Jan 07 2010
Update: It seems someone inside the government is trying to paint a target on Leiter who apparently was at NCTC the day of the failed attack. Must be a really bad report coming out soon.
Update: This administration was definitely caught with their eyes off the ball. Not only did the President continue his vacation after the Christmas Day attack (interspersing golf games with his delayed addresses to the nation) but the head of NCTC also decided he could not pull himself away from the ski slopes as this near disaster played out:
The top official in charge of analyzing terror threats did not cut short his ski vacation after the underwear bomber nearly blew up an airliner on Christmas Day, the Daily News has learned.
This is just insane. With all the warning bells about pending attacks (briefed to the WH 3 days before the attack) it is unconscionable that the head of our dot-connectors did not drop everything and attend to his duties.
It is going to be an interesting day for America and its young President. It seems President Obama may be waking up to the foolish and dangerous policies of his liberal advisors and allies. And the wake up call is going to be made public to the American people. What we may find today is that someone inside the government decided to let this threat reach our shores before acting (see end of this post for the details).
White House national security adviser James Jones says Americans will feel “a certain shock” when they read an account being released Thursday of the missed clues that could have prevented the alleged Christmas Day bomber from ever boarding the plane.
President Obama “is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on,” Jones said in an interview Wednesday with USA TODAY.
The President shouldn’t be alarmed though. He should have known that the people he put in place to watch over this country and its people had some fuzzy and risky concepts. For example, this is advisor John Brennan during the Presidential campaign:
To me, I think the government does have the right and the obligation to ensure the security and safety of its citizens. If there is probable cause, reasonable suspicion, about the involvement of a U.S. person in something, the government needs to have the ability to understand what the nature of that involvement is. The threshold for that type of government access can be high or can be low, and it [the probable cause threshold] needs to be somewhere in the middle.
You donâ€™t want to just troll and with a large net just pull up everything. There are technologies available to pulse the data set and pull back only that which has some type of correlation to your predicate [the probable cause threshold].
I would argue the government needs to have access to only those nuggets of information that have some kind of predicate. That way the government can touch it and pull back only that which is related. Itâ€™s like a magnet, set to a certain calibration. Thatâ€™s what I think we need to go to.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the threshold, quite frankly, was low, because we didnâ€™t know the nature of the threat we faced here in the U.S.
[Post 9-11] Every effort was made by the government to try to get as much understanding and visibility into what else might be out there thatâ€™s going to hurt us again. Now that a number of years have passed, we need to make sure the calibration is [more] important.
Emphasis and editing mine. This dialing back on the sensitivity of our responses was openly discussed by John Brennan during the campaignÂ (a Bush era reject from the intel community who couldn’t follow orders and thought he knew better than everyone else). He was slated to be the head of the CIA until the looney left torpedoed his nomination bid. But he is a central advisor to then candidate and now President Obama. We see again the White House vetted its people to the rigor of a White House dinner guest list.
Brennan is probably at the center of the latest National Intelligence Strategy – the guiding bible for the dot-connectors at DNI and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). A strategy replete with distractions that are supposed to be handled by other government organizations:
Recall, we are supposed to be monitoring threats and defending ourselves. … There is violent extremists (a.k.a terrorists), insurgents and transnational criminals â€“ all good targets.
But then things get weird. We find challenges such as â€˜global economic crisisâ€˜, â€˜failed states and ungoverned spacesâ€˜, â€˜climate change and energy competitionâ€˜, â€˜rapid technology changeâ€™ and â€˜Pandemic Disease (H1N1)â€˜.
There are no terrorists at the North Pole plotting as the ice melts and refreeze. While providing scientists with detailed polar images we snap automatically every day is not much of a drain on our resources, the fact someone is checking those images to make sure they are not accidentally revealing national secrets means they are not sifting data for possible real threats. Each meeting on H1N1 at DNI was a meeting not watching for threats.
President Obama is inexperienced in these matters, and he allowed himself to be misled by the anti-Bush anti-Cheney lot whose sole purpose has been to prove we did not need to be like Bush and Cheney to protect the country. This warped fever need to not respect the former President’s efforts and successes has led us to this (back to the original article):
“That’s two strikes,” Obama’s top White House aide on defense and foreign policy issues said, referring to the foiled bombing of the Detroit-bound airliner and the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in November. In that case, too, officials failed to act when red flags were raised about an Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan. He has been charged with killing 13 people.
Jones said Obama “certainly doesn’t want that third strike, and neither does anybody else.”
Exactly. It is time to go back to what Bush and Cheney left us, and it is time for the small minded folks who cannot get over their hatred of the past administration to be pulled from important jobs. We have heard many rumblings since the failed attack on Christmas Day from inside the intelligence and national security community that Obama’s team dialed back our level of alertness and response way too far:
This [Department of State] employee says that despite statements from the Obama Administration, such information was flagged and given higher priority during the Bush Administration, but that since the changeover â€œwe are encouraged to not create the appearance that we are profiling or targeting Muslims. I think career employees were uncomfortable with the Bush procedures and policies and were relieved to not have to live under them any longer.â€
More unwise changes have become public as well. This nation came one failed detonator away from our second 9-11. We know more threats are in the pipeline, possibly already active. Our sensor nets have been proven to be turned way down, our responses dulled by liberal revenge against Bush-Cheney. We need to stop the liberal madness that has gripped some people. They are too unstable to be defending us.
This next story best sums up how the cool complacency of investigation and analysis is no replacement for the heat of war and the need for survival:
Reporting from Washington – U.S. border security officials learned of intelligence about the alleged extremist links of the suspect in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt as he was en route to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed, officials said in new disclosures today.
What moron decided to wait until the threat had landed (via airliner) to make a move? Were they aware of 9-11 at even the crudest level?
I seriously doubt the career defenders who honed their senses, skills and reactions over the years under Bush would make such a rash decision.
If the intelligence had been discovered sooner, it could have resulted in the interrogation and search of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he boarded the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, senior law enforcement officials said.
Pure BS! You can direct a flight to land outside America (in Canada in an unpopulated area). You can tell the crew about the threat and have the man searched and subdued. You can do a lot of things other than let him reach his target – us! ‘US border security officials’ means Department of Homeland Security, which in turn means Janet Napolitano. I now understand why her head may be on the chopping block for this fiasco.
And we need to watch how far we let the political fringe take us in any direction. Zealots blind to ideologies too often see the sacrifice of others as a necessary means to their ends. We need to make sure radical theories are not consuming our defenses (or anything else in government), as this example clearly shows.
I obviously will be posting again later today after the report comes out.