Newly released documents from the State Department indicate the U.S. government has known Islamic extremists have been entering the country via Mexico for over ten years.
A cable obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act shows the U.S. was aware of "smuggling networks" that specialize in the trafficking of suspected Islamic extremists across the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2004 cable was sent to the State Department by the American Consulate in Juarez, Mexico.
Perhaps most alarming was the mention of a top Al Qaeda operative by the name of Adnan el Shukrijumah. The 2004 cable indicates the U.S. had human intelligence leading to his "exact whereabouts." It was not until December of 2014 - ten years later - that Shukrijumah would be captured (or in this case, killed in Pakistan).
Shukrijumah was described by FBI as "a grave danger to the security of the United States" and had ties to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed as well as to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Among other acts domestic and abroad, he helped plot the 2009 foiled bombing of Oprah Winfrey's Chicago studios and the Sears Tower.
For those of us who were grownups when 9/11 happened, it’s also been transmuted—not to something that was always there, but to something that’s been incorporated into our view of the world. We’ve all done that differently. But for us, the shock and surprise and horror reoccurs (to a somewhat diminished extent, of course; there’s no shock like the first shock) whenever we see the footage, or when we think—really really think, without the protective shield of familiarity—of what actually happened on that day.I believe that, in the four years that have passed since I wrote those words, 9/11 has been transmuted into something that was always there, something that no longer surprises. And although I haven't watched any footage today of the attack, I think there is less shock and no surprise. The reason for that is that a great deal has happened since I wrote those words four years ago. Since then, although we had responded in Afghanistan to 9/11 and then to Saddam Hussein's defiance of nuclear weapons inspections in Iraq, the Obama administration has purposely wiped out those gains, particularly in Iraq. When I wrote that 10-year anniversary piece in September of 2011, the US was poised on the brink of Obama's complete withdrawal from Iraq, which he was determined to accomplish against the opinion and advice of every military adviser. In the four years since that withdrawal, ISIS has risen up in the vacuum that was left, and it has wreaked horrors on civilian populations, barbarities that are of enormous scale and magnitude even compared to 9/11 and which have reverberated around the world with images of sadistic violence. Does anyone doubt for a single moment that the killers would wreak a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand 9/11s on us if they could?
Flight 93 memorial visitor center is dedicated A new visitor center has been dedicated on a Pennsylvania hill overlooking the site where United Airlines Flight 93 came down during the 9/11 attacks. The visitor center is at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville. It uses photos, video, artifacts and interactive displays to tell the story of how passengers and crew fought to regain control of the plane. The hijackers are believed to have wanted to crash it into the U.S. Capitol. An outdoor platform offers a commanding view of the crash site where 33 passengers and seven crew members were killed. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said at Thursday's dedication that the center captures "the real honor of the 40 and what they did."
In recent weeks, members of Congress have held closed-door meetings with U.S. military officials to press for an accounting of the arms and equipment. Pentagon officials have said that they have little information to go on and that there is little they can do at this point to prevent the weapons and gear from falling into the wrong hands. “We have to assume it’s completely compromised and gone,” said a legislative aide on Capitol Hill who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. U.S. military officials declined to comment for the record. A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon, said there was no hard evidence that U.S. arms or equipment had been looted or confiscated. But the official acknowledged that the Pentagon had lost track of the items.Who likely got their hands on it? Either al Qaeda, or the Houthi---and neither prospect offers much hope for their return. WaPo created an infographic displaying military aid the US has sent to Yemen since 2010:
Saudi Arabia said on Monday the Gulf Cooperation Council had agreed to host talks in Riyadh to end the Yemen crisis, the state news agency SPA said, quoting a statement by the Saudi King's office. The statement said Saudi Arabia had asked the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, on the request of Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to host the talks in Riyadh where the headquarters of the organisation was, and that they had agreed. Yemen, a neighbour of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and global security worry because of its strong al Qaeda presence, is caught in a stand-off between Western-backed President Hadi and the Houthi clan, now the country's de facto rulers who are supported by Iran. "The security of Yemen is part and parcel of the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries," the statement said.The situation in Yemen has been devolving at an increasing rate since last year, when Iran-backed Houthi insurgents began taking control of key locations throughout the capital city of Sana'a. In late January, the Houthi laid siege to the presidential palace and took the president hostage; the American embassy made preparations to evacuate. Just days after the attack began, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his government resigned under pressure.
An eyewitness heard the gunmen say in French, "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!" as they fled the newspaper office, while another witness claimed the gunmen addressed him before fleeing, saying, "Tell them this was Al Qaeda in Yemen." In the video, al-Ansi describes the Kouachi brothers as "heroes" and congratulates them for "this revenge that has soothed our pain.” “Congratulations to you for these brave men who blew off the dust of disgrace and lit the torch of glory in the darkness of defeat and agony,” an-Ansi added. In the video, al-Ansi made no claim to the subsequent Paris attack on a kosher grocery store, during which a friend of Kouachis, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a French policewoman Thursday and four hostages on Friday.
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