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Chechnya Terror Link to U.S. Well-Established by Feds Since 9/11

Yet the Tsarnaevs slipped through the cracks as it was revealed Russia warned the CIA six months after warning the FBI.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

April 24, 2013 - 10:33 pm

At a Friday congressional hearing, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will begin what’s sure to be the lengthy process of lawmakers diving into the Islamic terror threat from Chechnya and Dagestan.

But disturbing ties between the U.S. and Islamic radicals in the Caucasus region were known to authorities long before Tamerlan Tsarnaev was referred to the FBI by Russia and let go for what was deemed a lack of proof that he posed a threat to America.

The FBI’s Operation Blackbear back in 2001 identified people in the U.S. who were funding Islamists in Chechnya, including three individuals who met with Osama bin Laden.

In 2010, the former leader of an Islamic charity, the Ashland, Ore.-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, was convicted of two felonies — filing a false tax return and conspiring to file a false tax return — in relation to the group’s effort to shuffle money to Islamic militants in Chechnya with an obscured money trail. Pirouz Sedaghaty faced a maximum of eight years behind bars but was sentenced to 33 months in prison in 2011.

Al-Haramain, which had its headquarters in Saudi Arabia, was disbanded by the Saudi government and labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. The feds caught on to a $150,000 donation from an Egyptian via London that the organization told the IRS was used to purchase a building for prayer in Missouri but really was carried from Oregon to Saudi Arabia, where the funds were ultimately smuggled into Chechnya.

“The FBI‘s role in battling crime takes many forms,” said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, at the time. “Our agents and our partners have to aggressively chase the evidence down whatever path we find… in this case, a trail of cash leading half way around the world.”

Also in 2010, Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari was sentenced to 121 months behind bars for charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the financing of terrorist training in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The New York bank underwriter was busted by trying to transfer money through an undercover officer.

During meetings with the undercover officer, Alishtari offered to introduce him to a “fire-breathing” imam member of the Muslim Brotherhood who worked as a “recruiter” for the Islamists in Bosnia and Chechnya. That imam had the worldview that “the axis of the Islamic world is about Jerusalem and defeating the Jews.”

The Islamic charity Global Relief Foundation, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006, “was actually a conduit for funding Islamic fighters engaged in battle throughout the world, including Chechnya.”

In August 2003, Enaam Arnaout, chief executive officer of the Benevolence International Foundation, another Islamic charity front, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on racketeering conspiracy charges for funneling donations to fighters in Chechnya.

These are just some of the cases linking American networks and Chechen Islamists in a pattern of support that undermines Vice President Joe Biden’s assertion today that the Tsarnaev brothers were simply “two twisted perverted cowardly knock-off jihadis here in Boston.”

“The truth is on every frontier, terrorism as a weapon is losing,” Biden insisted. “It is not gaining adherents.”

Not that the administration, which is juggling the failure of intelligence cooperation with its meme that terror networks are wilting under President Obama’s tenure, was even on the same page about the Boston Marathon attack Wednesday.

“We just had a young person who went to Russia, Chechnya, who blew people up in Boston. So he didn’t stay where he went, but he learned something where he went and he came back with a willingness to kill people,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in Belgium. “I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system, no policy for jobs, no policy for education, no policy for rule of law, but who just want to kill people because they don’t like what they see.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Kerry was just “speaking generally about the nature of terrorism” in his comments about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s 2012 trip.

“The State Department has clarified that Secretary Kerry was not reflecting any new information or conclusion about the individuals involved,” Carney said. “…This investigation is proceeding apace, and we’re still in the phase of getting questions answered. We’re not making final assessments.”

It was revealed today that six months after warning the FBI about Tsarnaev, Russia’s Federal Security Service tipped off the CIA about extremist ties of the Chechen immigrant in September 2011.

“The CIA then nominated him for inclusion in the watchlisting system and, given his status as a U.S. person, shared the information with the appropriate Federal Departments and Agencies specifying that Tamerlan may be of interest to them,” an anonymous U.S. intelligence official said in a statement Wednesday.

Tsarnaev was added to a roll of more than half a million people in a listing that expired after one year.

“The CIA shared all the information provided by the foreign government including two possible dates of birth, his name and a possible name variant as well. No information was incorrectly entered in the watchlisting system, all the information was shared precisely as the foreign government provided it,” the official said.

While Tsarnaev’s family claims the brothers were brainwashed by a mysterious Armenian convert at the mosque named “Misha,” House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said today “there’s some concern” that Tsarnaev was trained in Chechnya.

“The reason I say that is because the explosive devices that he used were highly sophisticated devices,” he said on CNN.

McCaul also indicated that his committee is next in line for congressional hearings — “so we can find out, number one, how did this happen, what went wrong, and then how can we fix it to prevent it from happening again.”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) warned investigators not to buy too easily into Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s hospital-bed claims that the brothers were self-radicalized by watching online videos and had no connection with any outside terrorist groups.

“I don’t see how we can accept that,” King said on CNN. “…I don’t see why he would be giving up any accomplices he may have or talk about any connections his brother may have had in Chechnya or Russia, so I think to me, what he is saying is such a small part of the overall picture.”

“…I mean, you hear that the older brother is involved in radical activities from the Russians, plus you find out he’s reading Inspire magazine, plus you find out he’s being inspired by radical imams, then to me that’s all we factored in as to the level of surveillance that he should receive.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
The Feds were too busy following REALLY dangerous folks around to be bothered with something as insignificant as Muslim terrorists bent on killing Americans. That's right...Tea Partiers! Especially the little old ladies with the purple hair who want lower taxes and smaller government who go around armed with those deadly handbags! Priorities people!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system..." - Secretary of State John Kerry

Oh, they have a belief system, all right. It's one that the White House and the Secretary deliberately choose not to recognize.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"...their activists for whom they've given their alligiance[sic] too."

Zekie, is American English your second language? Or are you just another excitable boy?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The solution to this Islamic problem is very simple.
DON'T LET THEM INTO OUR COUNTRY, WE DON'T CARE WHERE ELSE THEY GO BUT "KEEP THEM OUT OF THE UNITED STATES".
Those who are here already, citizen or not, export them back where they came from.... We do not need them.... Ship them out!! And close the door to all of them...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great write up of the facts, Bridget.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It has been reported the Mother text' back in 2010-11 that her son was ready to die for Islam.
What a good son!! She must be so proud!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The clowns from Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey would do a better job of running government than this group of Maroons!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem is also that there are like 450,000 people on the watch list - what a joke - if your name is Mustafa, or Ackmed.
If Iran goes Nuclear and we don't stop them...it will be open season on the USA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Feds were too busy following REALLY dangerous folks around to be bothered with something as insignificant as Muslim terrorists bent on killing Americans. That's right...Tea Partiers! Especially the little old ladies with the purple hair who want lower taxes and smaller government who go around armed with those deadly handbags! Priorities people!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Slipped through the cracks?

The last time their were cracks like that was the 1905 San Francisco earth quake.

And just to comment on Keith Ellison: Islam is politics AND religion, all in one nasty, seething hate filled ball.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The system worked!
A potential terrorist was identified, investigated, and put on a terrorist watch list. Then he was watched, and realistically, we don't arrest people for being potential terrorists. We have to wait until they actually do something terrifying. If only we could just round up all those potential suspects and detain them, if only . . .

It is odd, however, that with a list of potential terrorists who were being watched, that the FBI did not also have a list of potential suspects to be located and interviewed. Naturally, once a face in a crowd had appeared, and once you had a name to go with that face, then you could compare it to your list of potential terrorists. Then all you would have to do is locate and capture them.

So, yes, the system worked.
/really, do I have to explain this?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK, so a asylum seeker returns to his oppressors, as well as his parents, for 6 months and wants back in the country. The Rooskies have told us to keep an eye on him.
We notice he has been on AID most of the time he has been in the US, but he finds dough for a ticket home - leaving his wife and kids here? Was he going home for more job training?

Apparently!!! But the system worked picking him out, of a list of 450,000 which is a joke itself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One should hope that your post is sarcasm. Otherwise, I suggest that you take your observation to the parents of the late 8 year-old boy and the lady who had both her legs blown off.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So an explanation is required after all.

We don't arrest people for the potential crimes they might commit in the future. Not yet, anyway. Give Obama a few more years and we might get there.

Putting a name on a watch list is insufficient. However, scarce resources must be allocated to those who pose the greatest threat, and no human can accurately predict the future behavior of another human, since all humans have free will to do or not do moment by moment. Counter intelligence - Counter terrorism in the country is failing badly because of liberal political correctness and liberal politics.

People who do present a credible threat to this country, people who incite others to carry out these acts of terror, must be deported or otherwise made to feel the promise of retribution.

If the police state was so effective, so all knowing, so efficient that something like the bombing in Boston could not happen, would you really want to live here? Even with an oppressive police state, these kinds of events will still occur.

Finally your application of the Great Cudgel of Guilt doesn't work on me. I can empathize with the parents of that 8 year old boy, and I can empathize with all those others who will carry an affliction with them for the rest of their lives. But the reality is, this *stuff* happens, and to think you can predict and prevent it is delusion, and don't take that comment as an excuse to jump to other extreme and claim I'm saying to not do anything.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He is not a citizen, we did not have to let him back in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you can empathize with those folks then you certainly have my condolences.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Does Bridget Johnson not understand the meaning of the word "ping?" Janet Napolitano states clearly that the system pinged. Jay Carney clearly confirms that the system pinged. Isn't that enough explanation for Ms. Johnson?

Why is Ms. Johnson insisting that our own government is bent on confusing and deluding us about the nature of our enemies? Next she'll contend that the surviving "lone wolf," a good boy tragically fallen under evil influence, was Mirandized in order to shut him up. Talk about conspiracy theories!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I like you better when you call yourself Zeke1. Just as hate-filled but not as vulgar.
And if Bridget doesn't say it, I will. The administration wanted him to shut up because he was interfering with their selling of their alternative and incorrect narrative.
http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/04/24/media_s_boston_meme_it_s_bush_s_fault
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system..." - Secretary of State John Kerry

Oh, they have a belief system, all right. It's one that the White House and the Secretary deliberately choose not to recognize.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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