Wednesday, July 18, 2007

U.S. INTEL AGENCIES CONCUR ON TERROR THREAT: Wouldn't you like your money back on that one?


Set a fire and an example.

"Nearly six years after the United States set out to crush al Qaeda, the terrorist network has 'regenerated key elements' of its ability to attack targets in America and is intensifying its efforts to put operatives inside the country, according to a sobering new report from US intelligence agencies," went the lead story in today's Los Angeles Times.

Sobering?

Depends on your point of view.

The .pdf of the sanitized National Intelligence Estimate report on whitehouse.gov wasn't quite worth the few seconds it took to download.

If you've read DD blog 2006-2007, you have a better handle on terror capabilities than anyone who would rely on such a pitilessly shallow and abridged document.

It's become quite clear that not all soldiers in jihad are very good ones. And the quality of any "training" al Qaeda provides is certainly open to question. Its reputation as a force of elite can-do-anything jihadi men is not an accurate one.

It may have some good operatives. It certainly and fortunately has a noticeable cadre of mistake-prone irregulars.

Over the past few weeks I've run a series of posts on terror plots in England.

The visible proof of failure and documents scattered across websites and captured laptops clearly indicate a few things, some very unpleasant, some heartening.

The unpleasant news is that George W. Bush's disastrous war in Iraq has inspired and will continue to inspire terror plots in the United Kingdom.

Whether nipped in the bud or failed because of shortcomings on the part of conspirators, DD has received a steady stream of mail in the past year from UK sources asserting squarely and with some authority that Bush administration policies and actions (and those of the British government under Tony Blair) in Iraq have had powerful and very negative consequences. In England, the war has become a grinding incitement, one powerful reason for a small number of young Islamic men to come together in the plotting of terror.

This has not been a subject of much discussion in the US mainstream media although it's common in English publications. There has been an absolute reluctance to wave the unpleasantness in George W. Bush's face. Not that it would do any good.

Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell also said "al Qaeda was still seeking chemical, biological and nuclear devices, but analysts do not believe the network has acquired such weapons," wrote the Times.

Your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow coughs impolitely.

It's become baldly obvious from terror documents obtained in trial that al Qaeda and those inspired by it have quite a bit of desire for WMDs.

You've consistantly read them here and nowhere else, certainly not from National Intelligence Estimate's or daily newspapers! Yes, duh, the enemy would use such weapons if they had them. How much was paid to come up with such a nugget of nose-gold?

You've also read the authors have none of the scientific or technical savvy to even begin mounting effective development operations to get them.

And you have read that said terrorists have been inspired in their desires to get such weapons because they have read how easy it is to make them, from western sources. And unlike others more critical, skeptical or well-informed, they seem to believe everything they read from such sources.

To get this information, it has not been necessary to assemble a consensus opinion from American intelligence agencies.

Can al Qaeda cajole sufficient numbers of highly-trained scientists to go to work for them to make chemical and biological weapons in the tribal wastelands of Pakistan? Bet against.

Could they do it in England?

Bet against. However, they may be able to mount trivial efforts, hoard a packet of castor seeds, buy some noxious materials from hardware stores or the local chemist, perhaps steal reagents from a community college laboratory. It will be very hard if not impossible for them to do volume business, England not being a failed state like Iraq.

A Congressional Quarterly tipsheet encapsulated some of the received wisdoms of the day, including mine, in a graf:

"In face of terror threat warnings, 'cynical complacency is no longer a good option,' James Pinkerton insists in a Newsday op-ed urging renewal of 'old social safeguards, such as good-citizenship oaths.' As some question whether 'the war on terrorism is real - al Qaeda is convinced that it is and they're preparing for another sortie right into America's soul,' radio host Steve Yuhas states on OpinionEditorials.com. Jihadists hatch 'many plots, some of which are utter nonsense and a few of which have been carried out only to fail in everything except the generation of spectacular publicity,' George Smith weighs in The Register. How worried are you? The San Francisco Chronicle asks its readers."

We'll send you out to review some recent terror plots and trials, starting with the crazy jihadi e-mails revealing wishes to bombard Mayport, Florida.

The Washington Post's Craig Whitlock and Spencer Hsu informed American readers of it on July 7.

"Evidence introduced at the trial included transcripts of anonymous chat-room postings, including one from 2004 that read: 'We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America,'" reported Whitlock and Hsu.

"The message referred to using six Chevrolet GT vehicles and three fishing boats and blowing up gasoline tanks with rocket-propelled grenades.

"As a target, the posting mentioned a U.S. naval base and related strip clubs, singling out the now-retired aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy," continued the Post.

It was oh-so-amusing how those reporters and editors at the Post neglected to mention the jihadi e-mailer who generated the plan, discussing his know-how, among other rib-ticklers.

"[Our] experience of preparing car-bombs is zero," wrote our determined enemy.

See it here.




Terror news infotainment hijinks by Newsweek.

The failed chapatti flour bombers.

Terrorist Dhiren Barot follows the will of Allah.

Burning Man: Jihadi expert on nothing comes up short.

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