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Are terrorist cells still in the US?
Christian Science Monitor ^ | August 9, 2005 | Alexandra Marks |

Posted on 08/10/2005 12:19:07 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

TRAINING GROUND: This sheep ranch outside Bly, Ore., was reportedly eyed by Islamic extremists as a potential base for operations. A man in Zambia was recently arrested in connection with the planned camp. GARY THAIN/HERALD AND NEWS/AP

NEW YORK - New charges that a Maryland paramedic gave "material support" to terrorists raise anew troubling questions for post-9/11 America.

Do extremist cells still exist in the United States? If they do, how much progress is being made to route them out?

The homegrown nature of the July attacks in London as well as the arrest of a man in Zambia on charges that he'd tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore. in 1999, gives the questions extra salience, according to terrorism experts.

Their assessments of the law enforcement's success rate are mixed. Critics note that most of the suspected terrorists arrested in the US so far were not engaged in any active plan to harm the US. Some, like the newly charged paramedic Mahmud Faruq Brent, had allegedly gone for training in camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but mostly they were caught bragging to undercover agents - who openly encouraged them - about their willingness to engage in jihad.

At the same time, analysts point out that the nature of Al Qaeda has changed so much in the light of aggressive law enforcement tactics since 9/11 that the traditional "sleeper cell" model may no longer be attractive to al Qaeda here in the US. As a result, capturing potential terrorists may be the best thing the FBI can be doing right now.

"Measured against [FBI director Robert] Mueller's very confident assertion that there are hundreds of individuals who are members of sleeper cells in the US, these arrests don't indicate to me that we are making progress," says Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland. "At the same time, I sympathize with the need to nip terror in the bud and it may very well be that indictments that focus on proposed activities or bragging about future activities may be effective. But we also have to wait to see what the facts in each case were."

Martial-arts beginning Brent was arrested as a result of a sting operation. His former martial arts teacher, a jazz bassist from the Bronx named Tarik Shah, set up the encounter with the FBI shortly after he himself was arrested in May on charges that he gave material support to terrorists. Prior to 9/11, Mr. Shah had taught martial arts at a mosque in Beacon, N.Y. and Brent was one of his prize pupils.

Terrorism experts say that martial-arts training can be the first step in Al Qaeda's elaborate recruitment process. The most able and dedicated are singled out, invited to weekends that involve things like white water rafting - or as in the case of the Virginia Jihad Network, paintball battles in the woods. That creates bonding and allows recruiters to identify those that are especially aggressive or have leadership qualities and aids in indoctrination. Eventually, this process leads to the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to the indictment, Brent had ties to the Virginia Jihad Network, the leaders of which were convicted in March 2004 and are serving lengthy prison sentences. It was through them that Brent allegedly made his way to Pakistan to one of the terrorist training camps there.

Shortly after Brent's old friend and teacher Shah was arrested in another FBI sting, Shah turned informant and set up a meeting with Brent at a hotel in Maryland, according to the indictment. During the meeting, Shah indicated that he wanted to go overseas to a training camp, and Brent encouraged him. But Brent said it would be difficult to help him because his "only connect" was "doing time now." He also said in the post-9/11 climate it was hard to know whom to trust anymore. "We don't know who is who," the indictment quotes him as saying in a taped conversation. "We were not in a position to make new friends."

Experts say such comments indicate the success law enforcement has had in creating a "hostile operational environment" for any sleeper cell like the one responsible for the 9/11 attacks. And that has markedly changed Al Qaeda's style in the US.

"Not so many people are going back and forth between borders. They're avoiding communications that can be intercepted, exchanges of money that can be tracked," says Brian Jenkins, a senior terrorism expert at the RAND Corp. in Santa Monica, Calif. "All of these are dangerous."

But all this also makes them harder to detect.

The fact that neither Shah nor Brent were actively involved in any plans fuels critics' concern that the FBI is targeting "B" or "C" potential recruits while more dangerous sleeper cells may be lying in wait - those that are more careful about their new friends.

At the same time, experts note that federal authorities are under "great pressure to move in early and operate preventively or preemptively."

"That means that as opposed to waiting for full-fledged conspiracies, they may be picking up individuals when they are still in the early part of this [recruiting] trajectory. They may have only taken a few steps down the path," says Mr. Jenkins. "But if you're going to wait until there are mature terrorist plans, then that runs a risk. And in this post-9/11 environment, authorities are unwilling to take that risk."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; cells; islamicextremists; jihad; jihadinamerica; koran; terrorism; terrorists; waronterror; wot
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1 posted on 08/10/2005 12:19:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

of course they are still here.

2 posted on 08/10/2005 12:26:02 AM PDT by King Prout (and the Clinton Legacy continues: like Herpes, it is a gift that keeps on giving.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Be vewy, vewy quiet. We'wre hunting tewwowists.
3 posted on 08/10/2005 12:35:41 AM PDT by Reform4Bush
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: King Prout
Are terrorist cells still in the US?

There is a big one they call the DNC...

5 posted on 08/10/2005 12:39:02 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: Cincinatus' Wife
Yes of course there are. They walk among us,just waiting for the phone to ring.
7 posted on 08/10/2005 12:45:19 AM PDT by BigCinBigD
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To: F15Eagle; Reform4Bush; Sir Francis Dashwood; King Prout; All
Camp Gitmo and our military tribunals will begin to look go to other targeted countries

UK: Secret terror courts considered***….Home Office officials say it is unlikely the plans will be ready to be included in planned new anti-terrorism laws due to be debated by Parliament this autumn.

They are not examining an exact model for the way the new courts would work.

A major independent review of terror laws in 2003 said if evidence against a suspect was considered sensitive, for security or other reasons, a case against them should be put together by a special, security-cleared judge. The case would then go to a conventional trial headed by a different judge.

But the Home Office says any idea of moving towards a French-style inquisitorial, rather than adversarial court system, is "very long term" and not being actively considered. There are also no plans to hold full criminal trials in secret. ….***

8 posted on 08/10/2005 12:48:56 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

FBI: Cleric Plotted Terror Attacks

SAN FRANCISCO, August 9, 2005

(AP) A judge refused to set bail Tuesday for a Muslim cleric from Pakistan who faces deportation and has been accused of planning to set up a camp to train followers to kill Americans.

9 posted on 08/10/2005 12:52:57 AM PDT by Gucho
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To: Gucho

MORE from your LINK:

Shabbir Ahmed, 39, is only charged with overstaying his visa while he was heading a mosque in Lodi. The allegation about the terrorist camp came from an FBI agent's testimony during the immigration hearing.

“Do I believe he is planning a terror attack?” FBI agent Gary Schaaf said. “That's some of the information that has been provided to us.”

He testified that Ahmed and others were in the fledgling stages of opening a terrorism training camp in Lodi, a town of 62,000 about 30 miles south of Sacramento.

Schaaf did not say what type of terrorist attacks were planned, but he said Ahmed was acting as an intermediary for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists. The agent refused to say whether Ahmed was a member of a terror group, saying that information was classified.

10 posted on 08/10/2005 12:58:16 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Mosques are creating more daily!

11 posted on 08/10/2005 1:47:51 AM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
His former martial arts teacher, a jazz bassist from the Bronx named Tarik Shah

Those Islamicists can sure lay down a mean bass line.

12 posted on 08/10/2005 1:48:23 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: ncountylee
So are their schools.

Anger as foreign madrassa students ordered home

13 posted on 08/10/2005 1:56:29 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: martin_fierro

Maybe "she'll" get picked up by Mick Jagger.

14 posted on 08/10/2005 2:03:06 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Terrorists were using Imperial County in California as a training ground as well. During the Clinton administration they were so confident the administration didn't give a rats ass about terrorism that they trained in their traditional arab garments, in the open desert near a busy Highway. And indeed, when these detail were brought to the attention of the FBI, they did absolutely nothing.

15 posted on 08/10/2005 2:12:42 AM PDT by Ajnin (I)
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To: Ajnin

The Clinton Adminstration and his Justice Department (Jamie Gorelick)
set up barriers to block interagency information sharing.

Aug. 9, 2005, 9:56PM

Early ID of 9/11 hijacker may not have been shared
Panel to probe report about Atta that dates to 1999
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Sept. 11 commission will investigate a claim that U.S. defense intelligence officials identified ringleader Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers as a likely part of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the hijackings but didn't forward the information to law enforcement.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. and vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, said Tuesday the men were identified in 1999 by a classified military intelligence unit known as "Able Danger." If true, that's an earlier link to al-Qaida than any previously disclosed intelligence about Atta.

Sept. 11 commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton said Tuesday that Weldon's information, which the congressman said came from multiple intelligence sources, warrants a review. He said he hoped the panel could issue a statement on its findings this week.

"The 9/11 commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell," said Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. "Had we learned of it obviously it would have been a major focus of our investigation."

The Sept. 11 commission's final report, issued last year, recounted government mistakes that allowed the hijackers to succeed. Among them was a failure to share intelligence within and among agencies.

According to Weldon, Able Danger identified Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaf al-Hazmi as members of a cell the unit code-named "Brooklyn."

Weldon said that in September 2000 Able Danger recommended that its information on the hijackers be given to the FBI "so they could bring that cell in and take out the terrorists." However, Weldon said Pentagon lawyers rejected the recommendation because they said Atta and the others were in the country legally so information on them could not be shared with law enforcement.

Defense Department documents shown to an Associated Press reporter Tuesday said the Able Danger team was set up in 1999 to identify potential al-Qaida operatives for U.S. Special Operations Command. At some point, information provided to the team by the Army's Information Dominance Center pointed to a possible al-Qaida cell in Brooklyn.

However, because of concerns about pursuing information on "U.S. persons" — a legal term that includes U.S. citizens as well as foreigners admitted to the country for permanent residence — Special Operations Command did not provide the Army information to the FBI.

16 posted on 08/10/2005 2:26:01 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: BigCinBigD
Yes of course there are. They walk among us,just waiting for the phone to ring.
I agree they are waiting for their Order 66.

17 posted on 08/10/2005 2:55:54 AM PDT by Cool Multiservice Soldier (Newer screen name, but same attitude, same political incorrectness since 1999.)
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To: Cool Multiservice Soldier

Thank you for your service soldier, soon to be sailor!

18 posted on 08/10/2005 2:59:58 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

And don't forget our prisons.

19 posted on 08/10/2005 3:31:42 AM PDT by mlc9852
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To: mlc9852

Say....Calypso Louie's been awfully quiet the last 4 years, hasn't he?

Get your own 'new name' here;


20 posted on 08/10/2005 4:05:36 AM PDT by Salamander (We're pain, we're steel, a plot of knives. We're Transmaniacon MC!)
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