More details emerging about that Inauguration day terror scare

We told you about this at the time of Obama’s inauguration, but this week the AP has reported more details on how things went down in the situation room at the White House  just as the transition of power from Bush to Obama was occuring.  According to AP, it seems there was much scrambling going on.  Just how serious was the threat from Somali terrorists that some action would go down that day?

As people crowded into the capital for Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration, senior counterterrorism officials huddled in the White House situation room, frantically trying to unravel intelligence about a possible attack on Washington.

By Tuesday afternoon, as Obama took the oath of office, the threat of a terror plot by the Somalia-based al-Shabab organization had been debunked, but the flurry of activity underscored growing worries about this Islamic militant group.

“I think they are a serious problem, and I don’t think that we should be glib and take it lightly,” said Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for African Affairs. “Are they the ones that are going to plan the next major terrorist attack in the United States and carry it out? Probably not. But could they provide some of the foot soldiers for it? Yes.”

Only foot soldiers?  Ms. Whelan, you underestimate the Somalis at your peril.

U.S. counterterrorism officials say they detect a disturbing pattern, one that mirrors al-Qaida methods and could spawn homegrown insurgents and suicide bombers in the U.S.

Counterterrorism officials suspect that al-Shabab is recruiting young men from Somali communities in Minnesota and other Midwestern states, luring them back to their home country for terror training and creating cells of fighters who could travel to other countries, including the United States, to launch attacks.

Officials don’t know if Somalis who have left the country are returning.  Homeland Security has the intelligence framework in place to know that and I suspect they do.  I suppose the larger question is, will they tell the public if these men do return?

And, darn,  it just occured to me that since the FBI is in AG Eric Holder’s Justice Department and they are running the investigation in cities with significant Somali populations, are they sharing their information with agencies like the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) in Homeland Security?  

U.S. officials aren’t sure who is recruiting for al-Shabab, or whether recruits trained in Somalia have been returning to the United States. That uncertainty increased the concerns about the inaugural weekend intelligence reports. Counterterrorism officials described the time as tense as they faced a threat that appeared to grow in credibility as the hours passed.

Furthermore, Ms Whelan who is quoted extensively here is in yet another department—the Defense Department.  I hope this isn’t evolving into a government terrorist investigation (like how 9/11 happened) where walls between agencies with knowledge of the Somalis in the US are firmly in place.  Indeed yet another agency knows a whole bunch about who is and who isn’t in the US, and that is the US State Department.  I sure hope they have some interagency working groups on the subject.

Whelan, who has been a senior policy adviser on African issues at the Pentagon for 14 years, said the al-Shabab threat is complex and evolving, potentially becoming more serious as al-Qaida or other Islamic ideologues try to make inroads into the Somali communities in the U.S.

“There has been a lot of movement back and forth (to Somalia) for a long time, and that leaves us open to the potential that weaknesses will be exploited by those that have jihadist aims,” she said. “We need to be very careful because we have seen that we are internally vulnerable because of the Somali Diaspora.”

And how did we get this large Somali Diaspora in the US?   Ask the State Department and the volags busy lobbying for more Africans to resettle in your town!

Lets see how much of this story Senate hearings might reveal!

The al-Shabab threat also has attracted attention in Congress, where the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is planning to hold a hearing on the rise of al-Shabab.

Crowd of conservatives cheers Geert Wilders in Washington

Update March 2nd:   You can watch the whole event yourselves on Youtube, go to Jihad Watch here and then follow links to Atlas Shrugs for more on this historic evening.


Ann and I had a great treat last night. We went into Washington along with my husband to hear Geert Wilders speak and joined hundreds of fans of free speech in cheering him for his courage and conviction in standing up for western civilization. The event was at the same site as CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) but not of CPAC, as the organizers of that event show remarkably little interest in jihad and matters of free speech that involve Islam. It was sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center,  Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch, and Dr. Andrew Bostom.

We’ve seen Wilders on TV and on the Internet, but we wanted to see him in person. And it was worth the long drive and the parking hassles. He is very elegant and very tall, and imposing in a soft-spoken and genial, even sweet, way.  It is awful to realize that he is under a double threat — death threats from jihadist Muslims, and an upcoming prosecution for hate speech from his own Dutch government.  He lives under constant guard. How he can be so calm under those conditions is a mystery; I noticed the same thing about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Wilders’s main message was that western civilization is better than other ways of life and we need to defend it. But not only are Europeans not defending their own culture, but they define as hate speech attempts to contrast it favorably with, say, Islamic culture. He quoted Ronald Reagan’s speech at the British Parliament in 1982, where he spoke of communism as the evil empire and said it’s important not to avoid threats but to face up to them (I’m writing this from memory; the words are not exact).

I’ve read a number of accounts saying that Wilders wants to ban the Koran, and pointing out the inconsistency of this with his stated support of free speech. Even conservatives fall for this. I knew they were idiots, and of course Wilders made it clear that he is simply pointing out that under the Netherlands’ hate speech laws (or are they EU laws? I’m not sure), if Mein Kampf can be banned then the Koran should be banned too. He is completely opposed to all hate speech laws, and wants for the whole world the kind of protections for speech that we enjoy under our First Amendment. (At least we enjoy them as of today; who knows what is coming down the pike?)

Wilders referred to his exclusion from the U.K. and said he was thankful for our immigration officials. He said he feels at home in the United States.

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs spoke of how Wilders’s cause is also our cause; her account of the event is here, with a picture of the crowd. Also Robert Spencer and Dr. Andrew Bostom had good things to say. And Fitna was shown — Wilders’s short film that got him into all this trouble in the first place. For some reason I had never watched it in its 16-minute entirety; it’s quite stunning and if you haven’t seen it I recommend you click on the link.

The room was jam-packed and apparently many were turned away. Security was supposed to be tight and we saw some people being wanded, but somehow we were just waved in. Maybe it’s obvious how wholesome and innocent Ann and I and my husband are. There were a lot of young people in the audience, CPAC attendees most likely, and they were very responsive to Wilders’s speech, cheering and booing loudly at every appropriate moment. (Jay Nordlinger has noted that hissing is a leftist thing (last item, here,) and I’m glad to say there wasn’t a hiss to be heard, only hearty boos at, for instance, Wilders’s mention of the U.K. government refusing him admittance.) 

Robert Spencer has an account of Wilders’s appearance before the National Press Club earlier yesterday. Our previous posts on Wilders are here. And an interesting article about Wilders’s place in the political world is here. The authors seem to be far to the left and misrepresent him in many respects, especially in calling him tied to the “far right” and misinterpreting his call to ban the Koran, but provide a lot of information so I’m putting in the link. I think they believe it quite damning to associate him with “neo-conservatives.”

Last, here is a link to the Geert Wilders Defense Fund. Wilders’s court case in the Netherland will cost him big bucks. If he loses he will go to prison. I can hardly think of a worthier cause to support. Think of it this way: Every dollar you give is a vote for western civilization.

Update: More accounts at Atlas Shrugs from people who attended.

Wanting a favor, Ethiopian refugee sends Obama HIV-infected blood

Fox news reports:

A man from President Obama’s hometown of Chicago has been arrested for allegedly sending Obama and his staff envelopes containing HIV-infected blood, in the hopes of killing or harming them.

It’s only the second time ever that HIV-infected blood has been sent with malicious intent through the U.S. mail system, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said.

In the weeks leading up to Obama’s inauguration, Saad Hussein, an Ethiopian refugee in his late 20s, sent an envelope addressed to “Barack Obama” to offices of the Illinois government in Springfield, Ill., according to court documents. 

The envelope contained a series of curious items, including a letter with reddish stains and an admission ticket for Obama’s election-night celebration in Chicago’s Grant Park. Court documents said Hussein, who takes drugs to treat a mental illness, later told FBI agents he is “very sick with HIV” and cut his fingers with a razor so he could bleed on the letter.

I wondered at first why he would want to harm Obama. I thought all foreigners loved Obama. (Except the people of Macedonia, who, I’m told, were the only Europeans to prefer John McCain to Obama.) It turns out Hussein does like Obama. He just wanted something from him: help from the government and tickets to the inauguration. Maybe someone should have told him that in America it is not the custom to send somebody your infected blood if you want a favor.

Hussein, who has never held a job in the three years he’s been in the United States, was arrested last month….[He] is currently being detained in a Chicago correctional facility.  A judge ordered he receive a mental examination to see if he’s fit for trial, but as of two weeks ago the court couldn’t locate a translator to conduct the examination, according to court documents.

Earlier the article said his brother acted as translator during an interview with FBI agents.  But the guy needs more help than anybody is providing.  He’s been here three years and hasn’t had a job. He’s mentally ill. He doesn’t speak English well enough to have a mental exam without a translator.  And he doesn’t keep his mental illness to himself.

This is not the first time law enforcement officials have had to take Hussein into custody. He was arrested by police in 2006 after starting a fire in the middle of a crowded Chicago intersection. When officers arrived on the scene, he was waving the Koran in the air and yelling”Allah Akbar,” or “God is Great” in Arabic. Court documents say he was transported to a hospital, where he called President Bush a terrorist and criticized American foreign policy. He was not formally charged, but he did spend time in the mental health unit of the hospital.

I hardly know what to comment. I imagine he’s not the only refugee with mental problems, considering what most of them have gone through, but we don’t hear much about that aspect of refugee resettlement. What can be done with him? I hope he has some family besides his brother. But getting him English lessons and a job might help orient him a little in reality. 

Note how much the guy seems to resemble members of ANSWER and other radical groups. I’ve always thought they were mentally ill.