WASHINGTON – Scrambling to find a belated Christmas gift for someone you overlooked? Someone who remembered to send you an excellent present? Shop no more!
We’ve got a possible gift for that special someone: Yes, it’s the 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar, the 12th edition of the daily planner, which has been issued for the past 10 years by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) - and before that by another government agency.
The cover is a bit grim. It’s a photo from the Boston Marathon bombing. Agency officials struggled with the photo selection because they wanted something more positive in light of the agency’s 10th anniversary, one official told us. “However, we cannot escape the harsh reality that, as proud as we are of our part in many foiled plots, Boston still happened,” he said.
It’s in daily calendar format with, on the left, pictures, maps and data on “most wanted” terrorists and organizations, starting with al-Qaida co-founder Ayman al-Zawahri - for whom there’s a $25 million bounty - down to Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (He’s worth only $5 million.) You can pick up $10 million for info about Yasin al-Suri, who raises money and recruits for al-Qaida. Problem is, he’s hanging out in Iran these days and it might be tough to get him.
Longtime calendar favorite Anas al-Libi, worth $5 million for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, is not listed because he’s resting in the slammer in New York. He was picked up in Tripoli on Oct. 5 by a Delta Force team. Unfortunately, another favorite, Faker Ben Abdelazziz Boussora, is still at large, despite “his protruding ears” and “a serious pituitary gland illness.”
The right page of the planner has great factoids. For example, did you know that Wednesday, or 6 Rabi’ al-Awwal in the Islamic calendar, is the 16th anniversary of the sentencing of Yasin’s co-conspirator Ramzi Yousef? He got life plus 240 years in the bombing.
And did you know the day in 2000 on which Shining Path leader Carlos Fernandez was captured in Peru? That’s right, Oct. 4 (or 9 Dhu al-Hijjah).
Lots of people in the calendar’s “captured or killed” section, including Anwar al-Awlaki, are listed as “killed in an explosion.” Hmm. Well, explosions are sometimes known to occur after drone strikes.
The calendars are given as resource guides for anti-terrorism folks, especially those working in the field. You can get an online version on the NCTC website. Budget cuts have reduced the number printed. But we’re told the Government Printing Office, for the first time, will be selling the 5-by-9-inch spiral version online starting in a few weeks.
If you want one real quick, though, you’ve got to know someone in the biz.