February 11, 2012 |
Anwar Awlaki, the U.S. citizen killed last year in a CIA drone strike in Yemen, was instrumental in the failed plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner in December 2009, according to a Justice Department court document filed Friday. A sentencing memorandum for Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who pleaded guilty in October to attempting to down the jetliner with a bomb sewn into his underwear, makes public for the first time some of the evidence that led President Obama to order a lethal strike against Awlaki, the Al Qaeda-linked cleric who was born in New Mexico.
February 10, 2012 |
A Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says it is "unacceptable" that the Obama administration is refusing to provide Congress with the secret legal opinions cited to justify killing American citizens during counterterrorism operations. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has pushed against the notion of classified legal opinions, expressed his concerns in a letter to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday. Previously, Wyden has complained about the refusal of the Justice Department to make public secret interpretations of domestic-surveillance law. On Wednesday, the senator said he wanted to know just how much authority President Obama claims when it comes to the matter of killing American terrorism suspects, but that his request, made last April, to see the classified legal opinions exploring that topic has been rebuffed.
February 5, 2012 |
When it comes to national security, Michael V. Haydenis no shrinking violet. As CIA director, he ran the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretaps against suspected terrorists. But the retired air force general admits to being a little squeamish about the Obama administration's expanding use of pilotless drones to kill suspected terrorists around the world - including, occasionally, U.S. citizens. "Right now, there isn't a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel," Hayden told me recently.
February 1, 2012 |
U.S. military aircraft launched strikes that killed at least five suspected militants in southern Yemen in one of the deadliest attacks since the Pentagon and CIA stepped up counter-terrorist operations in the impoverished Middle Eastern nation last year, U.S. officials said. The attacks Tuesday in Yemen's Abyan province targeted a meeting of members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a militant group whose leadership has been badly degraded in a series of U.S. air attacks, the officials said.
February 1, 2012
President Obama's public acknowledgment of the CIA's secret drone campaign in Pakistan puts new pressure on the administration to defend the policy openly. That's a welcome development. The president should now be equally forthcoming about the rationale for the targeted killings of American citizens. In an interview conducted by Google and YouTube on Monday, Obama defended the use of drones as "judicious" and added that "obviously a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA," Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas.
January 31, 2012 |
Even as Al Qaeda's ability to attack the United States continues to diminish, Iran is more willing to attack the United States and American interests overseas, the top U.S. intelligence official told Congress on Tuesday. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said that a failed 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in Washington has convinced U.S. intelligence officials that the leaders of the Iranian government are increasingly likely to support attacks on U.S. soil.
January 9, 2012 |
During a Dec. 8 news conference, President Obama rebuked his Republican foreign policy critics: "Ask Osama bin Laden … whether I engage in appeasement," Obama fired back. The president has a point, of course. The special forces raid to get Bin Laden deep in Pakistan was an extremely gutsy call. So too the extrajudicial death sentence that Obama imposed on U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki in Yemen. More generally, the president has been a veritable killing machine when it comes to anti-American jihadists, escalating drone attacks tenfold against our most fanatical enemies.
November 23, 2011 |
After months of unrest that have brought his country to the edge of civil war, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed an agreement in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to hand power to his vice president in a deal that leaves him immune from prosecution in the deaths of scores of protesters. The agreement reached with the opposition and backed by the U.S. and Persian Gulf nations allows Saleh to retain the title of president for three months while early elections are scheduled. A clever politician who has ruled for 33 years, Saleh has broken similar promises before and it remains to be seen whether he will finesse a loophole to stay in charge.
November 20, 2011 |
Police said Sunday they had arrested a U.S. citizen who planned to bomb police cars and post offices and kill U.S. servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to protest the American military presence in those countries. Jose Pimentel, 27, a convert to Islam, had been under surveillance for two years but seemed to have stepped up his bomb-making activities and plotting after the Sept. 30 killing by U.S. forces of Anwar Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born cleric who was living in Yemen, authorities said.