Jan 05 2010
Want to know how the liberals in DC felt about terrorism and connecting dots? Just follow the money – or the money the Democrats cut from the National Counterterrorism Center:
The highly touted intelligence fusion center at the heart of the nation’s counterterrorism establishment was preparing for deep budget cuts across 2010, senior intelligence officials said. According to one official, who asked not to be identified because intelligence budget matters are classified, the administration and Congress slashed the budget for the National Counterterrorism Center by at least $25 million. Those affected, the official said, included employees responsible for maintaining the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) system, which contains the list of about 550,000 known or suspected terrorists.
Both the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, and the head of the NCTC, Mike Leiter, pressed to have the funding restored well before the Christmas Day attack exposed potential problems.
So who would authorize such a dangerous change in national security priorities? President Obama and his national security advisor John Brennan, of course. No word on how much of the remaining funds were diverted to Global Warming and H1N1 (as dictated by the recent National Intelligence Strategy produced by Team Obama).
Sort of puts the lie to the claims the current administration is doing all it can to defend this nation and its people. BTW, those cuts should have gone into effect on October 1, 2009.
There is also this reporting out on how thin the staffing is at NCTC:
President Obama is scheduled to meet on Tuesday afternoon with 20 of his security advisers to receive the results of two inquiries into how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab snuck a bomb onto Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day
According to NCTC veterans, the NCTCâ€™s Middle East Branch consists of eight to nine analysts at any given time. Those analysts are responsible for integrating and analyzing millions of pieces of fragmentary data relevant to terrorism in the Middle East provided by partner intelligence agencies like the CIA and the National Security Agency.
An individual familiar with NCTCâ€™s current operations did not dispute the number of Middle East Branch analysts. But the individual said focusing on the number was misleading, because NCTC can shift analysts around from across the center to surge attention and resources to deal with an emerging problem.
To that last excuse – you have to detect the emergency in order to move the resource -Doh!
But several NCTC veterans, none of whom would agree to be identified because of their ongoing involvement with the intelligence community, discussed chronic shortfalls of manpower at the agency. One NCTC veteran described an single analyst â€” â€œyes, singular,â€ a different former NCTC analyst emphasized â€” who until recently was responsible for analysis of terrorism on the entire Arabian Peninsula, apparently during the time when al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has emerged as what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on MondayÂ termed a â€œglobal threat.â€
It is an abysmal report. How could this over taxed team be cut further?