Army veteran pleads to lesser charge in Syria fighting case
September 21st, 2013
07:06 AM ET

Army veteran pleads to lesser charge in Syria fighting case

By CNN's Carol Cratty

A former U.S. soldier accused of fighting with terrorists against Syrian forces pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was released from custody.

Eric Harroun was sentenced to time served by a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, on Thursday.

Court documents showed he pleaded guilty to an export charge involving conspiracy to transfer defense articles and services.

Full Story

Post by:
Filed under: Army • Syria
Snowden likely to remain out of U.S. reach
July 17th, 2013
01:38 PM ET

Snowden likely to remain out of U.S. reach

By Carol Cratty

Edward Snowden appears likely to stay out of reach of U.S. officials even if the Russian government gives the self-avowed intelligence leaker papers to leave.

Snowden has been holed up in the transit lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for weeks, having flown there from Hong Kong in June after admittedly detailing top-secret National Security Agency electronic surveillance programs to media outlets.

He has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, and his lawyer said on Wednesday that he may be able to leave the airport within days.

If that happens, it’s not clear if Russia will meet his request. Snowden has said he wants to stay while awaiting passage to Latin America.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Edward Snowden • Intelligence • NSA • Russia
Anwar al-Awlaki visited prostitutes, FBI documents say
July 3rd, 2013
05:43 PM ET

Anwar al-Awlaki visited prostitutes, FBI documents say

By Carol Cratty

In the months after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, FBI agents conducted surveillance of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and uncovered detailed information about his alleged use of prostitutes, according to newly released FBI documents.

The information is contained in documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group.

Al-Awlaki lived in a Washington suburb at the time of the terror attacks and for several months afterward. The FBI documents say he visited prostitutes at least seven times and paid up to $400 for sex. The documents show the cleric paid a total of $2,320 for the visits and always paid in cash.

Al-Awlaki's use of prostitutes has been reported previously, but the FBI documents show that agents interviewed the escorts, obtained detailed information about the encounters, and the FBI even reviewed the possible legal charges that might be brought against him.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Anwar al-Awlaki • Terrorism
US disputes Hong Kong claims about Snowden paperwork problems
June 26th, 2013
10:51 PM ET

US disputes Hong Kong claims about Snowden paperwork problems

By Carol Cratty, CNN Senior Producer

Hong Kong authorities contacted the U.S. government late last week asking for clarification of the name on the paperwork requesting a provisional arrest warrant for Edward Snowden.

Hong Kong's Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen told reporters Tuesday night that  Hong Kong's Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen said some documents referred to an Edward James Snowden, but Hong Kong immigration records said Joseph was the middle name listed in Snowden's passport.  Other documents only referred to Edward J. Snowden. Yuen said that confusion plus the fact the documents didn't list a passport number for Snowden slowed down the process of considering whether to grant an arrest warrant.

Justice Department statement acknowledged Hong Kong asked for clarification regarding the name but called it an excuse.

"The true motive of the letter from Hong Kong authorities is revealed by its request for the supposed 'clarification' of Mr. Snowden's identity with regard to his middle name," said the statement, which also noted photos and videos of Snowden were widely carried by media outlets.  "That Hong Kong would ask for more information about his identity demonstrates that it was simply trying to create a pretext for not acting on the provisional arrest request.”

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Edward Snowden • NSA
New York man admits planning to join Yemen terror group
June 26th, 2013
09:42 PM ET

New York man admits planning to join Yemen terror group

By CNN's Carol Cratty

A New York man admitted trying to travel to Yemen to join the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to newly unsealed court documents.

Justin Kaliebe, 18, was arrested on January 21 at John F. Kennedy Airport as he tried to board a plan for Oman with plans to travel from there to Yemen. Less than a month later Kaliebe pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Read More

Post by:
Filed under: AQAP • Yemen
June 19th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

FBI uses drones in U.S., says Mueller

By Carol Cratty

FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance in certain difficult cases.

Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that drones are used by the FBI in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

He did not say how many unmanned surveillance vehicles (UAVs) the FBI has or how often they have been used.

But a law enforcement official told CNN the FBI has used them a little more than a dozen times but did not say when that started. The official said drones are useful in hostage and barricade situations because they operate more quietly and are less visible than traditional aircraft such as helicopters.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: drones • FBI
Holder: Drone strikes have killed four Americans since 2009
May 22nd, 2013
09:50 PM ET

Holder: Drone strikes have killed four Americans since 2009

By Carol Cratty and Joe Johns

Counterterrorism drone strikes have killed four Americans overseas since 2009, the U.S. government acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday, one day before President Barack Obama delivers a major speech on related policy.

In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States specifically targeted and killed one American citizen, al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, in 2011 in Yemen, alleging he was plotting attacks against the United States.

The letter provided new details about al-Awlaki's alleged involvement in bomb plots targeting U.S. aviation.

Holder also said the Obama administration was aware of three other Americans who had been killed in counterterrorism operations overseas.

Holder said Samir Kahn, Abdul Rahman Anwar al-Awlaki and Jude Kenan Mohammed were not targeted by the United States but he did not add more details about their deaths.

The letter represents the first U.S. admission that the four were killed in counterterror strikes even though their deaths had been reported in the media.

Read the full story here.

 

Russia asked U.S. twice to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev, official says
April 24th, 2013
07:15 PM ET

Russia asked U.S. twice to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev, official says

By Joe Johns, Barbara Starr, Gloria Borger and Carol Cratty

Months after the FBI cleared Tamerlan Tsarnaev in its investigation of possible connections to jihadist causes, the Russians approached the CIA as well to look into him, CNN has learned.

But what was provided by the Russians in late September 2011 was "basically the same" information that had been given the previous March to the FBI, according to a government official.

The source said the communication was a "warning letter" sent to the CIA.

Tsarnaev, 26, suspected along with his younger brother of bombing the Boston Marathon early last week, died on Friday following a violent confrontation with police.
FULL POST

April 8th, 2013
06:39 PM ET

Suspect in Syria case removed from 'no fly' list, now jailed in U.S.

By Carol Cratty

U.S. authorities had a former soldier they were investigating removed from a "no-fly" list and allowed him to travel from Turkey to the United States where he was promptly arrested on charges related to fighting alongside a terror group in Syria.

That unusual step, revealed on Monday by a federal prosecutor in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, allowed authorities to get Eric Harroun back in the United States without having to ask Turkish authorities to arrest him.

Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was not in FBI custody during the flight, but agents were aboard and observed him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Carter Burwell.

He did not say when Harroun had been placed on the "no-fly" list or whether he was aware of it.

The FBI interviewed Harroun three times in March in Istanbul about his alleged activities in Syria.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: al Nusra • Legal • Military • Security Brief • Syria • Terrorism
March 25th, 2013
06:26 PM ET

Terror figure yields valuable intel

By Carol Cratty

A former top leader of a Somali terror group, who also had ties to al Qaeda, secretly pleaded guilty in 2011 to federal charges and has provided the U.S. government with valuable intelligence information, the Justice Department said on Monday.

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was a leader of al-Shabaab in Somalia and arranged a weapons deal at one time with Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to court documents.

The U.S. military captured him at sea in April 2011 while he was traveling from Yemen to Somalia. He pleaded guilty in New York the following December to nine terrorism charges.

Among other things, Warsame admitted to conspiring to provide material support to al-Shabaab and al Qaeda's operation in the Arabian Peninsula, conspiracy to teach others how to make bombs, and receiving miltary-type training from a terrorist organization.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Al Qaeda • Al-Shabaab • Intelligence • Security Brief • Somalia • Terrorism • Yemen
« older posts