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Assassination Plot Against Obama


William Kelly
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http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-New...200810415130015

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/wor...d-14017581.html

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...7/NEWS/81027054

Associated Press WASHINGTON — Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, ATF officials said today.

In court records unsealed today, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

“They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama,” Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying.”

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Hi,

This seems a bit extreme especially if it was intended to disrupt the election - they could have just registered as 'Dems' through an 'ACORN' representative and given the names 'Mickey Mouse' and 'Donald Duck'.

Steve

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-New...200810415130015

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/wor...d-14017581.html

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...7/NEWS/81027054

Associated Press WASHINGTON — Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, ATF officials said today.

In court records unsealed today, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

“They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama,” Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying.”

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Hi,

This seems a bit extreme especially if it was intended to disrupt the election - they could have just registered as 'Dems' through an 'ACORN' representative and given the names 'Mickey Mouse' and 'Donald Duck'.

Steve

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-New...200810415130015

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/wor...d-14017581.html

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...7/NEWS/81027054

Associated Press WASHINGTON — Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, ATF officials said today.

In court records unsealed today, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

"They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama," Cavanaugh said. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying."

It doesn't seem like this was a serious assassination attempt or even a serious mass murder attempt.

It's just a couple of idiot kids.

BK

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They will not be prosecuted. This is certainly remindful of the Carter "plot," in which Harvey and Osvaldo were allowed to walk away.

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Legal_expert...rneys_1031.html

This is actually about the Denver threat not the more recent one. One obvious difference between that case and the “Lee Harvey”/”Osvaldo” one is that according to Ron’s article the only suspect against whom there was evidence is probably going to spend the rest of his life behind bars on other charges.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Obama has more threats than any other presidents-elect

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081115/ap_on_...r/obama_threats

WASHINGTON – Threats against a new president historically spike right after an election, but from Maine to Idaho law enforcement officials are seeing more against Barack Obama than ever before. The Secret Service would not comment or provide the number of cases they are investigating. But since the Nov. 4 election, law enforcement officials have seen more potentially threatening writings, Internet postings and other activity directed at Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect, said officials aware of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue of a president's security is so sensitive.

Earlier this week, the Secret Service looked into the case of a sign posted on a tree in Vay, Idaho, with Obama's name and the offer of a "free public hanging." In North Carolina, civil rights officials complained of threatening racist graffiti targeting Obama found in a tunnel near the North Carolina State University campus.

And in a Maine convenience store, an Associated Press reporter saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The sign solicited $1 entries into "The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool," saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama was attacked. "Let's hope we have a winner," said the sign, since taken down.

In the security world, anything "new" can trigger hostility, said Joseph Funk, a former Secret Service agent-turned security consultant who oversaw a private protection detail for Obama before the Secret Service began guarding the candidate in early 2007.

Obama, of course, will be the country's first black president, and Funk said that new element, not just race itself, is probably responsible for a spike in anti-Obama postings and activity. "Anytime you're going to have something that's new, you're going to have increased chatter," he said.

The Secret Service also has cautioned the public not to assume that any threats against Obama are due to racism.

The service investigates threats in a wide range. There are "stated threats" and equally dangerous or lesser incidents considered of "unusual interest" — such as people motivated by obsessions or infatuations or lower-level gestures such as effigies of a candidate or an elected president. The service has said it does not have the luxury of discounting anything until agents have investigated the potential danger.

Racially tinged graffiti — not necessarily directed at Obama — also has emerged in numerous reports across the nation since Election Day, prompting at least one news conference by a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Georgia.

A law enforcement official who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly said that during the campaign there was a spike in anti-Obama rhetoric on the Internet — "a lot of ranting and raving with no capability, credibility or specificity to it."

There were two threatening cases with racial overtones:

• In Denver, a group of men with guns and bulletproof vests made racist threats against Obama and sparked fears of an assassination plot during the Democratic National Convention in August.

• Just before the election, two skinheads in Tennessee were charged with plotting to behead blacks across the country and assassinate Obama while wearing white top hats and tuxedos.

In both cases, authorities determined the men were not capable of carrying out their plots.

In Milwaukee, police officials found a poster of Obama with a bullet going toward his head — discovered on a table in a police station.

Chatter among white supremacists on the Internet has increased throughout the campaign and since Election Day.

One of the most popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day, according to an AP count. The site, stormfront.org, was temporarily off-line Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received after Election Day. On Saturday, one Stormfront poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, "I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how 'messiahs' come to rest. God has abandoned us, this country is doomed."

It is not surprising that a black president would galvanize the white supremacist movement, said Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who studies the white supremacy movement.

"The overwhelming flavor of the white supremacist world is a mix of desperation, confusion and hoping that this will somehow turn into a good thing for them," Potok said. He said hate groups have been on the rise in the past seven years because of a common concern about immigration.

___ Associated Press writers Lara Jakes Jordan in Washington and Jerry Harkavy in Standish, Maine, contributed to this report.

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  • 1 month later...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/20...asecurity_N.htm

Scope of Obama's Secret Service protection proves daunting

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAYOn the historic night Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, a sobering image was lost in the euphoria of the cheering crowd in Chicago's Grant Park: Clear sheaths of bulletproof glass shielded both sides of the stage where the then-Democratic senator of Illinois declared victory.Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis says there were no credible threats targeting Obama that night. The glass, he says, was merely a precaution, given the enormous crowd and the high-rises looming over the sprawling outdoor venue.

The scene on Nov. 4 offered a preview of the excitement and a crowd expected to top the previous inaugural high of 1.2 million in Washington when Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20. The occasion will be a huge test for the federal and local authorities charged with protecting the new president.

Obama's election shattered social and political barriers. His historic inauguration also marks a critical time for federal law enforcement officials who must — as with every new occupant of the White House — tailor an elaborate security plan to fit the new president and his family. In Obama's case, that involves an additional consideration: his race.

Obama received Secret Service protection 18 months before the election, the earliest of any previously unprotected presidential candidate, in part because of concerns about racially charged rhetoric that had been directed at him.

"The fact that this is an African American is not lost on us," Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley says. "We understand that this is a historic event; we understand that this is different from other inaugurations. It is one additional piece that we factor into the plan."

Washington, D.C., Assistant Police Chief Patrick Burke says the crowds "will likely make this the biggest inauguration" in U.S. history. "The exuberance of that crowd in Chicago kicked us into high gear."

The inaugural security plan, Burke says, will include an intelligence-gathering operation involving "the entire intelligence community."

Directed by the Secret Service, the operation is designed to vet all possible threats, including those that could be posed by hate groups. The Secret Service does not discuss threats against current or past presidents.

Former Secret Service agent Norm Jarvis, who was involved in the protection of four presidents, says the level of security for any president remains at a constant high — and that balancing the need for security with allowing public access to a president is a persistent challenge. There is a "built-in antipathy" for every president regardless of party affiliation among some members of the public and advocacy groups, he says.

With Obama, Jarvis says, agents assigned to the new president will feel an unspoken — but increased — pressure to shield America's first black chief executive. "I know agents are coming to grips with the fact that they have got to lay it on the line," he says.

Wiley dismisses the suggestion of added pressure, saying that Obama's historic role is "one of myriad" security considerations. For months, Wiley says, officials have been overseeing the Inauguration Day roles of 58 federal, state and local security agencies, including the U.S. military.

The Pentagon plans to deploy about 5,000 troops, a mix of personnel from every branch of service for both security and ceremonial purposes, according to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.

In addition, Washington's police department is coordinating with 96 police agencies across the nation that are sending 4,000 officers to help secure the event, says D.C. police spokeswoman Traci Hughes.

Burke says challenges include providing the large crowds with enough space to "appreciate the historical significance of the event," while maintaining a high level of security for Obama.

Ray Mey, a former FBI agent who helped with security for the 1997 Clinton inauguration, says the crowds that gathered during the 2007-08 campaign and Obama's close interaction with them signal the new president will be "a tough guy to protect."

"He likes to get out in the crowd," Mey says.

The long election cycle and the enormous crowds at Obama's events already have stretched Secret Service resources. As a candidate, Obama began receiving Secret Service protection 1½ years before the general election after congressional officials such as Sen. Dick Durbin, Obama's senior Democratic colleague from Illinois, expressed concern that the large crowds Obama was drawing could obscure a threat to the candidate.

Durbin also told reporters in May 2007 that he was worried about the sharp rhetoric directed at Obama. Durbin, who did not publicly elaborate on the issue at the time, passed the information about the troubling rhetoric to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who went to the Secret Service with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to share their concerns.

This year, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told a congressional panel that the "tempo" of the campaign was "unlike anything we've ever seen before." Sullivan said the agency borrowed about 1,000 Transportation Security Administration officers to assist with screening at crowded campaign venues for all candidates.

The early protection given to Obama and the large field of 2008 candidates could push Secret Service security costs well past 2004 levels. Sullivan estimated the agency planned to provide a total 739 days of protection for all covered candidates, relatives and former officeholders, costing about $44,000 a day for each person receiving protection. In 2004, the agency provided 454 days' worth of security.

During the congressional hearing in April, Sullivan told the House Appropriations Homeland Security subcommittee: "We pay an awful lot of attention to the threats out there."

Anxiety in Denver

That was the case when information emerged during a traffic stop before the August Democratic National Convention in Denver about a possible assassination attempt on Obama. An alarm was sounded that sent waves of anxiety from Colorado to Washington, D.C.

Investigators quickly determined that the three main suspects — initially feared to have ties to the violent white supremacist movement — did not pose a serious threat to Obama.

Yet the incident, as described by federal investigators, offers a rare glimpse two months before Inauguration Day of the intensity of security surrounding then-candidate and now President-elect Obama.

In the months leading up to the convention, an estimated 500 FBI agents and 1,000 Secret Service agents were dispatched to the city. Weapons experts prepared for a bombing or other terrorist attack. Federal hostage negotiators planned for a host of crises.

About 60 investigators from 20 local agencies in the region were assigned to gather intelligence about threats, including any directed against Obama, Denver FBI chief Jim Davis says. Teams of federal agents and local police rousted confidential sources in search of information.

"We weren't picking anything up," he says. "It was very quiet."

That changed at 2:24 a.m. Aug. 24 — the day before the convention started — when a suburban Denver police officer stopped a blue 2008 Dodge pickup.

A search of the truck, court documents show, turned up bullet-resistant body armor, wigs, two rifles with mounted scopes, walkie-talkies and a device that braces firearms for more accurate firing.

Police relayed their findings to a federal intelligence center in Denver, which sent 100 investigators to the streets.

The truck driver led agents to four other associates. One of them, according to court documents, told investigators that two of his colleagues had discussed a plan to "kill" Obama by setting up a high-powered rifle on a vantage point overlooking Invesco Field at Mile High, where Obama was to deliver his acceptance speech.

"Assuming that this was a credible plot, we had to ask ourselves: 'Do we have everybody involved?' " Davis says. "At that point, there was no degree of certainty that we had."

Investigators pursued leads as far away as Kansas. Analysts used satellite technology to try to pinpoint possible locations from which a high-powered rifle could reach the speaker's podium.

Yet, almost as quickly as the threat appeared, it began to "melt down," Davis says.

Within 18 hours, interviews with the suspects and other investigative efforts revealed that none had ties to white supremacist groups. The alleged plot against Obama, agents concluded, was a product of apparent drug-induced bluster. The weapons and other suspicious equipment were related to the suspects' involvement in the methamphetamine trade.

'Worrisome vitriol'

Eight days before the election, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it had foiled a bizarre assassination plot against Obama by two men whom prosecutors said could have links to the white supremacist movement.

The men, who were charged with weapons violations and making threats, allegedly planned a killing rampage that would have begun at a predominantly African-American school and ended with an attack on Obama.

ATF spokesman Robert Browning immediately noted that the loosely organized plot raised questions about whether the suspects could have carried it out.

Even so, former FBI agent Mey says Obama's election has the potential to reinvigorate the radical right, a mix of militia and patriot groups that thrived during the Clinton administration.

In the wake of Obama's election, white supremacist leaders are claiming a surge in membership, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors the groups' activities.

While Obama was giving his stirring acceptance speech in Chicago on Nov. 4, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was rallying the white supremacist movement in a provocative call to action, saying Obama's election represented a "night of tragedy and sadness."

"Barack Obama has long history of antagonizing white people," Duke said in an audio message broadcast on the radical website Stormfront.org. "We as European Americans have to rally for our survival."

Duke did not advocate violence, but Southern Poverty Law Center spokesman Mark Potok says Duke's message is part of the recent wave of "worrisome vitriol" directed at the president-elect.

"There is a real fury out there; a boiling rage," Potok says.

Mey says security for this inaugural likely will be tighter than for any other — including President Bush's 2005 inauguration, the first after the 9/11 terror attacks. For that event, fighter jets patrolled the skies over the capital, radiological sensors were located in the city's Metrorail system and Coast Guard units monitored the local rivers.

"I would expect (this) inauguration to be completely buckled down," he says.

City under surveillance

Despite Washington's long experience dealing with large gatherings — from Fourth of July celebrations and global summits to demonstrations on the National Mall — Burke describes inaugurations as the "biggest challenges." Protection for visiting dignitaries, street closures and sprawling outdoor venues require a meticulously choreographed security operation.

Since 9/11, Washington has installed a network of dozens of surveillance cameras that allow officials to more easily monitor multiple locations during major events.

Mey says the camera technology is key to the security effort, adding a layer of protection to the thousands of officers in uniform and those roaming the crowd in plainclothes.

"You never really have it down to a science," Burke says of security planning.

Jesse Jackson, a two-time Democratic presidential candidate who says his campaigns drew scores of threats, says the nation's "legacy of violence" requires a large security presence.

Obama "must be careful," Jackson says. "He just can't be wandering into any crowds."

Jarvis, the former Secret Service agent, says the risks brought to life by the 9/11 attacks and other tragedies, including the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, are simply too great to dismiss.

"The consequences?" Jarvis asks. "Nobody wants to think about it."

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It's shameful that he has to go through such protective measures, but it is likewise important that he does.... and they must be hyper-vigilant.

It is said that someone once said to Maggie Thatcher: "We only have to get lucky once; you have to be lucky all the time."

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Guest Gary Loughran
It is said that someone once said to Maggie Thatcher: "We only have to get lucky once; you have to be lucky all the time."

Probably P. O'Neill :)

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  • 3 months later...

http://ww

Marine duo accused of threatening Obama

By ://http://ww

Marine duo accused of ... Obama

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Marine duo accused of ... Obama

By Trista Talton - Staff writer

Posted : Saturday Mar 21, 2009 9:33:47 EDTJACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Less than three months into his term, President Barack Obama’s life allegedly has been threatened twice by people who swore an oath to obey his orders.

Pfc. Nicholas Daniel Hanke and Kody Brittingham, a former lance corporal who was separated from the Corps in early January, both face criminal charges stemming from recent threats authorities said the men made against the commander-in-chief.

Hanke, 20, a student at Marine Corps Engineer School, Camp Lejeune, N.C., was arrested March 10 for allegedly shouting threats, including one against Obama, after boarding a plane at Wilmington International Airport in Wilmington, N.C., about 50 miles south of Lejeune.

His arrest came two weeks after a federal grand jury indicted Brittingham for allegedly threatening Obama’s life. Two days after Brittingham’s Feb. 25 indictment, Obama visited the base, where he received a warm reception from about 2,000 Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen.

If Hanke was at the school house that day, he was several miles from Goettge Field House, where the president announced his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

On March 10, Hanke boarded a US Airways flight about 6 p.m. Before the plane’s aircrew had a chance to taxi on the runway, Hanke started shouting there was a bomb on the plane, Gary Broughton, the airport’s director of operations, told the Wilmington Star-News. Hanke allegedly pushed a flight attendant and the captain, and then ran from the plane.

Airport security chased him down and, as they were cuffing him, authorities say Hanke head-butted an officer and shouted more threats, including some against Obama.

“He was just yelling everything he could think of to yell,” Broughton told the Star-News.

Airport officials notified the FBI and the Secret Service. Local authorities charged Hanke with making a bomb threat, resisting arrest, assault and battery, communicating threats, and three counts of assaulting government officials, according to a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. He was placed in the local jail on a $5,000 bond and released March 11.

Brittingham remains in Onslow County jail under a $40,500 bond.

Brittingham, 20, was with Headquarters and Support Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, when he allegedly made the threats against Obama, president-elect at the time. Brittingham was administratively separated from the Corps on Jan. 3.

Brittingham’s legal troubles began in mid-December, when he and three other Lejeune Marines were arrested by Jacksonville police in connection with attempted robbery. He was charged Dec. 16 with attempted robbery, breaking and entering, and conspiracy. His bond was set at that time.

After his arrest, Naval investigators found a journal allegedly written by Brittingham in his barracks room, containing plans on how to kill the president and white supremacist material, a federal law enforcement official told The Daily News of Jacksonville.

However unlikely it may be that such threats would be carried out, they conjure up an unfortunate historical connection coming from Marines. The alleged shooter in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination Nov. 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, enlisted in the Corps in 1957.

The Corps currently has more than 201,000 Marines, so two separate incidents “shouldn’t be considered a trend,” according to a spokesman with Marine Corps headquarters in Washington.

“We consider these to be isolated incidents involving two Marines who allegedly made inappropriate comments or threats,” Gunnery Sgt. Frederick Zimmerman said. “We have and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in these matters.”

w.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2009/03/marine_obamathreats_032109w/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Taliban chief threatens attack on White House -

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090401/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan

By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD, Associated Press Writer Ishtiaq Mahsud, Associated Press Writer – ISLAMABAD – Pakistan's Taliban chief claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly assault on a police academy, saying he wanted to retaliate for U.S. missile attacks on the militant bases on the border with Afghanistan. Baitullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million bounty on his head from the United States, also vowed to "amaze everyone in the world" with an attack on Washington or even the White House.

The FBI, however, said he had made similar threats previously and there was no indication of anything imminent.

Mehsud, who gave a flurry of media interviews Tuesday, has no record of actually striking targets abroad although he is suspected of being behind a 10-man cell arrested in Barcelona in January 2008 for plotting suicide attacks in Spain.

Pakistan's former government and the CIA consider him the prime suspect behind the December 2007 killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. And Pakistani officials accuse him of harboring foreign fighters, including Central Asians linked to al-Qaida, and of training suicide bombers.

But analysts doubt that Taliban fighters carried off Monday's raid on the Lahore academy on their own, saying the group is likely working more closely than ever with militants based far from the Afghan frontier.

It's a constellation that includes al-Qaida, presenting a formidable challenge to the U.S. as it increases its troop presence in the region, not to mention nuclear-armed Pakistan's own stability.

Mehsud told The Associated Press that the academy and other recent attacks were revenge for stepped-up American missile strikes into Pakistan's border badlands.

"Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world," Mehsud said in a telephone interview with an Associated Press reporter. He offered few details, though in a separate recorded conversation with local Dewa radio station, he said the White House was a target.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the bureau was not aware of any imminent or specific threat to the U.S., despite what the Pakistani Taliban leader said.

"He has made similar threats to the U.S. in the past," said Kolko.

State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said he had not seen any reports of Mehsud's comments but that he would "take the threat under consideration."

The ruthless attack on Lahore's outskirts Monday left at least 12 people dead, including seven police, and sparked an eight-hour standoff with security forces that ended when black-clad commandos stormed the compound. Some of the gunmen blew themselves up.

The siege-style approach using heavily armed militants came just weeks after the deadly ambush of Sri Lanka's visiting cricket team in the heart of Lahore. Both attacks were reminiscent of November's siege of Mumbai, India — also blamed on Pakistani militants.

A senior police investigator, Zulfikar Hameed, told Dawn News TV, that the men arrested for the attack have corroborated Mehsud's involvement.

Besides Mehsud, a little-known group believed linked to him also claimed credit. Mehsud declined to discuss the group, Fedayeen al-Islam, or any others who might have been involved.

Pakistan Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said one attacker who was captured was Afghan, and that the initial investigation suggested the conspiracy originated in South Waziristan tribal region, Mehsud's stronghold. But Malik also said the al-Qaida-linked group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi might have played a role. Officials have said three gunmen are in custody.

"In my view, it's not done by one group," said Mohammed Amir Rana, a Pakistani analyst well-versed in the intricacies of militant groups. "One group has the major role in providing the fighters or one group might be providing the logistics or intelligence. And one group provided the financing."

A variety of militant groups operate in Pakistan beyond al-Qaida and the Taliban, and officials and analysts say it appears the coordination among some of them is increasing. Of particular concern are violent groups based in Punjab, Pakistan's most populated province, which borders India.

Some Punjabi groups have their roots in the dispute with India over the Kashmir region. The Pakistani spy agency is believed to have helped set them up and maintain some links, a prospect that vexes U.S. officials.

Others have different origins.

Jhangvi, for instance, is a sectarian extremist group blamed for a stream of actrocities against minority Shiite Muslims. In recent years, it has evolved, Rana said, and is believed to provide foot-soldiers and suicide bombers for al-Qaida operations. Qari Hussein, a Jhangvi member, was named in Mehsud's Pakistani Taliban council in 2007.

The groups' membership is fluid and overlapping. They are riven with feuds. But analysts say they are finding a common cause in striking America and its allies, while also focusing on spreading Taliban-style rule over more and more of Pakistan.

Interviews in recent months with three Afghan and Pakistani Taliban operatives, who demanded anonymity for security reasons, suggest a Pakistani crackdown on some groups following the Mumbai assault has prompted many operatives of Punjab-based groups to seek sanctuary in the northwest.

The Mumbai attacks were specifically blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Punjab-based group fighting in Kashmir. Both Taliban and American military commanders have reported Taiba members even in Afghanistan's northeast. Masood Azhar, a Kashmiri militant leader wanted by India, is reportedly in South Waziristan with Mehsud.

The militant activity may also relate to American plans to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, where the Taliban have roared back more than seven years after the U.S.-led invasion ousted their regime, said Shaun Gregory, an analyst at Britain's University of Bradford.

With more allies, the Taliban may feel more capable of taking on grander assaults like that in Lahore as opposed to suicide bombings favored when their resources are more depleted, he said.

Mahmood Shah, a retired military officer, voiced concern that the Taliban were embarking on a campaign of terror in Punjab similar to that employed in the northwest, where hundreds of police were killed before militants turned their attention to political leaders.

While the pro-West ruling party has been trying to persuade a skeptical public to close ranks against an increasingly powerful nexus of militant groups, it has been largely preoccupied with squabbles over power and privileges with a key opposition party.

In unveiling a new war strategy for Afghanistan last week, Obama urged Pakistanis to fight the "cancer" of extremism gripping their country and pledged more aid for them to do so. Still, his administration has resisted Pakistani pressure to halt the missile strikes, believed to be fired by unmanned CIA drones.

Doubts also remain about whether the powerful Pakistani military is committed to sidelining extremist groups it has used as proxies against India and Afghanistan.

Defense analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said Pakistan must evaluate its own links to some of these groups if it is to survive. "We have to dig this out of our past," she said. "Unless we do that, unless we have a consensus on our strategy ... we aren't going to go anywhere."

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Plot to assassinate Obama in Turkey foiled

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/06...plot/ssassinate

<H1 _extended="true">Plot to assassinate Obama foiled in Turkey

STANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- U.S. officials have taken "very seriously" a plot to assassinate President Barack Obama involving a Syrian man who was arrested late last week in Turkey, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

But the officials strongly cautioned that American presidents are frequent targets of threats that are all watched very carefully, and in this case the alleged plotter did not appear to get anywhere close to Obama during his European tour.</H1>The officials also noted that while Obama gets more threats than usual as the first African-American U.S. president, this particular threat did not force any change to his schedule.

"Life goes on," said one of the officials familiar with the matter, who suggested the threat may be getting more attention because there has been a heavy international focus on Obama's first overseas trip since taking office.

White House officials declined to comment on the matter, citing a policy of not talking about security and threats around the president. U.S. Secret Service officials spoke only briefly about the case.

"We work closely with the host country whenever there is an arrest, which we are doing in this matter," Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said.

The plot was first reported by the Saudi Arabian newspaper al-Watan, which revealed that Turkish security services arrested a man of Syrian origins Friday in connection with a plan to kill Obama during his visit to Turkey. Obama was in Strasbourg, France, on Friday for a NATO summit and did not arrive in Turkey for the final leg of his trip until Sunday.

The Saudi paper reported the suspect, who was carrying an Al-Jazeera TV press credential in the name of "M.G.," confessed to authorities after his arrest that he and three alleged accomplices plotted to stab Obama with a knife during the Alliance of Civilizations Summit in Istanbul, which Obama attended on Monday evening. The U.S. officials confirmed those allegations, but stressed to CNN that the information provided by the man is still being verified.

Al-Jazeera's bureau chief in Ankara, Turkey, Yucef al-Sharif, told the newspaper his news organization knew nothing about the man and suggested he may have obtained a forged press credential. According to U.S. officials, it's unclear whether the man, a permanent resident of Istanbul, had obtained a real press credential.

On Sunday, U.S. and international journalists covering Obama's trip did face more extensive searches of their baggage than usual by the U.S. Secret Service before boarding a press charter flight from the Prague, Czech Republic, region to Ankara. The same extensive searches were conducted Monday before a flight from Ankara to Istanbul.

But U.S. officials downplayed the possibility the more extensive searches were done out of concern that plotters may have infiltrated the media. Instead, the officials suggested that since Turkish security officials had not necessarily handled such a large crush of media before, U.S. Secret Service officials simply wanted to go the extra mile in their searches.

Edited by William Kelly
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