Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 30, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Arnold Bogis on May 30, 2014

The National Academies Press recently sent around a newletter that collected much of their recent work on preparedness and resilience.

We’re halfway through Hurricane Preparedness Week, but how prepared are we really? We’ve pulled together a dozen of our reports on disaster preparedness to evaluate how ready we are for hurricanes and other disasters, and what we can do to improve our response and resilience.

There is a lot of good stuff – Crisis Standards of Care, children in disasters, alerts and social media, community disaster resilience, flood maps, etc. You have the option to buy a hardcopy or download free pdf copies.

You can read it online here.

(Thanks to Bill Cumming for sharing this link.)

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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18 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 30, 2014 @ 8:28 am

NAS has links back to the Civil War in early 1860′s when President Lincoln wanted the North’s scientific and engineering talent mustered for the war effort!

Lincoln was a reader from childhood. Theodore Roosevelt not only read but wrote over 45 books and spoke and read several languages fluently including German.

How does reading books and speaking other languages correlate to Presidential performance and HS?

If you wanted to make sure our President read one book on HS what would that book be?

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 30, 2014 @ 8:33 am

The MIPT [Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism]founded in Oklahoma after the Murrah Building bombing in 1995 [hard to believe 20 years ago next year] was one of many organizations that gobbled up federal resources after its establishment [between $12-16M annually for a number of years.

Can anyone tell me if that organization is still active and if so what it does and is it still collecting documents and studies on terrorism?

Comment by John Comiskey

May 30, 2014 @ 4:10 pm

Bill,

RE: If you wanted to make sure our President read one book on HS what would that book be?

I thought about your question and do not have one answer.

Rather than list about 10 books, I have noted the question to include in my current research.

I will get back to you on this.

Comment by Frank Gorman

May 30, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

As summer fast approaches, I am concerned that violent homegrown extremists may take a play from the Islamic terrorists that are currently wreaking havoc in Western China. Twice in the past two months, Muslim radicals have perpetrated deadly attacks in places of public accommodation, a public transit hub, and an open air market. If these attacks are possible in a Communist society that is not open as ours is, we are deeply vulnerable. The further away we get from 9/11, the more complacent we have become as a society.
Summer provides many opportunities for terrorists to conduct similar low budget, deadly attacks at transit hubs full of beach goers, amusement parks, baseball stadiums, outdoor concerts, etc. Major cities, such as New York, use roving teams of heavily armed police (Hercules Teams) as a deterrent to such terrorist attacks. I believe it imperative that similar tactics be implemented at venues throughout the nation. As many smaller towns or transit agencies may not have the manpower to conduct such operations, interagency cooperation will have to play a key role. For example, state or county police forces could rove areas such as beaches, major and minor league baseball venues, amusement parks, fireworks displays, and transit hubs.
While an increased police presence may not deter suicide terrorists, it will deter those that may not be suicide bombers. Further, an increased presence of trained law enforcement personnel may detect and interdict suicide bombers before they can execute their missions. While we enjoy our summers, please keep your eyes and ears open – homeland security is everyone’s job.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 30, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

Frank Gorman! Violence against innocents never justified IMO! But the PLA and other government forces bulldozing Mosques in Western China and also major demographic changes and government policies favoring internal relocation of Han Chinese to Western China and Tibet.

There are unclassified estimates that over 50,000 Han Chinese per month cross into Eastern Russia [mostly Siberia]! These are not refugees.

If you are on Netflix stream and interesting documentary on Russian Siberia titled THE HAPPY PEOPLE!

Comment by Brian Lozada

May 30, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

With recent reports of the first known American suicide bomber with ties to Al-Qaeda to successfully carry out an attack in Syria, the concern of radicalization is quickly becoming a real threat that continues to rise.

The American, identified as Moner Mohammad Abusalha, grew up in Florida and traveled to Syria late last year. His attack, which took place on Sunday, is believed to be the first suicide attack conducted by an American in Syria. According to The New York Times (2014), law enforcement officials stated that Abusalha was amongst several dozen Americans on the radar because of past trips to Syria. He and the other identified radicals are fighting alongside Islamic militants in opposition of President Bashar al-Assad.

After news of Abusalha’s recent attack, my hope is that the other several dozen individuals are being monitored closely. This event is just one example of how anyone could potentially become a radical with no prior warning signals, which makes it that much more difficult to both identify and prevent future radical attacks. Countering radicalization is challenging but an important task and should begin with analyzing previous terrorist recruiting and radicalization tactics in an effort to identify trends.

The ability to easily communicate with Islamic extremists has been made possible through the increasing reliance on the Internet and social media as a means to recruit and train the homegrown extremists in the radicalization ideology. Therefore, the homeland security stakeholder community should monitor the Internet and social media sites where the extremists are recruiting, meeting and discussing their attacks. By identifying and monitoring these digital locations, the homeland security community will be able to possibly deter such attacks from occurring and become informed of any future plots. Though controversial, challenging, costly and resource intensive, both in human and financial capital, monitoring Internet communication is a necessary approach to addressing radicalization in the digital age.

For more information about Abusalha’s attack, see the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/31/world/middleeast/american-suicide-bomber-in-syria.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0

Comment by Arnold Bogis

May 31, 2014 @ 1:23 am

Bill, the one HS-related book I’d like President Obama to read is Graham Allison’s “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.”

Oh, wait. He already has…(http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-19617419/)
“The tour bus chugged across a winding, rutted highway toward a nuclear weapons destruction site outside the Russian city of Perm. Obama was engrossed in the new book by Graham Allison, “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.” He barely looked up as a barren soccer field, toppled statues of Soviet icons and closed factories passed by the tinted window.

When a Russian security official boarded the bus and began reading a roll call of the American visitors, Obama put the book aside.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2014 @ 2:04 am

Thanks Arnold and Brian!

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2014 @ 2:19 am

Speaking of the Graham Allison book note this authority vested in the Administrator of FEMA by the Robert T. Stafford Act:

“The Administrator may procure and maintain under this subsection radiological, chemical, bacteriological, and biological agent monitoring and decontamination devices and distribute such devices by loan or grant to the States for emergency preparedness purposes, under such terms and conditions as the Administrator shall prescribe.”

Would you be surprised to learn that not only has Administrator Fugate not used this authority, nor has any other FEMA Administrator, but none have been briefed on this authority?

Perhaps President Obama should send over several copies of Mr. Allison’s book to FEMA.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2014 @ 2:23 am

Reference the prior comment–the authority referenced could easily be cross delegated to all other departments and agencies since authority for that cross delegation also is in the Robert T. Stafford Act.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 31, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

Friday free forum:

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is in the process of allocating, obligating, and disbursing the $13 billion appropriated by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (DRAA) for surface transportation relief. Most of the DRAA surface transportation funds—over $10 billion—were appropriated to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program. An FTA damage assessment in January 2013 estimated the costs of repairing facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey to be about $5.7 billion. To date, FTA has obligated about $1.5 billion for 15 grants and disbursed about $499 million to reimburse transit agencies for emergency response, recovery, and repair costs. These disbursements are consistent with Congressional Budget Office estimates, and transit projects can take years to complete. Furthermore, FTA plans to use nearly half of its DRAA appropriation for resiliency projects (or projects to protect facilities from future damage), most of which will be carried out through a competitive grant process. FTA was evaluating applications when GAO completed its review.

FTA’s new Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program has more flexibility and fewer restrictions in funding projects compared to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation programs and the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Emergency Relief Program. For example, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation program places limits on the amount of emergency relief funds that can be used for resiliency projects, while FTA’s program does not. FTA’s program also has more flexibility in how funds can be used for repairs, allowing transit agencies to improve facilities beyond pre-disaster conditions.

The use of emergency relief funds for projects that go beyond recovery efforts is not new—activities funded by FHWA’s Emergency Relief Program have also expanded beyond repair and reconstruction. The expanding scope of emergency relief assistance illustrates the fiscal exposure the federal government faces and the challenges of establishing long-term sustainable funding for disaster relief and recovery.

Although FTA and FEMA have a memorandum of agreement for assisting transit providers during emergencies, they are limited in their ability to delineate specific roles and responsibilities for future disasters. This limit is because while FEMA receives funding on an ongoing basis, FTA, to date, has only received a supplemental appropriation for Hurricane Sandy and does not know what resources it will have for future disasters. Because FTA and FEMA have the authority to fund many of the same activities by law, transit agencies may experience confusion when seeking assistance under some circumstances. FTA and FEMA have not determined how collaborative efforts, including their communications program and protocol contemplated in the memorandum of agreement, will be monitored, evaluated, and reported, but instead rely on informal communication.

As GAO has previously concluded, creating a means to evaluate the results of collaborative efforts can enhance and sustain them, and informal communications between federal agencies do not ensure that collaboration is effective. Establishing more formal monitoring and evaluation of combined efforts could help FTA and FEMA ensure effective collaboration.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

Chris! There was severe damage on and after 9/11 to transportation infrastructure. It was expensive to replace. The transportation hub e.g. below the twin towers of the WTC where the PATH trains entered daily from N.J.

Wondering if any of this infrastructure again damaged by Storm Sandy?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

June 1, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

An American led Exec WH which should be held by the House for suspicion in breach of faith; treason! Circumventing Constitution, in shoulder to shoulder blatant lie and an Attorney General unwilling to enforce the current laws for each of those terrorists released should of gone to trial and imprisoned….

Breaking News:

The five Taliban prisoners at Gitmo released by Barack Obama were identified today.

** Mohammed Fazl – commanded the main force fighting the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in 2001, and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban regime. Fazl slaughtered thousands of Shiites.

** Mullah Norullah Noori – served as governor of Balkh province in the Taliban regime and played some role in coordinating the fight against the Northern Alliance.

** Mohammed Nabi Omari – the Taliban’s chief of communications and helped al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

** Khairullah Khairkhwa – most prominent position was as governor of Herat province from 1999 to 2001, and he was alleged to have been “directly associated” with Osama bin Laden.

** Abdul Haq Wasiq – deputy chief of the Taliban regime’s intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service.

These are just terrorists Obama is releasing. These are terrorist leaders. Commanders and generals, if you will.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

June 2, 2014 @ 1:25 pm

Press secretary Jay Carney said “unique and exigent circumstances” forced the administration to move quickly to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The White House spokesman said the state of Bergdahl’s health, that he had been held in captivity for five years and “the fact there were no guarantees the window would remain open” all played into the decision to make the prisoner swap.

Carney also said the transfer, under which five Taliban militants being held at the prison at Guantanamo Bay were freed, should “not have come as a surprise” to members of Congress.

“We have been engaged in an effort for years, as we should have been, to recover Sgt. Bergdahl, a prisoner of war in Afghanistan,” Carney said. “And as part of those efforts, there have been ongoing discussions about how to bring that about. And that included conversations with members of Congress about at least the possibility of transferring these five detainees as part of getting Sgt. Bergdahl back to the United States and back with his family.”

Some Republicans have argued that the president violated federal law, which requires the administration notify lawmakers a month before anyone is transferred from the Guantanamo prison.

Carney said the White House had “repeatedly noted concerns” with the requirement, believing it infringed on the president’s constitutional powers as commander in chief.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

June 2, 2014 @ 8:30 pm

There is something very wrong with our nation…something very wrong and it is very much with Barry Obama and his administration. When we talk about Homeland Security, watching daily all that evolves as a result of this obviously perverse and narrow minded WH, one wonders just how safe we are here in our own nation, not from the Taliban or AQ, but from those within.

Kindly recall the words of james madison (1785):

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. But, in reality it will be an Enemy from within”

I am neither a Republican or a Democrat, however I am a very proud American and an independent voter who strongly suggests that the US Congress place Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton under House arrest for suspicion in breach of trust, treason at the “benghazi Massacre” in their blatant lies for self-serving agenda and secondly, the House resigns and We the People vote a new Congress into office with six year term for Congress and Senate and out they go and newcomers are voted in…no tenure…

I just watched another rerun of the parents of this Marine deserter as so many are now referencing this fella and maybe for good reason w/the kid’s father sending a message to his son in another language and today, sending another message to his son for what he did for the Afghan people, he should be proud….W/the utmost respect for those who place their lives on the line in the intel community daily, how did you allow Barry Obama and this incompetent fool Hagle to release known terrorists who have killed thousands, blood on their hands. Enough is enough…. as well as Congress letting this happen when these thugs should have been prosecuted and hung as criminals!

This nation is in trouble, real trouble and unless You make sound, You will find far worse in the coming days…

“How Obama Thinks”, D’Souza wrote: “… [O]ur President is trapped in his father’s time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.”

Given last week and the VA scandal, the broken promises of Barry Obama, the blatant lies shoulder to shoulder w/Hillary Clinton at the “Benghazi Massacre” and so on and so forth, if this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington” charade is allowed to continue, the only hope is that a military coup of our government takes place and reestablishes the enforcement of laws and shuts the book on Executive Orders….

When we talk about Homeland Security and we see prisoners released from jail and walking our streets as this administration has done and in this recent week, again bows to those who seek our demise, one truly wonders who is watching the House and no wonder there are millions and millions of guns in the hands of law abiding citizens to protect themselves against a government which apparently has little Respect for our nation, our Constitution, our Judeo-Christian values and if these clowns are allowed to continue this escapade, it is with all hope that our military will also say enough is enough and stage a military coup –

We are in serious jeopardy and we are headed to War!

As Samuel Adams (1775) once said, “No people will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when people are unwisely ignorant and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without Aid of foreign invaders” -

Arrest Obama and Clinton, demand that Congress then resigns, impose term limits and transparency from the school board to the federal budget office and everyone between and if this cannot be achieved which it will Not, let’s hope that our brave warriors who like each of us is indebted to our beloved Republic and held in pledge to uphold the Constitution will step in and take control of a certainly bankrupt government in so many ways….

Our US flags on our front porches are flying upside down now in portrayal of the real distress this nation now confronts….

Kindly see:

THE FLAG CODE
Title 36, U.S.C., Chapter 10
As amended by P.L. 344, 94th Congress
Approved July 7, 1976

§ 176. Respect for flag: No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
Most individuals who have served in the military service of our nation will (or should) recognize this signal.

As a result of the many traitors and enemies we as a free people have, both foreign and domestic, as a result of the many unconstitutional acts, legislation and atrocities passed and/or committed against US citizens and their life, liberty and property, and as a result of policies that have allowed (and continue to allow) enemies of this nation to enter in large numbers through a porous border policy, I believe the life, liberty and property of US Citizens are in dire danger and distress.”

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

June 3, 2014 @ 6:08 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter.

Instead, the U.S. government pursued negotiations to get him back over the following five years of his captivity — a track that led to his release over the weekend.

Bergdahl is hospitalized at a U.S. military in Germany as questions mount at home over the swap that resulted in his freedom in exchange for the release of five detainees who were sent to Qatar from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Even in the first hours of Bergdahl’s handoff to U.S. special forces in eastern Afghanistan, it was clear this would not be an uncomplicated yellow-ribbon celebration. Five terrorist suspects also walked free, stirring a debate over whether the exchange would heighten the risk of other Americans being snatched as bargaining chips and whether the released detainees — several senior Taliban figures among them — would find their way back to the fight.

U.S. officials said Sunday that Bergdahl’s health and safety appeared in jeopardy, prompting rapid action. “Had we waited and lost him,” said national security adviser Susan Rice, “I don’t think anybody would have forgiven the United States government.” She said he had lost considerable weight and faced an “acute” situation. Yet she also said he appeared to be “in good physical condition” and “is said to be walking.”

One official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to discuss the subject by name, said there were concerns about Bergdahl’s mental and emotional as well as physical health.

On Monday, a U.S. military hospital in Germany reported Bergdahl in “stable condition and receiving treatment for conditions requiring hospitalization” after arriving from Afghanistan. The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center said Bergdahl’s treatment “includes attention to dietary and nutrition needs after almost five years in captivity” but declined to release further details. It said there “is no pre-determined amount of time involved in the reintegration process” for the 28-year-old soldier.

Two officials said Monday that the Taliban may have been concerned about his health, as well, since the U.S. had sent the message that it would respond harshly if any harm befell him in captivity.

Republicans in the U.S. said the deal for Bergdahl’s release could set a troubling precedent. Arizona Sen. John McCain said of the Guantanamo detainees who were exchanged for him: “These are the hardest of the hard core.”

And in Kabul Monday, the Afghan Foreign Ministry called the swap “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. The ministry said: “No state can transfer another country’s citizen to a third country and put restriction on their freedom.”

Tireless campaigners for their son’s freedom, Bob and Jani Bergdahl thanked all who were behind the effort to retrieve him. “You were not left behind,” Bob Bergdahl told reporters, as if speaking to his son. “We are so proud of the way this was carried out.” He spoke in Boise, Idaho, wearing a long bushy beard he’d grown to honor his son, as residents in the sergeant’s hometown of Hailey prepared for a homecoming celebration.

The five detainees left Guantanamo aboard a U.S. military aircraft flying to Qatar, which served as go-between in the negotiations. They are to be banned from leaving Qatar for at least a year. Among the five: a Taliban deputy intelligence minister, a former Taliban interior minister with ties to the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and a figure linked by human rights monitors to mass killings of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001.

Questions persisted, too, about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s 2009 capture. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to comment on earlier reports that the sergeant had walked away from his unit, disillusioned with the war. Such matters “will be dealt with later,” Hagel said.

But the former Pentagon official said it was “incontrovertible” that he walked away from his unit.

The military investigation was broader than a criminal inquiry, this official said, and it didn’t formally accuse Bergdahl of desertion. In interviews, members of his unit portrayed him as a naive, “delusional” person who thought he could help the Afghan people by leaving his army post, the official said.

U.S. military and intelligence agencies had made every effort to monitor Bergdahl’s location and his health, the official said, through both signals intelligence and a network of spies.

Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served as an officer in Bergdahl’s unit, said in an article Monday on the Daily Beast website that Bergdahl was not on patrol, as some reports have suggested.

“There was no patrol that night,” he wrote. “Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon_including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”

Hagel, visiting troops in Afghanistan, was met with silence when he told a group of them in a Bagram Air Field hangar: “This is a happy day. We got one of our own back.”

At the White House on Monday, press secretary Jay Carney said the exchange “was absolutely the right thing to do.” in much the same tone as the president over the weekend, he said: “The United States does not leave our men and women behind in conflict.”

“In a situation like this, you have a prisoner of war, a uniformed military person that was detained,” Carney said.

Asked in an NBC “Today” show interview about victory claims by the Taliban, Carney replied, “I caution anyone against buying the propaganda of terrorists.”

In weighing the swap, U.S. officials decided that it could help the effort to reach reconciliation with the Taliban, which the U.S. sees as key to more security in Afghanistan. But they acknowledged the risk that the deal would embolden insurgents.

Republicans pressed that point. “Have we just put a price on other U.S. soldiers?” asked Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. “What does this tell terrorists, that if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists?”

___

Associated Press writers Darlene Superville in Washington, Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan, Lolita C. Baldor at Bagram air field, Afghanistan, and Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

June 5, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

As the cemetery crosses – some 9300 at Omaha Beach face westward towards our once great nation, I often think about those men on the landing craft whose heads were blown off, arms and legs, bullets piercing their bodies and to think we see photos of barry Obama when he is at the gym, but none of where he and Ms. Hillary were the night of the attack at Benghazi….the tears, the weeping, the young men lying on the beaches on 6th June and another scandal, a treacherous one at that, the release of very bad men at Gitmo by this Chicago city street organizer and nothing more, divisive in every way leading this Chicago-Washington-Hollywood – charade seemingly always bowing and kissing the ring of those seeking our demise….the following:

NATIONAL SECURITY
EXCLUSIVE: Bergdahl declared jihad in captivity, secret documents show

By James RosenPublished June 05, 2014FoxNews.com
6.6K

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a “mujahid,” or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.

The reports indicate that Bergdahl’s relations with his Haqqani captors morphed over time, from periods of hostility, where he was treated very much like a hostage, to periods where, as one source told Fox News, “he became much more of an accepted fellow” than is popularly understood. He even reportedly was allowed to carry a gun at times.

The documents show that Bergdahl at one point escaped his captors for five days and was kept, upon his re-capture, in a metal cage, like an animal. In addition, the reports detail discussions of prisoner swaps and other attempts at a negotiated resolution to the case that appear to have commenced as early as the fall of 2009.

The reports are rich in on-the-ground detail — including the names and locations of the Haqqani commanders who ran the 200-man rotation used to guard the Idaho native — and present the most detailed view yet of what Bergdahl’s life over the past five years has been like. These real-time dispatches were generated by the Eclipse Group, a shadowy private firm of former intelligence officers and operatives that has subcontracted with the Defense Department and prominent corporations to deliver granular intelligence on terrorist activities and other security-related topics, often from challenging environments in far-flung corners of the globe.

The group is run by Duane R. (“Dewey”) Clarridge, a former senior operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1980s best known for having been indicted for lying to Congress about his role in the tangled set of events that became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. He was pardoned by the first President Bush in December 1992 while on trial.

Clarridge counts a number of achievements in his spy career as well, including a prominent role in the establishment of a national counterrorism center at CIA, a move widely copied around the world by foreign intelligence agencies. A New York Times profile of Clarridge published in January 2011 disclosed the contractual relationship Eclipse had with the Pentagon, through subcontractors, and reported further that Clarridge’s activities had included efforts to help find Bergdahl.

Clarridge told Fox News his group enjoyed a subcontract through the assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict from November 2009 through May 31, 2010, and that after the contract was terminated, he invested some $50,000 of his own money to maintain the elaborate network of informants and handlers that had yielded such detailed accounts of Bergdahl’s status.

Clarridge further told Fox News that by the end of 2010, he had furnished at least 13 of these detailed SITREPs, or situation reports, that his network generated about Bergdahl to Brig. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., who in April 2010 was named director of intelligence, at the J-2 level, at U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

Clarridge said Eclipse SITREP # 3023, dated Aug. 23, 2012 — in which a member of the Haqqani network, said to be close to Bergdahl’s captors, reported that the American prisoner had declared himself a “mujahid” — was among the reports provided to Ashley.

The latter is now commanding general at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, where a message left with the public affairs office was not immediately returned.

The documents obtained by Fox News show that Eclipse developed and transmitted numerous status reports on the whereabouts of the errant American soldier, spanning a period from October 2009, roughly three months after Bergdahl reportedly walked off his base in Afghanistan and fell into custody of the Haqqani network, up through August 2012.

At one point — in late June 2010, after Bergdahl succeeded in one of his escape attempts — the Haqqani commanders constructed a special metal cage for him, and confined him to it. At other points, however, Bergdahl was reported to be happily playing soccer with the Haqqani fighters, taking part in AK-47 target practice and being permitted to carry a firearm of his own, laughing frequently and proclaiming “Salaam,” the Arabic word for “peace.”

Reached by telephone, retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, a 45-year service veteran who served as CENTCOM commander from August 2010 to August 2012, told Fox News he may have received bits and pieces of the intelligence generated by Eclipse, but said Ashley, with whom he maintained a close working relationship, had not forwarded on to him the specific SITREPs cited by Fox News.

Mattis was also adamant that no one at CENTCOM or within the broader U.S. military or intelligence community — despite intensive investigation of such allegations — ever learned of anything to suggest Bergdahl had evolved into an active collaborator with the Haqqani network or the Taliban. “We were always looking for actionable intelligence,” Mattis said. “It wasn’t just the IC [intelligence community]. We had tactical units that were involved in the fight. We had SIGINT. Any collaborators who were on the other side and who came over to our side. We kept an eye on this. … There was never any evidence of collaboration.”

Fox News reported on Monday that Bergdahl was the subject of a “major classified file” prepared by the U.S. intelligence community, and that many members of that community harbored concerns that Bergdahl, during his period of captivity, may have engaged in collaboration with the enemy.

Experts consulted by Fox News said that SITREP # 3023 presents a picture of an American captive who, if not an active collaborator, may have succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome — the dynamic by which hostages can become enamored of their captors and join their cause — or simply feigned allegiance in order to survive. The report cited a source new to Eclipse — a member of the Haqqani network said to be close to Mullah Sangeen, the Haqqani commander charged at all points over the last five years with operational custody and control of Bergdahl — whose trustworthiness had not been fully vetted by the group. However, the report stated, the informant “does have plausible access to the information reported below, and claims to have seen Bergdahl personally in Shawal,” in North Waziristan.

“In the early stages Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s captivity,” the report states, “he was held at Palasin, Naurak, FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], under the control of Mullah Sangeen and under the direct supervision of Haji Mursaleem, Sangeen’s father. Conditions and locality changed after Mursaleem died [in September 2010], and Bergdahl was kept under tight guard after his attempted escape from his new place of detention in Shawal.

“As of August 2012,” the report continues, “the person with responsibility for Bergdahl’s captivity is Sangeen’s brother, who has delegated the actual guarding of Bergdahl to Abubakr Asadkhel, a Burra Khel Wazir loyal to Sangeen, and whose sub-tribe lives in Shawal. Abubakr leads approximately 200 armed men from his tribe and operates from five bases (markaz) in Shawal. … Abubakr’s tribe is one of the prosperous branches of the Wazir and owns lots of trucks. Abubakr circulates his prisoner between schools in the area he controls, and his different insurgent bases.”

Conditions for Bergdahl have greatly relaxed since the time of the escape. Bergdahl has converted to Islam and now describes himself as a mujahid. Bergdahl enjoys a modicum of freedom, and engages in target practice with the local mujahedeen, firing AK47s. Bergdahl is even allowed to carry a loaded gun on occasion. Bergdahl plays soccer with his guards and bounds around the pitch like a mad man. He appears to be well and happy, and has a noticeable habit of laughing frequently and saying ‘Salaam’ repeatedly.

At other points, the SITREPs depict a much nastier relationship between Bergdahl and his captors. In July 2010, Eclipse SITREPs based on confidential talks with Afghan Taliban commanders reported that “the original command structure for the responsibility of holding the captured soldier remains intact.”

Overall responsibility for the captive is in the hands of Haqqani commander Sangeen, with Bandiwan, one of his deputies, responsible for making the detailed arrangements. There are two locations where the soldier is kept: one in Degan and the other in Shawal, North Waziristan. When in Degan he is kept in the compound of Eid Wale, a local Dawr who is close to Sangeen and is a chromite dealer. The other location is at Shawal. The [source] confirmed that the soldier had been missing for five days and when he was recovered, he was a little worse from wear (lack of food; a bit slimmer) but otherwise in good health.

But an earlier dispatch stated that after his re-capture, on or about June 22, 2010, Bergdahl was “in ill-health, and has been collapsing.”A SITREP dated one week before Bergdahl’s ill-fated escape attempt placed him in the Bazaar area of Miramshah, and noted that “he seemed not to be tightly controlled.”

The Eclipse reports suggest that negotiations over Bergdahl’s fate began within a few months after his capture. An October 2009 SITREP disclosed that Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Pashtun warlord controlling the broader network that bears his name, had reached out through Pakistani political contacts to propose a prisoner swap. A July 2010 SITREP stated that two months prior, in late May, “negotiations between the Haqqani and representatives of the missing US soldier collapsed.” At that point, the report said, Bergdahl was moved to a more secure location.

The New York Times, in its 2011 profile of Clarridge, described his agents’ dispatches as “an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports.” The fabled ex-spook made the more than one dozen SITREPs that Eclipse prepared on the Bergdahl case — all previously unpublished — available to Fox News because he wanted to demonstrate, as he put it: “We know what we’re talking about.”

James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show “The Foxhole.”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

June 9, 2014 @ 8:30 pm

Breaking News:

Busloads of illegal immigrants – actual villages in South America are being brought into the US w/the Blessings of the Executive WH and border patrol is overwhelmed and these folks, many children are not vene being screened for health problems and are law breakers – another request as a natural born US citizen to place Barry Obama under House arrest for suspicion in breach of faith, treason. Barry Obama is Not enforcing the laws of this nation and he must be held accountable by our elected leadership on both sides of the aisel – in the next two weeks, more and more busloads of people will be dropped off on our streets and if you and I did this, we would be arrested for leaving underage children and what about the costs in educating etc. –

Enough is enough!

Stop these bus loads of people – illegal entry – while our Marine sits in a Mexico jail!

Enough of this disregard for our laws by Barry Obama and those we elect by precious vote must hold Barry Obama and his administration including the Attorney General for Not enforcing the laws….

This is fact and there are no party affiliations as folks globally fill out proper paperwork and often wait two and three years to enter these United States legally and this is just Not right….

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

Harwich (cape Cod), MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com

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