The State Department announced Monday a total of up to $23 million in rewards for information on terrorists in West Africa, the first time the Department's Rewards for Justice program has offered rewards in that part of the continent. Although the Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that the leadership of al Qaeda has been decimated, four of the five terrorists on this new list are either current al Qaeda leadership or alumni of the organization according to the State Department press release. And from the wording of the new reward offers, as well as many of the previous outstanding reward offers, capturing and taking these men into custody is not the primary focus of Rewards for Justice [emphasis added]:
The Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Yahya Abu el Hammam and Signed-in-Blood Battalion leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar [former AQIM]; rewards of up to $3 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Malik Abou Abdelkarim and MUJWA spokesperson Oumar Ould Hamaha [former AQIM]; and a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the location of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram.
One of the distinguishing features of the Rewards for Justice program is the more limited qualification attached to most of the reward offers. While other government reward programs for information on fugitives depend on information leading to an arrest or even an arrest and conviction, the vast majority of rewards offered by the State Department's Rewards for Justice ask only for "information leading to the location" of the terrorists in question.
In a recent speech, the president justified his drone policy by saying, "despite our strong preference for the detention and prosecution of terrorists, sometimes this approach is foreclosed."
Since 53 of 58 Rewards for Justice offers simply ask for the "location" of the terrorists, it seems safe to assume that "detention and prosecution" is less a "strong preference" and more a rare exception, at least in this collection of high-value targets. And with the president's renewed call for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the administration arguably has more incentive than ever to keep the number of high-ranking terrorist leaders in custody low. The current structure of the Rewards for Justice program would seem to reflect the administration's intentions to do just that.
The Egyptian interior ministry announced Saturday that an al Qaeda plot against a Western embassy and other targets had been disrupted. Two suspected terrorists are being held for questioning and a third is under house arrest.
The Newseum, a museum in Washington, D.C. that chronicles the news industry, plans to add two dead terrorists to its "Journalists Memorial." The announcement to include these terrorists on the memorial, which "pays tribute to reporters, photographers and broadcasters who have died reporting the news," was made on the Newseum's website.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, killed during the Boston rampage last week, and his surviving brother Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, who is charged by federal authorities in the series of abominable crimes, are doubtless the first Chechens many Americans will ever have heard of. And the news coverage of the last week will have been their first introduction to Chechnya and the Muslims of the Caucasus.
During President Obama’s trip to Israel last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the “operational mistakes” that in May 2010 led to the deaths of nine Turks who attacked Israeli commandoes after they boarded the Turkish-sponsored Mavi Marmara to prevent it from violating the maritime blockade of Gaza.
In explaining why President Obama didn't call the Boston bombings a "terrorist attack," former adviser David Axelrod said, "I'm sure what was going through the president's mind is -- we really don't know who did this -- it was tax day":
"The word has taken on a different meaning since 9/11," Axelrod said of the phrase "terrorist attack."
It’s good to be a government worker in Portland, Oregon. And not just because of the subsidized sex changes. It seems that city workers’ salaries are also ample enough to support a family and . . . finance a little terrorism on the side.
At Hillary Clinton's Benghazi hearing at the House this afternoon, Democratic congressman Eliot Engel said that "Barack Obama was not responsible for the Benghazi attack any more than George W. Bush was responsible for the 9/11 attacks":
This morning, the State Department designated former Lebanese parliament member, and longtime ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Michel Samaha as a specially designated global terrorist. Treasury also designated Samaha for “undermining Lebanon’s democratic processes or institutions, contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon, supporting the reassertion of Syrian control or otherwise contributing to Syrian interference in Lebanon, or infringing upon or undermining Lebanese sovereignty.”
Earlier this week, the State Department designated the al Nusrah Front in Syria as an “alias” for al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The head of AQI, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi al Husseini al Qurshi (a.k.a. Abu Du'a), “is in control of both AQI and al Nusrah.” The designation says a lot about our knowledge, or lack thereof, of al Qaeda’s clandestine international network.
The Egyptian government has nabbed a major terrorist tied to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, according to the Wall Street Journal. And that terrorist has direct, longstanding ties to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.