Jan 08 2010
As the repercussions of the disastrous news concerning how our new national security team screwed up (why didn’t anyone ask about why these people were wasting time with the war on global warming??) continue to reverberateÂ CBS News is reporting on disturbing results in the still classified Ft Hood post-action report:
Less than a month after major Nidal Hasan allegedly killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, the Pentagon’s top intelligence officer sent the White House a report detailing an earlier failure to connect the dots. It reads like a dress rehearsal for the Detroit bomber case, reports CBS News chief national security correspondent David Martin.
According to that still-classified report, the terrorism task force responsible for determining whether Hasan posed a threat never saw all 18 e-mails he exchanged with that radical Yemeni cleric Awlaki whose communications were being monitored under a court ordered wiretap.
Let me stop here and pick up the theme I noticed in yesterdays briefing. Emphasis mine in order to point out the fact that in the waning days of the Bush administration, and due to NSA intercepts surrounding al-Awlaki, there was a terrorist task force investigating Hasan under FISA Court rulings. This investigation of Hasan’s emails, etc was made possible by the changes President Bush made in the FISA-NSA relationship, wherein an NSA developed lead on a threat garnered from monitoring known terrorists overseas could be used as probable cause for investigation. This is the same change to the rules many in the Obama Administration opposed with a vengeance – including Holder and Brennan as well as the President himself.
The terrorist task force investigations were suspiciously shutdown about the time Holder would be required to renew the FIS Court warrants (they all have short timer periods and can only be renewed by the Attorney General or his designated representative). The way they were shutdown was by sending the few emails they had to an Army Intelligence analyst – working in a group that does not do that kind of analysis – and getting a conclusion that was wildly naive of the threat of al-Awlaki.
CBS News continues:
After the Washington task force decided Hasan was not dangerous, it never asked to see his subsequent communications with Alwaki.
“I think it’s a real problem that you didn’t have in one place at one time all of the communications being evaluated,” said CBS News security analyst Juan Zarate.
It is especially a problem if those later emails were the ones which indicated Hasan had gone over to the dark side. The lame excuse CBS News reports for why the lone army intelligence analyst came to a benign conclusion is really incomprehensible:
None of the e-mails specifically mentioned Hasan’s plans for a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but because he was a member of the military the FBI showed them to a Pentagon investigator with the note “comm” written on it. To the FBI that meant “commissioned officer.” The Pentagon investigator thought it meant “communication.”
I fail to see what this has to do with anything, but it does sound like someone is trying to cover some tracks. Why is it important to make the claim the Army analyst thought it ‘com’ meant ‘communication’? Are we to believe the analyst was never told the person being investigated was US Army? This smells really fishy to me, but that seems to be the latest excuse for closing down the FIS Court approved monitoring of the man behind the Ft Hood Massacre:
As a result, there were no red flags that an army officer was e-mailing a radical cleric suspected of being a talent spotter for al Qaeda.
Sounds to me like the Bush haters decided undoing President Bush’s hard work was more important than monitoring the threats. As I noted many times, John Brennan openly said during the campaign he wanted to dial back our hair trigger responses to possible threats. I think he and the President did just that, and 13 Americans were murdered as a result.
It is also interesting this report snuck out while the big mea culpa show on Flight 253 was attracting everyone’s attention. But I doubt Congress will miss this – at least I hope they don’t.