31 July 2011

BKNT--AWOL soldier defiant in court--OS


“Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom” – INSPIRE, Al Qaeda Online Magazine, June 2011.  No Terrorist Connections?

  AWOL soldier defiant in court

He yells names, refuses to stand during hearing in Fort Hood case


Houston Chronicle -
July 29, 2011, 11:45PM

WACO — The AWOL soldier accused of planning an attack on Fort Hood defiantly cried out "Abdeer Qassim al-Janabi, Iraq 2006! Nidal Hassan, Fort Hood 2009!" at the end of his initial appearance Friday on a weapons charge.

Pfc Nasser Abdo, 21, was referring to an Iraqi girl who was raped and killed by U.S. soldiers in Mahmudiyah five years ago and to the attack by Hassan, who is facing death penalty court martial in the massacre two years ago at a Fort Hood deployment facility.

Abdo, a Muslim conscientious objector, has been accused by Killeen's police chief of preparing a terrorist attack that would have been directed at soldiers on and possibly off Fort Hood.

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, Abdo, who was absent without leave from his post at Fort Campbell, Ky., admitted he planned to assemble two bombs in his Killeen hotel room using gunpowder and shrapnel packed into pressure cookers to detonate inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers at Fort Hood.

James Runkel, an FBI special agent assigned to Austin, filed the complaint alleging that Abdo possessed a firearm and a destructive device.

Runkel also stated Abdo "made statements to the arresting officer that he intended to conduct an attack against Killeen and Fort Hood" and that he "also indicated in response to questioning that there were explosives in the backpack and in his room." 
FBI agents joined a search of Abdo's hotel room along with Killeen police and Fort Hood's criminal intelligence division. During the search, FBI Special Agent Bomb Technician Stephen Hauck, based in Austin, said that the components found by authorities "are those which can be used to construct a destructive device." 

Abdo's initial court appearance on the weapons charge lasted about five minutes.
As U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Manske came into the courtroom with a bailiff calling "All rise," Abdo sat. 

Four U.S. marshals came to his side, took him by the arms and made him stand before the judge. 

Manske then proceeded to question him about his educational status. Abdo, who is from Garland, told the judge that he had graduated from high school and had one year of college. 

Manske then asked if he was unable to understand why he was in the courtroom and if he was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Abdo replied "no." The judge read him his rights as Abdo stood before a lectern with two U.S. marshals at his side. 

When he was asked by the judge if he understood his right to remain silent, Abdo replied, "I sure do." 

Abdo faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Abdo, who is being held without bail because of his AWOL status, was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, where he will remain until his trial. 

The judge set another hearing for 2 p.m. Thursday in Waco and closed the hearing.
A group of marshals surrounded Abdo as the judge rose from his bench and left.
Abdo, wearing a short military haircut, stood, startling everyone as he called out his defiant statement in a strong voice. Then he was gone.


Hood suspect defiant in court appearance

By Jamie Stengle - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jul 29, 2011 13:09:03 EDT

WACO, Texas — Coolly defiant, Pfc. Naser Abdo shouted “Nidal Hasan, Fort Hood 2009!” as he was led out of the courtroom Friday, an apparent homage to the suspect in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military installation. He condemned the attack less than a year ago, but is now accused of trying to repeat it.

Investigators say Abdo, who cited his Muslim beliefs in requesting conscientious objector status last year, was found in a motel room three miles from Fort Hood’s main gate with a handgun, an article titled Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Momand the ingredients for an explosive device, including gunpowder, shrapnel and pressure cookers. An article with that title appears in an al-Qaida magazine.

Abdo went absent without leave from Fort Campbell, Ky., early this month after being charged with possessing child pornography.

Police and the Army say Abdo admitted plotting an attack, but in Fuhais, Jordan, his father insisted the allegations were “all lies from A to Z.”

“My son loved people no matter who they are, whether Jews or Christians,” Jamal Abdo said. “Naser is not the kind of a person who harbors evil for the other people, he cannot kill anyone and he could not have done any bad thing.”

Jamal Abdo, 52, is a Jordanian who lived near Fort Hood for 25 years until he was deported from the United States last year after being convicted of soliciting a minor.

His 21-year-old son was ordered held without bond Friday. He is charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device in connection with a bomb plot and has yet to enter a plea. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

It was not immediately known if he would face additional charges. “Our office will pursue federal charges where the evidence takes us,” said Daryl Fields, spokesman for federal prosecutors.

In court, Abdo refused to stand when the judge entered — U.S. Marshals pulled him from his seat — but he answered the judge’s questions politely.

On his way out, he yelled “Iraq 2006!” and the name of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was raped that year before she and her family were killed. Five current or former U.S. soldiers went to prison, one for a life term, for their roles in that attack.

He also shouted the name of Hasan, an Army major and psychiatrist who is charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood.

Related reading

Abdo’s court-appointed attorney did not comment. His next hearing was set for Aug. 4.
According to court documents, Abdo told investigators he planned to construct two bombs in his motel room using gunpowder and shrapnel packed into pressure cookers and then detonate the explosives at a restaurant frequented by soldiers.

FBI Agent James E. Runkel said in an affidavit filed in federal court that police found Abdo carrying a backpack containing two clocks, wire, ammunition, a handgun and the aforementioned article. Such an article was featured in an issue of Inspire, an English-language magazine produced by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based branch of the terror group.

The accusations and Abdo’s defiance in court contrast with the words he used as he was petitioning for conscientious objector status. In an essay he sent to The Associated Press last year he said acts like the Fort Hood shootings “run counter to what I believe in as a Muslim.”

He was born in Texas to a non-denominational Christian mother and a Muslim father. Jamal Abdo said they divorced in 1993.

Naser Abdo said he became a Muslim when he was 17. He said he enlisted thinking that Army service would not conflict with his religious beliefs, but reconsidered as he explored Islam further.

“I realized through further reflection that god did not give legitimacy to the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or any war the U.S. Army could conceivably participate in,” he wrote in his conscientious objector application.

Abdo was approved as a conscientious objector this year, but that status was put on hold after he was charged in May with possessing child pornography. Abdo denied the charge before this week’s arrest.

Abdo went AWOL during the July 4 weekend. FBI, police and military officials have said little about whether or how they were tracking Abdo since he left Fort Campbell.

Jamal Abdo disputed both the child pornography charges and the bomb plot allegations against his son, and said Naser was discriminated against in the Army because of his religion.

“Fellow soldiers slurred him and treated him badly. They mocked him as he prayed. They cursed him and used bad language against Islam and its prophet,” he said.

“He reported these incidents, but nothing was done about it,” the elder Abdo said. “Therefore he wanted to leave the Army. I always told him to be calm and to focus on his duty and he used to tell me, ‘Yes, Papa.’ ” He said Naser never mentioned al-Qaida and that he last spoke to his son a week ago.

Abdo was arrested after a gun-store clerk told authorities he bought six pounds of smokeless gunpowder, shotgun ammunition and a magazine for a semi-automatic pistol on Tuesday — while seeming to know little about what he was buying. Killeen police Chief Dennis Baldwin has suggested that without the tip, a terror attack could have been imminent.

Two veterans groups that supported Abdo in his bid to be a conscientious objector said they have not had direct contact with him recently.

“If any of these allegations are true, any sort of violence toward anyone goes completely against what a conscientious objector believes,” said Jose Vasquez, executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Another group, Courage to Resist, said in a statement that it had removed Abdo’s profile from its website. It said it has paid $800 of Abdo’s legal fees in the conscientious objector case.

Vasquez provided a copy of a statement Abdo sent to his group last year that claimed soldiers often associated terror with Islam “during routine training exercises.”

“Only when the military and America can disassociate Muslims from terror can we move onto a brighter future of religious collaboration and dialogue that defines America and makes me proud to be an American,” Abdo wrote.

Associated Press writers Jamal Halaby in Fuhais, Jordan; Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tenn.; and Janet Cappiello in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.



IVAW Statement on Naser Abdo Arrest

IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR - published by Jose Vasquez on 07/28/11 4:47pm
Posted to: New York City

IVAW learned this morning that PFC Naser Abdo was arrested yesterday in Killeen, TX, and is being investigated by the FBI on charges of possessing firearms and bomb-making materials.

Abdo is not now and has never been a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
In August 2010, IVAW supported his application for Conscientious Objector status to reflect our commitment to protecting G.I. Rights for all service members and access to a fair C.O. application process in accordance with Army Regulation 600-43 and DoD Directive 1300.06. In October, IVAW publicized a statement by Abdo condemning Islamophobia. Finally, in November 2010, Abdo offered his support at Ft. Campbell to SPC Jeff Hanks, whose own battle with combat-related trauma earned him the support of IVAW’s Operation Recovery Campaign.

IVAW has not been in contact with Naser Abdo since that time.

As we await additional information on the details of Abdo’s arrest, IVAW reiterates its commitment to non-violence, as outlined in our 2009 Resolution on Non-Violent and Peaceful Actions. Per the organization’s mission, IVAW supports the health and safety of all American troops, and never condones the threat or use of violence against military or civilian

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

29 July 2011

AQAP Somali-Yemeni Leader Indicted in NY after 2 Month Stint in Mirandaless Military Custody

US/1; ATTN: FBI/302; NEPH/2; NL/1; FNC/2; TSP/2;

[ed.note: In furtherance of various MEMBERS’ pursuit of the American Yemeni Ansar Awlaki and the Somali-Ethiopian connection to US domestic terrorism and international InformationOPERATIONS.]

Accused al Shabaab Leader Charged with Providing Material Support to al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 05, 2011
  • Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today that AHMED ABDULKADIR WARSAME, aka “KHATTAB,” aka “FARAH,” aka “ABDI HALIM MOHAMMED FARA,” aka “FAREH JAMA ALI MOHAMMED,” has been indicted on charges of providing material support to al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (“AQAP”), two designated foreign terrorist organizations, as well as conspiring to teach and demonstrate the making of explosives, possessing firearms and explosives in furtherance of crimes of violence, and other violations.

WARSAME, a Somali national in his mid-20s, was captured in the Gulf region by the U.S. military on April 19, 2011, and was questioned for intelligence purposes for more than two months

Thereafter, WARSAME was read his Miranda rights, and after waiving those rights, he spoke to law enforcement agents for several days. Warsame arrived in the Southern District early this morning, and was arraigned before U.S. District Judge COLLEEN McMAHON in Manhattan federal court earlier today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “As alleged, Ahmed Warsame was a conduit between al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—two deadly terrorist organizations—providing material support and resources to them both. 

Protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism both here and abroad is, and always will be, our number one priority.” FBI Assistant Director in Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK said: “This defendant is charged not only with providing material support to two notorious terrorist organizations, but with using automatic weapons and explosives to commit violence in the name of their ‘cause.’ The mission of the FBI is to protect innocent lives not just in the United States, but everywhere the law permits us to.”

NYPD Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY said: “Capturing and bringing Warsame to justice is a body blow to any al Qaeda affiliate that aspires to fill the vacuum of a diminished al Qaeda central. I want to congratulate our military and the NYPD detectives and FBI agents whose collaborative work on the Joint Terrorism Task Force helps to protect New York and the rest of the nation from terrorism on a daily basis.”

According to the indictment unsealed today in the Southern District of New York:

From at least 2007 until April 2011, WARSAME conspired to provide and provided material support to al Shabaab, resulting in the death of at least one person. He allegedly fought on behalf of al Shabaab in Somalia in 2009 and provided other forms of support to the terrorist organization, including explosives, weapons, communications equipment, expert advice and assistance, and training. In addition, WARSAME is alleged to have possessed and used destructive devices, machine guns, and an AK-47 semiautomatic assault weapon in Somalia in furtherance of crimes of violence.

The Indictment further alleges that from about 2009 until April 2011, WARSAME conspired to provide, and provided material support to AQAP, in the form of money, training, communications equipment, facilities, and personnel. While he was in Yemen in 2010 and 2011, WARSAME allegedly received explosives and other military-type training from AQAP. In addition, he allegedly possessed and used grenades and an AK-47 semi-automatic assault weapon in Yemen in furtherance of crimes of violence.
According to the charges, WARSAME also worked to broker a weapons deal with AQAP on behalf of al Shabaab. He is also charged with conspiring from about 2009 until April 2011 to teach and demonstrate the making of explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction, and to distribute such information to others.

Al Shabaab was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization in February 2008. AQAP was so designated in January 2010.
* * *
The indictment charges WARSAME with nine separate counts:
  • Count One: Conspiracy to provide material support to al Shabaab, causing death;
  • Count Two: Providing material support to al Shabaab, causing death;
  • Count Three: Use, carrying, and possession of firearms (machine guns and destructive devices) in furtherance of crimes of violence (in Counts One and Two);
  • Count Four: Conspiracy to provide material support to AQAP;
  • Count Five: Providing material support to AQAP;
  • Count Six: Use, carrying, and possession of firearms (machine guns and destructive devices) in furtherance of crimes of violence (in Counts Four and Five);
  • Count Seven: Conspiracy to teach and demonstrate the making of explosives;
  • Count Eight: Conspiracy to receive military-type training from AQAP; and
  • Count Nine: Receiving military-type training from AQAP.
If convicted, WARSAME could face a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The maximum sentences for each of the charges is reflected in the below chart.

Mr. BHARARA praised the extraordinary investigative work of the JTTF, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD. He also thanked the Department of Defense, the National Security Division of the Department of Justice, and the other agencies that provided assistance.
This case is being handled by the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys BENJAMIN NAFTALIS and ADAM S. HICKEY are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Statute (Title 18) 
Maximum Penalties 
§ 2339B 
1, 2
Conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization, causing death (al Shabaab). 
Maximum of life in prison. 
§ 924(c) 
Use, carrying, and possession of firearms (machine guns and destructive devices) in furtherance of crimes of violence (Counts 1 and 2). 
Mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison (consecutive to any other term). Maximum of life in prison. 
§ 2339B 
4, 5 
Conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization (AQAP). 
Maximum of 15 years in prison. 
§ 924(c) 
Use, carrying, and possession of firearms (machine guns and destructive devices) in furtherance of crimes of violence (Counts 4 and 5). 
Mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison (consecutive to any other term). Maximum of life in prison.* 
§§ 842(p), 844(n) 
Conspiracy to teach and demonstrate the making of explosives. 
Maximum of 20 years in prison. 
§§ 2339D,371 
Conspiracy to receive military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization. 
Maximum of five years in prison. 
§ 2339D 
Receipt of military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.
Maximum of 10 years in prison. 
* A second 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction in this context would carry a mandatory term of life in prison.

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.].

26 July 2011

BKNT--US Pastor, on Al Qaeda ‘Hit List’ for Burning Koran, Alleged Victim of Hit-and-Run Assault


By: Anthony Kimery and W. Scott Malone


: Al Qaeda Drone HIT-LIST, Names NAMED...

Controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who achieved notoriety earlier this year when he enraged Muslims by burning a copy of the Koran following a mock trial by his church that found the Islamic holy book quilty of crimes against humanity, says he was the victim of a mysterious hit-and-run assault Saturday afternoon.

Jones received scores of death threats in response to his burning of the Koran, and more recently his name appeared on a so-called "hit list" of infidels who should be killed that was drawn up by members of an Al Qaeda-linked Internet chat room for jihadists.

The alleged hit-and-run of Jones was announced in a press release issued by Stand Up America Now, a group Jones helped found. Local law enforcement confirmed that the alleged incident had been reported, and that they were taking it seriously.

Jones' problems began when he burned the Koran in March. He told ABC News on April 4 that "right now, we have a little over 300 threats; today, ten threats have come in."

ABC News also reported that the FBI had learned that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed international terrorist organization, had offered $2.4 million for Jones’ murder.

An FBI intelligence bulletin further stressed that "the FBI assesses with high confidence that, as with past incidents perceived as acts of desecration against Islam, extremist actors will continue to threaten or attempt to harm the leaders, organizers, or attendees" of the event at which Jones' burned the Koran.

Within months of his burning of the Koran, Jones’ name appeared on an Al Qaeda-inspired “hit list” of 58 persons that included top military and corporate leaders who members of Al Qaeda-linked jihadist forums deemed to be enemies of Islam who must be killed.

Jones is Senior Pastor of the Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center. The church describes itself as a "New Testament, charismatic, non-denominational church that believes in the whole Bible and that we are to act in response to the word of God in order to change the times we are living in."

Jones orginally inflamed Muslims worldwide and provoked the scorn of President Barack Obama and top members of his administration when he announced last fall that he planned to burn hundreds of copies of the Muslim holy book on the 9th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack in an event he called "International Burn-a-Koran Day."

In Afghanistan, at least one Muslim protester was killed and several others wounded during a demonstration by an estimated 10,000 persons outside a NATO base in Faizabad where protestors burned an effigy of Jones and the American flag. Protestors in other parts of the country beat an effigy of Jones with their shoes.

Eventually, demonstrations by thousands of angry Muslims erupted across the country, including in the capital of Kabul, and some threatened to attack US bases.

Signs displayed by some of the protestors in Afghanistan read, "America Don't Test Our Patience," and, "America Beware."

In the wake of the widespread condemnation of his plan, though, Jones stepped back from the mass burning and declared that his church would never incinerate any copies of the Koran.


"The Koran was found guilty and a copy was burned inside the [church] building," the church's blog stated.

At the conclusion of the trial, the church declared "the Koran has been accused of four different crimes against humanity:

  • "The Koran is charged with the training and promoting of terrorist activities around the world. To that charge the Koran has been found guilty;
  • "The Koran is charged with the death, rape, and torture of people worldwide whose only crime is ‘not being of Islamic faith.’ To this charge the Koran has been found guilty; and
  • "The Koran is charged with crimes against women, against minorities, against Christians, and with the promoting of prejudice and racism against anyone who is not a Moslem. To this charge, the Koran has been found guilty.

“So, in accordance with our courtroom law, and having the example of American law, the Koran must be punished," Jones declared.

The burning of the Koran immediately provoked violent protests in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where an attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Mazar-i-Sharif reportedly killed 12 people, including seven UN employees.

Obama had said when Jones announced his International Burn-a-Koran Day on 9/11 that "you could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan," and "could increase the recruitment of individuals who'd be willing to blow themselves up in American cities, or European cities."

Counterterrorism officials told Homeland Security Today they weren't at all surprised that Jones' name appeared on the Al Qaeda-linked “hit list" that was the subject of numerous state and federal bulletins circulated in June to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Homeland Security Today first reported in detail on the so-called “hit-list” in its June 23 report, Dozens of Top US Military, Corporate Leaders on AQ ‘Hit List.’ CT Officials Debate Seriousness of Threat.

Other non-corporate, non-military persons on the hit list are executives of the Washington, DC-based Middle East Media Research Institute – a mostly Muslim media monitoring organization that was co-founded by a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence - and the conservative leaning think tank, Middle East Forum.

Although law enforcement authorities said there's no evidence to indicate Jones' alleged hit-and-run is related to any of the death threats that have been made against him, plots by jihadists linked to Al Qaeda to kill infidels they believe blasphemed Islam aren't uncommon, and have been on the rise in recent years.

For example, Dutch filmaker Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh was killed in November 2004 by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim in retaliation for defaming Islam in a movie that criticized the treatment of women in Islam. The movie, Submission, outraged Muslims.

There also have been attempted assassinations of Dutch cartoonist Kurt Westergaard for having depicted Prophet Mohammed in 12 editorial cartoons published in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in September 2005. One of the cartoons (shown at right), unflatteringly depicted Mohammed as a terrorist.

Under Islamic law, it is illegal to depict the Prophet Mohammed in any image, and is a crime punishable by death. It's especially egregious for infidels to depict Mohammed or to otherwise blasphemy him.

According to Stand Up America Now’s press release, Jones suffered only minor injuries from the alleged hit-and-run, which the group said was reported to the Florida Highway Patrol and FBI.

Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) spokesman Capt. Mark Welch told Homeland Security Today on Monday the department "couldn't find anything in any of our records for anyone named Jones regarding an incident that occurred on Saturday."

However, Gainesville Police Department Public Information Officer, Cpl. Tscharna Senn, told Homeland Security Today that after having inquired with the department's liaison to DHS, FBI and other agencies charged with counterterrorism coordination and information-sharing, she'd confirmed that Jones had reported the incident to FHP, but that because his injuries didn't require hospitalization, FHP did not "take a report."

[Following Homeland Security Today's report, the Gainesville Sun reported the FHP said it had declined to file a report because the investigating Trooper was unable to find any evidence to indicate that a hit-and-run had occurred]

Senn said the Gainesville Police Department did not investigate the incident because "it took place in the county and wasn't in our jurisdiction."

Senn added, however, that the Gainesville Police Department is very aware of the threats that have been made against Jones, as well as his inclusion on the so-called jihadi "hit list," and that "they take all threats seriously" regardless of who is threatened.

"We have a responsibility to protect all of the citizens of Gainesville," Senn said, adding, "we can't let our guard down, because you never know what it may be that is an indication of an attack."

Senn said the Gainesville Police Department works closely with federal and state agencies to ensure there is timely cross-sharing of vital intelligence.

Senn pointed out that intelligence that could expose a terrorist plot or some other organized criminal activtiy often originates with something that a citizen has witnessed and reported [see the recent Homeland Security Today report, Most Terror Plot Dot Connecting is Local, Study Finds], adding incidents like the one Jones alleged happened to him need to be reported to the police.

FBI officials were unable to be reached for comment by press time.

According to the Stand Up America Now press release, “a black SUV sped around [Jones] hitting his leg and running over his foot as he was stopped at an intersection while on his motorcycle. The SUV, with Georgia plates, then sped away quickly. Dr. Jones noticed the SUV following him for a few miles before the attack.”

In a statement published on the group’s website, Jones said “as we left the church, we turned right and came straight down as we went through the wooded area and came to the stop sign where you must turn left or right. I noticed that there was a black SUV behind us. Of course, because of our situation, we always are aware of things and people who are following us."

Continuing, Jones stated "as we turned left, they turned left. They were a little bit suspicious as they kept speeding up and backing off, speeding up and backing off. We continued on down the road a few miles. As we approached the next intersection, the next stop light, and as I was slowing down, they passed me slowly on the right-hand side literally only inches away from my motorcycle. I kept it straight and yelled at them. This was done on purpose as there was absolutely no need for this. It was a black SUV with a Georgia license plate.”

Jones claimed that “as I stopped, they ran over my leg, my foot. I yelled out at them. They gave it absolutely no attention. Although no window was down, they knew very well that they had hit me. They proceeded to turn to the right and to speed up very, very fast. It was a definite attempt of some form on my life, either to give us a warning, a scare, or to actually do bodily harm which they did by running over my leg. We reported this to the Florida Highway Patrol and to the FBI.”

Despite the death threats that have been made against him, Jones is an undaunted true believer. In addition to having burned the Koran, he continues to support controversial signs his church erected that proclaim "Islam is of the Devil."

According to the church's website FAQ, the signs were put up "to expose Islam for what it is. It is a violent and oppressive religion that is trying to mascarade itself as a religion of peace, seeking to deceive our society." 

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

25 July 2011




SOCOM Joint IntelOPS Center's TopSECRET/SCI Clearance Issuance Under REVIEW

BKNT-IntelPAGE Feed; US/1; ATTN: HST/2; NSW/1&2

Reservist's top-secret clearance worrisome

By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune

Updated: July 23, 2011 - 12:17 AM

In Courtroom 14 B Thursday, U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington asked a question about the man who had just been convicted of lying to obtain housing at MacDill Air Force Base.

How could Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Scott Allan Bennett, 40, obtain a top-secret clearance despite a previous misdemeanor conviction in 2008 for lying to government officials?

Prosecutors had the same questions and were unable to get answers, but former intelligence officers and those who currently deal with security clearance issues contacted by The Tampa Tribune say that Bennett should probably have never gotten clearance and that somebody somewhere "dropped the ball."

In December 2006, Bennett told U.S. government officials that he was working with the office of President George W. Bush and the State Department. In that role, he was helping a woman from South Africa obtain a visa to visit the country. He said she would be working for the president.

It turned out that the woman was someone he had met over the Internet and that he created a job "out of whole cloth" to get her into the country, according to federal documents.

Two years later, Bennett was convicted of the misdemeanor crime of lying to government officials. Bennett obtained TS/SCI clearance, top-secret/sensitive compartmentalized information, the highest level of security clearance available, in October 2008, according to Army Lt. Col. Gerald Ostlund.

There are at least three "adjudicative guidelines" used by the government to determine whether someone should be given security clearance that should have raised red flags about Bennett, according to Evan Lesser, founder and managing director of Clearancejobs.com, an employment website for people with security clearance.

"Guideline B, which deals with foreign influence, says if you have contact or connections with a foreigner, you are at a heightened risk of exploitation," Lesser said.

"There are two other guidelines that more than a few things here would have called out this individual as being a problem." Lesser said. "Guideline E, personal conduct, looks at any conduct involving questionable judgment or dishonesty and Guideline J, criminal activity, says that any criminal activity brings into doubt that person's judgment or trustworthiness."
* * * * *
To obtain a TS/SCI clearance, an individual has to submit to a background check that delves into the previous 10 years of personal history, according to the Defense Security Service. The information is then presented to an adjudicator, who looks at the guidelines and determines whether there are any circumstances that would allow, for instance, someone with a conviction to still obtain clearance.

Depending on how much information was known about Bennett, adjudicators "would have most likely denied this person clearance," Lesser said.

The timeline, he said, is critical.
Bennett was convicted in August 2008. He was hired sometime that year by Booz Allen Hamilton as a contractor, although the company won't say when.

Booz Allen Hamilton spokesman James Fisher would not comment on whether Bennett obtained clearance to work for the company, although it was required for the job he was hired to perform at MacDill in 2010, working as a counter-threat finance analyst at U.S. Central Command's Joint Intelligence Operation Center.

Ostlund said Bennett's clearance was requested by the defense contractor. Bennett did not enter the Army Reserve, where he served as a personnel officer with the 11th Psychological Operations Battalion, until four months after he obtained his clearance, Ostlund said.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA employee who also worked at the State Department's Counterterrorism Office, offered a blunt assessment of how Bennett obtained clearance.

"One of two things happened," said Johnson, currently a military contractor with TS/SCI clearance who frequently visits MacDill. "Either the folks who conducted the background investigation failed, or the adjudicator was negligent. There is no in between. There are no mitigating factors" that would allow Bennett clearance.

Pat Lang, a retired senior U.S. military intelligence officer who later served in the Pentagon in the Defense Senior Executive Service and at the Defense Intelligence Agency as defense intelligence officer for the Middle East, has a similar view.

Giving Bennett security clearance, he said, was "a bad call. It is a judgment call, but I have a very hard time imagining someone being convicted for lying about immigration status being cleared. I wouldn't have cleared them, if it were up to me."

In January 2010, Bennett moved onto MacDill housing by claiming he was an aide to Special Operations Command chief Adm. Eric Olson and lying about his status as an active duty officer. Investigators later found Bennett had 10 guns and more than 9,000 rounds of ammunition without authorization.

On Thursday, Bennett was convicted of one count of making a false statement, one count of wearing his uniform without authorization and two counts of violating a security agreement by bringing concealed weapons on base and storing weapons and ammunition in his apartment without permission.

Bennett, who faces up to seven years and six months in prison, will be sentenced Oct. 25.
* * * * *
Even before Thursday's convictions, Bennett's job in the Joint Intelligence Operation Center made him a threat to security, according to Lesser, Lang and Johnson.

"If you already have a track record of lying to the government, what guarantee is there that you will not commit that behavior again?" Johnson asked.

"This is the type of person who could be coerced easily," Lesser said. "The criminal activity he has done puts him at risk of being exploited or manipulated. That is something the government is always worried about."

Lesser said that government agencies need to investigate how Bennett got his clearance, what information he had access to and what, if anything, he did with that information.

"It seems really difficult to believe that he did not have red flags from past behavior," Lesser said. "Should somebody be concerned about this person? I would say most definitely. He had high level clearance and access to a fair amount of classified information at a very high level. It seems like somebody dropped the ball on this particular person."

haltman@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7629

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