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Old 07-14-2007, 06:00 PM   #1
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Al Qaeda better positioned to strike the West

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19730468/

Bold emphasis is mine:
Quote:
Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Al-Qaida is stepping up its efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States and has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike here, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment, The Associated Press has learned.

The draft National Intelligence Estimate is expected to paint an ever-more-worrisome portrait of al-Qaida’s ability to use its base along the Pakistan-Afghan border to launch and inspire attacks, even as Bush administration officials say the U.S. is safer nearly six years into the war on terror.

Among the key findings of the classified estimate, which is still in draft form and must be approved by all 16 U.S. spy agencies:

Al-Qaida is probably still pursuing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and would use them if its operatives developed sufficient capability.

The terror group has been able to restore three of the four key tools it would need to launch an attack on U.S. soil: a safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas, operational lieutenants and senior leaders. It could not immediately be learned what the missing fourth element is.

The group will bolster its efforts to position operatives inside U.S. borders. In public statements, U.S. officials have expressed concern about the ease with which people can enter the United States through Europe because of a program that allows most Europeans to enter without visas.

The document also discusses increasing concern about individuals already inside the United States who are adopting an extremist brand of Islam.

National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative written judgments that reflect the consensus long-term thinking of senior intelligence analysts.

Government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not been finalized, described it as an expansive look at potential threats within the United States and said it required the cooperation of a number of national security agencies, including the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security Department and National Counterterrorism Center.

National security officials met at the White House on Thursday about the intelligence estimate and related counterterrorism issues. The tentative plan is to release a declassified version of the report and brief Congress on Tuesday, one government official said.

Ross Feinstein, spokesman for National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, declined to discuss the document’s specific contents. But he said it would be consistent with statements made by senior government officials at congressional hearings and elsewhere.

The estimate echoes the findings of another analysis prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center earlier this year and disclosed publicly on Wednesday. That report — titled “Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West” — found the terrorist group is “considerably operationally stronger than a year ago” and has “regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001,” a counterterrorism official familiar with the reports findings told The Associated Press.

On Thursday, news of the counterterrorism center’s threat assessment renewed the political debate about the nature of the al-Qaida threat and whether U.S. actions — in Iraq in particular — have made the U.S. safer from terrorism.

At a news conference Thursday, President Bush acknowledged al-Qaida’s continuing threat to the United States and used the new report as evidence his administration’s policies are on the right course.

“The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on Sept. 11,” he said. “That’s why what happens in Iraq matters to security here at home.”

Yet Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said Iraq has distracted the United States. He said the U.S. should have finished off al-Qaida in 2002 and 2003 along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Instead, “President Bush chose to invade Iraq, thereby diverting our military and intelligence resources away from the real war on terrorism,” Rockefeller said. “Threats to the United States homeland are not emanating from Iraq. They are coming from al-Qaida leadership.”
Dear Mr. President: I'm sorry to interject, but I have to correct you. It is not because Al Qaeda has rebuilt itself that war in Iraq must go on. It is because the war in Iraq is going on (and was started in the first place) that Al Qaeda has been able to rebuild itself. Thanks for that.





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Old 07-14-2007, 06:18 PM   #2
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wow, two wars lost in just 6 years.

well done, Mr. Bush.
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Old 07-14-2007, 06:55 PM   #3
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Well if you'd give Bush a little bit more time, you cowardly wimps, you'd see!!
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Ron Paul warns of staged terror attack

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, said the country is in "great danger" of the U.S. government staging a terrorist attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation, as the war in Iraq continues to deteriorate.

The Texas congressman offered no specifics nor mentioned President Bush by name, but he clearly insinuated that the administration would not be above staging an incident to revive flagging support.

"We're in danger in many ways," Paul said on the Alex Jones radio show. "The attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that's in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense."

Paul was asked to respond to comments by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan that the U.S. is in danger of a staged terror attack or a provocation of an enemy similar to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 before the Vietnam War.

During the radio interview, Paul said the government was conducting "an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that has gone wrong in Iraq."

The comments come as several prominent terrorism experts have warned the U.S. is facing an increased risk of attack this summer. Earlier this week, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he had a "gut feeling" the U.S. would be attacked again.

The remark angered some Democrats, who criticized Chertoff for being too vague. And some pundits seized on his remarks, saying the vague warnings were meant only to revive flagging support for the war in Iraq and Bush’s larger war against terroris
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Usama Bin Laden Appears in New Video, Officials Probe Authenticity

Saturday , July 14, 2007



Al Qaeda Leader Usama bin Laden appears on new recording being analyzed for authenticity, U.S. officials confirmed Saturday to FOX News.

The videotaped statement, which surfaced on jihadist Web sites, is apparently short, and does not appear to be a dramatic aside from martyrdom videos from various al Qaeda followers from Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkistan.

Though U.S. sources tell FOX News there has never been a fake tape from Bin Laden in the past, they contend that the analysis is not complete and there does not appear to be any time specific references so there is no way to know when the tape was made.

Click here to see video report from ABC News.com.

FOX News Baghdad reports that the clip may be from a previous unseen portion of video released five to six years ago.

FOX News has been reporting for nearly two weeks, there have been a handful of postings on the Islamic forums, which suggested a new Bin Laden tape was coming.

It has been over a year since the last audio tape from Bin Laden, shortly after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq was killed.

Bin Laden is seen wearing his familiar dress of standard camouflage battle jacket, watch cap and Pashtun pantaloons.

ABC News.com reports that the Al Qaeda leader appears older in the clip, where he is reportedly addressing an unseen group in a mountainous region.

Anyone remember how there was a BinLaden tape released right before the 2004 election.


It seems like whenever the CIA analyzes them, they are always good.


Does anyone expect BinLaden to hold a press conference and say, "Hey, that's a fake, its not me."?
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:36 PM   #6
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Iranian missiles aimed at US base found in Iraq

THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 15, 2007

US armed forces in Iraq uncovered a field containing 50 Iranian-made rocket launchers, all aimed at a US army base, Israel Radio reported.
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:12 AM   #7
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Who didn't see this coming?
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:55 AM   #8
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If you won the election in 2008, what would you do differently? How would you protect your nation from terrorism (as much as it is possible to do so)?
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:21 AM   #9
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Well, those are two completely different questions, AEON, because Iraq and protecting us from terrorism have nothing to do with each other.

I would withdraw from Iraq and continue a non-military campaign against terrorism.
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:01 PM   #10
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How about this. If I had won the election in 2000, I would not have invaded Iraq and would have continued to concentrate my resources on capturing Bin Laden and eliminating safe havens for Al Qaeda.
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen
How about this. If I had won the election in 2000, I would not have invaded Iraq and would have continued to concentrate my resources on capturing Bin Laden and eliminating safe havens for Al Qaeda.

That's fair. But what would you do if you won in 2008?
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by phillyfan26

...and continue a non-military campaign against terrorism.
What woud this entail? Propaganda? Financial aid?
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:17 PM   #13
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[q]Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, said the country is in "great danger" of the U.S. government staging a terrorist attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation, as the war in Iraq continues to deteriorate.

The Texas congressman offered no specifics nor mentioned President Bush by name, but he clearly insinuated that the administration would not be above staging an incident to revive flagging support.[/q]





the fact that this is not beyond the realm of possibility is a complete and total tragedy.

yay. a summer of sweating on the Metro, and not because it's in the mid-90s and humid.
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Old 07-16-2007, 01:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON



That's fair. But what would you do if you won in 2008?
I rather like Dennis Kucinich's plan that unico posted a week ago or so. It's got a few problems (like how to form an international peace keeping force when we've squandered much of our international goodwill), but it's certainly a good starting point in my eyes.

http://kucinich.us/iraqplan
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
If you won the election in 2008, what would you do differently? How would you protect your nation from terrorism (as much as it is possible to do so)?
First, I would put across to the American people that war and terrorism are both morally ambiguous and neither is morally superior to the other. We have to stop the roots of aggression by understanding what causes terrorism.
I would pressure US allies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt to stop funding extremist teachings that only lead to Al Qaeda type groups. I would try to ensure that desperate people don't become martys for some vague cause by helping economically depressed people. I would stop supporting Israel and pressure it to deal with Palestinians humanely, instead the hypocritical historical approach of supporting occupation and brutality of Israel no matter what it does while talking down to Palestinians. Palestinians have engaged in cease-fires repeatedly, but Israel is allowed to continue settlements and oppression and violence to arrest or kill targets. If Israel won't stop, why should Palestinians?

Bush is not the first to play this hypocritical game, and until this trend is broken away from, Muslims the world over will be galvanized by this injustice of Israeli colonialism and oppression, and Al Qaeda-type group membership will grow. Terrorism in this case grows out of injustice, not Islamic fundamentalist colonial dreams. There's a difference between Al Qaeda and reasonable groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, which may occasionally do the wrong thing, but are not evil or unacceptable by using the only means they have to prevent Israel from rolling over their peoples even more than they have in the past. Israel had a chance for peace, but used aggression from its inception, and now balks at Arab/Muslim 'barbarism' for self-defense. Israel's actions are similar to what European settlers did to native Americans, yet no US politician is willing to accept the moral imperative this acknowlegement would bring about.
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