Domestic counterterrorism efforts

I’ve had a busy day but wanted to link up to a couple of stories that are big time news in the blogosphere today.

First up, the New York Times has a story up today about an Internet jihadi based right here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Interestingly enough, Rusty and the crew over at the Jawa Report have been investigating this terrorist for over a year, and notes that by going forward with this report, that the NYT has compromised a very serious investigation. Hardly surprising, eh? Curt at Flopping Aces once again nails it:

Here’s the problem with the NYT’s and other MSM outfits. This writer didn’t see this as a story on helping this country battle a dangerous enemy. No, he saw it as getting a scoop out before his competitors to help his career. Instead of this writer, Michael Moss, doing a in-depth investigation and helping to put this guy behind bars like he would of done with any white collar business owner stealing from the poor he chose to jeopardize an investigation that Rusty had been helping the FBI with for over a year to get his scoop.

Pathetic with a capitol P.

Meanwhile, in northern New Jersey:

Osama bin Laden may be hiding in the impenetrable mountains near the Afghanistan border, but FBI counterterror officials say they have identified several of his associates in a far more accessible spot — northern New Jersey.

The FBI’s elite Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark says it is not only monitoring a number of North Jersey residents with ties to al-Qaida, but that agents have quietly “disrupted” their activities and even deported a few.

These glimpses into North Jersey’s war on terrorism, from a series of interviews with task force leaders, come on the heels of revelations last summer that Bin Laden’s terror network had regained strength. But that rebuilding was thought to have taken place overseas.

This is the first time since the 9/11 attacks that FBI counterterror officials have revealed an al-Qaida presence in North Jersey.

“There are definitely facilitators in this state,” said Kevin Cruise, the veteran FBI counterterror agent who directs Newark’s 100-member terrorism task force of FBI and CIA agents as well as state police and even local beat cops.


For the past six years, FBI officials have routinely declined to discuss counterterror measures in northern New Jersey. But last week, the FBI granted The Record limited access to the offices of its Joint Terrorism Task Force, in a gleaming glass building in Newark overlooking the Passaic River.

This unusual glimpse into the inner workings of North Jersey’s primary counterterrorism force revealed the following:

—- Task force investigators have discovered that every major terrorist group in the world, including Hamas and Hezbollah, has at least one North Jersey contact. The lone exception is Afghanistan’s ultra-fundamentalist sect, the Taliban.

—- The task force is currently conducting more than 400 counterterror investigations. These range from probes into Bin Laden’s network to neo-Nazis to environmental terrorists.

—- Each month, a task force “response” squad receives as many as a dozen new tips about possible nuclear, biological or chemical terrorism in New Jersey. These range from citizen concerns about a mysterious powder to the report that three ships were sailing to New Jersey with radiological material on board. Squad members were even dispatched to Emerson last month after school administrators received a threat to blow up schools.

—- Undercover agents attend all professional football games at Giants Stadium. Agents also plan to monitor the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Monmouth Park Racetrack.

—- Task force agents routinely travel overseas. One is currently in Iraq; another is in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, helping to question suspected al-Qaida captives at the U.S. naval base there. Newark-based agents also played a role in the investigation of the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and provided information to assist the interrogation of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Task force agents say they are united by one common fear — that they may overlook information that could stop a potential terrorist attack. Indeed, almost every office seems to contain some reminder of the 9/11 attacks.

I’m a bit concerned that they are even reporting this, for two reasons: 1)there’s no telling what the Democrats in Washington, DC will do when they find out about all this monitoring the FBI is doing of suspected terrorist outfits in NJ, and 2) I don’t think it’s a good idea to let the suspected baddies know about specific events you’re planning on attending and/or monitoring. This kinda defeats the purpose of going “undercover.”

Update: On a related note, Jeffrey Imm at The Counterterrorism blog takes on jihad denialism. Consider it a must-read.