Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Napolitano's Canadian Gaffe

Everyone, apparently including Janet Napolitano herself, thinks her March statement about terrorists crossing the Canadian border into the United States was erroneous:
"Terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across ... the Canadian border," she was quoted as saying.
But if a mistake, why and how? Surely they don't choose counterterrorism officials based on their ability to start diplomatic rows based on falsehoods. Or maybe they do--whatever--still, the fact remains that only conspiracy theories provide any evidence that terrorists crossed the border from Canada so it's odd she'd make the assertion unless something boiled up from her subconscious.

Towards that end, her department is certainly familiar with terrorists who've crossed the other way, guys like Adnan Shukrijumah (aka Jefar the Pilot) who has passports in both countries and was the focus of a publicized BOLO alert in 2005, and who's still at large (along with another Saudi-trained pilot Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, although it's not clear whether he ever visited Canada).

And surely she's familiar with the strangest terrorist of all, Mubarak al-Duri, whom the 9/11 Commission once called bin Laden's chief WMD procurement person and who attended the University of Arizona. There's little doubt he entered Canada and their government thinks he was associating with Mohamed Mahjoub, a terrorist arrested in 2000 who was linked to the Egyptian Vanguards of Conquest. VOC is an offshoot of Zawahiri's EIJ, the same outfit who sent operatives to Baghdad in 2002 to meet with Iraqi Intelligence before the US invasion.

So perhaps her mind was swirling with thoughts of others who plied the skies and schools of Arizona during the 90s when she was a US Attorney and later the Arizona Attorney General. At the time her office seemed focused on right wing extremists like Michael Fortier (hey that sounds Canadian) of Oklahoma City bombing fame while associates of the abovementioned characters were running loose, guys like 9/11 pilot Hani Hanjour or a man named Muhammad Al-Qudhai'een, who in 1999:
Their crime: accidentally trying to open the cockpit door of the plane they were on, thinking it was the bathroom, and asking suspicious questions such as, "When will we be arriving in Washington DC?"
He apparently had ties with a terrorist famously mentioned in the Arizona FBI agent's ignored warning to Washington in summer 2001, which later became fodder for inside job conspiracy theories--but only about Bush.

Al-Duri also had ties to bin Laden's principal aide and another former Arizona resident and native Iraqi Wadi el-Hage, currently serving life. Al-Duri has fared much better, fortuitously moving to the Sudan right before 9/11, where both the FBI and CIA later caught up with him to inquire of his friends but for some reason came away empty. Interestingly, those interrogations occurred before the 9/11 Commission labeled him a WMD guy, suggesting it remains an accurate description. Yet remarkably:
According to the most recent intelligence, al-Duri has returned to Iraq...
Never mind he shares the same sirname as the former Saddam RCC leader accused of sponsoring the insurgency.

So who knows, maybe some of this explains Ms. Napolitano's apparent confusion. The only other explanations--general cluelessness or a bias towards Canada--would have been grounds for dismissal.

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