28 November 2007

Terrorists Target Army Base — in Arizona

By Sara A. Carter - Washington Times.

Fort Huachuca, the nation's largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.

Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.

"A portion of the operatives were in the United States, with the remainder not yet in the United States," according to one of the documents, an FBI advisory that was distributed to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department, among several other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. "The Afghanis and Iraqis shaved their beards so as not to appear to be Middle Easterners."

According to the FBI advisory, each Middle Easterner paid Mexican drug lords $20,000 "or the equivalent in weapons" for the cartel's assistance in smuggling them and their weapons through tunnels along the border into the U.S. The weapons would be sent through tunnels that supposedly ended in Arizona and New Mexico, but the Islamist terrorists would be smuggled through Laredo, Texas, and reclaim the weapons later.

A number of the Afghans and Iraqis are already in a safe house in Texas, the FBI advisory said.

Fort Huachuca, which lies about 20 miles from the Mexican border, has members of all four service branches training in intelligence and secret operations. About 12,000 persons work at the fort and many have their families on base.

Lt. Col. Matthew Garner, spokesman for Fort Huachuca, said details about the current phase of the investigation or security changes on the post "will not be disclosed."

"We are always taking precautions to ensure that soldiers, family members and civilians that work and live on Fort Huachuca are safe," Col. Garner said. "With this specific threat, we did change some aspects of our security that we did have in place."

According to the FBI report, some of the weapons associated with the plot have been smuggled through a tunnel from Mexico to the U.S.

The FBI report is based on Drug Enforcement Administration sources, including Mexican nationals with access to "sub-sources" in the drug cartels. The report's assessment is that the DEA's Mexican contacts have proven reliable in the past but the "sub-source" is of uncertain reliability.

According to the source who spoke with DEA intelligence agents, the weapons included two Milan anti-tank missiles, Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles, grenade launchers, long guns and handguns.

"FBI Comment: The surface-to-air missiles may in fact be RPGs," the advisory stated, adding that the weapons stash in Mexico could include two or three more Milan missiles.

The Milan, a French-German portable anti-tank weapon, was developed in the 1970s and widely sold to militaries around the world, including Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Insurgents in Iraq reportedly have used a Milan missile in an attack on a British tank. Iraqi guerrillas also have shot down U.S. helicopters using RPGs, or rocket-propelled grenades.

FBI spokesman Paul Bresson would not elaborate on the current investigation regarding the threat, but said that many times the initial reports are based on "raw, uncorroborated information that has not been completely vetted." He added that this report shows the extent to which all law enforcement and intelligence agencies cooperate in terror investigations.

"If nothing else, it provides a good look at the inner working of the law-enforcement and intelligence community and how they work together on a daily basis to share and deal with threat information," Mr. Bresson said. "It also demonstrates the cross-pollination that frequently exists between criminal and terrorist groups."

The connections between criminal enterprises, such as powerful drug cartels, and terrorist organizations have become a serious concern for intelligence agencies monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Based upon the information provided by the DEA handling agent, the DEA has classified the source as credible," stated a Department of Homeland Security document, regarding the possibility of an attack on Fort Huachuca. "The identity of the sub-source has been established; however, none of the information provided by the sub-source in the past has been corroborated."

The FBI advisory stated the "sub-source" for the information "is a member of the Zetas," the military arm of one of Mexico's most dangerous drug-trafficking organizations, the Gulf Cartel. The Gulf Cartel controls the movement of narcotics from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into the U.S. along the Laredo corridor.

However, the sub-source "for this information is of unknown reliability," the FBI advisory stated.

According to the DEA, the sub-source identified Mexico's Sinaloa cartel as the drug lords who would assist the terrorists in their plot.

This led the DEA to caution the FBI that its information may be a Gulf Cartel plant to bring the U.S. military in against its main rival. The Sinaloa and Gulf cartels have fought bloody battles along the border for control of shipping routes into the U.S.

"It doesn't mean that there isn't truth to some of what this source delivered to U.S. agents," said one law-enforcement intelligence agent, on the condition of anonymity. "The cartels have no loyalty to any nation or person. It isn't surprising that for the right price they would assist terrorists, knowingly or unknowingly."

Harker Heights, Texas native COL Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., and other Dragon Brigade Soldiers show their support for the "Black Knights" of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point by shouting out "Go Army Beat Navy" at Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad.
Pic: MSG Dave Larsen

The Qayyarah Bridge on the Tigris River lost more than 100 feet of its span due to a truck bombing on Nov. 23. Iraqi and coalition force engineers repaired the span in less than three days.
Pic: Alfredo Jimenez

The Qayyarah Bridge on the Tigris River lost more than 100 feet of its span due to a truck bombing on Nov. 23. Iraqi and coalition force engineers repaired the span in less than three days.
Pic: SPC Alfredo Jimenez

Riverside, Calif., native PFC Thomas Grimm, an infantryman, points out a rooftop to Arlingtion, Texas, native PFC Daniel Dension, a medic, both with 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, while patrolling at an electrical power plant in Kateib in northwest Baghdad.
Pic: SGT James Hunter

Cordova, Md., native, SPC Shane Osterman, a military policeman with the 401st Military Police Company out of Fort Hood, Texas, scans the biometric data of an Iraqi police auxiliary recruit during an IPA recruitment drive in Hateen. The recruit’s biometric data will be entered into a computer to ensure that no persons with a criminal background will be accepted. The drive, sponsored by Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, processed more than 175 recruits.
Pic: SFC Robert Timmons

Lt. Col. Todd Ratliff, from Holland, Ohio, the commander of the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, speaks during the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop change of command ceremony as Capt. Faye Cameron, from Clarksville, Tenn., the outgoing commander of the HHT, and Capt. Andrew Henning, from Charleston, S.C., the incoming commander, listen at Forward Operating Base Hammer. "Today's change of command is between two great officers," Ratliff said. "Both have a wealth of experience."
Pic: SPC Ben Hutto

Sheik Kassam, the leader of the Concerned Local Citizens group in Sabbah Nissan, passes out backpacks provided by Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, to school children. Battery A has distributed 1,422 backpacks to the children of Sabbah Nissan since they came to the area in October.
Pic: SPC Ben Hutto

The road through Maderiyah is currently being worked on in preparation for paving. The road is being covered in dirt to provide a base for the asphalt. Once leveled off, the dirt will be layered with asphalt.
Pic: SGT Kevin Stabinsky

A group of Iraqi men clear debris away from the outside of Maderiyah clinic. Local Iraqi contractor Yasser G. Khalid is providing the workers to help restore the clinic to functional condition.
Pic: SGT Kevin Stabinsky

A band plays native Iraqi music as part of the Baghdad Day celebration, which was held at Zawra Park to honor the history of Baghdad.
Pic: SPC Robert Yde

16 November 2007

Fayetteville, NC, native, 1LT Larry Pitts from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, talks with a local vendor at the Fish Market in Raabi neighborhood of Baghdad's Adhamiyah District. The paratroopers conduct a lot of patrols with the Iraqi Army and police to show the local nationals they trust in the local security forces.
Pic: SPC Elvyn Nieves

A Soldier with Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment walks through the market area in the Raabi neighborhood of Baghdad's Adhamiyah District. According to Clemens, Ore., native, SFC Christopher Burpee, the market gained new life thanks to the paratroopers and the local security forces putting a security plan in place so the local people feel safer.
Pic: SPC Elvyn Nieves

Paratroopers at Forward Operating Base Airborne head back to FOB Shank.
Pic: PFC Daniel Rangel

05 November 2007

Paratroopers of 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, position themselves on the rooftop of a hasty observation post south of Hawr Rajab,Iraq. The Paratroopers observe a firefight between insurgents and a concerned citizens' checkpoint.

04 November 2007

SGT Carlos Guerrero, right, of Las Vegas, and SPC Walter Epert, of Chicago, both scouts with 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, poise themselves on a rooftop and prepare to engage Iranian-backed insurgents in Hawr Rajab.

Sheik Hassan Khudier Shoerid al Hamdani shakes hands with COL Dominic J. Caraccilo, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), commander, as Caraccilo's interpreter, Zak, interprets at a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Camp Striker.
Pic: SFC Kerensa Hardy

LTC Dale Kuehl, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, presents Iraqi army Lt. Col. Wail Mohamed Hussain, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, with a gift in appreciation of their cooperation in the Ameriya neighborhood of Baghdad's Al Mansour District at the end of a soccer tournament at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Pic: PFC April Campbell

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