Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Earlier this week it was reported that the Obama White House removed confessed terrorist Faisal Shahzad from the Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list sometime after Barack Obama came into office.
Terrorist Faisal Shahzad had substantial connections to the Taliban, reached out to the Taliban, was influenced by Yemeni terror leader Anwar al Awlaki, made at least a dozen return trips to Pakistan since arriving in the United States in 1999, and he bought a one way ticket with cash to Pakistan.
Now we find out that he was “blogging” and asking for jihad as far back as 2006 but that the Obama Administration took him off the terror watch list anyway.
Terror expert Walid Phares weighed in on the confessed Times Square bomber today in an interview on FOX News:
To be clear, Shahzad was actually commenting on terrorist websites and not actually blogging.
Earlier this week it was discovered that Shahzad was posting on terror websites since 2006.
FOX News reported:
FoxNews.com has uncovered several dozens of postings by a man named Faisal Shahzad on radical Islamist Salafist websites devoted to a variety of different jihadist sects.
Experts suspect this is the same Faisal Shahzad whom authorities have charged with plotting to explode a massive car bomb in New York on Saturday. If so, then he has been educating himself on the Internet for years on the legitimacy of holy war.
Shahzad visited numerous websites devoted to ideological discussion of Islamism and Shariah law. His apparent online posts date back to at least 2006 — three years before the Times Square suspect became a naturalized American citizen.
“If the person on these websites is indeed the suspected bomber, the postings show that he was intellectually thinking about engaging in jihadism for a few years,” said Dr. Walid Phares, director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Knowing that, the ideology of jihadism often has inspired violence and terrorism…
“These can be coined as Islamist Salafist websites where lots of material is posted, including theological, ideological and political texts and blogs,” Phares said, noting that he saw discussions about fatwas, jihad and other Islamist causes on these sites.”
“When a guy makes a phone call, he’s no longer a lone wolf. A lone wolf is somebody who doesn’t tell anybody else about the issue. He doesn’t share that information. He made phone calls… He may be deployed as a lone wolf. It is much easier to send one terrorist as 10 terrorists. But, he is not alone with conducting terror.”
If the Obama Administration removed a guy like Faisal Shahzad from the terror watch list sometime after 2008, just what does a guy have to do to make Team Obama’s list?
Thursday, May 6, 2010
As I posted yesterday, there was a disturbing blurb in a NY Times article that indicated Faisal Shahzad, the now infamous Times Square Bomber, was under surveillance as a potential terrorist during the Bush administration.
George LaMonica, a 35-year-old computer consultant, said he bought his two-bedroom condominium in Norwalk, Conn., from Mr. Shahzad for $261,000 in May 2004. A few weeks after he moved in, Mr. LaMonica said, investigators from the national Joint Terrorism Task Force [JTTF] interviewed him, asking for details of the transaction and for information about Mr. Shahzad. It struck Mr. LaMonica as unusual, but he said detectives told him they were simply “checking everything out.”
JTTF’s typically surveillance an individual – especially a US Citizen – under the FIS Court authorization. These authorizations have to be renewed every 90 days or so by the US Attorney General. As has been noted before (see here, here and here for details) the Obama administration began shutting down Bush-era terrorists investigations last year as they debated how to reduce our nation’s surveillance of terrorists threats. The person who killed 14 people at Ft Hood last fall was one such suspect whose JTTF investigation was suspiciously shut down around this time last year.
There is more evidence which seems to point at changes made by the Obama administration in terms of their monitoring Mr. Shahzad. For example, after being on the terrorist watch list for almost a decade, Shahzad was removed from that list sometime after 2008, according to CBS News:
Sources tell CBS News that would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad appeared on a Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list – Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) – between 1999 and 2008 because he brought approximately $80,000 cash or cash instruments into the United States.
Now there is another damning tidbit out that confirms that Federal Investigators may have been blinded and hamstrung by the lack of FIS Court authorization to fully monitor this threat:
Taking great pains to explain how Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad was able to make it to JFK airport and board an Emirates airliner before being nabbed, authorities today said that they were following Mr. Shahzad, “but only on Twitter.”
A spokesman for the surveillance team following the suspected terrorist said that they were closely monitoring Mr. Shahzad’s tweets, “but he must have figured something out because all of a sudden he blocked us.”
The surveillance team’s revelations come on the heels of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s shocker that it had friended Mr. Shahzad on Facebook weeks ago and had even played the popular online game Farmville with him.
“A few days before the Times Square incident, Mr. Shahzad attempted to blow up one of our sheep,” a Department spokesman said. “In retrospect, that should have been a red flag.”
OK, why is this disturbing? Well Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are probably considered to be in the public domain, since individuals freely volunteer to communicate with others openly. It therefore may not require a FIS Court warrant to monitor. The idea someone could block government monitoring on Twitter using one of its privacy settings is another indication this was not a full up surveillance. The government can get past that little barrier.The fact is someone was trying to keep and eye on Shahzad, but possibly without the full authority of the JTTF and FIS Court. Someone was trying to monitor this guy. Someone who may have disagreed with the decision to pull back from the Bush era level of concern.
HATTIP: THE STRTA-SPHERE