Sunday, September 09, 2007

Terrorist surveillance saves lives and the NYT is pissed off about it

From The New York Times:

ULM, Germany, Sept. 8 — The discovery of a plot to detonate powerful bombs in Germany this week was a result of close cooperation between American and German security officials, with intelligence passing back and forth between the two sides, German officials said Saturday.

American intelligence was instrumental in first bringing the foiled plot to the attention of German intelligence and law enforcement officials, according to German and American officials. Interceptions of e-mail messages and telephone calls between Germany and both Pakistan and Turkey raised the initial red flags last year, they said. But the Americans also wanted to protect their sources, a German intelligence official said, which meant that the earliest warnings were vague.

The official said that the first communiqué consisted of the aliases of two men, “Muaz” and “Zafer,” who were said to have visited a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.

The nicknames were linked to two members of what authorities call a breakaway cell of a Central Asian terrorist group, the Islamic Jihad Union, operating in Germany.

According to a confidential status report prepared by investigators after last week’s arrests and obtained by The New York Times, Atilla Selek, who the police say was involved in the scouting of American military barracks in the town of Hanau, goes by the alias Muaz. Zafer appeared to refer to Zafer Sari, a 22-year-old from the town of Neuenkirchen, the same town as Daniel Martin Schneider, one of the three men arrested last week and accused of planning to use hydrogen peroxide bombs.

“If we hadn’t here and there gotten little puzzle pieces of information, often through coincidences, we wouldn’t have found them,” said the intelligence official. He said the men were not only trained in explosives, but also in countersurveillance.

Good job done by all involved. Of course the New York Times doesn't want that kind of thing to happen any more:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8The F.B.I. cast a much wider net in its terrorism investigations than it has previously acknowledged by relying on telecommunications companies to analyze phone-call patterns of the associates of Americans who had come under suspicion, according to newly obtained bureau records.

The documents indicate that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used secret demands for records to obtain data not only on individuals it saw as targets but also details on their “community of interest” — the network of people that the target was in contact with. The bureau stopped the practice early this year in part because of broader questions raised about its aggressive use of the records demands, which are known as national security letters, officials said.

The community of interest data sought by the F.B.I. is central to a data-mining technique intelligence officials call link analysis. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, American counterterrorism officials have turned more frequently to the technique, using communications patterns and other data to identify suspects who may not have any other known links to extremists.

Sometimes they do the commentator's job for him. Two articles from the same edition of the paper, one provides concrete proof of the necessity of aggressive surveillance of terror suspects and the other talking about how sinister is is that the government is conducting aggressive surveillance of terror suspects.

How the Left must hate it when the good guys foil some terrorist plot. How must they hate the fact that there haven't been any terrorist attacks on US soil since we moved the battlefield from our own cities to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Think about it for a minute. The terrorists want us out of Iraq so they have switched from blowing things up inside the United States and are instead blowing things up in Iraq. If we leave Iraq why does anyone think that they will not go back to what they would have rather been doing all along - blowing things up in the United States?

We are told that they hate us because we support tyrannical governments in the Middle East, like the Saudi royal family. Yet when a tyrant that we supported was overthrown (the Shah of Iran), something we allowed and in the end even encouraged, did the new government love us? Were the people of Iran better off under the theocracy than they were under the Shah? Were the women of Iran better off?

When in doubt about which direction to point your moral compass point it away from the people who behead hostages, treat women as cattle, stone people to death for switching religions and execute female rape victims for "shaming their families"