TERRORISM

2015

Materials presented chronologically.

Witte, Griff, and Anthony Faiola. "Charlie Hebdo Suspect Said to Surrender; Two Others at Large after Paris Terror Attack." Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 7 January 2015, gunmen opened fire in Paris on the weekly staff meeting of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Shouting "Allahu Akbar," they killed 12 and wounded 11 others. Police named brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad as suspects. Mourad turned himself in at a police station north of Paris.

Bilefsky, Dan, and Maia de la Baume. "French Police Storm Hostage Sites, Killing Gunmen," New York Times, 9 Jan. 2015. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 9 January 2015 the French police "killed the two brothers suspected of massacring 12 people at a Paris newspaper on [7 January 2015] and freed a hostage they had been holding unharmed.... The police also killed another hostage-taker," Amedy Coulibaly, "an associate of the brothers, in a separate assault on a kosher supermarket in Paris." According to a senior police official, "[t]hree hostages were killed and five injured at the market, although it was not immediately clear how many of those may have been shot in the final assault. Five hostages were reported to have been freed unharmed."

Saul, Heather. "MI5 Head Warns al-Qaeda Is Planning 'Mass Casualty Attacks against the West.'" The Independent, 9 Jan. 2015. [http://www.independent.co.uk]

Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker "said in a speech at the MI5 headquarters in London that extremists still wanted to 'cause large scale loss of life' by targeting transport networks and landmarks.... He told the the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI):... 'We know, for example, that a group of core al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West.'" Kim Sengupta, "Charlie Hebdo Attack: MI5 Chief Reveals Britain Faced Four Major Terror Plots in Past Year," The Independent, 9 Jan. 2015, adds that Parker also said that "Britain has faced four major terrorist plots in the past year, three of them in the past few months alone."

Regan, Helen. "Al-Shabab Leader Killed in Drone Strike." Time, 19 Mar. 2015. [http://time.com]

The U.S. Defense Department confirmed on 18 March 2015 that a U.S. drone strike killed al-Shabab leader Adan Garar in southern Somalia on 12 March 2015. " Garar is believed to be behind the 2013 attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people."

Botelho, Greg, and Hakim Almasmari. "Sources: U.S. Pulling Last of Its Special Operations Forces Out of Yemen." CNN, 21 Mar. 2015. [http://www.cnn.com]

"The U.S. military is in the process of evacuating about 100 Special Operations forces members from the Al Anad airbase in Yemen due to that country's deteriorating security situation, sources in the region familiar with the situation told CNN. Those being evacuated, which include Navy SEALs and members of the Army's Delta Force, are the last American forces stationed in the Arab nation."

Pace, Julie, and Ken Dilanian. "US Counterterrorism Strategy in Yemen Collapses Amid Chaos." Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. and Yemeni officials, "the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen has all but collapsed as the country descends into chaos.... Operations against militants have been scaled back dramatically amid the fall of the American-backed government and the evacuation of U.S. personnel.... CIA drone strikes will continue, the officials said, but there will be fewer of them. The agency's ability to collect intelligence on the ground in Yemen, while not completely gone, is much diminished."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Official Who Directed Hunt for bin Laden Is Being Removed from Post." Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to officials, "[t]he head of the CIAs Counterterrorism Center, who presided over the agency's drone campaign and directed the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is being removed from his post.... The move, part of a major reorganization under CIA Director John Brennan, ends a nine-year tenure." Officials said that he "is expected to remain at the CIA in a new assignment which has yet to be determined and that he is being replaced by an agency veteran who has held a series of high-level positions, including running the CIA's operations in Afghanistan."

Miller, Greg. "Hostages' Deaths Raise Wider Questions about Drone Strikes' Civilian Toll." Washington Post, 23 Apr. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[C]urrent and former U.S. counterterrorism officials said that [the 23 April 2015] disclosures" of the deaths of two Western hostages held by al-Qaeda "undercut years of U.S. claims about the accuracy of the drone program and provided new ammunition for skeptics of administration policies that are supposed to require 'near certainty' that no civilians will be harmed."

Ryan, Missy. "U.S. Operation Killed al-Qaeda Hostages, Including American." Washington Post, 23 Apr. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 23 April 2015, a White House statement said "[a] U.S. operation along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan inadvertently killed two hostages earlier this year.... The American hostage, Warren Weinstein, had been held since 2011.... Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto, had been in al-Qaeda captivity since 2012." The statement "did not provide details on the operation but news reports described it as a drone strike. The operation also killed Ahmed Farouq, a U.S. citizen and an al-Qaeda leader, the White House said.... In addition, the statement said, U.S. officials believe that another operation killed Adam Gadahn, a prominent al-Qaeda figure, also in January."

Hersh, Seymour M. "The Killing of Osama bin Laden." London Review of Books, 21 May 2015, 3-12. [Available at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden]

Returning to his Dark Side of Camelot (1997) persona, Hersh cites a single source -- "a retired senior intelligence official" -- for the claim that bin Laden had been an ISI prisoner "since 2006; that [Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, ISI director general] knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms;" that the CIA learned of bin Laden's whereabouts "from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward..., and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration's account were false."

Peter Bergen, CNN, 11 May 2015, builds the case that "Hersh's account of the bin Laden raid is a farrago of nonsense that is contravened by a multitude of eyewitness accounts, inconvenient facts and simple common sense." See also, Alexandra Jaffe, "White House Rejects Seymour Hersh 'Baseless Assertions' on bin Laden Raid," CNN, 11 May 2015; and Dan Lamothe, "'Utter Nonsense': CIA and White House Blast Seymour Hersh's Explosive Osama bin Laden Raid Story," Washington Post, 11 May 2015.

DeYoung, Karen, and Missy Ryan. "Senior ISIS Leader Killed in U.S. Raid in Syria." Washington Post, 16 May 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to a White House statement on 16 May 2015, a U.S. Special Operations raid inside Syria on 15 May 2015 killed Abu Sayyaf, "a senior Islamic State leader." Abu Sayyaf's wife, "who was said to be an Islamic State member, was captured during the operation, and a young [Yazidi] woman who appeared to be held as a slave of the couple, was freed." A U.S. Defense official said that the raid :was carried out by a team of the Army's Delta Force troops, who traveled in Black Hawk helicopters and Osprey aircraft.... [A]bout a dozen militants were killed" in a firefight.

U.S. Government Accountability Office. "State Department: Preliminary Observations on the Bureau of Counterterrorism's Resources, Performance, and Coordination." GAO-15-655T: Washington, DC: GPO, 2 Jun. 2015. [http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-655T]

"GAO's preliminary analysis has found that ... [s]ince its elevation to a bureau in fiscal year 2012, the bureau has ... completed four evaluations of counterterrorism-related programs it oversees, resulting in 60 recommendations. GAO's preliminary results show that the bureau had addressed about half of the recommendations (28 of 60) as of April 2015 but had not established time frames for addressing the remaining recommendations."

Miller, Greg, and Hugh Naylor. "Al-Qaeda Says No. 2 Leader Killed by U.S. Drone Strike in Yemen.'" Washington Post, 16 Jun. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) confirmed on 16 June 2015 that "a CIA drone strike killed its leader," Nasir al-Wuhayshi, on 9 June 2015. A senior al-Qaeda leader in Yemen "identified Wuhayshi's deputy, Qassim al-Raimi, as the group's new leader." In 2013 al-Wuhayshi "was named al-Qaeda's overall second-in-command and apparent heir to leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.... The strike aimed at Wuhayshi served as the latest reminder that the CIA and JSOC continue to operate armed drones over Yemen."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Didn't Know Strike Would Hit al-Qaeda Leader." Washington Post, 17 Jun. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. officials, "[t]he CIA did not know in advance that al-Qaeda's leader in Yemen was among the suspected militants targeted in a lethal drone strike last week.... The officials said that Nasir al-Wuhayshi ... was killed in a 'signature strike,' in which the CIA is permitted to fire based on patterns of suspected militant activity.... The reliance on signature strikes would help explain an increase in the pace of drone operations in Yemen over the past six months.... U.S. officials said the stepped-up use of signature strikes is part of a broader easing of constraints on the CIA and U.S. military drone campaigns there to help compensate for the loss of a critical ally."

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