• Terror Alert! Teenager Arrested for Online Jihadi Romance

    July 9, 2014 // 4 Comments »




    Sleep soundly America, because rough men stand ready on those walls to protect you… against a confused 19 year old girl.

    The FBI arrested a Colorado teenager on suspicion of attempting to support al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The young woman was busted at the Denver International Airport as she attempted to board a plane for Frankfurt with an onward ticket to Turkey. Germany and Turkey are members of NATO, and allies of the United States. It is not a crime to fly there.

    Love Online

    The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the girl (pictured above) for roughly eight months before arresting her. Her crime? Supposedly she met a man online who identified himself as a 32 year old Tunisian terrorist associated with ISIL and with whom she built a romantic relationship. He encouraged her to travel to Syria to fight alongside him, because of course everyone you meet online is exactly who they say they are and especially guys who meet girls online never lie to them (there is at least some evidence that this whole thing jihad thing is just a trick to lure vulnerable foreign women into prostitution.)

    The FBI’s “investigation” of all this included meeting with the young woman in person on a near-weekly basis for six months. The FBI also met with her parents, warning them of their daughter’s “radical beliefs.” When none of these sophisticated techniques were able to prevent the terror thingie, the feds moved in for the arrest. If convicted of whatever the hell she did, the girl could face up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

    The whole investigation started thanks to an alert Citizen. Law enforcement began looking into the terror girl after a security guard and pastor at the Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado contacted police to report the girl had been wandering the campus taking notes. The girl also became “confrontational” with church staffers when they asked to see her notes. The guard thought she was suspicious and that she seemed to be “visiting the church in preparation for an attack.” It is unclear how whatever the woman was doing appeared to be in preparation for an attack.

    Seriously?

    Here’s the serious part: The girl was interviewed by an FBI special agent, at which point she said she was training in military tactics through a non-profit youth group called the U.S. Army Explorers and that she hoped to share what she learned with Islamic jihadi fighters. A few weeks later, she told the FBI agent she would be “ready to wage jihad in a year.” The suspect told the FBI, however, that her knowledge of Islam and jihad was based solely on her own research that she conducted on her laptop using Google.

    The U.S. Army Explorers, where the girl was seeking training to enable her to survive on the battlefields of the MidEast alongside hardened terrorists, describes itself as a program that “exposes cadets to what career opportunities in the military are like, and provide them first hand knowledge and experience in the many military occupational skills… Our program is a part of the Learning for Life Explorer program with the Boy Scouts of America.” The group accepts cadets as young as age 13. It costs $85 to join, but that includes an ID card and uniform patches. The girl also told the FBI she planned to use her Army Explorer skills to “train Islamic Jihadi fighters in U.S. military tactics.”

    The Price of Freedumb

    So, in what was likely the worst online dating story of the year, the FBI launched an eight month investigation leading to an airport takedown. In between they spoke numerous times to the suspect, and her parents, and no doubt must have come to the conclusion that her chances of waging jihad were about the same as her chances of finding true love on the web.

    But instead of advising her parents to take back their credit card, or wishing the young girl luck in her career at some truck stop, they bust her for basically planning to travel to Turkey– suspicion of attempting to support al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (technically the charge was conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism.)

    The really sad part, absent wrecking this girl’s already pathetic life, is that this case will no doubt now be counted among the many other stupid examples of how the government is protecting us from the terrorists in our midst.

    BONUS: The fear-mongering idiots at ABC news described Turkey as “just hours away from the Syrian border.”




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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Post-Constitution America

    Where was the NSA before the Isla Vista Mass Shooting?

    May 27, 2014 // 23 Comments »



    Elliot Rodger, a college student who posted videos that documented his rage against women, killed six people and wounded 13 others last week. He stabbed three men to death in his apartment and shot the others as he opened fire on bystanders on the crowded streets of Isla Vista, California. Rodger then killed himself. Three semi automatic handguns, along with 41 loaded ten-round magazines— all bought at local gun stores— were found in his car. There could have been many more dead.

    So where was the NSA?

    For the year since Edward Snowden revealed in detail the comprehensive spying on every aspect of American lives, we have been assured by the president and the NSA that every single one of those intrusions into our life was necessary to protect us. The now-former NSA chief said he knows of no better way his agency can help protect the U.S. than with spy programs that collect billions of phone and Internet records. “How do we connect the dots?” he said, referring to often-hidden links between people, events and what they do online. “There is no other way that we know of to connect the dots. Taking these programs off the table is absolutely not the thing to do.”

    So where was the NSA?

    Elliot Rodger posted on his social media, presumably monitored by the NSA, about suicide and killing people. His family asked police to visit Rodger’s residence. But when they showed up, Rodger simply told deputies it was a misunderstanding and that he was not going to hurt anyone or himself. No search was conducted.

    Barely 24 hours before the killing spree, Rodger posted a video on YouTube, presumably monitored by the NSA, in which he sat behind the steering wheel of his black BMW and for seven minutes announced his plans for violence. The video has been leaked– see it here.

    So where was the NSA in Boston?

    In the case of the Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the NSA failed to notice the Boston bomber’s visits to al Qaeda’s online magazine or his “terrorist” YouTube videos. The online magazine gave Tsarnaev the details he needed to build his bombs. The NSA also failed to note the online communications Tsarnaev had with a known extremist in Dagestan, who reportedly listed Tsarnaev among his cyber friends.

    Even after the bombing, the NSA, Justice Department, and Homeland Security failed to identify the suspects from close-up pictures, and had to ask the public for help, even though photos of both brothers were scattered across social media, presumably monitored by the NSA.

    What was law enforcement doing in Boston in the time period leading up to the bombings? Monitoring Occupy and others, including tracking the Facebook pages and websites of protesters and writing reports on the potential impact on “commercial and financial sector assets” in downtown areas.

    The monitoring of legitimate protest groups was not limited to Boston. The FBI monitored Occupy Wall Street from its earliest days and treated the nonviolent movement as a potential terrorist threat. Internal government records show Occupy was treated as a potential threat when organizing first began in August of 2011. Counterterrorism agents were used to track Occupy activities.

    So where is the NSA?

    All of the failures of the NSA cited above are exactly the kind of connect-the-dots fails that spying on all Americans were supposed to alleviate. At this point we’re left with one of two explanations.

    The first explanation is that the NSA is simply incompetent. They may not be very good at their job, their technological ability to collect may not be matched with an ability to process the data, or they are simply so flooded with data as to be ineffective. Why should we expect a government that stumbles on everything from managing appointment lists at veteran’s hospitals to major foreign policy endeavors to do any better at intelligence work.

    The second explanation is much darker. It remains possible the business about connecting dots and protecting America is a ruse, a sham, a cover story, and that mass surveillance has a much more sinister purpose. Pick one: control dissent, spy on groups like Occupy, blackmail, political advantage, industrial intel, and so forth. Snowden’s revelations, as significant as they are, really only shed light on what the NSA does. They do not address why the NSA spies on us. Therein lies the real story of the century, waiting for the next whistleblower to expose.


    BONUS

    Some commentators on the Isla Vista mass killing have decried the problem of “What could have been done? Sure he posted some crazy stuff, but he didn’t really commit a crime before he started shooting, right?”

    Interesting argument, until you compare it to how the government deals with “real terrorists.” The magic words used are “conspiracy to commit terrorism,” a crime that basically involves talking about or planning to do something awful. The same law exists in regards to planning to commit a garden-variety murder. The logic is that if the police have clear evidence that you are about to blow up a skyscraper, it makes no sense that they have to wait until you trigger the dynamite to arrest you. Fair enough.

    But let’s look at a few examples in practice.

    In North Carolina recently, the FBI charged two men they say conspired and trained to exact “violent jihad.” The federal investigation began when one man contacted an undercover FBI source by email and told him he wanted to go overseas and fight, and he asked another how he should prepare to fight in Yemen or Syria. The other guy frequently “spoke about his weapons,” and said he was “considering” violent acts either in the United States or abroad. The men were arrested and charged with conspiracy.

    Three members of a Georgia militia were charged with conspiracy to attack federal agencies. They “attempted” to obtain pipe bombs and thermite devices, and chatted online about plans to attack the federal government.

    American citizen “Jihani Jane” was charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism based nearly completely on her online activities.




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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Post-Constitution America