Dec 30 2009
Welcome RCP Readers – you may want to check out this update in a later post where a State Department source confirms my suspicions. - end update
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know the liberal leaning Obama administration came into DC with the intent of undoing as much of President Bush’s efforts as they could possibly get away with. Top of their list was the war on terror. The public side of this effort was to play word games and never utter the words ‘terrorism‘ and ‘terrorist‘ again. It is actually painful to watch this idiocy continue as our President continues to use the more watered down and pedestrian term ‘extremist‘ instead of the clear and accurate label ‘terrorist‘ during the past two days. He has attempted (and failed) to demonstrate he understands what is happening, let alone is leading the response.
The WSJ notes today that this is the second Islamist Terror incident in 6 months that had glaring warnings signs blazing well in advance of the incident, signs that could have easily led to foiling the attack outright:
The U.S. had multiple pieces of information about alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, according to senior U.S. officials, including intelligence reports and communications intercepts suggesting a Nigerian was being prepped for a terror strike by al Qaeda operatives in Yemen.
The intercepts were collected piecemeal by the National Security Agency, which has been monitoring al Qaeda militants in that country, including former Guantanamo detainees believed to be leaders there.
In addition, the father of Mr. Abdulmutallab met with the Central Intelligence Agency at the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, Nov. 19, and told of his son’s likely radicalization, U.S. officials say. That led to a broader gathering of agencies the next day, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department, in which the information was shared, a U.S. official said.
Multiple agencies, multiple signs. The CIA was on the trail since August. Even Yemen knew where this guy was from August to early December and the US never gave them a heads up.
This is NOT how ‘the system worked‘ under President Bush. As I noted many times in the Major Hasan Ft. Hood Massacre incident, someone took steps to change the trajectory of our national security. And we know who that someone is – the Obama administration. The lame excuse used to shut down the terrorism task force investigation of Hasan alone is a clear sign drastic changes were instituted when the Obama administration took over. What is more important is that these changes are documented in numerous memos and directives in the federal record.
What were these changes, and when were they implemented? Why was Hasan already under FIS court sanctioned surveillance (how else do you read his emails to the radical Yemeni Imam) and then, when the surveillance has to be renewed by the Attorney General (because he is the only one who can authorize it), we see Hasan’s investigation shutdown on the report of one lowly analyst in a department that doesn’t do that kind of analysis? (see here for my Hasan posts).
You don’t get all these kinds of warning signs and then fail to move the guy onto the ‘no-fly’ list and not revoke his visa because of an individual’s mistake here or there. Â This takes a coordinated effort to not take the right (and well practiced) actions. The only way for ‘systemic failure’ – i.e., to confuse this coordinated al Qaeda terrorist attack with an ‘isolated extremist’ – is to have messed with ‘the system’ big time.
All President Obama has done in his two attempts to show leadership is convince everyone he is struggling to get control. He can’t even admit his Homeland Security Secretary needs to be replaced. My guess is the 2nd news briefing (to interrupt his Hawaii vacation) was due to the fact the enormity of the screw up is becoming apparent. Â That is why he came out a second time.
President Obama has been naively delegating his responsibility to others while surrounding himself with inexperienced zealots instead of seasoned, steady hands. So much so I don’t think even he knows what is going on in the bowels of the federal bureaucracy. I would not be surprised if AG Holder went on a little political correctness run and starting shutting down all sorts of national security investigations in order to show everyone there was a new boss in town. None of it coordinated with the President. And he may not be the only one (Napolitano also comes to mind).
It would be a classic rerun in DC politics – trust me. I have seen numerous political management adjustments where seasoned hands were replaced by folks who knew very little about the problem they were handed. Most of them well meaning and good people – just in way over their heads. And those are the hardest to weed out of the federal bureaucracy, because they have no intention of screwing up, but boy can they do an impressive job of it.
Addendum: This is also from the WSJ article:
But U.S. officials said it isn’t clear whether intelligence officials in Washington charged with coordinating such intelligence activities effectively distributed the information gathered in Nigeria.
Emphasis mine. I wonder why the information was ‘filtered’ down somehow, why key data was left out of a well practiced process? Was it new rules on what could be distributed?