Today's Article
Why aren't such
top-notch,
unclassified,
'open-source'
reports officially
made public?
The American Spark
Congressional Report Reveals State Of International Terrorism

By Cliff Montgomery - Mar. 30th, 2007

This January 3rd, 2007 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report examines international terrorist
actions, threats, U.S. policies and responses. It reviews the nation’s attempts to combat terrorism, from
international cooperation, diplomacy, and constructive engagement to economic sanctions,physical security
enhancement,  covert action, and military force.

CRS reports are terribly important, as they provide some of the most informative, factual  overviews of political,
social, and economic situations in the United States and throughout the world. But strangely these
unclassified, open reports to Congressional members--though apparently free of any classified or "sensitive"
information--is not officially made available to the general public.

Congress' refusal to share such open, non-sensitive, unclassified information with the American people has
never been properly explained. There's been some apparent moves toward more sharing of such top-grade,
"open source" material since the Democrat's takeover of both congressional houses last November; but
whether these promises will prove a bunch of hot air remains to be seen.

As it is both your natural and constitutional right to have access to the best unclassified, "open source"
information from your government that it may safely provide, we quote from this CRS report on international
terrorism below:

The Threat of Terrorism

"Increasingly, international terrorism is recognized as a threat to U.S. foreign, as well as domestic, security.
Both timing and target selection by terrorists can affect U.S. interests in areas ranging from preservation of
commerce to nuclear nonproliferation to the Middle East peace process.

"A growing number of analysts expresses concern that radical Islamist groups seek to exploit economic and
political tensions in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Jordan, Pakistan, and other countries. Because of
their avowed goal of overthrowing secular or Western-allied regimes in certain countries with large Moslem
populations, such groups are seen as a particular threat to U.S. foreign policy objectives.

"Facing the possibility that a number of states might reduce or withdraw their sponsorship of terrorist
organizations, such organizations appear to be seeking and establishing operating bases in countries that lack
functioning central governments or that do not exercise effective control over their national territory. For
example, on November 17, 2003, the
Washington Post reported that Al Qaeda affiliates were training
Indonesian operatives in the southern Philippines.

"In general, the gray area of 'terrorist activity not functionally linked to any supporting or sponsoring nation'
represents an increasingly difficult challenge for U.S. policymakers.

"Terrorists have been able to develop their own sources of financing, which range from NGOs and charities to
illegal enterprises such as narcotics, extortion, and kidnapping. Colombia’s FARC is said to make hundreds of
millions of dollars annually from criminal activities, mostly from 'taxing' of, or participating in, the narcotics trade.
Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda depends on a formidable array of fundraising operations including Moslem charities and
wealthy well-wishers, legitimate-seeming businesses, and banking connections in the Persian Gulf, as well as
various smuggling and fraud activities.

"Furthermore, reports are ongoing of cross-national links among different terrorist organizations.

"Of utmost concern to policymakers is the specter of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or
the means to make them. All of the five officially designated state sponsors of terrorism, Cuba, Iran, North
Korea, Sudan, and Syria, are known or suspected to have had one or more WMD-related program[s]. Two of
the states--Iran and North Korea--have, or have had, nuclear weapons-oriented programs in varying stages of
development.

"Terrorists have [also] attempted to acquire WMD technology through their own resources and connections.
For instance, the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan was able to procure technology and instructions for producing
Sarin, a deadly nerve gas, through contacts in Russia in the early 1990s. The gas was subsequently used in an
attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995 that killed 12 people and injured over 1,000.

"Media reports of varying credibility suggest that Osama bin Laden is interested in joining the WMD
procurement game, but open-source evidence to date remains scant. A
London Daily Telegraph dispatch of
December 14, 2001, cited “long discussions” between bin Laden and Pakistani nuclear scientists concerning
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

"Earlier, on November 12, 2001,
Time magazine reported that a bin Laden emissary tried to buy radioactive
waste from an atomic power plant in Bulgaria, and cited the September 1998 arrest in Germany of an alleged
bin Laden associate on charges of trying to buy reactor fuel. BBC reports cite the discovery by intelligence
officials of documents indicating that Al Qaeda had built a radiological “dirty” bomb near Herat in Western
Afghanistan.

"In January, 2003 British authorities reportedly disrupted a plot to use the poison ricin against
personnel in England."