David Coleman Headley, whose scouting missions were central to the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, was sentenced to 35 years in prison today.
According to the AP, one American woman injured during the attacks that killed 160 people testified that because of Coleman, she knew the “sound of life leaving a 13-year-old child.”
“I don’t have any faith in Mr. Headley when he says he’s a changed person and believes in the American way of life,” US District Judge Harry Leinenweber said before handing down the sentence.
The U.S. government argued that life in prison was appropriate for Coleman, but they only sought 30 to 35 years in prison because Headley cooperated.
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is leading a highly-charged hearing this morning in which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, providing a preview of what will likely be a new, powerful role for Menendez.
Menendez, a Democrat, is presiding over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in place of Sen. John Kerry, the panel’s chairman who is expected to soon be confirmed as Clinton’s replacement as Secretary of State. Once that happens, Menendez is expected to become chairman, giving him control of an influential committee that oversees how the Obama administration interacts with the rest of the world.
This long-anticipated hearing on the Sept. 11 attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi, delayed when Clinton fainted and suffered a concussion, is an early example of the kind of issue Menendez will be leading debate on as chairman.
The hearing room is packed with observers and news agencies from the United States and abroad. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, also a Democrat, also sits on the committee.
Four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens, died in the attacks.
Republicans have strongly questioned the Obama administration’s response, particularly comments from U.N. ambassador Susan Rice that at one point attributed the attacks to a spontaneous demonstration.
In an era of terrorist plots and WMD proliferation, this news may come as a slight relief: Among countries with the highest risk of terrorist attacks, the United States ranks “relatively low,” according to a new study.
The University of Maryland collected data on 104,000 instances of terrorism in 158 nations, and ranked the likelihood of each country witnessing a terrorist attack within its borders.
Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan earn the top positions. The U.S. slides in at No. 41.
“In global terms, this is a relatively low level of activity,” according to the study, first reported by The Washington Times .
[REPORT: DHS Spent Money on Zombie Simulation]
“North America is the least-likely region to be involved in a terrorist attack, though this is not the general impression among many of its residents,” says Steve Killelea with the Institute for Economics and Peace, which published the study using statistics and analysis from the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism .
he leader of Hamas said Monday it was up to Israel to end the new conflict it had started, adding that a “land war” would cost Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the election.
“[Netanyahu] can do it, but he knows that it will not be a picnic and that it could be his political death and cost him the elections,” Khaled Meshaal, exiled leader of Hamas, told a news conference in Cairo.
“Whoever started the war must end it,” Meshaal said, adding that Netanyahu, who faces an election in January, had asked for a truce, an assertion a senior Israeli official described as untrue.
For its part, Israel said that while it was prepared to step up its offensive by sending in troops, it preferred a diplomatic solution that would end Palestinian rocket fire.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon has said that “if there is quiet in the south and no rockets and missiles are fired at Israel’s citizens, nor terrorist attacks engineered from the Gaza Strip, we will not attack.”
According to a poll by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, 84 percent of Israelis supported the current Gaza assault, but only 30 percent wanted an invasion, while 19 percent wanted their government to work on securing a truce soon.
Acting as a mediator, Egypt said Monday that a deal for a truce to end the fighting could be close, as Israel bombed dozens of suspected guerrilla sites in the densely populated Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in its campaign to quell militant rocket fire menacing nearly half of Israel’s population.
What Foreign Terrorism?
Kudos again to the FBI.
A Bangladeshi man who allegedly told a government informant that he sought to wage ‘jihad’ was indicted on two charges related to a plot to bomb the New York Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, according to the indictment unsealed today in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.
He was arrested in October as part of a sting operation in which government agents helped him plot the would-be attack by supplying him with fake explosives, according to court papers.
Authorities took Nafis into custody after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb at the bank, located at 33 Liberty Street, just a few blocks from the site of the former twin towers at the World Trade Center, which were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that the United States, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, wrongly imprisoned an American under a law designed to keep trial witnesses from fleeing and that since there was evidence that the government may have willfully misused the law against him, his case should go to trial.
In an interview in 2004, Mr. Kidd called his 16 days in prison “the most horrible, disgraceful, degrading moment in my life.”
Judge Edward J. Lodge, who was appointed by President George Bush, issued his rulings late on Thursday in the longstanding case of Abdullah al-Kidd, an American who was seized at an airport in 2003, imprisoned for 16 days, repeatedly strip-searched and left naked in his cell. The Justice Department had sought to have his trial request summarily dismissed and denied having misused the law in detaining him.
Mr. Kidd’s lawyer, Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union, welcomed the ruling, saying, “It will finally put the government on trial for its post-Sept. 11 practices.”
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. The department could appeal the decision or seek a settlement with Mr. Kidd.
Mr. Kidd, who was born Lavoni T. Kidd and was a star football player at the University of Idaho before converting to Islam and changing his name, was detained under the argument that he was needed as a witness against a former classmate, Sami Omar al-Hussayen. But Mr. Kidd was never called in that case and he has accused the government of using it as a pretext to hold and question him on suspicion of terrorism.
The U.S. economy is stuck in the doldrums, but the intelligence business in America is booming. The 17 organizations that today comprise the U.S. intelligence community are all, to one degree or another, building new multimillion-dollar headquarters buildings and operational facilities all over the greater Washington metropolitan area despite recent budget cuts.
For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began construction last year on a brand-new headquarters complex on the grounds of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Anacostia, which formerly was a federally run psychiatric facility. When completed sometime in 2017, DHS intends to consolidate 40 of its offices that are currently spread throughout the Washington region in the new complex, including its own intelligence component and those of its subordinate agencies, like the intelligence staff of the U.S. Coast Guard.
On a per capita basis, there are more spies working in and around the Beltway than anywhere else in the world. Almost half of the 200,000 men and women who belong to the U.S. intelligence community work in Washington, as do several thousand foreign intelligence officers who operate openly from dozens of embassies and international organizations in the U.S. capital, trawling the landscape for secrets.
According to a 2001 report prepared by the General Services Administration (GSA), which owns or leases all U.S. government facilities, as of 9/11 the CIA had offices in 29 facilities spread throughout the District of Columbia, northern Virginia, and southern Maryland.* This did not include over a dozen covert safe houses, training facilities, and communications centers, as well as several large heavily guarded warehouses inside the GSA Stores Depot in Franconia, Virginia, where the agency stored its classified files, equipment, and supplies. And that was before the terrorist attacks that dramatically increased the intelligence community’s post-Cold War role.
Eleven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories about that day dominate Muslim public opinion. Although al-Qaeda routinely brags about its “achievement,” huge majorities in major Muslim countries — 75 percent of Egyptians, 73 percent of Turks — still deny that Arabs carried out the attacks, as a Pew study reported in July 2011. This denial of history has policy relevance for the United States: Mass rejection of the facts of 9/11 undermines U.S. global counterterrorism efforts. Persuading Muslims to set the historical record straight is a precondition of any successful counterterror strategy.
President Obama rightly focused on this from his earliest days in office. In his 2009 Cairo address, the president denounced 9/11 revisionism in no uncertain terms. “I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11,” he said. “But let us be clear: Al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. . . . These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.”
This month’s U.N. General Assembly meeting provides a critical test for the president’s commitment to combat 9/11 revisionism. The star of the sessions is likely to be Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s new president. Obama reportedly plans to meet with Morsi, the popularly elected leader of the Arab world’s most powerful and populous state. But Morsi, a longtime leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, embraces some of the most vile conspiracy theories about 9/11.
Morsi has not been shy about airing his odious views. In a May 2010 interview with Brookings Institution scholar Shadi Hamid, Morsi dismissed al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the attacks. “When you come and tell me that the plane hit the tower like a knife in butter, you are insulting us,” Hamid reported Morsi as saying. “How did the plane cut through the steel like this? Something must have happened from the inside. It’s impossible.” Similarly, in 2007, Morsi reportedly declared that the United States “has never presented any evidences on the identity of those who committed that incident.” In 2008, he called for a “huge scientific conference” to analyze “what caused the attack against a massive structure like the two towers.”
Eleven years after the 9/11 attacks, President Obama says the country has emerged stronger, safer and more resilient.
“As painful as this day is and always will be, it leaves us with a lesson: that no single event can ever destroy who we are, no act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for,” the president said at a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon. “Instead, we recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.”
Recalling a day “that began like so many others,” the president said, “It is easy for those of us who lived through that day to close our eyes and to find ourselves back there and back here, back when grief crashed over us like an awful wave, when Americans everywhere held each other tight, seeking the reassurance that the world we knew wasn’t crumbling under our feet.”
Since the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, the president said America has “dealt a crippling blow to the organization that brought evil to our shores.”
Those looking for answers in the wake of Sunday’s shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., might recall the words of the African American poet Langston Hughes: “I swear to the Lord I still can’t see why democracy means everybody but me.”
Mistaken for Muslims because of their turbans and beards, Sikhs have repeatedly emerged as a target of bigots intent on revenge for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although the monstrosity of a few days ago is, thankfully, rare, the lack of understanding that generated it is all too familiar.
Being a Sikh in the United States has never been easy. Although Sikhism is the world’s fifth-largest religion, with about 500,000 followers in the United States, Sikh children are bullied and taunted because of their head coverings. When I was in elementary school in the 1980s, I was regularly shoved into the girls’ bathroom because of my long hair. I recall lying face down on the floor with my hair unfurled, wondering when the senseless harassment would stop.
For many of us, the harassment hasn’t stopped, and 9/11 only made it worse. When I worked as a paralegal in New York in the years immediately after the attacks, I was repeatedly singled out by court officers and asked for photo identification. My colleagues would enter courtrooms without a hitch. Only three weeks ago, a man in West Virginia stared me down and refused to ride in the same elevator.