Intelligence at work

by | Jan 16, 2017 | Karna Small Bodman | 8 comments

…by Karna Small Bodman

All this week my Rogue colleagues are writing about the importance of gathering intelligence and how our brave intelligence agents work day and night to protect this country.  While there have been questions from time to time about some of the methods used by our agencies, the fact is: plots have been foiled….many more than most of us could have imagined.

The Director of our National Security Agency testified before Congress that over 50 potential terrorist attacks have been thwarted by the use of two controversial programs that tracked over a billion phone calls and internet data every single day, including one plot to destroy the New York Stock Exchange.

New York Stock Exchange

Details of a plan to hit not only the exchange but the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Citigroup Center were declassified and made public when Dhiren Barot was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. A year before that a man was arrested, accused of giving aid to al-Quaeda and trying to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.  He was sentenced to 20 years.

Other foiled plots have targeted the Sears Tower, FBI offices, New York and New Jersey subways, JFK Airport, a Dallas skyscraper and especially locations in our nation’s capital.

It was February of 2012 when FBI undercover agents arrested a Moroccan man, El Khalifi, for planning a suicide bombing of the US Capitol.  Another plan discovered and thwarted by our agents involved a US convert to Islam, Christopher Lee Cornell, who was going to set off pipe bombs inside the Congress. Then when panicked members and their staffs ran out, he planned to gun them down with an assault rifle.

In fact, a former colleague of mine at the White House National Security Council who works in the intelligence field told me just this week that since 9/11 there have been 197 plots against the US homeland and 136 outside the US identified by our FBI and CIA operatives using various means of detection, infiltration, observation, research and the follow-up of tips from civilians including many called CHS’s (meaning FBI Confidential Human Sources).

James Gonzalo Medina

A CHS was instrumental in the FBI’s arrest of James Gonzalo Medina just last year after uncovering his plan to place an explosive device in an 800 member Jewish Center in the Miami, FL area during Passover. He was quoted as saying “Watch your back…ISIS is in the house.” This “home grown” terrorist, a US citizen living in Hollywood, FL faces up to life in prison.

Of course not all plots against our country and our citizens emanate from ISIS or ISIS-inspired characters (just the majority of them now). Our agents also infiltrate and uncover plans by Neo-Nazis and militias among others. Many will recall the case of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher whose group was called the Patriots Defense Force. One of his operatives was William Keebler. The group had seven members, but three clever men had infiltrated and

William Keebler

were actually undercover FBI agents. These three learned about how the militia was scouting certain federal offices including National Guard facilities for possible attacks. Keebler was arrested when he tried to blow up a building in Arizona.

When I read or hear about any ONE of these cases, I thank my lucky stars that we have such hard working intelligence agents willing to risk their lives and work 24/7 to keep us and our country safe and I want to thank them for their dedication! Please leave a comment below about your views on the value of intelligence.

…submitted by Karna Small Bodman

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  1. Annie H

    Thank you Karna! Most of us have no clue about what goes on behind the scenes to thwart terrorism. Thank you for shining light on this. Terrific piece.

  2. Gayle Lynds

    A great post, Karna. I love your examples! We are so lucky to have our intelligence agencies. You said it beautifully! Gayle

  3. Debi Huff

    Thanks for the information Karna! We all are guilty of just expecting that these things will happen without acknowledging the many brave people who MAKE them happen!!

  4. S. Lee Manning

    WE are lucky to have people who are willing to sacrifice to keep the rest of us safe. Not to value intelligence is, to save it bluntly, just stupidity.

  5. jaciefloyd

    Your post just emphasizes the fact that we live in scary times. So grateful to have a security team dedicated to keeping us safe. Thanks for providing some light on the plots that live in the shadows.

  6. Howard Giordano

    Karna writes a well-needed reminder of how vulnerable to attack we really are.
    It is a wonder, given the many politically-correct restrictions imposed on our security resources, that any subversive/clandestine threats against this country are uncovered. Our intelligence agents do a fantastic job and should never be handicapped with stupid restraints. I, for one, love the Patriots Act and would allow water boarding in situations where wide-spread, lethal terrorism is at stake.

  7. jean harrington

    A powerful set of examples as to how the FBI and the CIA are working for the American people, yet Donald Trump questions their credibility.

  8. Sherry Harris

    Very interesting, Karna! Thanks for the insights!