“Al Qaeda Network Exord,” WASHINGTON — The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan, (Somalia) and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.
These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces (Navy Seals), were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.
In 2006, for example, a Navy Seal team raided a suspected militants’ compound in the Bajaur region of Pakistan, according to a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency. Officials watched the entire mission — captured by the video camera of a remotely piloted Predator aircraft — in real time in the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorist Center at the agency’s headquarters in Virginia 7,000 miles away.
Some of the military missions have been conducted in close coordination with the C.I.A., according to senior American officials, who said that in others, like the Special Operations raid in Syria on Oct. 26 of this year, the military commandos acted in support of C.I.A.-directed operations.
But as many as a dozen additional operations have been canceled in the past four years, often to the dismay of military commanders, senior military officials said. They said senior administration officials had decided in these cases that the missions were too risky, were too diplomatically explosive or relied on insufficient evidence.
The 2004 order was a step in the evolution of how the American government sought to kill or capture Qaeda terrorists around the world. It was issued after the Bush administration had already granted America’s intelligence agencies sweeping power to secretly detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in overseas prisons and to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on telephone and electronic communications.
Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Bush issued a classified order authorizing the C.I.A. to kill or capture Qaeda militants around the globe. By 2003, American intelligence agencies and the military had developed a much deeper understanding of Al Qaeda’s extensive global network, and Mr. Rumsfeld pressed hard to unleash the military’s vast firepower against militants outside the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even with the order, each specific mission requires high-level government approval. Targets in Somalia, for instance, need at least the approval of the defense secretary, the administration official said, while targets in a handful of countries, including Pakistan and Syria, require presidential approval.
The Pentagon has exercised its authority frequently, dispatching commandos to countries including Pakistan and Somalia. Details of a few of these strikes have previously been reported.
For example, shortly after Ethiopian troops crossed into Somalia in late 2006 to dislodge an Islamist regime in Mogadishu, the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command quietly sent operatives and AC-130 gunships to an airstrip near the Ethiopian town of Dire Dawa. From there, members of a classified unit called Task Force 88 crossed repeatedly into Somalia to hunt senior members of a Qaeda cell believed to be responsible for the 1998 American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Al-Shabaab in Somalia is Al-Qaeda, see LA Times article, click here !
See my prior post, Wednesday, October 29, 2008, SUICIDE BOMBERS KILL AT LEAST 28 IN SOMALIA, AL-SHABAAB EYED, LINK TO AL-QAEDA HIT 5 LOCATIONS AT ONCE WITH CAR BOMBS, SHABAAB'S WEBSITE VANCOUVER WA.
See my prior post, Saturday, October 18, 2008, Somalia: Fighting Leaves 14 Dead, Al-Shabaab make good on their threat to kill U.N. Aid Workers and also apparently children
See my prior post Monday, September 29, 2008, Somalia Al-Shabaab Terrorist Public Relations as well as Internal and External Media Propaganda is kataaib.net Hosted by Dotster Co.Vancouver WA USA
See my prior post, Sunday, September 14, 2008, AL-QAEDA IN SOMALIA (AL-SHABAAB) SHOWS IMAGE OF PLANE SHOT DOWN AT AIRPORT, AL-QAEDA IN SOMALIA HAS THEIR WEBSITE IN VANCOUVER WA.
See my prior post, Wednesday, May 07, 2008, THE COLUMBIAN NEWSPAPER; IN OUR VIEW, INTERNET CENSOR (BILL WARNER) Bill Warner, a Sarasota private investigator (www.wbipi.com ), wants Dotster Inc. of Vancouver to refuse service to kataaib.net . Warner, who has launched similar purge efforts in other cities with other Internet companies, says kataaib.net supports an al-Qaida organization in Somalia, Al-shabaab is al-Qaeda.
At the time, American officials said Special Operations troops were operating under a classified directive authorizing the military to kill or capture Qaeda operatives if failure to act quickly would mean the United States had lost a “fleeting opportunity” to neutralize the enemy.
The 2004 order also provided a foundation for the orders that Mr. Bush approved in July allowing the military to conduct raids into the Pakistani tribal areas, including the Sept. 3 operation by Special Operations forces that killed about 20 militants, American officials said.