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Tag: Yemen

Head of Chicago FBI Says al-Qaida Still Obsessed With Planes; Office is Probing Mail Bombs


Robert Grant/fbi photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A decade later and it appears that al-Qaeda members are still trying to turn airplanes into deadly weapons.

“Al-Qaida has been obsessed with airplanes, they continue to be obsessed with airplanes,” said Robert Grant, head of the Chicago FBI., according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “They want to use airplanes to kill people. … It continues to be a desire on their part to bring a plane down.”

Grant also disclosed publicly for the first time that Chicago investigators have been looking into international terrorism plots involving mail bombs sent on Chicago-bound flights from over seas. In October of last year the devices were found hidden in printer cartridges pulled from flights in England and the United Arab Emirates following a tip, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Sent from Yemen, the packages “were addressed to former Chicago area synagogues bearing the names of historical figures as a way to stick it in their eyes,'” reports the Sun-Times.

“The person who built that bomb still remains at liberty, somewhere in Yemen,” Grant said in an appearance before the Niagra Foundation in Chicago, according to the Sun-Times. “He has been hunted for a long time, but he is a very, very skilled bomb-maker.” Officials believe al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch are responsible for the plot, according to the Sun-Times.

Investigators said last year that they found links between the Chicago-bound explosives and the one intended for use by the “underwear bomber” in Detroit.

To read more click here.

FBI Forensic Team sent to Yemen to Investigate Attack on Prez Compound

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI forensic team has been sent to Yemen to investigate the attack on the presidential compound that wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the website Global Post reported.

“The FBI is aiding Yemeni law enforcement in their investigation in the attack on the presidential compound. The FBI team arrived in Sanaa last Wednesday,” said a senior Yemeni government official, according to the website.

The website said that the request underscores the close relationship between Yemen and the U.S.

News reports had initially said that the attack might have been the work of a rival tribal group. But some reports say the FBI will be looking at whether al Qaeda was involved, or someone within the presidential circles.

“They are concerned about how the attack was carried out. Everyone is a suspect,” the Yemeni official said, according to the website.

Terrorist Behind U.S. Embassy Bombings in 1998 in Africa is Killed

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

He escaped the long reach of the U.S. for 13 years. He was on the FBI’s Top Ten Terrorist List.  And there was a $5 million reward for his capture.

Last week, a bullet ended all of that.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the organizer of the 1998 terrorist bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, was shot and killed Wednesday after refusing to stop at a government checkpoint in Mogadishu, the London Guardian reported.

The paper said Mohammed,37, was fluent in five languages and was “adept at disguise.”

“He also used his expertise in finance and logistics to assist al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), whose recent successes in Yemen contrast with the reverses suffered by the franchise elsewhere,” the paper wrote.

The paper reported that Mohammed was military commander of al-Shabab, a militia group vying for power in Somalia.

Yemen Native Who Tried Opening Cockpit Door Twice is Detained

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Yemen native who tried twice ramming open the cockpit door of American Airlines Flight 1561 bound for San Francisco Sunday night, and yelled “God is great” in Arabic, remained behind bars, the Associated Press reported.

A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday ordered Rageh Al-Murisi, 28, of California, detained. He had no luggage for the flight, carried valid and expired identification from California and New York, and had two checks totaling $13,000, AP reported. The plane was flying from Chicago.

Authorities said there was no immediate indication that he is linked to any terrorist group.

Authorities say he twice tried to open the cockpit door before being restrained by a crew member and several passengers including a retired Secret Service agent and a former cop, AP reported.  The flight landed safely in San Francisco.

Crew, Passengers Subdue Unruly Passenger, Rageh Almurisi, on Chicago-to-San Francisco Flight: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

13 Somalis and 1 Yemini Pirate Indicted in Deaths of 4 Off Somali Coast


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds have indicted 13 Somalis and one Yemeni pirate in Norfolk, Va., in the tragic hijacking of a 54-foot yacht off the Somali coast that resulted in the death of four U.S. citizens last month following a five-day standoff with American authorities, the FBI said.

“This is a horrific crime, involving the armed hijacking of an American ship and the slaughter of American citizens,” said U.S. Neil H. MacBridge. “The alleged pirates will now face justice in an American courtroom.”

“These 14 men are alleged to have been willing to do anything, including killing their hostages, in a vain attempt to obtain ransom,” added FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk of the New York office, which investigated the case. “Modern day piracy has real and serious consequences, disrupting commerce and threatening Americans’ lives. It is a crime against the international community, a form of terrorism on the high seas.”

American authorities tried to negotiate the release of the hostages, but the pirates allegedly killed all of them before authorities made the arrests.

al Qaeda in Yemen Might be Plotting Attacks on Wall Street

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI officials are warning major Wall Street banks that al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen may be plotting to attack their institutions or top executives, NBCNewYork reported.

The TV station reported that intelligence officials stressed that the threats were general in nature and there was “no indication of a targeted assassination plot” against any Wall Street executives.

At the same time, NBCNewYork.com learned that authorities fear some executives names have popped up in discussions by terrorist.

The station reported that some of the information authorities gathered came from al Qaeda writings in places like “Inspire” magazine.

To read more click here.

U.S. Cable to FBI and CIA Warns Terrorists in Yemen Could Have Easy Access to Radioactive Material

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As if we need to hear more scary stuff on the terrorism front, here’s the latest.

The Guardian newspaper in London reports that a senior Yemen government official warned US diplomats shortly after the “underwear” bomber incident last Christmas in Detroit that the country’s main store of radioactive products was poorly guarded and could result in materials falling into the hands of terrorist.

News of the warning, which surfaced publicly from a WikiLeaks  U.S. embassy cable, said that a lone guard at Yemen’s atomic energy commission had been removed, the Guardian reported. The paper also reported that the lone closed circuit TV security camera had broken down and was never repaired.

The Jan. 9 cable sent to the CIA , FBI and Department of Homeland Security stated: “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material.”

Yemen has become a hotbed of al Qaeda activity.

To read more click here.

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Critics Still Skeptical of “War on Toner” Involving Terrorism

By Zack Cohen
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —  It’s being satirically dubbed the“war on toner,” a phrase that reflects experts’ skepticism about the U.S. response to al Qaeda’s failed bid to blow up U.S. bound planes with explosive-packed ink cartridges.

In other words, the response is  hardly sufficient, some experts insist.

“In typical TSA fashion [the measures] are reactionary,” said Kevin McCarthy, a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Institute. “We already know what we can find and what we cannot find and we are not very good at it,” he said. We need to “look for the intelligence, the trigger, the other parts of the equation.”

Specifically, the U.S. has banned all ground cargo from Yemen and Somalia and  adapted new rules for inbound cargo  to reflect the latest intelligence. No high-risk cargo will be allowed on passenger aircrafts and toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces are banned from checked and carry on luggage from domestic and international flights bound for the U.S.

There are plenty skeptics who scoff at the idea that limiting the size of an ink cartridge will do much good when it comes to fending off a terrorist attack.

And  implementing more intensive measures along those lines will only create a false sense of security, according to Chris Battle, a former deputy for the Department of Homeland Security.

For one, he said, the perception that the government is catching everything could result in  focusing too much on technology and not enough on intelligence gathering and risk assessment.

“The U.S. Congress seems to be the only entity in the world that thinks you can adequately screen 100 percent of all cargo coming into and leaving the country,” Battle said. “It should be remembered that the explosives were not detected by technology but through intelligence.”

Read more »