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January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein

Petraeus Warns Of ‘Nightmare’ Scenario

At a conference in Tel Aviv last week, former CIA Director David Petraeus warned of a “nightmare” scenario in which missile proliferation could provide terrorists the capability to shoot down a civilian airliner.

Petraeus didn’t mention that the largest terrorist looting of Man-Portable-Air-Defense-Systems, or MANPADS, took place immediately after the U.S.-NATO military campaign that helped to end Muammar Khaddafi’s rule in Libya.

Khaddafi had hoarded Africa’s biggest known reserve of MANPADS, with his stock said to number between 15,000 and 20,000. Many of the missiles were stolen by militias fighting in Libya, including those backed by the U.S. in their anti-Khaddafi efforts.

Petraeus made his remarks about MANPADS at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, a think tank at Tel Aviv University.

He referred to a video posted on YouTube by the Sinai-based Ansar Jerusalem jihadist group, which claimed it had fired a surface-to-air missile at an Egyptian helicopter. “I mean, shooting down a helicopter with an apparent shoulder-fired missile is a big deal,” Petraeus said.

“As you know, that was always our worst nightmare, that a civilian airliner would be shot down by one. Which is why we were so concerned when they moved around,” he said.

The MANPADS didn’t just “move around,” though. Thousands were looted when Khaddafi’s reserves were unprotected following the NATO campaign there in 2011.

At the time, CBS News reported the U.S. was unable to secure “thousands” of MANPADS. CBS quoted a “well-placed source” divulging that hundreds of missiles were tracked going to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, the Al Qaeda franchise based in Algeria that is now considered to be one of the gravest threats to the U.S.

In a largely unnoticed speech to a think tank seven months before the Benghazi attack, a top State Department official described an unprecedented multi-million-dollar U.S. effort to secure the MANPADS. He said the efforts were taking place in Benghazi, where a leading U.S. expert was deployed.

The official, Andrew J. Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, explained that U.S. experts were fully coordinating the collection efforts with the Libyan opposition.

Shapiro conceded that the Western-backed rebels did not want to give up the weapons, particularly MANPADS, which were the focus of the weapons collection efforts.

The information may shed light on why the U.S. special mission in Benghazi was attacked Sept. 11, 2012.

 

Has The Pot Been Assigned To Call The Kettle Black?

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who recently was named to a new presidential panel to review the government’s handling of “big data” stored at National Security Agency databases, has a history of her own tied to investigating the personal lives of other people.

That’s because she is a primary funder of the Media Matters for America progressive activist group, which previously declared “war” on Fox News and reportedly sought to look into the personal lives of journalists.

In 2012, Media Matters found itself in hot water after the Daily Caller exposed the group’s purported illicit tactics, including compiling a de facto enemies list and reportedly seeking to investigate reporters and news personalities.

The Daily Caller reported it obtained internal memos from Media Matters that revealed the group employed an “opposition research team” to “target its political enemies.”

Reported the Daily Caller: “Included in the list of targets are right-leaning websites, conservative think tanks, prominent financiers and donors, and more than a dozen specific Fox News Channel and News Corporation employees.”

One memo reportedly stated that Media Matters investigations “will focus on the backgrounds, connections, operations and political and financial activities of the individuals.”

This information came amid reports White House staffers held regular meetings and even a weekly conference call with Media Matters.

The Media Matters donor list includes the Pritzker Family Foundation, which donated a total of $400,000 to the progressive attack group in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The family foundation is directed by Penny Pritzker.

 

On Jan. 23, new White House counselor John Podesta announced a comprehensive review of the way that “big data” can affect “the way we live and work” and “the relationship between government and citizens.”

The panel will include Pritzker, Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz, Obama science adviser John Holdren, economic adviser Gene Sperling and other senior government officials.

Podesta anticipates that the panel’s conclusions will frame “the key questions that the collection, availability, and use of ‘big data’ raise – both for our government, and the nation as a whole.”

Senate Confirms Muhammad Jamal Network’s Involvement In Benghazi Attack

A Senate investigation confirmed for the first time that an Egyptian organization participated in the deadly attack on the U.S. special mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.

The 88-page Senate report states that “individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including … the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012, attacks.”

Until now, the U.S. government has not connected the Egypt-based Jamal Network with the Benghazi attack.

In October 2013, the State Department declared the Muhammad Jamal Network an official terrorist organization. However, the agency’s indictment of the group and its leader, Muhammad Jamal, doesn’t mention Benghazi.

The State Department document says “Jamal formed the MJN after his release from Egyptian prison in 2011 and established several terrorist training camps in Egypt and Libya.”

The United Nations, meanwhile, has accused Jamal of participating in the attack. A UN Security Council resolution issued in October 2013 added the Jamal Network to its list of Al Qaeda groups. Unlike the State Department description, the UN resolution details Jamal’s alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. special mission and nearby CIA annex.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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