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National Security Correspondent J.J. Green has traveled three continents covering intelligence, terrorism, and security issues. From Afghanistan to Africa, Iraq to Ireland, there isn't anywhere J.J. won't go, nor anyone he won't talk with, to get the stories affecting the defense and national security communities.
A video of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud surfaced last Friday from what appeared to be an unidentified location. Geo News TV did the interview in which Meshud said the Taliban are winning the war. Earlier this year he was reportedly killed after a U.S drone attack, but Taliban leaders and Pakistani intelligence now say he is alive. The question now is whether this video was made before or after the US missile attack.
The United States plans give the Pakistani government $600 million to pay for military operations they've undertaken in the last 12 months. A pentagon spokesman says, "There has been some concern on the Pakistani's part about the rate at which they are reimbursed for Coalition Support Funds for their efforts in the war on terror on our behalf within their borders." The U.S. owes Pakistan about $2 billion dollars.
Former Pakistani Military Ruler and then President Pervez Musharraf is said to be exploring a return to power in Pakistan. Musharraf has been living in London since he left office in 2007. He could face criminal charges if returns to the country. Pakistani sources say he's planning to move to Middle east shortly and launch a new political party. Pakistani political observers the former military ruler would face difficult circumstances if he tried to re-enter politics.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he's satisfied with Pentagon planning to counter the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. During a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, Gates also said, "We are at a point now where Hezbollah has far more rockets and missiles than most governments in the world." Those weapons are a clear threat for Israel. Barak said Israel was closely watching Hezbollah.
A nuclear arms race in the Middle East is one of the biggest concerns among western diplomats. Iran is at the center of this issue. Experts like Dr. David Kay, a former U.N. weapons inspector have said repeatedly that if Iran is successful in building a nuclear weapon, other countries in the region will feel compelled to do the same just to protect themselves. As a result, the Saudi press agency reports officials there have established a renewable energy complex, confirming the country's interest in nuclear energy.
Franklin Graham says the Army has withdrawn an invitation for him to appear at a special Pentagon prayer service. The Christian evangelist said he regrets the Army's decision but not stop praying for the troops. Graham, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, has described Islam as evil in the past. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation raised the objection to the appearance, citing Graham's past remarks about Islam.
Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded guilty in September to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Alvin Hellerstein sentenced him to 121 months, plus three years of supervised release. He faced up to 20 years behind bars. The Associated Press reports Alishtari was operating a phony loan investment program when he met the undercover agent. Prosecutors said he accepted an unspecified amount of money from the agent to transfer $152,500 he believed was being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support a terrorist training camp. Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon, thought the money would be used to buy night vision goggles, medical supplies and other equipment and advised the agent he had to be "three steps away" from the money so it could not be traced back to him. Defense attorneys had initially argued that Alishtari was more interested in potential profits from his loan business than in terrorism activity.
The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan said Friday that the coalition depends too much on private-sector contractors, and insisted his forces are keeping close watch on the flow of Taliban fighters who are training in Iran. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, during a four-day visit to France, said the coalition in Afghanistan has become too dependent on private contractors in the effort to stabilize the country.
Lt. General Ronal Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency said yesterday Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single nuclear bomb within a year. But is that their goal? A top Israeli military analyst says the jury is still out on what Iran is going to do with its nuclear program. Some have suggested even Iran doesn't know. One thing's for sure. The U.S. And Israel both have warned a military strike on Iran is not out of the question. The question is will it happen before Hezbollah and Hamas strike Israel as some experts warn.
Israel has banned imports of Apple Inc.'s hottest new product, the iPad, citing concerns the powerful gadget consumes too much capacity on wireless networks and could disrupt other devices. According to the Associated Press, customs officials said Thursday they have already confiscated about 10 of the lightweight tablet computers since Israel announced the new regulations this week. The ban prevents anyone - even tourists - from bringing iPads into Israel until officials certify that they comply with local transmitter standards.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he's ready to resign. But Only under certain conditions is ready to resign if he and his kin and kith are granted security guarantees. "I will resign if they will ensure my and my relatives' security," he has told a news conference in Dzhalal-Abad. The interim government has refused to grant him immunity and warns that he would be detained if did not give up his calls for civil war.
Ousted Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he did not want to believe Russia was behind the protests that chased him from power. Bakiyev also said he had no plans to step down, but offered to talk to the opposition leaders who have claimed control of Kyrgyzstan after Central Asia's bloodiest unrest in five years. He adds he believes there was some foreign influence in the coup.
The United States and Brazil are preparing to sign a new agreement to bolster defense cooperation, the first accord of its kind between the hemisphere's two top economies in more than 30 years, officials said Wednesday. Reuters is reporting the agreement, which could be signed as early as Monday, is meant to demonstrate strengthening ties between the two militaries, despite diplomatic tensions over Brazil's refusal to back new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. It also comes as Brazil is evaluating bids in a multibillion dollar fighter jet competition, in which U.S.-based Boeing Co is one of three contenders.
What's the difference between Russian intelligence and U.S. intelligence today? A source with knowledge of both CIA and Russia's SVR, formerly known as the KGB says the SVR has an unlimited supply of money to recruit spies. The source also says it depends on the quality and amount of information a spy can provide. Still the source says, the SVR tries to save money and says American turncoats Aldrich Aimes, and Robert Hanssen could have gotten ten times more than they got from the Russian intelligence.
Pakistani officials say a Filipino militant wanted by the United States was killed in an American drone strike earlier this month. Abdul Basit Usman was reportedly killed on Jan. 14 close to the Afghan border. The State Department's list of most-wanted terrorists identifies Usman as a bomb-making expert with links to the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group and the Southeast Asian Jemaah Islamiyah network.
We now know the names of the Drug Enforcement Administration special agents who lost their lives in the helicopter crash Afghanistan on Monday. Special Agent Forrest Leamon, 37 of Woodbridge, Va, Chad L. Michael, 30, of Quantico, Va. and Michael E. Weston, 37, of Washington, D.C. were killed when the chopper they were flying aboard western Afghanistan crashed in killing them and 8 members of the military. DEA says special Agents Leamon and Michael were members of DEA's FAST (Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams); and Special Agent Weston was assigned to DEA's Kabul Country Office.
France will not send any more troops to Afghanistan and wants instead to see an enlarged Afghan army, President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a newspaper interview released on Thursday. The United States is considering sending up to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and has urged its NATO allies to do something similar. Britain announced this week that it was ready to send 500 more troops but Sarkozy told Le Figaro daily that he was sticking to a long-standing pledge not to send more forces. He said it is necessary to stay in Afghanistan? And to stay to win. "But France will not send one more soldier."
German authorities are bracing for the possibility of terror attacks. On Friday they arrested a 25-year-old Turkish man they suspected of posting a video on the internet threatening Germany with an attack after yesterday's federal election. German media report pictures of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and the Frankfurt skyline, and photos of top Germany government official were posted on the internet along with a threat the government believe came from the Taliban. The U.S. State Department, in a sign of just how serious this all is, is warning Americans to keep a low profile if they go to Germany.
The U.S. is watching Damascus very carefully today. Syrian President Bashar al Assad is hosting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez has made no secret of his disdain for the U.S. and Syria and the U.S. don't work well together because of their relationship with Iran, North Korea and terrorist organizations. The Presidents and their ministers are meeting to review a series of 11 existing agreements. One of the big worries for the U.S. intelligence community is that relationship give enemies of the US direct access to this hemisphere.