Taliban turning to foreign suicide bombers / Internet posting hints at successful Saudi penetration of Al Qaida (GeoStrategy-Direct) BACKGROUNDER: Compiled by Bill Gertz 12/08/06)
Taliban turning to foreign suicide bombers
A key feature of stepped up Taliban operations in Afghanistan is the
increased use of foreign Islamists to conduct suicide terrorist
bombings, a tactic shunned by the Taliban until recently.
Radio Afghanistan reported last week that the security commander of
Kunar Province reported receiving intelligence that three women had
come from Pakistan to carry out suicide attacks.
Coalition forces wounded a female suspect in a shooting in the Nari
District of Kunar Province shortly after the report. The forces
believed she was planning to carry out a suicide attack.
The commander, Abdul Jalal Jalal, said the woman was wounded while
passing a coalition convoy. He said the woman was being treated in
Asad Abad hospital.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said last week that
the threat from Al Qaida had been limited in Afghanistan but that the
Taliban has become more dangerous and stronger.
Kasuri also said the Taliban is stepping up subversive activities in
Pakistan, sending trained agents disguised as Afghan refugees to
engage in subversion.
Internet posting hints at successful Saudi penetration of Al Qaida
Saudi intelligence had successfully penetrated the Al Qaida
organization in that country and scored successes by electronic
eavesdropping on the group’s communications, an Islamist website in
Saudi Arabia stated last week.
The posting mentioned the Nov. 13 capture in Afghanistan of senior Al
Qaida leader Abu-Nasir al-Qahtani, who had escaped last year from
A jihadist wrote to the web site that Al Qaida has failed to use
appropriate security measures to avoid infiltration by Saudi
He lamented that Al-Qahtani had not taken his advice in a message
that he posted in response to earlier news about the Saudi
government´s interception of telephone contacts with Al Qaida in the
The posting included a copy of an earlier message that called on the
terrorists to "re-evaluate and reconfigure their method of
communication" and urged them to "replace the cadre in charge of
The posting said the group’s communications had been compromised and
that security breaches must be stopped.
The problem is “very serious” because “Al-Qahtani had contacts with
mujahadeen in Afghanistan as well." The terrorist stated that "the
current Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is nothing but a branch of
the Saudi intelligence set up to snare Al Qaida members abroad."
The posting said Saudi security had eliminated all Al Qaida
operatives in Saudi Arabia with the help of establishment clerics and
The posting also said Al Qaida in Saudi Arabia uses the Al Hisbah
website and that the site is linked to the Saudi security service.
Canadians score counterintelligence coup with capture of deep-cover
Poor intelligence tradecraft helped undo an illegal Russian spy who
was caught by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service earlier
The CSIS caught a Russian posing as Canadian Paul William Hampel
after he used a birth certificate traced to the original person, U.S.
intelligence sources said.
According to an information report on the case submitted in federal
court in Canada, the CSIS “confirmed through the Registrar General of
Ontario that no birth or death records existed pertaining to a Paul
William Hampel with a date of birth of December 11, 1965, and that
Hampel’s birth certificate number is legally assigned to another
Officials said the reference to the birth certificate number was the
key to the case.
The court report said "Paul William Hampel" also was tracked down
based on operating methods used by an earlier Russian illegal couple
that was uncovered and deported back to Russia in 1996.
The recent capture was an intelligence coup for the Canadians, since
deep-cover spies are hard to find. "Identifying and subsequently
catching an illegal is the crème de la crème of the
counterintelligence business," one U.S. official said.
The court report stated that since 2002 Moscow has ordered “a massive
stepping up of espionage activities in Europe and North America”
following an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin
to “radically increase foreign intelligence gathering activities.”
“This looks at first glance to have been very sloppy work by an
organization which cannot afford to make even the smallest mistakes
in building an operational legend,” the official said.
CSIS apparently failed to “turn” Hampel to work as a double agent.
The report said the Russian SVR, successor to the KGB foreign
intelligence branch, was also rapidly stepping up its operations in
North America, particularly in cities with sizeable Russian émigré
communities such as Toronto. According to the Canadians, as late as
January 2006, the SVR was expanding activities in Europe and
U.S. intelligence last identified a Russian illegal in 1989 when a
KGB deep cover officer was identified as Reino Gikman, a Finnish
official working for the United Nations in Europe. Gikman was tracked
to Felix Bloch, a senior State Department official who was identified
as a Russian mole. Bloch avoided being arrested after FBI turncoat
Robert Hanssen revealed to Russian intelligence that Bloch had been
“Illegals are highly trained intelligence officers sent abroad to
live without the legal cover of an embassy or other government entity
that would give them diplomatic immunity in case of arrest,” the
Canadian court report said.
“They are Russian espionage elites, among their nation’s costliest
and longest-term undercover agents, who will go to great lengths to
spy on their target countries. Illegals seldom report to ‘legal’
intelligence officers at their respective embassies, communicating
instead by covert means to their control officers in Moscow.”
Illegals use legends created from false identities, either fabricated
or based on the identities of real people. Illegals recruit agents in
place and seldom insert themselves in sensitive posts of target
governments. Scrutiny by the target countries could limit the ability
of illegals to communicate with their control centers.
Lantos worries Russia trending back to the USSR
The incoming chairman of the House International Relations Committee,
Rep. Tom Lantos, told a Hungarian newspaper that he is concerned
about Russia’s move away from democracy.
“We have been deeply disappointed by the undemocratic trends,” Lantos
told the Nepszabadsag newspaper.
“The developments in Russia are highly worrying: the Russian
Parliament depends on the Kremlin, the governors are appointed by the
Kremlin, and the television is a mouthpiece of the Kremlin.”
Lantos said Russia is using its energy exports to control states in
the region “the same way it used the Soviet army a few decades ago.”
The murder of Ana Politskaya, who exposed government corruption, and
the poisoning of Russian intelligence defector Alexander Litvenenko,
also are worrisome, he said.
“Whether we are Democrats of Republicans, it is our duty to speak
about these things,” Lantos said. “Our European friends are also
aware of these problems, and they speak about them just as openly.”
(Copyright © 2006 East West Services, Inc. 12/08/06)
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