TERRORISM

2013

Materials presented chronologically.

Whitlock, Craig. "Obama says U.S. Warplanes Involved in Somali Rescue Mission." Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In a letter to Congress on 13 January 2013, President Obama said "U.S. military fighter jets provided backup support to a failed French hostage rescue mission in Somalia" on 11 January 2013. The President said "U.S. combat aircraft 'provided limited technical support' to French forces," adding that "the U.S. warplanes 'briefly' entered Somali airspace but did not open fire.... The White House said Obama was obligated under the War Powers Act to notify Congress within 48 hours of the operation because U.S. military aircraft entered another country in support of a combat mission."

Miller, Greg, Ellen Nakashima, and Karen DeYoung. "CIA Drone Strikes Will Get Pass in Counterterrorism 'Playbook,' Officials Say." Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. officials, "[t]he Obama administration is nearing completion of a detailed counterterrorism manual that is designed to establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations but leaves open a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan.... The document, which is expected to be submitted to President Obama for final approval within weeks, marks the culmination of a year-long effort by the White House to codify its counterterrorism policies and create a guide for lethal operations through Obama's second term."

Schmitt, Eric, and Scott Sayare. "U.S. Troops At Drone Base In West Africa." New York Times, 22 Feb. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

President Obama announced on 22 February 2013 "that about 100 American troops had been sent to Niger in West Africa to help set up a new base from which unarmed Predator aircraft would conduct surveillance in the region." The new base is "located for now in the capital, Niamey.... A military official said the troops were largely Air Force logistics specialists, intelligence analysts and security officers." See also, Craig Whitlock, "U.S. Troops Arrive In Niger To Set Up Drone Base," Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2013.

Whitlock, Craig. "Drone Base in Niger Gives U.S. a Strategic Foothold in West Africa." Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The U.S. Air Force began flying unarmed Predator drones from a base outside Niamey, Niger, last month. The Predators "give the Pentagon a strategic foothold in West Africa. Niger shares a long border with Mali.... Niger also borders Libya and Nigeria.... U.S. officials said they share video footage and other intelligence collected by the unmanned aircraft with French forces and African troops -- including 670 soldiers from Niger -- who are fighting the Islamist insurgency in Mali. Liaison officers from Niger, France and Chad work alongside U.S. Air Force personnel who launch and land the drones from the base in Niamey....

"Two U.S. defense officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity..., said the Pentagon ultimately wants to move the Predators to the Saharan city of Agadez, in northern Niger.... The airfield in Agadez, however, is rudimentary and needs improvements before it can host drones, officials said. The U.S. military has used Agadez since last year as a refueling stop for U-28 spy planes -- small, piloted aircraft flown by private contractors. U.S. officials have hesitated to send those surveillance aircraft across the border into Mali because of fears that the crews could be taken hostage if the planes crash or are shot down."

Crowley, Michael. "So, Who Can We Kill?" Time, 1 Apr. 2013, 20-24.

"During the 2012 campaign, Obama's use of drones to kill terrorists without risking the lives of U.S. troops was a bragging point. But in the months since, his drone war has turned from asset to headache.... Now Washington is rethinking some of its basic assumptions about the drone war. Congress and the White House are discussing ways to bring new legal clarity to targeted killing."

Mazzetti, Mark. "A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood." New York Times, 6 Apr. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

In June 2004, the CIA for the first time "deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a 'targeted killing.' The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state. In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill him in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.... The deal ... paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization."

Robertson, Nic, and Greg Botelho. "Ex-Pakistani President Musharraf Admits Secret Deal with U.S. on Drone Strikes." CNN, 12 Apr. 2013. [http://www.cnn.com]

In an interview this week in Islamabad, "[e]x-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged his government secretly signed off on U.S. drone strikes, the first time a top past or present Pakistani official has admitted publicly to such a deal."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Pushed to Add Boston Bomber to Terror Watch List." Washington Post, 24 Apr. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 24 April 2013, U.S. officials said "[t]he CIA pushed to have" the name of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev placed on the National Counterterrorism Center's "database known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment" (TIDE), used "to feed information to other lists, including the FBI's main terrorist screening database."

Bjelopera, Jerome P. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Terrorism Investigations. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 24 Apr. 2013. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/R41780.pdf.

"This report sets forth possible considerations for Congress as it executes its oversight role. These issues include the extent to which intelligence has been integrated into FBI operations to support its counterterrorism mission and the progress the Bureau has made on its intelligence reform initiatives."

DeYoung, Karen, and Greg Miller. "Obama: U.S. at 'Crossroads' in Fight against Terrorism." Washington Post, 23 May 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In a speech at the National Defense University at Fort McNair on 23 May 2013, President Obama said "the United States has reached a 'crossroads' in its fight against terrorism and ... it is time to redefine and recalibrate a war that eventually will end. Far from repudiating the controversial use of drones against terrorist targets, Obama defended the tactic as effective, legal and life-saving.... Obama used the depiction of a diminished threat environment to make the case for broad counterterrorism changes, including closing the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and finding a U.S. site where military commission trials can be held for eligible detainees."

Mazzetti, Mark. "New Terror Strategy Shifts C.I.A. Focus Back to Spying." New York Times, 23 May 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"[U]nder a new plan outlined by the Obama administration on [23 May 2013], the [CIA's] Counterterrorism Center over time would cease to be the hub of America's targeted killing operations in Pakistan, Yemen and other places where presidents might choose to wage war in the future." CIA Director John O. Brennan "is trying to shift the C.I.A.'s focus back toward traditional spying and strategic analysis, but that is not an easy task.... Some American officials and outside experts believe it could take years for a spy agency that has evolved into a paramilitary service to rebalance its activities....

"[A]dministration officials said ... that some drone operations would shift to the Pentagon, particularly those in Yemen, where the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command is already running a parallel drone program. And, they said, the 'preference' for the future is for all drone operations to be run by the Defense Department.... While C.I.A. officers and analysts will continue to play a role in any drone operations run by the Pentagon, the White House plan is for the Defense Department to assume control over all drone operations in less than two years."

Miller, Greg. "Obama's New Drone Policy Leaves Room for CIA Role." Washington Post, 25 May 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In 2009, the Obama administration decded to attack an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen with airstrikes as it was doing in Pakistan. But the strikes "would be carried out by the U.S. military, not the CIA." Two years later, CIA drones were flying over Yemen. The reasons for the change included "errant strikes that killed the wrong people, the use of munitions that left shrapnel with U.S. military markings scattered about target sites and worries that Yemen's unstable leader might kick the Pentagon's planes out. But President Obama's decision also came down to a determination that the CIA was simply better than the Defense Department at locating and killing al-Qaeda operatives with armed drones."

Dozier, Kimberly. "Drone Strike Shows that Secret CIA Attacks Will Continue Despite Obama Pledge for Transparency." Associated Press, 30: May 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The drone attack that killed Pakistan Taliban deputy leader Waliur Rehman [Wali ur-Rehman] on 29 May 2013 "was a clear signal that despite President Barack Obama's promise last week of new transparency in the drone program, the CIA will still launch secret attacks on militants in north Pakistan." See also, Mark Mazzetti and Declan Walsh, "Pakistan Says U.S. Drone Killed Taliban Leader," 29 May 2013; and Ismail Khan and Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud, "Hints of a Rift After Pakistani Taliban Deputy's Death," New York Times, 30 May 2013.

Schmitt, Eric. "Drones in Niger Reflect New U.S. Tack on Terrorism." New York Times, 10 Jul. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Unarmed American drones fly from a secluded military airfield in Niamey, Niger, on surveillance missions "to track fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda and other militants in neighboring Mali." There are two MQ-9 Reapers and "about 120 members of the Air Force" based here. The activity "is part of a new model for counterterrorism, a strategy designed to help local forces -- and in this case a European ally -- fight militants so American troops do not have to."

Whitlock, Craig, and Barton Gellman. "U.S. Documents Detail al-Qaeda's Efforts to Fight Back against Drones." Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to a top-secret report, titled "Threats to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles," provided to The Washington Post by Edward Snowden, the leadership of al-Qaeda "has assigned cells of engineers to find ways to shoot down, jam or remotely hijack U.S. drones.... Although there is no evidence that al-Qaeda has forced a drone crash or successfully interfered with flight operations, U.S. intelligence officials have closely tracked the group's persistent efforts to develop a counterdrone strategy since 2010, the documents show."

Return to Terrorism 2010s Table of Contents