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The strategies of the Central Intelligence Agency are often shrouded in secrecy, but the New York Times revealed one tactic today, reporting the CIA delivered bags of cash to President Hamid Karzai's office for over a decade in an attempt to buy influence in Afghanistan.
Karzai confirmed receiving the money this morning.
“Yes, the Office of the National Security Advisor has been receiving support from the United States government for the past ten years, monthly, in a not big amount though, small amount, which has been used for various purposes,” Karzai said.
The CIA’s bribery tactics in Afghanistan are well-known. Karzai told CNN’s Barbara Starr in 2010 that Afghanistan was receiving money from both the United States and Iran.
A former federal official who led information sharing efforts between intelligence agencies after September 11 says that system failed ahead of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks earlier this month.
"We didn’t connect the dots that we had. Few though they might have been, they were serious enough that they should have been connected,” Ambassador Thomas McNamara said Monday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
"The state and local police were not informed about what the FBI, the CIA, immigration and customs knew about this case. In other words, they didn’t have any dots and therefore they weren’t able to participate in this,” added McNamara.
McNamara was project manager of the federal intelligence community’s information sharing environment, created by a reform law passed in 2004 and intended to prevent “stovepiping,” where information is shuttled vertically within one agency, but is not shared.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said that was the case ahead of the Boston attacks.
“It's a failure to share information and missing obvious warning signs,” he said on CBS. “We're going back to the pre-9/11 stovepiping.”
Many of us have seen the surveillance footage and stills of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers. Now, some companies in the monitoring industry see an opportunity for some free publicity.
Wired contributing editor Noah Shachtman, who runs the national security blog "Danger Room," compiled some of the most notable PR pitches, like this statement from Ubiquity Broadcasting Corporation's CEO Chris Carmichael announcing the company's new video intelligence software: "The Boston marathon bombing has proven the need for real time video and data analysis from all types of cameras."
Fair game for the companies, or exploiting a tragedy?
"These companies are just trying to take advantage of a marketing opportunity, it's just a question of how sleazy or not you believe those marketing opportunities to be," said Shachtman.
Earlier in life, Boston Marathon terror suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev boxed, dabbled in piano, and hung out at bars. But then, at some point four or five years ago, his interests dramatically shifted.
"It was about 2008, 2009 when these women say they saw Tamerlan begin to change," said NPR's Laura Sullivan, who spoke to former roommates of his wife, Katharine Russell. "He stopped drinking, he stopped smoking, and he, at that point, said to Katherine Russell that she also had to become a Muslim."
Tsarnaev was becoming increasingly strict in his Muslim beliefs. His uncle has accused a mysterious man - "Misha" - of brainwashing him, starting in 2009.
A U.S. government official tells CNN that the FBI has interviewed "Misha." We now know his full name is Mikhail Allack-Vierdov, and he lives in Rhode Island. Christian Caryl, of The New York Review of Books, tracked down "Misha," and he adamantly denied any involvement in Tsarnaev's radicalization.
"He was very, very, very intent on explaining that he had nothing to do with any kind of radicalization," said Caryl. "What he told me was, 'I was not his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure that he knew that doing something like this was wrong.'"
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey says there is no way the Boston Marathon bombing suspects acted alone. Mukasey said that the FBI is too delicate about Islamic terrorism.
"The FBI for years has been purging its training materials of any reference to Islamist terrorism," said Mukasey. "It's also been taking instruction on that, and on sensitivity, from organizations that are themselves Muslim Brotherhood affiliates."