return to ICG Spaces home    ICG Risk Blog    discussions    newsletters    login    

ICG Risk Blog - [ InfoT Public ]

Those oceans of difference seem to be around the Attorney General

  #

Revisiting More than oceans between the US and UK, it appears that the oceans are between the AG and other observers.

Intel is where you find it and the Diane Rehm Show on WAMU/PBS is one that continues to offer a good spectrum of topical reporting, although some of the news items can be found earlier on the internet. Still, today's interview on the Threat of Terrorism addressed a number of issues such as al Qaeda's targeting of Saudi Arabia second only to the US, al Qaeda's implacability (see Sageman), the inability to spark a broad Muslim Jihad despite bin Laden's tapping a "reservoir of discontent," and the very mixed messages on terrorism emanating from Bush administration officials, notably Justice and DHS.

Rehm's interviewees were:

  • Skip Brandon, former FBI deputy assistant director for international terrorism
  • Larry Johnson, international security consultant, former State head of counter-terrorism
  • John Parachini, RAND policy analyst specializing in terrorism and weapons proliferation

The conclusion of the discussion of the Justice/DHS breach was that this was another point in an "imperfect history" of poor federal, state, and local information sharing, where local police expect to have advanced notice as to content and operational guidance, but were surprised from DHS on down to the first responder "blue canaries." Nothing in the AG's press conference was new and some was rather aged, which along with the failure to raise the threat warning to Orange, left most listeners perplexed. That must have been doubly so for Tom Ridge who was allowed to hold a conference immediately prior with a more sanguine message.

Brandon, Johnson, and Parachini were uniform in their condemnation of the AG, calling his actions in turn 'childish, unprofessional, deliberate, a petty issue of turf, and a matter of politics.' All three noted that the Administration had been expected to release its "conservative lightning rod" prior to the November election, but in an administration that does not appear to terminate its senior members, the calls to remove the AG will cause the Administration to rally around the AG and "make it less likely" that he will be replaced.

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Infrastructure Defense Public  Terrorism Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

More COTS Cruise Missiles

  #

[Editor's note: See parts one and two of "Building a COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf Technology) cruise missile" as well as COTS cruise missiles get easier yet.]

From www.Gizmodo.net, more evidence of heavy payload COTS devices: While the scale model B-52 might be the largest, it's far from the only model airplane taking advantage of tiny jet engines for modelers. This Concorde model (with working subsonic nose tilt) is one of many models by German modeler Peter Michel, whose work include functional scale replicas of aircraft from the likes of Airbus and Boeing. Michel even sells kits, so with a few thousands dollars and some significant labor, such items can be built offline.

Humongoid B-52 Scale Replica [Gizmodo] This B-52 is a flying scale model powered by small turbine engines

B_52_d.jpg image

Flying Jet-Powered Scale Model Concorde

michel_concorde.jpg image

More pictures and movies at the ScaleRCHelis forum.
Read [ScaleRCHelis via BoingBoing]



InfoT Public  Infrastructure Defense Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

An American Bhopal by conventional means

  #

The inadvertent leak of methyl isocyanate (MIC) at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) plant in Bhopal, India , on 3 December, 1984, in which "approximately 3,800 persons died, 40 persons experienced permanent total disability, and 2,680 persons experienced permanent partial disability" is instructive in contemplating a chemical attack on US or allied soil.

If al Qaeda has difficulty in prepositioning or delivering a chemical weapon such as Sarin in sufficient quantity to affect a mass casualty attack, they can turn to chemicals already in situ in a wide variety of processing plants from chorine for water decontamination to industrial processes to storage facilities.

Commercial stocks or processing involving Chlorine and Anhydrous Ammonia are often close to populated areas or their adjacent industrial suburbs. The Texas City explosion showed that a shipload of fertilizer was quite effective, as would be an LNG tanker under certain circumstances. A very recent example was the fire at a BioLab warehouse of swimming pool supplies in Conyers, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, which sent huge plumes of Chlorine gas across the countryside and made firefighting difficult. Prevailing wind conditions were away from Atlanta this time.

The industrial suburbs of coastal New Jersey and the Houston to Baytown artery in Texas, to name a few, are replete with chemical plants that are poorly defended in terrorist terms. (Any tideside or coastal city will almost certainly have a series of chemical plants along its waterfront.) Al Qaeda conducts meticulous preoperational research and surveillance. It is all too easy to identify one or more 'chemically augmented targets' (and I use the plural as al Qaeda likes redundancy) that can be lit up with a conventional explosive. All that is needed is to get a tanker truck or other conventional explosive into or adjacent to a key facility.  The two most recent Saudi attacks were carried out by simplistic tools and techniques, first against the Yanbu petrochemical complex and then fortified residential and office facilities in Khobar, both well guarded facilities. Al Qaeda does not need superhuman or hi-tech tools to affect its ends.

One can move down the scale to fumigants such as Vikane (Sulfuryl Fluoride) used to kill termites (in use when you see a home "tented" under plastic tarps). It is superb in confined spaces such as legitimate fumigation, a building's HVAC system, or a subway. If it did not dissipate so readily, Vikane would have more effect as exposure to high concentrations "causes excessive fluid in the lungs, pneumonia, and convulsions."

I trust that the FBI, state, and local police are using some form of prioritized vetting to check the backgrounds of those that work in such facilities, bring goods to and from the facilities, have access to the facilities, or demonstrate an abnormal curiosity in those facilities.

As I mentioned in an earlier note: "I also am of the opinion that there is not enough genuine asymmetrical threat analysis in all the agencies, FBI included. An example is the standard FBI security audit which is a qualitative analysis without a specific counterthreat analysis as opposed to a qualitative approach that moves forward into the shooters mission to identify them in their surveillance period."

Unless we can efficiently resolve this search, a vast number of 'pre-positioned' chemical targets await a target-rich season of political conventions, national holidays, a national election, and key state visits.

Bhopal Incident Site
Union Carbide Corporation

Attack Increases Doubts About Saudi Ability to Pump More Oil
By SIMON ROMERO
New York Times
May 31, 2004

Intense chemical blaze 'very difficult fire to fight'
Tuesday, May 25, 2004 Posted: 7:47 PM EDT (2347 GMT)
CNN

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Infrastructure Defense Public  Terrorism Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

The explosive second shoe of Abu Ghraib has yet to drop

  #

Marc Sageman has a counter-opinion to the ongoing "sinking US reputation" as the condemnation of the (known) excesses of Abu Ghraib continue to mount, noting that Arab opinion of the US could sink no lower and that the Abu Ghraib revelations were merely further proof to American perfidy. Yet I feel that this is only the first shoe. The second shoe is the public, photographed violation of Arab women. Given the protected, even sheltered position of women in Arab culture and the fatal retributions that occur when their honor is sullied, we in the US cannot understand the feudal response of Arab males to these transgressions. Mind you, the women assaulted want no part of being laid bare in public as they become impossible material for marriage and bring incredible stain upon their family, but the images, already seen by US legislators in private, may yet get out.

Juan Cole's note, Abuse of Women Detainees, on 26 May does not seem to have been picked up by US media, yet he cites, if you care to look, a very public article, Abu Ghraib’s Women Prisoners, in the admittedly pro-Islamic PakNews which states that women were detained and violated but not because of what they had done but for their relationship to potential resisters:

"The women appear to have been arrested - not because of anything they have done, but merely because of who they are married to, and their potential intelligence value. US officials have previously acknowledged detaining Iraqi women in the hope of convincing male relatives to provide information; when US soldiers raid a house and fail to find a male suspect, they will frequently take away his wife or daughter instead."

Cole, a very balanced observer, seconds that by noting: The fact is, few were suspected of having themselves committed a crime or an act of insurgency. Rather, they were taken as hostages or potential informants because their husbands or sons were wanted by the US military.

Cole further notes that "the abuse of women was designed to take advantage of Muslim and Arab ideas concerning female honor." If that is correct, then it shows that someone read the 'front half' of Patai's The Arab Mind, but not latter half, such as the collective, extended family's drive to atone for the smear upon honor. Cole believes that the "reaction in the Muslim world will be explosive" when the female imagery leak.

Note that while Patai has his detractors, I have seen the book given to Arabs by Arabs in an effort to deal with social issues that cannot be challenged within the culture.  Much of it also fits the culture that I witnessed while in residence there.

While a generation of Arabs are estranged from the US, it doesn't mean that a parallel generation of Americans should remain ignorant of Greater Arabia and should not start to architect a slow rapprochement. Start with Taking Arabs Seriously.

Abuse of Women Detainees
Juan Cole
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Abu Ghraib’s Women Prisoners
Khilafah.com Journal Updated on 2004-05-26 13:37:22
PakNews, Pakistan

Taking Arabs Seriously
By Marc Lynch
Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Strategic Risk Public  Terrorism Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

Resolving the dog's dinner of homeland security data sharing and analysis

  #

You should have this five page Homeland Security Reorganization Plan on screen as you read as it will help drive home the enormity of the US C4IR (Command Control Communication Computer Intelligence Recognition) within government charged with homeland security matters. (Go here for the importance of C4IR.) The doc contains:

  • Organization of Department of Homeland Security (White House)
  • Senate budget committee view (showing Senate confirmed, New, Transferred, and Distinct agencies)
  • Anticipated DHS Agency Absorption as of 6 June 2002 (Units to be absorbed and Powers to be assumed)
  • Major Cabinet Departments and Agencies involved in Homeland security as of 6 June, 2002 (showing Borders, Emergency Response, CIP, WMD, and Special Production)
  • Government Structure after DHS as of 6 June (After creation of new departments)

Reviewing these pages leaves one with little doubt over the opportunities for turf control if not definition, authority assertion in core and gray areas (who cares what the org chart says if you can exert control), confusion over new and transferred responsibilities, loss of institutional knowledge due to transfers and reassignments, simple communication (who to contact and whom to trust as both willing and knowledgeable), and incompatible computer systems and databases.

Leaving aside the disruption of outright "land grabs" such as just occurred between Justice and DHS over the "fright bump" of a summer attack without an accompanying threat elevation, there is the technical matter of an interested analyst "on the hunt" being able to affect timely access of data within these many organizations and so gather enough data to warrant elevation to higher authority for interagency action. (The pre 11 September landscape is littered, for example, with FBI agents having to give up their hunch in the face of no reinforcing info.)

As a fusion analyst (collection, analysis, and presentation of combined multi-sensor/source data), I appreciate the need to integrate these data chimneys so as to allow search and "drill down." Enter the TTIC ("tee-tick") portal of the Terrorism Threat Integration Center that now allows real-time access to "14 separate government information networks, including some CIA and FBI sources. Again speaking as an analyst, data mining or predictive analytics is absolutely essential for terrorist interdiction, thus I am at the flipside of Dataveillance is reborn from data mining: parts of TIA return.

Spooks, Sleuths, and Data Sharing points up the problems of requisite security access, compartmentalization, secure data channels out to first responders where it is often a life or death matter (theirs and the public's), access to individual private data, allowing access to federal/state and other private contractors, and overcoming corporate resistance to data sharing (based on competition and litigation grounds). See Cooptation of commercial data warehouse firms by TIA.

There are no easy answers here, but the threat is real. The problem is how real where and when, and how to prioritize it. It is my assumption that we have not learned to mine what we have in place, yet we race to absorb more without the analysis tools to exploit out to the first responder or warfighter.

Homeland Security Reorganization Plan
US Customs & Border Protection

Spooks, Sleuths, and Data Sharing
MAY 25, 2004
SPECIAL REPORT: HOMELAND SECURITY
By Alex Salkever, Technology editor for BusinessWeek Online

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Infrastructure Defense Public  Strategic Risk Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

Dataveillance is reborn from data mining: parts of TIA return

  #

Senator Akaka asked the GAO to survey federal data mining systems and activities by identifying "planned and operational federal data mining efforts and describe their characteristics." GAO found that 52 of 128 federal agencies and departments (CIA and NSA did not respond to GAO's inquiry) are using, or are planning to use, data mining. Of 199 identified mining efforts, 131 are operational and 68 are planned. Of those 199 data mining efforts, 54 used private-sector data that could include a vast array of corporate data and other data sets in private hands that go far beyond credit card data.

The six most common data mining goals across all departments were to:

  • Improve service or performance
  • Detect fraud, waste, and abuse
  • Analyze scientific and research information
  • Manage human resources
  • Detect criminal activities or patterns
  • Analyze intelligence and detect terrorist activities

The focus of each department varied: DoD led on improving service or performance, managing human resources, and analyzing intelligence and detecting terrorist activities; DoE (Education) led in detecting fraud, waste, and abuse, NASA led in analyzing scientific and research information, while detecting criminal activities or patterns was widely distributed.

Of the 54 using private-sector data , four, and possibly more, appear to reconstitute significant parts of Poindexter's discredited Total Information Awareness (TIA) Program which had been renamed Terrorist Information Awareness (remaining TIA) Program in May 2003 before it was ostensibly quashed.

It should be remembered that DARPA's Information Awareness Office (IAO) had many projects beyond TIA, given its mission to "imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness":

  • Effective Affordable Reusable Speech-to-text (EARS) - automated speech-to-text transcription
  • Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP)
  • Genisys - database to be implemented as the info center for all IAO activities
  • Genoa/Genoa II - structured decision-making argumentation for Genisys and other data
  • Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID) - automated biometric identification to detect, recognize and identify humans at a distance
  • Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization (TIDES) - was to be integrated into TIA
  • Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE) - automation to predict terrorist attacks and predictive indicators based on terrorist motivations

In whole or in part, data mining has suffered disappointed expectations and very bad press and so like old TIA became a new TIA, data mining is reemerging as predictive analytics, using next generation technology and less aggressive expectations.

Watchdog groups are especially concerned about four of the programs that constitute a "dragnet" or dataveillance, a surveillance of large groups of people, on citizen and terrorist alike. All are operational and all use personal information, private sector data, and other agency data:

  • Verity K2 Enterprise (DIA) - Identify foreign terrorists or US citizens connected to foreign terrorism activities
  • PATHFINDER (DIA) - Analyst tool to rapidly analyze government and private sector databases
  • Analyst Notebook I2 (DHS) - Correlate events and people to specific information
  • Case Management Data Mart (DHS) - Manage law enforcement cases, including Customs cases; reviews case loads, status, and case relationships

I find it interesting that a number of these apps rise from commercial CRM (Customer relationship management), "a comprehensive approach which provides seamless integration of every area of business that touches the customer - namely marketing, sales, customer service and field support-through the integration of people, process and technology, taking advantage of the revolutionary impact of the Internet."

DATA MINING: Federal Efforts Cover a Wide Range of Uses
GAO-04-548
May 2004

Data Mining is Dead - Long Live Predictive Analytics!
Lou Agosta
Forrester Research
October 30, 2003

Information Technology and Dataveillance
Roger Clarke
Principal, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra
Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, Australian National University
Version of November 1987

Gordon Housworth

 



InfoT Public  Infrastructure Defense Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

A systems analysis of Muslim terrorist organizations

  #

I am following the work of Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and analyst of terrorist organizations and find much merit and base research. Sageman identifies four ideological strategies of Arab terrorist for returning Islam to prominence by returning to the "practices of the devout ancestors (salaf):

  • Defense of the faith when sanctioned by fatwa (legal opinion) as a personal obligation for all Muslims
  • The call to Islam (dawa), peaceful preaching that avoids publicity and politics
  • Salafi jihad that brands present Muslim societies and there leaders as in a barbaric state of ignorance (jahiliyya) and so must be destroyed
  • Global Salafi Jihad that confronts the "far enemy" (the West, US, and Israel) before attacking the "near enemy" that survives on Western aid

Al Qaeda is "loose, fuzzy [with] no real boundaries" and there is great local initiative. While it is true that much of the pre-11 September 2001 leadership has been killed or taken into custody, the 2004 leadership has been reconstituted, is intact, and is much more aggressive. While the original leadership took "several years of planning [and] meticulous preparation" for an event, the present leadership is less well funded and prone to immediate action. Likewise membership is topped up as the gate is "not recruitment but selection," with only about 15% of those applying being accepted. This younger membership is "more willing to die," if that seems possible.

Sageman's study of Arabic sources and 172 jihadist biographic analyses "demonstrate that there is little evidence for the traditional poverty, trauma, madness, and ignorance theses of terrorism. The terrorist profiles showed a preponderance of "solid upper or middle class backgrounds, age under thirty, caring intact families, religiousness as children, relatively good education, married with children, had "good occupational training," but no mental illness or pathology to violence.

Sageman shows that "social bonds predated ideological commitment and inspired alienated young Muslims to join the jihad. These men formed dense social networks, isolated from society, and were transformed into fanatics yearning for martyrdom and eager to kill. Technological advances such as satellite telephone influenced the growth of this movement. [It] is the shape and dynamics of these terrorist networks that determine their survivability, flexibility, and success."

His principal finding was that the "future terrorists felt isolated, lonely and emotionally alienated [otherwise] there was no set of identifying characteristics. As for operations on US soil, I found it surprising that he found no evidence of any comprehensive recruitment drive [by al Qaeda]" in the US. He went further to note that al Qaeda was "without a large pool of members able to operate clandestinely in the U.S., and thus limited in its ability to wage war on U.S. soil. Its only effort to remedy this weakness was to identify trainees already in Afghan training camps, who could travel to the U.S. with a Saudi, European or American passport."

I very much like his analysis of the group's organization as a "scale free network" (nodes clustered around large hubs) that makes it robust and resistant to chance or random attack, but leaves it vulnerable to attack against its hubs, "If the hubs are destroyed, the system breaks down into isolated nodes. The jihad will be incapable of mounting sophisticated large scale operations like the 9/11 attacks and be reduced to small attacks by singletons."

His analysis of Zarqawi's hub points out that it is a separate terror group likely a rival to bin Laden's. "He's a new generation of leader who's stepped in and filled the void left by the arrests and deaths of many of the important al-Qaida figures. He's been able to coalesce around him a lot of the aggressive young people in the movement." (It would appear that he "never swore loyalty to bin Laden" and claims "credit in the name of [his group] al-Tawhid" (Unity). The murder of Berg may well be less a matter of revenge than a demonstration of personal power. The more I read of al-Zarqawi, the more I see him as a very powerful player. I am not alone in observing that given his active scope of TransEuro-Arab operations, that we must have poor intelligence indeed in not being able to locate him.

Thus it is no surprise that Sageman's priority recommendation is the "extensive penetration of the jihad' and that the "best bet for penetration lies in recruitment from the pool of those, who went through the training but decided not to join the jihad."

And lest we recreate the cultural insensitivities of Abu Ghraib, he rightly notes that interacting with Muslim communities here and abroad "requires skill and cultural sensitivity," that current heavy handed law enforcement only antagonizes US Muslim communities, and urges that the US raise a group of case officers capable of turning and managing such a group of agents.

Statement of Marc Sageman to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
Third public hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
July 9, 2003

Emerging leader among terrorists
Zarqawi's web 'rivals bin Laden'
By Scott Shane
Sun National Staff
The Baltimore Sun
May 13, 2004

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Terrorism Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

More than oceans between the US and UK

  #

It is interesting to read the US and UK reporting on a possible al Qaeda attack on US soil in the summer to presidential election period. The reporting in the NY Times and the Washington Post were reasonably similar, but BBC News (audio) is reporting an even stronger version of the BBCNEWS print edition in challenging the timing of the announcement in a period of low administration ratings without an expecting heightening of the alert status from yellow to orange.

The beeb quotes Kerry at relative length, noting in part that today's announcement was "suspicious in an election year, at a time when Mr Bush's opinion poll ratings are falling." There are undoubtedly some in the US that hold a similar opinion but it has yet to surface in our hightstreet press. And the UK are our allies.

Yes, it is possible that al Qaeda wants to repeat its presumed success in Spain here in the US, but I submit that an attack on US soil assists, rather than detracts from, a sitting president. Still, there certainly are targets abounding here in the summer and election period. But I am also troubled by the lack of a move to orange if indeed the risk is so great. I am driven to ask when are we to learn from our mistakes?

Speaking of learning from our mistakes, I note that 9/11 Commission "may fail to produce a unanimous final report" by its 26 July deadline and so resort to separate majority and minority reports. The sticking points seem to devolve around restructuring recommendations of our intel, investigative, and law-enforcement agencies, many of which are said to be "contentious." 

The only comfort that I can take from this is that a Republican commission member, Slade Gorton, noted that "the tentative debates have no split on partisan lines by any stretch of the imagination." On reflection, contentious may not be such a bad thing as it may indicate that the commission is trying to stretch itself rather than offering up a bit of embroidery. Now it will boil down to where unanimity can be obtained:

The narrative history of US intel and enforcement failures, substantive options that have a high majority or unanimity, and those options that demand a dissenting minority opinion. Whatever the commission's recommendations, it is unlikely to alter the current summer threat, if it is correct, as the support and initial scouting teams are already active. The shooters cannot be far behind.

Intelligence Indicates Al Qaeda Nearing Attack, Ashcroft Says
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 26, 2004
New York Times

U.S. Warns of Al Qaeda Threat During Summer
Ridge Cites a 'Continuous Stream of Reporting'
By Susan Schmidt and Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 27, 2004; 10:33 AM

US warns al-Qaeda set to attack
Credible intelligence from multiple sources indicates al-Qaeda is planning an attack on America in the coming months, US security chiefs have warned.
BBC NEWS
Published: 2004/05/26 20:58:33 GMT

9/11 Panel May Not Reach Unanimity on Final Report
By PHILIP SHENON
May 26, 2004
New York Times

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Infrastructure Defense Public  Terrorism Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

Value from the fringe: "committed" collectors and investigators

  #

Those familiar with our analytic work know that we treasure good "time sequences" of properly described events as a means of pattern detection, evidence of trend growth or attenuation, changes in underlying assumptions, and the emergence of new players or vulnerabilities. As it usually falls to us to build these time sequences, I am pleased when we find them in the wild.

As a good sequence requires significant research to make it viable, or for that matter any effort or cause not tracked by the shifting "lens of the news" of the major trade and popular press, I have learned to look to the "committed," i.e., those who have a passion to search out and document what would be obscure or tedious work for the rest of us. Oxfam, ACLU, SPLC, FAS, and various UN relief agencies are good examples of what I call "committed" investigators.

It is also important to note that you might not place the same interpretation on the events in a sequence compiled by a committed group, or agree with the conclusions and recommended action items of the sequence. What is important is to judge the collection process, i.e., what gets captured from what source, what gets excluded, any consistency in the data which would indicate bias, and the accuracy of each individual datum in the sequence. Even a partial sequence in whole or in part can often make a good starting point for building one's own sequence.

One such committed collector is the Center for Cooperative Research, which in its plea for support notes that it takes in less $300 per month. Such collection is driven by a passion greater than money.

In the sense of full disclosure, the Cooperative Research website presently consists of four projects: the Complete 911 Timeline, the Inquiry into the Decision to Invade Iraq, the Inquiry into the Removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and the History of US Interventions. (Remember, it is not a requirement that you agree with the conclusions or the title. It is what you can do with its data.)

Cooperative Research has a great number of timelines and the one that has my interest at the moment is one of four under the group titled US intelligence, the sequence titled Advance information on kind of attack.

Paul Thompson has compiled 118 events from 1993 to September 2002 that leave me with a sinking feeling of missed opportunities and structural collection and dissemination flaws. One learns, for example, that the 11 September hijackers were not so tight lipped or unaware of their fate as some other news items would have it.

It is worth a read. And let there be more committed collectors.

Center for Cooperative Research

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Infrastructure Defense Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

Appalling failures in our Arabic & Muslim language translations

  #

The story of Sibel Dinez Edmonds, a Turkish-American translator speaking Azerbaijani, Farsi (Persian or Iranian), Turkish and English, has been in and out of the news at a very low level here in the US since she was fired by the FBI after reporting her concerns and filed a whistleblower suite. That nonexistent coverage is in stark contrast to the rising interest in her plight in the overseas press. I had flagged two of the articles related to Edmonds' patch, the first having to do with the shortage of Arabic speakers that has plagued the intelligence community in the wake of 11 September and the threefold rise in FISA wiretaps, and the second having to do with the false, omissive, and delayed 'translations' performed by contract, native Arab translators hired in, often without proper security checks or proficiency checks.

The greater news is Edmonds charge that "documents weren't translated [at the FBI's language division] because the division was riddled with incompetence and corruption" and that she provides contradiction to the statements of "senior Bush Administration figures that they had no prior warning of the attacks in 2001 on New York and Washington," and furthermore, did appear to not take seriously the danger of non-state actors.

While Edmonds has testified in closed session before the 9/11 Commission, DoJ "has taken the unusual step of retroactively classifying information it gave to Congress nearly two years ago regarding [Edmond's charge] that the bureau had missed critical terrorist warnings." Justice has also attempted to invoke a "state secrets privilege" to block her whistleblower suit even though it appears that 1953 decision of United States v. Reynolds, that gave rise to the precedent "for the executive branch to assert that there are "military matters which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged." not even to a federal court" was " based on a fraudulent factual foundation." (It would appear that United States v. Reynolds is being used with "abandon" by Justice for many issues besides Edmonds.)

A superb program on journalism, On the Media, has a 21 May story Don't Shoot the Translator that offers some unsettling opinions as to why the US has not touched Edmonds story to the degree it deserves.
 
I submit that it is well worth your effort to follow up these links. You will know more about this structural and intelligence flaw, not to mention the personal miscarriage against Edmonds, than most who follow the highstreet papers.

Sept. 11 Allegations Lost in Translation
By Jefferson Morley
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, April 8, 2004; 9:51 AM

Lost in Translation
The Feds listen in on terrorists every day. Too often they can’t understand a word they hear
By Daniel Klaidman and Michael Isikoff
Newsweek
Updated: 1:45 p.m. ET Oct. 30, 2003

Arab translators cheered Sept. 11
FBI whistleblower: 'Questions of loyalty' taint interpretation of al-Qaida chatter
Posted: January 7, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Paul Sperry
WorldNetDaily.com

GOVT DENIES FRAUD IN 1953 STATE SECRETS RULING
SECRECY NEWS
Volume 2004, Issue No. 8
January 26, 2004

Gordon Housworth



InfoT Public  Strategic Risk Public  Terrorism Public  

discussion

  discuss this article

Prev 51  [52]  53  54  55  56  57  58  59  60  61  62  63  64  65  66  67  68  Next

You are on page 52
A total of 68 pages are available.

Items 511-520 of 673.

Pages: [1 - 25] [26 - 50] [51 - 68]


<<  |  August 2019  |  >>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
1234567
view our rss feed