Archive for the ‘McConnell’ Category

Top U.S. Spy: Mumbai Terror Came From Radical Pakistani Islamic Militant Group

December 3, 2008

Yesterday what India has been saying was verified by the top U.S. spy: the bloodshed and terror in Mumbai was caused by Lashkar-e-Taiba.  A spokesman for the Pakistan-based group denied any involvement in the Mumbai atrocities.  Lashkar-e-Taiba or     is one of the    shadowy Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda that the U.S. and the rest of Western intelligence has been watching and fighting since September 11, 2001….

The radical Islamic group, whose name means “Army of the Pious,” has past links to both Pakistani intelligence and Al-Qaeda.

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US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell late Tuesday blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for the deadly attacks in Mumbai, the first time a US official publicly fingered the group.

“The same group that we believe is responsible for Mumbai had a similar attack in 2006 attack on a train and killed a similar number of people,” said McConnell, speaking at Harvard University. “Go back to 2001 and it was an attack on the parliament.”

McConnell did not mention Lashkar-e-Taiba by name, but the group, which fought Indian rule in divided Kashmir, is notorious for a deadly assault on the Indian parliament in 2001. That attack pushed New Delhi and Islamabad to the brink of war.

By Carlos Hamann, AFP

US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, pictured ...
US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, pictured in February, 2008, on Tuesday blamed the group Lashkar-e-Taiba for last week’s deadly attacks in Mumbai.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

The radical Islamic group, whose name means “Army of the Pious,” has past links to both Pakistani intelligence and Al-Qaeda.

McConnell, the top US intelligence official, said he did not see the Mumbai attack as a new form of terrorism.

“If you examine the groups we think are responsible, the philosophical underpinnings are very similar to what Al-Qaeda puts out as their view of how the world should be. It is a continuation,” he said.

About 10 gunmen landed in rubber dinghies in Mumbai and wreaked havoc with automatic weapons and hand grenades, in an assault that killed at least 188 people and injured more than 300. The dead included 22 foreign nationals.

In his speech, McConnell emphasized the difficulty in fighting shadowy Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“Democratic systems that promote free speech and free movement and open discussion are incredibly vulnerable to someone who is willing to die in the context of a suicide bomber or a suicide attack,” McConnell said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081203/pl_af
p/indiaattacksusmcconnell_081203025117

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Cheney Tells Karzai U.S. Urges More NATO Soldiers

March 20, 2008
Holly Rosenkrantz 1 hour, 22 minutes ago

March 20 (Bloomberg) — Vice President Dick Cheney, assessing the security situation during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, said the U.S. will press NATO allies to step up their military engagement in the country.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, left, speaks as Afghan President ...
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, left, speaks as Afghan President Hamid Karzai looks on during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 20, 2008. Cheney said Thursday the United States will ask NATO countries to step up their commitment to help Afghanistan recover from years of tyranny and war.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

“America will ask our NATO allies for an even stronger commitment in the future,” Cheney said following a meeting with President Hamid Karzai about the battle against the Taliban.

President George W. Bush wants a report from Cheney on progress in the country in advance of the NATO summit next month in Romania, Lea Anne McBride, the vice-president’s spokeswoman, said.

The U.S. and NATO are struggling against a resurgence by the Taliban, which was toppled by the U.S. in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks. U.S. intelligence chief Michael McConnell concluded last month that the militant Islamic group controls 10 percent of the country.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20080320/pl_bloom
berg/a8ostllqrmd8;_ylt=ApZThtt
jl3ct1ewD0JlCjDus0NUE

McCain: Uncompromising Pork Buster

March 11, 2008

By Robert D. Novak
The Washington Post
March 10, 2008

The congressional Republican establishment, with its charade of pretending to crack down on budget earmarks while in fact preserving its addiction to pork, faces embarrassment this week when the Democratic-designed budget is brought to the Senate floor. The GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, is an uncompromising pork buster with no use for the evasions by Republican addicts on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Jim DeMint, a first-term reform Republican from South Carolina, is to propose a one-year, no-loopholes moratorium on earmarks as a budget amendment. McCain has announced his support for the amendment and intends to co-sponsor it. DeMint wants to coordinate McCain’s visits to the Senate floor from the campaign trail so the candidate can be there to speak and vote for the moratorium.

The irony could hardly be greater. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, an ardent earmarker, is smart enough politically to realize how unpopular the practice is with the Republican base. Consequently, McConnell combines anti-earmark rhetoric with evasive tactics….

Read the rest:
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/09/AR2008030901428.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

U.S. Intelligence Chief Says Terror Threat Going Up

February 17, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 17, 2008

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said today, “Now, when the terrorist threat is increasing because they’ve achieved — Al Qaeda’s achieved de facto safe haven in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan — the threat is going up.”

DNI McConnell appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell speaks ... 
 When asked by Mr. Wallace to reflect on recent comments by President Bush, DNI McConnell said, “President Bush is repeating advice that I’m giving him. As you know, I am not a political figure. I am a professional. I’ve been doing this for 40 years.”

President Bush had said following recent Congressional action to limit U.S. intelligence evesdropping “The United States is now more in danger of attack.”

Earlier this week House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, “The president’s comments are wrong, divisive and nothing but fear-mongering.”

Senator Ted Kennedy said, “The DNI’s latest comments show yet again the shamelessness of the administration’s tactics.”

McConnell said the terrorists have, “New information, new personalities, new methods of communicating.”

 The DNI said we are in a period of “Increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on. And the key is the — if you think about the private sector global communications, many people think the government operates that.”

The congressional action would limit a governments ability to solicit and obtain communications intercepts and information from what are called “private carriers.”  Private carriers are usually telephone companies.

“Ninety-eight percent of it [telephone communications] is owned and operated by the private sector,” said McConnell.  “We cannot do this mission without help and support from the private sector. And the private sector, although willingly helped us in the past, are now saying, ‘You can’t protect me. Why should I help you?'”

About the terror threat McConnell said, “We have not located an Al Qaeda cell inside the United States that is directly associated with Al Qaeda.

“There are other groups that we watch closely, but the attempt on the part of Al Qaeda — they have safe haven,” said the DNI. “They have leadership. They have the middle-grade trainers. And they’re recruiting.”

“They have been successful in recruiting any number, and they’ve trained them in Pakistan and then sent them back to their home country,” he said.

“Often, they will try to recruit in a country that does not require a visa to get inside the United States,” McConnell said. “So you can see these are very sophisticated people, and they’re looking for any means to come back into the United States.”

“Casualties greater than 9/11 — that’s their objective,” said the DNI.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, right, looks ... 
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, right, looks on as President Bush makes a statement regarding the Protect America Act, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Pakistan taken to task over al-Qaeda

February 6, 2008

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times
February 7, 2008

WASHINGTON – With key improvements in the security situation in Iraq during 2007, al-Qaeda – and particularly its central leadership based in border regions of Pakistan – continues to pose the most significant threats to the United States, both at home and abroad, according to the Director of National Intelligence, retired Admiral J. Michael McConnell.

Director of National Security Admiral Michael McConnell (C) ...
Director of National Security Admiral Michael McConnell (C) testifies at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 5, 2008. Seated (L-R) are: Director of the FBI Robert Mueller, McConnell, and Director of the CIA General Mike Hayden.
(Larry Downing/Reuters)

And while the group has suffered major setbacks, particularly in Iraq, during the past year, it has successfully maintained its unity and is improving its ability to attack the United States itself, in part by identifying, training and positioning westerners capable of carrying out such an attack, according to McConnell, who presented the intelligence community’s “annual threat….

Read the rest:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JB07Df02.html

Pakistan Is Threatened, Intelligence Chief Says

February 6, 2008

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 6, 2008; Page A03
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Radical elements are now a threat to the survival of Pakistan, prompting Pakistani military leaders to recognize that more aggressive efforts are needed to get the elements under control, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said yesterday in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
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“In the last year, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths were greater than the past six years combined,” McConnell said in an unusually strong warning about Pakistan’s political problems. “What’s happened is Pakistan has now recognized that this is an existential threat to their very survival.”
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Pakistani leaders, he said, are “starting a process to be more aggressive in getting control of the situation.” The elements include al-Qaeda and Taliban members who for years were nurtured by Pakistani military and intelligence officials, prompting U.S. lawmakers and others to question the sincerity of the government’s effort.
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Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR2008020502979.html

Senate leaders won’t back censure of President

July 23, 2007

By Eric Pfeiffer
The Washington Times
July 23, 2007  

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both rejected a call for censure of President Bush that is expected be introduced by a fellow lawmaker in the coming days.
A pair of resolutions sponsored by liberal Sen. Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, would be a nonbinding expression of disapproval over Mr. Bush’s execution of the war and terrorist-surveillance operations.

Read the rest at:
http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070723/NATION/107230045/1002