Saturday, July 17, 2004

U.S. assesses Web threat against Italy


I made two posts about an attack on Italy yesterday. One of the posts was about "Internet Haganah", an Israeli group of bloggers who shut down Jihad websites. So far they have shut down over 500 and were recently sent a letter threatening to behead one of their members.

MSNBC has now picked up Haganah's warnings and had this to say:

"...has raised serious concern in the U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism community, a senior U.S. official told NBC News.

What is interesting about this is, after agonizing over whether to go public with the information, Haganah had an exchange with a "member of the intelligence services", Haganah was told the following:

"Well I promise you are rattling cages and you might possibly get the attention you are asking for. When it comes to the intelligence community, it only takes one idiot with an ego to say "this is a bunch of crap" and that is where it ends. I would make noise everywhere - like I said Interpol, US agencies everywhere, ect. you will touch the right nerve eventually and they will listen."

In the MSNBC article "a senior U.S. official told NBC News", "U.S. intelligence monitors the site, which is published under various addresses, and Abu Banan's editing decisions, the official said. "He chooses. He is the editor, and he is the one with al-Qaida ties."

Now, the question is, did this story get published because Haganah "rattled some cages"?

This also brings up the question of losing sources versus warning the public. A subject even Churchill had to agonize over when deciding to warn Coventry over an impending Nazi bombing raid and thereby tip off the Germans that we had broken their communications codes.

UPDATE: New specific warnings to Italy.

DUBAI - A statement posted on Saturday on an Islamist website purported to be from the Al Qaeda terror network demanded that Italy withdraw its troops from Iraq, threatening otherwise a series of car bomb attacks.

“O Italian people, your government has participated in the war on Iraq and sent troops and arsenal to our country. We urge you for the last time to demand that it withdraw peacefully from Iraq,” said the statement.

Dated July 17, it was signed “Khalid Ibn al-Walid Brigade, Al Qaeda”. Its authenticity could not be verified.

“If your government does not obey, the solution lies in successive car bomb” attacks, the statement said.


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