Get your terror calendar
By Al Kamen,
Did “fiscal cliff” worries keep you from finishing your holiday shopping? Still looking for something truly different? How about the new 2013 Counterterrorism Calendar?
This is the 11th-anniversary edition of the daily planner, put out by the National Counterterrorism Center. The left side features more than 130 pages about wanted terrorists and groups — including al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri (a $25 million reward out there for anyone who fingers him) and Taliban chief Mohammed Omar (only $10 million).
Osama bin Laden is, of course, gone, but other Loop favorites are distressingly still listed (though they might be dead). These include Hussein al-Umari ($5 million), wanted in a 1982 airplane bombing. He’s now about 76 years old and may be in Lebanon.
Okay. Here’s what you do. If you think you’ve spotted al-Umari, maybe at a Starbucks in the Chouf mountains, buy him a grande latte and casually look at his hands. The calendar says he’s got a “scar from fingers of right hand extending to forearm; has scar on left hand between thumb and index finger.” C’mon. That’s hard to miss. Then you call the embassy in Beirut, wait for the Navy SEALs and collect.
There are a dozen new most-wanteds, mostly from al-Shabab in Somalia, which is headed by Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed ($7 million). And some — Abu Yahya al-Libi, another in a line of al-Qaeda No. 2s, and Fahd al-Quso, wanted in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole — are no longer with us.
There are also some new groups, including the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Ugandan terrorist group operating in central Africa. This was the group established by the infamous Joseph Kony, who has been specifically deemed by an executive order to be a “specially designated global terrorist.”
A venerable group, the Kurdistan People’s Congress, is listed as a “seasonal insurgency,” the calendar says, declaring cease-fires during the winter months so members can have time to train. Well, who wants to wage terror in lousy weather anyway?
The right side of the planner lists anniversaries of terrorist acts and counteractions. For example, the inaugural parade on Jan. 21 — or 9 Rabi’ al-Awwal in the Arabic calendar — is also the day a “Gunman ambushes vehicle near Camp Doha, Kuwait, killing one U.S. contractor and wounding another.”
The calendars are given out as a resource guide for folks in the anti-terror biz, especially for those working in the field. That’s why there are pages on ways to spot and deal with biological and chemical attacks, “suspicious financial activity indicators,” or people using false passports.
An online version is coming soon on the NCTC Web site, but you can’t buy the 5-by-9-inch spiral version anywhere. Got to know someone.
That’s what makes it special.
More chatter on possible West Wing moves. . . . We hear that if White House head speechwriter Jon Favreau does leave the building (as we reported he’s considering doing), his deputy, Cody Keenan , is being talked about as a likely sucessor.
Keenan is known for crafting President Obama’s messages at the sober-est of times: he worked on the president’s address after the Newtown, Conn., massacre, and the speech delivered after the shooting rampage in Tucson in which then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was among those injured. “Brilliant writer,” one West Winger says of the 32-year-old.
Keenan also helped shape Obama’s eulogy of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). Not that tragedy is his only forte — he also appeared, dressed in a goofy pirate costume, in a gag for Obama’s 2009 stand-up routine at the White House correspondents’ dinner.
Elsewhere in personnel moves, Kristin Lord , now executive vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security — the think tank started by a former undersecretary of defense, Michele Flournoy , and a current assistant secretary of state, Kurt Campbell — is said to be heading to the U.S. Institute of Peace to be executive vice president, taking the job once held by Tara Sonenshine , now undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.
Lord also has been a fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she directed the science and technology initiative of the project on U.S. relations with the Islamic world.
And Jodi Seth, communications director for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is informing contacts that she’s starting that plum job at Facebook next week. (Seth, who will be the company’s new manager of public policy and communications in Washington, had good reason to jump ship: her boss was, of course, nominated to be Obama’s secretary of state, and he’s facing a relatively speedy confirmation process.)
With Emily Heil