American and Pakistani officials are reporting that a CIA drone strike killed Al Qaeda’s number two man, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, on Saturday. If the news is true, this could be yet another blow to the organization's high command, following the death of Osama bin Laden in May. But a senior Pakistani security official in the region told Agence France yesterday that he doubts the reports are true, and others have been unable to confirm whether Rahman has in fact been killed.
As the unrest in Yemen continues, several different parties are vying to fill a potential power vacuum in the country, including the US. Over the past month, Washington has expanded the number of air and drone attacks in Yemen in an attempt to prevent Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants from establishing a foothold in the country. Meanwhile, American and Saudi spies are reportedly ramping up intelligence collection efforts inside Yemen. Both countries have a strategic interest in preventing Yemen from becoming a failed state.
Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for The New York Times, speaks to us about news that Osama Bin Laden's trusted courier was integral to the operation that led to his killing.
When the United Nations voted to institute a no-fly zone over Libya, President Obama emphasized that the United States would not deploy ground troops in the conflict. But while there may not be American armed forces on the ground, The New York Times has learned that Central Intelligence Agency officials have been working in Libya for weeks, in an operation unknown to the American public — until now.
Tensions continue to rise between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies. The CIA’s top spy was pulled out of the country last week after receiving several death threats. The CIA believes that its Pakistani counterpart, the ISI, may have deliberately blown the cover of the operative: his name was made public in a legal complaint by a family of drone attack victims.
The White House announced that director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, would step down from his post effective today. Blair has held the position for just a little more than a year, but his relationship with the White House was rocky almost from the beginning. And tensions between him and the administration escalated after the "Christmas Day bombing," when a Nigerian man nearly detonated a bomb aboard a plane on Christmas Day.
The New York Times national security correspondent Mark Mazzetti explains that, despite thorny issues of legality, the U.S. is still dependent on a network of spies and independent contractors to accomplish its foreign policy goals in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In a dramatic scene that could have been pulled from TV’s "24," federal agents arrested 30-year-old Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad on the tarmac of New York’s Kennedy Airport for an alleged connection with Saturday’s attempted Times Square car bombing.
A Pentagon official, Michael Furlong, is being investigated for illegally building a network of contractors to work unknowingly as spies, gathering information that was used to track down and kill insurgents in Afghanistan.
The New York Times reports today that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, is on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency. The news comes as a surprise because Ahmed Wali Karzai is also allegedly a big player in Afghanistan's illegal drug trade. Times national security correspondent Mark Mazzetti gives us the story.
For more, read Mark Mazzetti's article, Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll, in today's New York Times.
The U.S. and its allies are united in their public concerns about Iran's secret nuclear ambitions. But The New York Times reports that U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies disagree on one big point: how far Iran's attempts to design or acquire a nuclear warhead have come. U.S. officials say that Iran halted work on weapons design in 2003, but Germany, France and Israel think differently. We get the story from New York Times defense correspondent Mark Mazzetti.
A report in the New York Times this morning reveals that the CIA hired contractors from increasingly infamous security firm Blackwater for duties far beyond protecting senior government officials. The Times found that the Central Intelligence Agency had hired and trained contractors from Blackwater USA to find and assassinate top al Qaeda operatives. The operation was apparently never revealed to lawmakers and never successfully captured or killed any terrorist suspects. We talk to Mark Mazzetti, the reporter who broke the story, about the multi-million dollar program.
For more, read Mark Mazzetti's article, C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help in Plan to Kill Jihadists, in the New York Times.
"The Bush Administration believes they are on pretty firm legal ground to carry out these types of attacks."
— Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times.