A federal grand jury in Hawaii indicted a U.S. soldier Friday for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail.
Kang will be arraigned in federal court on Monday when he had previously been scheduled for a preliminary hearing. Kang’s court-appointed attorney, Birney Bervar, told The Associated Press Friday that the indictment was expected.
“We haven’t had a preliminary in federal court here in probably 25 years,” Bervar said. “They don’t like to let us question their witnesses.”
Bervar said his client will plead not guilty on Monday when a federal judge will set a trial date.
Bervar said he is working on getting Kang a mental health evaluation and that his client may suffer from service-related mental health issues.
A “turning point” for Kang’s mental state seems to be a 2011 deployment, Bervar said. “He’s a decorated American soldier for 10 years, goes to Afghanistan and comes back and things start going off the rails.”
Elliot Enoki, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, and Dana Boente, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, announced that the indictment in a statement.
Kang is charged with four counts of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group based on events that occurred in Hawaii between June 21 and July 8, they said.
Federal officials say Kang met with undercover FBI agents he thought were with the terror group and provided classified military documents to the agents.
The FBI said in their criminal complaint that Kang wanted to commit a mass shooting after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group.
The intelligence arm of America’s Department of Homeland Security says in a draft document that President Donald Trump’s claims that 82 citizens of seven Muslim countries pose a terror threat to the United States are not backed by evidence.
DHS says citizenship in such nations are an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism.
The draft document, obtained by The Associated Press, sparked internal strife with DHS and, White House aides confide to Capitol Hill Blue, outright anger from Trump.
Homeland Security spokesman Gillian Christensen would not dispute the comments within the draft document but tried to downplay its significance in the overall fight against terrorism.
“While DHS was asked to draft a comprehensive report on this issue, the document you’re referencing was commentary from a single intelligence source versus an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing,” Christensen said. “The … report does not include data from other intelligence community sources. It is incomplete.”
Analysts at the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States.
A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria’s civil war started in 2011.
Trump cited terrorism concerns as the primary reason he signed the sweeping temporary travel ban in late January, which also halted the U.S. refugee program. A federal judge in Washington state blocked the government from carrying out the order earlier this month. Trump said Friday a new edict would be announced soon. The administration has been working on a new version that could withstand legal challenges.
Trump claims 82 people in the seven nations were “inspired by a foreign terrorist group” to carry out attacks on America.
Not true, says the DHS report:
Of the seven nations — Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya — DHS found only three people involved in the terrorism cases cited by the President.
“The President exaggerated,” a DHS aide told Capitol Hill Blue. “He does that a lot.”
White House aides say Trump has ordered DHS to “amend” or “trash” the draft document.
No official response, however, has come out of the White House as of Saturday morning.
President Donald Trump is accusing the media of deliberately minimizing coverage of the threat posed by the Islamic State group, saying news outlets “have their reasons” for not reporting what he described as a “genocide” underway at the hands of the group.
The president did not immediately offer evidence to support his claim, made during the new commander in chief’s visit Monday to the headquarters for U.S. Central Command.
Later, the White House released a list of 78 attacks it described as “executed or inspired by” the Islamic State group since September 2014. The White House said “most” on the list did not get sufficient media attention, although it did not explain how it defined the term. Some of the incidents on the list received widespread attention and deep reporting.
“You’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” Trump told a group of military leaders and troops during the visit. “And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”
Trump, who has made relentless criticism of the media a hallmark of his presidency, did not explain why he thinks news outlets minimize attention on such attacks.
Later, White House spokesman Sean Spicer tried to tone down the president’s remarks, saying it was a question of balance: “Like a protest gets blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage.”
The list released late Monday included incidents like a truck massacre in Nice, France, that killed dozens and received widespread attention, as well as less high-profile incidents in which nobody was killed.
The AP could not verify that each of the incidents had connections to the Islamic State group. The list appeared to be hastily assembled, including several misspellings of the word “attacker.”
Trump also used the visit to CENTCOM to defend his immigration and refugee restrictions and reaffirm his support for NATO.
He laced his speech with references to homeland security amid a court battle over his travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries. He did not directly mention the case now before a federal appeals court after a lower court temporarily suspended the ban.
“We need strong programs” so that “people that love us and want to love our country and will end up loving our country are allowed in” and those who “want to destroy us and destroy our country” are kept out, Trump said.
“Freedom, security and justice will prevail,” Trump added. “We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism and we will not allow it to take root in our country. We’re not going to allow it.”
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President-elect Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Germany was “an attack on humanity and it’s got to be stopped.” He also suggested he might go forward with his campaign pledge to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from coming to the United States.
“You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right, 100 percent correct,” Trump said when asked if the attack in Berlin had caused him to reevaluate the proposal. “What’s happening is disgraceful.”
Trump proposed the Muslim ban during the Republican primary campaign, prompting criticism from both parties. He shifted his rhetoric during the general election to focus on temporarily halting immigration from an unspecified list of countries with ties to terrorism, though he did not disavow the Muslim ban. A transition spokesman said later Wednesday that Trump’s plans “might upset those with their heads stuck in the politically correct sand.”
“President-elect Trump has been clear that we will suspend admission of those from countries with high terrorism rates and apply a strict vetting procedure for those seeking entry in order to protect American lives,” said spokesman Jason Miller.
But transition officials did not comment as to whether Trump could also push for the overarching ban on Muslims. The proposal remains on his campaign website.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack in Berlin that left 12 people dead and 48 injured. On Wednesday, German officials launched a Europe-wide manhunt for a “violent and armed” Tunisian man suspected in the killings.
Trump was spending the final days of 2016 huddling with advisers at his palatial private estate in South Florida. He also met Wednesday with the heads of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, companies with high-dollar government contracts that Trump has criticized. Boeing has a contract to build two new Air Force One planes and Lockheed Martin builds the F-35 fighter jet.
Trump, who briefly spoke to reporters outside Mar-a-Lago, said of his meeting with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, “It’s a little bit of a dance. We’re trying to get costs down.”
Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, said his company was committed to working with Trump to lower costs on the Air Force One project.
The president-elect was also finalizing his senior White House team, wrapping up a decision-making process that has been dogged by infighting among rival factions within Trump’s organization. Some of Trump’s original campaign aides have expressed concern to the president-elect himself that they are getting boxed out in favor of those more closely aligned with incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Among the early advisers who will not be joining Trump at the White House is Corey Lewandowski, his combative first campaign manager. But the operative won’t be far away — Lewandowski announced plans to start a political consulting firm with offices just a block away from the White House.
Lewandowski oversaw Trump’s campaign through the Republican primaries, but he clashed with the candidate’s family and was fired. Still, he remained close to Trump, talking with him frequently and showing up occasionally at the president-elect’s offices during the transition.
Lewandowski said he was offered “multiple opportunities” to join the administration, though people with knowledge of the process said those opportunities did not include senior positions in the West Wing.
The president-elect announced plans to hire economist Peter Navarro to run a new National Trade Council that will be housed in the White House. Navarro, author of “Death By China,” has endorsed a hard line approach toward relations with Beijing.
In a statement, the Trump transition team said the creation of the council “demonstrates the president-elect’s determination to make American manufacturing great again.”
Trump also named billionaire investor Carl Icahn as an adviser on regulatory reform, though the transition team said Icahn would not be serving as a federal government employee.
Transition officials said additional announcements on White House jobs were expected this week.
Trump opened his day by boasting anew about his Nov. 8 election victory, tweeting that his win in the Electoral College was more difficult to pull off than winning the popular vote would have been if he had tried. Democrat Hillary Clinton won at least 2.6 million more votes than Trump, an apparent sore point for the president-elect. ”
“I would have done even better in the election, if that is possible, if the winner was based on popular vote – but would campaign differently,” he tweeted.
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President-elect Donald Trump is planning to meet with his incoming national security adviser in the aftermath of a rattling day of violence around the world.
Trump appeared to jump ahead of investigators in blaming Islamic terrorists for deadly incidents Monday in Turkey and Germany and vowing anew to eradicate their regional and global networks. He called the brazen shooting of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey “a violation of all rules of civilized order.” He added that a “radical Islamic terrorist” had assassinated the diplomat, Andrei Karlov.
Turkish authorities identified the gunman as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a member of Ankara’s riot police squad, and said he was later killed in a shootout with police. Altintas shouted in Turkish about the Syrian city of Aleppo and also yelled “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.”
As for Berlin, where at least 12 people were killed and nearly 50 hurt when a truck plowed through a Christmas market, Trump said the Islamic State group “and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.” A man held by German authorities after the violence was later released after a lack of evidence to connect him to the incident.
Trump’s meeting scheduled Wednesday with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will come a day after Flynn and several other members of the incoming national security team met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Washington. Aides said the meeting was planned before the acts of violence, though they were discussed.
The gathering with Pence included retired Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s nominee for head of the Department of Homeland Security; retired Gen. James Mattis, the pick for defense secretary; and Rex Tillerson, the head of Exxon Mobil and the intended nominee for secretary of state.
While Trump has assembled his Cabinet at a quick pace, the process to fill out top White House jobs has been slowed by infighting among advisers. Some of Trump’s earliest advisers have expressed concern to the president-elect himself that they are getting boxed out in favor of those more closely aligned with incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus, who has chaired the Republican National Committee.
Among those whose future is still in flux is Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s controversial first campaign manager who was fired after clashing with the president-elect’s family. On Monday, Lewandowski met with Jared Kushner, Trump’s influential son-in-law, and could still be offered a job in the administration, though potentially one that would keep him out of the West Wing — and away from the president.
The president-elect’s transition team has said it expects to announce some White House positions in the coming days.
Trump met Tuesday with candidates for his unfilled Cabinet positions, including prospective hires to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, a beleaguered agency that the Republican businessman has vowed to overhaul.
At Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s palatial Florida estate, the president-elect met with Luis Quinonez, who runs a company with military and health care ties and is said to be under consideration for VA secretary. He also interviewed Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, who was a top contender to replace Eric Shinseki when he resigned from the VA in 2014. Cosgrove later withdrew from consideration.
Trump repeatedly pledged during the campaign to fix the woes at the department and said he would “take care of great veterans.” But he also came under scrutiny for being slow in paying out money raised for veterans groups and for suggesting that “strong” veterans don’t need treatment for mental health problems.
Others said to be considered for the post include former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, Florida Rep. Jeff Miller and Pete Hegseth, an Army veteran and former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America.
Trump is also considering Jovita Carranza, who worked in President George W. Bush’s administration, as his choice for U.S. trade representative. She served as deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bush.
With just a handful of Cabinet posts to fill, Trump is facing some criticism for a lack of diversity in his senior team, which currently includes no Hispanics. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said Tuesday that it was “deeply concerned” at the lack of Hispanics considered for top jobs. Carranza was a member of Trump’s Hispanic advisory council during the campaign.
Pence, meanwhile, met in Washington with former Texas state official Susan Combs, who served both as state agriculture commissioner and comptroller. Trump also needs to fill the Agriculture Department slot. Transition officials did not immediately confirm if Combs is up for that post.
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Hillary Clinton on Sunday condemned what she described as “apparent terrorist attacks” in Minnesota, New Jersey and New York.
The Democratic presidential candidate made the statement a day after a bomb rocked the Chelsea district in New York City, a pipe bomb exploded in a New Jersey seaside community and a stabbing attack unfolded at a Minnesota mall. Officials in New York and New Jersey said Sunday they were still investigating who was behind the explosions and what the motivation was, while the Minnesota attack was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.
Clinton stressed that investigations were still underway, saying: “Law enforcement officials are working to identify who was behind the attacks in New York and New Jersey and we should give them the support they need to finish the job and bring those responsible to justice — we will not rest until that happens.”
On the attack in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the former secretary of state noted that the Islamic State group had claimed responsibility and added, “This should steel our resolve to protect our country and defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups.”
Clinton noted her plans to take on the Islamic State group, which include increased intelligence and efforts to better combat propaganda and recruitment online.
Both presidential candidates have been quick to weigh in on the attacks. On Saturday evening, Republican nominee Donald Trump appeared to pre-empt New York City officials when he declared that a “bomb went off” in New York City before officials had released details. Trump made the comments around 9:10 p.m., shortly after the explosion in Manhattan’s crowded Chelsea neighborhood and as emergency officials were responding to the blast.
“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows what’s going on,” Trump said. “But boy we are living in a time — we better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough. It’s a terrible thing that’s going on in our world, in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant.”
A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to an email asking whether Trump was briefed about the incident before taking the stage.
Clinton was briefed on the incidents Saturday shortly after her speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner in Washington. At the time, she stressed that it was important to support first responders and “to let this investigation unfold.”
The threat of violence by people inspired by foreign extremists invokes fear in a majority of young Americans across racial groups. But for young people of color, particularly African-Americans, that fear is matched or surpassed by worries about violence from white extremists.
A new GenForward poll of Americans age 18-30 shows widespread anxiety among young people about attacks from both inside and outside the United States.
Sixty-two percent of young African-Americans and 55 percent of Hispanics surveyed said they were very concerned about the threat of violence committed by white extremists, compared to one-third of whites and 41 percent of Asian-Americans.
GenForward is a survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll is designed to pay special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation.
Gregg Higgins, 27, was one of the whites who said he was very worried about violence by extremists in his own race. In fact, he said he was more concerned about “the homegrown white extremists” than the threat of violence from people outside the United States or people inspired by foreign extremists.
A social worker in Pittsburgh, Higgins said the growing political tension during the current election cycle has “shown a really ugly part of our past coming through and being more heard.” He described it as “white males who are angry and who aren’t now afraid to show that anger.”
“That fear of loss of control and loss of privilege is what’s inspiring this vitriol and this hate,” Higgins said.
Worry about attacks from people currently living in the U.S. who are motivated by foreign extremists spreads more evenly across racial groups, with at least half of whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics describing themselves as very concerned about that threat.
Violence committed by people from outside the country also caused unease, especially among Hispanic young adults. Fifty-six percent of Hispanics polled said they were very concerned, compared to 49 percent of African-Americans, 40 percent of Asian-Americans and 41 percent of whites.
The angst comes after a spate of mass shootings. Nine black people were shot and killed last year at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white man who officials say talked of starting a race war. In June, a gunman born in the U.S. to Afghan immigrants opened fire in a crowded gay dance club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. An autopsy report identified him as a white male.
Last month, five police officers in Dallas were killed by a black gunman during a protest against police shootings of black men, and three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge were shot and killed by a black man who authorities said appeared to be targeting people wearing a badge.
Darsi Vazquez, a 25-year-old Hispanic college student from Huntsville, Alabama, described herself as very concerned about the threat of violence from foreign and domestic extremists alike, but she thinks the fear is exacerbated by news coverage of mass shootings around the country and the types of overt racism that appear in social media.
“A few years back technology wasn’t where it’s at it now, so you couldn’t see things like this happening like you see it now,” Vazquez said. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily getting worse, but we’re seeing it more now. We don’t just see what’s happening outside our window, we also see what’s going on outside other people’s window.”
Most young adults in the poll labeled as hate crimes both the shooting deaths at the Charleston church and the Orlando night club, against African-Americans and against LGBT people, respectively.
But the poll shows people view the Orlando shooting differently, depending on their race.
Among young whites, most also described the Orlando shooting as a terrorist attack. Fifty-eight percent of whites considered it that, compared to only 32 percent of African-Americans, 40 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of Asian-Americans. Gunman Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group during a call with police dispatchers during a standoff before he was shot and killed.
A third or less of young people of each racial and ethnic group called the Charleston attack terrorism.
Terrorism concerns have young Americans across racial groups largely in agreement that some rights and freedoms should be sacrificed in efforts to prevent an attack. Eleven percent of all young adults polled said they believe such sacrifices are always necessary, while 54 percent said they’re at least sometimes necessary.
But most young people said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s calls to temporarily ban Muslims from coming to the U.S. goes too far.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they oppose a temporary prohibition on any Muslim who isn’t a U.S. citizen from entering the country: 64 percent of whites, 66 percent of Hispanics and 79 percent of African-Americans and Asian-Americans.
The poll of 1,940 adults age 18-30 was conducted July 9-20 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago using grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.
For years, authorities had concerns about Metro Transit Police Officer Nicholas Young: He traveled to Libya and boasted of joining rebel groups there, and he even described his collection of Nazi memorabilia to law enforcement, according to court documents. But until last month, authorities said, he hadn’t committed a crime.
Now Young, 36, of Fairfax, Virginia, is the first law-enforcement officer in the U.S. to be charged with a terror-related crime, after prosecutors say he bought about $250 worth of gift cards in an FBI sting for someone he thought was working with the Islamic State group.
Young was arrested Wednesday at Metro Transit Police headquarters in Washington and charged with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group. According to an FBI affidavit, Young bought the gift cards last month intending that they be used by the Islamic State group to purchase mobile messaging apps. But the person he gave the cards to was actually an undercover FBI officer, the affidavit said.
He made a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon, wearing a T-shirt and what appeared to be his uniform slacks.
David Smith, who was appointed to represent Young after the hearing, said he could not comment because he had not yet been able to research the details of the case. A status hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
If convicted, Young could face up to 20 years in prison.
Young had been under surveillance since 2010, and he traveled to Libya at least once in 2011, where he said he joined rebel forces seeking to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the affidavit said. He traveled with body armor, a Kevlar helmet and other military-style items.
Young was deeply paranoid about law enforcement spying on him, often taking the battery out of his cellphone when he wanted to go somewhere and talk, the document said. Young frequently told one undercover source to be wary of potential informants, according to the affidavit.
On Jan. 24, 2011, an undercover officer said Young told the officer he once aimed an AK-47-style rifle out of a window at his home, scanning for law enforcement he believed was watching him. On another occasion, he grew angry that the FBI talked to his family and co-workers and said he wanted to find the FBI agent and kidnap and torture her.
The undercover officer said he “doubted that Young seriously intended to act upon those words,” according to the affidavit.
Authorities were not the only ones who had concerns about Young. As police searched Young’s townhome in Fairfax on Wednesday, neighbor Dina Ahmad described him as standoffish and said he had occasional run-ins with the homeowners’ association over his cluttered front lawn.
He often worked on his car at late hours, and the car was adorned with anti-Israel bumper stickers, she said. Asked if she was surprised to learn of the charges against Young, she said no.
“We knew something was weird about him,” Ahmad said. “You just kind of got that creepy vibe off of him.”
Joshua Stueve, spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said Young posed no threat to the Metro system.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said Young, who had been employed since 2003, was fired.
“Obviously, the allegations in this case are profoundly disturbing. They’re disturbing to me, and they’re disturbing to everyone who wears the uniform,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.
FBI spokesman Andrew Ames confirmed that Young is the first law enforcement officer to be charged under the federal government’s terrorism law.
Young was an associate of two other people charged with terror-related crimes. In 2010, law enforcement interviewed Young because of his links to Zachary Chesser, who eventually pleaded guilty to trying to join the militant group al-Shabab and to issuing threats to the makers of the “South Park” cartoon series after they penned an episode he found insulting to Islam.
Young also met regularly with Amine El Khalifi, who pleaded guilty in a sting operation in which he planned to attempt a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol in 2012.
In his years under surveillance, Young frequently made alarming comments that did not rise to a criminal level. During one conversation with an undercover officer, Young said if he was ever betrayed by someone, “that person’s head would be in a cinder block at the bottom of” a lake.
In March 2015, he raised suspicion when he brought a large amount of ammunition, AK-47s and a pistol to an off-duty weapons training event provided by another Metro officer. Young said he owned even more weapons, according to the affidavit.
In a June 2015 interview with law enforcement, he described dressing up at Halloween parties as a jihadist who had beheaded a hostage and as a Nazi. He told officers he collected Nazi memorabilia and he had a German eagle tattooed on his neck.
According to George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, Young is the 100th person since March 2014 to be charged with an offense related to support for the Islamic State group.
Newly declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 released Friday have reignited speculation that some of the hijackers had links to Saudis, including government officials — allegations that were never substantiated by later U.S. investigations into the terrorist attacks.
Congress released the last chapter of the congressional inquiry that has been kept under wraps for more than 13 years, stored in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. Lawmakers and relatives of victims of the attacks, who believe that Saudi links to the attackers were not thoroughly investigated, campaigned for years to get the pages released.
The lightly redacted document names individuals who helped the hijackers get apartments, open bank accounts and connect with local mosques. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and several were not fluent in English and had little experience living in the West.
Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, the co-chairman of the congressional inquiry, who pushed hard for the last chapter of the inquiry’s report to be released, believes the hijackers had an extensive Saudi support system while they were in the United States.
Saudi Arabia itself has urged the release of the chapter since 2002 so the kingdom could respond to any allegations.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubier told reporters Friday that his government welcomed the release of the 28 pages and said the documents should finally put to rest questions about Saudi Arabia’s suspected role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
“The surprise in the 28 pages is that there is no surprise,” al-Jubier said.
The 9/11 Families and Victims welcomed the release, and said it confirmed what they’ve long known.
“Each of the claims the 9/11 families and victims has made against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoys extensive support in the findings of a broad range of investigative documents authored by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies,” the families said.
Terry Strada, National Chair for 9/11 Families United For Justice Against Terrorism, said: “There is so much more on the Saudi connection to 9/11 and this is the tip of the iceberg, but you had to get this first. It’s the beginning, but I don’t think it’s the end.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a statement that the documents “provide more than enough evidence to raise serious concerns.”
The document mentions scores of names that the congressional inquiry believed deserved more investigation. They included:
—Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi national who helped two of the hijackers in California, was suspected of being a Saudi intelligence officer. The 9/11 Commission report found him to be an “unlikely candidate for clandestine involvement” with Islamic extremists. The new document says that according to FBI files, al-Bayoumi had “extensive contact with Saudi government establishments in the United States and received financial support from a Saudi company affiliated with the Saudi Ministry of Defense. … That company reportedly had ties to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida,” which orchestrated the attacks.
—Osama Bassnan, who lived across the street from two of the hijackers in California. According to an FBI document, Bassnan told another individual that he met the hijackers through al-Bayoumi. Bassnan told an FBI asset that “he did more than al-Bayoumi did for the hijackers.”
The office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday also released part of a 2005 FBI-CIA memo that said “there is no information to indicate that either (Bayoumi) or (Bassnan) materially supported the hijackers wittingly, were intelligence officers of the Saudi government or provided material support for the 11 September attacks, contrary to media speculation.”
The document also notes that U.S. and coalition forces retrieved the telephone book of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-profile al-Qaida terror suspect captured after the Sept. 11 attacks. The telephone book, obtained during his capture in Pakistan in March 2002, contained an unlisted number traced to ASPCOL Corp. in Aspen, Colorado, which the FBI field office in Denver determined “manages the affairs of the Colorado residence of Prince Bandar (bin Sultan),” who was the Saudi ambassador to the United States at the time.
The document, however, also stated that “CIA traces have revealed no ‘direct’ links between numbers found in Zubaydah’s phone book and numbers in the United States.”
Other individuals named in the document include Saleh al-Hussayen, a Saudi interior ministry official who stayed at the same hotel in Herndon, Virginia, as one of the hijackers. “While al-Hussayen claimed after Sept. 11 not to know the hijackers, FBI agents believed he was being deceptive. He was able to depart the United States despite FBI efforts to locate and re-interview him,” the document said.
Former President George W. Bush classified the chapter to protect intelligence sources and methods, although he also probably did not want to upset U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally.
Two years ago, President Barack Obama ordered a declassification review of the chapter. National Intelligence Director James Clapper conducted that declassification review and transmitted the document to Congress, which released the pages online on Friday.
Several investigations into 9/11 followed the congressional inquiry, which released its report — minus the secret chapter — in December 2002. The most well-known investigation was done by the 9/11 Commission, led by former Gov. Tom Kean, R-N.J., and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind.
Kean and Hamilton said the 28 pages were based almost entirely on raw, unvetted material that came to the FBI. “The leads developed in 2002 and 2003 were checked out as thoroughly as possible,” they said in a statement Friday.
The commission’s 567-page report, released in July 2004, stated that it found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al-Qaida.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, and vice chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., urged the public to read the results of other investigations by the CIA and FBI that “debunk” many of the allegations, and put conspiracy theories to rest.
Associated Press writers Erica Werner and Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report.
President Barack Obama is angrily denouncing Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, blasting the views of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as a threat to American security and a menacing echo of some of the most shameful moments in U.S. history.
Obama’s rebuke Tuesday was his most searing yet of the man seeking to take his seat in the Oval Office. While the president has frequently dismissed Trump as a buffoon or a huckster, this time he challenged the former reality television star as a “dangerous” threat to the nation’s safety, religious freedom and diversity.
“That’s not the America we want. It does not reflect our democratic ideals,” Obama declared in remarks that had been scheduled to simply update the public on the counter-Islamic State campaign.
Obama walked listeners through a familiar litany of battlefield successes, but then came another message. Growing more animated as he spoke, Obama said Trump’s “loose talk and sloppiness” could lead to discrimination and targeting of ethnic and religious minorities.
“We’ve gone through moments in our history before when we acted out of fear and we came to regret it,” Obama said. “We’ve seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens and it has been a shameful part of our history.”
Trump responded by suggesting that Obama is too solicitous of enemies.
“President Obama claims to know our enemy, and yet he continues to prioritize our enemy over our allies, and for that matter, the American people,” the candidate said in a statement. “When I am president, it will always be America first.”
At a fiery rally hours later in Greensboro, North Carolina, Trump said the president appeared angrier at him than he was at the Orlando gunman. “That’s the kind of anger he should have for the shooter and these killers that shouldn’t be here,” Trump told the crowd.
Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, has set off a new round of debate over counterterrorism, gun control and immigration — one that has exposed the political parties’ starkly different approaches to national security. The presumed gunman was an American-born citizen whose parents came to the U.S. from Afghanistan more than 30 years ago.
Trump has used the carnage to renew his call to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from entering the country, and added a new element: a suspension of immigration from areas of the world with a proven history of terrorism against the U.S. and its allies.
The Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, also responded to Trump on Tuesday.
“We don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations,” Clinton said in a speech that closely tracked Obama’s. “We need leadership and concrete plans because we are facing a brutal enemy.”
Both Clinton and Obama turned up the heat on Republicans, some of whom have squirmed with discomfort this week at the first glimpses of how their new leader handles national crises.
“Where does this stop?” Obama said. “Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith? … Do Republican officials actually agree with this?”
For some, the answer was plainly no. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the highest-ranking elected GOP official, said he did not think such a ban was “in our country’s interest” or “reflective of our principles not just as a party, but as a country.”
Republicans have instead hoped to focus on a broader criticism of the president’s counter-terrorism strategy as unfocused, ineffective and too soft of Islamic institutions and governments that support terrorism.
Obama directly addressed that argument, specifically taking on the Trump charge that his policies have been hampered by his refusal to use the phrase “radical Islam” when describing the forces urging attacks like the one in Orlando. Republicans have said the careful parsing is a sign of over-caution and political correctness that demonstrates denial about the groups responsible for the extremist view.
Trump said Sunday the president should resign if he does not use the phrase.
Obama dismissed the criticism as a “political talking point” and “not a strategy,” and he pointed to his success in tracking Osama bin Laden and other extremist leaders.
“There is no magic to the phrase ‘radical Islam,'” he said. “Someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we are fighting? If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are — that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we have taken off the battlefield.”
Obama struck a more bipartisan tone in speaking to members of Congress and their families during a picnic Tuesday evening on the South Lawn.
“Obviously this has been a difficult week for America because all of us are still grieving for those who were lost in Orlando,” he told the several hundred people in attendance.
In the end, he said, the “things that really matter in our lives, they can’t be captured by a party label.”
Associated Press writers Lisa Lerer in Cleveland and Donna Cassata in Washington contributed to this report.