TERRORISM

2006

January - June

Materials presented chronologically.

Bazan, Elizabeth B., and Jennifer K. Elsea. "Memorandum: Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information." Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 5 Jan. 2006. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/m010506.pdf.

After a detailed analysis of "the constitutional and statutory issues raised by the NSA electronic surveillance activity," the memorandum concludes that "the Administration's legal justification, as presented in the summary analysis from the Office of Legislative Affairs, does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests."

Linzer, Dafna, and Griff Witte. "U.S. Airstrike Targets Al Qaeda's Zawahiri." Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2006, A9. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 13 January 2006, a CIA Predator drone fired an air-to-ground missile at a compound in Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. U.S. sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the target was Ayman Zawahiri, second-ranking al Qaeda leader and chief deputy to Osama bin Laden.

Witte, Griff, and Kamran Khan. "U.S. Strike on Al Qaeda Top Deputy Said to Fail." Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2006, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Pakistani officials said [on 14 January 2006] that a U.S. missile strike intended to kill al Qaeda deputy Ayman Zawahiri had missed its target but had killed 17 people, including six women and six children. Tens of thousands of Pakistanis staged an angry anti-American protest near the remote village of Damadola, about 120 miles northwest of Islamabad," where the attack took place.

Meyer, Josh. "CIA Expands Use of Drones in Terror War." Los Angeles Times, 29 Jan. 2006. [http://www.latimes.com]

According to U.S. officials, "the United States is expanding a top-secret effort to kill suspected terrorists with drone-fired missiles as it pursues an increasingly decentralized Al Qaeda.... The CIA's failed Jan. 13 attempt to assassinate Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri in Pakistan was the latest strike in the 'targeted killing' program.... Several U.S. officials confirmed at least 19 occasions since Sept. 11 on which Predators successfully fired Hellfire missiles on terrorist suspects overseas."

Shanker, Thom, and Scott Shane. "Elite Troops Get Expanded Role on Intelligence." New York Times, 8 Mar. 2006. [http:www.nytimes.com]

"The military is placing small teams of Special Operations troops in a growing number of American embassies to gather intelligence on terrorists in unstable parts of the world and to prepare for potential missions to disrupt, capture or kill them." The Military Liaison Element (MLE) effort "has drawn opposition from traditional intelligence agencies like the C.I.A., where some officials have viewed it as a provocative expansion into what has been their turf." The Special Operations Command (SOCOM) reports to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and "falls outside the orbit controlled by [DNI] John D. Negroponte."

Shanker, Thom. "Study Is Said to Find Overlap in U.S. Counterterror Effort." New York Times, 18 Mar. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A study analyzing the effectiveness of Special Operations forces "found 'a tremendous duplication of effort' in the government and military that overlaps with assignments given the Special Operations Command" (SOCOM). The study was conducted by Gen. Wayne A. Downing Jr., a former SOCOM commander and retired four-star general. SOCOM's "new global role in counterterrorism has rankled some officers at the Pentagon and in regional war-fighting commands who previously took charge of that mission. Some of the command's new efforts, in particular the placement of small teams in American embassies to gather intelligence on terrorists and to prepare for potential missions, has outraged some intelligence officers and career diplomats."

Lipton, Eric. "Report Sees Confusion Likely in a Sea Attack by Terrorists." New York Times, 4 Apr. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A report released on 3 April 2006 by the Department of Justice inspector general warned that "[p]otentially disastrous confusion could arise during a terrorist attack on a cruise ship or ferry because of a power struggle" between the FBI and the Coast Guard "over who would be in charge." After 2001, the Coast Guard, a part of DHS, "created 13 specialized teams based at major ports around the nation ... [and] trained to respond to a hostage situation or other maritime terrorism.... The F.B.I., a division of the Justice Department, has 14 of what it calls enhanced maritime SWAT teams and a separate hostage rescue team trained to respond to maritime terrorism....

"The government tried to clarify the roles through an October 2005 document called the Maritime Operational Threat Response." It says the DHS and its agencies, including the Coast Guard, "take the lead 'for the interdiction of maritime threats in waters where D.H.S. normally operates,' American ports and coastal waters. The document says the role of the Justice Department and the F.B.I. is to search for clues to prevent maritime terrorism and, if there is an attack, to investigate and prosecute. But the new report says the 2005 document has 'not eliminated the potential for conflict and confusion in the event of a terrorist incident at a seaport.'"

Waterman, Shaun. "GAO Report Slams U.S. Counter-terror Information Sharing." United Press International, 19 Apr. 2006. [http://www.upi.com]

On 17 April 2006, GAO investigators "panned the administration's efforts to share vital counter-terrorism information among the large number of federal agencies involved in protecting the U.S. homeland." The DNI's "Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment John Russack, quit earlier this year," complaining "that his effort was hamstrung by turf struggles and bureaucratic inertia."

Paterson, Pat [LTCMR/USN]. "Into Africa: A New Frontier in the War on Terror." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 132, no. 5 (May 2006): 32-36.

"[T]he biggest political and military concern in Africa is terrorism.... [D]ire conditions -- border disputes, ethnic conflicts, corruption and mismanagement, famine, HIV -- make Africa a fertile breeding ground for Muslim extremism and terrorist recruitment." Side note: "The Navy and Marine Corps established its presence in Africa with a base at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti."

Robinson, Linda. "The Propaganda War." U.S. News & World Report, 29 May 2006, 29-31.

The author uses a draft of the Pentagon's "strategic communications roadmap" to discuss the "effort to get America's message out and to counter the terrorists' highly effective use of communications media."

Burns, John F. "Al Qaeda Leader in Iraq Killed by U.S. Bombs." New York Times, 9 Jun. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed on 7 June 2006 in a U.S. air strike on an isolated safe house north of Baghdad.

Gellman, Barton, Paul Blustein, and Dafna Linzer. "Bank Records Secretly Tapped: Administration Began Using Global Database Shortly After 2001 Attacks." Washington Post, 23 Jun. 2006, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. government and industry officials, the Bush administration, relying on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, "has secretly been tapping into a vast global database [the Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)] of confidential financial transactions for nearly five years." The program uses "a broad new interpretation of the Treasury Department's administrative powers to bypass traditional banking privacy protections. It has swept in large volumes of international money transfers, including many made by U.S. citizens and residents, in an effort to track the locations, identities and activities of suspected terrorists."

Lichtblau, Eric, and James Risen. "Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror." New York Times, 23 Jun. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The secret program begun weeks after the 9/11 attacks to gain access to the SWIFT international database is "run out of" the CIA "and overseen by the Treasury Department," with some technical assistance from NSA.

DeYoung, Karen. "Officials Defend Financial Searches: Critics Assert Secret Program Invades Privacy." Washington Post, 24 Jun. 2006, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"A secret program that allowed U.S. officials to examine hundreds of thousands of private banking records from around the world in search of terrorist ties has been 'absolutely essential' to protecting the country from further attacks, Vice President Cheney said" on 23 June 2006. The day after news organizations exposed the surveillance effort -- revelations that "Cheney and other officials said undermined an important counterterrorism tool" -- brought "renewed criticism ... that the administration is operating outside legal and congressional controls."

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