US Military Operating Under Secret Orders

Well the news itself is no surprise, but what the fact that the mass media is reporting it is. As usual, journalistic ethics are out the door. The media loves to report anything classified, top secret etc… As long as they can get it out to the people who should know… Bullshit.

Operations are on going, as in the recent Syrian raid, which is mentioned in the article, and the publication of news like this only puts our troops in danger. It also escalates tensions between countries because now things are public knowledge, instead of being handled by the respective powers and counter parts in the countries involved.

I guess that is why the UK is looking to censor media outlets from reporting on items that compromise national security. Maybe we should consider doing the same thing, and make it a criminal act… And when items involve national security and put soldiers lives in danger, I think the anonymous sources excuse used by the media must be abolished. If there is no national security issue or potential to put soldiers lives in danger, then fine, let them use all the anonymous sources they want.

The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.

These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President George W. Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.

In 2006, for example, a Navy Seal team raided a suspected militants’ compound in the Bajaur region of Pakistan, according to a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency. Officials watched the entire mission — captured by the video camera of a remotely piloted Predator aircraft — in real time in the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center at the agency’s headquarters in Virginia 7,000 miles away.

Some of the military missions have been conducted in close coordination with the CIA, according to senior American officials, who said that in others, like the Special Operations raid in Syria on Oct. 26 of this year, the military commandos acted in support of CIA-directed operations.

But as many as a dozen additional operations have been canceled in the past four years, often to the dismay of military commanders, senior military officials said. They said senior administration officials had decided in these cases that the missions were too risky, were too diplomatically explosive or relied on insufficient evidence.

More than a half-dozen officials, including current and former military and intelligence officials as well as senior Bush administration policy makers, described details of the 2004 military order on the condition of anonymity because of its politically delicate nature. Spokesmen for the White House, the Defense Department and the military declined to comment.

Apart from the 2006 raid into Pakistan, the American officials refused to describe in detail what they said had been nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks, except to say they had been carried out in Syria, Pakistan and other countries. They made clear that there had been no raids into Iran using that authority, but they suggested that American forces had carried out reconnaissance missions in Iran using other classified directives.

According to a senior administration official, the new authority was spelled out in a classified document called “Al Qaeda Network Exord,” or execute order, that streamlined the approval process for the military to act outside officially declared war zones. Where in the past the Pentagon needed to get approval for missions on a case-by-case basis, which could take days when there were only hours to act, the new order specified a way for Pentagon planners to get the green light for a mission far more quickly, the official said.

It also allowed senior officials to think through how the United States would respond if a mission went badly. “If that helicopter goes down in Syria en route to a target,” the official said, “the American response would not have to be worked out on the fly.”

The 2004 order was a step marking the evolution of how the American government sought to kill or capture Qaeda terrorists around the world. It was issued after the Bush administration had already granted America’s intelligence agencies sweeping power to secretly detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in overseas prisons and to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on telephone and electronic communications.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush issued a classified order authorizing the CIA to kill or capture Qaeda militants around the globe. By 2003, American intelligence agencies and the military had developed a much deeper understanding of Al Qaeda’s extensive global network, and Rumsfeld pressed hard to unleash the military’s vast firepower against militants outside the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2004 order identifies 15 to 20 countries, including Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf states, where Qaeda militants were believed to be operating or to have sought sanctuary, a senior administration official said.

Even with the order, each specific mission requires high-level government approval. Targets in Somalia, for instance, need at least the approval of the defense secretary, the administration official said, while targets in a handful of countries, including Pakistan and Syria, require presidential approval.

The Pentagon has exercised its authority frequently, dispatching commandos to countries including Pakistan and Somalia. Details of a few of these strikes have previously been reported.

For example, shortly after Ethiopian troops crossed into Somalia in late 2006 to dislodge an Islamist regime in Mogadishu, the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command quietly sent operatives and AC-130 gunships to an airstrip near the Ethiopian town of Dire Dawa. From there, members of a classified unit called Task Force 88 crossed repeatedly into Somalia to hunt senior members of a Qaeda cell believed to be responsible for the 1998 American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

At the time, American officials said Special Operations troops were operating under a classified directive authorizing the military to kill or capture Qaeda operatives if failure to act quickly would mean the United States had lost a “fleeting opportunity” to neutralize the enemy.

Occasionally, the officials said, Special Operations troops would land in Somalia to assess the strikes’ results. On Jan. 7, 2007, an AC-130 struck an isolated fishing village near the Kenyan border, and within hours, American commandos and Ethiopian troops were examining the rubble to determine whether any Qaeda operatives had been killed.

But even with the new authority, proposed Pentagon missions were sometimes scrubbed because of bad intelligence or bureaucratic entanglements, senior administration officials said.

The details of one of those aborted operations, in early 2005, were reported by The New York Times last June. In that case, an operation to send a team of Navy Seals and Army Rangers into Pakistan to capture Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, was aborted at the last minute.

Zawahri was believed by intelligence officials to be attending a meeting in Bajaur, in Pakistan’s tribal areas, and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command hastily put together a plan to capture him. There were strong disagreements inside the Pentagon and the CIA about the quality of the intelligence, however, and some in the military expressed concern that the mission was unnecessarily risky.

Porter Goss, the CIA director at the time, urged the military to carry out the mission, and some in the CIA even wanted to execute it without informing Ryan Crocker, then the American ambassador to Pakistan. Rumsfeld ultimately refused to authorize the mission.

Former military and intelligence officials said that Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, who recently completed his tour as head of the Joint Special Operations Command, had pressed for years to win approval for commando missions into Pakistan. But the missions were frequently rejected because officials in Washington determined that the risks to American troops and the alliance with Pakistan were too great.

Captain John Kirby, a spokesman for General McChrystal, who is now director of the military’s Joint Staff, declined to comment.

The recent raid into Syria was not the first time that Special Operations forces had operated in that country, according to a senior military official and an outside adviser to the Pentagon.

Since the Iraq war began, the official and the outside adviser said, Special Operations forces have several times made cross-border raids aimed at militants and infrastructure aiding the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The raid in late October, however, was much more noticeable than the previous raids, military officials said, which helps explain why it drew a sharp protest from the Syrian government.

Negotiations to hammer out the 2004 order took place over nearly a year and involved wrangling between the Pentagon and the CIA and the State Department about the military’s proper role around the world, several administration officials said.

American officials said there had been debate over whether to include Iran in the 2004 order, but ultimately Iran was set aside, possibly to be dealt with under a separate authorization.

Senior officials of the State Department and the CIA voiced fears that military commandos would encroach on their turf, conducting operations that historically the CIA had carried out, and running missions without an ambassador’s knowledge or approval.

Rumsfeld had pushed in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks to expand the mission of Special Operations troops to include intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations in countries where American commandos had not operated before.

Bush administration officials have shown a determination to operate under an expansive definition of self-defense that provided a legal rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent.

Several officials said the negotiations over the 2004 order resulted in closer coordination among the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, and set a very high standard for the quality of intelligence necessary to gain approval for an attack.

The 2004 order also provided a foundation for the orders that Bush approved in July allowing the military to conduct raids into the Pakistani tribal areas, including the Sept. 3 operation by Special Operations forces that killed about 20 militants, American officials said.

Administration officials said that Bush’s approval had paved the way for Defense Secretary Robert Gates to sign an order — separate from the 2004 order — that specifically directed the military to plan a series of operations, in cooperation with the CIA, on the Qaeda network and other militant groups linked to it in Pakistan.

Unlike the 2004 order, in which Special Operations commanders nominated targets for approval by senior government officials, the order in July was more of a top-down approach, directing the military to work with the CIA to find targets in the tribal areas, administration officials said. They said each target still needed to be approved by the group of Bush’s top national security and foreign policy advisers, called the Principals Committee.

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Obama Foreign Policy Advisor’s Company Center of Passport

Barack Obama’s Intel and Foreign Policy Advisor, John Brennan’s company, The Analysis Corporation, is responsible for the breach of the passort information of all three candidates.

While most think this is insignificant, there are major concerns from this. First and foremost, is that TAC was contracted to head up automating the terrorist watchlist. With security like this, how good is the information in the system. Second, Brennan is Obama’s advisor on Intel and Foreign Policy, yet he employs persons of questionable character and values.

I have to also imagine that his role as Intel and Foreign Policy advisor to Obama, is a conflict of interest with the job his company performs for the State Department.

Now should this turn out to be politically motivated, then will Barack step down gracefully or will he come up with another excuse for another associates actions. This sounds like another Rezko problem for Obama, however I think that will be covered up and the trail will lead to individual actions not associated to Obama in any way.

“Mr. Obama said the series of attempts to “tap into people’s personal records” were “a problem not just for me but for how our government functions.”

The above quote says a lot about Mr. Obama, This breach was conducted by Brennan’s company, what role with Brennan have in the government if Obama is elected President. Barack tries to also shift the blame onto the current government, well, Mr. Obama, don’t forget you are part of that goverment.

The State Department investigation of improper computer access to passport records of three presidential candidates is focusing on one remaining employee — a contract worker with a company headed by an adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama

The probe by State’s inspector general will include polygraph tests for supervisors in the passport section to find out whether the three contract employees who accessed the records had a political motive or were part of a political operation to obtain personal data on Mr. Obama, Sen. John McCain or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Two of the three contract employees had been fired before The Washington Times first reported Thursday on security breaches involving Mr. Obama’s passport records. The furor expanded yesterday to incidents involving the passport records of Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton.

The third employee, who has not been fired, worked for The Analysis Corporation (TAC), which is headed by John O. Brennan, a former CIA agent who is an adviser to Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign on intelligence and foreign policy.

The TAC employee is the only individual to have accessed both Mr. Obama’s and Mr. McCain’s passport information without proper authorization, a State Department spokesman said. That employee, who was not named, triggered an electronic alarm system, officials familiar with the probe said.

The accessed records have the data provided in passport applications and used by the department to issue or renew travel documents.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he was unaware of the specific activities of the IG investigation but said all three contract employees will be questioned.

State Department officials said Thursday and yesterday that the intrusions appeared to be the result of “imprudent curiosity” on the part of contract employees who were hired last summer to help process passport applications.

In Portland, Ore., Mr. Obama said the series of attempts to “tap into people’s personal records” were “a problem not just for me but for how our government functions.”

“I expect a full and thorough investigation. It should be done in conjunction with those congressional committees that have oversight so it’s not simply an internal matter,” Mr. Obama told reporters.

Mr. McCain, who is traveling in France, called for an apology and a full investigation of the breach. “The United States of America values everyone’s privacy and corrective action should be taken,” he said.

Mrs. Clinton had not publicly commented by yesterday evening.

Mr. McCormack said the investigation also will determine whether the records of other high-profile political candidates were accessed improperly and whether there are “systemic” problems.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised that the department will carry out a “full investigation” and expressed anger about the breaches, as well as the failure to notify senior officials.

“It should have been known to senior management. It was not, to my knowledge. And we also want to take every step that we can to make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again,” she said, adding apologies to all three candidates, starting with Mr. Obama.

“I was sorry and I told him that I myself would be very disturbed if I learned that somebody had looked into my passport file,” Miss Rice said of her telephone apology yesterday to the Illinois senator. She also called Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain.

Officials do not know whether information was improperly copied, altered or removed from the database during the intrusions.

“We are looking at [whether] there is anything more to why these people did this other than inappropriate curiosity,” said Patrick F. Kennedy, undersecretary of state for management, who is in charge of the passport offices.

State Department officials met for about 90 minutes with the Senate staffs of each candidate, along with the staff of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has jurisdiction over the Foreign Service.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, sent a letter to Miss Rice demanding to know the names of the contract employees.

Besides the TAC employee, the State Department said the other two employees worked for Stanley Inc., a 3,500-person technology firm based in Arlington that this week won a $570 million contract to continue providing passport services to the State Department, work the company has done since 1992.

TAC, a McLean-based information firm that has helped the State Department automate the Terrorist Watchlist over the last several years, issued a statement last night that it had been notified earlier in the day that one of its contractors had acted improperly. The firm said it had honored a State Department request not to fire its consultant to help the investigation.

“This individual’s actions were taken without the knowledge or direction of anyone at TAC and are wholly inconsistent with our professional and ethical standards,” the company wrote.

Calls to the Obama campaign about Mr. Brennan were not returned.

Mr. McCormack said yesterday there was a fourth person who breached the passport records, although he described it as a case of inadvertance. He said a passport office trainee last year was learning how to work with passport electronic records and searched for Mrs. Clinton’s file as a test, but was “immediately admonished, and it didn’t happen again.”

Working-level supervisors confronted the three employees after a computer alarm system was triggered by the effort to access Mr. Obama’s records.

“What didn’t happen is that that information didn’t rise up to senior management levels, so that we could be made aware of it. That should have happened,” Mr. McCormack said.

If senior officials were alerted to the intrusions, additional safeguards would have been used to protect the data, Mr. McCormack said.

Officials said the computer alarm that was set off includes a notification mechanism that should have alerted State’s inspector general. However, it is not clear whether the IG reviewed the improper computer activities, the officials said.

Acting Inspector General William E. Todd and the chief IG branch investigator, James B. Burch, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, are leading the passport probe, which began Thursday. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said his department was no reason yet to investigate.

Miss Rice and Mr. Kennedy did not learn of the breaches of Mr. Obama’s personal data until The Times e-mailed questions about the security breaches on Thursday.

“As soon as we realized that there were these unauthorized accesses for Senator Obama’s passport files, we collected the information, we briefed the secretary, we briefed Senator Obama’s staff, all before we ever replied to the reporter,” Mr. McCormack said.

“Then we replied to the reporter, and then we all talked to the rest of you as the questions came in,” he said.

Jerry Seper contributed to this report.

Bush Gave OK To Discuss Use Of Waterboarding

Now this has to be one of the best spins ever… The liberal medial titled their article Bush gave OK to waterboard, which flat out says that Bush authorized the use of waterboarding personally…

However nowhere in the article does it actually say that. The closest thing it says it that Bush gave the authorization to discuss that this technique was used and that in the future, certain measures will be taken before it is used again…

Bush gave OK to waterboard

By Jon Ward
February 6, 2008


CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, shown testifying in Washington on Tuesday before a Senate Intelligence Committee, has said that the technique of “waterboarding” has been used on three men between 2002 and 2003 in part to thwart another terrorist attack in the U.S.


The White House today said the interrogation technique called waterboarding, as practiced by U.S. intelligence officials, does not amount to torture, one day after an administration official said publicly for the first time that such a method has been used.

A White House spokesman said that President Bush authorized his CIA director to confirm yesterday the use of waterboarding — commonly described as simulating drowning by covering the mouth with a cloth and pouring water down the throat —on three suspected terrorists.

“This program and the techniques used in it were determined lawful, through a process,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

Mr. Fratto also said the technique is authorized currently, but could be used in the future if a rigid set of legal and procedural safeguards are followed.

Senate Democrats, however, have demanded a government investigation into the matter to determine whether laws forbidding torture were broken.

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, told Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey in a letter Tuesday that he would stall the nomination of U.S. District Judge Mark Filip in Chicago to be deputy attorney general until Mr. Mukasey responds to his request for a criminal investigation and other torture-related inquiries.

Mr. Fratto clarified his comments on the legality of waterboarding by saying that each specific time the technique has been used, its legality was “dependent on the circumstances.”

In the future, Mr. Fratto said in each case where officials think the technique is needed, the CIA director will present “a plan” to the attorney general, who in turn would judge its legality on a case-by-case basis. If deemed legal, the attorney general and the CIA director would present their plan to the president

Before this week, Mr. Bush and his administration had refused to discuss any interrogation techniques used by U.S. officials on suspected terrorists, but insisted the U.S. government does not use torture.

Late in 2006, Mr. Bush spoke publicly for the first time about “enhanced interrogation techniques” that he said were being used on select terrorist suspects.

Mr. Bush has said the techniques are “tough” but lawful. He did not elaborate, saying he does not want terrorists to “adjust” or train to resist interrogation.

Michael V. Hayden gave approval to talk about waterboarding, based on “the cumulative impact of public discussion of that technique,” which included “misinformation,” Mr. Fratto said.

Mr. Hayden, in testimony before the Senate intelligence panel on Tuesday, said three men were subjected to waterboarding between 2002 and 2003: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks; Abu Zubaydah, an early member of al Qaeda and close associate of Osama bin Laden, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashir, who helped plan the USS Cole bombing and headed al Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf before his capture in 2002.

Mr. Fratto, when asked why the practice is not authorized currently, said that the intelligence community’s “knowledge of how to interrogate in effective ways has evolved.”

Mr. Hayden, in his testimony, said that waterboarding was used in 2002 and 2003 in part because U.S. officials were fearful of another terrorist attack after September 11.

“There was the belief that additional catastrophic attacks against the homeland were inevitable. And we had limited knowledge about al Qaeda and its workings,” Mr. Hayden said. “Those two realities have changed.”

Saddam’s Downfall

Here’s another story the liberal media does not want you to know. They are so intent on chanting that Bush Lied that they want to bury the truth.

The truth is simple, Saddam Hussein had a program to convince the world that he had weaopons of mass destruction and had all intentions of starting it up once the heat was off. He had the assests in place to resume the program at will, sort of like Iran’s “suspended” nuke program…

The program was so good they he believed it himself…

But the liberals will keep chanting that Bush Lied… Wake up, it is only a lie if he knew it to be false and said it anyways… Bush, Congress, intel agencies around the world, governments around the world believed that he had weapons of mass destruction. The liars are the ones that deny they believed it or campaign that they only believed it because of Bush’s lies…

NEW YORK – Saddam Hussein allowed the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction to deter rival Iran and did not think the United States would stage a major invasion, according to an FBI interrogator who questioned the Iraqi leader after his capture.

Saddam expected only a limited aerial attack by the United States and thought he could remain in control, the FBI special agent, George Piro, told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program in an interview to be broadcast Sunday.

“He told me he initially miscalculated … President Bush’s intentions,” said Piro. “He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 … a four-day aerial attack.”

“He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack,” Piro said.

In 2003, a close aide of Saddam’s told The Associated Press that Saddam did not expect a U.S. invasion and deliberately kept the world guessing about his weapons program, although he already had gotten rid of it.

Keeping up the illusion of weapons program
Saddam publicly denied having unconventional weapons before the U.S. invasion, but prevented U.N. inspectors from working in the country from 1998 until 2002 and when they finally returned in November 2002, they often complained that Iraq wasn’t fully cooperating.

Piro, a Lebanese-American who speaks Arabic, debriefed Saddam after he was found in an underground hideout near his home city north of Baghdad in December 2003, nine months after the U.S. invasion.

Piro said Saddam also said that he wanted to keep up the illusion that he had the program in part because he thought it would deter a likely Iranian invasion.

“For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that (faking having the weapons) would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq,” Piro told Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes.”

Piro added that Saddam had the intention of restarting an Iraqi weapons program at the time, and had engineers available for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Kuwait invasion after insult to Iraqi women
Piro also mentioned Saddam’s revelation during questioning that what pushed him to invade Kuwait in 1990 was a dishonorable swipe at Iraqi women made by the Kuwaiti leader, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

During the buildup to the invasion, Iraq had accused Kuwait of flooding the world market with oil and demanded compensation for oil produced from a disputed area on the border of the two countries.

Piro said that Al Sabah told the foreign minister of Iraq during a discussion aimed at resolving some of those conflicts that “he would not stop doing what he was doing until he turned every Iraqi woman into a $10 prostitute. And that really sealed it for him, to invade Kuwait,” said Piro.

Russian Spys In The UN Stole $500 Million in Iraq’s Oil For Food Program

Well another reason has surfaced on why Russia was against invading Iraq

UNITED NATIONS —  A former Russian top spy says his agents helped the Russian government steal nearly $500 million from the U.N.’s oil-for-food program in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Sergei Tretyakov, who defected to the United States in 2000 as a double agent, says he oversaw an operation that helped Saddam’s regime manipulate the price of Iraqi oil sold under the program — and allow Russia to skim profits.

Tretyakov, former deputy head of intelligence at Russia’s U.N. mission from 1995 to 2000, names some names, but sticks mainly to code names. Among the spies he says he recruited for Russia were a Canadian nuclear weapons expert who became a U.N. nuclear verification expert in Vienna, a senior Russian official in the oil-for-food program and a former Soviet bloc ambassador. He describes a Russian businessman who got hold of a nuclear bomb, and kept it stored in a shed at his dacha outside Moscow.

The 51-year-old Tretyakov had never spoken out about his spying before this week, when he granted his first news media interviews to publicize a book published Thursday. Written by former Washington Post journalist Pete Earley, the book is titled “Comrade J.: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War.”

“It’s an international spy nest,” Tretyakov said of the U.N., during an interview this week with The Associated Press. “Inside the U.N., we were fishing for knowledgeable diplomats who could give us first of all anti-American information.”

His defection was first reported by the AP in 2001. Shortly after, the New York Times broke the news that he was not a diplomat, but a top Russian spy who was extensively debriefed by the CIA and the FBI.

Some of the people named or referenced by a code name in the book have denied Tretyakov’s claims. The Russian mission to the U.N. said Friday it would have no immediate comment.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, described Tretyakov’s allegations as potentially serious violations of law and U.N. rules.

But Dujarric said it would be up to others to prosecute if the allegations are substantiated: “Since the U.N. can’t prosecute, it is now up to national governments to prosecute.”

An 18-month investigation into the oil-for-food corruption, led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, culminated in an October 2005 report accusing more than 2,200 companies from some 40 countries of colluding with Saddam’s regime to bilk the humanitarian program in Iraq of $1.8 billion.

The program was aimed at easing Iraqi suffering under U.N. sanctions imposed after Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It allowed Iraq to sell oil provided the bulk of the proceeds were used to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods and to pay war reparations. Volcker’s reports blamed shoddy U.N. management and the world’s most powerful nations for allowing corruption in the $64 billion program to go on for years.

Tretyakov defected to the United States with his wife and daughter in 2000, after serving as a double agent passing along secrets to the U.S. government. He calls his defection “the major failure of Russian intelligence in the United States” and warns that Russia, despite the end of the Cold War, harbors bad intentions toward the United States.

The decision to defect, he said, was made only after his mother died in 1997, and he had no other close relatives alive in Russia who could be used to blackmail him. The Tretyakovs now live in retirement in an undisclosed location.

“I got extremely disgusted with the Russian government, and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not very emotional. I’m not a Boy Scout,” said Tretyakov, who was accompanied during the interview by his wife, Helen, and Earley. “Knowing people who are running Russia, I started feeling that it’s immoral to help them. And finally in my life, when I defected, I did something good in my life. Because I want to help United States.”

CIA Asserts Al Qaeda Behind Bhutto Assassination

Despite media opinion and the average Pakistanian citizen’s opinion, the CIA has asserted that based on intelligence, Al Qaeda behind Bhutto Assassinations… Al Qaeda being behind the assassination is not a far fetched idea, as they foresaw Bhutto’s political stance as a direct threat.

The CIA has concluded that members of al-Qaeda and allies of Pakistani tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud were responsible for last month’s assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and that they also stand behind a new wave of violence threatening that country’s stability, the agency’s director, Michael V. Hayden, said in an interview.

Offering the most definitive public assessment by a U.S. intelligence official, Hayden said Bhutto was killed by fighters allied with Mehsud, a tribal leader in northwestern Pakistan, with support from al-Qaeda’s terrorist network. That view mirrors the Pakistani government’s assertions.

The same alliance between local and international terrorists poses a grave risk to the government of President Pervez Musharraf, a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, Hayden said in 45-minute interview with The Washington Post. “What you see is, I think, a change in the character of what’s going on there,” he said. “You’ve got this nexus now that probably was always there in latency but is now active: a nexus between al-Qaeda and various extremist and separatist groups.”

Hayden added, “It is clear that their intention is to continue to try to do harm to the Pakistani state as it currently exists.”

Days after Bhutto’s Dec. 27 assassination in the city of Rawalpindi, Pakistani officials released intercepted communications between Mehsud and his supporters in which the tribal leader praised the killing and, according to the officials, appeared to take credit for it. Pakistani and U.S. officials have declined to comment on the origin of that intercept, but the administration has until now been cautious about publicly embracing the Pakistani assessment.

Widespread suspicion of Musharraf
Many Pakistanis have voiced suspicions that Musharraf’s government played a role in Bhutto’s assassination, and Bhutto’s family has alleged a wide conspiracy involving government officials. Hayden declined to discuss the intelligence behind the CIA’s assessment, which is at odds with that view and supports Musharraf’s assertions.

“This was done by that network around Baitullah Mehsud. We have no reason to question that,” Hayden said. He described the killing as “part of an organized campaign” that has included suicide bombings and other attacks on Pakistani leaders.

Some administration officials outside the agency who deal with Pakistani issues were less conclusive, with one calling the assertion “a very good assumption.”

One of the officials said there was no “incontrovertible” evidence to prove or rebut the assessment.

Al-Qaida rebuilding in region
Hayden made his statement shortly before a series of attacks occurred this week on Pakistani political figures and army units. Pakistani officials have blamed them on Mehsud’s forces and other militants. On Wednesday, a group of several hundred insurgents overran a military outpost in the province of South Waziristan, killing 22 government paramilitary troops. The daring daylight raid was carried out by rebels loyal to Mehsud, Pakistani authorities said.

For more than a year, U.S. officials have been nervously watching as al-Qaeda rebuilt its infrastructure in the rugged tribal regions along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, often with the help of local sympathizers.

In recent months, U.S. intelligence officials have said, the relationship between al-Qaeda and local insurgents has been strengthened by a common antipathy toward the pro-Western Musharraf government. The groups now share resources and training facilities and sometimes even plan attacks together, they said.

“We’ve always viewed that to be an ultimate danger to the United States,” Hayden said, “but now it appears that it is a serious base of danger to the current well-being of Pakistan.”

Policy hasn’t changed, Hayden says
Hayden’s anxieties about Pakistan’s stability are echoed by other U.S. officials who have visited Pakistan since Bhutto’s assassination. White House, intelligence and Defense Department officials have held a series of meetings to discuss U.S. options in the event that the current crisis deepens, including the possibility of covert action involving Special Forces.

Hayden declined to comment on the policy meetings but said that the CIA already was heavily engaged in the region and has not shifted its officers or changed its operations significantly since the crisis began.

“The Afghan-Pakistan border region has been an area of focus for this agency since about 11 o’clock in the morning of September 11, [2001], and I really mean this,” Hayden said. “We haven’t done a whole lot of retooling there in the last one week, one month, three months, six months and so on. This has been up there among our very highest priorities.”

Hayden said that the United States has “not had a better partner in the war on terrorism than the Pakistanis.” The turmoil of the past few weeks has only deepened that cooperation, he said, by highlighting “what are now even more clearly mutual and common interests.”

Hayden also acknowledged the difficulties — diplomatic and practical — involved in helping combat extremism in a country divided by ethnic, religious and cultural allegiances. “This looks simpler the further away you get from it,” he said. “And the closer you get to it, geography, history, culture all begin to intertwine and make it more complex.”

Regarding the public controversy over the CIA’s harsh interrogation of detainees at secret prisons, Hayden reiterated previous agency statements that lives were saved and attacks were prevented as a result of those interrogations.

He said he does not support proposals, put forward by some lawmakers in recent weeks, to require the CIA to abide by the Army Field Manual in conducting interrogations. The manual, adopted by the Defense Department, prohibits the use of many aggressive methods, including a simulated-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

“I would offer my professional judgment that that will make us less capable in gaining the information we need,” he said.

Staff writer Robin Wright and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Pakistanian officials have arrested a 15 year old who claims to have been part of the Al Qaeda assassination plot against Bhutto. The fact that Al Qaeda is relying on teenagers and women more and more shows their desperation.

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan —  A 15-year-old detained near the Afghan border has confessed to joining a team of assassins sent to kill Benazir Bhutto, officials said Saturday, announcing the first arrests in the case since the attack that killed the opposition leader.

Police also announced they had foiled new suicide attacks against the country’s Shiite minority.

Interior Secretary Kamal Shah confirmed the arrest of two people in the town of Dera Ismail Khan in North West Frontier province, and said one — a teenage boy — had confessed involvement in the Dec. 27 attack that killed Bhutto. He said interrogators were trying to get corroborating testimony from the other detainee before accepting the confession.

In the southern city of Karachi, meanwhile, the police chief said officers detained five men with explosives, detonators and a small quantity of cyanide intended for attacks on this week’s Shiite Muslim festival of Ashoura.

“With these arrests we have foiled major attacks,” said police chief Azhar Farouqi, adding that the militants may have wanted to put the cyanide into the municipal water supply.

Security officials elsewhere in the country said they had arrested at least 55 other terrorist suspects in a crackdown apparently sparked by a surge in rebel attacks along the restive border with Afghanistan and a spate of bombings targeting Shiites. /**/

The growing bloodshed has cast doubts on the ability of the security forces to maintain peace during the campaign for parliamentary elections on Feb. 18. It has also sparked calls from opposition politicians for President Pervez Musharraf to step down.

In North West Frontier province, a senior intelligence official said the 15-year-old suspect in the Bhutto assassination told investigators that a five-person squad was dispatched to Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed, by Baitullah Mehsud, a militant leader with strong ties to al-Qaida and an alliance with the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan.

The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the boy was arrested Thursday and was also involved in a plot to attack Shiites during the Ashoura festival on Sunday.

Sunni extremists, who regard Shiites as heretics, often attack the community during Ashoura. On Thursday, 11 people died and 20 were injured in a suicide attack on a Shiite mosque in the northern city of Peshawar.

In Dera Ismail Khan, a town 170 miles southwest of Islamabad where the teenager was arrested, a district police commander said the suspect had made “a sensational disclosure.” The officer also asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

But Maulvi Mohammed Umar, a purported spokesman for Mehsud, dismissed the report. “It is just government propaganda … we have already clarified that we are not involved in the attack on Benazir Bhutto.”

The CIA concluded that Mehsud was behind Bhutto’s killing shortly after it occurred, an American intelligence official has said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Musharraf government fingered Mehsud for the former prime minister’s death in December, but some members of her political party and her family have questioned those assertions. There have been complaints that the government failed to provide her adequate security and vague allegations that elements within the government might have been involved in the assassination.

Bhutto died when an assassin fired at her and detonated an explosive vest as she was leaving an election campaign rally. The blast killed at least 20 other people and wounded scores more.

The death of Pakistan’s most popular opposition leader threw the country into turmoil and triggered riots that left more than 40 people dead. It forced the government to delay by six weeks parliamentary elections that had been set for Jan. 8.

Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan in October after spending nearly eight years in exile, had vowed to support tough military measures against Islamic militants who have used the border areas as staging points for infiltration into Afghanistan.

Suspected Muslim militants shot and killed a top intelligence official in North West Frontier Province as he left a mosque after offering dawn prayers Sunday, local police officer Javed Khan said.

Nisar Ahmed, who was shot in Srekh village, headed the Inter-Services Intelligence agency’s section on security in the province, an official from the agency’s regional office said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the media.

Separately, the army said in a statement it had found 5.5 tons of explosives hidden in a mosque in the Swat Valley, an area in the north of the country that it recaptured from the militants in December.

CIA Tape Destruction – Not Violation Of Court Order

Federal Judge Henry Kennedy has ruled that as of right now there is no evidence that the Bush Administration violated his court order not to destroy tapes of detanee interrogations at Gitmo. As the two tapes of the interrogations Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri of were taken at other facilities, the tapes were not cover by his order.

This whole investigation and express of outrage is being politicized for an agenda because there is some big campaigning going on for the next Presidency…

A federal judge refused on Wednesday to delve into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos, saying there was no evidence the Bush administration violated a court order and the Justice Department deserved time to conduct its own investigation.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy was a victory for the Bush administration, which had urged the courts not to wade into a politically charged issue already being investigated by the Justice Department, CIA and Congress.

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The CIA has acknowledged last month that in 2005 it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects. Lawyers for other terrorism suspects quickly asked Kennedy to hold hearings, saying the executive branch had proved itself unreliable and could not be trusted to investigate its own potential wrongdoing.

Kennedy disagreed, ruling that attorneys hadn’t “presented anything to cause this court to question whether the Department of Justice will follow the facts wherever they may lead and live up to the assurances it made to this court.”

Attorney General Michael Mukasey recently appointed a prosecutor to conduct a criminal investigation into destruction of the tapes. John Durham, a career public corruption and organized crime prosecutor, has a reputation for being independent.

Kennedy, a former prosecutor who was appointed to the bench by President Clinton, said he had been assured that the Justice Department would report back if it found evidence that a court order had been violated.

“There is no reason to disregard the Department of Justice’s assurances,” Kennedy said.

Attorney David Remes had said a judicial inquiry might involve testimony from senior lawyers at the White House and Justice Department. Government attorneys, appearing in court Dec. 21, said such hearings would disrupt and possibly derail the Justice Department inquiry.

Lawyers for other terrorism suspects have filed similar requests before other judges. While Kennedy’s decision doesn’t require those judges to follow suit, it will help bolster the Justice Department’s argument that they should not wade into the investigation.

Kennedy had ordered the government not to destroy any evidence of mistreatment or abuse of detainees held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But the two suspects interrogated on video Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were not held at Guantanamo Bay. They were interrogated in secret CIA prisons overseas.

Kennedy said Wednesday he saw no evidence those tapes were covered by his court order.

Remes, who represents Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay, argued that destruction of the tapes may have violated a more general rule prohibiting the government from destroying any evidence that could be relevant in a case, even if not directly noted in a court order.

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