February 17th, 2011
By Newsmax Wires
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is demanding answers from the CIA and Pentagon after an Iraqi defector stepped forward to admit that he fabricated claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in advance of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Powell — who has stated that his prewar speech to the United Nations accusing Iraq of harboring weapons of mass destruction was a "blot" on his record — spoke out a day after Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi told the Guardian newspaper that he made up claims of mobile biological weapons and clandestine factories when making reports to Germany's intelligence service, the BND.
The BND had approached Janabi, who was codenamed "Curveball" by U.S. and German intelligence officials, in 2000 and again in 2002 looking for inside information about Iraq.
"They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime," Janabi told the British newspaper. "I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy . . . Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right. I had a problem with the Saddam regime, I wanted to get rid of him and now I had this chance."
The revelations shocked Powell, who presented America's case against Saddam in a Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the United Nations.
"It has been known for several years that the source called Curveball was totally unreliable," Powell told the Guardian. "The question should be put to the CIA and the DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] as to why this wasn't known before the false information was put into the NIE sent to Congress, the president's State of the Union address and my 5 February presentation to the U.N."
The DIA is the Defense Department's intelligence arm. The NIE is the National Intelligence Estimate, a classified document that reflects the views of America's 16 intelligence agencies and is given to key policymakers.
In his speech, Powell made mention of "firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails . . . The source was an eyewitness who supervised one of these facilities." That source was Janabi, who now admits it was all a lie.
That fateful presentation by the soldier-diplomat to the world body lent considerable credibility to then-President George W. Bush's case against Iraq and for going to war to remove Saddam from power. Bush and other high U.S. officials cited the threat posed by Iraqi biological weapons as justification for the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
"I'm the one who presented it to the world, and (it) will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It is painful now," Powell said in an 2005 interview with Barbara Walters. In the speech, Powell said he had relied on information he received at CIA briefings.
Although he told Walters that then-CIA Director George Tenet "believed what he was giving to me was accurate," Powell admitted that "the intelligence system did not work well . . . There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at the time that some of those sources were not good, and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up.
"That devastated me," he said.
February 16th, 2011
By Barry Secrest
In a grand bow to the "forces of Democracy," the people have spoken in Egypt. President Mubarak, after the hurried gleaning of a wealth totaling anywhere from $ 40 to $ 70 Billion dollars, eased out of his Presidential palace and embarked to his home on the Red Sea. Thus an Egyptian authoritarian rule that has been in place for generations has ended; good riddance being the operative sentiment here, right? Well, perhaps, perhaps not. You see, the only problem with all of this becomes: What type of "Democracy" might we witness coming to fruition and at what cost to the Middle East, even the world? Remains to be seen is the best that anyone can come up with according to even the most knowledgeable of Mideast experts, except for one.
Enter President Barack Obama, who weighed into the Revolution with a number of confused messages both to the leadership of Egypt and also to the people of Egypt.
The President's initial account of the protesters went this way:
"A loose amalgam of forces"
"Some of which doubt the legitimacy of the Presidency"
"There are strains that are troubled by what they saw as as a series of instances in which the middle-class and working class people have been abused or hurt by special interests but their anger is misdirected"
"So I have been amused in recent days by these people having rallies, I think they should be saying thank you"
The President thinks the Egyptian protesters should be thanking Mubarak? Oops! Actually, those quotes were the President's descriptions of the millions of Tea Party protesters here in America. As Americans listened to the President's words concerning the people of Egypt, many could not help but notice the irony at play. The overall reaction to the protests that were occurring in Egypt as compared to both the President's and Democrats' reaction to another powerful throng of protesters, here at home in the form of the Tea Party and others, were both stark and bordering on the absurd.
The Obama Administration, over the course of the 18 days of Egyptian protests, began with the President stating on January 25th that the US:
"Supports the Democratic aspirations of all people everywhere."
On the 26th, Robert Gibbs stated:
"Egypt is a strong ally."...(Read More)
February 16th, 2011
WASHINGTON — What would the government do if Osama bin Laden, an FBI most-wanted terrorist for more than a decade, were captured?
Washington is abuzz about questions whether bin Laden would ever see the inside of an American courtroom or where he might be imprisoned if he doesn't stand trial. The discussion, which on Wednesday bounced from Capitol Hill to the White House, is still mostly an academic exercise because there is no suggestion that the government is any closer to finding or capturing bin Laden, believed to be hiding in Pakistan.
For years, President Barack Obama's administration has maintained that criminal courts were more than equipped to handle even the most serious terror cases, but when faced with that question Wednesday during a Senate hearing, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the administration probably would just send bin Laden to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
That suggests that, at least under current U.S. law, bin Laden would never be transferred to U.S. soil to be tried in the civilian court system. Congress last year ordered that no federal money could be spent to ship prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. mainland.
Bin Laden, who has evaded capture for more than 10 years, has been indicted and could stand trial in New York City.
Panetta's remarks indicate that given the choice, Obama would opt to use the Bush administration policy that the president has long criticized.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper told senators if bin Laden was caught, there likely would be a debate about whether to try him.
February 16th, 2011
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The sun is making a comeback.
OK, so it never really went away, but after years of relative quiet on our nearest star, activity has picked up as of late, resulting in a solar flare that marks the strongest since 2006.
Bob Rutledge, lead forecaster with the National Space Weather Prediction Center, tells KFWB’s Michael Shappee these solar outbursts have the potential to wreak havoc with earthly communications.
After the initial blast of radiation accompanying the coronal mass ejection (CME) — the first of its magnitude to occur in the new solar cycle of activity — a huge cloud of charged particles is headed toward Earth and is expected likely to arrive on Feb. 17-18.
Among the many potential disasters that can come from a massive CME: disturbances in the planet’s geomagnetic field that may lead to malfunctioning telecom and GPS satellite equipment.
While forecasters predict no major impact on our telecommunications infrastructure, scientists have pointed out the sun is now ramping up ahead of an expected solar maximum around 2013.
More From CBS Los Angeles
February 16th, 2011
Senate hearing turns into farce as American ignorance on Egypt situation revealed; specific agenda of Muslim Brotherhood unclear, top official says, has trouble responding to question on group’s attitude to peace with Israel
"It's hard to at this point to point to a specific agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood as a group," National Intelligence Director James Clapper told senators. When asked about the group’s attitude to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, he said this was a difficult question before assessing “they are not in favor of the treaty.” However, he then noted that the Muslim Brotherhood was “only one voice in the emerging political milieu," adding that the group is “a large, heterogeneous global organization whose agenda and impact differ from country to country.”
"It also has different factions, including a conservative wing whose interpretation of Islam runs counter to broad electoral participation and a younger, more liberal wing who is more inclined to work through a secular political process," he said.
Arms smuggling? Not sure
Asked about the Muslim Brotherhood’s position on weapons smuggling to Hamas in Gaza, Clapper said he was unaware of the group’s declared stance on the issue. He said that a wait-and-see attitude was also required before determining the Muslim Brotherhood’s position on Iran.
CIA Director Leon Panetta added: It is clear that within the Muslim brotherhood there are extremist elements that we have to pay attention to and that's something we watch very closely to make sure that they are not able to exert their influence on the directions of governments in that region."
Intelligence officials also conceded in the hearing that they did not pay enough attention to social media networks, and that they were not closely monitoring Tunisia, where the wave of ongoing regional unrest started.
“Frankly, Tunisia was probably not up there in our top 10 countries we were watching closely,” Clapper said. “So there is the aspect of the spread, the balance of our collection priorities. Obviously, we’re going to work on that. ... We’re going to pay a lot more attention to social media and what we can do to extract warning.”
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