TSA Cancels Leaked Memo Subpoenas

From a deflated Associated Press:

TSA ends journalist subpoenas over leaked memo

By LARRY MARGASAK Associated Press Writer


WASHINGTON—The Transportation Security Administration on Thursday dropped its subpoenas it had issued to two Internet writers in its effort to find the leaker of an airline security directive.

The subpoenas were criticized by a leading journalism organization.

The TSA said the investigation is "nearing a successful conclusion and the subpoenas are no longer in effect."

One subpoena went to Internet travel writer Chris Elliott, who obtained an attorney and did not immediately comply.

Elliott, from Winter Springs, Fla., said TSA agents had showed up at his house, demanding that he reveal who leaked the security directive.

The administrative subpoena—a demand for information issued without a judge’s approval—is a civil, not a criminal document.


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Taliban Murder 7 CIA, Including Chief

From a giddy Associated Press:

AP sources: CIA base chief killed in attack

By Pamela Hess And Adam Goldman, Associated Press Writers

December 31, 2009

WASHINGTON – The CIA said Thursday that seven of its employees were killed and six others wounded in a suicide bombing at a base in Afghanistan. The Associated Press has learned that one of them was the chief of the CIA’s post in Afghanistan’s southeastern Khost Province.

CIA Director Leon Panetta said in a message to agency staff that the casualties sustained in Wednesday’s strike at Forward Operating Base Chapman were the result of a terrorist attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing…

Whatever happened to ‘man-caused disasters’?

Separately, former CIA officials said an agent who ran the agency’s base in Khost was among those killed by the attacker, who detonated a bomb-laden vest inside the compound.



Court Released Somali With Chemicals

From an approving Associated Press:

Somali Police Commissioner Gen. Ali Hassan Loyan, right, speaks at a press conference in Mogadishu, Somalia on Thursday Dec. 31, 2009 as chemicals and a syringe are displayed.

Court freed Somali suspect with chemicals, syringe

By Mohamed Olad Hassan And Malkhadir M. Muhumed, Associated Press Writers

December 31, 2009

MOGADISHU, Somalia – In a setback for U.S. investigators probing links to the attempted attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, a Somali official said Thursday that another suspect who tried to board a plane with chemicals already had been freed.

His release earlier this month will hamper efforts to learn if the incident in Mogadishu was linked to the attempted attack against the U.S.-bound plane on Christmas Day…

Somali Police Commissioner Gen.



Pakistan To Charge 5 US Based Arabs

From a joyous Reuters:

Detained US nationals suspected of militancy are escorted by Pakistani police upon arrival at a court in Sargodha, about 250 kms south of Islamabad on December 25.

Pakistan seeks terrorism charges against Americans

By Kamran Haider Thu Dec 31

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani police will ask a court to charge five Americans detained in the country this month with planning terrorist attacks and jail them for life, a police official said on Thursday.

The young Americans, from Virginia, are accused of contacting militants groups over the Internet in a bid to wage holy war. Pakistani officials have said the Taliban had planned to use them to carry out attacks inside U.S. ally Pakistan…

Emails showed that the Americans had plans to travel to a Pakistani nuclear power plant, according to police…

The men — two are of Pakistani ancestry, one of Egyptian, one of Yemeni and one of Eritrean — were arrested in Sargodha, home to one of Pakistan’s biggest airbases, 190 km (120 miles) southeast of Pakistani capital Islamabad

They were found with maps and had intended to travel through northwest Pakistan to an al Qaeda and Taliban militant stronghold, officials said.



Rush Limbaugh Is Resting Comfortably

From the ‘Media Decoder’ blog in the ‘Media And Advertising’ section of the New York Times:

A view of the emergency entrance where U.S. radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was taken to at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, December 30, 2009.

Rush Limbaugh Is Hospitalized

December 30, 2009


Update | 8:15 a.m. Rush Limbaugh, the pre-eminent conservative talk-radio host, was said to be resting at a hospital in Honolulu after suffering chest pains Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Limbaugh, who is on vacation, may place a call to his popular program. His syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, told listeners that the host would “keep you updated” on Thursday’s edition of “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” The program is being led by substitute hosts this week; Mr.



Islam Q&A – The Ruling on Underwear

From those all knowing worthies at Islam Question and Answer:

Ruling on Underwear

A friend of mine told me that wearing the modern under wear is not sunnah. Is this true?

Praise be to Allaah.

Our shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Barraak answered this question as follows:

“Underwear and other types of clothing have to do with habits based on people’s traditions (‘urf), so long as they do not contradict the sharee’ah. The wearing of pants (sirwaal) was known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) because of the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) concerning what the muhrim (person in a state of ihraam for Hajj or ‘Umrah) is forbidden to wear: ‘The muhrim should not wear a shirt or turban or pants…’ (Agreed upon).”

There is nothing wrong with wearing underwear so long as it does not involve anything that is haraam, such as crosses or pictures of animate beings, or women wearing men’s clothes and vice versa.



Obama Won’t Reconsider Closing Gitmo

From Fox News:

Administration Rejects Calls to Reconsider Guantanamo Closure Plan

December 30, 2009

The Obama administration is pushing back against calls to halt or delay closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in light of the failed Christmas Day terror attack, suggesting that shutting down the prison will undermine terrorist recruitment in the very network that claimed responsibility for last week’s plot.

Administration officials also assured lawmakers that they will use the utmost caution in transferring any detainees to other countries, following concerns that it’s unsafe to send the dozens of Yemenis held there back to their home country — which has emerged as a tinderbox of extremist activity.

Seniors officials told Fox News that nobody in the administration is reconsidering President Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay.



Somali Nabbed With Chemicals, Syringe

From an unfazed Associated Press:

Somali boys chant as they watch hard-line Islamist fighters from Al-Shabab parade during a rally in the streets of Mogadishu in October 2009.

Somali arrested at airport with chemicals, syringe

December 30, 2009

MOGADISHU, Somalia – A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Somali man — whose name has not yet been released — was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off. It had been scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai.



The CIA Was Monitoring ‘The Nigerian’

From a weirdly discreet CBS News:

Abdulmutallab’s Missing Months in Yemen

Bomb Suspect’s Mysterious Activities Leading Up to Plot Investigated as U.S. Reportedly Mulls Retaliation Strikes

SAN’A, Yemen, Dec. 30, 2009

Officials in Yemen were investigating Tuesday whether the Nigerian suspected in the attempted Christmas Day attack on a U.S. airliner spent time with al Qaeda militants in the country in the months leading up to the botched bombing.

Administrators, teachers and fellow students at the San’a Institute for the Arabic Language, where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had enrolled to study Arabic, told The Associated Press that he attended school for only the month of Ramadan, which began in late August. That has raised questions about what he did during the rest of his stay, which continued into December.



Obama To Give $3 Billion More To GMAC

From the Wall Street Journal:

GMAC Set for Another Cash Infusion


GMAC Financial Services is close to getting approximately $3.5 billion in additional aid from the U.S. government, on top of $12.5 billion already received since December 2008, according to people familiar with the situation.

The announcement, expected within days, will coincide with GMAC taking additional steps to absorb losses related to its mortgage operations, these people said. The cleanup is designed to return the Detroit-based finance company to profitability in the first quarter of 2010, according to one of these people.

A GMAC spokeswoman declined to comment on any potential government action but said, "GMAC has been conducting a strategic review of its business and evaluating options to address the challenges in its mortgage operation." The spokeswoman said GMAC wants to prepare itself to repay the U.S.



Iran To Smuggle 1,350 Tons Of Uranium

From a gladdened Associated Press:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz uranium enrichment facilities south of the capital Tehran in 2008.

Intel report: Iran seeking to smuggle raw uranium

By George Jahn, Associated Press Writer

December 29, 2009

VIENNA – Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Diplomats said the assessment was heightening international concern about Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Such a deal would be significant because Tehran appears to be running out of the material, which it needs to feed its uranium enrichment program.

The report was drawn up by a member nation of the International Atomic Energy agency and provided to the AP on condition of that the country not be identified because of the confidential nature of the information.



WHO Chief: H1N1 ‘Pandemic’ Continues

From the never always say die alarmists at the Associated Press:

China’s Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization speaks during a end-of-year press conference at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009.

WHO chief: swine flu pandemic continues

By Eliane Engeler, Associated Press Writer

December 29, 2009

GENEVA – Many more people could become sick with swine flu this winter even though it has peaked in North America and some European countries, the head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

The worst of the swine flu outbreak is over in the United States, Canada, Britain and some other countries in the northern hemisphere, said Dr. Margaret Chan.

But there is still intensive flu activity in Egypt, India and elsewhere, she said.



Putin Demands US ‘Missile Shield’ Plans

From an unfazed Associated Press:

Putin: U.S. Missile Shield Holding Up Nuke Deal

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged Washington to provide Moscow with data about U.S. missile defense developments as part of an information exchange under a new arms treaty.

Putin’s remarks carried by Russian news agencies signaled difficulties in talks between the two nations on a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that expired on Dec. 5. Moscow and Washington had hoped to strike a deal before the end of the year but problems persist

Putin said that Russia is ready to provide the U.S. with some data about its new missiles, but wants the U.S. to share information about its missile defense plans in return…

But Putin warned that a missile defense system would give the U.S.



TSA, Border Patrol Heads – Both Vacant

A grudgingly reporting Associated Press:

Key security agencies lack permanent leaders

By Eileen Sullivan, Associated Press Writer

December 29, 2009

WASHINGTON – Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off airplanes and out of the country have been without their top leaders for nearly a year.

It took the Obama administration more than eight months to nominate anyone to lead the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency.

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. security policies following the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He vowed Monday to "do everything that we can to keep America safe."

The acting heads of the TSA and CBP — both created in response to the Sept.



The WP Sobs: Abdulmutallab Was Lonely

From a tear soaked Washington Post:

In this 2001 image made available on Monday Dec. 28 2009 by teacher Mike Rimmer, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab front left, smiling, poses with anti-war campaigner Brian Haw in front of Britain’s Parliament with a group of fellow pupils from Lome’s International School, Togo, while on a school trip to London.

In online posts apparently by Detroit suspect, religious ideals collide

By Philip Rucker and Julie Tate
Tuesday, December 29, 2009; A01

The 23-year-old Nigerian man accused of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner apparently turned to the Internet for counseling and companionship, writing in an online forum that he was "lonely" and had "never found a true Muslim friend."

"I have no one to speak too [sic]," read a posting from January 2005, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was attending boarding school.



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