The LWOT: NYPD worked with CIA on surveillance – Report

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NYPD intelligence division investigating Muslim communities - Report

The AP published a must-read on August 24 revealing the growth of the New York Police Department's intelligence division, and its use of covert officers to infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods to detect suspicious behavior and potential terrorist plots (AP). These clandestine networks were reportedly built with the help of the CIA following 9/11, when it became clear that federal intelligence agencies alone could not protect all U.S. cities from attack. NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly confirmed on August 25 that a CIA officer is working at his headquarters, but solely as an advisor (AP). Muslim advocacy groups have called for investigations into potential rights abuses committed as a result of these surveillance operations (CNN, AJE).

The CIA has reportedly demanded extensive redactions in the soon-to-be-released memoir of former FBI investigator Ali Soufan, who played a key role in terrorism investigations before and after the 9/11 attacks (NYT). However, the requested cuts include many details about harsh interrogation practices and the 9/11 investigations that have been disclosed in public investigations and even by former CIA director George Tenet, prompting Soufan's lawyer to write that, "credible sources have told Mr. Soufan that the [CIA] has made a decision that this book should not be published because it will prove embarrassing to the agency."   

NYPD intelligence division investigating Muslim communities – Report

The AP published a must-read on August 24 revealing the growth of the New York Police Department’s intelligence division, and its use of covert officers to infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods to detect suspicious behavior and potential terrorist plots (AP). These clandestine networks were reportedly built with the help of the CIA following 9/11, when it became clear that federal intelligence agencies alone could not protect all U.S. cities from attack. NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly confirmed on August 25 that a CIA officer is working at his headquarters, but solely as an advisor (AP). Muslim advocacy groups have called for investigations into potential rights abuses committed as a result of these surveillance operations (CNN, AJE).

The CIA has reportedly demanded extensive redactions in the soon-to-be-released memoir of former FBI investigator Ali Soufan, who played a key role in terrorism investigations before and after the 9/11 attacks (NYT). However, the requested cuts include many details about harsh interrogation practices and the 9/11 investigations that have been disclosed in public investigations and even by former CIA director George Tenet, prompting Soufan’s lawyer to write that, "credible sources have told Mr. Soufan that the [CIA] has made a decision that this book should not be published because it will prove embarrassing to the agency."   

The New York Times reported on August 23 that internal data from the FBI obtained by the paper shows that the Bureau is focusing more on unearthing terrorist plots that threaten U.S. national security than on ordinary criminal activity (NYT). According to the data, FBI agents found no substantial evidence of wrongdoing in approximately 96% of all "low-grade assessments" conducted, such as those based on suspicions or tips.

Five convicted on terrorism charges appeal verdict

Lawyers for five Miami men convicted in 2009 of conspiring to aid al-Qaeda argued in a federal appeals court on August 23 that the presiding federal judge’s decision during their trial to remove a juror led directly to the defendants’ convictions (Miami Herald, Miami Herald). The men, who along with two others were known as the "Liberty City Seven," were arrested in 2006 in an elaborate FBI sting operation.

On August 19 a federal judge in Boston rejected a motion filed by Tarek Mehanna — who is accused of providing support to al-Qaeda — requesting the disclosure to the defense and suppression of classified evidence collected under the Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) (AP). The motion also alleges that the procedures used to gather the evidence were unlawful.

A U.S. District Judge in Miami on August 25 set an April 23 trial date for Florida Imam Hafiz Khan and his two sons, Irfan and Izhar Khan, who are all facing terrorism charges for allegedly raising money for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (AP).

And a county judge in Detroit ruled on August 22 that Roger Stockham, who was accused of plotting to attack the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, MI, is not mentally fit to stand trial, and will instead continue to be treated at a mental health facility (AP).

Suicide bomber strikes U.N. in Nigeria 

A suicide car bombing at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria today killed at least 16, after a possible attack warning last month prompted the U.N. to increase security (BBC, Reuters, AP). No claim of responsibility has been made for the attack, though authorities suspect that the militant group Boko Haram is responsible. And Nigerian terrorist suspect Henry Okah will go on trial in South Africa’s High Court in January to face charges that he attempted to attack Nigeria’s president last October by orchestrating car bombs that killed 12 people during the country’s independence day celebrations in Abuja (AP).

Spain’s National Court remanded Moroccan-born Abdellatif Aoulad Chiba into custody on August 20 for allegedly plotting to poison tourists’ water supply to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden (AFP). Chiba was arrested on August 17 after Spanish police discovered statements he posted on extremist Internet forums proclaiming his allegiance to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and asking for information needed to plan attacks.

A British court on August 22 charged Asim Kauser with four terrorism-related offences based on material found on a computer drive explaining bombmaking techniques and how to produce the highly toxic poison ricin (BBC). Also on August 22, a British couple was remanded into custody after they allegedly researched bombmaking instructions and purchased the material needed to build an explosive device (BBC).

The Oslo District Court on August 19 extended the isolation detention time by four weeks for Anders Behring Breivik, the self-confessed perpetrator of the bombing in Oslo and shooting spree on the island of Utoya last month that killed 77 people (AP). The extension was due to ongoing investigations into whether or not Breivik acted alone.

Indonesian police said on August 22 that they have detained the Filipino wife of alleged Bali bomber Umar Patek on charges of using a fake Indonesian passport while she travelled with her husband, who will soon go on trial in Indonesia for his role in the 2002 bombings (Jakarta Post, Jakarta Post). And Reuters reported on August 25 that human rights organizations in Saudi Arabia allege the Saudi government has unjustly detained thousands of political activists and others on suspicion of threatening the country’s national security (Reuters).

Trials and Tribulations

  • Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) released a statement on August 20 claiming that it had launched a campaign of 100 attacks in order to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden (NYT, AP).
  • NPR on August 21 discussed the surge in FBI informants due to terror probes initiated after 9/11, and the debate over whether the use of informants in these investigations constitutes prevention of attacks or entrapment (NPR).
  • Ukrainian security officials said on August 22 that they had detained three suspects in the capital city of Kiev allegedly involved in a foiled bomb attack planned for August 24, the country’s independence day (Reuters).
  • Thai police said on August 23 that suspected Islamic extremists were behind a roadside bomb in the country’s south that killed two soldiers and wounded eight others (AP).
Jennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation, where Andrew Lebovich is a policy analyst.

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