September 9th, 2011
09:40 PM ET

Scramble to connect dots in new terror threat

By Sr. National Security Producer Pam Benson

Analysts are working 24/7 this week at the National Counterterrorism Center, sifting through databases for connections to a possible threat of an attack on New York or Washington around the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

"Some people have not gone home who are working on this," a counterterrorism official said Friday.

Experts are reviewing variations in names - names that might be fragments or aliases, but are enough to run through their computer systems in an effort to glean more information about the possible plot, which is believed to involve a vehicle-borne explosive device.

As analysts pore through travel records trying to find out if any suspected terrorists have entered the United States, they take the fragments of information they have - names, countries, dates - to narrow down nationality, country of departure, timeframe of travel and any contacts the suspects might have had en route.

The NCTC works with other members of the intelligence community to run down leads and information is exchanged.

"A fair amount of questions are being posed both from us and to us," the counterterrorism official said. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: 9/11 • Al Qaeda • Intelligence • Living With Terror • NCTC • Pakistan
September 9th, 2011
07:05 PM ET

Rare display of bipartisanship as Justice Dept remembers 9/11

By CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden

Reminiscent of the national unity which followed the 9/11 attacks, a rare bipartisan embrace highlighted the 9/11 memorial tribute at the Justice Department Friday.
Members of Attorney General Eric Holder's team and a substantial delegation of GOP officials from former Attorney General John Ashcroft's administration joined to pay tribute to the victims and their families. The event also marked a celebration of the Justice Department and FBI efforts over 10 years to reform the nation's response to combating international terrorism.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: 9/11 • FBI • Terrorism
Clinton promotes counter-terror initiatives
Secretary Clinton also visited the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Friday. Photo: CNN
September 9th, 2011
06:15 PM ET

Clinton promotes counter-terror initiatives

By CNN National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

Speaking just a few blocks north from where New York’s twin towers once stood, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the latest terror threat "should surprise no one," but serves as a "reminder of the continuing stakes in our struggle against violent extremism."

Clinton spoke at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and to herald a strategy that weaves U.S. diplomacy and development assistance with defense in its engagement with the world. She has called the strategy "smart power."

As a reflection of the continued evolution of counterterrorism strategy, President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing a strategic counterterrorism communications initiative that seeks to counteract jihadist recruitment messages and propoganda.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: 9/11 • Diplomacy • Secretary of State
September 9th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

First U.S. diplomats returning to Tripoli on Saturday

By CNN National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

The United States is sending the first team of diplomats into the Libyan capital since its embassy was shuttered earlier this year, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Friday.

Joan Polaschik, the deputy chief of mission, is scheduled to arrive Saturday to establish what the State Department calls a "modest" diplomatic footprint.

Polaschik will have "a couple of policy people with her and some more security folks and building folks to work on getting the premises ready for the reopening as soon as we can," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Diplomacy • Libya
September 9th, 2011
03:07 PM ET

Evacuating the Pentagon on 9/11

By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

Every year the memories come flooding back. Like most Americans, I often have told the story of "where I was when it happened." Maybe this year, the 10th, it will be the last time, for at least a while.

The day started around 6 a.m. when I woke up, peeked out the window and saw a late summer day of gorgeous weather, a blue sky and no clouds.

September 11 is my birthday, so the only thing I was thinking about is how soon could I leave work and go out to dinner with friends. I drove to the Pentagon with little on my mind. I had no concept that a dark cloud was forming as I entered the area of the Pentagon on the second floor where all the major news organizations have their offices.
FULL POST

September 9th, 2011
01:41 PM ET

Intercepted AQ message led to threat concern

By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

American spy networks have intercepted communications from a known al Qaeda operative in Pakistan that indicates plans for a potential terrorist strike in New York or Washington D.C, according to a senior U.S. official.

The communication comes from a source that has in the past provided accurate information, the official said, prompting intelligence officials to sift through communications from other known al Qaeda cells.

No corroborating has been uncovered, the official added.

The information indicates that the strike - thought to come from a vehicle-borne explosive device - is meant to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attack.

September 9th, 2011
12:05 PM ET

Half-Million Dollar Men – and Women – Carry U.S. Message

By CNN National Security Producer Charley Keyes

Billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funds are being spent to send diplomats and other civilians to Afghanistan without proper understanding of how the money is spent and how expenses may keep going up, a new report concludes.

"No agency has comprehensively assessed the cost of establishing and sustaining the civilian uplift or the mechanisms in place to ensure uplift funds are used appropriately," the report said, pointing out that most of the civilians, and the expenses are part of the State Deapartment. Uplift is government term for bringing more civilians into the war zone

"State had neither established formal mechanisms with other agencies regarding their use of civilian uplift funds nor monitored how agencies spent funds and instead relied on informal communications such as emails and meetings," the report said. "As a result, this increased the risk that funds would not be spent for their intended purpose."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Diplomacy
U.S. choking terror funding sources since 9/11
Presidential advisor John Brennan said Al Qaeda is getting "pummeled" but remains a significant threat. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
September 9th, 2011
11:18 AM ET

U.S. choking terror funding sources since 9/11

By CNN National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

Ten years after the September 11 attacks, al Qaeda's ability to finance such a large and sophisticated operation has been significantly diminished, but new challenges to choke off funds for further attacks continue, the Treasury Department said.

"Al Qaeda struggles to secure steady financing. It can no longer rely on a thick Rolodex and a simple bank transfer," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at a symposium Thursday to highlight the work of the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. The death of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda's most effective advocate for funding, dealt a blow to the group, Geithner said, "but al Qaeda is a determined and sophisticated organization, and it will continue to find ways to access funding."

To be sure, the Treasury Department said it has been able to curtail al Qaeda's financing ability through arrest, prosecution and targeted sanctions aimed at its key leadership.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: 9/11 • Afghanistan • Intelligence • Yemen
September 9th, 2011
10:49 AM ET

Source: AQ "central" linked to current threat

A senior US administration official tells Pentagon correspondent Barbara Star that it is the 'origin' of the intelligence information about a possible 9-11 attack that is causing the concern that has led the warnings from the Obama Administration.

"It gives us pause" he says.

"It all gets to the assessment of where the information is coming from" the source said.

The focus right now is finding corroboration that either this is real, or they can dismiss it, the source said.

The 'working assumption' is that operatives have entered the US. "The working assumption is if the plot is for real and there are individuals plotting then some have already arrived." But he stressed they cannot confirm that has happened.

The US also believes the operatives came out of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, that they are part of Al Qaeda 'central", but he said there is also a possibility Pakistan-based groups like LET or TTP groups are also involved.

Asked by CNN business reporter Alison Kosik if Pakistan was involved in uncovering the threat or following up on it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said U.S. government is taking the threat seriously.

"We are, obviously, working with everybody to try to find as much information as possible," Clinton said in an interview after she helped ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

 


Filed under: 9/11 • Al Qaeda • Living With Terror • Pakistan • Secretary of State • Terrorism