CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* SECRET // NO FORN: GAO should obtain the document embodying what Al-Hadrami, in charge of operations in Lahore, told Sharqawi, in charge of operations in Karachi, about the individuals suspected of being responsible for the 2001 anthrax in the United States. (IIR 6 034 0040 07)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 30, 2013

Screen shot 2013-05-30 at 6.54.21 AM

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6 Responses to “* SECRET // NO FORN: GAO should obtain the document embodying what Al-Hadrami, in charge of operations in Lahore, told Sharqawi, in charge of operations in Karachi, about the individuals suspected of being responsible for the 2001 anthrax in the United States. (IIR 6 034 0040 07)”

  1. DXer said

    New Guantanamo hearings limit media, NGO access
    By BEN FOX, Associated Press | January 24, 2014 | Updated: January 25, 2014 3:26am

    MIAMI (AP) — Some prisoners at Guantanamo are getting an opportunity to plead for their release, but journalists and observers from human rights groups won’t get to hear them in what critics say is a break from past practice at the U.S. base in Cuba.

    The Department of Defense is restricting access to a series of hearings that start Tuesday, requiring reporters and observers from non-governmental organizations to view the proceedings only by video link from Washington. They also will not be able to listen when prisoners held for more than a decade without charge address a committee known as the Periodic Review Board that will decide whether they can be sent back to their homeland or another country.

    The Pentagon, which says it must impose restrictions for security reasons, says it will release a transcript of what the prisoner tells the board after the hearing. But, in a recently released memo, it notes that the transcript may be redacted or altered.

    Neither observers, nor prisoners, will be permitted to hear the classified portion of the session.

    Lawyers for human rights groups and media organizations, including The Associated Press, have been pressing for complete access to the non-classified portion, arguing that barring outside observers undermines the credibility of the proceedings.

    “The detainee explaining why he doesn’t pose a risk, why he should go home, that seems to be the whole point of the proceeding and we won’t get to see it,” said Andrea Prasow, an attorney with Human Rights Watch. “I think that’s pretty outrageous.”

    ***

    Critics note that outside observers have been allowed to hear what prisoners have to say during previous military review boards convened in both Afghanistan and Guantanamo. At the base in Cuba, men appearing at hearings and before the war crimes tribunals over the years have proclaimed their innocence, denounced their detention and alleged abuse by their captors.

    “It’s a significant new restriction on the level of transparency that has been allowed until now,” said David A. Schulz, a lawyer for a coalition of 14 media organizations. “You could argue that because of the extraordinary nature of the situation that it’s even more important that there be maximum transparency.”

    Another issue raised by critics is how much the six-member Periodic Review Board will rely on information that will never be disclosed to the public. “If the bulk of the evidence against the detainee is classified, then there won’t be much to see and we’re all in a position, once again, of being asked to trust the government that it’s doing the right thing,” said Daphne Eviatar, an attorney with Human Rights First.

    ***

    The next PRB, the first in which outside observers will be allowed, is Tuesday, and will be for Abdel Malik al-Rahabi, a Yemeni who was among about 30 Arab fighters detained on suspicion of serving as bodyguards toOsama bin Laden.

    • DXer said

      Transparency is important on this issue given the importance of the ongoing public policy debate.

      http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/0/page/13/

      Marc Thiessen: Okay. I want you to think back to that time. I want you to think back to the scenes of burning rubble. I want you to think back to the shock that you felt at the ability of the terrorists to penetrate our defenses and launch such an attack like that in our midst. And the questions we were all asking. Who had attacked us? What do they want? Were there more attacks coming? If I had told you back then that we would go almost a decade without another terrorist attack, who would have believed me?

      Very few, I think, a few. Most of thought it was going to be the first of many attacks. I was in the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001. I was blessed not to be not at the point of impact, but I was a few corridors down and I remember feeling the building shudder; I remember the smell of the smoke in the hallways. And the one thing I remember very distinctly is that the alarms never went off, the evacuation alarms. We all just sort of filed out of the building and went on out to the lawn and looked back at the broken and burning Pentagon.

      But in the months that followed, the alarms went off a bunch of times as false reports of impending attacks, planes that were headed our way kept coming in. And every time, the whole building, we would all evacuate and go out on the lawn and look up at the sky, waiting for the attack that never came. Why did that attack never come? I would submit to you there are only two possibilities. Either the terrorists lost interest in attacking us again, or we found out what their plans were and stopped them from carrying them out.

      Mike Hayden and I will argue tonight that the latter is the case. We will argue that the reason that attack did not happen is because we abandoned the law enforcement approach to terrorism that failed to stop the 1992 World Trade Center bombing, that failed to stop the attack on the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, that failed to stop the attack on the USS Cole, that failed to stop the attacks of 9/11. That we abandoned that approach and began to treat terrorists as enemy combatants and not criminals.

      In those early days after 9/11, we knew almost nothing about the enemy who had attacked us. We did not know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11. He wasn’t even on our charts. And we didn’t know who his accomplices were. And unbeknownst to us, there were two terrorist networks out there, at large, planning new attacks. The KSM network that had planned and carried out 9/11, and the Hambali network which was a Southeast Asian terrorist that KSM had organized because he knew we’d be on the lookout for Arab men.

      And those terror networks were in the advanced stages of planning a series of attacks including a plot to blow up high-rise apartment buildings in the United States using natural gas, a plot to repeat 9/11 in Europe by flying airplanes into Heathrow Airport in downtown London, a plot to blow up the U.S. consulate in Karachi and western residences in Karachi, an al-Qaeda cell that was developing anthrax for attacks inside the United States and a cell of southeast Asians who KSM had tasked to fly an airplane into the tallest building in the west coast, the Library Tower in Los Angeles. We did not know any of this, not a word. We didn’t know who those people were, what they had planned. And then we started capturing terrorists. Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, KSM, and they provided us information that allowed us to round up and dismantle both of those terror networks. [Editor’s Note: I need hardly explain that much of this is fiction — for example, the non-existent “plot to blow up high-rise apartment buildings in the United States using natural gas,” which supposedly involved the British resident Binyam Mohamed — and that only the most ferocious apologists for torture cling to the claim that the well-documented torture of Abu Zubaydah or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed produced any reliable information that actually foiled any plots].

      When KSM was captured and brought into custody, he was asked about upcoming attacks. You know what he said? I’ll tell you everything when I get to New York and see my lawyer. Ladies and gentlemen, our opponents tonight would have granted that request. And if we had listened to their advice, if we had told KSM you have the right to remain silent, there would be craters in the ground in Los Angeles and Karachi and London and other cities in this country because of the attack that we did not stop. This debate is about more than Miranda rights. The Obama administration had eliminated the CIA program, but at least they’re killing terrorists using predator drones, right? No, no, no say our opponents, that’s illegal too. The ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit a couple weeks ago saying that because terrorists outside of Iraq and Afghanistan are criminals and not enemy combatants, we cannot kill terrorists in those areas using predator drones. So if you believe that we should not kill terrorists using predator drones, then vote for them. The fact is that that program has killed half the al-Qaeda leadership and it is probably the only thing standing between us and another 9/11.

      – See more at: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/0/page/13/#sthash.NRMtyuKY.dpuf

  2. DXer said

    The White House is objecting to what Congress proposes to do about the NSA. The biggest waste of government effort, however, is when agencies operate without the best information. What was the point of the NSA’s collecting the information if GAO is then shared incorrect information developed by other means? … when what is shared by the FBI is baseless, unsupported conjecture contradicted by the withheld documents? NSA withholding is what led to 911.

    These choices are not easy.

    Show your support — and make your choice — by voting either for “Casablanca” or for “Rebecca and Kobe” ice cream photo at this link. It will take just two seconds. 1 click. No email or registration needed. Tell your friends. Free Gannons ice cream cones for all voters! The NSA General from Onondaga Hill (immediately above Gannons ice cream parlor) perhaps could encourage his grandchildren to vote.

    http://www.syracuse.com/photo-contests/index.ssf/2013/07/photo_contest_vote_for_you_scream_ice_cream.html

  3. DXer said

    Peter King: Prosecute reporters who publish classified info
    Originally published: June 12, 2013 8:26 PM
    Updated: June 12, 2013 8:41 PM

    By TOM BRUNE

    WASHINGTON — Reporters who published leaks of the National Security Agency’s classified surveillance programs last week should be prosecuted, Rep. Peter King said Wednesday.

    “It’s against the law to possess certain information and it is also against the law to reveal certain information,” King (R-Seaford) said in a telephone interview.
    King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, attacked the press as he called for prosecution of the leaker, former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden.
    King singled out reporter Glen Greenwald of the Guardian in London — which published a secret U.S. court order allowing the NSA to collect Americans’ telephone records — as a target for prosecution. King also would include Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who reported the NSA’s sweep of Internet data of foreigners.
    Gregg Leslie, legal defense director at Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said King’s indictments were “misguided.”
    Journalists must be able to seek information about what the government is up to, Leslie said. “Just asking about that information and reporting it to the American people should never be a crime,” he said.
    King called for prosecuting the press in 2006, when a newspaper revealed a secret U.S. surveillance of bank records internationally to find terrorists.
    At the time, he wrote a letter to the U.S. attorney general urging him to investigate The New York Times and other newspapers that reported the program.
    “This puts American lives at risk and they did it for no good reason,” King said in 2006. “No amendment is absolute, including the First Amendment.”

    King did say the weapon of prosecuting of press should be used very selectively, and only when lives are at risk.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  4. DXer said

    The connection Adnan El-Shukrijumah — where the person in Lahore knew who was responsible for the anthrax mailings — had not gone unnoticed.

    Palestinian Marwan Jabour had gone to Pakistan as a student. In May 2004, he was arrested by authorities in Lahore, Pakistan. “He was in touch with top Al Qaeda operational figures and was strongly linked to Al Qaeda chemical and biological efforts and had providedsome funding for an Al Qaeda [biological weapons] lab,” one anonymous counterintelligence official was quoted in the press as saying. After dinner with a Professor at Lahore University, some men on the street approached him and asked him about his friend, before forcing him into a car. The men also arrested the Professor and another friend who had joined them for dinner. The men took them to the local station of the Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence (”ISI”).

    In a statement issued June 16, 2004, the 9/11 Commission Staff concluded that “Al Qaeda had an ambitious biological weapons program and was making advances in its ability to produce anthrax prior to September 11. According to the 2004 statement by the Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet to the 911 Commission, al Qaeda’s ability to conduct an anthrax attack is one of the most immediate threats the United States is likely to face.” On August 9, 2004, it was announced that in the Spring of 2001, a man named El-Shukrijumah, also known as Jafar the Pilot, who was part of a “second wave,” had been casing New York City helicopters. Photographs from a seized computer disc included the controls and the locks on the door between the passengers and pilot. In a bulletin, the FBI noted that the surveillance might relate to a plot to disperse a chemical or biological weapon.

    • DXer said

      The Lahore connection took an early connection. In earlier cases, such as Batarfi’s mentor Amer Aziz, who treated Bin Laden in the Fall of 2001, the Pakistani government angered the Pakistani public when it sought to prosecute professionals for alleged ties to al-Qaeda. In the case of Amer Aziz, hundreds of doctors, engineers and lawyers took to the streets of Lahore to demand his release. In 2003, the Pakistanis relatedly shut off U.S. access to anthrax infiltrator Rauf, also in Lahore. By then, I had noticed the reporting of Rauf’s arrest in a local Pakistan news article about the raid of a compound of doctors named Khawaja that mentioned Amer Aziz.. According to Pakistani officials, there was not enough evidence showing that he actually succeeded in providing al-Qaeda with something useful. Since then, the Post reports, Rauf has been allowed to return to his normal life. Attempts by the Washington Post to contact Rauf in Lahore were unsuccessful. Initially the government agency had said an interview would be possible but then backpedaled. Although responsive to emails from me, Rauf did not respond to substantive questions and always first asked to be compensated. When I told him I had no money for him, the communication would drop off.

      “He was detained for questioning, and later the courts determined there was not sufficient evidence to continue detaining him,” Pakistan’s information minister told the Post. “If there was evidence that proved his role beyond a shadow of a doubt, we would have acted on it. But that kind of evidence was not available.”

      The USG’s failure to extradite Rauf mirrored the FBI Director’s failure to succeed in arrranging the extradition of Yazid Sufaat when he went to KL in Spring of 2002.

      Zawahiri, if keeping with his past experience, would have kept things strictly compartmentalized — leaving the Amerithrax Task Force much to do. But the Amerithrax Task Force was not in a position to question the workers in Al Qaeda’s anthrax program because they never took control of key prisoners.

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