By Paul Cruickshank, Tim Lister, and Nic Robertson
Editor's note: Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister are writing a book about Morten Storm and his life as a former informant on terrorist groups.
Western intelligence missed a chance to capture or kill the suspected terrorist thought to be behind the Nairobi mall massacre, according to a former informant for both the CIA and the Danish intelligence service.
Morten Storm, who worked as an informant for five years, had forged a close relationship with the man - a Kenyan called Ikrima - who has been responsible for planning attacks inside Kenya for Al-Shabaab.
Storm, a Danish national, told CNN that in March 2012 the Danish intelligence agency PET had offered him one million Danish krone ($200,000) on behalf of the CIA if he could lead them to Ikrima, the target of an unsuccessful operation by US Navy SEALs last month. The SEALs raided an Al-Shabaab compound at Barawe on the Somali coast, but Ikrima escaped.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
When U.S. commandos grabbed a former al Qaeda operative in Tripoli this month, American forces were just hours away from potentially launching a more dangerous covert raid to capture a militia figure facing charges in the deadly Benghazi terror attack, U.S. officials tell CNN.
U.S. special operations forces were ready, if ordered, to enter Benghazi and capture Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a leading figure in the Ansar Al-Sharia militia. But the mission never materialized.
The United States believes Ansar Al-Sharia was behind the September 2012 armed assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
By Barbara Starr
In a sign of a potentially expanded role for U.S. special forces in Africa, the Pentagon is considering sending V-22 Osprey aircraft to a base in Uganda for American and African forces to use in assaults on The Lord's Resistance Army, a messianic group led by Joseph Kony, a warlord African forces are trying to capture with the help of the United States.
The V-22, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, would increase the distance ground forces can operate, and transport them to targets faster than conventional helicopters, said two U.S. military officials who confirmed details to CNN.
Special forces commanders are making the case the operation needs more mobility than a small number of conventional helicopters can provide currently.
At the same time, the role of U.S. special forces in the Kony hunt has been expanded under a new authorization approved by the White House, both officials said.
By Jethro Mullen
The villagers had congregated at the tent, as they often did at the end of the workday, to sit and chat.
Among them were men who sold vegetables or wood. Others mined or traded minerals used to make alloys like stainless steel.
They were husbands and fathers, brothers and sons.
But unlike villagers who might gather like this in many other parts of the world, these men had strange company at their customary get-together.FULL STORY
The U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, issued an alert this week to Americans that it is looking into reports that an attack similar to the one at a Kenyan mall could soon occur in the the city.
The embassy's statement said there were no specific details about a possible date or location of a "Westgate-style attack." It didn't say where the reports were coming from.
A U.S. official with direct knowledge of the latest information told CNN the notice was sent "out of an abundance of caution." The U.S. is still vetting the information, the official said, to see if there is any truth behind it.
Washington doesn't think the Westgate attackers or al Qaeda is planning the potential attack, the U.S. official said.
At least 67 people were killed by multiple attackers during the four-day siege at the mall in Nairobi last month. The terrorists who attacked the mall claimed to be members of Somalia-based Al-Shabaab.
The embassy in Kampala - Uganda's capital - urged Americans traveling to the country or living there to register with the State Department's Smart Traveller Enrollment Program.
-CNN's Barbara Starr and Elise Labott contributed to this report.
Editors Note: Jane Harman is director, president and chief executive officer of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was a nine-term congresswoman from California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee from 2002 to 2006, and a principal coauthor of the Intelligence Reform Law of 2004 and the FISA Amendments of 2008.
By Jane Harman, Special to CNN
The October 5 takedown of Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai – an alleged perpetrator of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, a long-standing occupant of the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list, and alleged one-time member of Osama bin Laden’s security team – surprised many.
It was a brilliantly successful operation conducted by our military under strict legal guidelines for capture, interrogations, arrest and now transfer to New York for trial. This process may be the new gold standard for CT operations going forward.
U.S. officials hope he will provide useful information about his al Qaeda colleagues and plots being planned against Western and American targets so we may be able to thwart future attacks.
But while this capture was picture-perfect, al Ruqai was only one of many terrorists currently on the loose.
Alleged al Qaeda operative, Abu Anas al Libi, accused of playing a role in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, has entered a not guilty plea to terrorism charges brought against him in federal court in New York on Tuesday.
An alleged al Qaeda operative accused of playing a role in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania is to appear Tuesday in federal court in New York.
U.S. Army Delta Force soldiers seized Abu Anas al Libi, a 49-year-old Libyan, on October 5 from outside his house in Tripoli, Libya.
U.S. officials say he was taken initially to a Navy ship for questioning before he was taken to the United States over the weekend.
His arrival in the U.S. has reopened a debate over whether international terrorist suspects should be tried in U.S. courts.FULL STORY
By Evan Perez and Susan Candiotti
The United States has brought Abu Anas al Libi - an alleged al Qaeda operative whom U.S. Army Delta Force soldiers captured in Libya this month - to New York, a U.S. attorney's office said Monday.
He was transferred to law enforcement custody over the weekend, the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Al Libi is expected to appear before a judicial officer on Tuesday, the office said.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
The Libyan government has given the United States "tacit approval" to conduct missions inside Libya to capture suspects involved in the terror attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, a senior U.S. official told CNN.
The official has direct knowledge of the arrangements but declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.
Approval for action against Benghazi suspects, which was granted in recent weeks, is the same type of agreement that allowed a U.S. raid this past weekend in Tripoli.
By Gabe LaMonica
Three Republican senators are accusing the Obama administration of compromising intelligence gathering by holding Abu Anas al Libi on a Navy ship instead of sending him to the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay.
During a press conference Tuesday, Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the detainment of al Libi on a Navy vessel in the Mediterranean Sea a "huge mistake."
Graham commended the administration's use of "boots on the ground to capture people" as a "good change in policy," but said there are "fatal flaws" in the U.S. intelligence gathering system.
"It's hard to interrogate a dead man," he said, so it's good that the administration is no longer "killing everybody by drones." But the refusal to send al Libi to Gitmo and to hold him instead at sea is "not a proper way to gather intelligence in the war on terror," Graham added.