Posts Tagged ‘James Clapper’

Report: US spied on Brazil’s Petrobras, Google

| September 9th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY BRADLEY BROOKS

RIO DE JANEIRO – Documents leaked by Edward Snowden indicate the National Security Agency spied on Brazil’s state-run oil company, the private computer networks of Google and a company that facilitates most of the world’s international bank transfers, a Brazilian TV report says.

Globo TV, however, gave no information about what the NSA may have obtained from Petrobras, Google and the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, an organization better known as SWIFT that oversees international bank transfers thought to be secure transactions.

All three companies are included in an NSA training manual for new ag’ents on how to target the private computer networks of big companies, the report said.

Earlier reports based on Snowden’s documents revealed the existence of the NSA’s PRISM program, which gives the agency comprehensive access to customer data from companies like Google and Facebook.

Separate reports last week in the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica, also ... Read More

Terror Can Leak In Through America’s Borders

| July 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
Pundicity

BY ILAN BERMAN & NETANEL LEVITT

Late last month, the State Department submitted its long-awaited report to Congress on Iran’s activities in Latin America. That study, mandated as part of the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act signed into law by President Obama last year, was designed to provide an in-depth look at Iran’s growing operations south of the U.S. border and to present a strategy to confront its growing influence.

But the report does little of the sort. Rather, it contends that, in the main, Iran’s activities in Latin America are nothing to worry about. According to the Washington Times, the study – which remains mostly classified – concludes that “Iran is not supporting active terrorist cells in the Western Hemisphere” and that the Iranian regime “has far less influence and activities” in the region than commonly believed.

This represents a dangerous misreading of Iran’s threat potential in the Americas. First, while it is ... Read More

Exploring Iran’s Terror Threat in Latin America

| July 15th, 2013 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

BY SEBASTIAN ROTELLA

Last year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited his ally President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, where the firebrand leaders unleashed defiant rhetoric at the United States.

There was a quieter aspect to Ahmadinejad’s visit in January 2012, according to Western intelligence officials. A senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) traveled secretly with the presidential delegation and met with Venezuelan military and security chiefs. His mission: to set up a joint intelligence program between Iranian and Venezuelan spy agencies, according to the Western officials.

At the secret meeting, Venezuelan spymasters agreed to provide systematic help to Iran with intelligence infrastructure such as arms, identification documents, bank accounts and pipelines for moving operatives and equipment between Iran and Latin America, according to Western intelligence officials. Although suffering from cancer, Chavez took interest in the secret talks as part of his energetic embrace of Iran, an intelligence official told ProPublica.

The senior IRGC officer’s meeting in ... Read More

Ilan Berman Testimony: Threat to the Homeland: Iran’s Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere

| July 10th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
US House of Representatives

Chairman Duncan, Ranking Member Barber, distinguished members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to address the issue of Iran’s presence in the Western Hemisphere. I strongly believe that it represents an issue of high importance to the safety and security of the United States. Over the past two years, my organization, the American Foreign Policy Council, has extensively studied Iran’s presence and activities in Latin America. This has entailed three separate fact-finding missions to Central and South America to date, the most recent in May 2013. What follows are my observations and conclusions gleaned from those visits.

IRAN’S OBJECTIVES

To properly grasp the challenge posed by Iran’s activities in the Western Hemisphere, they need to be understood in proper geopolitical context: as part of a larger “peripheral strategy” on the part of the Iranian regime. To a significant degree, they are a response to growing diplomatic ... Read More

Soft-Pedaling the Iranian Threat in the Americas

| June 28th, 2013 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy

Three months after Southcom commander Gen. John F. Kelly told the House Armed Services Committee that the United States needs to be “extremely concerned” about Iran’s expanding presence in the Western Hemisphere, the State Department has just informed Congress that Iran’s regional influence is “waning.”

Indeed, even though around the same time Kelly told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that he is constantly approached by his regional counterparts requesting any information he can provide them on Iranian activities in the hemisphere, the State Department is reporting to Congress that it “will work closely with and inform our partners in the hemisphere about malign Iranian activities.”

The State Department’s assertions come in a two-page unclassified annex to a long-awaited classified report to Congress mandated by the bipartisan Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama late last year. It directs the secretary of state to “conduct ... Read More

Las elecciones en Venezuela pueden agitar las cosas

| April 13th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
AEI

Por Roger F. Noriega

La predicción del jefe de inteligencia de EE.UU., James Clapper, de que el candidato  chavista, Nicolás Maduro, probablemente ganará las elecciones presidenciales del domingo en Venezuela es tan simplista que es engañosa . “Con una cómoda ventaja en las encuestas,  se espera que Maduro gane, y probablemente continuará con la tradición de Hugo Chávez”, dijo Clapper en el párrafo final de su testimonio por escrito ante los comités de inteligencia del Congreso de EE.UU. el jueves. Con ese tipo de análisis superficial, no es de extrañar que Washington no tiene ninguna influencia sobre el hostil narcoestado y mejor amigo de Irán y Hezbollah que se aferra al poder en Venezuela.

Esto es lo que los políticos estadounidenses y el Congreso deben saber sobre las elecciones presidenciales en Venezuela:

· El sucesor ungido de Chávez no asegurará un mandato indiscutible sobre su opositor democrático, Henrique Capriles Radonski, y esta elección ... Read More

Venezuela elections may stir things up

| April 13th, 2013 | No Comments »
AEI

A prediction by US intelligence chief James Clapper that chavista candidate Nicolas Maduro will likely win Sunday’s presidential election in Venezuela is so simplistic that it is misleading. “[W]ith a comfortable lead in the polls, Maduro is expected to win, and he will probably continue in [his late predecessor, Hugo] Chavez’s tradition,” Clapper said in the final paragraph of his written testimony before congressional intelligence committees on Thursday. With that sort of superficial analysis, it is no surprise that Washington has no influence over whether a hostile narcostate and best friend of Iran and Hezbollah holds on to power in Venezuela.

Here is what U.S. policymakers and Congress should know about the April 14 presidential election in Venezuela:

Chávez’s anointed successor will not secure an uncontested mandate over his democratic opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, and this contested election will trigger a period of instability and uncertainty for the ruling party. The chavista political machine will have to perform flawlessly to fabricate a numeric victory for ... Read More

Iran’s Global Business Is Murder Inc.

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY MICHAEL OREN

A bomb explodes in Burgas, Bulgaria, leaving five Israeli tourists and a local driver dead. Mysteriously marked ammunition kills countless Africans in civil wars. Conspirators plot to blow up a crowded cafe and an embassy in Washington, D.C. A popular prime minister is assassinated, and a despised dictator stays in power by massacring his people by the tens of thousands.

Apart from their ruthlessness, these events might appear unrelated. And yet the dots are inextricably linked. The connection is Iran.

In 25 cities across five continents, community centers, consulates, army barracks and houses of worship have been targeted for destruction. Thousands have been killed. The perpetrators are agents of Hezbollah and the Quds Force, sometimes operating separately and occasionally in unison. All take their orders from Tehran.

Hezbollah’s relationship with Tehran is “a partnership arrangement with Iran as the senior partner,” says America’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper. The Lebanon-based ... Read More

Iran’s Threat In America’s Backyard

| November 1st, 2012 | No Comments »
International Business Times

LAWRENCE J. HAAS

The recent launch of talks between Iranian and Argentine officials over how to improve relations between their countries is troubling enough from a moral standpoint — but the strategic implications are even worse.

Buenos Aires long ago concluded that Tehran directed Hezbollah’s 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in the Argentine capital that killed 85 people and injured more than 300 others, and Iran is also suspected in the 1992 bombing that destroyed Israel’s embassy in Argentina.

For the 1994 bombing, Buenos Aires has unsuccessfully sought the extradition of five topIranian officials, including then-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ahmad Vahidi, the former commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who’s now Iran’s defense minister.

Tehran has never fessed up to its role, and United States and Israeli officials fear that Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner plans to paper over the problem and join Iran’s growing ranks of allies in Latin ... Read More

WEST: Iran is a threat in Latin America

| August 29th, 2012 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

BY REP. ALLEN WEST

As we enter into a campaign season wholeheartedly focused on our economic security, let us not forget our national security.

Right here, under our noses, a strategic alliance is being formed between Iran and Venezuela. More than 150 Iranian diplomats are accredited in Caracas — a disproportionate number by any count — demonstrating the Tehran regime’s unusual involvement in Latin America. Over the past few years, this honeymoon between Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has given birth to increased military involvement between the two countries, a complex financial web to bypass international sanctions against the ayatollahs and an operational infrastructure for carrying out terrorism against the nations of the free world, especially the United States and Israel.

This growing alliance between their respective military establishments allows Iran to extend its strategic coordination deep into the Western Hemisphere, enabling conventional, nuclear and terrorist capabilities well beyond Tehran’s geographic vicinity. It ... Read More

THE TROUBLING TIES BETWEEN IRAN AND VENEZUELA

| August 10th, 2012 | No Comments »
George W. Bush Presidential Center

BY JOEL HIRST

There’s no more serious geopolitical issue today than the global crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

To be clear, Iran is not a pariah state because it is seeking nuclear energy.  The regime is ostracized because it has not lived up to its responsibility to protect its own citizens and their fundamental human rights.  Iran is also a pariah because of its ongoing state sponsorship of terrorism.

Once again, this discussion has proved more than academic; it’s deadly serious.  Three weeks ago on the Bulgarian Black Sea a bus filled with Israeli tourists headed for a resort exploded, targeted by what the Israeli government believes was an Iranian-organized Hezbollah-operated plot.  Naturally, this makes the debate over Iran’s role in Latin America, with Venezuela at the center, more urgent.

The facts are now well known, but a quick summary is important.  In 2010 the Pentagon issued an unclassified report to Congress stating that Iran is placing Quds ... Read More

Iran Courts Latin America

| August 8th, 2012 | No Comments »
Middle East Forum

BY ILAN BERMAN

In October 2011, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller revealed the thwarting of an elaborate plot by elements in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington at a posh D.C. eatery, utilizing members of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel.[1]

The foiled terrorist plot, with its Latin American connections, focused new attention on what had until then been a largely overlooked political phenomenon: the intrusion of the Islamic Republic of Iran into the Western Hemisphere. An examination of Tehran’s behavioral pattern in the region over the past several years reveals four distinct strategic objectives: loosening the U.S.-led international noose to prevent it from building nuclear weapons; obtaining vital resources for its nuclear project; creating informal networks for influence projection and sanctions evasion; and establishing a terror infrastructure that could target the U.S. homeland.

Building Western Hemisphere Alliances

Outreach to Latin America is ... Read More

Iran’s Inroads Into Latin America

| May 22nd, 2012 | No Comments »
Pundicity

BY ILAN BERMAN

A GROWING IRANIAN REGIONAL FOOTPRINT

Recent years have seen a steady expansion of Iran’s interest and involvement in the Western Hemisphere. While this phenomenon has begun to capture the attention of policymakers in the United States, it remains poorly understood. In assessing Iran’s regional outreach, however, it is possible to discern at least four distinct, and complimentary, strategic objectives.

Diplomacy and coalition building Since 2003, when its previously-clandestine nuclear program became public knowledge, the Islamic Republic has faced mounting global pressure over its nuclear ambitions. The Iranian regime has sought to mitigate the resulting political and economic restrictions levied against it by the United States and its allies through intensified diplomatic outreach abroad. Due to its favorable geopolitical climate—typified by vast ungoverned areas and widespread anti-Americanism—Latin America has become an important focal point of this effort.

Iran’s most prominent Latin American partner was and remains Venezuela. Since 2005, owing in large part ... Read More

Video: US Senators Warn Latin America on Iran Ties

| February 17th, 2012 | No Comments »
From Voice of America

U.S. senators are warning Latin American nations against deepening financial and military ties with Iran, pledging heightened U.S. vigilance of Iranian activities in the Western Hemisphere. The Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee took a close look Thursday at Tehran’s dealings with Latin America.

Iran’s increasingly isolated regime retains friends in Latin America, most notably Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez had a stern message for the region.

“Unfortunately, there are some countries in this hemisphere that, for political or financial gain, have courted Iranian overtures.  They proceed at their own risk: the risk of sanctions from the United States, and the risk of abetting a terrorist state,” he said.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio echoed that message. “The leaders of these [Latin American] countries are playing with fire,” Rubio said.

Researcher Douglas Farah said Iran’s intentions in Latin America are twofold. “To develop the capacity and capability to wreak havoc in Latin America and ... Read More

U.S. Congress Warns Venezuela over Ties with Iran

| February 17th, 2012 | No Comments »
From Voice of America

BY MICHAEL BOWMAN

U.S. senators are warning Latin American nations against deepening financial and military ties with Iran, pledging heightened U.S. vigilance of Iranian activities in the Western Hemisphere. The Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee took a close look on February 16 at Tehran’s dealings with Latin America. Iran’s increasingly isolated regime retains friends in Latin America, most notably Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez had a stern message for the region. “Unfortunately, there are some countries in this hemisphere that, for political or financial gain, have courted Iranian overtures.  They proceed at their own risk: the risk of sanctions from the United States, and the risk of abetting a terrorist state,” he said.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio echoed that message. “The leaders of these [Latin American] countries are playing with fire,” Rubio said.

Researcher Douglas Farah said Iran’s intentions in Latin America are twofold. “To develop the capacity and capability to wreak havoc in ... Read More

Armas, Minería y Redes de Irán en América Latina

| February 16th, 2012 | 2 Comments »
US Senate

Aspectos destacados del testimonio del Embajador Roger Noriega ante el Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado, Subcomité para el Hemisferio Occidental, Cuerpos de Paz, y Narcóticos

Febrero 16 del año 2012

El director de Inteligencia Nacional, James R. Clapper, declaró a principios de este mes que “las autoridades iraníes” de más alto nivel “están ahora más dispuestas a realizar un ataque en Estados Unidos ….” El general Clapper también informó que el líder supremo de Irán, Ali Jamenei, probablemente estaba enterado de las acciones descubiertas en octubre donde supuestos líderes de cárteles de la droga mexicanos conspiraron con Irán para perpetrar un supuesto atentado terrorista en el corazón de la capital de nuestra nación.

Basándonos en decenas de entrevistas con expertos de todo el mundo, con testigos en la región y en una gran cantidad de documentos oficiales venezolanos e iraníes se hacen las siguientes conclusiones:

Hugo Chávez y el ... Read More

Noriega Testimony: “IRAN’S INFLUENCE AND ACTIVITY IN LATIN AMERICA”

| February 16th, 2012 | 3 Comments »
US Senate

TESTIMONY OF AMBASSADOR ROGER F. NORIEGA

BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE,PEACE CORPS, AND GLOBAL NARCOTICS AFFAIRS

HEARING ON

“IRAN’S INFLUENCE AND ACTIVITY IN LATIN AMERICA”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Room 419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC

Mr. Chairman, I applaud you and other members of the Subcommittee forinitiating a review of Iran’s activities in Latin America.

Since you announced your inquiry, the Director of National Intelligence, James R.Clapper, testified earlier this month that “Iranian officials” at the highest levels “are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States….” General Clapper also reported that Iran’s so-called “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei was probably aware of the bizarre plot discovered last October to conspire with supposed Mexican drug cartel leaders to commit a terrorist bombing in the heart of our Nation’s capital.i Only because ... Read More

Game Changer in U.S.-Venezuela Relations

| February 7th, 2012 | No Comments »
What's Next Venezuela

Bombshell testimony on Capitol Hill last week by U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has dramatically altered the stakes in Washington’s relations with the Hugo Chávez regime in Venezuela. Speaking before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, Clapper said that Iranian leaders had changed their calculus and are now prepared to respond to perceived threats with terrorist attacks inside the United States.

Clapper said: “The 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States shows that some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas. Iran’s willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests ... Read More

Iran’s Ties in Latin American Region Pose Threat to U.S. Security, Ros-Lehtinen Says at Hearing

| February 2nd, 2012 | No Comments »
US House of Representatives

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, convened a Committee hearing on Iranian activity in the Western Hemisphere by warning of the potential for the Iranian regime to use its increased regional ties, including ties to extremist groups operating in the region, as a platform from which to attack the United States.  The hearing comes days after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified to Congress that Iranian officials are “now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States,” and that “They’re trying as well to penetrate and engage in this hemisphere.”  To watch the hearing live and to view witness testimony, please click here.  Ros-Lehtinen’s full opening statement follows:

“Through a series of hearings and classified briefings, this committee has exercised due diligence and oversight to examine the threat to U.S. national security posed by Iranian and Iranian-sponsored activities ... Read More

Chavez’s health clouds ‘polarized’ Venezuela during election year: US

| February 2nd, 2012 | No Comments »
The China Post-01

WASHINGTON — Venezuela is heading into a “highly competitive and polarized” election year amid continuing doubts about President Hugo Chavez’s health and a host of pressing issues, the U.S. intelligence chief said Tuesday.

Intelligence director James Clapper said Venezuela’s October elections will tell whether the key features of Chavez’s 12 years in power — a weakening democracy and virulent anti-U.S. policies — “persist and even deepen or begin to reverse.”

“Venezuelan politics will be highly competitive and polarized over the next year,” Clapper said in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Chavez, 57, has said he is running for six more years in office, which would mean his third term as president of the oil-rich South American country, despite a bout with cancer which he says is now cured.

He underwent surgery in Cuba in June to remove a tumor and four rounds of chemotherapy, but neither he nor his government have been forthcoming ... Read More

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