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Tag: 9/11

Homeland Security Chief: Threats of Lone-Wolf Attacks Keep ‘Me up at Night’


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Speaking on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said America remains “challenged when it comes to the prospects of the lone-wolf actor, the home-grown violent extremist.”

The good news is, Johnson said he believes the U.S. is less likely to see a similar coordinated attack on the level of 9/11, NBC News reports.

Johnson’s concerns relate to the kind of mass shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando, which “is upper most on our minds. It is the thing that keeps me up at night the most.”

“But we’ve got threats from, you know, cyber-security. We’ve got a mission devoted to the potential for bio threats, a dirty bomb. We’ve got to keep our eye on all of it. But obviously, there are things that are higher probability, there are things that are lower probability, but higher impact. And we’ve got to keep our eye on all of it.”

Homeland Security Director to Deliver Speech at Duke University for 9/11 Anniversary

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson will discuss counterterrorism and new threats to the U.S. at Duke University’s Stanford School of Public Policy on Sept. 8, just three days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Duke Today reports the event is free and open to the public.

Johnson, who took the helm at Homeland Security in 2013, will bring a lot of experience on the issues to the speech.

“Jeh Johnson has had a seat at the table in the key decisions about U.S. security policy over the past seven and a half years,” said David Schanzer, a Sanford School professor and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

“Secretary Johnson is a thoughtful leader and a man of integrity and is uniquely positioned to share his insights on national security,” added Gen. Martin Dempsey, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current Rubenstein Fellow at Duke.

The speech is the fifth annual event to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.

CIA Director: Missing 9/11 Report Pages Contain ‘Inaccurate’ Information

CIA Director John Brennan

CIA Director John Brennan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CIA Director John Brennan said Sunday it would be a mistake to release 28 classified pages from the 9/11 Commission report because they contain unveiled, inaccurate information.

“This chapter was kept out because of concerns about sensitive methods, investigative actions, and the investigation of 9/11 was still underway in 2002,” Brennan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Releasing the information also would help unfairly characterize Saudi Arabia as being involved in the terror attacks, Brennan said.

“I think there’s a combination of things that are accurate and inaccurate [in the report],” Brennan said. “I think the 9/11 Commission took that joint inquiry and those 28 pages or so and followed through on the investigation and then came out with a very clear judgment that there was no evidence that … Saudi government as an institution or Saudi officials or individuals had provided financial support to al Qaeda.”

The 28 pages were removed from the report in 2003 because of national security concerns raised by the George W. Bush administration.

Other Stories of Interest

Former FBI Agent Blasts Newly Declassified CIA Reports on 9/11

Mark Rossini

 
By Jeff Stein
Newsweek

WASHINGTON — Mark Rossini, a former FBI special agent at the center of an enduring mystery related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says he is “appalled” by the newly declassified statements by former CIA Director George Tenet defending the spy agency’s efforts to detect and stop the plot.

Rossini, who was assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) at the time of the attacks, has long maintained that the U.S. government has covered up secret relations between the spy agency and Saudi individuals who may have abetted the plot. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a failed effort to crash into the U.S. Capitol, were Saudis.

A heavily redacted 2005 CIA inspector general’s report, parts of which had previously been released, was further declassified earlier this month. It found that agency investigators “encountered no evidence” that the government of Saudi Arabia “knowingly and willingly supported” Al-Qaeda terrorists. It added that some CIA officers had “speculated” that “dissident sympathizers within the government” may have supported Osama bin Laden but that “the reporting was too sparse to determine with any accuracy such support.”

Over 30 pages relating to Saudi Arabia in the report were blacked out. The Obama administration has also refused to declassify 28 pages dealing with Saudi connections to the hijackers in a joint congressional probe of the attacks.

To read more click here.

Report Says FBI Successful in Thwarting Terrorism But Needs Improvements

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The 9/11 Review Commission credited the FBI for thwarting terrorist attacks but said the bureau needs to improve intelligence and hire more linguists, according to a report released Wednesday, the New York Times reports.

While the commission applauded the FBI’s ability to prevent terrorism, the report said the bureau lags “behind marked advances in law enforcement capabilities” because of its struggle to effectively collect and analyze information.

“This imbalance needs urgently to be addressed to meet growing and increasingly complex national security threats, from adaptive and increasingly tech-savvy terrorists, more brazen computer hackers and more technically capable, global cyber syndicates,” the report said.

Wednesday’s report was far more optimistic than a 2004 report that called for major changes in the FBI. The report said the bureau has made a lot of significant improvements.

Police Search for Men Who Posed As FBI Agents, Pistol-Whipped Man During Fake Raid

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Police are looking for two armed men who posed as FBI agents while knocking on a suburban Boston apartment Saturday night.

The Boston Globe reports that assailants said they had a search warrant and pistol-whipped an occupant who opened the door in Waltham, Mass.

The assailants fled the apartment after striking the occupant several times over the head.

The occupant, who was taken to the hospital for head injuries, had told the assailants that he had called 911.

TSA Administrator John Pistole Opens Up About Lessons Learned, Future of Agency

tsa.gov

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

TSA Administrator John Pistole knows his agency has made some mistakes after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In a candid interview with the Los Angeles Times, Pistole said the TSA’s policies are constantly evolving to protect U.S. travelers.

Last year, the TSA announced that it would allow passengers to carry small knives onto planes, but you rescinded that decision. Will you allow small knives on planes in the future?

Given the lobbying efforts against it and members of Congress weighing in against it, I decided to take it off the table as something that was not furthering our efforts to transform from a one-size-fits-all to a risk-based [system].

European airports are testing devices to analyze liquids carried by passengers for explosives. When will travelers in the U.S. be able to fly without having to toss away bottles of water, soda or other liquids?

We have over 900 what we call bottle liquid scanners that we use for such things as mother’s milk and certain medicines that are larger than 100 milliliters. We could allow any liquids to fly, but it’s a time-consuming process so we don’t have an efficient way of doing that. One of the options that we looked at is to have a dedicated lane for people who wanted to bring liquids aboard, but that might be a long line.

The TSA announced a contest recently to find new ideas to speed the passenger-screening system. Why is that such a big challenge?

Each of the 450 airports where we provide screening is unique. Most airports were built and designed pre-9/11 and security is kind of an afterthought. So we’ve tried to cobble our way into some pretty tight spaces.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI, NSA Has Been Spying on Innocent Muslim Americans Since 9/11

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government has been spying on law-abiding Muslim Americans, according to the latest documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The Intercept reports that new documents show the targets of the surveillance included lawyers, academics, civil rights activists, and a political candidate who “have all led highly public, outwardly exemplary lives.”

“I just don’t know why,” said Faisal Gill, whose email accounts were monitored while he was a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates. “I’ve done everything in my life to be patriotic. I served in the Navy, served in the government, was active in my community—I’ve done everything that a good citizen, in my opinion, should do.”

It remains unclear whether the federal government even received warrants.