Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

The New York Times, Spying For Iran

Once again, the New York Times gives aid and comfort to our enemies and puts American military service members’ lives at risk by publishing top secret information, conducting the espionage against the United States the Iranians could only dream of.

Petraeus orders US spies to prepare for anti-nuclear strike on Iran

Teams of American special forces have been authorised to conduct spying missions intended to pave the way for a military strike on Iran in case President Obama orders one, US government sources have confirmed.

The military units would penetrate Iranian territory to reconnoitre potential nuclear targets and make contact with friendly dissident groups, according to a secret directive written by General David Petraeus. The document’s existence was disclosed for the first time yesterday.

It authorises an expansion in the use of US special forces throughout the Middle East, US officials said. However, it is the possibility of American troops operating covertly inside Iran that has the greatest potential to destabilise regional security.

General Petraeus, the most senior American commander in the Middle East and Central Asia, relied on special forces to ensure the success of the US troop surge in Iraq in 2007. His order to increase the use of Delta Force, Navy Seal and Army Ranger units for intelligence gathering and combat missions could jeopardise US relations with allies in the region while intensifying a long-running turf war between US military intelligence and the CIA.

The seven-page document, seen by The New York Times, remained classified yesterday, though it was written in September. Since then US military specialists working with Yemeni armed forces have killed 6 out of 15 leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The raids followed reports linking the group to the murder of 13 Americans at Fort Hood, Texas, and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines jet.

See also:
U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast
General Said to Authorize Secret U.S. Reconnaissance in Iran
US ‘to expand covert operations’
US Reportedly Authorizes More Secret Military Activity in Hot Spots
US sends more soldiers on covert missions
US orders escalation in secret operations in Middle East
US expands covert military operations: officials
Commander OKs spy missions in Mideast
Revealed: the U.S. secret order allowing special forces’ covert missions in terror hotspots
US to launch covert strikes on terror targets
Pentagon ‘to boost covert missions in Middle East’
Secret Directive Said To Expand Clandestine U.S. Military Missions
Obama Gives Commanders Wide Berth for Secret Warfare
Another Day, Another Security Leak
Just another act of deadly treason

Yes siree, there’s nothing like U.S. Special Forces trying to conduct sensitive, covert operations after the New York Times publishes your classified playbook for the whole world to read, making risking your life for your country that much riskier. What’s not to like, especially if your work for Iranian counter-intelligence?

/of course, this is far from the first time that the New York Times has severely compromised U.S. national security by publishing leaked, top secret information, yet no one ever seems to go to prison, why is that?

Is The Obama Administration Insane Or Just Mind Numbingly Stupid?

Let’s see, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the world’s worst terrorists, has already confessed to masterminding 9/11 and tried to plead guilty multiple times to a military commission at Guantanamo Bay. Now, most right thinking people would say, fine, let the scumbag plead guilty, execute him, and be done with it. But nooo, not the Obama Administration, that’s too easy, Eric Holder has a better idea.

New York trial for 9/11 suspects

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is to be sent from Guantanamo Bay to New York for trial in a civilian court, the US has confirmed.

Attorney General Eric Holder said he would be transferred from the US prison camp in Cuba with four other suspects.

Mr Mohammed has admitted planning the 9/11 attacks, the US military says.

The move is part of US President Barack Obama’s effort to close Guantanamo, but some relatives of 9/11 victims say they oppose a federal court trial.

Responsibility for the case will go to the Southern District of New York, with proceedings taking place near Ground Zero.

The five men have until now been facing prosecution at US military commissions in Guantanamo. The government had faced a 16 November deadline to decide how to proceed in their cases.

Speaking in Tokyo ahead of Mr Holder’s announcement, Mr Obama said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would face “most exacting demands of justice”.

Bringing al-Qaeda to New York

Candidate Barack Obama urged a return to pre-9/11 counterterrorism-by-courts. President Obama’s Justice Department overflows with lawyers who spent the last eight years representing America’s enemies. Thus, Friday’s announcement that top al-Qaeda terrorists will be brought to New York City for a civilian trial is no surprise. That doesn’t make it any less inexcusable.

The treatment of jihadist terror as a mere law-enforcement issue, fit for civilian courts, was among the worst of the national-security derelictions of the Nineties. While the champions of this approach stress that prosecutors scored a 100 percent conviction rate, they conveniently omit mention of the paltry number of cases (less than three dozen, mostly against low-level terrorists, over an eight-year period, despite numerous attacks), as well as the rigorous due-process burdens that made prosecution of many terrorists impossible, the daunting disclosure and witness-confrontation rules that required government to disclose mountains of intelligence, the gargantuan expense of “hardening” courthouses and prisons to protect juries and judges, and the terrorists’ exploitation of legal privileges to plot additional attacks and escape attempts.

In placing the nation on a war footing after the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration invoked the laws of war to detain terrorists as enemy combatants and to try those who had committed provable war crimes by military commission — measures that were endorsed by Congress despite being challenged in the courts by some of the lawyers now working in Obama’s Justice Department. This military-commission system provided due-process protections that were unprecedented for wartime enemies, including the right to appellate review in the civilian courts. But they protected national-defense information from disclosure.

This commission system is tailor-made for the 9/11 plotters, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suicide-hijacking mastermind who is brazen in taking credit for that and numerous other attacks against the United States. In fact, last December, KSM and his four co-defendants indicated to the military judge that they wanted to plead guilty and move on to execution. But then the Obama administration swept into power and undertook to repudiate many of Bush’s counterterrorism practices, declaring its intention to close Gitmo within a year and forcing a moratorium on military commissions so the process could be “studied.” Friday’s announcement that KSM and the other 9/11 plotters will be sent to federal court in New York for a civilian trial is the most significant step to date in Obama’s determination to turn back the clock to the time when government believed subpoenas rather than Marines were the answer to jihadist murder and mayhem.

It is difficult to quantify how dangerously foolish this course is. As they demonstrated in offering to plead guilty while bragging about their atrocities, KSM and his cohorts don’t want a trial so much as they want a soapbox to press their grievances against the United States and the West. With no real defense to the charges, they will endeavor to put America on trial, pressing the court for expansive discovery of government intelligence files. Having gratuitously exposed classified information on interrogation tactics and other sensitive matters in order to pander to Obama’s base, the Justice Department will be in a poor position to argue against broad disclosure, even if it were so inclined. As the court orders more and more revelations, potential intelligence sources and foreign spy services will develop even graver doubts about our capacity to keep secrets. They will reduce their intelligence cooperation accordingly, and the nation will be dramatically more vulnerable.

Moreover, the transfer of the worst al-Qaeda prisoners into the U.S. will grease the skids for many, if not most, of the remaining 200-plus Gitmo terrorists to be moved here. This will be the worst of all possible outcomes. These are trained terrorists who have been detained under the laws of war, but most of whom cannot be tried because the intelligence on them cannot be used in court. We are still holding them because they are deadly dangerous and because no other country is willing to take them off our hands. Once inside the United States, they will indisputably be within the jurisdiction of the federal courts — which are staffed by judges predisposed against wartime detention without trial. As long as the terrorists were at Gitmo, those judges were reluctant to order them released into the U.S. — a transfer that would violate federal law. If the terrorists are already here, though, judges will not be as gun-shy. Inevitably, some will be freed to live and plot among us.

The Obama Left delusionally argues that running these risks will make us safer. The international community will see how enlightened we are, the fable goes. The hostility of America’s enemies will melt away. They’ll lay down their bombs and stop attacking us. As observed by former attorney general Michael Mukasey — who presided over terrorism cases as a federal judge — “We did just that after the first World Trade Center bombing, after the plot to blow up airliners over the Pacific, and after the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. In return, we got the 9/11 attacks and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents.”

So Now Khalid Sheikh Mohammad Is A 9/11 “Suspect”

Team Obama has to postpone these trials until after the 2010 elections or this will go down as the biggest “own-goal” of the century millenium.

See also:
New York to host terror trial
9/11 suspects face New York trial
9/11 mastermind, 4 others to face trial in New York
Strong reaction to announcement of 9/11 trial in New York court
9/11 Plotters Trial Divides New York
Reaction Mixed as Alleged 9/11 Mastermind Will Face Trial in New York
UPDATE 1-New York split over plan to try Sept. 11 plotters
Families of 9/11 victims divided over decision to hold trial in New York
Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani disagree on trials
9/11 comes full circle in New York City
Why Bring KSM to the United States?
The Worst Decision by a US President in History
Justice Denied
9/11 mastermind, 4 others to face trial in New York
Holder in the dock as critics focus on New York 9/11 terror trial
U.S. Republicans blast Obama decision on Gitmo
Mukasey Fears Attacks on New York During Trial of 9/11 Defendants
Mukasey: ‘very high’ risk of attack over NYC 9/11 trial
The World’s Worst Al Qaeda Terrorists, Coming Soon To A U.S. City Near You

So, instead of quietly letting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed plead guilty and executing his terrorist ass, we’re going to drop him onto U.S. soil in New York for a public spectacle. And, make no mistake about, it, once card carrying ACLU defense attorneys get a hold of this case in Federal court, it will become a circus, a crusade against the policies of the Bush administration. A trial in civilian court will drag on for years, cost millions of taxpayer dollars, cause untold security headaches, endanger American lives, embarrass the U.S. government, disclose classified information, hamper ongoing intelligence operations, give aid and comfort to the enemy, etc., etc.

For what? The Obama administration has already hinted that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will never go free, even if aqitted. So what’s the point of conducting a sham civilian show trial where the outcome is already predetermined? There is absolutely no upside to this stunt, other than to pantomime the boneheaded and discredited liberal ideal that terrorism is a law enforcement problem, rather than warfare against Western civilization.

/seriously, sometimes I think people in the Obama administration stay up late at night thinking, how can we best screw up America tomorrow?

All Your Jihad Are Belong To Geeks

How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade

From a Silicon Valley office strewn with bean-bag chairs, a group of twenty-something software engineers is building an unlikely following of terrorist hunters at U.S. spy agencies.

One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software’s main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn’t do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe.

Palantir’s software has helped root out terrorist financing networks, revealed new trends in roadside bomb attacks, and uncovered details of Syrian suicide bombing networks in Iraq, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the events. It has also foiled a Pakistani suicide bombing plot on Western targets and discovered a spy infiltration of an allied government. It is now being used by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Yet Palantir — which takes its name from the “seeing stones” in the “Lord of the Rings” series — remains an outlier among government security contractors. It rejected advice to hire retired generals to curry favor with the agencies and hired young government analysts frustrated by working with slow-footed technology. The company’s founders knew little about intelligence gathering when they started out. Instead, they went on a fact-finding mission, working with analysts to build the product from scratch.

“We were very naive. We just thought this was a cool idea,” says Palantir’s 41-year-old chief executive Alexander Karp, whose usual dress is a track-suit jacket, blue jeans, and red leather sneakers. “I underestimated how difficult it would be.”

Technology like Palantir’s is increasingly important to spies confronting an information explosion, where terrorists can hide communications in vast data streams on the Internet. Intelligence agencies are struggling to identify and monitor such information — and quickly send relevant data to the analysts who need it. U.S. officials say the software is also crucial as the country steps up its offensive in difficult theaters like Afghanistan. There, Palantir’s software is now being used to analyze constantly shifting tribal dynamics and distinguish potential allies from enemies, according to current and former counterterrorism officials familiar with the work.

“It’s a new way of war fighting,” says former Assistant Secretary of Defense Mary Beth Long. While there are many good systems, Ms. Long says, with Palantir’s software “you can actually point to examples where it was pretty clear that lives were saved.”

See also:
Spooks Heart Software for Rooting out Terrorists
Palantir Technologies
A conversation with Alexander Karp, CEO of Palantir Technologies
Alexander Karp

/just another example of the creative, nimble private sector entrepreneur running rings around the myopic, sloth like government bureaucracy