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December 10, 2014

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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The US Senate Report on CIA Detention Interrogation Program that details the use of torture during CIA detention and interrogation.

A report released by the US Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday concluded that the CIA misinformed the White House and Congress about its imprisonment and interrogation of suspected terrorists during the years after the September 11 attacks.

The committee released an executive summary yesterday ahead of its full 6,000-page report. The summary documented instances where detainees were kept awake for as long as a week and suggested that the agency had waterboarded more suspects than it previously disclosed.

The report also revealed that officials in the Bush administration were often told about these practices long after the fact. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell were not told of the CIA’s operations until a year after they had begun. President Bush was briefed in 2006, four years after the CIA commenced its “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” program.

The released documents refutes the effectiveness of the program and the accuracy of the information gathered. Previously, the Bush administration had defended its use, claiming that the intelligence garnered helped stop terrorist plots and capture al-Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden. The executive summary examines case studies from the CIA’s internal records which the committee says disputes those defenses.

CIA Director John O. Brennan acknowledged many of the failures outlined by the committee, but also rebuked it for what he called an “incomplete and selective picture of what occurred.” Republican Senators have been critical of the report with Richard Burr calling it “a fiction”, and Marco Rubio stating that Senate Democrats published the report out of “partisan joy” with the intention of “trying to embarrass people in the Bush administration.”



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June 27, 2011

Internet hacking group LulzSec disbands

Internet hacking group LulzSec disbands – Wikinews, the free news source

Internet hacking group LulzSec disbands

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Monday, June 27, 2011

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The computer hacking organization Lulz Security disbanded yesterday, said the group in a statement. Released via Pastebin, it states “[o]ur planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance.”

The announcement comes a day after The Guardian released leaked IRC logs of private conversations between LulzSec members and days after the arrest of a British teenager in connection to the group.

With the announcement the group released previously unseen private information. Included was AT&T and AOL internal data, Battlefield Heros Beta user account data, and user information from the NATO bookstore. In total over 810,000 people’s user information was present in this final release.

LulzSec became known after they allegedly hacked the Play Station Network, rendering the service unusable. The group allegedly proceeded to hack US federal government websites such as those of the FBI and CIA. One of their last hacks targeted the Arizona Department of Public Safety in which they allegedly copied hundreds of confidential documents.

While LulzSec has disbanded, there are copycat organizations in Italy and Brazil.

Related news

  • “LulzSec attacks Nintendo server” — Wikinews, June 7, 2011
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May 7, 2011

Obama decides against the release of graphic photos of bin Laden

Obama decides against the release of graphic photos of bin Laden

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

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Portrait of Osama bin Laden from 1997.

U.S. President Barack Obama decided on Wednesday not to release graphic images of Osama bin Laden’s corpse after a debate with his war council. Obama feared the photographs could spur on retaliatory attacks and reprisals against the United States and its allies.

In an interview to be aired on CBS News, Obama will say: “The risks of release outweigh the benefits.” Skeptics have demanded the U.S. release the photographs of the corpse, and officials in the White House have been debating whether to do so for the past several days. But Obama is to add that conspiracy theorists “will just claim the photos are doctored anyway,” and say his decision was partly based on fears that there could be anger in the Middle East if the images were released. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy—he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until al-Qaeda has been eliminated.”

According to White House officials, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advised Obama not to release images because of, as they argued, the potential national security risk. It would do little to convince sceptics that the leader and founder of al-Qaeda had been killed after a raid on his compound on Monday. The images are reported to show bin Laden shot above the left eye, with parts of his brain exposed.

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta, however, argued for the release of the images. “The bottom line is that, you know, we got Bin Laden and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him.” Panetta added that the eventual release of the photos was inevitable.

According to White House sources, Obama is of the opinion there is not sufficient scepticism worldwide to warrant the release of the pictures. Similarly, officials said those doubting Bin Laden’s death were unlikely to be convinced by a photograph in today’s age of photo manipulation.



Related news

  • “U.S. did not inform Pakistan of bin Laden mission because of suspicions he was being harbored by government” — Wikinews, May 7, 2011

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May 5, 2011

U.S. did not inform Pakistan of bin Laden mission because of suspicions he was being harbored by government

U.S. did not inform Pakistan of bin Laden mission because of suspicions he was being harbored by government

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

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The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, attacked “baseless speculation” that Pakistan was harboring bin Laden.

The U.S. did not inform Pakistan of the operation to kill Osama bin Laden because of fears they were harboring the leader of al-Qaeda and would warn him of the mission, a senior American intelligence official has said. Pakistan has defended itself against allegations it was protecting the world’s most wanted man, and expressed embarrassment after it emerged bin Laden may have been living in the compound in Abbottabad for as many as six years without being intercepted by Pakistan intelligence.

Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, said cooperation between the two countries “could jeopardise the mission” because there were suspicions that elements of the Pakistani government were working with bin Laden. Panetta disclosed U.S. officials had dismissed working with the government of Pakistan early on in the planning of the mission to kill him because of fears that they might “alert” the man named responsible for the September 11 attacks. The revelation will likely raise questions over the level of trust between officials in Washington, D.C. and Islamabad.

‘Deep concerns’

The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has attacked “baseless speculation” that Pakistan was harboring bin Laden. The Pakistani foreign ministry also said in a statement that it has “deep concerns and reservations” over the U.S. fears it is sheltering terrorists, and stressed it shared information openly with Washington. But U.S. officials have raised concerns over how Pakistani authorities allowed bin Laden to remain undetected in the country for as many as six years, and tensions are likely to be further strained after the White House announced it would be throughly investigating claims bin Laden had “benefactors” and a “support system” inside Pakistan. John Brennan, a senior counterterrorism official, said: “We are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long.”

Denying they were providing a shelter for bin Laden, Pakistani officials expressed “embarrassment” over failing to detect his presence so close to the capital; they said a full investigation would be launched. “We will inquire into the causes of what happened but it’s really important not to turn it into any allegation of complicity,” the Pakistani ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, said. But Western politicians have expressed skepticism as to how the Pakistani government did not know bin Laden was in the country, despite him living a short distance from the leading elite military training academy. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham asked: “How could he be in such a compound without being noticed?”

File image of a team of U.S. Navy Seals, the elite unit which carried out the raid on the compound in Pakistan.

Daughter: Osama captured then shot

It emerged yesterday that bin Laden’s daughter had told Pakistani officials that her father had initially been captured by the U.S. forces and then killed. The White House said on Tuesday that bin Laden had been unarmed during the raid, but the U.S. Navy Seals did meet resistance from other people in the building; it is thought as many as 18 people may have been in the compound. The U.S. left several people behind, including six children; afterwards, Pakistani authorities arrested everyone in the compound.

“If he had surrendered, attempted to surrender, I think we should obviously have accepted that, but there was no indication that he wanted to do that and therefore his killing was appropriate,” U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said yesterday. But the claim by bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter that U.S. forces captured him and then shot him dead in front of his family appear to contradict this statement. The U.S. has also been forced to defend itself against allegations that the raid was unlawful, and claims that bin Laden was not a legitimate target. Holder told a Senate committee the killing of the al-Qaeda leader was “an act of national self-defence”.

More details have been emerging about how Bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. special forces on a compound not far from Islamabad over the weekend. The U.S. seized computer equipment and mobile telephones from the compound, which will be analysed with the hope they will reveal more information about the workings of al-Qaeda. U.S. president Barack Obama announced the raid on Sunday night. “I can report to the American people and to the world, that the U.S. has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said, and confirmed he had been told in August of a lead to the location of the al-Qaeda leader. Four other people were killed in the raid on the compound; the U.S. sustained no casualties. The body of bin Laden was buried at sea.

U.S. will not release corpse images

Cquote1.svg Osama bin Laden is not a trophy—he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until al-Qaeda has been eliminated. Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama

Last night Obama officially decided the U.S. will not release images of bin Laden’s corpse, which have been described as “very gruesome”. In an interview to be aired on CBS News, Obama will say: “The risks of release outweigh the benefits.” Skeptics have demanded the U.S. release the photographs of the corpse, and officials in the White House have been debating whether to do so for the past several days. But Obama is to add that conspiracy theorists “will just claim the photos are doctored anyway,” and say his decision was partly based on fears that there could be anger in the Middle East if the images were released. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy—he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until al-Qaeda has been eliminated.” The images are reported to show bin Laden shot above the left eye, with parts of his brain exposed.

After it was announced on Sunday night that bin Laden had been killed, many Americans begun gathering in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., Times Square and Ground Zero—the site of the World Trade Center—in New York, to celebrate, singing the national anthem. Reports have indicated the U.S. government is awaiting the release of a “martyr tape”—an audio recording made by bin Laden to be broadcast after his death. Many world leaders have said the killing of bin Laden marks a major turning point on the war on terror. “Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion,” Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said. But NATO said it would continue the war in Afghanistan to ensure the country “never again becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security.”

The White House also confirmed they expect al-Qaeda may launch a retaliatory attack after bin Laden’s death. “We have anticipated a backlash, a desire, if not the ability, to exact some sort of revenge,” a spokesperson said. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has threatened to launch attacks in Pakistan and the U.S. in revenge for the death of bin Laden. Panetta said: “Though bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is not. The terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge him, and we must—and will—remain vigilant and resolute.” The U.S. has issued notices advising travelers to avoid large crowds in foreign countries.



Related news

  • “World leaders react to death of Osama bin Laden” — Wikinews, May 3, 2011
  • “Pakistani Taliban threaten revenge attack after bin Laden death; CIA says retaliation is likely” — Wikinews, May 3, 2011
  • “Osama bin Laden dead, report U.S. officials” — Wikinews, May 2, 2011

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May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden killed in U.S. operation in Pakistan, White House says

Osama bin Laden killed in U.S. operation in Pakistan, White House says

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Monday, May 2, 2011

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  • 10 December 2014: Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation
  • 15 June 2014: Abbott open to possible Australian assistance in Iraq
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File photograph of Osama bin Laden.
Image: FBI.

U.S. officials last night said Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader and orchestrator of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and embassy bombings in 1998, had been killed by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan near the capital Islamabad.

White House officials say that four others were killed in the forty-minute raid that began at 2000 UTC yesterday—including a woman said to have been used as a human shield. One of those shot is thought to be bin Laden’s son. An American helicopter was lost due to mechanical failure, but no U.S. forces or civilians were killed.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced the news in a statement late last night. “I can report to the American people and to the world, that the U.S. has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said. He confirmed he had been told in August of a lead to the location of bin Laden, and approved the operation last week. The operation involved a “small team of Americans”, Obama said.

The operation, led by the CIA, occurred nearly ten years after the 9/11 attacks. CIA director Leon Panetta notified U.S. legislators Sunday about the news. His body was verified using several methods, including DNA testing with DNA from a dead sister’s body, stored in a Boston, Massachusetts hospital, as well as facial recognition. However, staff at the hospital in question—Massachusetts General Hospital—have not been able to “find any evidence” of the body ever being stored there. U.S. officials said his body was then buried at sea at around 0600 UTC today, “in accordance with Islamic law and traditions” and because of the difficulty of finding a country that would accept the remains of the world’s most wanted man. Saudi Arabia, the country in which Osama bin Laden was born, refused a U.S. offer to take the body.

Celebrations in U.S.; European Parliament says world is ‘safer’

Following the President’s announcement, people started gathering in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., Times Square and Ground Zero—the site of the World Trade Center—in New York, to celebrate; singing the national anthem. Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, said he hoped the death of bin Laden would “bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001”.

The U.S. government is reportedly expecting al-Qaeda to soon release what they are likely to call a “martyr tape”—an audio recording made by bin Laden to be broadcast after his death.

Although the death of the 54-year-old bin Laden, who was the most wanted person in the world, was greeted with celebration in the U.S., analysts have warned that al-Qaeda will “undoubtedly” launch a retaliatory attack. “I think the significance of what has happened cannot really be overstated,” John Gearson, director of the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London, said.

President Obama’s announcement of the news.

“There will be concerns that there could be some sort of retaliation, that al-Qaeda may well want to demonstrate that they are still strong and still in the game.” He warned that U.S. officials may “lose their focus” after such a major victory, “and that will provide an opportunity for the remnants of al-Qaeda to reform and grow stronger.”

Cquote1.svg I can report to the American people and to the world, that the U.S. has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, appealed to Islamic militant fighters to use the opportunity of bin Laden’s death to abandon their groups. “Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have even greater resonance: you cannot wait us out,” she said. “You cannot defeat us. But you can make the choice to abandon Al Qaeda and cooperate in a peaceful political process.”

The president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, said that “we have waken up in a safer world”, with the news bringing “safety to millions of people”, whilst U.S. senator John McCain sought to remind the American people to “be mindful that al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies”. The Kremlin reiterated that “revenge is inescapable for all terrorists”, and that “only a joint struggle against global terrorism can bring a result”.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, sought to remind people bin Laden was “the world’s most prominent leader”, going on to say that “it was of great importance that he was still alive and active, and it is unequivocally a good thing that he is no longer able to pursue terror, murder and mayhem in the world”. Mentioning that security at British embassies worldwide have been increased in the wake of the news, he reiterated that the death of the al-Qaeda leader was a “serious blow”, and that, “like any organisation that has suffered a serious blow, they will want to show in some way that they are still able to operate”.

Americans gather at Ground Zero—the site of the World Trade Center—in New York to celebrate the death of bin Laden.
Image: rxb.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, welcomed the news, along with many other European countries. He praised the “tenacity” of the U.S. attack, congratulating the “major blow” the move dealt to al-Qaeda. Eight French citizens were killed last week in a bomb blast in Marrakesh, and, although no group has yet claimed responsibility, it is speculated that al-Qaeda were behind the attack. Sarkozy paid homage to them, as well as other around the world, saying the “victims received justice today and France has thoughts for them and their families”.

Cquote1.svg It is unequivocally a good thing that he is no longer able to pursue terror, murder and mayhem in the world. Cquote2.svg

—William Hague, British Foreign Secretary

Pakistani involvement

Pakistani officials were not informed of the planned raid, with the White House saying this was “essential to the security of the operation and our personnel”. However Obama emphasised that cooperation with Pakistan had helped in finding bin Laden. The operation, described by one senior White House official as “a surgical raid by a small team designed to minimise collateral damage”, was not intended to take bin Laden alive. “It was a kill mission”, said one security official. Bin Laden died after being shot in the head.

Witnesses in Abbottabad have described how the U.S. forces carried out the raid on the compound, which had significant security features, including walls up to 18-foot high topped with barbed wire. “We saw four helicopters at around 2am. We were told to switch off lights of our homes and stay inside,” one witness, who lives in the town of Bilal in Abbottabad, said. The man confirmed he had seen the wreckage of the U.S. military helicopter which crashed after experiencing mechanical difficulties.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the U.S. “operation was conducted [by] U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. forces, wherever found in the world”, noting that almost “30,000 Pakistani civilians” had been killed in terrorist attacks in recent years, with the “nation fully united in [its] resolve to eliminate terrorism”.

Cquote1.svg We saw four helicopters at around 2am. We were told to switch off lights of our homes and stay inside. Cquote2.svg

—Witness in Abbottabad, Pakistan

However, Pervez Musharraf, a former president of Pakistan, criticised the U.S. involvement, describing the operation as a “violation of [Pakistani] sovereignty,” and saying the raid was a “a failure of both Pakistani and U.S. intelligence”; he stressed it would have been “far better” if the Pakistani Special Services Group had carried out the attack. Musharraf went on to say he was “surprised” bin Laden was found in Abbottabad, but added the terrorist leader “had declared war against Pakistan”, and that the news came as a “victory for the people of Pakistan and all the peace loving people of the world”.

The news that bin Laden was hiding just a few hundred metres from Pakistan Military Academy, a similar institution to the U.S. West Point Academy or the UK Sandhurst, has been met with embarrassment on behalf of the Pakistani government, and scepticism from others. “This is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan”, according to one Pakistani security analyst. Earlier today, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai maintained he knew bin Laden was in Pakistan: “For 10 years we told NATO and the world community but for ten years they didn’t listen to our voice. They burned Afghanistan for ten years but Osama was in Islamabad.”

Photograph of Obama and his national security team awaiting updates on the strike mission, yesterday.
Image: The White House.

Whilst many governments worldwide welcomed the death of bin Laden, more than 800 people marched in the Pakistani city of Quetta, paying homage to bin Laden and burning a U.S. flag. According to the organizer, “Bin Laden was the hero of the Muslim world and after his martyrdom he has won the title of great mujahed“. At the march, pro-Taliban and anti-United States sentiments were chanted, before the protesters dispersed peacefully.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan have denied that bin Laden has been killed, although in a conference call to several Pakistani media outlets, a rebel spoksperson threatened to seek revenge: “If Bin Laden attained martyrdom, then we will avenge his death and we will attack the governments of Pakistan and the United States and their security forces”.

Although no images of bin Laden’s body have been released, the Obama administration is, according to ABC News, in possession of gruesome photographs: a “massive head wound” where he took a bullet, with “blood and brains clearly visible”.

The price of oil has dropped following the announcement after speculation that the death of bin Laden will lower the risk of supply disruption in the Middle East, with a barrel of crude oil for June delivery falling by $1.92.



Related news

  • “”Osama to Obama”: Bin Laden addresses US President” — Wikinews, January 25, 2010
  • “Pakistani prime minister says Osama Bin Laden not in the country” — Wikinews, December 3, 2009

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March 17, 2011

CIA contractor released from Pakistan

CIA contractor released from Pakistan – Wikinews, the free news source

CIA contractor released from Pakistan

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

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Cquote1.svg When issues arise, it’s our standing practice to work through them. That’s the sign of a healthy partnership—one that’s vital to both countries. Cquote2.svg

—George Little, CIA official

Raymond Davis, a contractor for the CIA, has been released from Pakistan after a ruling by a Pakistani court. He was detained after killing two citizens carrying weapons on January 27, 2011. Davis was freed after agreements to pay “blood money” as compensation for the two lives were handled.

Blood money, defined as compensation paid by a murderer, is required under Islamic law. CIA official George Little said, “When issues arise, it’s our standing practice to work through them. That’s the sign of a healthy partnership—one that’s vital to both countries.” John Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, said, “This was a very important and necessary step for both of our countries to be able to maintain our relationship.”

After the ruling, a group of protestors demonstrated against the release in Lahore, Pakistan, and the United States government flew Davis out of the country. Asad Manzoor Butt, the attorney for the victims, said that the money was paid after hours of discussion with Americans.

According to a US official, the Justice Department will investigate the incident. Anonymous sources said that Pakistan’s government footed the bill, although the United States may be required to pay them back. He reportedly shot the two armed men as they attempted to steal from him in Lahore. Davis was accused of two accounts of murder and carrying unlawful weapons; the trial took place early Wednesday. The presence of international operatives in Pakistan has angered many citizens, resulting in protests around the country in the past weeks.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Cairo, Egypt that the U.S. did not pay the compensation. After being asked by reporters who or what paid the families of the victims, she responded, “The families of the victims pardoned Mr. Davis and we’re grateful for their decision.”


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January 8, 2011

Former CIA agent indicted after leaking classified information

Former CIA agent indicted after leaking classified information

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

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The seal of the CIA

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, an ex-officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was taken into custody Thursday by federal agents in St. Louis, Missouri. He was indicted on six separate counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, as well as four additional charges: mail fraud, unlawfully keeping national defense information, obstruction of justice, and unauthorized conveyance of government property. Sterling, aged 43, had been employed by the CIA from May 1993 until he was fired in January 2002. During his arraignment, a judge declared that he would be held until a Monday hearing because the government called him a danger to the community.

Sterling, an African American lawyer who lives in O’Fallon, allegedly provided classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, some of which was incorporated into Risen’s 2006 State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. Risen, who wrote about the CIA’s involvement in Iran’s nuclear program, has not named any of his sources even after being subpeonaed twice; Risen was not explicitly named in Sterling’s indictment, but his involvement in the alleged leak is strongly supported by its contents, and a US government official confirmed the connection to NBC News.

The indictment stated that, for two years during his career with the CIA, Sterling had been involved in “a classified clandestine operational program designed to conduct intelligence activities related to the weapons capabilities of certain countries.” An anonymous source close to the investigation said one of those countries was Iran. While managing CIA operations, Sterling also handled a “human asset,” whose name he is also accused of releasing.

From 2000, Sterling had been engaged in various disputes with the agency. According to a story authored by Risen for The New York Times in March 2002, Sterling’s supervisor during the Iran program said, “You kind of stick out as a big black guy.” The comment was made after Sterling made requests for new assignments concerning Iran, requests declined because his appearance could interfere with the cases. Sterling, sued the CIA for racial discrimination shortly after being fired, but was unable to come to a settlement in February 2003, and allegedly began leaking the classified information soon after that. The indictment claimed the motive behind the leak was retaliation for the unsuccessful lawsuit.

Edward B. MacMahon Jr., a Virginia attorney for Sterling, said, “He has always maintained his innocence throughout the course of this entire investigation. We’ll seek to prove that in court.” MacMahon also said trial will be held at a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, as the case began in that state. Every charge against Sterling comes with the possibility of 10–20 years of jail time.

US Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer made a statement, saying that “Sterling placed at risk our national security and the life of an individual working on a classified mission.” A spokesperson for the CIA said, “Separate and apart from any specific instance, including this matter involving a former agency officer who left the CIA years ago, we take very seriously the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” The New York Times did not comment on the matter.

The Obama administration has already taken action in several similar leaks involving government officers. The administration has also initiated an investigation into Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, after the site’s release of thousands of classified documents.



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  • “Wikileaks to release thousands of secret documents; ‘international embarrassment’ likely” — Wikinews, November 27, 2010

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February 18, 2010

Joint US-Pakistan operation captures top Taliban commander

Joint US-Pakistan operation captures top Taliban commander

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

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According to reports, a joint covert operation by United States and Pakistan forces have captured the Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar was captured seven to nine days ago according to officials.

Officials describe Baradar as second in influence only to the Taliban’s founder, Mullah Mohammed Omar. They say he is the most important Taliban figure detained since the war in Afghanistan started in late 2001.

The Taliban in Afghanistan deny Baradar has been captured, calling the report a rumor and a diversion. A spokeperson for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid said, “This is just rumor spread by foreigners to divert attention from the Marja offensive.” Adding, “They are facing big problems in Marja. In reality there is nothing regarding Baradar’s arrest. He is safe and free and he is in Afghanistan.”

Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents say they are interrogating Baradar, who was in charge of the Taliban’s day-to-day military operations and its governing political council.

Speaking in Islamabad, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik would not confirm the report of Baradar’s arrest.

But he said that since the U.S.-led coalition invaded the Taliban stronghold of Marja in southern Afghanistan several days ago, Pakistan has arrested suspected militants who have fled across the border.

“There are a number of arrests of people who were running away from Afghanistan and coming to Pakistan. And we are very much alert. The day we get any information [of] who are they, we will tell the people of Pakistan,” said Malik.

He also said that it is true the United States and Pakistan share intelligence information. However, he stressed that Pakistan is a sovereign nation and does not allow foreign forces to take part in anti-militancy raids within its borders.

Officials say his capture suggests a new level of cooperation between Pakistani and American intelligence agencies. In the past, U.S. officials have accused Pakistan’s intelligence agencies of maintaining ties with the Afghan Taliban leadership and being reluctant to pursue them in sanctuaries in Pakistan. Pakistani officials have denied the claim.

The New York Times first reported Baradar’s capture late Monday. The paper says it learned of the operation last week, but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who argued that making it public would compromise the effort to gather intelligence.



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February 12, 2010

United States Representative Charlie Wilson dies at 76

United States Representative Charlie Wilson dies at 76

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Friday, February 12, 2010

File photo of former Congressman Charlie Wilson
Image: United States Congress.

Charles Nesbitt Wilson, a former United States naval officer and twelve-term Democratic Representative from the 2nd congressional district in Texas, died on Wednesday in Lufkin, Texas. He was 76 with a history of heart ailments, receiving a transplant in 2007.

Memorial Medical Center, Lufkin said the preliminary cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest. Jack Gorden Jr., the mayor of Lufkin, confirmed the death.

He was best known for initiating Operation Cyclone, the largest CIA covert operation, which supplied military equipment, anti-aircraft missiles, and paramilitary officers to the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. His campaign was the subject of the non-fiction book Charlie Wilson’s War and the film ‘Charlie Wilson’s War‘.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wilson’s “efforts and exploits helped repel an invader, liberate a people, and bring the Cold War to a close. […] After the Soviets left, Charlie kept fighting for the Afghan people and warned against abandoning that traumatized country to its fate — a warning we should have heeded then, and should remember today”.

Born in Trinity, Texas, Wilson graduated from Trinity High School in 1951. While a student at Sam Houston State University, he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy. Between 1956 and 1960, Wilson served in the Navy, attaining the rank of lieutenant. After four years as a surface fleet officer, he was assigned to the Pentagon as part of an intelligence unit that evaluated the Soviet Union‘s nuclear capabilities.



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November 5, 2009

Italian judge convicts 23 in CIA kidnapping case

Filed under: Archived,CIA,Crime and law,Europe,Italy,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Italian judge convicts 23 in CIA kidnapping case

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

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An Italian judge has convicted 23 people from the US of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric from Milan in 2003. The landmark case is the first involving the CIA’s controversial “extraordinary rendition” program.

Map of Italy, showing Milan.

The judge sentenced the CIA’s Milan station chief at the time, Robert Seldon Lady, to eight years in prison on Wednesday, and the 22 others to five years. All of the suspects were tried in absentia, and are not in custody.

The judge also gave three-year prison sentences to two Italians involved in the kidnapping. Three other American defendants and five Italians, including Italy’s former military intelligence chief, were acquitted.

Prosecutors charged that the Egyptian cleric, suspected terrorist Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (also known as Abu Omar), was abducted from a Milan street and sent to Egypt, where he was repeatedly tortured.

The Italian government has denied any role in the renditions program, which was approved by the administration of former US president George W. Bush.

“Extraordinary rendition,” as practiced by the CIA, involved secretly transferring terror suspects between countries, placing them in locations where they could be intensively interrogated.

Human-rights groups charge that renditions were the CIA’s way of relocating prisoners extrajudicially to places where they faced torture during interrogation. However, Bush said repeatedly that U.S. operatives did not transfer prisoners to countries known to practice torture.



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