It’s just too good to not include: U.S. officials: CIA kills top al Qaeda terrorist in Pakistan

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Abu Laith al-Libi, a wanted al Qaeda terrorist, was killed in Pakistan by a CIA airstrike, three U.S. officials told CNN Thursday.

Al-Libi was described as a senior al Qaeda leader believed to have plotted and executed attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, including a February 2007 bombing at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney.

He was on a “most wanted” list of 12 accused terrorists which was issued in October by the Combined Joint Task Force-82 — an anti-terror unit in Afghanistan.

Earlier, a knowledgeable Western official and a military source confirmed al-Libi’s death to CNN. The same official said al-Libi is “not far below the importance of the top two al Qaeda leaders” — Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The officials said al-Libi was killed by a missile from an airplane.

Radical Islamist Web sites announced al-Libi’s death.

“May God have mercy on Sheikh Abu Laith al-Libi and accept him with his brothers, with the martyrs,” said a eulogy posted on a main Islamist site, Al-Ekhlaas.

Al-Libi, 41, was of Libyan descent and was believed to have been in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region, according to the U.S. military.

A U.S. counterterrorism official told CNN he was a significant, senior al Qaeda figure who had taken on a more prominent role in the organization in recent years. This official also confirmed that al-Libi was responsible for plotting attacks targeting U.S. and coalition forces as well as Afghan officials. Video Watch senior Arab affairs editor Octavia Nasr detail al-Libi’s significance »

In an earlier role, he was a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which eventually merged with al Qaeda, the counterterrorism official said, and was responsible for planning attacks throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The official described al-Libi as part of al Qaeda’s inner circle, who helped fill the void created by the capture or death of other senior people in the organization.

A U.S. military official with Combined Joint Task Force-82 said they have no information on al-Libi’s death. But he added that CJTF-82 does not collect information from outside of Afghanistan, and would be informed of targeted operations only “if the Pakistani military share(s) that with us.”

The Pakistani military said an explosion occurred in North Waziristan on Tuesday, and 12 people were killed. However, it was unclear whether this was the incident in which al-Libi was killed. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told CNN it was not clear who attacked whom and that he could not comment on the identities of the dead since local al Qaeda and Taliban affiliates removed the bodies and buried them.

The U.S. military placed al-Libi on its most wanted list in 2006, behind bin Laden, al-Zawahiri and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. In October, they announced rewards ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 for al-Libi and 11 other mid-level Taliban and al Qaeda leaders.

At that time, the military distributed posters and billboards with pictures and names of the insurgents around eastern Afghanistan.

Al-Libi and the others were described at the time by CJTF-82 spokesman Maj. Chris Belcher as “mid-level bad guys.”

He appeared in a 2002 audio recording posted on an Islamist Web site, saying al Qaeda had regrouped and intended to expand its war to include assassinations and attacks against infrastructure.

He also appeared in a 2004 video that showed him participating in an attack on an Afghan army base.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement saying al-Libi’s reported death would be “a positive development” in efforts against terrorism.

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“Intelligence points to, and his [al-Libi’s] increasing role in al Qaeda propaganda suggests, that he would have been a top field commander and planner for al Qaeda,” Hoekstra said. “His death, if confirmed, clearly will have an impact on the radical jihadist movement.”

He said that through the committee, he would monitor the effects on al Qaeda operations. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Senate Democrats Backtrack on War Funding

From CQ Politics – Josh Rogan

Senate Democrats moved closer Tuesday toward acceding to the Bush administration’s demands on war funding.

With a growing number of lawmakers deciding that legislation providing some money to the troops could not be put off until next year, the Senate Democratic leadership discussed different approaches to preserving some of the many restrictions on the war funding that House Democrats passed.

Aides said the Senate could hold a series of votes this month, each with progressively less restrictive language on the administration’s ability to conduct the war.

The options that Senate leaders were considering included omitting withdrawal dates or designating funds only for Afghanistan.

However, with the Senate’s legislative calendar already full for the remainder of the year, a consensus appeared to be growing that a prolonged fight over Iraq policy with President Bush probably would have to wait until next spring.

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin , D-Ill., said that Senate votes on Iraq War funding probably would not come until next week.

Durbin acknowledged that Democrats probably had no choice but to abandon many, if not all, of the restrictions they hoped to place on funding for the wars.

“We’re dealing with the reality that the White House has given us very stark choices,” Durbin said. “We’re still determined to change this policy in Iraq, but we’re trying to do it in the context of the latest White House positions.”

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, increasingly confident that the Democrats will fold and provide war funding with weak or no restrictions, showed little appetite to negotiate.

Read the entire article RIGHT HERE

…but on THAT day, no objections were raised. Pelosi and others Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002

I don’t get it. What in the world is the big deal? It’s WATERBOARDING for goodness sake… Do you know what that is? It’s a harsh interrogation technique. Is it life threatening? NO Is their excruciating pain involved? NO

So what is it? It’s a simulated (an illusion) drowning, and it’s done for about 30 seconds. THAT’s it – and it works! – SO WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT???

DID YOU KNOW OUR ARMED FORCES ARE SUBJECT TO WATERBOARDING DURING BASIC TRAINING? That means all pilots, SEALS, Marines, Officers – all of them. I guess the DEMS feel its ok for our guys, but not our enemies who want to kill us.

In my opinion, you can classify anything considered enhanced interrogation as torture – but for crying out loud (no pun since this is what the Liberals are doing), it’s a simulated drowning – not the cutting off of limbs or other “24” type techniques. This country needs to take the democrats out of control so we can concentrate on the well being of us and our children, instead of trying our darnest to provide our global enemies with our techniques so they can better train and prepare for their jihad.

And these buffoons that DEMAND an investigation – well you know what?? I DEMAND THAT THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERS STEP DOWN since they don’t seem to care about this country, and they have very little brain activity working up there. And that goes for you too Lauer the Loser. Thats what I DEMAND!!

So the question is – why did Pelosi and others not have a problem with this in 2002, but now they’re making all these demands? Also – THE DESTROYED TAPES IN QUESTION ARE FOR TRAINING PURPOSES ONLY AND THERE”S NO REQUIREMENT TO KEEP ON RECORD – SO GET OVER IT!!!

… those are my talking points. Now for the story.

In Meetings, Spy Panels’ Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say

By Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 9, 2007; Page A01

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

“The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough,” said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism effort. The CIA last week admitted that videotape of an interrogation of one of the waterboarded detainees was destroyed in 2005 against the advice of Justice Department and White House officials, provoking allegations that its actions were illegal and the destruction was a coverup.

Yet long before “waterboarding” entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.)and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers’ recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. “Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing,” said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. “And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.”

Congressional officials say the groups’ ability to challenge the practices was hampered by strict rules of secrecy that prohibited them from being able to take notes or consult legal experts or members of their own staffs. And while various officials have described the briefings as detailed and graphic, it is unclear precisely what members were told about waterboarding and how it is conducted. Several officials familiar with the briefings also recalled that the meetings were marked by an atmosphere of deep concern about the possibility of an imminent terrorist attack.

“In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic,” said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. “But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, ‘We don’t care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.’ ”

Only after information about the practice began to leak in news accounts in 2005 — by which time the CIA had already abandoned waterboarding — did doubts about its legality among individual lawmakers evolve into more widespread dissent. The opposition reached a boiling point this past October, when Democratic lawmakers condemned the practice during Michael B. Mukasey‘s confirmation hearings for attorney general.

GOP lawmakers and Bush administration officials have previously said members of Congress were well informed and were supportive of the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques. But the details of who in Congress knew what, and when, about waterboarding — a form of simulated drowning that is the most extreme and widely condemned interrogation technique — have not previously been disclosed.

U.S. law requires the CIA to inform Congress of covert activities and allows the briefings to be limited in certain highly sensitive cases to a “Gang of Eight,” including the four top congressional leaders of both parties as well as the four senior intelligence committee members. In this case, most briefings about detainee programs were limited to the “Gang of Four,” the top Republican and Democrat on the two committees. A few staff members were permitted to attend some of the briefings.

That decision reflected the White House’s decision that the “enhanced interrogation” program would be treated as one of the nation’s top secrets for fear of warning al-Qaeda members about what they might expect, said U.S. officials familiar with the decision. Critics have since said the administration’s motivation was at least partly to hide from view an embarrassing practice that the CIA considered vital but outsiders would almost certainly condemn as abhorrent.

Information about the use of waterboarding nonetheless began to seep out after a furious internal debate among military lawyers and policymakers over its legality and morality. Once it became public, other members of Congress — beyond the four that interacted regularly with the CIA on its most sensitive activities — insisted on being briefed on it, and the circle of those in the know widened.

there’s lots more – continue by CLICKING HERE

Secure Borders: New commercial airing Monday 12/10

Huckabee Immigration Plan Emphasizes Security

Here’s the security plan – below outlines some of the steps in more detail

Mike Huckabee released an immigration plan Friday that endorses a border fence and calls for tougher enforcement. By SARAH WHEATON Published: December 8, 2007

Mike Huckabee, the Republican presidential candidate, released a plan for tougher immigration enforcement and border security yesterday, pledging to complete a border fence between the United States and Mexico by July 2010 and ruling out a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants unless they returned first to their country of origin.

Mr. Huckabee has taken heat in recent weeks from his rivals for the Republican nomination, especially after his impassioned defense at a Nov. 28 debate of merit scholarships to children of illegal immigrants while he was governor of Arkansas. In that debate, he responded to attacks on his immigration record by saying, “We’re a better country than to punish children for what their parents did.”

In the proposal he released yesterday, Mr. Huckabee did not address whether he still supported such benefits for illegal immigrants. But in detailing his plan for stepped-up enforcement, he said immigrants who failed to register within 120 days and then leave the country would be deported and barred from re-entry for 10 years.

In addition to completing the fence and installing an “interlocking” camera surveillance system on the Mexican border, he said he would increase the number of Border Patrol agents. Employers who hire illegal immigrants would also be subject to penalties under his proposal.

Mr. Huckabee’s plan also includes an increase in the number of visas for “highly skilled and highly educated applicants.”

Rivals for the nomination said his proposal did not square with his record.

“Governor Huckabee is now forced to put out an immigration plan that contradicts everything he did as governor,” said Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for Fred D. Thompson, the former Tennessee senator. “Credibility and experience matter; it’s a shame when you have neither on these important issues.” (The Thompson campaign should know best about that)

In Iowa, the Huckabee campaign has gained ground in recent weeks.

A Newsweek poll released yesterday showed Mr. Huckabee with a clear lead over Mitt Romney among voters who said they were likely to take part in the Jan. 3 caucuses in Iowa, 39 percent to 17 percent. Earlier polls had the race much tighter. The Newsweek poll put Mr. Thompson and Rudolph W. Giuliani at 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Mr. Romney endured tough questioning from reporters in Des Moines yesterday about revelations last week that a yardwork company he employed was found for a second time to be using illegal immigrants.

Pressed on whether he should have been more vigilant, given his tough talk on immigration, he grew testy.

“Let’s say I go to a restaurant,” he said. “Should I make sure that all the waiters there are all legal? How would I do that?”

 

Huckabee on the issues: The Secure America Plan

Look at in conjunction with the Huckabee on the Issues: Immigration post right here

Immigration: The Secure America Plan

A 9-Point Strategy for Immigration Enforcement and Border Security

Overview: Implement a broad-based strategy that commits the resources of the federal government to the enforcement of our immigration laws and results in the attrition of the illegal immigrant population.

1. Build the Fence

  • Ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along the border by July 1, 2010.
  • Ensure that the border fence construction is completed by July 1, 2010.

2. Increase Border Patrol

  • Increase the number of border patrol agents.
  • Fully support all law enforcement personnel tasked with enforcing immigration law.

3. Prevent Amnesty

  • Policies that promote or tolerate amnesty will be rejected.
  • Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years.

4. Enforce the Law on Employers

  • Employment is the chief draw for most illegal immigrants and denying them jobs is the centerpiece of an attrition strategy.
  • Impose steep fines and penalties on employers that violate the law.
  • Institute a universal, mandatory citizenship verification system as part of the normal hiring process.
  • Prevent the IRS and the Social Security Administration from accepting fraudulent Social Security numbers or numbers that don’t match the employees’ names.*

5. Establish an Economic Border

  • Move toward passage of the FairTax.
  • The FairTax provides an extra layer of security by creating an economic disincentive to immigrate to the U.S. illegally.

6. Empower Local Authorities

  • Promote better cooperation on enforcement by supporting legislative measures such as the CLEAR Act, which aims to systematize the relationship between local law and federal immigration officials.
  • Encourage immigration-law training for police. Local authorities must be provided the tools, training, and funding they need so local police can turn illegal immigrants over to the federal authorities.

7. Ensure Document Security

  • End exemptions for Mexicans and Canadians to the US-VISIT program, which tracks the arrival and departure of foreign visitors. Since these countries account for the vast majority of foreigners coming here (85 percent), such a policy clearly violates Congress’ intent in mandating this check-in/check-out system.
  • Reject Mexico’s “matricula consular” card, which functions as an illegal-immigrant identification card.

8. Discourage Dual Citizenship

  • Inform foreign governments when their former citizens become naturalized U.S. citizens.
  • Impose civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status (e.g., using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.).

9. Modernize the Process of Legal Immigration

  • Eliminate the visa lottery system and the admission category for adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
  • Increase visas for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants.
  • Expedite processing for those who serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Improve our immigration process so that those patiently and responsibly seeking to come here legally will not have to wait decades to share in the American dream. Governor Huckabee has always been grateful to live in a country that people are trying to break into, rather than break out of.

*This policy will be drafted to comply with the final federal court decisions on this issue.

Note: This plan is partially modeled on a proposal by Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies. (“Re: Immigration: Ten Points for a Successful Presidential Candidate,” National Review, May 23, 2005.)

This is such awsome news… unless your a Democrat

GOOD TIMES ROLL AT IRAQI BIKE RACE

By YASSER FAISAL, Reuters

December 3, 2007 — About 150 students wearing colorful T-shirts competed in a bicycle race last week in Fallujah, an unimaginable event a year ago in what was once an al Qaeda hotbed and one of Iraq’s most dangerous cities.

Read the entire article from the NY POST GOOD TIMES ROLL AT IRAQI BIKE RACE