Nov 11 2009
We are all trying to understand what happened with the Ft Hood Terrorist Massacre, and how our streak of successfully defending this nation since 9-11 from enemies within and without suddenly and tragically ended last week. But what we see in the news media is disturbing and gross. 13 Americans died, over 30 wounded and what we see in DC is finger pointing and cover up.
I have to admit I have always had little confidence in this administration to take the threat of Islamo Fascism seriously. In addition I hear some internal rumblings from folks who work across the federal bureaucracy that there may have been a pull back by this administration in the fight to protect Americans. It has been clear since 9-11 that the liberal left has never understood or accepted the threat we are under, and the steps we could take to fight Islamic terrorism.
Key to our success since 9-11 have been the changes President Bush made to the FISA regulations (and which since have been adopted by Congress as law of the land). These changes were also a huge drama queen moment for many on the left who claimed Bush and Cheney were listening in on the babbling of liberals (trust me, few can stomach that for long).
One Glenn Greenwald has been screaming ‘fire’ loudly and continuously on this conspiracy theory, being one of the head drama queens of the left. So Greenwald makes the perfect reference of why the change in administrations may have been the actual catalyst that led to the massacre at Ft Hood.
Even before there has been a single Cabinet selection announced, I’m already weary from all the gossip and chatter about potential appointees, but, at least for me, the position of Attorney General is different. So much of the anti-constitutional abuses and radicalism of the last eight years emanated from the Justice Department, and few things will have more of an impact on what the Obama administration does about them than the views, integrity and independence of the new Attorney General, who looks to be Eric Holder, Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration and, very briefly, Acting Attorney General.
The bulk of what I’ve read about and from Holder suggests, with a couple of ultimately marginal exceptions, that this appointment would be a very positive step. Digby yesterday quoted at length from an impassioned speech Holder gave in June of this year in which he condemned Guantanamo as an “international embarrassment”; charged that “for the last 6 years the position of leader of the Free World has been largely vacant”; complained that “we authorized torture and we let fear take precedence over the rule of law”; and called for an absolute end both to rendition and warrantless eavesdropping. He proclaimed that “the next president must move immediately to reclaim America’s standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.”
And then there is this, from another well known liberal drama queen:
In addition to closing Gitmo, Holder insisted the next president should:
Stop domestic search and seizures without warrant and end wiretapping of citizens.
“We have lost our way before,” Holder told the 350 attendees at the Friday evening session. “Now we must step back into the shining path envisioned by our founding fathers in such icons of liberty as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
I noted in my previous posts (here and here) that one of the indications that the Hasan investigation was shutdown in DC by liberal ideology was the fact government sources claimed to Newsweek Hasan had a right to ‘free speech’. This seemed to be one of the most clueless reasons to close down an investigation of a pending terrorist action. It indicates an ideologically driven thinking and a complete ignorance of national security. Hence, the source looks to be a political hack doing damage control.
To be fair, there is a chance the Hasan trail was dropped by simply missing some connections – missing the dots as it were. There are hundreds of tips and leads being checked out every day. And to retain an individuals reputation many times inquiries are done without background provided, thus providing people the reason to expose more detail than normal.
Therefore a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in DC could request Hasan’s personnel file from Walter Reed hospital without explaining the reason behind the request. Or a JTTF might decide to not notify the Army formally that one of its officers is under investigation – to the point that the military members of the JTTF are barred from passing the news up their command chain. It could be Hasan slipped through our net through a series of innocent mistakes.
But the problem I have with this scenario is the underlying spin. The rationale being put out – i.e., its normal for an officer of the Army to reach out to al Qaeda to understand post traumatic stress – stinks of a hastily erected cover up. The idea that the investigation which started under the Bush administration and caused enough concern to involve two joint tasks forces and months of investigation was ended under the Obama administration because of ‘free speech’ concerns is probably the most compelling evidence that the root cause Â was the Obama team changed course on investigating threats.
Again, it must be noted that in order to investigate a US citizen caught trying to contact known terrorists overseas the US Attorney General must make pro-active steps to repeatedly request the court to extend the investigation and report to the FIS Court on status. To shut down an investigation an AG simply has someone find an excuse to not take the steps to keep the investigation open.
So when we look at the news reports keep in mind the possibility that orders came down that the AG would not be petitioning the FIS Court in this matter. Under this situation the JTTF could only report there was not enough evidence and the case is closed. It is a very passive aggressive act which allows the AG to pay lip service to security while shutting down investigations if does not feel meet the high mark of probable cause.
So one has to wonder why all the spin and finger pointing and leaks to the press? My guess is the months of investigation turned up a lot of red flags that could not be easily shoved under the rug out of sight, especially after Major Hasan executed his jihadi massacre. The brilliance of hindsight could be shining a spotlight on a tragic political decision based on ideology rather than the safety of Americans. Thus the current massive wave of spin and finger pointing.
ABC News is reporting hints today that this just may be the case.
A senior official tells ABC News that investigators have found that alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan had “more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI” than just radical cleric Anwar Awlaki. The official declined to name the individuals but Congressional sources said their names and countries of origin were likely to emerge soon.
A very short but information packed lead in. Note how congressional sources are giving the heads up that more dominos are going to be falling soon. Note how the government source exposes the fallacies of all the stories to date – that this was all about innocent fact finding with a radical Imam which was deemed OK enough to shutdown the investigation. This is an opening salvo to let career people start picking which side of this to be on.
Let’s assume the Obama sycophants have been the ones feeding the stories for the last few days, claiming there was no hard warning and that the Army ‘knew’ all along (to share the blame). That would be their best shot to turn this into a non-issue and deflect this away from the political appointees. Let’s assume the next few days will be the other side coming out, with a contrary view of events. That would mean this story is just beginning, and we already know the tragic conclusion.
So, what do we know? We know that the investigation went on for months. We know the NSA picked up the emails and sent the leads to an initial JTTF (which I assume was in NY). We know the original JTTF followed the lead for a while and then passed it to the DC JTTF. We know the JTTF in DC had the Walter Reed personnel records, and therefore should have known of Hasan’s growing radicalism, the complaints of him trying to recruit wounded soldiers to Islam, etc. We know the investigation ran for many months, which should have included a couple of procedural gates to keep it open (make the case there was legitimate concern). We know it was shutdown before Hasan was all of a sudden ordered to Afghanistan and shipped to Ft Hood (coincidental timing?).
We also know this from those government sources talking to the AP:
The two government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case on the record, said the Washington-based joint terrorism task force overseen by thewas notified of communications between Hasan and a radical imam overseas, and the information was turned over to aÂ assigned to the task force. The communications were gathered by investigators beginning in December 2008 and continuing into early this year.
That Defense investigator wrote up an assessment of Hasan after reviewing the communications and the Army major’s personnel file, according to these officials. The assessment concluded Hasan did not merit further investigation â€” in large part because his communications with the imam were centered on a Iraq and Afghanistan and the investigator determined that Hasan was in fact working on such a paper, the officials said.about the effects of combat in
I think everything up until the characterization of conclusions of individual’s report is basically accurate. I think the way the report’s conclusions are being spun is the attempted to cover up. My guess is the JTTF was being pressured to make a bullet proof case to the AG in order to renew the FIS Court permission to look into Hasan, and they did not have the data to meet the new AG’s standards. AG then says I am not renewing this produce your close out report (which should be the smoking gun sitting inside a secure government safe).
No one would be surprised if Eric Holder was the modern day Jamie Gorelick, closing down investigations based on HIS political views and not the assessments of the career government wortkers trying to protect Americans from attacks like the Ft Hood Massacre. He is on the record wishing the whole thing would be shutdown. This is not speculation that requires any wild leaps of logic.
And it looks like the Pentagon is not going to sit back and let the DoJ and FBI smear them with this mistake either:
Pentagon officials said Tuesday that no one in the U.S. intelligence or law-enforcement community, despite all the new ways information is shared, warned them that accused shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been in contact with a radical Islamic cleric living in Yemen who had known three of the 9/11 hijackers. The officials said that information was provided to them only after Thursday’s shooting spree.
This administration has been a bungling group of political hacks, in over their heads from the start. They have created opposition in the military and intelligence community. No one is going to rally to them now, not after all the threats of being prosecuted for following orders and defending this nation. And they expect these groups to let them spin lame deflection in the media?
I suspect some really bad decisions led to this incident, and these decisions will come to light and destroy the liberal concept of national defense (again). I can see the case where some dots might have been missed, but I can also see a stronger case where a political ideologue closed down the efforts underway to connect the dots, and refused to see the pattern emerging because it threatened is liberal mindset.
My final set of evidence for this conclusion is this over the top response in Time today, exposing how bad this is getting inside the FBI and DoJ:
But the Bureau has hit back, arguing that since the Hasan-Awlaki exchanges were “explainable by [Hasan's] research and nothing else derogatory was found, [investigators] concluded that Major Hasan was not involved in terrorist activities or terrorist planning.” (Hasan had been conducting research into the attitudes of Muslim soldiers at war with other Muslims.)
Besides, some officials point out, there’s nothing illegal about writing to Awlaki: the Yemeni-American is not under any kind of indictment in the U.S.
If anyone has read up on al-Awlaki’s teachings (more like rantings) they would find he promotes the idea that American Muslims should be slaughtering their fellow Americans. He was in contact with 9-11 highjackers, even moving with them from San Diego to Virginia prior to the attacks. He praised Hasan’s actions as a hero and as an example for other Muslims in America. The idea anyone would fall back to the lame excuse ‘it’s not illegal’ to contact this Islamo Fascist nut job is truly grasping at straws. Time goes on with more cover up excuses:
The FBI’s defenders say investigators would, at any one time, have been monitoring hundreds, possibly thousands of exchanges between Awlaki and interlocutors in the U.S. Many of them would be disaffected young men, expressing rage against the West and support for the activities of jihadis everywhere. Then along comes this communication from a senior military officer. It’s innocuous, and well within the scope of the officer’s legitimate area of interest and research. Rather than raise any alarm, say intelligence officials, the communications from Hasan would have seemed “safe” and been put aside, while FBI monitors to focused on Awlaki’s other, potentially more worrisome correspondents on these shores.
This incoherent, schizophrenic propaganda piece claims on one hand it is not illegal or worrisome to contact this mad Imam, but the guy is such a danger and recruiting magnet the intelligence is consumed with all those contacting him. Which is it? How many trial balloons can one useful idiot reporter put out in two paragraphs? Then comes this accidental admission:
Intel experts say if, in fact, there’s any blame to be assigned for missing danger signs, it should be focused on the military. They argue that some of Maj. Hasan’s flaky behavior at Walter Reed should have alerted his superior officers â€” especially his fellow psychiatrists â€” that something was amiss.
Again, note the precise use of words. “Intel experts” versus intelligence officials. These are liberal spinmeisters being pawned off by a puppet reporter as insiders. But the JTTF HAD the Walter Reed files, did they not know of Hasan’s troubles? This could be the lie that breaks the cover up wide open.
The media can get to the bottom of this quickly with some well placed and phrased questions:
- Did the DC JTTF unanimously conclude Hasan was no threat, or did some wish to extend the investigation?
- Did the US AG or DOJ comment on the investigation’s direction to the JTTF?
- Was the JTTF made aware of Hasan’s troubling activities at Walter Reed?
These questions should expose some threads which will lead to the facts of the situation.
If this were a case of someone slipping through (a missed dot) I don’t think we would see all this wild spin and finger pointing. Everyone would stand by each other and simply say ‘we missed this one, we need to do better’. Everyone knows it will happen sooner or later.
But the finger pointing and the crazy excuses as to why the investigation was ended do not support the case of the Â accidentally missed dot. This evidence indicate a hasty cover up of a truly deadly decision inside the Obama administration. The flying accusations, planted spin in the media, etc tell me someone shutdown the effort to connect the dots and save lives.
And that someone is trying to run from the spotlight as fast as possible, because they know full well what the ramifications of that kind of ineptitude and politicization. That is why I think the spin has become so shrill and desperate. I still think this was closing down effort to connect the dots instead of missed dots.
BTW, I was trying to find statements from President Obama on the FISA changes made by President Bush, but like the political chameleon he is he is on all sides of the issue. I did run acrossÂ this post of mine from last year which pretty much covers what happened with the FISA rules after 9-11. It’s weird to look back and see how the Dems played with our national security and personal safety just last year.
Update: Did anyone note that Hasan’s business card denotes him as a Soldier of Allah (SoA)? That’s a pretty clear dot. H/T Sally Vee
Update: The WaPo today makes some interesting claims – many of which I seriously doubt are accurate:
The task of vetting Hasan fell to a Defense Department analyst on the D.C.-area task force, who searched the doctor’s background, employment records and other paperwork. The analyst concluded that the chatter was innocent, in keeping with Hasan’s research interests, and that he did not have links to terrorism, two government officials said Tuesday.
Other facts that have emerged since did not enter into the analysis, including Hasan’s purchase of a weapon Aug. 1, his alleged Web site posting six months ago about suicide bombings or unease among some of his Walter Reed colleagues after a presentation he gave in 2007 about Muslim soldiers with “religious conflicts.”
Ah, some more carefully crafted wording reminiscent of Clintonesque parsing. A JTTF will not push the entire vetting process onto one military investigator (probably not super senior either, given military rotations). Whoever claimed this and wrote this does not understand howJOINT task forces work.
But note what is supposedly outside ‘the analysis’! All those details that came out only days after the shootings which surely had to be pulled from the JTTF investigational products. So which ‘analysis’ were these results not included? The army investigator’s (small scope) or the two JTTFs (complete scope)?
Then there is this gem:
Still,Â debate simmered even within FBI ranks about whether the bureau had beenÂ hampered by guidelines dictating when officials can open investigations, according to a government source.
Those ‘guidelines’ are the very same FISA changes President Bush enacted, Congress made into Law (twice) and which kept us safe from attack from enemies within and outside this great country. The “debate” was, as I have been speculating, likely the new administration using ideology to determine if investigations ‘can open’ or remain open. I think we are seeing the first stages of the cover up being dismantled.