In the days before Thursday’s start to the trial for alleged Portland Christmas Tree bomber Mohamed Osman Mohamud, pre-trial hearings revealed two new details. First, the government failed to reveal to the defense an effort to “pitch” Mohamud on October 27, 2009, 13 months before they arrested him in an FBI-created plot. This comes on top of earlier revelations about a key meeting the FBI failed to tape, another failure to reveal FBI contacts, and Abu Zubaydah’s brother’s claim that, as an FBI informant, he was asked to track the then-16 year old Mohamud as early as 2008.
|By: emptywheel Saturday January 12, 2013 1:59 pm|
|By: David Dayen Friday October 26, 2012 4:08 pm|
The United Nations special rapporteur for counterterrorism will lead an inquiry into civilian deaths from US drone strikes around the world, to determine whether the strikes violate international human rights and humanitarian laws.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday February 8, 2012 2:53 pm|
Is the national focus on terrorism justified? Kevin Drum has this chart showing that indictments for homegrown support for terrorist attacks have declined significantly. In addition, violent attacks carried out by Muslim-Americans in 2011 were almost non-existent. And a Department of Defense official now suggests we over-estimated the al Qaeda threat.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday February 8, 2012 1:40 pm|
A new poll shows that the lack of forceful opposition to Administration counter-terrorism policies, especially from Congressional Democrats, has led to them becoming broadly popular. This is true even for controversial policies like the continued presence of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, or drone strikes abroad.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday January 31, 2012 11:15 am|
It’s a sad commentary on our media that the President had to answer questions yesterday about drones for the first time, and the questions didn’t come at a White House press briefing or major print interview, but in a virtual YouTube town hall with members of the public. FDL’s Kevin Gosztola covered this at The Dissenter last night, but there’s more to say about the disconnect between the concerns of the media and the concerns of ordinary Americans in that.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday December 27, 2011 1:40 pm|
The Obama Administration, according to the New York Times, will allow Ali Abdullah Saleh into the country for medical treatment, in a move eerily similar to the Carter Administration allowing the Shah of Iran to seek medical help. A visa has not been submitted for Saleh, and the ultimate outcome is subject to certain conditions. But the path appears set.
|By: David Dayen Monday December 26, 2011 7:15 am|
I wrote Saturday about the Christmas drone truce, a six-week pause in aerial bombing of suspected terrorists over Pakistan, in reaction to a botched airstrike that killed 24 soldiers. Now it looks like this gesture of goodwill (as if “we won’t bomb your country” should be interpreted that way) will not salvage a robust security relationship, but simply allow the US to get kicked out more gracefully.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday June 22, 2011 7:18 pm|
In other words, the goal in Afghanistan is to attack safe havens in Pakistan. And that’s backed up by Spencer Ackerman’s reporting. There will be no movement of troops east, where the Taliban is dug in. Instead, the strategy will be “drones, drones, training Afghans, commando raids, and drones,” to quote Spencer. The mission has shifted to counter-terrorism, only with far more troops that you need for that mission (Sen. Coons didn’t see such a shift, but the refusal to go into the east is the tell). And the special ops forces, the JSOC guys, are being used to selectively take out Taliban to keep them at the negotiating table.
This is why the permanent bases are so important.
|By: David Dayen Monday June 13, 2011 3:00 pm|
The internal debate within the Administration over when and how to draw down in Afghanistan, and with how many troops, has begun. As I understand it, General David Petraeus will offer a range of options, and the national security team will assess them, with Obama having the final decision.
|By: David Dayen Friday May 13, 2011 8:04 am|
The last time Congress voted on withdrawal from Afghanistan was on March 17, and withdrawal got 93 votes, including 8 from Republicans. Since then, Osama bin Laden has been killed in a counter-terrorism mission in Pakistan, taking some of the rationale for war away. Several members in both parties have since questioned the mission in Afghanistan and whether the pace of withdrawal could be accelerated.