Saturday, June 30, 2012

U.S. Paves Way For Counter-Drug Cooperation Success In Africa

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
STUTTGART, Germany, June 29, 2012 - Last October, when U.S. Africa Command was garnering unprecedented international attention during its campaign to protect Libyan civilians from Moammar Ghadafi's violent crackdown against a rebellion, the command achieved another, less headline-dominating victory.
A team from the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio and U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team 91104 dispose of bags of illegal narcotics Oct. 15, 2009, during counterpiracy operations off the coast of Somalia. The team seized and disposed of 4 tons of hashish. Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Bash

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Police in Cape Verde, a small group of islands off Africa's west coast, seized an estimated 3,300 pounds of cocaine in the country's largest-ever drug bust. The cocaine had originated in South America and was transiting through Cape Verde bound for Europe, Africom officials said.
And as confirmed by an International Institute for Strategic Studies report in April, proceeds from shipments like this one are a major funding source for terrorist activities.
Thanks in large part to the new Africom-funded Counter-Narcotics and Maritime Security Operations Center in Cape Verde, profits from the $100 million in captured cocaine there never made it into terrorists' hands.
The center, built with about $1.5 million from Africom and formally presented to the Cape Verdean government in May 2010, is enabling the country's police, coast guard and military to collaborate more closely to crack down on illicit trafficking, piracy and other transnational threats, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Huebschman said.
"We feel that interagency center was a key asset that helped facilitate this very significant drug seizure," Huebschman, chief of Africom's counternarcotics and law enforcement assistance division, told American Forces Press Service.
The center features inter-island communications relays that give Cape Verdean government agencies and offices the ability to share information and coordinate their activities against narco-trafficking and other illegal activities, Huebschman explained.
To complement its operations, the United States also helped Cape Verde upgrade its tiny, four-craft patrol boat fleet and donated another small high-speed vessel.
As a result, Cape Verde is better equipped to monitor and patrol its vast territorial waters and economic exclusion zone, with the United States providing only a supporting role, Huebschman said.
Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, Africom's commander, called these efforts an example of the capacity-building initiatives that are helping Africans to solve African problems.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in February, Ham called narcotics trafficking a destabilizing influence throughout Africa, particularly in West Africa.
"The Africans are not the overall consumers of these drugs that are coming from Central and South America," he told the House panel. "But they are the transit point for the narcotics that go into Europe."
Yet the consequences impact Africa directly, he said, breeding corruption and undermining good governance wherever illegal narcotics flow.
"That," he told Congress, "works contrary to our national interests."
As narco-traffickers move cocaine shipments through West Africa, their counterparts in Afghanistan and Pakistan are increasingly funneling heroin shipments through East Africa, Huebschman reported. In addition, traffickers are beginning to pay couriers in drugs rather than cash, he said, creating new local markets for drugs on the continent.
Africom is working with its African partners to confront narcotrafficking head-on, while also drawing on resources and expertise from its staff representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FBI and Coast Guard, all of which have reach-back to their agencies in the United States.
"This is really a problem we have approached through a whole-of-government effort," Huebschman said.
The efforts run the gamut, from training to building capacity within partners' civilian law enforcement agencies or equipment for them to operate, to minor construction projects to establish bases for their operations.
"We also do projects that promote information sharing, like computer systems and telecommunications systems," Huebschman said. "All are geared toward providing these law enforcement agencies with an enhanced capability to be able to attack these drug-trafficking organizations."
For example, officials used high-tech full-body scanners provided by Africom and ICE-led training to interdict a drug courier at one of Nigeria's international airports almost immediately after putting the system into operation, Huebschman reported.
The scanners have proven so successful in supporting Nigeria's counternarcotics efforts that the United States last year removed Nigeria from its list of major illicit drug-producing and drug-trafficking countries.
Meanwhile, Africom continues to promote cooperation among its African partners so they can provide a unified front to address the problem.
For example, law enforcement officials from seven West African countries met in Sierre Leone in December to explore ways to curtail drug trafficking in the region. The conference, organized by the U.S. State and Justice departments under the auspices of the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative, focused heavily on the need to combat transnational organized crime activities, particularly corruption, in West Africa.
A new strategy document developed through that initiative is designed to take this effort to the next level by leveraging ongoing efforts by international partners and organizations: G8 partners, The European Union, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, among them.
"We're trying to approach this problem from an international perspective, and to leverage all the resources and capabilities that these various countries and agencies bring to this challenging problem," Huebschman said.
Meanwhile, rather than basking in the glory of their recent cocaine interdiction, the Cape Verdeans are continuing to exercise with their counterparts from the United States and Europe to improve their maritime security operations.
They recently took part in the multinational Saharan Express 2012 exercise, part of the Africa Partnership Station mission focused on combating illicit activities -- such as illegal fishing, narcotics-trafficking and piracy -- that are endangering the maritime security in many of the participant nations.
Ten regional militaries participated in the training, conducted off the coasts of Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia, with scenarios that included visit, board, search and seizures, search-and-rescue scenarios, medical casualty and radio communication drills, and information management practice techniques.
"We live in a world that is confronted with many problems like piracy, drug trafficking, terrorism, organized crime," said Col. Alberto Ferdandes, chief of staff for the Cape Verde armed forces. "It's necessary for each of us to find a solution to respond to these problems in an efficient manner, we need to have a communal response and it is important that we are all prepared so we can produce a unified action."
"We all know that illegal fishing threatens the food security of our countries," agreed Senegalese Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Mohamed Sane. "Illegal acts like immigration, arms trafficking, pollution, piracy and terrorism threaten social stability. No maritime power can face these challenges alone."
(Navy Lt. Nathan Potter, public affairs officer for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs, contributed to this article.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

The James Bond Film 'The Living Daylights' Is 25 Years Old Today

The web site MI6 reports that the James Bond film, The Living Daylights is 25-years old today.

Timothy Dalton's 007 debut in "The Living Daylights" was released in the UK on 29th July 1987.

Dalton brought a harder, grittier James Bond to the silver screen  

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

You can also read an earlier post on Timothy Dalton and The Living Daylights via the below link:   

Economic Espionage Is A Growing Foreign Intelligence Threat To American Jobs And Homeland Security, Says Assistant FBI Director

C. Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI's Assistant Director, Counterintelligence Division, spoke to a Congressional committee about the threat of economic espionge.

For the past year and a half, I have had the privilege of leading the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division (CD). Our mission is to identify, disrupt, and defeat the efforts of foreign intelligence services operating inside the United States. In the FBI’s pending case load for the current fiscal year, economic espionage losses to the American economy total more than $13 billion. The health of America’s companies is vital to our economy, and our economy is a matter of national security. But the FBI, with our partners, is making strides in disrupting economic espionage plots. In just the last four years, the number of arrests the FBI has made associated with economic espionage has doubled; indictments have increased five-fold; and convictions have risen eight-fold. In just the current fiscal year, the FBI has made 10 arrests for economic espionage related charges; federal courts have indicted 21 of our subjects (including indictments of five companies), and convicted nine defendants. In the current fiscal year so far, we have already surpassed the statistics recorded for FY 2011 and expect them to continue to rise. With each year, foreign intelligence services and their collectors become more creative and more sophisticated in their methods to undermine American business and erode the one thing that most provides American business its leading edge; our ability to innovate.
As the FBI’s economic espionage caseload is growing, so is the percentage of cases attributed to an insider threat, meaning that, individuals currently (or formerly) trusted as employees and contractors are a growing part of the problem.

You can read the entire testimony via the below link:

International Drug Trafficker Extradited From Czech Republic To United States

The DEA released the below information yesterday.

Shiraz Malik, 34, an alleged international drug trafficker, has been extradited from the Czech Republic to the United States to face charges filed in the Eastern District of California. 
Malik, a Pakistani national who resided in Poland, is alleged to have controlled a wide-ranging drug trafficking organization that used the Internet and front companies in Europe to sell various drugs and controlled substances to customers worldwide.
He was arrested at the Prague International Airport on September 8, 2011, following a lengthy investigation that included undercover meetings in three European countries.
His extradition to the United States, which took place June 22, 2012 was announced today by Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams; United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin B. Wagner; Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Marcus Williams; ICE Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Clark Settles; and El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini.
Malik made his first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows today for arraignment and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered detained pending trial.
“This transnational drug trafficking organization had tentacles that extended across multiple continents, where they operated without regard for life or law. We will continue to fully investigate the extent of this organization and its operations. The success of this case would not be possible without the outstanding assistance and support received from our foreign and domestic counterparts,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Williams.
U.S. Attorney Wagner said: “The indictment alleges that Shiraz Malik controlled a worldwide organization that trafficked in a variety of dangerous drugs. But if Mr. Malik believed that his movement among multiple countries would protect him from law enforcement, he was mistaken. Just as his operation was international, so was the effort to apprehend him. We are grateful for the cooperation of Interpol and law enforcement authorities in several countries who assisted in the investigation, and we are pleased that Malik will be facing justice in Sacramento.”
“Upon conviction of the drug related offenses, Malik is subject to forfeit all property, real and personal, involved in the violations,” said IRS-CI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Goss. “One of the government’s most powerful weapons in fighting crime is the ability to seize a criminal’s assets through asset forfeiture. By taking away their assets and profits, we deprive criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activity.”
“The sale of controlled substances over the Internet by unlicensed vendors like this defendant poses a serious health threat to those who shop for prescription drugs online,” said Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Sacramento. “This extradition shows how law enforcement agencies worldwide are working together to protect consumers by dismantling these illegal and highly dangerous criminal enterprises.”
According to the 40-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of California on September 28, 2011, from June 1, 2008 through September 8, 2011, Malik sold pharmaceuticals, drugs, and highly regulated chemicals to customers in the United States, Europe, Mexico and other countries and conspired to launder the profits of that activity. According to court documents, Malik was in charge of an operation that involved persons in multiple countries who collected and shipped his products and assisted in money laundering.
In May 2008, DEA agents learned of two business-to-business Internet websites on which businesses were offering to sell and illegally import into the United States pharmaceutical drugs such as Oxycontin, which are Controlled Substances under U.S. law, and regulated chemicals such as ephedrine HCL, which is a precursor chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine. Two businesses that were offering controlled substances through the websites were Shama Medical Store in Karachi, Pakistan and Good Luck Trading Company in the United Kingdom. Both businesses referred customers to email addresses associated with Shiraz Malik.
According to court documents, undercover agents, primarily using email communications, made numerous purchases of pharmaceutical drugs, ephedrine, ketamine (a commonly abused anesthetic), and heroin from both Shama Medical and Good Luck Trading. Malik had the drugs shipped to the agents in Sacramento. Malik also sent them numerous samples of various pharmaceutical drugs, heroin, and methamphetamine in order to obtain their business. Malik maintained at least two bank accounts in Poland that he used to receive payments for Internet drug purchases from undercover agents.
According to documents filed in the case, undercover agents met with Malik on three separate occasions in Milan, Italy (June 2009), Vienna, Austria (November 2009), and in Budapest, Hungary (August 2010). During those meetings, with the cooperation of law enforcement officials in the host countries, the agents posed as U.S.-based illegal drug dealers and had discussions with Malik about future purchases and possible collaborative efforts. In the meetings, Malik explained that his operation sold a variety of pharmaceutical and controlled substances including: steroids, OxyContin, ketamine, diazepam, lidocaine, illegal drugs including heroin from Pakistan, Ecstasy from Holland, methamphetamine (believed to be made in the Czech Republic), and ephedrine from India or China.
According to court documents, Malik took the orders from customers via the Internet and coordinated with his people in Pakistan to fill the orders. The drugs were sent from Pakistan to the customers, and Malik emailed to the customers the tracking numbers that his co-conspirators in Pakistan gave him. Malik sold large quantities of ephedrine to one or more customers in Mexico, the country of origin for most of the methamphetamine sold in the United States.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided invaluable assistance. Assistant United States Attorneys Richard J. Bender and Daniel S. McConkie are prosecuting the case.
If convicted of the charges, Malik faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges in the indictments are merely allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Figure In Scarfo Jr. Organized Crime Case Pleads Guilty Over Bullets

George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter offers a piece on the Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. (seen in the above photo) organized crime case.

A minor player in what authorities allege was a multi-million-dollar scam orchestrated by mobster Nicky Scarfo Jr. and his top associate, Salvatore Pelullo, pleaded guilty to a weapons charge Wednesday during a brief hearing in federal court in Camden.

Apparently it was a discussion about some "size 9 shoes" that did him in.

Todd Stark, 43, of Ocean City, N.J., who served as Pelullo's driver, admitted purchasing two boxes of 9mm bullets for Scarfo in December 2007.

As a convicted felon, Scarfo, 46, is prohibited from possessing a gun or ammunition.

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

James Bond Voted Best Film Spy Of All Time

In a  previous post, we reported that Ian Fleming's iconic character James Bond was voted 'the Greatest British Hero," beating out other fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes.

Now the British newspaper the Telegraph reports that James Bond was also voted the "Best Film Spy Of All Time" in another poll.

You can read the story via the below link:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Defense Intelligence Agency Security Briefing: A Look Back At Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard

With reports that Israeli President Shimon Peres recently asked President Obama to pardon convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the Pollard case.

A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) had the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) release an old security briefing video on Pollard to the IRmep for Policy and Law Enforcement.

In the late 1980s, the time the DIA produced this briefing video, I was the adminiatrative officer of a Defense Department command in Philadelphia. I oversaw security programs for the command and I conducted security briefings and seminars for our military and civilian personnel.

I often visited DIA headquarters for briefings and security training and I brought a copy of this video home to Philadelphia and used it during some my own briefings.

You can watch the video via the below link:

I later interviewed the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Special Agent, Ronald J. Olive, who investigative Pollard. You can read my Counterterrorism magazine piece via the below links:  

World Faces An 'Astonishing' Level Of Cyber Threats, Says British MI5 Chief

Megan Neal at the New York Daily News reports on warnings of cyber threats.

The West faces an "astonishing" threat of cyberattack and cyberespionage, the British spy chief said Monday.

Thousands of hackers in underground, organized cybercrime networks are targeting businesses, universities and government data.

And the threat isn't only from criminals. Government-sponsored cyber-spying is widespread is certain countries - China chief among them, ABC News reported.

"The extent of what is going on is astonishing," said Jonathan Evans, director general of Britain's MI5, in a speech to financial executives in London Monday. It was his first public address in two years.

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

James Bond Declared The Greatest British Hero In Recent Poll

The web site reports that James Bond was voted the greatest British hero.

Ian Fleming's iconic character came out on top in a poll that pitted James Bond against Sherlock Holmes and other British fictional heroes.

You can read the piece via the below link:

To learn more about Ian Fleming and James Bond you can read my online Crime Beat column via the below link:

Monday, June 25, 2012

'Dashing' Scottish Aristocrat Who Inspired Character of Sir Hilary Bray In Ian Fleming's James Bond Thriller, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Dies, Aged 87

The British newspaper the Telegraph reported on the death of the Scottish aristocrat that aided Ian Fleming in his research and became the model for a character in Fleming's thriller, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

In real life he was the laird of the Hebridean island of Great Bernera and claimant to a principality in Dalmatia. In fiction, however, Mirrlees was Sir Hilary Bray, Bt, a genealogist with the College of Arms whose identity Bond assumes to trace the criminal mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

In 1960, when Fleming was researching the heraldic background for the book, Mirrlees was Rouge Dragon Pursuivant at the College. After agreeing to collaborate with Fleming, he was featured in the novel under the heraldic pseudonym Sable Basilisk. The association was commemorated in a privately produced book, Sable Basilisk, which contained notes and correspondence between Mirrlees and Fleming from their spell of joint research.

Mirrlees' influence on Fleming ran deep. Mirrlees claimed descent from an ancient Basque family, whose members were said to be born without earlobes. Fleming gave this unusual deformity to Blofeld. It was probably also Mirrlees who came up with the Bond family motto: "The World is Not Enough," later used as the title of a film in the 007 canon. 

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

You can also watch the trailer to the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service via the below link:

Note: Count Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees photo appears in the top. Ian Fleming appears in the middle photo and actor George Lazenby appears as James Bond disguised as Sir Hilary Bray in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service in the bottom photo. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Look Back At The James Bond Film, 'The Living Daylights'

Chris Wright at looks back at The Living Daylights and Timothy Dalton as Ian Fleming's iconic fictional character James Bond.

Timothy Dalton’s approach to the character was strikingly different from Moore’s from the outset. This Bond marked more of a return to the early days of the series, in particular Connery’s From Russia With Love. It was a Bond straight from the pages of Fleming’s novels, a cynical Bond with a hardened intelligence and a sly disregard for authority. Dalton’s Bond would be grounded in reality, unafraid to show his feelings through the tender love story that develops to the darker side of his emotions when his colleague is murdered. While he still allows room for humour, it is more naturalistic and offers small relief during the film’s more intense moments.

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

You can watch a trailer of The Living Daylights via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post that looked back at Timothy Dalton as James Bond in License To Kill via the below link:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Former CIA Official Reveals The Truth About Waterboarding

Ronald Kessler, the veteran journalist and author of several books on the FBI and the CIA, offers an interesting column at on a former CIA official who wrote a book defending waterboarding and other aggressive CIA actions after 9/11.

For nearly 10 years, we have been subjected to claims by critics and the media that CIA-enhanced interrogation and waterboarding were useless and constituted torture.

Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former chief of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told the real story recently to a luncheon gathering of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).

You can read the rest of Ronald Kessler's column via the below link: 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review Of Henry A. Crumpton's 'The Art Of Intelligence'

Joseph C. Goulden, a veteran journalist, author and expert on intelligence and espionage matters, wrote an excellent review of former CIA officer Henry A. Crumpton's The Art of Intelligence: Lessons From a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service.

The review appeared in today's Washington Times.

You can read the review via the below link:

You can also watch a video of Henry Crumpton being interviewed on 60 Minutes via the below link:

And you can read my interview with Joseph C. Goulden via the below links:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What The Huck Did They Do To The Mark Twain Classic?

Neil S. Friedman at wrote an interesting piece on the censorship of Mark Twain's classic American novel, Huckleberry Finn.

This argument subsequently resurfaced when a publisher issued a revised edition of Huck Finn and changed more than 200 mentions of the “N” word, plus a smaller number from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and replaced them with the word “slaves.” Other alterations included “Injun Joe” changed to “Indian Joe” and “half-breed” to “half-blood,” presumably to avoid an added chorus of disapproval from Native Americans in search of equal treatment.

When political correctness is used to alter celebrated works, which contain conventional language and attitudes at the time they were published, it’s deceptive and disgraceful, no matter how repugnant some might perceive them.

When Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were published, in 1885 and 1876 respectively, the “N” word was not necessarily uttered with malice, but rather out of habit. As a result, censoring the word today dilutes and misrepresents the original narratives.

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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Inside Crime Story: FBI Nabs Ocean's Eleven-Style Ring of Thieves After Biggest Heist in U.S. History

Ted Sherman at the Star-Ledger wrote an interesting story about an Ocean's Eleven-style ring of thieves.

A video surveillance camera captured the fuzzy image of two men apparently checking to see if there was anyone inside the office. Then they quickly carried a ladder to get to the roof. Little more than tar and metal sheeting, it would not take much effort to cut through if nobody was watching.

And nobody was.

The Enfield warehouse was about to become legend — the scene of an $80 million commercial drug heist, the biggest in U.S. history.

This is the inside story of how it went down and how authorities tracked and arrested 22 alleged members of an Ocean’s Eleven-style ring of thieves, who operated with their own trucks, warehouses and black market wholesalers.

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

'Fast And Furious' Whistleblower Says He's Disappointed One Year Later

More than a year after ATF Special Agent John Dodson first blew the whistle on the scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious, Dodson tells FoxNews that he's disheartened and disappointed by the congressional investigation and Attorney General Eric Holder's gunrunning probe.

You can read the story via the below link:

You can also read John Fund's piece on Eric Holder at National Review Online via the below link:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Bit Of Mark Twain On Father's Day

When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.

But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

-- Mark Twain

Pondering 'Papa' Hemingway On Father's Day

John Railey at the Winston-Salem Journal looks at Ernest Hemingway on Father's Day.

Ernest "Papa" Hemingway is back in the spotlight again, not that he ever really left. There's a new HBO movie about him, "Hemingway & Gellhorn." It's terrible.

But a biography of him that came out late last year, "Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961" by Paul Hendrickson, is excellent. It underscores that this father of 20th-century American literature who loved being called "Papa" by friends and referring to female friends as "daughter" wasn't that great a father to his three sons. That's no revelation to anyone who's read much about him. But writing finely himself, Hendrickson carefully peels away layer after layer, showing us what made Hemingway tick through the lens of his love for being on the water on his sport-fishing boat, the Pilar.

... This book leaves readers much to ponder, including the relationships between fathers and sons.

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

You can also read an earlier post on Hemingway's Boat via the below link: 

Looking Back On Father's Day

On this Father's Day, I once again think back to my late father, Edward M. Davis.

He was an electrician, a lineman and a good father.

A member of what has been called "the Greatest Generation," my father stepped up and joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and became an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) frogman.

I'm very proud of my father's World War II service.

I wrote briefly about my father in a magazine piece on the UDT frogmen and how they influenced today's modern SEALs.

You can read the piece via the below links:

Top Secret Report Reveals How Al Qaeda Executioners Were Captured By Ingenious British Elite SAS Soldiers

Mark Nicol and Ian Gallagher at the British newspaper the Daily Mail report on a top secret report on how the British elite unit the SAS captured two brutal al-Qaeda executioners in Iraq.

They killed with apparent impunity, effortlessly dodging capture by the world’s deadliest special forces.

Nothing, it seemed, could stop Al Qaeda’s two top Iraqi terrorists as they orchestrated a campaign of high-profile kidnappings, car bombings and executions in Baghdad and beyond.

At the height of their reign, one of them, Maher Ahmed Mahmoud az-Zubeidi, better known by his alias Abu Rami, was believed to have been responsible for the murders of 200 people each month.

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

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Kept His Hands Clean While A Fugitive In California

O'Ryan Johnson and Joe Dwinell at the Boston Herald report on the "Whitey" Bulger trial.

Mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s twisted hoarding obsession — exposed yesterday after hundreds of pages of titillating photos and documents were released by the feds — has given the widow of one of his alleged victims new hope that the hellish history of the Southie menace will finally come out.

Bulger, 82, is set to go on trial in federal court in Boston Nov. 5 for the murders of 19 people. 

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

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ronald Kessler's Column: Former U.S. Attorney Says Leaks Are Outrageous

Ronald Kessler, the veteran journalist and author of several books on the CIA and the FBI, interviewed former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova in his latest column at Newsmax,com.

The White House has engaged in “outrageous” leaking in an obvious attempt to enhance President Obama’s re-election efforts, Joe diGenova, the former U.S. Attorney in Washington, tells Newsmax.

“There has been a pattern of stories — not just a story — but a pattern of stories clearly leaking sources and methods information in order to make the president look like he is a tough cookie,” says diGenova, a noted commentator on legal and political issues.

“When you look at the series of stories, they run over a set period of time,” diGenova says. “Not once during that time that these three or four articles were appearing did you hear an objection from the White House, not from the press podium, not from the president, not from the national security advisor, not from the CIA director, not from the Department of Defense, and not from the National Security Council.”

That clearly indicates the leaks were authorized, says diGenova.

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

Jamaican Drug Lord Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison

The DEA released the below information earlier this week:

Wilbert L. Plummer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and announced that Christopher Michael Coke, 43, the leader of the Jamaica-based international criminal organization, the "Shower Posse," also known as the "Presidential Click," was sentenced to 23 years in prison..

Coke has been designated by the U.S. Department of Justice as a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT). The CPOT list includes the world’s most dangerous narcotics traffickers.

Coke pled guilty on August 31, 2011 to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson.

DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Wilbert Plummer stated, “This sentencing shows the tenacity that law enforcement has upheld in order to identify, arrest and prosecute Christopher Coke and those like him who have been ‘untouchable’ criminals. For years, Coke has overseen cocaine and marijuana distribution as well as illegally traffic in firearms throughout the United States. Through concerted law enforcement efforts he has finally seen the consequences of his actions and has been sentenced to 23 years behind bars.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “From his home base in Jamaica, Christopher Coke presided over an international drug and weapons trafficking organization that he controlled through violence and intimidation for nearly two decades; enlisting an army of ‘soldiers’ to do his bidding. With his conviction, he is no longer able to traffick drugs in the U.S., move guns across our border, or terrorize people, and with today’s sentence; he will now spend a very long time in prison for his crimes.”

According to the superseding information and statements made during court proceedings:

Since the early 1990s, Coke led the Presidential Click, which had members in Jamaica, the United States, and other countries. He was based in the Tivoli Gardens area, a neighborhood in inner-city Kingston, Jamaica, that he controlled. Tivoli Gardens was guarded by a group of gunmen who acted at Cokes direction. They were armed with illegally trafficked firearms from the United States that Coke imported into Jamaica.

Since 1994, members of the Presidential Click have been involved in drug trafficking in locations throughout the world, including New York City, Miami, and Kingston, Jamaica. At Cokes direction and on his behalf, members distributed marijuana, cocaine, and crack cocaine and sent him the proceeds. They also supplied Coke with firearms that they obtained in the United States. The Presidential Click members relied on Coke to provide them with protection and to assist them in their drug businesses, including with respect to the resolution of narcotics related disputes.

For example, in May 2007, Coke and others agreed to assault a narcotics trafficker in the Bronx, New York, when the trafficker failed to pay a drug debt owed to another member of the Presidential Click. Coke was arrested by Jamaican authorities on June 22, 2010, near Kingston, Jamaica, and arrived in the Southern District of New York on June 24, 2010.

In addition to his prison term, Coke was sentenced to four years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.5 million in forfeiture.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the DEA’s New York Field Division and Caribbean Division’s Kingston Office. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division for their significant assistance in this case, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Kingston and the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Strauber and John Zach are in charge of the prosecution.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Henry Hill, 'Goodfellas' Gangster, Dies In California

George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter, writes about the death of Henry Hill.

Henry Hill, 69, the New York mobster whose life as a wiseguy and then as a government witness was the basis for the movie Goodfellas, died Tuesday in California.

More than any other mob figure in the late 20th century, Hill changed both the perception and the reality of Mafia life in America.

His story, first told in the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, laid bare the treachery and deceit that was at the core of the underworld.  

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


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Afghan National Sentenced To Life In Prison On drug Trafficking And Narco-Terrorism Charges

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information yesterday:
WASHINGTON – An Afghan national with ties to the Taliban was sentenced to life in prison today for conspiring to distribute heroin to the United States and for using drug proceeds to fund, arm and supply the Taliban, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Administrator Michele M. Leonhart of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Haji Bagcho, an Afghan national and large scale drug trafficker, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle in the District of Columbia. In addition to his prison term, Bagcho was ordered to forfeit $254,203,032 in drug proceeds along with his property in Afghanistan.
“Haji Bagcho led a massive drug production and trafficking operation that supplied heroin in more than 20 countries, including the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “In 2006 alone, he conducted heroin transactions worth more than $250 million. Bagcho used the profits of his narcotics trafficking operation to support high-level Taliban commanders in Afghanistan. Today’s life sentence is an appropriate punishment for one of the most notorious heroin traffickers in the world.”
“This is DEA at its finest, working in close collaboration with our Afghan partners to end the long reign of this Afghan drug lord whose drug proceeds financed terror,” said DEA Administrator Leonhart. “One of the world’s most prolific drug traffickers who helped fund the Taliban will spend his remaining days behind bars in a U.S. prison due to the relentless efforts of DEA, our Afghan counterparts and our prosecuting partners.”
Bagcho was convicted by a jury on March 13, 2012, after a three week trial, of one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, knowing and intending that it would be unlawfully imported into the United States; one count of distribution of one kilogram or more of heroin knowing and intending that it would be unlawfully imported into the United States; and one count of narco-terrorism. The trial, before Judge Huvelle, was only the second under the narco-terrorism statute since its enactment in 2006.
Bagcho was charged in a superseding indictment on Jan. 28, 2010, after his arrest and extradition to the United States from Afghanistan in May 2009.
The DEA, in cooperation with their Afghan counterparts, conducted the investigation, which revealed that Bagcho was one of the largest heroin traffickers in the world and manufactured the drug in clandestine laboratories along Afghanistan’s border region with Pakistan. According to information presented at trial, Bagcho, who had been operating his heroin business since at least the 1990s, sent the drug to more than 20 countries, including the United States. Proceeds from his heroin trafficking were then used to support high-level members of the Taliban in furtherance of their insurgency in Afghanistan.
With the help of cooperating witnesses, evidence showed that the DEA purchased heroin directly from Bagcho’s organization on two occasions, which Bagcho understood was destined for the United States. They also conducted several searches of residences belonging to Bagcho and his associates, recovering evidence consistent with drug trafficking. During one search, ledgers belonging to the defendant were found and were later introduced at trial. One ledger, cataloguing Bagcho’s activities during 2006 alone, reflected heroin transactions totaling more than 123,000 kilograms, worth more than $250 million. Based on heroin production statistics compiled by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime for 2006, the defendant’s trafficking accounted for approximately 20 percent of the total amount of heroin produced worldwide that year.
Over several years, evidence at trial established that Bagcho used a portion of his drug proceeds to provide cash, weapons and other supplies to the former Taliban governor of Nangarhar Province and two Taliban commanders responsible for insurgent activity in eastern Afghanistan, so that they could continue their “jihad” against western troops and the Afghan government.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Matthew Stiglitz and Marlon Cobar of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. The case was investigated by the DEA Special Operations Division in the United States, with assistance from the DEA’s Foreign Deployed Advisory Support Team and Kabul Country Office in Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and in close cooperation with Afghan law enforcement. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section provided invaluable support.
Note: I noted the arrest and conviction of Haji Bagcho in my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the DEA and the war on drugs. You can read my pieces on the DEA and the Philadelphia Police via the below link:

Monday, June 11, 2012

In William Boyd's James Bond Continuation Novel, Ian Fleming's Iconic Character Will Be Middle-Aged And More Realistic Than The Cinematic Bond

Anita Singh at the British newspaper the Telegraph reports on how William Boyd plans to offer an older, more realistic James Bond in his upcoming James Bond continuation novel.

The author has been chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write a new Bond adventure, which will be published in autumn 2013.

But Boyd’s creation will be a far cry from the screen Bond, who bedded beautiful women at every opportunity and faced down villains bent on world domination.
“He is a middle-aged man, a middle-aged spy, and that’s one of the things that interests me” Boyd told an audience at the Telegraph Hay Festival. The as-yet-untitled novel is set in 1969, with Bond aged 45.  

... He added: “The literary Bond is a far more interesting character than the Bond of the films, who is a sort of cartoon. The literary Bond is a much more troubled, complex, nuanced figure.”

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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mark Twain's Short Stories Stand The Test Of Time

Laura Skandera Trombey at the Los Angeles Times reviews the Everyman's Library collection of Mark Twain's short stories.

Mark Twain was on the lecture circuit for over three decades. He would take the stage feigning bemusement at discovering his audience and stand silently smoking one of the 30 cigars he would enjoy that day. He was a solitary performer working in dusty, drafty, dimly lit halls, sans audio equipment, Twain knew every trick to keep his audiences engaged. His delivery, emotion, intelligence and humor would bring crowds to their feet. The power was in his voice and that doesn't imply high volume, but his expressed genius.

"The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain" published in a new edition this month by the Everyman's Library, is reminiscent of Twain in performance. He is talking directly to you and determined to keep you entertained.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:,0,7035456.story

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ronald Kessler's Column: Pattern Of White House Leaks Threatens Nation's Security

Ronald Kessler, the veteran journalist and author writes about the White House leaks in his latest column.

An accelerating series of leaks of classified information all have two things in common: They directly endanger national security, and the stories reporting on them paint President Obama as a hero.

News reports on Tuesday disclosed that the FBI is probing the leaking of information about a classified U.S. cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, but a close look at recent developments uncovers a broad and disturbing pattern of leaks of some of the nation’s most guarded secrets by the Obama administration.
You can read the rest of the column via the below link:

Characters Brought Back From The Brink

In light of crime thriller writer Ian Rankin announcing the return of his popular fictional police inspector John Rebus, the British newspaper the Guardian looks at other authors who have revived their characters.

Other authors who breathed new life into old heroes include Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, John Updike, Anthony Burgess and even John le Carré

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

Note: I disagree with the Guardian writer when he states " the consensus among buffs is From Russia With Love is the last great Bond novel."

Like many Fleming "buffs," I think From Russia With Love is the best Bond novel, but Fleming wrote On Her Majesty's Secret Service later on and many Fleming fans, like me, consider this novel to be one of Fleming's best.     

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hemingway's Spanish 'Muse' Dies Aged 91

Fiona Govan at the British newspaper the Telegraph reports on the death of a woman who may have been the model for Ernest Hemingway's female character in his classic novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Maria Sans met the American writer when she was working in a field hospital as a volunteer nurse tending wounded members of the International Brigades during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.

...Miss Sans is thought to have been the inspiration behind the character of Maria in Hemingway's acclaimed novel, a role played by Ingrid Bergman opposite Gary Cooper in the 1943 Hollywood adaptation of the book.  

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

White House Confirms Death Of Al-Qaida's Second-In-Command

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2012 - The U.S. government has confirmed the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second in command of al-Qaida, a senior White House spokesman said yesterday.

"I can tell you that our intelligence community has intelligence that leads them to believe that al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, al-Libi, is dead," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney didn't provide details on how or where al-Libi was killed but he said the deceased terrorist had "served as al-Qaida's general manager" overseeing the group's day-to-day operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan and managing regional outreach.

"I can simply say that he was the No. 2 leader in al-Qaida, and this is the second time in less than a year that the No. 2 leader of al-Qaida has been removed from the battlefield," he said.

Al-Libi was deputy to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who assumed leadership of the terrorist network after Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed during an assault by U.S. Navy SEALs on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May of last year.

"[Al-Libi's] death is part of the degradation that has been taking place to core al-Qaida during the past several years," Carney said. "[This] degradation has depleted the ranks to such an extent that there is now no clear successor to take on the breadth of his responsibilities."

Carney noted the loss of al-Libi adds pressure to al-Zawahiri to effectively manage the group. "We believe al-Libi's death is a major blow to core al-Qaida, removing the No. 2 leader for the second time in less than a year and further damaging the group's morale and cohesion, and bringing it closer to its ultimate demise than ever before," he said.

Carney added that al-Libi's death represents another serious blow to al-Qaida in the wake of the demise of bin Laden, in what is an ongoing effort to disrupt, dismantle and defeat a foe that brought terror and death to the United States on 9/11, and has perpetrated acts of terrorism against innocent civilians around the globe.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honoring U.S. Sailors Lost During D-Day Invasion

In the above U.S. Navy photo, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus reads the inscription on the U.S. Navy memorial honoring Sailors lost during the D-Day invasion of Normandy at Utah Beach in Sainte Marie du Mont, France.

Mabus also delivered remarks at a local ceremony praising the extraordinary courage of the landing forces at Utah Beach on June 6, 1944, and highlighted the role of U.S. naval forces on that historic day.

The above U.S. Navy photo was taken by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

USS Enterprise Commemorates The Battle Of Midway

By Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Britney N. Epps, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs.

June 4, 2012.

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway with a ceremony conducted early in the morning June 4, a fitting tribute given the ship's close ties to the battle.

The previous USS Enterprise, CV-6, and her air wing played a vital role in the pivotal World War II battle that took place June 4-7, 1942.

The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

"On this day in 1942, the entire complexion of the war in the Pacific changed," said Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr., Enterprise's commanding officer, as he addressed the current Enterprise crew during the ceremony. "Thanks in no small part to the efforts of those serving aboard Enterprise."

Along with Enterprise, aircraft carriers USS Hornet (CV 8) and USS Yorktown (CV 5), along with U.S. strike forces, defeated the Imperial Japanese navy carrier task force under the direction of commander in chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, Adm. Yamamoto.

Japanese losses during the battle were staggering. The Japanese Navy lost all four of the large carriers that had attacked Pearl Harbor, a heavy cruiser, 248 carrier-based aircraft and over 3,000 lives, including 100 trained pilots who could not be replaced.

Enterprise and her air wing were credited with three of the four Japanese carriers sunk that day at Midway.

"We were not without losses of our own, however," said Rear Adm. Ted Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. "Although Enterprise was not attacked during the battle, her air wing suffered the heaviest losses of any air wing at sea up to that point."

At the opening of the ceremony, Carter described the heroic roles of the Sailors and Marines who fought and died during the historic battle.

"This morning, we pause for a few moments to reflect on the battle itself, the role each member of the Enterprise Strike Group played, and the sacrifices Sailors and Marines just like you made on those early days of June 1942," Carter told the crew.

Hamilton, Commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Capt. Jeffrey L. Trent and Capt. Joseph J. Leonard, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 2, also spoke about the roles Enterprise, the air wing and the destroyer strike group played during the battle.

"Knowing this is our legacy, it is an absolute honor and privilege to remember the heroes of the Battle of Midway aboard our nation's most historic and legendary aircraft carrier, a great warship with a longstanding bond with Destroyer Squadron Two," said Leonard.

The partnership between Enterprise and Destroyer Squadron 2 began at Midway 70 years ago and continues today.

As part of the commemoration, Enterprise's First Class Petty Officer Association, detailed by Command Master Chief Dwayne E. Huff, performed a wreath-laying ceremony on the fantail aboard the ship. The fallen Sailors and Marines were also honored with a 21-gun salute and the sounding of "Taps," played by Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Timothy Lumpkin.

"While we look back on the incredible achievements of Midway and reflect on what it took for those Sailors to win, we should also look forward with great confidence," said Carter. "Midway taught us that this strength is not built upon technology and training, but rather brave, passionate Sailors and Marines just like you."

Aircraft assigned to CVW-1 performed a missing-man flyover formation June 3 to commemorate the aviators who lost during the battle.

Throughout the course of the day Enterprise went on to announce a historical timeline recounting the events of the Battle of Midway over the ship's announcing system.

"You preserve and celebrate the rich history and tradition of Enterprise," said Carter. "It is our past that has brought us to today and our past that will continue to shape our future," said Carter.

The above U.S. Navy photo was taken by Chief Intelligence Specialist Daniel B. Mayfield.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Delta Force: The U.S. Army's Quiet Professionals

Rowan Scarborough at the Washington Times wrote an interesting piece about the Army's Delta Force, the special operations unit that captured Saddam Hussein.

As Navy SEALs bask in the limelight for daring missions, some in the Army are wondering whether the other half of the nation's counter-terrorism covert warriors - Delta Force - is being upstaged and left in the shadows.

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

Note: I interviewed retired Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, a founding member of Delta Force who went on to command the unit, for Counterterrorism magazine.

You can read my interview via the below links: 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Next Stieg Larsson? A Review Of Jens Lapidus' Crime Novel 'Easy Money'

Joseph C. Goulden looks at Jens Lapidus' new crime novel, Easy Money, in the Washington Times.

Goulden notes that Lapidus is being acclaimed in Europe as the next Stieg Larsson.

You can read the review via the below link:

Note: I'm not a fan of Stieg Larsson and I could not finish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but Easy Money sounds interesting.

H.L. Mencken's Forgotten Short Stories

I've read a good bit of H.L. Mencken's journalism over the years, and I have several of his books in my library, including his Newspaper Days, but I didn't know the great critic, editor and writer, known as the "Sage of Baltimore, wrote fiction.

Marion Elizabeth Rodgers at the Washington Times reviewed a collection of Menken's short stories.

Few People (save die-hard aficionados) would guess that the legendary critic and journalist Henry Louis Mencken once wrote fiction. Now Douglas Olson, a Mencken aficionado himself, has collected 17 short stories, published between 1900-1905, even unearthing one previously unrecorded by Mencken's expert bibliographer, Betty Adler.

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

Friday, June 1, 2012

Terrorism-Crime Nexus A Growing Concern, Defense Department Official Says

By Cheryl Pellerin

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2012 - The convergence of crime, terrorism and insurgency and its threat to U.S. national security is a growing concern for the Defense Department, whose role in the fight began in the 1980s and continues to evolve, a senior defense official said today.

William F. Wechsler, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats, spoke during an irregular warfare summit sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement.

"The Department of Defense's role in this effort goes back ... to the 1980s," Wechsler said, when America was flooded with vast amounts of cocaine coming from Colombia and across the Caribbean into Florida.

"This was a direct invasion of our sovereignty, of ... our borders. And before the Department of Defense was asked to [intervene], this issue was only getting worse," he added.

At the time, 75 percent of all the cocaine that came into the country came directly into Florida in small boats and planes and law enforcement could do little to prevent it, Wechsler said.

Today less than 1 percent of the nation's illegal drugs are arriving through Florida, he said.

Part of the solution involved establishing the Interagency Task Force South, part of U.S. Southern Command, based at Naval Air Station Key West in Florida to conduct counter-drug trafficking operations and to link intelligence and operations.

"As part of that process we learned a great deal that has helped us in the current war in Afghanistan, for instance," Wechsler said.

Since that time, he added, the problems of transnational organized crime have changed radically, driven by globalization. They operate on a worldwide scale with diversified commodities for trafficking and have changed from top-down hierarchies to network-based organizations.

"There are also a lot of new methods for doing business," Wechsler said. "Information technology, penetration of illicit markets, infiltrating companies and capturing governments have really put [transnational crime] in a different zone than it was 15 years ago."

In 2011, President Barack Obama issued his strategy to combat transnational organized crime. "Most importantly for the Department of Defense it declares that transnational organized crime is a national security threat," Wechsler added.

The strategy, he said, also noted the complex and in some places opaque relationships developed among criminal organizations, terrorist groups and insurgent movements.

This means that more terrorist organizations are using criminal mechanisms to support themselves, Wechsler said, and more criminal organizations are using the tactics of terrorist organizations.

"The guys in Mexico didn't come up by themselves with the idea of beheading someone, videotaping it and posting it on the Internet," Wechsler said. "They watched terrorist organizations do this and thought, 'What a great idea. We can apply this for our own purposes.'"

In the globalized world, he said, such ideas move rapidly from one group to another, even if there's no contact between them.

Connections can now be seen between previously unrelated criminal and terrorist organizations. An example of this, Wechsler said, is last year's alleged attempt by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force to use members of Los Zetas, Mexico's violent criminal syndicate, to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

Wechsler said James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, recently testified that "terrorists and insurgents will increasingly turn to crime and criminal networks for funding and logistics, in part because of U.S. and western success in attacking other sources of their funding. Criminal connections and activities of Hezbollah and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb illustrate this trend."

With the exception of Afghanistan, Wechsler said, DOD's role in fighting this escalating threat is nearly always in support of law enforcement or partner countries.

In Afghanistan, he added, where there is a blending of crime, terrorism and insurgency on the battlefield, "we've really come a great long way on this."

Wechsler said such work has required military operations, special operations, and integration with law enforcement, along with host country initiatives, and with the State and Justice departments.

"If one assumes we're going to confront these kinds of adversaries, or other countries that we're going to support are going to confront these adversaries, it's a model for our military planning in the years to come," he said.

Another Defense Department success, he said, is its support of Colombia's decade-long fight against the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, called the FARC.

"Colombia was in really dire straits [in the 1990s]," Wechsler said. "The war isn't over but the bottom line is that the FARC is a shadow of what it was and Colombia has taken back tremendous amounts of territory."

That country, he added, "has gone from being an exporter of insecurity throughout the region to being an exporter of security and a great partner for many of its neighbors on the lessons it's learned and in capacity building around the world."

Today the Defense Department is learning from these successes, "whether we support law enforcement, whether we support a host nation or whether we are directly involved in the fight ourselves," Wechsler said.

The next steps, he added, are to build lessons learned into planning and training processes, and to "make sure we have the right mechanisms to work collaboratively with everyone in the interagency because in many if not most of these efforts, the Department of Defense isn't in the lead, we're in support."