrees, some even doctors and engineers.

This leads me to the next but perhaps one of the more controversial aspects of protecting ourselves from terrorist extremists of ALL types. That topic is profiling. Profiling has become a touchy issue, due in part to the use of the term racial profiling and profiling to mean the same thing. This became even more prevalent after the 1998 case against New Jersey State Police. One thing I am not saying here is that racial profiling does not exist or that it never occurs, but profiling of terrorists is a different set of circumstances and is not based on race.

While some say profiling is about race and that we should target all Muslims and all Arab looking people and  sounding names let me point out some facts for you. Not all Muslims are Arabs, many come from Aisa, Africa, and in case you haven't been paying attention a number of White males and other American converts to radical Islam (John Phillip Walker LindhAdam Yahiye GadahnAbu Mansoor Al-Amriki, José Padilla, et al) are well known in the terror world. If you wanted to profile only Muslim looking people you would never succeed, because you can't always tell who is a Muslim by looking at them.

So, while you may want to profile Muslim or Arabic sounding names, many of them are Christians and just because they have a name that sounds Muslim, doesn't necessarily make it so. Another point that is important to point out, is that all of the 9/11 hijackers did there best to fit in into their American environments. Breaking the molds and traditions that traditional Muslims follow.

In recent years as we have seen, not all terrorists are even males, some have been young and middle aged woman. One was a young mother who at the age of 24 was planning on conducting a suicide attack while bringing along her infant son with the intent of making him a martyr along with herself.

What a terrorist does, how they act and what they look like is an ever changing dynamic. However, there are key things to look for and most of that is based on behavior and environment. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Is the person appropriately dressed for the environment?
  • Are they wearing clothes that can be suspicious, such as a long length coat or jacket? Baggy clothes?
  • Are they carrying a bag, pushing a stroller, carriage, or cart?
  • Are they acting appropriate to the situation?
  • Do they seem hyper, agitated, or can't stand still in one place? (a person about to kill themselves, or others tends to be a bit jumpy and sweaty, the adrenaline is flowing, heart rate is up, breathing elevated). 
  • Do they have their fists clinched? (often carrying a detonator in hands).
  • Do you see any wires? Bulging in clothing?
  • Do they have one or more hands in their pockets, in their jackets, or inside a bag?
  • Are they walking in an appropriate gait?

The above points should be looked out for by all security personnel in airports and other places where we have security checks. They can be used by citizens to observe the people in their environments as well.

Another fact is that terrorist tactics have changed and will continue to change over time. We must be as adaptable as they are and be willing to change some of our tactics and we should not always wait until a threat presents itself to change these tactics. Being able to change what we are doing is part of the defense and will also keep us on the offense by keeping the terrorists off guard as well.

The terrorists changing their tactics is not exactly new either, the 1993 World Trade bombing was an upping of the ante and part of a new tactic, nor was it a suicide bombing attempt. The October 12, 2000 attack on the USS Cole was also a change in modern terrorist tactics. The 9/11 attack was another change in tactics, as never before had terrorists hijacked planes with the intent of using them as weapons against ground targets. In the past they were usually hijacked to exchange hostages for the release of terrorists in captivity. The Mumbai attacks in India, which attacked multiple civilian targets at night. The move towards female, children, and mothers as suicide bombers. The method for moving away from suicide bombings to IED's which are becoming increasingly complex and hard to detect. This along with the size, frequency, and materials used in the making of the explosives. 

One of the best things we can do to protect ourselves is to educate the public on what they should be looking for and what to do if they find something suspicious or out of place. Citizens should be able and willing to contact their local law enforcement professionals or their local FBI office. One of the best movements that occurred after the September 11th attacks was the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaigns. This should be adopted throughout the country and I would like to see a movement in educating High School aged children as to what they should look for.

Additional Suggestions continuing from Part I:

Sixth, we need to start profiling as I mention above, and check every person flying and implement the system the Israelis use.

Seventh, we do need to stop being politically correct in certain aspects of our security. For instance, if we use bomb sniffing dogs everyone is subject to the same conditions Muslim and non-Muslim alike, no exceptions ever. The same holds true if we do complete body scanning or pat downs.

Eighth, no longer should we keep attacks that have occurred or attempted especially the ones that are self-admittedly jihadist in nature by the people who did them. (yes there have been numerous incidents throughout the country but little in the way of reports on them). The public should be aware of the threat at hand.

Ninth, we need better training and standards for the TSA personnel we have. We also need to be tough on them for making mistakes (like being fired) but increase their pay and make it a more important job than what it is today. Under no circumstances do I want these folks unionized which would make it harder to discipline them. It will take time, but must be done.

Tenth, we need to have security check at all major transportation hubs, not just at airports.

Eleventh, we need to educate the public on what to look for and be alert to,  maybe pamphlets like the use to have for civil defense, or even a website, a good place to start would be to add a terrorism section to

Twelfth, we need to by more dynamic and change our tactics and environments to keep the terrorists off guard. Having teams of bomb sniffing dogs that travel from location to location and having law enforcement squads like the NYPD's Hercules team in every major city. It would also be nice to see several of these teams on a federal level (U.S. Marshalls) who travel around the country in a show of force as a suplement to local police teams. These federal teams would also be able to assist in smaller cities as well.

Thirteenth, we need to listen to the non radical Muslims who speak out against the radicals, and we need our Media to cover these events and give them more of a voice.

These suggestions and those from part I of this article would be a great start, still many more things can and should be done. One of the first things that should be implemented is to replace Napolitano, she has zero experience in National Security, or counter-terrorism. We should replace her with NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly who has done an excellent job protecting the city. 

While doing research for this story I learned that John Brennan the current Whitehouse advisor on terror is the one who "foiled" the plan to capture Bin Laden. He should be fired and replace immediately. 

One last note before closing this article, In this article I refer to the Christmas day attack as a failed bombing. One thing should be noted however is that it was a SUCCESSFUL ATTACK, a terrorist was able to get on a plane headed to the United States, with a bomb in his underwear. He sat on the plane for hours and attempted to detonate the device. Whether he failed to do it correctly, or the device was put together incorrectly is unknown, at least to me. The fact it did not function properly was a miracle by the grace of God. 

Also, the fact is that we face a radical, ideological and religious threat and that this was planned for Christmas day was no accident. 



i Dr. Jasser, M. Zuhdi and Shore, Raphael. "U.S. Prison Recruitment for Jihad." The Counter Terrorist Jan. 2010: 30-39




Time for the Administration and the Country to 'Get Real' on National Security: Part I of II

While I have not written anything in regards to national security lately, I still consider it one of the most important topics affecting our Nation today, if not the most important.

The recent failed suicide bombing attempt on Christmas day, the attack in Afghanistan that killed CIA agents, and other incidents in the last few weeks alone look as if they are testing the system in addition to directly making attacks.

These incidents as well as some others should be a wake up call to the Administration that we are not getting it right and that we need to change the way we are responding to the threat.

While many will point out the President has recently stated we are "at War" and his use of the phrase "Ultimately, the buck stops with me." It was not until 13 days after the Christmas day failed attack that these remarks were made. Giving plenty of time for the administration to see and hear how the public wanted them to respond and then using those terms.

In the last year we have seen the Administration acting as if it we are not at war, and Napolitanos blatant non-use of the words terrorism, and war, by replacing these, and specifically the Global War on Terror with "Overseas-Contingency-Operation", and "Man-Caused-Disasters" is only one part of the problem. But lets start with this.

These changes in terms, I and many others would argue that it "Plays Down" the urgency in which we need to respond to the threat. It also can embolden the enemy in that it says you are not taking the threat as seriously as in the past.

In addition to these changes in terms having an effect, you also have the CIA under pressure from the Administration not to use certain tactics. Further more you had politicians calling for investigations into the CIA practices, and a subsequent move of giving captured unlawful combatants or illegal enemy combatants the same rights as U.S. citizens and the right to a trial of "their peers" in the U.S. judicial system. This presents a whole host of issues. Many of which I will not be able to touch on here, but lets take a look at some of them.

First, the enemy with which we are engaged does not recognize, nor have they signed the Geneva Convention. They openly and thoughtfully engage in war against civilian targets. They continue to attempt to try and kill as many civilians as they possibly can. Bin Laden has commented that he wants to see at least 4 million Americans killed, of which 2 million MUST be children. Think about that for a moment and let it sink in. They have already attacked a school in Beslan, Russia killing between 500-700 people 300 of which were children, and they would like to do this here in the United States.

Second, our troops may now have to decide if they have to read Miranda Rights to the enemy only causing more confusion to the fog of war during battle.

Third, if we are at war do we give our captured the rights afforded in the Geneva Convention or not? Even though they are illegal enemy combatants? Though they do not afford our troops, or citizens such rights? Remember Daniel Pearl who was murdered by none other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed now on trial in New York City, and how about those four contractors in Iraq burned alive.

Four, if we do afford them rights under the Geneva Convention, inserting them into the civilian judicial system and prison system or release may actually violate the following convention terms (it is a stretch but intended to highlight aspects of the legal mess created). Part III - Captivity under section II, Chapter I Article 23

No prisoner of war may at any time be sent to or detained in areas where he may be exposed to the fire of the combat zone...

Some other articles such as Article 25 which affords the prisoners some safety which you could argue that they are not safe in the general prison system. Not that I care if something happens to them, but it could cause more problems for the United States.

These issues only begin to scratch the surface of the problem with legal issues. Then there is the time when the President clearly misspoke saying that when the terrorists are convicted and executed we will see that he made the right choice. That in and of itself creates a whole other avenue of legal issues. Basically having the President of the U.S. convicting them before the trial, and what about the issue of fair trials?

While I don't want them here being subject to our judicial system in the first place how can we maintain the sanctity of our system if we allow them to be tried in this manner?

This brings me to Janet Napolitano, the current head of DHS and former Governor of AZ, who has zero experience in counter-terrorism or security who also misspoke saying that "The system worked" just days after the failed attempt. What system would that be? Where we leave it up to the civilian population to tackle and subdue those who threaten us? 

She of course a day later said "No secretary of homeland security would sit here and say that a system worked prior to this incident which allowed this individual to get on this plane."

As if this were not enough, but the fact that she is surprised that Al-Qaeda has the capability to use an "individual" to carry out a suicide-bombing attempt goes to show that neither she, nor the Administration gets or understands the threat that we face. Especially since all such attacks require individuals acting as such in order to carry them out.

Janet Napolitanos own words on video:

Then we have the head of the NCTC (National Counterterrorism Center) Michael E. Leiter who remained on his ski vacation after reports of the failed attack occurred. 

The more interesting thing about this is that the day before the attack Michael E. Leiter in an interview with NPR said the following:

"We're not going to stop every attack. Americans have to very much understand that it is impossible to stop every terrorist event. But we have to do our best, and we have to adjust based on, again, how the enemy change their tactics."

This statement is true, but coupled with the way nearly the entire Administration has reacted and handled everything about the threat again, only emboldens the enemy. Clear direction and action must be taken and it must start with our leader and President. 

Our President stayed on vacation, and gave a lax statement about the incident without wearing a tie as it was noted. In turn his subordinates within the DHS and NCTC took the same actions, and made weak statements.

Think about how the following statement while it says virtually the same thing, it also encourages our intelligence forces and those on the front lines to give it their best every step of the way.

"But every day terrorists plot and plan to try to attack us. They only have to be right once. We have to be right 100% of the time. But I know, too, that can only happen because men and women in uniform are fighting on the front lines."

That statement was made by Condoleezza Rice as she nevertheless warned about letting down our guard against another terrorist attack.

There is a very large difference in the way this Administration has handled the terror threat and the last Administration, and there is no doubt that the terrorists know it too.

I am sure it was not an accident that that this past week we also learned that the Obama Administration has ordered the CIA to use spy satellites to study and watch climate change instead of watching our enemies at the gate. I wonder how much more we will learn about laxes in security over the next few months.

In any case I have some solutions/suggestions that I am sure will not be followed but here they are:

First and foremost , if we are at war, and I most certainly think we are lets start acting like it. Ramp up the language, and mean it. Give full support to the CIA, Pentagon and other agencies and troops who are on the front lines fighting this war everyday. This includes support for first responders such as Police, Fire and EMS.

Second, reverse course on the decision to close Gitmo and send those who we formerly tried in a court of law to Gitmo as well.

Third, as long as we are at war, those prisoners will be held indefinitely see Part IV Under Section II Article 118 with the exception that instead of being released at the close of war we do the following.

Fourth, the illegal enemy combatants will be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity in an international court of law as at the end of WWII or we will maintain military tribunals as we were before.

Fifth, with people calling the Presidents recent statement on January 7th, 2010 "Presidential" giving him credit for taking resposnibilty for what happened, it takes more than words to fix the pervasive problems, that he now calls "systemic" and they became that way because he let them get that way by not taking it seriously.

Since this post is somewhat lengthly I have broken it into two parts. I have several more things to say and suggestions to make and will continue this in Part II to follow shortly. Some of this will be on how we can effectively protect ourselves and combat terrorism. Stay tuned.


House Bill Seeks Terrorist-Proof Chemicals

The House recently passed legislation giving the government the authority to force companies to replace chemicals that terrorists could use in attacks with safer alternatives.

Chemical-industry lobbyists say mandating substitutions in chemicals and manufacturing processes, as the House measure would do, could cause shortages of some products.

The Senate will be taking up a similar version of the legislation sometime next year.