Meet Spider, the CIA’s new spy chief

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The new head of the National Clandestine Service is a former Marine who gained fame for being former Afghanistan President’s Hamid Karzai’s “security blanket,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

His name and age? Unknown. After all, he’s a spy who has spent his career undercover, most notably as station chief in Kabul.

Here’s what we do know about him, thanks to a 2010 Journal profile … Continue reading

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Italian press again reports rumors of assassination plot against pope

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Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican  has told Italian newspapers, including Il Mattino, that Pope Francis is at risk of an assassination attempt by ISIS when he makes a one-day visit to Albania on Sunday.

“What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear — they want to kill the pope,” Habeeb Al Sadr told La Nazione on Tuesday. “The threats against the pope are credible.”  Continue reading

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Second beheaded American was grandson of Holocaust survivors

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American journalist Steven Sotloff (center in black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels  west of Misrata in 2011. jihadist video in which fellow US journalist James Foley was executed.   In the video the militant form the Islamic State (IS) threatens to kill Sotloff next if the US continues its aerial campaign against the insurgency.  (Photo by Etienne de Malglaive via Getty Images)

American journalist Steven Sotloff (center in black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels west of Misrata in 2011. Photo by Etienne de Malglaive via Getty Images)

How much suffering does one family have to endure?

Steven Sotloff, a freelance journalist who wrote for Time and Foreign Policy, didn’t “cower from danger, he flew right into it, intent on telling the stories he believed would shape history,” Danielle Berrin, a childhood friend, notes in her Hollywood Jew blog. Continue reading

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Report: Terrorists asked U.S. to pay ransom

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European governments regularly pay ransom for hostages, notes James Traub in Foreign Policy. And rumors have been rampant that Western companies pay millions when their employees are abducted in war zones.

Now comes word from the New York Times that the terrorists who beheaded American James Foley — and promoted his execution in a gruesome propaganda video — first asked the U.S. for $100 million in exchange for the photographer’s life, according to a Foley family representative and someone once held captive alongside Foley.  Continue reading

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