Jan 02 2010
I am stunned at the amount of evidence coming out on what we missed in allowing a faulty bomb triggering mechanism to come between a Jihadist bomber and the death of nearly 300 innocent people on Christmas Day in the skies over Detriot, MI. Even worse are the claims from the Obama administration about the incident.
In this previous long post I speculated on how it would be nearly impossible for any computer system to not connect the so called dots leading to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Especially if this CNN report is true:
The U.S. also had intelligence that between August and October of this year, extremists in Yemen were talking about operations. Someone known as â€œthe Nigerianâ€ was mentioned, andÂ they had a partial name â€” Umar Farouk.
When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was caught talking to the radical Yemeni cleric who is rising to the top of America’s most wanted list the dots had to have been connected. When Abdulmutallab’s father went to the US about his son turning radical it had to be the clincher. All they needed was the last name. I still suspect those dots were connected at least in the computer systems.
Late yesterday Newsweek came out with this bombshell (coincidentally on a slow news day I am sure):
President Barack Obama received a high-level briefing only three days before Christmas about possible holiday-period terrorist threats against the US, Newsweek has learned. The briefing was centered on a written report, produced by US intelligence agencies, entitled “Key Homeland Threats”, a senior US official said.
The senior Administration official, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that nowhere in this document was there any mention of Yemen, whose Al-Qaeda affiliate is now believed to have been behind the unsuccessful Christmas Day attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to bring down a transatlantic airliner with a bomb hidden in his underpants. However, the official declined to disclose any other information about the substance of the briefing, including what kind of specific warnings, if any, the President was given about possibly holiday attacks and whether Yemen came up during oral discussions.
Very interesting. So enough people had seen enough dots connecting to warn the President. In time for the President to light some fires under ‘the system’ and mobilize his people – to make sure it ‘worked’. Did he?
No wonder President Obama took so many days to come up with a public response. Might even explain why the administration tried to get Napolitano and Gibbs to put a incredible positive spin on how the system mostly worked on the Sunday shows.
It is also interesting to see who was in attendance that December 22nd for this warning:
Present were representatives of agencies involved in counter-terrorism policy and operations, including Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FBI Director Robert Mueller. The CIA and National Intelligence Directors Office were represented by deputy agency heads: CIA deputy director Steven Kappes, and David Gompert, the principal deputy to National Intelligence Czar Dennis Blair. Also present was Michael Leiter, director of the National Counter-terrorism Center, a unit of the Intelligence Czar’s office which was created after 9/11 to ensure that intelligence reporting about possible terrorist plots was shared quickly among all US agencies who might have some capability to do something about it.
Interesting witness list for Congress, and at least 2 (Holder and Napolitano) are of the far left ilk who have been trying to dismantle what President Bush had put in place for domestic threats (see here for some idea of the changes made).
Of course leaking this (and the administration is the only group who knows who was at this meeting and what was discussed) is another clear indication of damage control mode in the White House. So the report to the President did not say Yemen – big deal! What did it say? And that has nothing to do with the fact the data in the system was screaming the name ‘Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab‘ by this time. It had to be.
This leak does mean something else and that this we can finally discover what happened in response to this report. What was the reaction of these people? What was the direction of the White House? All we know for sure is that the President went on vacation. What else did he do or not do? That is now the key question.
I guess I also have to note the implied misdirection in the reporting, meant to confuse the average reader (and why I think this leaked story is more spin than fact):
The senior official said that beginning in early December, based on reports coming in from intelligence agencies, policy-makers had begun tracking a stream of information which alluded to a possible holiday-period plot against the US orchestrated from somewhere in Pakistan. However, the official said, this reporting later turned out to be “garbled” and it was determined that the threat probably was a washout. The official denied that the White House received any report, representing the concensus of US intelligence agencies, warning that a Holiday-period plot originating in Yemen and targeting the US homeland could be in the works.
Note how they say ‘later’ the report turned out to be a washout. When later? Was this the source of the threat analysis that went to the President? Was it pulled before that briefing? Why couldn’t al Qaeda HQ in Pakistan also be in on the Yemen activity? Weren’t they (and the Yemen cells) involved with the Hamburg Germany cell which executed 9-11? What about all those NSA leads from Yemen talking about a holiday attack by some guy Umar Farouk something?
The most interesting detail here is to look at who was doing this tracking:
… based on reports coming in from intelligence agencies,Â policy-makers had begun tracking a stream of information …
“Policy Makers” are the political appointees – the Obama administration in essence. They were ‘filtering’ the intelligence agency reports for the President. They were the gatekeepers and the trip wires. They could also be the ones who down-played evidence or dots. We need to know who was on that list as well. What did they know and when did the know it and what did they direct to be done.
Finally, the reporting notes some internal conflict on what happened:
… a US intelligence official, who also asked for anonymity, explained: “As everybody knows, terrorists often speak in coded language, especially when they think their communications might be intercepted.Â There was no clear discussion of an attack, on Christmas or any other time, in the Middle East or anywhere else.Â But as veiled as the message was, it was spotted, processed, analyzed, and presented to senior policymakers as a warning sign-however vague-of a holiday attack.Â While this was handled properly, there were, to put it mildly, virtually no details at all.Â That happens.”Â Â Â When Newsweek asked a senior Administration official about this characterization of a warning which was passed to White House policymakers,Â and whether it tracked what was presented at the December 22 Presidential briefing, the official would not comment.
It can happen. Especially when the tone of the job is changed from a high tempo war on terrorism emanating from mindlessly violent fanatics to that of cautious and careful criminal investigations of man made disasters.
The incoherency of this administration is becoming legend – especially on national security. Charles Krauthammer said it well yesterday:
Instead, Abdulmutallab is dispatched to some Detroit-area jail and immediately lawyered up. At which point — surprise! — he stops talking.
This absurdity renders hollow Obama’s declaration that “we will not rest until we find all who were involved.” Once we’ve given Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent, we have gratuitously forfeited our right to find out from him precisely who else was involved, namely those who trained, instructed, armed and sent him.
This is all quite mad even in Obama’s terms. He sends 30,000 troops to fight terror overseas, yet if any terrorists come to attack us here, they are magically transformed from enemy into defendant.
The logic is perverse. If we find Abdulmutallab in an al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, where he is merely preparing for a terror attack, we snuff him out with a Predator — no judge, no jury, no qualms. But if we catch him in the United States in the very act of mass murder, he instantly acquires protection not just from execution by drone but even from interrogation.
It is no huge leap to determine that someone who concocts such twisted logic as a national defense strategy would also fail in connecting other threatening dots. This is what happens when amateurs try to play in the big leagues. America stood behind President Bush without wavering on this very matter. It was only a few myopic liberals who broke ranks on how best to protect America from blood thirsty Jihadis. It was one thing Team Obama should have known not to mess with – but of course we know they did.