Monday, October 31, 2011

Operation Ghost Stories: Inside The Russian Spy Case

The FBI released photos, documents and video on the Russian spy ring the bureau rolled up last year. 

The arrests of 10 Russian spies last year provided a chilling reminder that espionage on U.S. soil did not disappear when the Cold War ended. The highly publicized case also offered a rare glimpse into the sensitive world of counterintelligence and the FBI's efforts to safeguard the nation from those who would steal our vital secrets.

You can view the FBI's released information via the below link:

A Look Back At Barney Miller, A TV Comedy Series That Captured the Gritty Essence Of Police Work

I was a huge fan of Barney Miller, the clever cop comedy series that appeared on TV from 1975 to 1982, so I look forward to watching the old shows on a new DVD (Shout!Factory).

Thomas Vinciguerra at the New York Times wrote an interesting piece about the great old show.

“Barney Miller” rewrote the rules of cop shows and sitcoms alike. Its principals weren’t heroes; they were jaded lifers contending with assorted wackos, like the beggar who earned enough to pay for a maid. Or the messianic who thought a new Ice Age was upon us. Or the nut job who threatened to turn into a werewolf.

And every week the show, which won three Emmy Awards, kicked off with a theme that sported the baddest, funkiest bass line this side of Isaac Hayes.

An early fan of “Barney Miller” was Joseph Wambaugh, the author of novels like “The New Centurions” and nonfiction works like “The Onion Field.” He began tuning in shortly after stepping down as a Los Angeles Police Department detective sergeant, to write full time.

“I was uncertain if I could make it without the badge,” he said. “But I could turn on ‘Barney Miller.’ It filled a void for me. I could have gone onto that set, sat down and gone to work.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Below is a link to a video of the Barney Miller theme song and opening credits:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Operation Mincemeat: Ben Macintyre On World War II"s Greatest Deception Plot Against The Nazis

The below link is to a BBC TV program that dramatized Operation Mincemeat, the greatest World War II deception.

Ben Macintyre, the author of Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man & a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured Allied Victory, hosts and narrates the BBC program.

The program offers a suspenseful, fascinating and compelling story of how British Naval Intelligence used a dead man to deceive Hitler and the Nazis into believing the allies planned to invade Greece rather than the true target, Sicily.

The plot was a "mad idea" originally conceived by Commander Ian Fleming (seen in the below photo), a British naval intelligence officer who would go on to write the James Bond thrillers after the war. 

You can watch the clever and entertaining program via the below link to

You can also read about Macintyre's excellent book via the below link to an earlier post:

I interviewed Ben Macintyre about his earlier book on Eddie Chapman, a British crook who became one of World War II's most daring double agents.

You can read the interview at via the below link: 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: The Great Detective Lives On - And On

As I've noted here before, I'm not fond of continuation novels. But Anthony Horowitz does a good job of explaining why he agreed to write a new novel about the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic character Sherlock Holmes in the British newspaper the Telegraph.

Although Holmes appears in just 56 short stories and four novels, he is famously the one character most often portrayed on television and film. He has recently been modernised by the BBC and bowdlerised by Hollywood – the second film with Robert Downey Jnr comes out at Christmas. There is currently a campaign (which I support) to give Jeremy Brett (seen in the above photo) a posthumous Bafta for his brilliant depiction of the character throughout the Eighties.

My own addition to the Sherlock canon – the first to be given the imprimatur of the Doyle estate – received extraordinary attention when I announced it last January in the House of Commons at a dinner hosted by the 1,000-strong Sherlock Holmes society. I found myself on the News at Ten. The Spectator ran an editorial as did the New York Times – although neither seemed to think the book would be much good. So why Holmes has endured – and, more to the point, how did I dare to take on the mantle of the world’s most successful detective?

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

On Hemingway: Paul Hendrickson and William Kennedy Talk About Their Books On Ernest Hemingway

I'm a huge admirer of Ernest Hemingway's novels and short stories, so I was sorry that I was unable to hear William Kennedy, author of Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, and Paul Hendrickson, author of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961, discuss Hemingway and their books about the late great writer at the Philadelphia Free Library earlier this month.

Fortunately, I was able to listen to the two authors via the library's audio podcast.

You can listen to the MP3 audio of the author event via the below link:

Frank Wilson, my friend and former Philadelphia Inquirer editor, did a fine job of introducing the two authors.

I read Hemingway's Boat and I found Paul Hendrickson's book to be interesting and insightful and William Kennedy's Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes is next on my list of books to read.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Exorcist's' Secret Message

William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist, wrote an interesting piece for about the impact of his novel and the film made from his novel.

That I am regularly hauled out of my burrow every Halloween like some furless and demonic “Punxsatawney Phil” always brings a rueful smile of bemusement to my lips as I lower my gaze and shake my head, for the humiliating God’s-honest truth of the matter is that while I was working on "The Exorcist," what I thought I was writing was a novel of faith in the popular dress of a thrilling and suspenseful detective story – in other words, a sermon that no one could possibly sleep through -- and to this day I haven’t the faintest recollection of any intention to frighten the reader, which many will take, I suppose, as an admission of failure on an almost stupefying, scale.  

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Defense Secretary Panetta To Troops: 'You Carry On Nation's Legacy'

By Karen Parrish, American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Oct. 27, 2011 - Since leaving Washington on Oct. 21 for a visit to the Asia-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has emphasized that the United States is a Pacific nation and remains committed to doing its part for the common good.

In meetings with senior Indonesian officials and with Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers, as well as with Japanese military, foreign affairs and political leaders and now here, the secretary has emphasized the U.S. commitment to furthering peace, stability and security in the Pacific.
Panetta has had another dialogue as well. In a hangar, on a ship and in a gym, the secretary has gathered with U.S. troops and their Japanese and South Korean counterparts to thank them for their service and share his views on why that service matters.

"As secretary of defense, these are really the best moments -- a chance to be with the men and women who are out there on the front lines, men and women who put their lives on the line ... [and] represent the best of what our nation is all about," the secretary told a sea of men and women in uniform yesterday at Yongsan Garrison's Collier Field House here.

America is a democracy designed from its beginnings to depend on citizens willing to give something back to their nation, Panetta said. The nation's forefathers, pioneers and immigrants all have understood that citizens' contributions keep the nation strong, he added.

Panetta told the troops his parents came to the United States from Italy in the 1930s. Like millions of fellow immigrants from around the world, they had little money and no special skills or language abilities, he said.

The secretary told the troops he was born in Monterey, Calif., and recalled asking his father many times why he and Panetta's mother had traveled such a long way at such risk.

"My father said the reason they did it was because my mother and he believed that they could give their children a better life," Panetta said.

In his view, he added, that's the American dream.

"It's what all of us want for our children, and hopefully what our children will want for their children ... so that they can enjoy the fruits of what democracy is all about," the secretary said.

The advantages of American democracy are due to the service of people who care about the country, he said.

"That was the other thing that my father would say to my brother and I: for everything that America gave them, we owed something back to this country," Panetta said.

Panetta has served the United States as an Army intelligence officer, congressman from California, presidential chief of staff and CIA director. Before leading the CIA, he spent 10 years co-directing with his wife, Sylvia, the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay. The nonpartisan, not-for-profit institute seeks to instill in young men and women the virtues and value of public service.

"I'm a believer in public service," he told the troops. "I think public service is what makes our country strong because there are those wiling to give something back."

Freedom is not free; it demands sacrifice like that offered by service members, Panetta said. "For that reason, I just deeply thank you for your service to the country," he added. "We all can talk about the greatest generation coming out of World War II, [but] this is the greatest generation of our time, today -- having served 10 years in war, ... a group of men and women in the military who have really provided the greatest service imaginable."

Over that decade, nearly 6,200 of those men and women have died, and some 46,000 have been wounded, the secretary said.

"That sacrifice is what makes our country strong: ... men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line in order to make this country better, in order to give our children a better life," Panetta said.

America and its allies will continue to pressure terrorist organizations around the world, and will help nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya solidify their own security and governments, the secretary said.

"There's a tremendous amount of progress that's been made here, but obviously, it's going to take continued vigilance [and] work," Panetta said.

The bottom line is the successes of the past decade are because of America's troops, the secretary said.

"We are a country that wants to promote peace and prosperity throughout the world. That's what we're about; that's what we do," the secretary said. "Take the dreams of people all people -- and give them a chance ... to reach those dreams, the way my parents were able to reach their dreams.

"You carry on the legacy of what America is all about: ... service to each other, and service, most of all, to the nation that represents freedom and opportunity for others throughout the world," he said.

The above DoD photo of Defense Secretary was taken by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are Criticisms Of Hemingway Unfair?

Mark York at the Idaho Mountain Express and Guide reports that a panel weighed in on Hemingway's portrayal of women in his novels and stories.

Did Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway portray women in a narrow, male-chauvinistic manner? Was he a misogynist?

These were some of the questions posed Friday in a panel discussion among Hemingway scholars at the Community Library in Ketchum.

You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

My On Crime & Security Column: Small Businesses Are A Tempting Target For Gang-Related Crime published my On Crime & Security Column on small businesses and gang-related crime and the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment.

"Gangs continue to expand, evolve, and become more violent," said Kevin Perkins, the Assistant FBI Director, Criminal Investigative Division. "The FBI, along with its federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, strives to disrupt and prevent their criminal activities and seek justice for innocent victims of their crimes."

But Here's the point for small business owners: Gang victims are not just inter-city kids and drug addicts. Business people located in cities, suburbs and even rural areas are also being victimized by gang-related crime.

The National Intelligence Center's assessment states that gangs are increasingly engaging in non-traditional white-collar crimes such as counterfeiting, identity theft, credit card fraud and selling stolen goods.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:   

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Key General Believes Obama's Iraq Pullout Plan Is A Disaster

Rowan Scarborough at the Washington Times reports that retired Army General John M. Keane called Obama's Iraq pullout plan a disaster.

President Obama's decision to pull all U.S. forces out of Iraq by December 31 is an "absolute disaster" that puts the burgeoning Arab democracy at risk of an Iranian "strangling," said the architect of the 2007 troop surge that turned around a losing war.

Retired Army General John M. Keane was at the forefront of persuading President George W. Bush to scuttle a static counterinsurgency strategy and replace it with 30,000 reinforcements and a more activist, street-by-street counterterrorism tactic.

Today, even with that strategy producing a huge drop in daily attacks, General Keane bluntly told the Washington Times that the United States again is losing.

You can read the rest of the newspaper story via the below link:

You can also read a previous post about the Iraq pullout plan via the below link:
The above DoD photo of American soldiers in Iraq was taken by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway.

Mat Damon And Ben Affleck To Make Film About Boston Gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger

Amy Wallace at reports that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are planning to make a film about James "Whitey" Bulger.

Damon will portray Bulger and Affleck will direct.

Just days after Matt Damon confirmed that he's settled on his first directing project, the actor tells GQ that he and Ben Affleck have also chosen their next collaboration: a movie about the reputed former godfather of the Irish Mob, one of the coldest, most ruthless figures in the history of organized crime.

"We're doing a Whitey Bulger movie," Damon says of the leader of South Boston's Winter Hill Gang, who had been on the lam for 16 years and was wanted for 19 murders, among other things, when he was apprehended in Santa Monica in June. "Warner's got it for us."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Cool Photo: F/A-18C Hornet Launches from Aircraft Carrier

In the above photo an F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the Golden Dragons of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

The carrier is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

You can click on the above photo to enlarge.

The U.S. Navy photo was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley.

Monday, October 24, 2011

How Real Is Showtime's New Spy Thriller 'Homeland?'

Peter Brooks, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, looks at Showtime's new thriller Homeland and points out the unrealistic from the real world of intelligence in the New York Post.

Without question, Showtime’s new series “Homeland” is one heckuva thriller, involving “sleuthy” spies and terrible terrorists that will leave even honest-to-goodness James Bonds sitting on the edge of their seats.

The twists and turns in the still-evolving plot of a possible terrorist attack on the homeland (where else?!) shows some terrific research and writing.

But, if you’re watching “Homeland” thinking it is some version of “CIA: The Reality Show,” you might be a bit disappointed. Of course, this is Hollywood -- not Langley.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

I've been watching the show, which seems to be an updated Manchurian Candidate (but not as good as the film). I agree with Mr. Brooks' points in his piece, but he missed the notion that a Marine Captain would have such a huge and modern office in the Pentagon, where space is valuable.

That office might go to a three-star general, but I doubt that a Marine Captain would rate that kind of office space. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Johhny Depp Channels His Old Pal Hunter S. Thompson In "The Rum Diary'

Sara Stewart at the New York Post offers an interesting piece on how Johhny Depp, a friend of the late writer Hunter S. Thompson, was instrumental in having Thompson's novel The Rum Diary published and came to star in the film adaptation.

"It was the kind of town that made you feel like Humphrey Bogart: you came in on a bumpy little plane, and, for some mysterious reason, got a private room with a balcony overlooking the town and the harbor; then you sat there and drank until something happened.”

Hunter S. Thompson wrote this about San Juan, Puerto Rico, in his novel “The Rum Diary,” itself a passenger on a bumpy ride. Penned in the early 1960s and rejected by a half-dozen publishers, the long-forgotten manuscript was unearthed in Thompson’s basement by one of his house-guests -- Johnny Depp.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on a collection of Hunter S. Thompson's Rolling Stone pieces via the below link:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

'Git 'Er Done,' Larry The Cable Guy Tells Troops

By Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2011 - In his signature baseball cap and wearing a shirt with the sleeves cut off, the comedian known as Larry the Cable Guy gave a shout-out to the troops today while on location at the Pentagon to shoot an upcoming segment of his History Channel show, "Only in America."

"This is Larry the Cable Guy, and you're gittin' 'er done watchin' the Pentagon Channel," the Nebraska pig farmer-turned-standup-comedian said. "And if you're not, you're a dag-gum communist!"

Larry, whose real name is Daniel Lawrence Whitney, brought his brand of rural, blue-collar humor to official Washington. Combing the Pentagon hallways in his "We Proudly Support the 2nd Amendment" sweatshirt and camouflage cap, he intertwined serious respect for the military and its members with the zany antics of his brand.

"I love ya!" he told service members in the Pentagon Channel taping. "Stay safe out there. We're behind ya 110 percent, and always do this: Git 'er done!"

And, he added, "Come see me when I got a show and, by golly, I'll buy ya a beer."

For military kids, Larry became Mater, his animated tow truck character from Disney-Pixar's "Cars" movie.

"Whew-hoo! Boy, I'm happier than a tornader in a trailer park!" he shouted. "One of these days, we're goin' back down there with McQueen to Radiator Springs, and we're gonna go backward drivin', then we're gonna do some tractor tippin.'"

The History Channel shoot was important to show viewers the inside workings of U.S. military headquarters, the comedian said. "It shows you how your tax dollars are being spent, and it makes you real proud," he added. "A lot of people don't know what they do here, and 24,000 people work here, and they're all regular Americans just like you and me."

That perspective is what he's trying to provide in bringing his show to the Pentagon, he said. "I consider myself about as regular as anybody else," he explained. "So, to actually get in and be able to ask questions -- and some of them are stupid questions -- but they're questions that I want to know, and hopefully other people will want to know."

The service members who work in the Pentagon are no different from other Americans, he noted.

"You know, when they're not in there with their uniforms on, they're just like you and me," he said. "They're just regular folks making a living and trying to live the American dream. It's cool seeing them in there at their best. It makes you proud as an American to know we have the greatest military in the. And to get in there and see behind it and see the guts of it, and watch 'em work, makes you even prouder."

Never out of character for long, the comedian gave his uncensored impressions of the Pentagon's most critical areas, including the National Military Command Center.

"I have learned that you don't pick stuff up in the war room and press buttons without the main man telling you to do it," he said, because when I hit some button and the windows fogged up, they made some announcement and I got shuffled out. I don't know what happened, but I think I might have declared war on Canada."

In the Pentagon press briefing room, Larry stepped up to the podium with cameras rolling . "And this is why we went into Canada," he said. "They don't clean up after themselves."

"That's probably not useful," a Pentagon official commented.

The comedian said he was impressed with the dedication displayed by the Pentagon's military and civilian workforce.

"I could see how focused they are," he said.

The "Only in America" segment was taped as part of the show's second season, which will begin in January, a History Channel crew member said.

The comic is seen in the above DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo.

Toasting Victory In Iran Over U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Iraq

President Obama made the announcement of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq sound like it was his plan.

In truth, his administration was unable to broker a deal with the Iraqi government to allow troops to stay to train Iraqi troops, maintain security and keep the neighboring Iranians out of the country.

The Obama administration had plenty of time to make a deal, but they appeared to be more interested in eliminating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy from the military than they were in preserving our influence in a country where we have achieved military victory over an evil dictator, spent billions there, and lost thousands of American lives.

This reminds me of 1973 and the withdrawal of American combat troops from South Vietnam. With the absence of American combat troops, the North Vietnamese communists invaded the south in 1975 and defeated the South Vietnamese troops.

We have troops in South Korea, which prevented the North Korean communists from invading the south. We also had troops in West Germany, which prevented the Soviet bloc troops from invading the west.    

In her column at Judith Miller suggests that the Iranians are having a victory toast over the American withdrawal. I believe she is right.

 They must be uncorking the non-alcoholic champagne in Teheran today.

The Obama administration’s decision to withdraw by 2011 all but 160 U.S. active-duty troops to guard the American embassy in Baghdad is a strategic defeat for the U.S. that is likely to significantly enhance Iran’s already considerable influence in Iraq and throughout the region.

You can read the rest of Judith Miller's column via the below link:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Welcome to Hell, Moammar Gadhafi

The above photo showing the Libyan dictator in the last moments of his life has been seen around the world.

The Philadelphia Inquirer offered this photo and a dozen others and used the Associated Press' piece on his death.

Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's dictator for 42 years until he was ousted in an uprising-turned-civil war, was killed Thursday as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Two Indicted For Conspiracy To Provide Material Support To Terrorists

WASHINGTON—Ali Charaf Damache, an Algerian man who resided in Ireland, and Mohammad Hassan Khalid, a Pakistani citizen and U.S. lawful permanent resident who resided in Maryland, have been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists in a superseding indictment returned today in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The charges were announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and Mark Giuliano, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch.

Damache, aka “The black flag,” 46, is charged in the superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and one count of attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism. Damache was arrested by authorities in Ireland in March 2010 where he is currently being held on unrelated charges. The United States intends to seek his extradition from Ireland to stand trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If convicted of the charges against him in the superseding indictment, Damache faces a potential sentence of 45 years in prison.

Khalid, aka “Abdul Ba’aree ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Hassan Al-Afghani Al-Junoobi W’at-Emiratee,” 18, is charged in the superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Khalid was arrested in Ellicot City, Md., on July 6, 2011, and is currently in custody in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If convicted of the charge against him in the superseding indictment, Khalid faces a potential sentence of 15 years in prison.

“Today’s indictment, which alleges a terrorist conspiracy involving individuals around the globe who connected via the Internet—including a teenager and two women living in America—underscores the evolving nature of violent extremism.” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “I thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who helped bring about this case.”

“Protecting the citizens of the United States from acts of terrorism is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Memeger. “This case demonstrates that we must remain vigilant within our communities to make sure that we bring to justice those terrorists, of any age or background, who seek to do great harm to our citizens.”

“This investigation highlights the diverse threat environment we face today,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Giuliano. “As revealed in this case, individuals used the Internet to further their radicalization and contribute to the radicalization of others. The FBI is committed to disrupting individual and group plots and doing so in close coordination with our law enforcement, intelligence and private sector partners.”

The indictment alleges that, from about 2008 through July 2011, Damache and Khalid conspired with Colleen R. LaRose, Jamie Paulin Ramirez, and others to provide material support and resources, including logistical support, recruitment services, financial support, identification documents and personnel, to a conspiracy to kill overseas. LaRose, aka “Fatima LaRose,” aka “Jihad Jane,” pleaded guilty in February 2011 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, false statements, and attempted identity theft. Ramirez pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in March 2011 to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

According to the indictment, Damache, Khalid and others devised and coordinated a violent jihad organization consisting of men and women from Europe and the United States divided into a planning team, a research team, an action team, a recruitment team and a finance team; some of whom would travel to South Asia for explosives training and return to Europe to wage violent jihad.

The indictment alleges that Damache, Khalid, LaRose, and others recruited men online to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe. In addition, Damache, Khalid, LaRose, and others allegedly recruited women who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad. The indictment further alleges that LaRose, Paulin-Ramirez, and others traveled to and around Europe to participate in and support violent jihad; and that Khalid and LaRose and others solicited funds online for terrorists.

For example, the indictment alleges that in July 2009, Damache sent an electronic communication using the username “Theblackflag” to Khalid, asking Khalid to recruit online “some brothers that can travel freely . . . with eu passports . . . .[A]nd I need some sisters too.” Damache also allegedly advised Khalid that “sister fatima will be charge of other sister care . . . . [W]e have already organized every thing for her. . . .” The indictment further alleges that Paulin-Ramirez married Damache on the day she arrived with her minor child in Europe to live and train with jihadists, even though she had never met Damache in person, and that, while living together in Europe, the couple began training Ramirez’s minor child in the ways of violent jihad.

Among other things, the indictment further alleges that, in July 2009, Khalid posted or caused to be posted an online solicitation for funds to support terrorism on behalf of LaRose and later sent electronic communications to multiple online forums requesting the deletion of all posts by LaRose after she was questioned by the FBI. In August 2009, Khalid allegedly sent a questionnaire to LaRose in which he asked another potential female recruit about her beliefs and intentions with regard to violent jihad. In addition, Khalid allegedly received from LaRose and concealed the location of a U.S. passport that she had stolen from another individual. This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Philadelphia, and the FBI Field Divisions in New York, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Authorities in Ireland also provided assistance in this matter.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Matthew F. Blue, Trial Attorney from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division also provided assistance.

SEAL Team Six Founder Richard Marcinko Calls The Team 'The Best Of The Best'

Lisa Rodgers at the Gadsden Times in Alabama wrote an interesting piece about Richard Marcinko, the founder and former command of SEAL Team Six.

The founder of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six spoke with passion Thursday about the SEAL program and the SEAL Team Six’s killing in May of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden during an address at the Etowah County Republican Party’s annual fundraising dinner.

Members of the SEAL Team Six are the best of the best, Marcinko said.

“They’re the best trained, the most experienced and they love what they’re doing,” Marcinko said.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Look Back At A Great Comic Writer: Hunter S. Thompson's Rolling Stone Pieces

I was a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson's work back in the day.

I disagreed with most of Thompson's views. but I enjoyed reading his funny, crazy and subversive stuff.

Matt Labash at the Wall Street Journal takes a look back at Thompson's life and work in his review of Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson.

You can read the review via the below link:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

U.S. Strategic Command General Cites Cyber Domain Challenges

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2011 - Space and cyberspace are growing in strategic importance as other nations increase their capabilities, the chief of U.S. Strategic Command told defense reporters here yesterday.

A recent example of cyber threats facing the Defense Department is a computer virus that affected a stand-alone ground control system for the nation's drone fleet based at Nevada's Creech Air Force Base, according to Stratcom commander Air Force Gen. C. Robert "Bob" Kehler.

The virus was not targeted at the drone fleet but entered "from the wild," Kehler said, adding the precise means of infection is still under investigation.

Stratcom systems detected the virus, quarantined it, and it had little to no impact on operations, he noted.

Both accidental and targeted attacks on DOD networks are on the rise, the general said.

"The trend is that we see multiple, deliberate attempts to try to get into our networks almost daily," he said.

Based at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb., Stratcom serves as U.S. Cyber Command's headquarters, and also oversees the nation's missile defense, and global strike and space operations, as well as combating weapons of mass destruction.

The Stratcom mission set touches that of every other combatant command, Kehler said, noting that there are vital linkages between military and commercial information networks in areas like transportation and logistics.

"The Internet is mostly in the commercial and civil domains ... but we use it," he said.

Perfect defense of all networks is probably not achievable, but "mission assurance is something that we must achieve," Kehler said.

The Defense Department has made great progress in cyber defense, but "sometimes ... the more you know, the worse you look," he said.

In the past, some attacks may have gone undetected, the general explained, but defense officials are "far more aware today of the things that are happening to us, and we are taking strides to deal with the realities of operating in cyberspace."

Robust protections are in place on the "dot mil" domain and defense officials have begun a pilot program that extends some of those safeguards to defense industries, he noted.

A fundamental issue in cyber domain operations is defining what an attack is, and developing a legal framework, doctrine and rules of engagement for those operations, Kehler said.

"In other domains ... rules of engagement are based on things like hostile intent," he said. "Much of what we see on our networks or at our boundaries, at our firewalls, I'm not sure you could describe as an attack."

Cyberspace threats include predators, vandals and spies, not all of whom are attackers by national security terms, Kehler said.

He noted much of the hostile activity on DOD's networks involves attempts to steal industrial or military secrets.

"The word 'attack' makes it sound as though people are trying to take our systems down every day, and that's not the case," the general said.

Attempts to exploit military information or disrupt network activities could evolve into destructive attacks, Kehler said.

The United States has a military edge in cyberspace, but other nations possess "very sophisticated" capabilities in that domain, he said.

An important question being asked inside the Defense Department, Kehler said, is how to retain that edge as the global population gets smarter in cyberspace.

"I think there's a great question for us that goes all the way into our education system [and] our university system," the general said. "Can we, as a nation, provide the wherewithal in the information age to maintain a national security advantage, like we did in the industrial age?"

"I don't know that we quite have the answer yet," he added.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chinese National Pleads Guilty To Economic Espionage And Theft Of Trade Secrets

The U.S. Justice Department released the below today: 

WASHINGTON – Kexue Huang, a Chinese national and a former resident of Carmel, Ind., pleaded guilty today to one count of economic espionage to benefit a component of the Chinese government and one count of theft of trade secrets.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa O. Monaco, U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett of the Southern District of Indiana, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones of the District of Minnesota, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis Field Office of the FBI.

This is the first trade secret prosecution in Indiana under a provision of the Economic Espionage Act that prohibits trade secret theft intended to benefit a component of a foreign government. Since its enactment in 1996, there have been a total of eight such cases charged nationwide under the Economic Espionage Act.

Huang, 46, pleaded guilty to the charges before U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence in the Southern District of Indiana. In July 2010, Huang was charged in an indictment filed in the Southern District of Indiana for misappropriating and transporting trade secrets to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) while working as a research scientist at Dow AgroSciences LLC. Today, a separate indictment filed in the District of Minnesota was unsealed, charging Huang with stealing a trade secret from a second company, Cargill Inc.

According to court documents, from January 2003 until February 2008, Huang was employed as a research scientist at Dow, a leading international agricultural company based in Indianapolis that provides agrochemical and biotechnology products. In 2005, Huang became a research leader for Dow in strain development related to unique, proprietary organic insecticides marketed worldwide.

As a Dow employee, Huang signed an agreement that outlined his obligations in handling confidential information, including trade secrets, and prohibited him from disclosing any confidential information without Dow’s consent. Dow employed several layers of security to preserve and maintain confidentiality and to prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of its trade secrets.

Huang admitted that during his employment at Dow, he misappropriated several Dow trade secrets. According to plea documents, from 2007 to 2010, Huang transferred and delivered the stolen Dow trade secrets to individuals in Germany and the PRC. With the assistance of these individuals, Huang used the stolen materials to conduct unauthorized research with the intent to benefit foreign universities that were instrumentalities of the PRC government. Huang also admitted that he pursued steps to develop and produce the misappropriated Dow trade secrets in the PRC, including identifying manufacturing facilities in the PRC that would allow him to compete directly with Dow in the established organic pesticide market.

According to court documents, after Huang left Dow, he was hired in March 2008 by Cargill, an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Huang worked as a biotechnologist for Cargill until July 2009 and signed a confidentiality agreement promising never to disclose any trade secrets or other confidential information of Cargill. Huang admitted that during his employment with Cargill, he stole one of the company’s trade secrets – a key component in the manufacture of a new food product, which he later disseminated to another person, specifically a student at Hunan Normal University in the PRC.

According to the plea agreement, the aggregated loss from Huang’s criminal conduct exceeds $7 million but is less than $20 million.

“Mr. Huang used his insider status at two of America’s largest agricultural companies to steal valuable trade secrets for use in his native China,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “We cannot allow U.S. citizens or foreign nationals to hand sensitive business information over to competitors in other countries, and we will continue our vigorous criminal enforcement of economic espionage and trade secret laws. These crimes present a danger to the U.S. economy and jeopardize our nation’s leadership in innovation.”

“Today’s plea underscores the continuing threat posed by the theft of business secrets for the benefit of China and other nations,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco.

U.S. Attorney Hogsett noted that it is the first time economic espionage has been charged in the Southern District of Indiana. Hogsett remarked that “as U.S. Attorney, I am committed to working with Hoosier businesses who have been victimized and doing everything within our influence to protect Hoosier companies.” Hogsett praised Dow for its cooperation with the investigation and prosecution, noting that “companies must first report and then work with federal investigators and prosecutors if we are to stem the illicit export of trade secrets vital to the economy not only of Indiana but the United States.” Hogsett also stated, “the dual prosecutions from Indiana and Minnesota should serve as a warning to anyone who is considering robbing American companies of their information and weaken the American economy by selling that information to foreign governments or others that he will face severe consequences. The federal agents and prosecutors who worked tirelessly in these two cases are to be commended for their hard work and dedication.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Holley stated: “Among the various economic espionage and theft of trade secret cases that the FBI has investigated in Indiana, the vast majority involve an inside employee with legitimate access who is stealing in order to benefit another organization or country. This type of threat, which the FBI refers to as the Insider Threat, often causes the most damage. In order to maintain our competitive advantage in these sectors, industry must identify their most important equities, realize that they are a target, implement internal protection mechanisms to protect their intellectual property, and communicate issues of concern immediately to the FBI.”

At sentencing, Huang faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years on the economic espionage charge and 10 years on the theft of trade secrets charge.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia J. Ridgeway of the Southern District of Indiana, Trial Attorneys Mark L. Krotoski and Evan C. Williams of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Paulsen of the District of Minnesota, with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterespionage Section.

My On Crime & Security Column: Thinking About Cyber Security

The web site published my latest On Crime & Security column this week.

The piece dealt with the threats to cyber security.

Speaking last April before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, FBI Assistant Director Gordon M. Snow stated that the number and sophistication of cyber attacks has increased dramatically over the past five years and he expected this trend to continue to grow.

"The threat has reached the point that given enough time, motivation, and funding, a determined adversary will likely be able to penetrate any system that is accessible directly from the Internet," Snow said. "It is difficult to state with confidence that our critical infrastructure - the backbone of our country's economic prosperity, national security, and public health - will remain unscathed and always be available when needed."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Monday, October 17, 2011

U.S. Navy SEALs On Film: Act Of Valor Film Trailer Out

The film that stars real U.S. Navy SEALs in the lead roles is due to hit movie theaters in February and the film's trailer is now available on the film's web site.

You can view the trailer via the below link:

You can also read about the film in my previous post via the below link:

You can also read about how the SEALs evolved from the World War II Navy frogmen via the below links to my Counterterrorism magazine piece:

A Look Back At Six Of The Best TV Spy Series

The British Newspaper the Guardian offers their list of the six best TV spy series.

Included in the list is one of my favorite shows, Danger Man, which was called Secret Agent in the U.S.

The program starred Patrick McGoohan and I was, and am, a big fan of the program. I recently purchashed the DVD with the complete collection of the TV episodes.

You can read about the six shows and watch videos of their opening titles (with what the newspaper call their "top-notch tunes") via the below link:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

CS Forester's Lost Crime Novel To Be Published At Last

Dalya Alberge at the British newspaper the Guardian reports that CS Forester's lost crime novel will published next month.

A crime novel by CS Forester, written during the period 70 years ago when he created the naval hero Horatio Hornblower and wrote 'The African Queen,' is to be published for the first time. 

'The Pursued,' which until recently was thought to have been lost, is a dark, gritty thriller about a woman who pursues resolutely the man who murdered her daughter. Like Forester's other works, it reveals his supreme skill as a page-turning storyteller.

You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

For Your Confidential Information: Ian Fleming Responds To A Fan Concerned About The Possible Death Of James Bond In 'From Russia With Love'

The web site published one of Ian Fleming's clever letters to a fan.

Ian Fleming caused quite a stir in 1957 with the release of "From Russia With love," due in no small part to what seemed to be the death of James Bond at the novel's close. In fact, so concerned were 007 fans that the author quickly amassed thousands of worried letters. Ever the storyteller, Fleming responded by way of charming letters...

You can see a copy of one of the letters via the below link: 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ted Jeal's Faber Podcast With Nicholas Rankin, Author Of Ian Fleming's Commandos

The British publisher Faber and Faber offers a podcast of Ted Jeal's interesting interview with Nicholas Rankin, the author of a new book on Ian Fleming's World War II commando group, the 30 Assault Unit.

You can listen to the podcast via the below link:

You can also watch a brief video of Rankin explaining his book via the below link:

As I've noted here before, I also interviewed Nicholas Rankin for a piece on Ian Fleming for Counterterrorism magazine. I also interviewed Craig Cabell, the author of a previous book on Ian Fleming's wartime commandos, The History of the 30 Assault Unit: Ian Fleming's Red Indians (Pen & Sword), for the magazine article.

I'll post the magazine piece here when it comes out.

You can read my earlier interview with Craig Cabell at via the below links:

Chinese Telecom Firm Tied To Communist Chinese Spy Ministry

Bill Gertz, the Washington Times' outstanding national security reporter, wrote an interesting piece about Huawei, a Chinese company that has been tied to the Communist Chinese Government's spy ministry.

A U.S. intelligence report for the first time links China’s largest telecommunications company to Beijing’s KGB-like intelligence service and says the company recently received nearly a quarter-billion dollars from the Chinese government.

The disclosures are a setback for Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s efforts to break into the U.S. telecommunications market. The company has been blocked from doing so three times by the U.S. government because of concerns about its links to the Chinese government.

The report by the CIA-based Open Source Center states that Huawei’s chairwoman, Sun Yafang, worked for the Ministry of State Security (MSS) Communications Department before joining the company.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two Men Charged In Alleged Plot To Assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador To The United States

WASHINGTON – Two individuals have been charged in New York for their alleged participation in a plot directed by elements of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States with explosives while the Ambassador was in the United States.

The charges were announced by Attorney General Eric Holder; FBI Director Robert S. Mueller; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

A criminal complaint filed today in the Southern District of New York charges Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen holding both Iranian and U.S. passports, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of Iran’s Qods Force, which is a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that is said to sponsor and promote terrorist activities abroad.

Both defendants are charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official; conspiracy to engage in foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries. Arbabsiar is further charged with an additional count of foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

Shakuri remains at large. Arbabsiar was arrested on Sept. 29, 2011, at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and will make his initial appearance today before in federal court in Manhattan. He faces a maximum potential sentence of life in prison if convicted of all the charges.

“ The criminal complaint unsealed today exposes a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on U.S. soil with explosives,” said Attorney General Holder. “Through the diligent and coordinated efforts of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we were able to disrupt this plot before anyone was harmed. We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously and bring those who have violated any laws to justice.”

“The investigation leading to today’s charges illustrates both the challenges and complexities of the international threat environment, and our increased ability today to bring together the intelligence and law enforcement resources necessary to better identify and disrupt those threats, regardless of their origin,” said FBI Director Mueller.

“The disruption of this plot is a significant milestone that stems from months of hard work by our law enforcement and intelligence professionals,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s case.”

“As alleged, these defendants were part of a well-funded and pernicious plot that had, as its first priority, the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, without care or concern for the mass casualties that would result from their planned attack,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “Today’s charges should make crystal clear that we will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground.”

The Alleged Plot:

The criminal complaint alleges that, from the spring of 2011 to October 2011, Arbabsiar and his Iran-based co-conspirators, including Shakuri of the Qods Force, have been plotting the murder of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. In furtherance of this conspiracy, Arbabsiar allegedly met on a number of occasions in Mexico with a DEA confidential source (CS-1) who has posed as an associate of a violent international drug trafficking cartel. According to the complaint, Arbabsiar arranged to hire CS-1 and CS-1’s purported accomplices to murder the Ambassador, and Shakuri and other Iran-based co-conspirators were aware of and approved the plan. With Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar has allegedly caused approximately $100,000 to be wired into a bank account in the United States as a down payment to CS-1 for the anticipated killing of the Ambassador, which was to take place in the United States.

According to the criminal complaint, the IRCG is an arm of the Iranian military that is composed of a number of branches, one of which is the Qods Force. The Qods Force conducts sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings, and is believed to sponsor attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq. In October 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Qods Force for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

The complaint alleges that Arbabsiar met with CS-1 in Mexico on May 24, 2011, where Arbabsiar inquired as to CS-1’s knowledge with respect to explosives and explained that he was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia. In response, CS-1 allegedly indicated that he was knowledgeable with respect to C-4 explosives. In June and July 2011, the complaint alleges, Arbabsiar returned to Mexico and held additional meetings with CS-1, where Arbabsiar explained that his associates in Iran had discussed a number of violent missions for CS-1 and his associates to perform, including the murder of the Ambassador.

$1.5 Million Fee for Alleged Assassination:

In a July 14, 2011, meeting in Mexico, CS-1 allegedly told Arbabsiar that he would need to use four men to carry out the Ambassador’s murder and that his price for carrying out the murder was $1.5 million. Arbabsiar allegedly agreed and stated that the murder of the Ambassador should be handled first, before the execution of other attacks. Arbabsiar also allegedly indicated he and his associates had $100,000 in Iran to pay CS-1 as a first payment toward the assassination and discussed the manner in which that payment would be made.

During the same meeting, Arbabsiar allegedly described to CS-1 his cousin in Iran, who he said had requested that Arbabsiar find someone to carry out the Ambassador’s assassination. According to the complaint, Arbabsiar indicated that his cousin was a “big general” in the Iranian military; that he focuses on matters outside Iran and that he had taken certain unspecified actions related to a bombing in Iraq.

In a July 17, 2011, meeting in Mexico, CS-1 noted to Arbabsiar that one of his workers had already traveled to Washington, D.C., to surveill the Ambassador. CS-1 also raised the possibility of innocent bystander casualties. The complaint alleges that Arbabsiar made it clear that the assassination needed to go forward, despite mass casualties, telling CS-1, “They want that guy [the Ambassador] done [killed], if the hundred go with him f**k ‘em.” CS-1 and Arbabsiar allegedly discussed bombing a restaurant in the United States that the Ambassador frequented. When CS-1 noted that others could be killed in the attack, including U.S. senators who dine at the restaurant, Arbabsiar allegedly dismissed these concerns as “no big deal.”

On Aug. 1, and Aug. 9, 2011, with Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar allegedly caused two overseas wire transfers totaling approximately $100,000 to be sent to an FBI undercover account as a down payment for CS-1 to carry out the assassination. Later, Arbabsiar allegedly explained to CS-1 that he would provide the remainder of the $1.5 million after the assassination. On Sept. 20, 2011, CS-1 allegedly told Arbabsiar that the operation was ready and requested that Arbabsiar either pay one half of the agreed upon price ($1.5 million) for the murder or that Arbabsiar personally travel to Mexico as collateral for the final payment of the fee. According to the complaint, Arbabsiar agreed to travel to Mexico to guarantee final payment for the murder.

Arrest and Alleged Confession:

On or about Sept. 28, 2011, Arbabsiar flew to Mexico. Arbabsiar was refused entry into Mexico by Mexican authorities and, according to Mexican law and international agreements; he was placed on a return flight destined for his last point of departure. On Sept. 29, 2011, Arbabsiar was arrested by federal agents during a flight layover at JFK International Airport in New York. Several hours after his arrest, Arbabsiar was advised of his Miranda rights and he agreed to waive those rights and speak with law enforcement agents. During a series of Mirandized interviews, Arbabsiar allegedly confessed to his participation in the murder plot.

According to the complaint, Arbabsiar also admitted to agents that, in connection with this plot, he was recruited, funded and directed by men he understood to be senior officials in Iran’s Qods Force. He allegedly said these Iranian officials were aware of and approved of the use of CS-1 in connection with the plot; as well as payments to CS-1; the means by which the Ambassador would be killed in the United States and the casualties that would likely result.

Arbabsiar allegedly told agents that his cousin, who he had long understood to be a senior member of the Qods Force, had approached him in the early spring of 2011 about recruiting narco-traffickers to kidnap the Ambassador. Arbabsiar told agents that he then met with the CS-1 in Mexico and discussed assassinating the Ambassador. According to the complaint, Arbabsiar said that, afterwards, he met several times in Iran with Shakuri and another senior Qods Force official, where he explained that the plan was to blow up a restaurant in the United States frequented by the Ambassador and that numerous bystanders could be killed, according to the complaint. The plan was allegedly approved by these officials.

In October 2011, according to the complaint, Arbabsiar made phone calls at the direction of law enforcement to Shakuri in Iran that were monitored. During these phone calls, Shakuri allegedly confirmed that Arbabsiar should move forward with the plot to murder the Ambassador and that he should accomplish the task as quickly as possible, stating on Oct. 5, 2011, “[j]ust do it quickly, it’s late . . .” The complaint alleges that Shakuri also told Arbabsiar that he would consult with his superiors about whether they would be willing to pay CS-1 additional money.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI Houston Division and DEA Houston Division, with assistance from the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Glen Kopp and Edward Kim, of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. State Department provided substantial assistance. We thank the government of Mexico for its close coordination and collaboration in this matter, and for its role in ensuring that the defendant was safely apprehended.

He'll Never Loin: Butcher and Bonanno Mob Member Kept Organized Crime Associates' Names, Nicknames And Titles In His Rolodex

Mitchel Maddux at the New York Post reports that a New York City butcher and member of the Bonanno crime family offered a bonanza to law enforcement.

A bumbling Bonanno bad guy bizarrely listed all of his contacts -- from capos to consiglieres -- in a Rolodex, The Post has learned.

Not-so-wiseguy Mike “The Butcher” Virtuoso recorded every one of the names, numbers, nicknames and even mob titles in a file so complete that the FBI agents who stumbled on it felt like they’d discovered a gold mine.

Putting all of that classified information into writing “was an incredibly stupid thing [for Virtuoso] to do,’’ a source told The Post.

The treasure trove was discovered in “The Butcher’s’’ butcher shop, Graham Avenue Meats & Deli, in Williamsburg.

You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Congressman Issa to Attorney General Holder: Come Clean To The American People Regarding Operation Fast And Furious reports that Congressman Darrell Issa has responded to Attorney General Eric Holder's letter to Congress regarding his testimony about the failed "Gunwalking" program. Holder, seen in his official photo above, claims he did not know about the program.   

Despite a federal holiday, the lawmaker leading a congressional investigation into "Operation Fast and Furious" launched his latest salvo Monday against Attorney General Eric Holder, insisting it's time for the nation's top cop to "come clean to the American public about what you knew, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable."

"Whether you realize yet or not, you own 'Fast and Furious,'" Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a letter to Holder. "It is your responsibility."

...the broader back-and-forth focuses on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation in Arizona targeting major gun-runners. Launched in late 2009, the investigation planned to follow gun purchasers in hopes that suspects would lead them to the heads of Mexican cartels. But high-powered weapons tied to the investigation ended up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry late last year.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read a previous post about Operation Fast & Furious vai the below link:

A Look Back At How The FBI Used 'Ultra' Intelligence In World War II

The FBI web site offers an interesting historical piece on how the FBI used "Ultra" intelligence during World War II.

Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower thought the intelligence was vital to Allied victory in World War II. Eisenhower is said to have called it “decisive.” Churchill was reported to be even stronger in his assessment to King George VI.

The intelligence was called “Ultra’’—because it was so highly secret—and it consisted of intercepted and later decoded radio and cable messages sent by the Nazis to their clandestine networks in Europe and South America during the war. Ultra was launched by British intelligence in 1941 and ultimately became a cooperative Allied effort.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Listen: Hemingway's Short, Moving Nobel Prize Speech

I happen to be reading Paul Hendrickson's Hemingway's Boat, which is an interesting and insightful book, so I was happy to have come across a link to a recording of Ernest Hemingway reading his Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech.

You can listen to Hemingway read his speech at via the link below:    

Friday, October 7, 2011

President Marks 10 Years Of Service In Afghanistan

By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2011 - President Barack Obama marked the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan today by honoring those who have served there and noting their efforts toward bringing the war to a responsible end from a position of strength.

Operation Enduring Freedom, launched in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, targeted al-Qaida and its Taliban protectors in Afghanistan.

The initial volley began Oct. 7, 2001, with 15 land-based bombers and 25 Navy strike aircraft from carriers targeting al-Qaida Taliban-held airfields, terrorist training camps, command-and-control nodes and anti-aircraft positions. In addition, U.S. and British ships and submarines launched some 50 Tomahawk missiles.

The effort combined air power, precision-guided munitions and state-of-the-art communications with thousands of Afghan warriors on horseback or on foot.

Initially, the operation involved a relatively small force � a few hundred special operations forces and thousands of Afghan forces in the Northern Alliance supported by powerful U.S. air support. U.S. Marines and soldiers joined the force to confront extremist elements throughout Afghanistan.

Later, Operation Enduring Freedom shifted to a broader-based effort aimed at creating conditions in Afghanistan that gave people hope for the future and an ability to reject terrorists and their activities.

Ten years later, Obama noted progress in taking the fight against violence extremism to the source.

"In delivering justice to Osama bin Laden and many other al-Qaida leaders, we are closer than ever to defeating al-Qaida and its murderous network," he said.

Despite what he acknowledged to be "enormous challenges" remaining in Afghanistan, he cited progress made. "We've pushed the Taliban out of its key strongholds, Afghan security forces are growing stronger, and the Afghan people have a new chance to forge their own future," he said.

In doing so, working with the Afghan people and a coalition of dozens of nations around the world in Afghanistan and beyond, "we have shown that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam and that we are a partner with those who seek justice, dignity and opportunity," Obama said.

Looking to the future, Obama said the United States is putting "a difficult decade" behind it as it works toward "responsibly ending today's wars from a position of strength."

"As the rest of our troops come home from Iraq this year, we have begun to draw down our forces in Afghanistan and transition security to the Afghan people, with whom we will forge an enduring partnership," he said.

On the 10th anniversary of the war's beginning, the president said he and First Lady Michelle Obama "join all Americans in saluting the more than half a million men and women who have served bravely in Afghanistan to keep our country safe, including our resilient wounded warriors who carry the scars of war, seen and unseen."

"We honor the memory of the nearly 1,800 American patriots, and many coalition and Afghan partners, who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan for our shared security and freedom," he continued. "We pay tribute to our inspiring military families who have persevered at home with a loved one at war."

Obama also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to provide 9/11 generation veterans the "care, benefits and opportunities they deserve." In addition, he expressed thanks to diplomatic, intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement professionals who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to protect the United States and save American lives.

"Thanks to the extraordinary service of these Americans, our citizens are safer and our nation is more secure," he said. "As we reflect on 10 years of war and look ahead to a future of peace, Michelle and I call upon all Americans to show our gratitude and support for our fellow citizens who risk their lives so that we can enjoy the blessings of freedom and security."

The above Defense department photo by Air Force Senior Airman Grovert FuentesContreras shows Sgt. Andrew Wall, Security Forces team leader attached to Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, providing security for his civil affairs teammates during a visit to the district center in Shinkai, Afghanistan, Oct. 4, 2011. Wall is deployed from Charlie Company, 182nd Infantry Division, Massachusetts National Guard.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

007 is 49: Dr No And James Bond Burst On The Silver Screen In 1962

MI6, the James Bond web site, not the British Secret Intelligence Service, offers a look back at the film premiere of Dr No 49 years ago.

October 5th is the cinematic James Bond's birthday, as it was on this day in 1962 that 007 burst on to the silver screen in "Dr No" in cinemas across the UK. But the progress of James Bond from the printed page of Ian Fleming's adventures to the big screen EON Productions movies was not an easy passage.

Ian Fleming, seen in the above photo with Sean Connery on the set of Dr No, did not initially like the actor as his Commander Bond and he told a colleague that he found the film to be "Dreadful. Simply dreadful."

He later came to like Sean Connery and he revised his view of Dr No, stating that while his readers might be dissappointed, those who have not read the novel will think Dr No was a "wonderful film."

Ian Fleming lived to see the film version of From Russia With Love and visited the set of Goldfinger, but he died before Goldfinger was released.

You cna read the rest of the Mi6 piece via the below link:

You can also read MI6's coverage of the production of the film via the below link: