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Thread: Terrorism in the USA:threat & response

  1. #41
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    Default Toothpaste out of the tube ....

    re: SGMGrumpy's post.

    This is one that has plagued my imagination since Oklahoma City. So much toothpaste has exited the tube as more and more people are trained in nasty tactics. It stands to reason that some of them will use those tactics in their "real world" lives - and not as part of some AQ- or Hez-linked org.

    The havoc raised by two simple operations - anthrax letters and DC snipers - proves that our nation is very over-reactive to these things. The consequential economic and psychological damage far exceeds the immediate damage done by the operations.

    I see this as a problem that will continue - and will probably grow. Thanks for giving us a headsup on this incident.
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-06-2009 at 07:23 PM.

  2. #42
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    Default BW: discussion continued

    120mm
    In the book, "What Muslims Really Want" by the Gallup organization, they show that the great majority of adherants to Islam really, really like the fundamental precepts of America's political system.
    In drawing conclusions from such polls, I believe it is important to analyze them in terms of BW's concept making a distinction between principles and values. Adding some of my words here:

    1. Principles (the abstract theories - e.g., all men are created equal).

    2. Values (the culmination of valuation processes; that is, the reductions to real world practices of the abstract principles).

    I think (having read a few) that these polls tend to ask whether there is agreement with the abstract principle. As an example, UBL, Zawahiri and Maududi would agree that "all men are created equal" - in fact, it is fundamental to their ideology. Where they go with that principle is different from where we go in its valuation process.

    The problem is obvious. That "foreign guy" agrees with all of my principles, but then does a 180 in what he does - as compared to what I do - "What a f...ing liar. Can't trust these damn furriners." Etc.

    ------------------
    BW: would like to do a line by line on your April article - not necessarily on a thread. Have to think about that one - also still owe you a PM on Quakers, with some thoughts that have some relevance to this and other topics.

    Further PS: Another distinction has to be made between fundamental ideology (which at most evolves) and "tactical manipulation of causes" (which may or may not affect the fundamental ideology) - Galula's take on that I've cited in another thread.
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-06-2009 at 07:22 PM. Reason: add PS

  3. #43
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Old thread lives on

    A couple of points having quickly looked through the comments here, after the Fort Dix verdicts. I've also looked at the article cited by Steve Metz, after the London and Glasgow attacks in July 2007: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews

    The article looks rather different after the trial of one bomber (who survived the Glasgow airport attack and found guilty) and a suspected accomplice (found not guilty). There are many articles on the case and one nearly slipped past that one of the bombers had appeared in a Security Service / Police surveillance of suspects and had been excluded as a person worth investigating: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...wn-to-MI5.html

    Behind all the policy announcemets over prevention at home, part of the UK's CT strategy (known as Operation Contest), there is a fine plan largely borrowed from the UK model of intervention with prolific / persistent criminals (often juveniles) and INHO little practical knowledge. I liken this to a desperate search for the right "tools" and the correct "repair" manual. As you may detect I am not convinced a national bureaucratic response is the answer.

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-07-2009 at 12:11 AM. Reason: Add second link

  4. #44
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Better off with NYPD...

    FBI planning a bigger role in terrorism fight, by Josh Meyer. Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2009.
    The FBI and Justice Department are significantly expanding their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.

    Under the "global justice" initiative, which has been quietly in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will question suspects and gather evidence to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said.

  5. #45
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Helpful?

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    FBI planning a bigger role in terrorism fight, by Josh Meyer. Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2009.
    I assume in some places the host nation allows the FBI to interview suspects, many others would recoil at such a practice as I would. Are FBI methods compatible with host nation laws and procedures, for example audio-visual recording throughout? Same applies to gathering evidence. Another website refers to the Italians seeking a CIA kidnap team.

    Liasion is very different and usually is not "hands on".

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-28-2009 at 09:40 PM.

  6. #46
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default

    Legal attaches work out of the embassy and are part of the country team. In this diplomatic environment I imagine the State Department tries to keep them on a short leash and in line.

    I donít know how useful this is going to be if more agents are assigned to the semi-isolation of the embassy. NYPD liaison officers work from a desk provided by the host law enforcement agency. The responsibilities between FBI legal attaches and NYPD liaison officers are of course different; the NYPD doing strictly CT, and the legatts having more areas to cover. If this is strictly CT the FBI should do more like the NYPD has done.

  7. #47
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default

    Counterterrorism: A Role for the FBI, Not the CIA, by Robert Baer. Time Online, June 03, 2009.
    And that, despite what some CIA loyalists might reflexively think, would be great news for the agency. In fact, if I were Panetta, I would neatly gift wrap counterterrorism, put a bow on the top, and hand it over to FBI Director Robert Mueller. It can't be any clearer that renditions, harsh interrogations (if not torture) and secret prisons have been a catastrophe for the CIA, promising to tie it up legally for years to come, not to mention completely overshadow its successes. With the torture scandal sucking up all the oxygen, who today remembers that it was the CIA in the months before 9/11 that was jumping up and down on the table warning that bin Laden was about to attack us?

  8. #48
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    Default Baer...

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    Counterterrorism: A Role for the FBI, Not the CIA, by Robert Baer. Time Online, June 03, 2009.
    I saw Baer speak at a small gathering about a month ago. This is right in line with what he said. Actually, he even went further arguing that the CIA should get completely out of their direct action business and hand it completely over to the DoD.

    In my personal opinion, I don't agree. While it should be exceptionally rare, there are things that uniformed soldiers should not be doing. When someone wears a US uniform, that should conotate a great many things, including the fact they are acting (more or less) within the GC in their conduct. Another reason Abu Ghraib was such a.... boondoggle.

    But I disagree with him here. He should know better. The FBI, as a law enforcement agency, is culturally interested in what did happen, and sheparding a case through trial. The CIA is culturally interested in what might happen. They can conflict, especially when the target has tactical intelligence that can help on the battlefield or in preventing a terrorist attack. While I think it's great when you can do both, its not always possible, at some point whether you are focusing on a trial, or on maximizing intel for troops/agents in the field, you've got to prioritize one over the other.

  9. #49
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    Default Greater FBI-DoJ involvement ...

    will regularize CIA involvement in the detainment process - in essence, X-ing out the CIA boxes in this chart. That will not affect or solve the DoD detainment process in row 3 - also discussed here.

    It also does not address the issue of CIA direct action missions (although those generally will not end up with detainees).

  10. #50
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Cops do not make good spy catchers. Nor do Spies do

    well at it themselves. The FBI should do cop things, the CIA should do intelligence collection and analysis stuff -- and two new agencies should have been created. One to do the counterspy / counter terror thing for and another for overseas direct action. None of those four things mix well with the others and you badly taint the ability and reputation of any one when you connect it with things it should not be doing.

    Spy or Terr catching is dirty work and requires watching and waiting too often; Cops are intrinsically unable to do those two things. Anyone notice that most all the FBI terrorism related convictions entail a sting operation and the alleged perps are blithering idiots?

    Using the CIA for DA exposes case officers to retaliation for things not their fault. It upsets the equilibrium and it causes dissension within the agency. The DA mission requires doers, the intel mission require thinkers. Yes, you can find people that can do both -- but not often. The CIA does not have a good record of catching its own spies, much less those from other places. Not their yob...

    Unfortunately, given post Nixon, post Church Commission, post Carter and post 9/11 chances to better organize our assets; we instead continued to to bobble the punt. In the last case, we elected to create two massive bureaucracies to oversee the other Bureaucracies and changed nothing for the better. Sheesh.

  11. #51
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Cops cannot do CT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Spy or Terr catching is dirty work and requires watching and waiting too often; Cops are intrinsically unable to do those two things.
    Ken,

    I fully accept terrorist catching is dirty work etc, but profoundly disagree that 'Cops are instrinsically unable to do these things'. Or do you mean only in the USA?

    Before the 'new age of terrorism' there were many examples where CT campaigns succeeded, for example one booklet cited Italy, Germany, France and Spain. In all of them the police were the main player IMHO.

    Leaving prevention aside for now, a lot depends on whether your strategy involves criminalisation and so the need for evidence to present in court.

    davidbfpo

  12. #52
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Define Cop...

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I fully accept terrorist catching is dirty work etc, but profoundly disagree that 'Cops are instrinsically unable to do these things'. Or do you mean only in the USA?
    Yes.
    Leaving prevention aside for now, a lot depends on whether your strategy involves criminalisation and so the need for evidence to present in court.
    That's why.

    No question MI5 and most european agencies do a good to great job -- but they are not driven (too often) by hordes of lawyers...

    My point was that generally -- and specifically here in the US -- the idea of getting the evil one to court overrides the ability to let the case or activity build to get other than the sardines in the net. The Police are hard wired to protect -- and that's good. They also are opposed (one would hope) to breaking the law. Both those factors can intrude if not interfere with catching bad guys who deliberately use your laws against you. I also suspect that there are occasional differences between the CI and Special Branch elements in your police services on those issues.

    I'll again note that most 'successful' FBI counter terrorist efforts that have been publicized are sting ops and the miscreants seem to be short a few cards.

  13. #53
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    Default Nah .....

    from Ken
    ... but they are not driven (too often) by hordes of lawyers ...
    The Euro-centric approach to terrs (violent non-state actors) is very much driven by law-lawyers (whether in hordes[*] is perceptional) - e.g., the Eminent Jurists Report and a number of UK policy papers cited by David in War Crimes. The approach is purely a law enforcement and intelligence approach.

    Possibly, that has made some Euro agencies more keen on developing the facts before events go down - and sharpening both intelligence and counter-intelligence skills - because of what in effect are tougher legal standards.

    Personally, I would not give up our dual track system (FBI-DoJ and DoD; and perhaps some more alphabet soup for special missions); but one has to realize they are separate tracks - different rules and cultures.

    ---------------------
    [*] Speaking of hordes, picked up a book on Subotai - haven't had a chance to read it yet.

  14. #54
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Yah...

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    The Euro-centric approach to terrs (violent non-state actors) is very much driven by law-lawyers (whether in hordes[*] is perceptional) - e.g., the Eminent Jurists Report and a number of UK policy papers cited by David in War Crimes. The approach is purely a law enforcement and intelligence approach.
    True on the last. On the first I'd agree that they are law driven but do not agree they're lawyer driven -- there is, to my mind a difference -- to the extent we happen to be. Our extremely litigious society breeds (nowadays and among the kids... ) lawyers who are IMO excessively cautious in order to avoid suits or potential liability in any form. They and other factors cause our law enforcement folks to be excessively cautious. Excessive caution in pursuit of truly bad (as opposed to mildly criminal) guys is not at all helpful.

    I'd also submit most European and virtually all Asian agencies involved have and take more latitude in treatment of suspects and in not apprehending at the first scent of a crime.
    Possibly, that has made some Euro agencies more keen on developing the facts before events go down - and sharpening both intelligence and counter-intelligence skills - because of what in effect are tougher legal standards.
    Agreed; tougher but also rather different with respect to the 'rights of the accused.'
    Personally, I would not give up our dual track system (FBI-DoJ and DoD; and perhaps some more alphabet soup for special missions); but one has to realize they are separate tracks - different rules and cultures.
    As long as you realize it is not dual track in several senses of 'not' -- and that DoD (and the CIA; NSA also to an extent...) cannot and should not do anything domestically.
    [*] Speaking of hordes, picked up a book on Subotai - haven't had a chance to read it yet.
    Interesting lad. I suspect he was sharp enough and flexible enough to figure out a way of operating under today's constraints (with none of which I disagree; merely noting that they exist).

  15. #55
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    Default Some points ...

    from Ken
    They and other factors cause our law enforcement folks to be excessively cautious.
    That depends on the jurisdiction - dependent on how much prosecutorial and official immunity is given by law; and how judges apply that law. Reasoned discourse would require stats on civil actions brought vs prosecutors & cops, how many are successful, how prosecutions were affected by the suits, etc. I don't have stats at hand for that. If you do, present your evidence. You know I'll listen.

    from Ken
    I'd also submit most European and virtually all Asian agencies involved have and take more latitude in treatment of suspects and in not apprehending at the first scent of a crime.
    .....
    Agreed; tougher but also rather different with respect to the 'rights of the accused.'
    Different systems from US (except in UK), based on judicial investigations akin to one-person grand juries with broad inquisitional powers. Also, generally in their criminal law, there is less emphasis on defects in procedure and presenting evidence - and much more emphasis on the degree of the crime and the term of punishment. Which is one reason which probably lies behind the decision to shift investigation and initial processing to foreign countries. Once a case is established in the foreign country, the FBI-DoJ can accept delivery, etc.

    UK is similar to US. The differences favor / unfavor perps are probably a push; except that the UK has more EU conventions, etc. that they take seriously - and I think, make the job tougher as to terrs. David has the final call on UK issues.

    from Ken
    As long as you realize it is not dual track in several senses of 'not' -- and that DoD (and the CIA; NSA also to an extent...) cannot and should not do anything domestically.
    My chart and explanation covers this to some extent - and the restrictions (and exceptions - "anything" is too broad under existing law, conservatively applied) to various agencies' charters re: domestic activities - has been covered in War Crimes and elsewhere. Anyway, they are well known to me and within my realization.

    Hey, Subotai was a taiga forest boy. I can relate to that.

  16. #56
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default asdf

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    I don't have stats at hand for that. If you do, present your evidence. You know I'll listen.
    Nor do I have stats -- do have two sons who are Cops, two relatives who are prosecutors and one who's a judge. All the legal types have traveled in Europe far more extensively than have I and one lived in France for three years not long ago. My comment is based partly on their experiences related to me and partly on what I read. It's also based partly on long expereicne with the US government and watching that government and its application of legal advice change over the last 30 plus years. I'm comfortable that my comments are reasonably accurate and am entirely too lazy to dig up Stats to validate an opinion.
    ...Once a case is established in the foreign country, the FBI-DoJ can accept delivery, etc.
    All true but not relevant to my point that the European law enforcement approach and ours differ as you acknowledge and they essentially do a better job than we do, not least IMO due to the fact that US giovernmental elements of all types get overly cautious to avoid blame / responsibilty / bad publicity and that the threat of liability is often used as a justification by LE agencies for not doing things -- that in self defense on their part, not as a responsibility evader...
    David has the final call on UK issues.[
    Who's calling what? I stated an opinion -- does he have a call on my opinion?

    Who knew...

    Nor does any of that address my principal point -- that the Police have restraints --as they should -- on actions they can take which means they are not the best agency to do counterespionage and/or counter terror work. Since I'm not god and offer no links, that's probably an opinion on my part. Others can differ and that should be acceptable; it certainly is okay with me if others do not agree.
    ...Anyway, they are well known to me and within my realization.
    Well, good, then you knew all along that DoD doesn't do domestic counter terror so I didn't need to say that. I wonder why I did?
    Hey, Subotai was a taiga forest boy. I can relate to that.
    Certainement. You two should get along swimmingly. In August, for two weeks -- too cold the rest of the year...

  17. #57
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    Default No point in rehashing opinions, mine or yours.

    Reference to David's call was with respect to this statement by me:

    from JMM
    UK is similar to US. The differences favor / unfavor perps are probably a push; except that the UK has more EU conventions, etc. that they take seriously - and I think, make the job tougher as to terrs. David has the final call on UK issues.
    If I am wrong on UK issues, I expect David to correct me because he has more expertise. Frankly, it had nothing to do with you or your opinions.

  18. #58
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Then it probably didn't need to be said in a comment

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Reference to David's call was with respect to this statement by me:...If I am wrong on UK issues, I expect David to correct me because he has more expertise. Frankly, it had nothing to do with you or your opinions.
    nominally addressed to the three quotes from moi, Eh?

    As for rehashing opinions, your or mine; certainly true. I doubt we're entertaining anyone or that either of us is learning a thing...

  19. #59
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Trans-Atlantic interplay

    There has been comment, if not speculation, that in some UK CT arrest operations have gone early because of: a) pressure to act from the USA (who may have originated the information / intelligence), notably cited over the airliner plot known as Operation Overt; b) an assessment that the plot was suffiecently advanced to pose a threat to public safety, e.g. the recent arrests in Manchester and the plot to kidnap a soldier in Birmingham.

    Curiously some of the best commentaries on UK CT trials have been the detailed papers by NEFA, a US-based think tank: http://www.nefafoundation.org/ . I know some of their experts act as witnesses here, but the detail is astounding. Yes, all public record.

    Clearly there is a price to pay for early intervention; no-one was charged in Manchester and the UK stats on arrests & charges are IMHO not helpful, notably in keeping the support of the wider communities: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/terrorism.html

    A contribution to the debate.

    davidbfpo

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    Default

    I'm all for sending them into the Paki frontier region to so some interviewing and questioning - shiny black shoes on goat trails backed by the rule of Law, peace shall soon prevail... the Feds had to break the Law to nail the KKK during the Civil Rights upheaval here at home so I wish them all the best in 3rd world environments. When Joe Terrorist lawyers up, what are they going to do, waterboard him? Threaten to send him to Syria to have his testicles put in a garlic crusher?

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