How the CIA ran a secret army of 3,000 assassins

By Julius Cavendish in Kabul
President Barack Obama and Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus depart the White House Oval Office

President Barack Obama and Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus depart the White House Oval Office

The US Central Intelligence Agency is running and paying for a secret 3,000-strong army of Afghan paramilitaries whose main aim is assassinating Taliban and al-Qa'ida operatives not just in Afghanistan but across the border in neighbouring Pakistan's tribal areas, according to Bob Woodward's explosive book.
Although the CIA has long been known to run clandestine militias in Afghanistan, including one from a base it rents from the Afghan president Hamid Karzai's half-brother in the southern province of Kandahar, the sheer number of militiamen directly under its control have never been publicly revealed.
Woodward's book, Obama's Wars, describes these forces as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qa'ida and Afghan Taliban havens there. Two US newspapers published the claims after receiving copies of the manuscript.
The secret army is split into "Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams", and is thought to be responsible for the deaths of many Pakistani Taliban fighters who have crossed the border into Afghanistan to fight Nato and Afghan government forces there.
There are ever-increasing numbers of "kill-or-capture" missions undertaken by US Special Forces against Afghan Taliban and foreign fighters, who hope to drive rank-and-file Taliban towards the Afghan government's peace process by eliminating their leaders. The suspicion is that the secret army is working in close tandem with them.
Although no comment has been forthcoming, it is understood that the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, approves of the mission, which bears similarities to the covert assassination campaign against al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which was partially credited with stemming the tide of violence after the country imploded between 2004 and 2007.
The details of the clandestine army have surprised no one in Kabul, the Afghan capital, although the fact that the information is now public is unprecedented. There have been multiple reports of the CIA running its own militias in southern Afghanistan.
The operation also has powerful echoes of clandestine operations of the 1990s, when the CIA recruited and ran a militia inside the Afghan border with the sole purpose of killing Osama bin Laden. The order then that a specially recruited Afghan militia was "to capture him alive" – the result of protracted legal wrangles about when, how and if Osama bin Laden could be killed – doomed efforts to assassinate him before 9/11.
READ MORE - How the CIA ran a secret army of 3,000 assassins

US ready to bomb 150 Pak terror camps?

WASHINGTON: The United States has a secret "retribution" plan to bomb more than 150 terror camps in Pakistan in the event of another major terrorist attack originating from that country.

This startling disclosure about Washington's "all bets off" policy towards an ostensibly dubious ally in the war on terror is contained in Bob Woodward's opus " Obama's War," which details an evolving US approach in the region.

The plan pre-dates the Obama presidency, going back to the Bush White House, but elements of policy, aimed at wiping out terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, is evident in the current administration's ruthless bombing by unmanned drones of terrorist targets inside Pakistan, which far surpasses the Bush approach in terms of frequency and intensity.

The US threat also places in context secretary of state Hillary Clinton's dire warning to Islamabad earlier this year that there would be severe consequences for Pakistan if another 9/11-type attack were traced back to that country.

According to Woodward, then President Bush did not see much difference between 9/11 and 26/11; a foundation of his presidency was zero tolerance for terrorists and their enablers and he was extremely proud of the hard-line doctrine.

Although plans for punitive strikes against Pakistan was initially linked to another 9/11 type attack on US, it evidently evolved after the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, when Bush asked his aides for contingency plans for dealing with Pakistan.

He called his national security team into the Oval Office and told his advisers, "You guys get planning and do what you have to do to prevent a war between Pakistan and India." The order suggests that the US would undertake the bombing to prevent India from retaliating against Pakistan leading possibly to an all-out war.

"This is like 9/11, he (Bush) said," Woodward writes. "The United States military did not have "war" plans for an invasion of Pakistan. Instead, it had and continues to have one of the most sensitive and secret of all military contingencies, what military officials call a "retribution" plan in the event of another 9/11-like attack."

In fact, such is the anger within the US administration about Pakistan's double-faced approach that the plan calls for a no-holds-barred approach. "Some locations might be outdated, but there would be no concern, under the plan, for who might be living there now. The retribution plan called for a brutal punishing attack on at least 150 or more associated camps," Woodward writes.

So how did Pakistan escape the wrath of US' "zero tolerance" policy? According to Woodward, CIA intelligence with 48 hours of the attack showed no direct ISI link. Bush himself called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to tell him that the new Pakistani government was not involved in the attack.

But the CIA later received reliable intelligence that the ISI was directly involved in the training for Mumbai, Woodward writes in a footnote. ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha flew to Washington later to admit that at least two retired Pakistani army officers who planned the Mumbai attack had ISI links "but this had not been an authorized ISI operation. It was rogue."

"There may have been people associated with my organization who were associated with this," Pasha argued. "That's different from authority, direction and control." This argument, long attributed to Islamabad's practice of "plausible deniability" which practicing a policy of state terrorism, saved Pakistan's bacon.

Woodward's 417-page book provides a fly-on-the-wall view of the Obama Presidency's evolving AfPak policy that is more Pak than Af. In an ABC interview, Woodward described how Obama was told of deep problems in the US relationship with Pakistan at his very first intelligence briefing, likening it to a "cold shower" for the President coming just two days after his 2008 presidential victory.

"Imagine the high of being elected on that Tuesday and they come in two days later and say, by the way, here are the secrets, and one of the secrets is Pakistan," Woodward writes. "We're attacking with a top-secret, covert operation, the safe havens in Pakistan, but Pakistan is living a lie. And this is a theme throughout the whole Obama presidency: 'How do you get control of Pakistan?' "

Soon after, in an Oval Office meeting with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, Obama bluntly tells him his country has to get over its obsession with India. "We do not begrudge you being concerned about India," Obama tells Zardari, but "we do not want to be part of arming you (Pakistan) against India, so let me be very clear about that."

Zardari's response: "We are trying to change our world view but it's not going to happen overnight."

From all accounts, Zardari's attempt to change Pakistan's chronic pathology towards India has been thwarted by the country's military, described as a rapacious, over-fed force which fattens itself on an anti-India posture at the expense of the people who pay for it. From exchanges detailed in Woodward's book, Washington is all too aware of it, but has failed to effect a change in Pakistan's behaviour despite billions of dollars in aid and a vague threat of retribution.
READ MORE - US ready to bomb 150 Pak terror camps?

‘The Battle For Kandahar’ begins

Kabul: US and Afghan troops have reportedly begun active combat operations last week to drive the Taliban out of their strongholds surrounding the city of Kandahar.

Sixteen Americans have been killed so far, including two killed by a roadside bomb on Sunday.

While defining the current phase for the first time, Brigadier General Josef Blotz, a NATO spokesman in Kabul, said that the combat phase had begun five or six days back in the Arghandab, Zhari and Panjwai Districts.

“We expect hard fighting. This is the most significant military operation ongoing in Afghanistan,” The New York Times quoted General Blotz, as saying.

This is reportedly the first large-scale combat operation involving multiple objectives in Kandahar Province, where a military offensive was originally expected to begin in June.

A joint civil-military effort began after the military encountered problems with the Taliban in the city of Marja and feared high civilian casualties in the region.

During the last week of August, at the instigation of Afghan authorities, American troops supported a major push into the Mehlajat area on the southwest edge of Kandahar City, driving the Taliban from that area with few casualties on either side. At the time, military officials said that was the beginning of what would be an increase in active combat around Kandahar, the paper reports.

According to Bismillah Khan, the police chief in the Zhari District, the combat operation there began on Saturday, but he declined to give further details.

Combat operations to secure Kandahar had initially been expected to start in June, but unfolded more slowly than expected as US planners grappled with the complexities of operating in a province that served as the crucible of the Taliban’s emergence in the mid-1990s, with Pakistan’s support, the paper said.
READ MORE - ‘The Battle For Kandahar’ begins

US orchestrated 9 /11 attacks:Ahmadinejad

American and European diplomats walked out of  the UN General Assembly  in protest after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  suggested  that the  US government may have orchestrated  the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in which about 3,000 people died in the Al-Qaeda attacks by suicide bombers who hijacked jets and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington .

The US mission to the United Nations furiously slammed the Iranian leader in a statement released even before Ahmadinejad had finished speaking.U.S. said that Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments were "as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable."

 After the Iranian president speech , White House and State Department officials stressed that the Iranian president's speech didn't diminish Washington's and the international community's desire to resume direct talks with Tehran over its nuclear program."Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of
the Iranian people, Mr Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable," said Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the US mission.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. "We have offered engagement with Iran because we think it's in our national security interest."

Earlier Thursday, President Barack Obama used his own annual address to the gathering to promote his Mideast peace agenda, publicly pressing Israelis and Palestinians to forge an agreement within the next year.

 President Obama said that the "door remains open to diplomacy"   if Iran decides to meet its international obligations by allowing U.N. inspectors access to its nuclear facilities.
Speaking at the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York, Obama called on Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear work is solely for peaceful purposes and not designed to a acquire an atomic weapon.

"The US and the international community seek a resolution to our differences with Iran, and the door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it," he said.

 Ahmadinejad discussed the 9/11  theory in a characteristic  tirade,
Iranian leader  said one possible explanation for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is "that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime."
“The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view,” he added.

Mr. Ahmadinejad then urged the UN to carry out an investigation that would determine what happened on 9/11.

“It is proposed that the United Nations set up an independent fact-finding group for the event of September 11 so that in the future, expressing views about it is not forbidden,” he said on Thursday.

He also accused the U.S. for using 9/11 to start wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as bullying Iran about its nuclear programme while maintaining it own nuclear weapons.

The Iranian leader has frequently outraged the United States and other delegations with his speeches at the UN General Assembly.
Last year it was because of his comments about the Holocaust in what the US mission then called "hateful, offensive and anti-Semitic rhetoric."
READ MORE - US orchestrated 9 /11 attacks:Ahmadinejad

A War on all fronts, sans ending...

They say movements change history; a moment is what it takes to rewrite a foreseeable future, usher in a change and bring in the new. On September 11, a proud nation was brought to its knees, its twin influence of power and superiority (read twin towers) were brought down, landmarks reduced to rubble. A burning mist of soot with haunted souls cast a nation in pain and tragedy, a mortal wound almost. Never in their dream would have they thought the ones they armed to thwart the Russians would finally train their guns on them once the enemy left the mountain trails of Afghanistan.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
The world changed after September 11 in five areas different slices: The US lost its super power status for sometime given the daring attack; Muslims became a target for American that any one regardless of his nationality became an enemy. Iraq, Afghanistan became targets for being Al Qaeda base and sympathetic to their cause. America used 9/11 as means to fulfil its end and declared a war on terror (we need not elaborate) and the arms race and rearmament that can be traced as an offshoot of September 11 attacks.
The world noticed the frailty of a super power; one man struck a chill in the heart of billions. And one embittered Saudi engineer was all it took to plan such a bold, devastating large scale attack that had the hallmarks of precision, speed and maximum damage - overall a well planned military style execution of a plan. Not since Timmy McVeigh, a United States Army veteran, who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred Murrah Building in Oklahoma and killed 168 people, did the US see terror in the form of another disillusioned fanatic.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
This was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11 attacks. Facts do crowd out objective analysis of this act but a strong sense of revolt and a belief that no one can claim full proof security was the lesson the world learnt post 9/11. They say tragedy brings us closer, closer than you can imagine for a broad alliance swept came into force sans frontiers and nationalities and at the helm was the US of A. Promptly it launched an offense - a war on terror. And after a long pause they realised late - 'Terror' is an all consuming fire that builds with the changing winds and serves no master. For America September 11 proved to be a red letter day; over 2,996 lives lost and most of them were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries.
The response was there to see, an all out attack on all fronts. It invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harboured Al-Qaeda terrorists. The man-hunt for the elusive Saudi dwarfed the days one pursued John Dillinger in the late 20's and early 30's. The Cold War became a thing of the past, the enemy was now a turbaned, bearded Middle Eastern fellow. Profiling changed but the opposition had guile and deceit. A swift strike was the recourse.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
The United States also enacted the USA Patriot Act. Other countries chipped in too and strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Some American stock exchanges stayed closed for the rest of the week following the attack and posted enormous losses upon reopening, especially in the airline and insurance industries. The destruction of billions of dollars worth of office space caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan.
But even in tragedy one could very well see the shades of the old US of A, trying to reclaim the Big Brother tag and in one sweeping motion, they reclaimed their place and used 9/11 as an excuse to foray into areas they had thought as unwise for now they had a reason, a cause for justice or so the world was told. Toe the line was the unofficial verdict else face the guns, a simple choice in the end. The only formidable competition was China; Russia had long lost its place as an adversary.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
'The War on Terror' continues even after a decade, almost. It is an ongoing international military campaign led by the United States of America and the United Kingdom with the support of other NATO and non-NATO countries. The campaign launched in 2001 with the US/UK invaded Afghanistan in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Since then, other operations branched out into Iraq in 2003. What started as a war against Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations became a conquest.
War in Afghanistan has seen the fall of the Taliban government and the destruction of Al-Qaeda camps that were training centres for terrorists. Taliban insurgency then took a turn as it turned its focus to Baloch province and another war came to the fore in North-West Pakistan. Already a military state with generals at the helm, Pakistan now faces the axe internally from its spy centre ISI and Taliban from NWFP areas and Waziristan. The assassination of Benzir Bhutto proved how much of anarchy prevails in the country and the way her murder investigation was scrapped nailed home the fact that the state is far away from any kind of redemption till it discards its power hungry generals and reorganises its spy wing.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
Good news is that Iraq finally said goodbye to its trials and tribulations as the US shipped off its troop late last month. Of course not before they dethroned and executed the Iraqi Chief Saddam Hussein and ensured the fall of the Ba'ath Party government in Iraq. The shaky regime is yet to come in terms with the new environment and new found freedom. In short what began as an action against Laden & Co rather became country specific and preventing the terrorist from having a home base to launch further attacks.
By far this very action has further angered the Al Qaeda and many a time it has tried to hit back through umbrella organisations and sister cells, but most actions remain thwarted. Some of them include: Plan to crash airplanes into the US Bank Tower (aka Library Tower) in Los Angeles, the 2003 plot by Iyman Faris to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, the 2004 Financial buildings plot which targeted the International Monetary Fund and World Bank buildings in Washington, DC, the New York Stock Exchange and other financial institutions, the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot which was to involve liquid explosives and the 2007 John F. Kennedy International Airport attack plot. Let's not forget the Times Square plot as well.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
In this picture construction continues at the World Trade Centre site in New York. Two additional high rise towers and a transportation hub are planned for the pit under excavation.
The aftermath of 9/11 has forced a lot of people to sit and take notice as to what happened in the name of war on terror. The notion itself proved to be highly contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by participating governments to pursue long-standing policy objectives. Some argue that the term war is not appropriate as there is no identifiable enemy. Therefore, the term terrorism has been characterized as unacceptably vague.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
Family members of victims pay their respects at the site of the former twin towers on the eighth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, in New York, September.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated that there is lack of agreement on a definition of terrorism and that has proven to be an obstacle to meaningful international countermeasures. It proceeds to declare that "Some have often commented that one state's 'terrorist' is another state's 'freedom fighter'". Governments in Iran, Lebanon, and Venezuela consistently use the term "terrorism" to describe actions taken by the United States. Further criticism maintains that the War on Terror provides a framework for perpetual war; the announcement of such open-ended goals produces a state of endless conflict, since "terrorist groups" can continue to arise indefinitely.

In a 2005 briefing paper, the Oxford Research Group reported that "Al-Qaeda and its affiliates remain active and effective, with a stronger support base and a higher intensity of attacks than before 9/11. ...Far from winning the 'war on terror', the second George W Bush administration is maintaining policies that are not curbing paramilitary movements and are actually increasing violent anti-Americanism."
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
Workers prepare Zucotti Park for the city's September 11 commemoration ceremony in New York on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Construction at the World Trade Centre site can be seen in background.
So far we have seen the war and its effects but one should spare a thought for the group that fought the axis of evil has a Judas in its midst - Pakistan. On one hand it is a supporter in this exercise against militant organisations and on the other hand the aid it gets for being a partner goes to these very terrorist via the ISI. Not much of an ally, eh, are they? The US has turned a blind eye to its own double standards and others have also criticized the US for this double standards in its dealings with key allies that are also known to support terrorist groups. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly stated that in the "war against terrorism," "the central front is Pakistan"; Pakistan has also been alleged to provide Taliban operatives with covert support via the ISI. Sadly it has not even reached its destination.
A War on all fronts, sans ending...
A street vendor, left, selling photo albums with images from Sept. 11, 2001 points to the site of one of the photographs in the book to a family visiting the World Trade Centre site .
Back to the topic one wonders what actually happened and who gained from this exercise. It is a tough question to answer, generals playing their wars, defence industry boom - happy to rearm countries worldwide, they are having a ball, more distrust and wariness among countries and these crooked gun-toting fellows who fight in the name of a religion based on peace do not make the world all that good a place to live in, not that we have any choice. But let me be clear that what one saw at ground zero and other sites was a grim determination, wrought by angst, outrage and despair were borne the hopes of rebuilding the premises with even greater grandeur as a signal to one and all, we stand united in the face of wellness and hell, and we stand unified against all odds. Maybe in such time we should take it as a sign and look forward for 'what cannot destroy us makes us stronger'...
(With Inputs from Agencies, reports and journals. Photo Credit - AP/AFP/Reuters)
READ MORE - A War on all fronts, sans ending...

U.S. Marines Take Ship From Somali Pirates (PHOTOS)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — U.S. Marine commandos stormed a pirate-held cargo ship off the Somalia coast Thursday, reclaiming control and taking nine prisoners without firing a shot in the first such boarding raid by the international anti-piracy flotilla, U.S. Navy officials said.
The mission - using small craft to reach the deck of German-owned vessel as the crew huddled in a safe room below - ranks among the most dramatic high seas confrontations with pirates by the task force created to protect shipping lanes off lawless Somalia.
The crew managed to kill the engines before taking refuge in an panic room-style chamber, leaving the ship adrift and the pirates so frustrated they started damaging equipment after hijacking the vessel Wednesday, Navy officials and the ship's operator say.
Lt. John Fage, a spokesman at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, described the pre-dawn raid as an "air and sea" assault that included Cobra attack helicopters for surveillance and coordination.
Marine Corps officers involved in the raid told reporters in a conference call that the attack involved "overwhelming force" and the element of surprise. Marines were able to separate the pirates and confront them singly or in small groups, while helicopters bore down.

READ MORE - U.S. Marines Take Ship From Somali Pirates (PHOTOS)

Japanese journalist kidnapped five months ago is freed by his Taliban captors... because he is 'a fellow Muslim

Japanese journo
Freed: Kosuke Tsuneoka was abducted by apparent Taliban militants in Afghanistan five months ago
A Japanese journalist who was abducted by apparent Taliban militants in Afghanistan five months ago has been freed by his captors, it was revealed this morning.
Kosuke Tsuneoka, a freelance journalist and veteran of war zones, was released on Saturday night in good health and is at the Japanese Embassy in Kabul.
Tsuneoka's mother told told reporters that her 41-year-old son had called home from the embassy after being released in the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province.
Tsuneoka's captors apparently decided to release him because he is a fellow Muslim, Kyodo said.
According to his personal website, Tsuneoka converted to the religion in 2000 while in Moscow.
Tsuneoka had been missing since April 1, when he posted a message on Twitter saying he had travelled to a Taliban-controlled area in northern Afghanistan. Friends later received word that he had been kidnapped.
Hopes for his release grew over the weekend after two new messages in English suddenly emerged on his Twitter account.
He assured his followers that he was alive and in jail in Kunduz. It was not clear how or why the messages were sent.
This isn't the first time Tsuneoka has been abducted. He went missing in Georgia in 2001 and was held for several months by unidentified individuals, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
He was freed during a Georgian military operation.
Tsuneoka is the latest of more than half a dozen foreign journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan, including two French reporters who disappeared after being seized last December in Kapisa province just outside Kabul.
The two are believed to still be in captivity.
A New York Times reporter, David Rohde, escaped last year along with an Afghan colleague seven months after being kidnapped while interviewing insurgents in the eastern province of Logar.
The pair, along with their Afghan driver, were held in numerous compounds in Afghanistan and Pakistan while their captors dithered over a ransom.
Shortly after Rohde's escape, another New York Times reporter, Stephen Farrell, and his Afghan translator were kidnapped by Taliban insurgents in Kunduz.
The British-Irish Farrell was rescued soon after in a raid by British commandos in which the translator and a British commando were killed.
In October, 2008, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reporter Mellissa Fung was seized at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul.
She was released four weeks later after being held in a pit, chained and blindfolded. Around that time, Dutch journalist Joanie de Rijke was held for a week after being seized in the Surobi area east of Kabul.
READ MORE - Japanese journalist kidnapped five months ago is freed by his Taliban captors... because he is 'a fellow Muslim

Pentagon declined to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography

A 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation into the purchase of child pornography online turned up more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Defense Department -- including some with the highest available security clearance -- who  used credit cards or PayPal to purchase images of children in sexual situations. But the Pentagon investigated only a handful of the cases, Defense Department records show.

The cases turned up during a 2006 ICE inquiry, called Project Flicker, which targeted overseas processing of child-porn payments. As part of the probe, ICE investigators gained access to the names and credit card information of more than 5,000 Americans who had subscribed to websites offering images of child pornography. Many of those individuals provided military email addresses or physical addresses with Army or fleet ZIP codes when they purchased the subscriptions.
In a related inquiry, the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) cross-checked the ICE list against military databases to come up with a list of Defense employees and contractors who appeared to be guilty of purchasing child  pornography. The names included staffers for the secretary of defense, contractors for the ultra-secretive National Security Agency, and a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. But the DCIS opened investigations into only 20 percent of the individuals identified, and succeeded in prosecuting just a handful.
The Boston Globe first reported the Pentagon's role in Project Flicker in July, citing DCIS investigative reports (PDF) showing that at least 30 Defense Department employees were investigated.
But new Project Flicker investigative reports obtained by The Upshot through the Freedom of Information Act, which you can read here, show that DCIS investigators identified 264 Defense employees or contractors who had purchased child pornography online. Astonishingly, nine of those had "Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information" security clearances, meaning they had access to the nation's most sensitive secrets. All told, 76 of the individuals had Secret or higher clearances. But DCIS investigated only 52 of the suspects, and just 10 were ever charged with viewing or purchasing child pornography. Without greater public disclosure of how these cases wound down, it's impossible to know how or whether any of the names listed in the Project Flicker papers came in for additional scrutiny. It's conceivable that some of them were picked up by local law enforcement, but it seems likely that most of the people flagged by the investigation did not have their military careers disrupted in the context of the DCIS inquiry.

Among those charged were Gary Douglass Grant, a captain in the Army Reserves and a judge advocate general, or military prosecutor. After investigators executing a search warrant found child pornography on his computer, he pleaded guilty last year to state charges of possession of obscene matter of a minor in a sexual act in California. Others included contractors for the NSA with Top Secret clearances; one of them -- a former contractor -- fled the country after being indicted and is believed to be in Libya.
But the vast majority of those investigated, including an active-duty lieutenant colonel in the Army and an official in the office of the secretary of defense, were never charged. On top of that, 212 people on ICE's list were never investigated at all.
According to the records, DCIS prioritized the investigations by focusing on people who had security clearances -- since those who have a taste for child pornography can be vulnerable to blackmail and espionage. The documents show that the probe then concentrated on people who had been previously suspected of or convicted of sex crimes, or had access to children as part of their Defense Department duties. But at least some of the people on the Project Flicker list with security clearances were never pursued and could possibly remain on the job: DCIS only investigated 52 people, and 76 of those on the Project Flicker list had clearances.
A DCIS spokesman didn't return phone calls. But the agency's own documents obtained via The Upshot's FOIA request indicate that the decision to press investigations forward hinged largely on questions of the resources available to the investigators. "Due to DCIS headquarters' direction and other DCIS investigative priorities, this investigation is cancelled" is a common summation in the files.
A source familiar with the Project Flicker investigations -- who requested anonymity because public disclosure could jeopardize this person's job -- confirmed that departmental resources, and priorities, were decisive factors in letting inquiries lapse.
DCIS is primarily tasked with rooting out contractor fraud and investigating security breaches; its 400 staffers were already plenty busy before Project Flicker dropped 264 more names onto their caseloads. And child pornography investigations are difficult to prosecute. Many judges wouldn't issue search warrants based on years-old evidence saying the targets subscribed to a kiddie porn website once.
"We were stuck in a situation where we had some great information, but didn't have the resources to run with it," the source told The Upshot. Many of the investigative reports obtained by The Upshot end with a similar citation of scarce resources:
Of course, other federal agencies, including ICE and the FBI, may have prosecuted some of the Project Flicker names the DCIS ignored. But that's unlikely, given that some of the DCIS investigations were closed due to lack of cooperation from ICE.
In one case, involving an Army Reserve corporal in the Pittsburgh area, a DCIS agent expressed exasperation after repeatedly trying to get ICE to collaborate with him on the investigation: "Based upon the complete non-responsiveness of ICE ... it is recommended that [the] matter be closed."
As for the 212 Project Flicker names that DCIS didn't investigate, the source familiar with the investigation said there was no systematic effort to inform their superiors or commanding officers of their suspected purchases of child pornography.
READ MORE - Pentagon declined to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography

Pak military team detained at US airport; flies home in protest

Washington : A delegation of senior Pakistani military officials visiting the US was deboarded from a plane, detained, "interrogated and rudely treated" by security officials after one of them made a comment to a flight attendant, prompting the team to head home in protest.
Pak military team detained at US airport; flies home in protest
The nine-member delegation of high-ranking Pakistani officers boarded United Airlines Flight 727 from the Dulles International Airport in Washington to Tampa yesterday, but were pulled off the plane, Mike Trevino, spokesman for the Airlines, was quoted as saying by 'The Washington Post'.
He said they were deboarded from the plane after one of them "made a comment to a flight attendant."
The delegation was to travel to Tampa, a Gulf Coast Bay city in the state of Florida, to attend the annual conference of the US-Pakistan Military Consultative Committee.
Though the spokesman refused to provide details, Pakistani officials said the remark came from a General in the delegation.
Pak military team detained at US airport; flies home in protest
The General, weary of a long day of travel that began in Islamabad, said "I hope this is my last flight," or words to that effect.
That sparked a call to Dulles law enforcement officials, who "detained the delegation for two-and-a-half hours and refused to allow the officials to contact their embassy or the US military officials who had invited them to visit", the Post quoted an unnamed Pakistani military official as saying.
Pak military team detained at US airport; flies home in protest
The Pakistanis were finally released after police at Dulles determined they did not pose a threat.
But instead of proceeding to Tampa, the delegation was ordered to return to Pakistan by their military superiors in Islamabad, in protest of their treatment, the Pakistani official said, adding that they were "verbally abused."
Pak military team detained at US airport; flies home in protest
The Post said the delegation members alleged they were "interrogated and rudely treated by security officials at Dulles International Airport."
The officers are scheduled to depart the US this evening.
"Pakistani officials said they received apologies from Pentagon and Centcom officials," the Post said.
Pak military team detained at US airport; flies home in protest
The officers were originally en route to US Central Command headquarters in Tampa to attend the annual conference, said Maj David Nevers, a Central Command spokesman.
He said Centcom officials hoped to reschedule the conference.
Source: Agencies
READ MORE - Pak military team detained at US airport; flies home in protest
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