May 23 2010

Liberal Zealots Took Control Of America’s National Security Before Obama’s Inauguration

Updates At The End

One thing that has bothered me throughout the recent incidents of terrorism inside the United States on President Obama’s watch is why more people are not raising alarm bells on how dysfunctional our national security has become? Where are those dedicated souls whose primary goal in life is protecting this nation from harm?

I have documented a timeline of screw ups and missteps inside the Obama administration as it attempted to dial back our nation’s sensitivity to potential terrorist attacks. Basically, in the early months of 2009, the liberals inside the Obama administration created excuses NOT to investigate terrorist leads. All of this was tied to the issue of GITMO and detaining enemy combatants vs. mirandizing terrorists.

We have seen the result of these 2009 discussions as AG Holder mirandized the terrorists involved with the Ft Hood Massacre, the nearly successful Christmas Day Bombing over the skies of Detroit and the bungled Times Square bombing. Since October we have seen 1 successful attack and two near misses (which only failed due to incompetence by the terrorists and quick thinking by nearby civilians), yet still the Obama administration refuses to admit it is using the wrong policies for the threats we face. And then there is this deathly silence inside the national security organizations (or a news media muzzle).

When dealing with terrorists you have to have an overarching coherent (if not suicidal) policy. Therefore what is determined for enemy combatants impacts surveillance efforts. If people of suspicion are not enemies of war to be detained, they become simple criminals with a higher level of protection of their rights. Protection which is implemented by higher requirements for determining probable cause. How we as a nation legally react is dictated by the environment and conditions surrounding the incidents.

In war time we have a hair trigger on threats, and we are fast and brutal in our response, a response usually determined on the battlefield in real time (its war after all). In tense and dangerous times (or situations) we have a hair trigger to threats, but we are careful to focus our preemptive strike to the source of the threat and allow for some deliberation and checks. In peace time we are slow and deliberate, assuming little threat to our nation, giving all sorts of time and benefit of the doubt to the accused. These are the legal cadences we have established and operated under for two centuries. They are mutually exclusive and were not meant to be mixed (e.g., we did not Mirandize Hiroshima).

What Holder, Obama and others are attempting to do is use the wrong response (peace time deliberation) on the battlefield and as a replacement to preemptive actions on major threats. It is  their total ignorance of why we have these escalating responses – which of course is to protect this nation and its people – which entices them to make boneheaded decisions they make.

Last year, as I noted in the post above, Team Obama began to restrict when we would use our hair triggers and when we would use the slow due process of the courts:

With the president’s directions in hand, Mr. Obama’s Justice Department came back on March 13, 2009, with a more modest position than Mr. Bush had advanced. It told Judge Bates that the president could detain without trial only people who were part of Al Qaeda or its affiliates, or their “substantial” supporters.

There was broad agreement that the law of armed conflict allowed the United States to detain as wartime prisoners anyone who was actually a part of Al Qaeda, as well as nonmembers who took positions alongside the enemy force and helped it. But some criticized the notion that the United States could also consider mere supporters, arrested far away, to be just as detainable without trial as enemy fighters.

What this meant was lots of marginally or distantly related allies could not be determined to be enemy combatants – there protections went up and our risk went up. That was especially true for American traitors like Anwar al Aulaqi, who is tied to all three attacks since last October. To act preemptively meant the government had to have already proven the suspect was a terrorist – which was impossible in the cases of Hasan, Abdulmutallab and Shahzad.

This insane determination actually lines up well with pre-election comments by Holder, and especially by Obama’s terrorism advisor John Brennan:

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. It’s like a magnet, set to a certain calibration. That’s what I think we need to go to.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the threshold, quite frankly, was low, because we didn’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 that’s going to hurt us again. Now that a number of years have passed, we need to make sure the calibration is important.

The wording is classic bureaucrat babbling, but it has a meaning. It meant Brennan, Holder and Obama concluded they knew enough about the threat to adjust our early warning network to be much less sensitive and intrusive on suspects. They were arrogantly wrong. Their changes introduced openings that al Qaeda and its allies exploited with surreal success.

Which brings me to the recent Senate Intelligence Committee Report that outlined 14 screw ups made on President Obama’s watch in light of the three terrorist attacks. To assess this kind of report one really has to understand how federal reports and proclamations are created. This aids in seeing the wispy hidden context bureaucrats are loathe to clearly state on the record. Bureaucrats hate to point fingers too much, because they all know they live in glass houses. It is like a den of thieves and their code of honor – never to turn on one of their own.

Each of the 14 conclusions in the report has a hidden context,  a context not obvious to someone outside the government but completely visible to those who wrote the report. Which means the shape and form of the context are there for trained eyes to detect. I believe I can tease out some of this context (with unknown accuracy and precision).

So let’s look at what the report says in some key areas. Let’s begin with one of the conclusions made up front (top of page 3 – click to enlarge):

What the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence determined was the dots were there in the system. Some of these attacks were preventable. That is important because now what we need to understand is what barriers were stopping the connecting of dots. Was it policy and politics?

One of the the top findings in the senate report was the idea elements of the intelligence community should have put Christmas Day Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on the No Fly Lists. Here is that finding (click to enlarge):

But this finding is completely at odds with the testimony of the IC community, specifically the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC):

  • Before the September 11 terrorist attacks, intelligence databases and watchlisting systems were badly disjointed. They were neither interoperable nor broadly accessible and, as a result, two of the hijackers – although known to parts of the U.S. Government in late-1999, were not watchlisted until late-August 2001.
  • To fix that systemic problem, the U.S. Government implemented Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6) in the Fall of 2003. Under the construct of HSPD-6, all collectors would provide information on known and suspected terrorists (except purely domestic terrorists) to NCTC which maintains a TOP SECRET database called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). Every night a FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY extract of TIDE is provided to the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) to support all U.S. Government screening operations.
    • The determination of what information is passed from TIDE to the TSC is governed by the “reasonable suspicion” standard which describes the minimum derogatory information for inclusion on the consolidated watchlist.
    • That criteria, approved by the Deputies Committee in the Fall of 2008, notes that “individuals described as militants, extremists, jihadists, etc should not be nominated without particularized derogatory information.”
    • The implementing instructions further state “those who only associate with known or suspected terrorists, but have done nothing to support terrorism” are ineligible for the No Fly List (NFL) or Selectee List (SL).

Based on this Abdulmutallab could not be on the list until after he committed and act of terrorism. What we see in the NCTC testimony is a very clear statement of what changed – and when – between the Bush administration and the Obama administration. What is obvious here is that, as it became clear Obama would win (and Bush was out in any case), the liberals inside the national security organizations (of which Brennan is a close brethren) began making the changes Brennan and Obama clearly indicated they would accept and support. These first changes were agreed to in the Fall of 2008!

It was no longer sufficient to be a known as or be a self proclaimed “militants, extremists, jihadists, etc“. There had to be some other evidence. Worse yet, “those who only associate with known or suspected terrorists, but have done nothing to support terrorism” (YET!) were not allowed to be put on the the more serious watch lists.

Now I understand the dead silence and the apparent circling of the wagons in the Intelligence Community. These people colluded with team Obama to dismantle our defenses, and were so excited by the idea they began doing the dismantling before Obama took his oath of office.

It is no secret factions inside the national security organizations were at war with the Bush administration. From Joe Wilson’s lame attempt to use his wife’s knowledge of forged Nigerian documents to create the false claim President Bush concocted intelligence to support the Iraq war, to the traitors who outed the changes to NSA and FISA to the NY Times, incorrectly claiming Bush was bypassing FISA (when in fact he forced FISA to accept NSA leads as legal probable cause) the war has waged. All through Bush’s presidency there was a radical element inside the national security and intelligence community who tried to influence elections and scar President Bush. Sadly there are plenty of useful idiots in the country we were glad to be play the naive puppets.

But what is now abundantly clear is that this same community of liberal zealots changed our national security posture – changes supported by President Obama, AG Holder and advisor Brennan. The one person on the inside who did not support these changes has now been fired by Obama.

I will have further posts on the SSCI report given this new perspective, but let’s be clear. The liberals zealots in the intelligence community are in cahoots with the liberals in Congress and the White House, and they all have taken actions which led to the deaths of many Americans and the near deaths of hundreds of others.

They have put this nation at risk, and there needs to be an investigation to make sure zealots can never risk American lives again without being responsible for their idiotic actions.

Update: In a related story, no one wants to lead the dysfunctional intelligence community, which is no surprise. Who would want to take the blame for all the future results that will hit us because of all these past mistakes?

Update: Rep Pete Hoekstra sees it the same way I do – a lone voice in the wilderness:

“Right now, the Obama administration’s national security apparatus is broken, dysfunctional and in disarray,” Hoekstra said.  “Dennis Blair was the one person you could count on for rationality among Holder, Napolitano and Brennan—and he’s the one the president let go.”

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Liberal Zealots Took Control Of America’s National Security Before Obama’s Inauguration”

  1. colin says:

    AJ,

    That criteria may have been approved by the Deputies Committee in the fall of 2008, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that people with TIDE records were not being routinely watchlisted before that. This was more a codification of existing practice.

    Now, what may have changed in the 2008-2009 period was that analysts and managers decided not to take the initiative and do the extra research necessary when a TIDE match came up in a report, alerting federal partners, along with state and locals, of this presence in their area, in order to to additional intelligence investigation to see what, exactly, was going on.

    NCTC should have investigated the hell out of Abdulmutallab as soon as his name came up. The should have put together a file on him, and should have known when he booked a ticket to the US. TSA has the authority to “emergency” watchlist someone when called for, and all of the derogatory information was present for such an action. Only, no one asked for that to happen. No one was paying attention.

    Pre-conceived notions kicked the crap out of us in the Abdulmutallab case. No one was paying attention to any active threats to the homeland, only to threats overseas. The intelligence world is supposed to be a hotbead of paranoia, not complacency. A paranoid intelligence officer will always be looking for threats. This leads to a heightened sense of awareness. Now, not all that many have this sense. Most are bureaucrats, obsessed with process, and wallowing in a sense of complacency. They set the tone for the Intelligence Community. It’s the “paranoids,” those who defy conventional wisdom, that develop the theories and the suspicions that lead to major intelligence coups.

  2. colin says:

    P.S.

    I completely agree with you about liberal zealots in congress and the administration putting this nation at risk.

  3. AJStrata says:

    Colin,

    I appreciate the perspective, but what does it take to get noticed? Does it a take a combination of “jihadist” + “militant” + “terrorist ties” before the threat is taken seriously? Codifying the lack of concern in 2008 that had built up as the IC realized Bush was no longer hanging over them is still a data point.

    I can connect dots too, and right now the dots appear to be liberals out of control inside our government. Complacency or idiocy – a fine line sometimes. Not this time.

  4. kathie says:

    There are more then South Americans walking across the Southern border. There are Chinese, Yemeni’s, Syrian’s, Iranian’s and many others that would do us harm and are at war with us. Obama and his justice department might want to treat these killers as common criminals and he is, but one bomb, one downed aircraft, and his game of I’m better, smarter, more thoughtful then Bush, will be over.

  5. crosspatch says:

    I am long past complaining about these idiots. November is the only thing that matters at this point. We need to purge our government of these rats at all levels.

  6. [...] The Strata-Sphere – Liberal Zealots Took Control Of America’s National Security Before Obama’s Inauguration [...]

  7. WWS says:

    I have been arguing in several places that this bunch is the most incompetent groups of fools to ever disgrace their offices, but I am starting to come around to the view that they are intentionally and systematically doing everything they can to destroy this country while they can.

    Even idiots couldn’t cause this much destruction. The scary part is that we’re just starting down that long descent into chaos – we got a long, long ways to fall before we hit bottom.

  8. crosspatch says:

    You know, maybe a 4 year term is too long in this modern age. Rather than serving 2 4-year terms, maybe a President should serve a maximum of 4 2-year terms. With modern technology a person can screw up in seconds what used to take months to mess up.

  9. Redteam says:

    WWS, you are correct sir…

    I knew before Obama was elected, what his plan was. He is no surprise at all. The surprise is that America doesn’t seem to care that the whole core is being systematically destroyed. We don’t have long to plug the leaks and save the ship but we certainly can start in November.

  10. lurker9876 says:

    Redteam, me too. I vetted Obama and wrote my findings but many refused to believe the details and truth about Obama. Instead they were more interested in Sarah Palin being vetted and they WANT to believe and hype the bad stuff about her.

    What’s worse is even today, they still refuse the numbers and still believe in him.

    His poll numbers should be lower than it has been in the last few months.

    And even some of the Republicans, like Ron Paul, refuse to call Obama a socialist, Marxist, or communist, or whatever.

    I don’t know if these Obama supporters will have regret their votes even after the Bush taxes expire, they pay more taxes, etc. After all, they have stated in the past that they have no problems paying more taxes.

    I had even one Obama supporter bragging to me that his wife couldn’t find a job under Bush but found one once Obama got inaugurated and that they are making more money under Obama than they ever did under Bush. (Truth? He took up a second j to make repairs after natural disasters, such as Ike, Rita, and nasty hail storms that take place in central taxes.)

    Then we have people like Barney Frank that continues to deny their involvement in bringing our own country down.

    crosspatch, I am finding that people are simply waiting for November, especially after learning that their tea party rallies have made no difference to Obama and his Democrats. They seem to be doing things in the background.

    Oh! Those new Texas history books? Now Bill White is making this part of his campaign…to reverse all that was added to these books. Good!

  11. WWS says:

    The one man who got it more right than anyone else was when Rush Limbaugh said “I Hope he Fails.”

    He knew then, as we all know now, that Obama’s only true and lasting goal was the destruction of the USA.

    I hope he fails – and I hope it’s not too late for us.

  12. kathie says:

    What did the American people think when Obama said, “I will fundamentally change America”. “FUNDAMENTAL”, did any body think about what that could mean…….look who Obama hung out with.

  13. KauaiBoy says:

    What troubles me most is the underreported foreign influence in our government. Who really cares if the government is listening in on overseas calls—foreigners who don’t want to be detected; who supplies the cash for these guys to run compaigns and don’t want finance reform (Soros and Co are foreign) and lastly what does that I in SEIU stand for (hint: it isn’t America). Whether it is counterterrorism or border security, real Americans are willing to sacrifice for safety. Bobo and Co have no ability to think in terms of how Americans think because they are basically not Americans in spirit or belief.

  14. owl says:

    There was nothing to stop them from taking it all over that fall. Great dot connection, AJ.

    Everyone should be shouting November, crossp. That’s the deadline to do much good. I kept saying ‘scary’ over and over before they all took power but they have made my ‘scary’ look puny.

    Forget Obama and pull his teeth. It has to be November. We must vote Nov and eject every liberal from office, even if it’s your mama. Then those suckers better be prepared to stand up like Palin, Brewer, Inhofe, Hoekstra, Christie and even Dale Peterson.

  15. WWS says:

    btw, how do you like the fact that not only is Blumenthal still in the Connecticut race, he’s still in the lead?

    I told you ALL liberals are lying, scum sucking weasels who hate this country and who HATE the military.

    Blumenthal is the perfect spokesman for them. Which is why they’re going to elect him.

  16. cj_thespook says:

    WOW! Outstanding analyst AJ! I have made a similar case in my intelligence and terrorism classes. Obama’s intent is a one world order. He wants a globalization of our military. No longer would we have a US military persay, but a Global military who is the overseer of all disputes and incursions. He doesn’t believe in one nation dominance as he has stated multiple times. In his recent speech to West Point he states, “Bush’s “my way or the highway” approach alienated some allies and damaged U.S. standing around the world. Obama has promised to restore America’s reputation, and he said Saturday that he aimed to do that by forging new alliances, maintaining old ones and helping to shape stronger international standards and institutions.” Let’s see, he has kissed the ass of our enemies, bowed to dictators and people who want to see the US fail. He treats our allies as enemies and our enemies as our new best friends. He believes he can negotiate with nonexistent elements of the Taliban and Hezbollah. Continues to believe he can use his charm on Iran who continually spits it back in his face. As he seeks a peaceful conclusion with the *moderate* elements of the Taliban, the Taliban including those so-called moderates attack US bases and kill US forces along with our true allies. Not to mention their convergence with terrorist and training by the Republican Guard. Iran’s kiss to Al Qaeda the- come-and- go-as-you-please invitation along with their constant training and meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan is a oh that’s nothing…move along nothing to see here folks. How many Iranian made IED’s have lamed and killed US forces? Our naive and dangerous president wants to say..well ok our bad..lets join hands, sing kumbaya and lets all be friends. The US imperialist started this war with their aggressive and meddling past behavior. His submissive attitude towards our still cold war enemy Russia is extremely dangerous. As he seeks to be *open and transparent* to our enemies he has announced how many nukes we have, and will now announce when the US launches ballistic missiles test and satellite launches.

    Here in another excerpt in the West Point speech he says, “So we have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation. We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by your side in Afghanistan and around the globe. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we also have to build new partnerships, and shape stronger international standards and institutions.

    This engagement is not an end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times — countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing wounds. If we are successful in these tasks, that will lessen conflicts around the world. It will be supportive of our efforts by our military to secure our country.” Don’t these comments make you want to scratch your head with a say what expression? All that I have learned thus far in Information Operations classes are wrong? The US does not seek to be a superpower? Well slap me dead and call me stupid, I want my money back. I’ve been misinformed! Which, by the way, makes me wonder what the grads were thinking as he arrogantly vomited these insane remarks. Obama announces instead of issuing guns, he will be arming our military with new peace nic armory. This new gun shoots invisible and secretive enzymes that cause an increased production of endorphins, which in return produces a euphoric and polymorphic reaction. (sarcasm off)

    The question to be answered is how much of his posturing has damaged national security? I do believe we are seeing the results as you so astutely have stated. I too feel he has put our nation in extremely, grave danger. As we witnessed NK firing on SK, Iran giving him the finger, Russia continuing to snub him and his request by aiding our enemies by selling them weapons, ignoring a new Syrian and Turkey threat, along with Lebanon’s transitioning to Islamic ruled state. In his leadership we have seen all the things mentioned above, along with the things you have mentioned, and many more that we haven’t. As an American and a future Intell analyst, I am afraid of the damage he is causing this nation and can it be undone? The IC has yet to fully recover from past congressional destruction as in the Church and Pike Commissions. As a result of this gutting, we were surprised when Pakistan and India test fired a nuclear weapon. I believe we are now revisiting that era. Stay tune and dig a bomb shelter.

  17. kathie says:

    “The New York Times” printed this, I’m not sure why. But the rest can be found at “Drudge”

    U.S. Expands Secret Military Acts in Mideast and Beyond
    By MARK MAZZETTI

    WASHINGTON — The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents.

    The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

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