Feb 09 2010

I Think I Discovered How Team Obama Missed The Ft Hood Massacre And Christmas Bomber

I have worked many years in the government and I can tell you that radical, reckless or illegal policies cannot be dictated from on high and then executed mindlessly. It is the reason why America was never really at risk of Bush/Cheney eavesdropping on Americans instead of chasing down NSA leads when the Bush administration changed the FIS Court rules concerning NSA intercepts. The left went ape over the false charges in the NY Times mainly because people do not realize there are too many career government workers who are just normal citizens who would never participate or allow someone to brazenly break the law or risk American lives or freedoms.

Team Bush had to establish a solid rational and allow for checks and balances to be established to thwart any mischief or divert the purpose of the changes from their goal – track down potential terrorist threats. The people in government had to be convinced the actions were necessary and on the up and up. The details had to be comfortable to most (not all, as was clear in the traitors who ran to the NY Times and lied about what had happened) in order to be adopted by the bureaucracy without an uprising ensuing.

The same is true for President Obama and his plans. As much as he and Holder and Brennan wanted to end the FISA-NSA changes that Bush put in place, they could not since these are now established and tested law. All they could do is to roll back some activities they felt crossed the line, while allowing the community to watch known risks as they had for years.

The new administration could not sell to our nation’s defenders taking our eyes and ears off al Qaeda and turning a blind 4th Amendment eye to their threat. This would cause massive upheaval and rejection. But Team Obama could probably sell incremental adjustments, if handled right.

I have asked many times since the Ft Hood Massacre and the Christmas Day Bombing how far did the Obama administration lower our guard because both incidents indicated changes were made that allowed these known threats to sneak past our defenses.

In the case of the of the Ft Hood Massacre, ongoing terrorist task force investigations into Major Hasan were mysteriously shut down around the time a 3rd FIS Court request would be needed by the FBI to ascertain if the man was a threat to America. In the end the administration used some lame excuse to not continue to monitor Hasan – and he went on to kill 13 people and injure 30 more.

In the case of the Christmas Day Bomber on Flight 253, the administration was unable to connect a large number of visible dots, as if some new barrier had been erected that did not allow information to come together so the threat could be detected.

I knew these failures had to do with policies pushed by Holder, Brennan and Obama. All are on record opposing the hair trigger concerns of the Bush administration when alarms went off in the NSA. Their consistent claim was we could protect our nation and our civil liberties – as if we have a false choice between the right to privacy or right to life – and life loses!

But I could not put my finger on what exactly changed, until I went back to an August 2009 speech by the civi liberty ideologue who is pretending to be the President’s national terrorism advisor – John Brennan (H/T Daniel Pipes via Powerline). Last summer Team Obama was putting the final touches on their new and improved strategy to supposedly keep America safe. Including a lame national security plan that put Global Warming right up there with al Qaeda. Brennan was out touting these changes, with no clue about the disasters that were building – disasters they had just taken their eyes off of.

In reading Brennan’s speech the pieces fell into place. Daniel Pipes and other could not understand one segment of the speech, and it reminded me of some other strange word choices by this administration in the aftermath of the Ft Hood Massacre and Christmas Day Bomber. Pipes could not understand the distinction between terrorists and extremists:

And so, as he [President Obama] has said on many occasions, he rejects the false choice between ensuring our national security and upholding civil liberties.

The United States of America has done both for centuries and must do so again. As we move ahead, the president feels strongly that we maintain a robust dialogue with the American people, indeed, with the world, about the full range of our efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. With that in mind, I want to sketch out how the president sees this challenge and how the president is confronting it.

And I want to distinguish between two related, but very distinct challenges: the immediate, near-term challenge of destroying al-Qaida and its allies, those who are willing and ready to kill innocent civilians and the longer-term challenge of confronting violent extremism generally.

Emphasis mine. Notice that the Obama administration has classified the threat (and therefore the responses to the threat) into two categories. First is al Qaeda and known allies. This is the known and established threat. These are the people the intelligence community has high confidence and supporting evidence as being in the al Qaeda camp.

But note the second category, the amorphous ‘violent extremists’, which assumes an even lesser ‘extremists’ category as well. These would be people not yet in the ‘confirmed al Qaeda and allies’ camp. These are people like radical cleric al-Aulaqi who is connected to both recent incidents and is a vocal supporter of al Qaeda. But he had not been proven to be a more than a cheer leader around August of last year. He is especially complex given the fact he is an American citizen, supposedly covered by all the rights and protections of the US Constitution. He would be a classic ‘extremist’, with differing rules of engagement.

Let’s see how Brennan classifies the threats and the required national posture for each:

First, the immediate challenge: the persistent and evolving threat from al-Qaida and its allies.

President Obama is under no illusions about the imminence and severity of this threat. Indeed, he has repeatedly and forcefully challenged those who suggest that this threat has passed. To Americans who ask why our forces still fight and die in Afghanistan, he has made it clear that al-Qaida is actively plotting to attack us again and that he will not tolerate Afghanistan or any other country being a base for terrorists determined to kill Americans

As expected this group is give no mercy, no leeway, no benefit of the doubt. So, now what about this other category, the extremists?

At the same time, the president understands that military power, intelligence operations and law enforcement alone will never solve the second long-term challenge we face — the threat of violent extremism generally, including the political, economic and social factors that help put so many individuals on the path to violence. And here is where I believe President Obama is bringing a fundamentally new and more effective approach to the long-term obligation of safeguarding the American people.

It seems here this category of people are victims terrorists. These people are driven to kill I guess under some kind of rationale. They get different treatment:

This new approach has five key elements. First, and perhaps most significantly, the fight against terrorists and violent extremists has been returned to its right and proper place, no longer defining, indeed distorting, our entire national security and foreign policy, but rather serving as a vital part of those larger policies. President Obama has made it clear that the United States will not be defined simply by what we are against, but by what we are for — the opportunity, the liberties, prosperity and common aspirations we share with the rest of the world.

Indeed, it was telling that the president was actually criticized in certain quarters in this country for not using words like terror, terrorist and terrorism in that speech. This goes to the heart of this new approach. Why should a great and powerful nation like the United States allow its relationship with more than a billion Muslims around the world be defined by the narrow hatred and nihilistic actions of an exceptionally small minority of Muslims?

Woah! This is a very different posture. It hints at a much higher standard of probable cause. It seems to imply there will be a different standard for dealing with leads that are connected to less established international characters. Being tied to firebrand Islam is not enough to trigger concern. Fresh faces (like Hasan and Abdulmutallab) will not be automatically suspect.

And in fact Brennan goes on to confirm ‘extremists’ is not just a new catch phrase, but a new definition inside the intelligence community which dictates different rules of engagement:

This leads directly to the second element of the president’s approach — a clear, more precise definition of the challenge. This is critically important. How you define a problem shapes how you address it.

Finally, as I described, we will harness our greatest asset of all — the power of America’s moral example. Even as we aggressively pursue terrorists and extremists, we will uphold the values of justice, liberty, dignity and rule of law that make people want to work with us and other governments want to partner with us. Taken together, the policies and priorities I’ve described constitute the contours of a new strategic approach — a new way of seeing this challenge and a new way of confronting it in a more comprehensive manner.

It became clear to me as I read this speech, aimed more to the inside of the intelligence community than to the public, we are seeing the outlines of the grand trade off, the deal. Obama promised more diplomacy and money and feel good programs in return for relaxing how we respond to ‘extremists’, which are clearly NOT the same as terrorists or al Qaeda.

The light bulb clicked on! The new guidelines for ‘extremists’ is why team Obama kept calling Hasan and Abdulmutallab ‘extremists’ and not ‘terrorists’ after the incidents. To admit they had binned these threats in the wrong threat pool, and thereby ignored the warning signs as directed by guidelines for ‘extremists’, they would be admitting the dirty little secret. Obama has to LEGALLY call these people extremists because that is what they defined them in the rules of engagement. To call them terrorists imposed different rules.

While this is mostly speculation and conjecture, I still maintain Hasan and Abdulmutallab were ‘missed’ because of policies enacted by team Obama that changed the urgency of our response to certain intelligence leads. Changes Brennan is on record advocating and apparently confirming in this speech.

If an NSA lead points back to a proven al Qaeda entity then things proceeded as under Bush. But if the lead led to someone in the gray area (like Hasan and Abdumutallab), then the urgency was dialed way down – per the new guidelines.

I would suspect there has been an update to the rules of engagement and surveillance that treat known terrorists different from ‘extremists’ – which means as long as AQ engages new recruits they will operate under the radar screen of this distracted and confused administration. And I would suspect there is a paper trail of these new rules all over the intelligence community, department of justice, FIS Court and elsewhere.

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “I Think I Discovered How Team Obama Missed The Ft Hood Massacre And Christmas Bomber”

  1. kathie says:

    I agree AJ….this is also why they were handled by the FBI and not the CIA and were read their rights instead of turned over to the military, not enemy combatants.

  2. AJStrata says:

    Kathie,

    Yep. But the smoking gun is going to be the rules of engagement for ‘extremists’ vs. ‘terrorists’. If you don’t fully vet an extremist up front and early, you will not know they were actually a terrorist until too late.

    And if that is proven to be what happened, I tell you impeachment is not a far fetched idea. Americans were put in harms way, this is not a Lewinski.

  3. TomAnon says:

    Excellent analysis. This fits real nicely with the assertion from many in the Obama Administration that maintained we (USA) created terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere by our action. In other words it was the Bush Admin and its “illegal, unlawfull” practices that pushed extremists to become terrorists. It’s almost like one has to commit an act of violence before they become a terrorist. As we all know many of the administrations advisers where labled extremists at one time, some where even violent, (Ayers) though in their minds it was justifiable violence. They are almost playing out their own deep resentment to government intrusion into their lives by proxy to Islamic Extremists.

    Wonder how many Extermists got through the new filter.

  4. Inquiringmind says:

    What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
    By any other name would smell as sweet

    (Same with a terrorist, except for the sweet part)

    Perhaps Shakespeare is no longer taught at Columbia or Harvard.

    I enjoy your excellent blog.

  5. BarbaraS says:

    Extremism as defined by Obama and Holder is a cloudy issue. What groups do they exempt from this category? I wonder if in their ideological minds the right could come under that tag. Obama is pretty much following the steps Chavez took in socialising Venezuela.

    Also, the first step in marxism is to eliminate your enemies. Perhaps the report Napalitano put out about rightist extemists was a trifle premature but put in place for the future.

    I am amazed daily at Obama’s gall. He acts like a dictator in waiting. I don’t think he understands really how America works. He only understands how he wants it to work.

    Obama is long past basis for impeachment but with the congress we have now that is not possible. Congress is in the tank for him. Witness how they are jeopardizing their own futures to further his and his marxist philosophy.

  6. [...] The Strata-Sphere – I Think I Discovered How Team Obama Missed The Ft Hood Massacre And Christmas Bomber [...]

  7. AJStrata says:

    Inquiringmind,

    Thanks much for the compliment. Your comments will no longer require moderation unless you include 2+ links are happen to trip over the few key words which trigger the spam filter.

  8. Redteam says:

    I believe your analysis is dead on. Unfortunately the world is not as Obama perceives it. I hope he figures that out soon, (but not in time to get re-elected)

  9. crosspatch says:

    I dunno, this has the scent of Jamie Gorelick (“Mistress of Disaster”) all over it. She was an instrumental member of Obama’s transition team and was considered for US Attorney General.

    My guess is a lot of what has gone on as far as information sharing (or the lack thereof) has her fingerprints on it.

  10. crosspatch says:

    Here is an article that describes some of what she did that allowed 9/11 to happen.

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2008/09/jamie-gorelick-mistress-of-disaster.html

    She was also caught with her hand in the cookie jar at one of the government mortgage guarantee agencies.

  11. [...] is something rotten in the state of Obama, and AJ Strata thinks he knows what it is; a change in the rules of engagement and surveillance methods that loosened scrutiny of what the [...]

  12. WWS says:

    Here’s another obvious way that they missed the Christmas Day Bomber and the Ft. Hood Murderer: they were spending all their time and effort on the people THEY thought were the true threat.

    http://www.lifenews.com/state4796.html

    “Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — The Department of Homeland Security admitted today that it improperly conducted a threat assessment on pro-life and pro-abortion groups in Wisconsin. The assessment came before an expected rally last year in response to the University of Wisconsin Hospital board decided to allow abortions.”

    A few months later in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights concluded the investigation was an improper use of department resources.

    The conclusion said the department inappropriately directed against activities protected by the First Amendment, in which law enforcement inappropriately engaged in “the collection, retention and dissemination of U.S. person information regarding protest groups which posed no threat to homeland security and… violated [DHS] Guidelines.”

    (end quote)

    Imagine if even half that much effort had been spent looking into Major Hasan.

    Team Obama sent all its forces after it’s political enemies, and forgot all about the real ones.

  13. AJ,

    I think your speculation is spot on, as far as it goes.

    It just does not go far enough.

    American Leftie speak uses the term “Extremist” on domestic political opponents who are practicing Catholic or Evangelical Christians, are Pro-Life or Pro-gun, support Limited Federal Government, are believers in American Exceptional-ism, are Anti-Gay Marriage etc. etc. etc.

    In short, anyone who isn’t a Doctrinaire Leftie.

    Doctrinaire Lefties also accuse their opponents of exactly what they would do when they get in power.

    Given your idea plus the above Doctrinaire Leftie definitions and motivations, you would expect Homeland Security to be publishing lists of domestic political opponents who fit the above descriptions and then begin spying on them as a part of a domestic surveillance state.

    A domestic surveillance state where Leftie controlled local cops call Leftie controlled Homeland Security officials to spy on Non-Leftie domestic political opponents.

    Now see:

    http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/02/08/homeland-security-admits-improperly-assessing-threat-of-wisconsin-abortion-activists-17741/

    “The report was compiled prior to a February 2009 meeting in Middleton by the University of Wisconsin Hospital board to decide whether to open a clinic that would offer late-term abortions.

    The analyst who compiled the report — the agency’s representative to Wisconsin’s intelligence center — received improper guidance that he could perform the assessment “to support local police and public safety efforts,” according to the memo. The analyst was given remedial training and department lawyers counseled supervisors who were involved, it said.

    The memo was made public as part of a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was seeking reports from an intelligence oversight panel. After The New York Times reported on its contents in December, a lawyer representing anti-abortion activists who attended the rally asked Middleton police to release a copy of the assessment under Wisconsin’s open records law.

    In the department’s Feb. 4 response, Capt. Noel Kakuske confirmed the department kept a copy of the report but declined to release it. He said the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which runs the intelligence center, and the Department of Homeland Security agreed the report should be withheld because it contains sensitive law enforcement information.

    “Disclosure would result in the identification and public disclosure of individuals affiliated with groups on both sides of the issue, which would place them in danger from opposing radical extremists,” he wrote.”

    Two things pop out here.

    First, Homeland Security was so concerned about peaceful Pro-Life protesters — who had no history of violence — that they “bent the rules” to violate their civil rights to make sure this Wisconsin Abortion clinic was opened.

    Too the point where they are now hiding documents to maintain in-place domestic surveillance of peaceful Americans lawfully practicing their first amendment rights (A Nixon Offense).

    Second, the Obama Administration did not do the same things for either “Muslim Extremists” like Major Hasan and the Underwear bomber.

    This means that not only are there “Extremist” rules of engagement (ROE) in Homeland Security different from Terrorist ROE. There is a sub-category of “Muslim Extremist” that is given less domestic intelligence surveillance priority than “Extremists” political opponents by the Obama Administration.

    A word to the wise, AJ…you don’t qualify as a Doctrinaire Leftie.

  14. pjo says:

    You need to remember that in a Lefties mind one man’s terrorist/extremist is another man’s freedom fighter. Just go ask Mr. Moore.

  15. Was Obama Admin Responsible for Fort Hood Massacre?…

    And by “responsible” I don’t mean the-buck-stops-here vague type of claim of responsibility. By it I mean, did the Obama administration do something different than the Bush Administration that led to investigative errors which cascaded and eventuall…

  16. aerawls says:

    AJ’s analysis certainly makes sense of the administrations’ in-itself highly impolitic refusal to recognize Hasan as a terrorist. That’s almost a clincher. Why would they hurt themselves that way if not to navigate the technical and legal distinctions they were operating under?

    I’m also with Trent in thinking that the first category of “extremists” is to target domestic political opposition, while Muslims are to explicitly get the carrots-instead-of-sticks approach that Brennan lays out. There is that Stratfor report that intelligence agencies were explicitly instructed to lay off of black Muslim converts (leading, very possibly, to the success of the Black Muslim attack on the Little Rock recruiting station), and there is the State Department employee’s admission that they were instructed to avoid the appearance of profiling Muslims (which is an instruction to reverse profile, raising the bar for scrutiny of Muslims above the bar for other people).

  17. [...] As I noted in this post, there are statements and evidence galore that Holder and John Brennan, under the direction of our ideological and inexperienced young president, let our guard down to prove Bush was wrong about his hair trigger response to terrorist threats. And in so doing allowed the Ft Hood Massacre and Christmas Day Bombing attempts to reach their desired targets. In the latter case it was the pure luck of a fumbled detonation that avoided mass murder in the skies over Detroit. [...]

  18. [...] In a previous post on the matter I detected indications that President Obama, Attorney General Holder and Terrorism advisor John Brennan had fulfilled their long held desires to dial back this nation’s response to potential threats. Each has a long record of opposing the Bush administration changes to the FIS Court and NSA relationship post 9-11. Changes which finally allowed the NSA to communicate (and other intelligence entities) to communicate to the FBI and Department of Justice leads on possible threats detected outside of FIS Court authorized surveillance. [...]

  19. [...] and adjust their attack plans. We may have seen it in the Ft Hood Massacre as the administration prematurely closed up terrorist investigations into the killer Major Nidal Hasan as he conversed with a radical, American-born cleric in Yemen. [...]

  20. [...] class of threat, the lone wolf, who they could apply new, less reactionary rules to. This is how, in my opinion,  Abdulmutallab’s actions and connections to known terrorist sympathizers slipped by our [...]