Military notebook: U.S. disrupts insurgents' circuits

August 26, 2012 

Many may think of the insurgency in Afghanistan as a low-tech operation, but that’s not necessarily so.

Interfering with the cyber technology of the enemy is an important part of the U.S. strategy, a top commander said last week.

According to an Associated Press story, Marine Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills gave a rare look inside the normally secret world of the cyberspace war. He made the comments at a conference in Baltimore.

“I can tell you that as a commander in Afghanistan in the year 2010, I was able to use my cyber operations against my adversary with great impact,” Mills said. “I was able to get inside his nets, infect his command-and-control, and in fact defend myself against his almost constant incursions to get inside my wire, to affect my operations.”

Today Mills is a deputy commandant with the Marine Corps, but from 2010 to 2011 he commanded international forces in southwestern Afghanistan.

While Mills didn’t go into detail of the nature of cyber operations, a cyber security analyst told the AP it was the first time he had heard a commander so directly acknowledge a cyber attack.

Appeals court upholds terrorists’ convictions

A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of three men accused of trying to recruit and train terrorists to kill U.S. troops in Iraq, but the court did not grant a prosecution plea for a more severe sentence.

The three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati announced the ruling Thursday, according to an Associated Press story.

Mohammad Amawi, Marwan El-Hindi and Wassim Mazloum were convicted in 2009 of conspiring to kill or injure people outside the U.S. They allegedly met in Toledo, Ohio, to orchestrate the efforts, but defense attorneys argued they were set up by a paid undercover FBI informant.

Prosecutors also appealed the men’s sentences, believing they should have gotten life in prison. Amawi was sentenced to 20 years, El-Hindi 12 years and Mazloum eight years. The panel turned down the prosecutor’s appeal on the grounds that the men had no criminal history and that there was no evidence they killed anyone.

California sues veterans charity

California is suing the charity Help Hospitalized Veterans over the alleged misuse of $4.3 million in funds, according to a story by the Military Times.

The state is seeking the removal of officers and directors, as well as the return of the money.

The lawsuit alleges the group’s former president Roger Chapin received $2.3 million in excessive compensation, and its current president received $900,000 more than he should have. It also alleges the charity spent $80,000 on golf club memberships.

Charity Watch, a group that monitors charities, said the group had $30 million in cash donations last year, and another $10 million in in-kind donations. Charity Watch rates HHV poorly for giving a low percentage of its income toward helping veterans, ranging from 35 percent to 60 percent over the last 10 years.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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