The LWOT: New data released on FBI terror investigations; Saudi accused of terror plot pleads not guilty
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New data on expanded FBI domestic intelligence investigations
Charlie Savage this weekend reported on an FBI document obtained by the New York Times showing that in a four-month period not long after the Bush administration loosened rules on domestic intelligence gathering by the FBI, from Dec. 2008 to Mar. 2009, 11,667 people or groups were the target of "assessments" for criminal or terrorist activity, with 8,605 assessments finished and a resulting 427 "intensive investigations" opened (NYT). According to the guidelines, instituted under then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, FBI agents can initiate a criminal or national security assessment with, "no particular factual predication" though investigations cannot be based on "arbitrary or groundless speculation."
The New York Times also looks this week at the increasingly powerful and globally-focused office of the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, headed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (NYT). Bonus: The Georgetown University Law Center has compiled a comprehensive collection of legal documents and law journal articles related to state secrets (Georgetown Law).
Saudi accused of terror plot pleads not guilty
Saudi terrorism suspect Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari pled not guilty in a Texas federal court on Mar. 28 to the charge that he attempted to build and deploy an explosive device against targets that may have included locations in New York and the Dallas home of former U.S. president George W. Bush (NYT, BBC, AP). Aldawsari, a college student in Texas at the time of his arrest, came to the attention of authorities after allegedly attempting to acquire large quantities of phenol, which can be turned into an explosive when combined with two other chemicals that Aldawsari had already reportedly purchased.
A U.S. federal judge said last Friday that the May 2 trial for Kareem Ibrahim, charged as part of an alleged plot to bomb fuel arteries at John F. Kennedy International Airport, will continue despite Ibrahim's repeated refusal of food, water, and insulin, which the judge described as possible "malingering" (Bloomberg, NY Post).
The Associated Press this weekend reported on allegations that a Somali man, Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane, helped smuggle several members of the Somali militant group al-Shabaab into the United States from Mexico (AP). And an affiliate of the Chicago Sun-Times interviews Ibraheim Mashal, an American Muslim and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who is suing the government in part over claims that he was put on a no-fly list to pressure him into becoming an informant (The Beacon News).Finally, the Washington Post previews the hearing scheduled to be held today by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) into the civil rights of Muslim-Americans, while CNN takes an in-depth look at growing feelings of mistreatment amongst Muslims living in some heavily Muslim suburbs of Detroit (Washington Post, CNN).