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Jan 5th, 2011

U.S. Building a Network to Hit Militants

By Kimberly Dozier

Jan. 5, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has ramped up its secret war on terror groups with a new military targeting center to oversee the growing use of special operations strikes against suspected militants in hot spots around the world, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Run by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, the new center would be a significant step in streamlining targeting operations previously scattered among U.S. and overseas battlefields and giving elite military officials closer access to Washington decision-makers and counterterror experts, the officials said. …

The creation of the center comes as part of the administration’s increasing reliance on clandestine and covert action to hunt terror suspects as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have tested the country’s patience and pocketbook. The White House has more than doubled the numbers of special operations forces in Afghanistan alone, as well as doubling the CIA’s use of missile strikes from unmanned drones in Pakistan and expanding counterterror operations in Yemen. …

The new center is similar in concept to the civilian National Counterterrorism Center, which was developed in 2004 as a wide-scope defensive bulwark in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to share intelligence and track terrorist threats.

But the new military center focuses instead on the offensive end of counterterrorism, tracking and targeting terrorist threats that have surfaced in recent years from Pakistan to Yemen and Somalia and other hot zones. Its targeting advice will largely direct elite special operations forces in both commando raids and drone missile strikes overseas. But the data could also be used at times to advise domestic law enforcement in dealing with suspected terrorists inside the U.S., the officials said. …

Officials said Afghanistan has been a proving ground for both the military’s growing use of special operations forces in raids against militants and in honing its “counter-network” system.

Over the past year, the numbers of special operations forces and commando raids against militants have surged in Afghanistan. Two strike forces have grown to twelve, according to an intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters.

“We’ve gone from 30-35 targeted operations a month in June 2009 now to about 1,000 a month,” said NATO spokeswoman Maj. Sunset Belinsky. “More than 80 percent result in capture, and more than 80 percent of the time we capture a targeted individual or someone with a direct connection.” …

Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — January 5, 2010

Balawi Fit Suicide Bomber Profile

Image: Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi
In a posthumous video, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi says he capitalized on the “stupidity” of Jordanian and U.S. intelligence officials. (Photo credit: IntelCenter via EPA / AP)

One year ago today, I reported that Dr. Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the 32-year-old Jordanian physician who struck the CIA’s Camp Chapman forward operating base in Khost province near the Afghan-Pakistan border on December 30, 2009 killing seven Central Intelligence Agency employees, matched the psychological profile of a specific type of suicide bomber.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — January 5, 2009

Dick Cheney Sees Victory in Iraq

Two years ago today, on Jan. 5, 2009 I reported that Vice President Dick Cheney, in an exit interview on CBS “Face the Nation,” defended the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, of which he was a key proponent and architect.

Dick Cheney on C-SPAN in 1994: Invading Iraq would be ‘Quagmire’ (01:14)

2 Responses to “War on Terror Covert Surge”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Yemeni Clerics Threaten Jihad Says:

    […] War on Terror Covert Surge (Jan. 5, 2011) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Obama Fires Missiles into Yemen Says:

    […] War on Terror Covert Surge (Jan. 5, 2011) […]

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