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Category Archives: Al Qaeda

ODNI Releases Trove of Documents Discovered in Osama bin Laden Raid

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 1:02 PM

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence today released a new set of documents recovered during the raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. The release contains two sections: 1) a list of non-classified, English-language material found in and around the compound; and 2) a selection of now-declassified documents. . . .
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The Foreign Policy Essay: Where is Al Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri?

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Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Editor’s Note: After 9/11 Ayman al-Zawahiri became the face of Al Qaeda, giving speeches and sending out videos to guide the now-scattered jihadist flock. And of course after Bin Ladin’s death Zawahiri’s stature rose even further. Yet as my Brookings colleague Bruce Riedel points out, Zawahiri has gone silent in recent months despite the turbulence . . .
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Hersh’s Account of the Bin Laden Raid is Journalistic Malpractice

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Monday, May 11, 2015 at 10:10 PM

When a journalist writes a tell-all story about a classified operation, and he suspects the story will catalyze anti-American anger, provide fuel for terrorist groups, and cause severe friction with foreign governments, the act of publication is morally fraught. When the story is based on obscenely thin sourcing and careens into conspiracy theories, the decision . . .
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New AP Poll on U.S. Targeted Killing Program

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Friday, May 1, 2015 at 11:16 AM

A new AP-GFK poll released today finds broad swaths of the American public continue to strongly support the U.S. targeted killing program. The poll was conducted in the days immediately following President Barack Obama’s announcement that the United States had mistakenly killed an American and Italian hostage in a drone strike on a suspected al Qaeda compound. . . .
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U.S. Drone Strike Reportedly Killed Two Hostages Held by Al-Qaeda, One American and One Italian, as well as an American Al-Qaeda Member

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Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Breaking news from the New York Times: The White House acknowledged on Thursday that two hostages held by Al Qaeda were accidentally killed in an American government counterterrorism operation in January and said President Obama “takes full responsibility.” In an extraordinary statement, the White House said intelligence agencies had confirmed that Warren Weinstein, an American held . . .
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Indictment of US Citizen Who Trained with al Nusrah and Returned to Attack

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Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 5:42 PM

A grand jury in Ohio has indicted Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a recently-naturalized US citizen and resident of Columbus, with two material support counts (and one false statement count) based on allegations that he traveled to Syria to fight, that he received military-style training from al Nusrah, and that he came back to the United States . . .
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How Did Abid Naseer Come to be Convicted in a U.S. Court?

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Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 4:00 PM

On March 4 2015, Pakistani national Abid Naseer was convicted in a Brooklyn Federal Court of supporting terrorism and conspiring with al-Qaeda to bomb a shopping mall in the United Kingdom in 2009. The case received a fair bit of press attention, including this story in the New York Times. Naseer’s trial in Brooklyn had some . . .
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New Abbottabad Documents Released in Trial of Abid Naseer

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Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 12:56 PM

In the trial of Abid Naseer, the U.S. Department of Justice released a trove of new files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound during the May 2011 raid by U.S. Navy Seals that ended in his death. Seventeen of the documents were released in 2012. Those previously released documents painted a picture of a bin . . .
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Welcome to Brooklyn: 2 AQ members who attacked US forces abroad brought to US for civilian trial

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 12:27 PM

An interesting development in the ongoing debate regarding the optimal disposition for captured al Qaeda members: The Justice Department has just announced that two al Qaeda members (both citizens of Yemen) were captured in Saudi Arabia (and have now been “lawfully expelled” to the United States to face a civilian criminal trial in the Eastern . . .
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Misunderstanding Terrorism: Charlie Hebdo Didn’t Provoke the Killers

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Monday, January 12, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Some commentators who have condemned the Charlie Hebdo killings have, in the same breath, criticized the publication for being unnecessarily provocative. Last Wednesday over at the New York Times, Ross Douthat countered the “unnecessary” half of this characterization, writing: “If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then . . .
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Senator Menendez’s Draft ISIL AUMF

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Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Last Thursday, Bloomberg View’s Josh Rogin had a piece on a draft ISIL authorization put forth by Senator Bob Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Based on Rogin’s report, it seems Menendez’s legislation was offered as an alternative to a bill authored by Senator Rand Paul. But as Rogin notes, of the pair, . . .
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ICC Prosecutor Advances Examination of U.S. Detention Policies in Afghanistan

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Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 9:11 AM

As Professors Ryan Goodman and David Bosco have both noted in excellent posts at Just Security and Foreign Policy, respectively, over the past seven years, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor has quietly but persistently advanced a “preliminary examination” of the conflict in Afghanistan.  Although it has been clear that the United States was one . . .
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The Legal Consequences of Islamic State + Al Qaeda Cooperation, and Implications for AUMF Reform

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Friday, November 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Deb Riechman at AP is reporting: Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press. . . .
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Ben’s Sweeping Endorsement of the Just Security AUMF Principles

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM

In his post this morning, Ben identifies what he calls “flaws” with three of the six principles for a use-of-force authorization for ISIL that were introduced yesterday by a group of legal experts (that includes me). Although Ben has done us the courtesy of critiquing the Principles, it appears he didn’t actually read them all . . .
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Look Who Else Has Drones: ISIS and Al Nusra

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Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Since the introduction of drone technology to the battlefield, countless academics, policymakers, and military planners have pondered a disturbing question: what happens when other countries or non-state actors have access to them? In Syria, we may be starting to see the effects that the dissemination of drone technology will mean for the future of war. In . . .
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The Fox-DOJ Subpoena Fight: A Summary in Documents

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Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 10:03 PM

In July 2009, Mike Levine, a reporter for Fox News, broke a story about federal prosecutors secretly filing terrorism charges against a group of Somali-Americans in Minneapolis who were recruited to join Al Qaeda-linked groups in Somalia. Levine’s story was based on confidential information leaked to him by various unidentified government officials. In January 2011, . . .
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Fourth Circuit Affirms Refusal to Vacate Sentence in United States v. Abu Ali

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM

In an unpublished per curiam opinion, Chief Judge Traxler and Judges Wilkinson and Motz of the Fourth Circuit today dismissed Ahmed Omar Abu Ali’s bid to overturn the district court’s 2012 order denying relief on his 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate his sentence. Some background: Abu Ali—a U.S. citizen born in Texas and . . .
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Dropping “Khorasan” for “al Qaeda”

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Friday, October 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

There has been much talk about the “Khorasan Group” over the past several weeks, including occasional sharp questions regarding its nature and provenance. On that subject, Dina Temple Raston has a good piece on NPR this evening, underscoring the fundamental point that “Khorasan” is a term of convenience describing no more and no less than . . .
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Panetta Slams White House on Iraq Withdrawal

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Friday, October 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM

A big Monday-morning quarterback question since ISIL began overrunning parts of Iraq as Iraqi military forces collapsed has been whether the United States should have kept in place a significant residual force, rather than withdrawing altogether after the U.S. combat mission there ended in late 2011.  A significant part of this larger strategic question has . . .
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A Less Generous Take on Greenwald’s Latest

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Jack is very generous to Glenn Greenwald in his post earlier today, in which he notes areas where he agrees with what he terms Greenwald’s “skeptical takedown of the factual basis for the attacks on the Khorasan Group (KG) in Syria, and the American Press’s complicity, based on anonymous USG sources, in spreading war-mongering exaggerations about . . .
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