For 20 years, the FBI and federal prosecutors in the Big Apple have led the charge against international terrorism. That’s why it was a squad of FBI agents from New York who were dispatched last month to Kenya to probe the al Shabab attack on the Westgate mall. And it’s why a grand jury in New York is the one that indicted al Qaeda leader al-Libi for his role in bombing the buildings in Kenya and Tanzania 15 years ago. Jihadists Threaten Revenge for US Libya Snatch Operation “When we started doing al Qaeda cases we needed to give it to an FBI field office and the New York field office was the first one to have a real counterterrorism squad because they investigated the first World Trade Center bombing,” said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterror czar. After the 1993 WTC bombing, a foreshadowing event that killed six, feds in New York were assigned a host of international terror cases. They went after those behind the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, and they charged fundamentalist Egyptian cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri with inspiring attacks against Westerners. It was the New York FBI office that dispatched agents to work in concert with the CIA’s “Alec Station,” dedicated to hunting Osama bin Laden before 9/11. And early this year, the feds brought bin Laden’s nephew, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, to Manhattan, where he now faces terror charges that could see him imprisoned for life. Much of the expertise was developed by the feds during the embassy bombing investigation that focused on al-Libi and his henchmen. Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration moved away from holding terror trials in New York in favor of the then-new facility at the naval base made famous by the movie “A Few Good Men,” at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Geroge W. Bush and his War Cabinet believed that Gitmo — as it’s known — would provide a better spot for terror prisons and trials that would not have to comport with strict constitutional standards in place on the U.S. mainland.
New York AG subpoenas Airbnb in ‘bad actors’ battle
Airbnb, which helps people rent out their houses or apartments for a period of time, said last week that it has 225,000 community members in New York. The Attorney General’s office has been investigating Airbnb for more than a month, a person familiar with the investigation told CNET. The investigation stemmed from complaints by lawmakers and housing advocates. Related stories Tampa is the nicest city in America, says Airbnb The crux of the issue appears to be so-called “bad actors” who find short-term rentals and run amok, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Some of those renters could be sidestepping paying taxes, the person indicated. In addition, the attorney general’s office wants to target those who are renting out multiple units in violation of state law or who are renting out their properties for longer than expressly allowed under the state’s tax laws, a person familiar with the investigation said. A person who is simply trying to rent out their units every now and then — a so-called “casual user” — will not be targeted in the investigation, according to the person. In its statement on the matter, Airbnb said that it agrees that “bad actors” are an issue, and indicated that it believes the attorney general’s office “is only seeking to target an incredibly small number of bad actors who abuse the Airbnb platform.” Despite that cooperation, Airbnb bristled a bit at the subpoena, indicating that the attorney general’s office wants access to all New York-based short-term renters on the company’s service, despite plans to go after those bad actors. Airbnb wants to work with the attorney general to weed out the troublesome renters and keep the rest of its data secure and outside the prying eyes of lawmakers. “We are confident we can reach a solution that protects your personal information and cracks down on people who abuse the system,” Airbnb said today in a statement. The Attorney General’s legal action is just the latest issue Airbnb has faced over the last year . The company has been targeted by governments far and wide over its service, which some say, hurts the hotel business. Airbnb argues that such claims only serve to cater to ” entrenched interests ,” and believes that its service is actually helping the hospitality industry, not hurting it.