Jul 08 2007
The news out today regarding the foiled UK car bomb plot is at least one of the suspects was in communication with al-Qaeda In Iraq only months prior to the execution of the attack:
Scotland Yardâ€™s Counter Terrorism Command SO15 is understood to have uncovered evidence that in the months leading up to the attacks one or more of the suspects communicated by telephone or e-mail with terrorist leaders in Iraq.
The development has fuelled a theory that the failed attacks in London and Glasgow were designed as a farewell to Tony Blair to punish him for his role in Iraq. Details of the Al-Qaeda role in the three failed car bombings are expected to emerge over the next few days.
The development suggests that intelligence received by MI5 earlier this year about a possible Al-Qaeda attack to mark Blairâ€™s departure was accurate. A report in April by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) warned that a senior Iraqi Al-Qaeda commander had outlined details of a big attack on Britain.
This is why what the NSA does, and the changes Bush made to our monitoring program to track down leads when terrorist communicate with people in the US, is so important. Note how a lot of independent data needs to not only be sifted out of thousands of communications each day, it needs to matched to information that may have been pulled out months or years ago. The job of ‘connecting the dots’ is hard enough without the far left fainting and wailing at fantasized attacks on civil liberties.
The fact is we need to know when known terrorists talk to people in the West because this is what is possibly the purpose of the communication (either that or a feint or misdirection effort). Prior to 9-11, in the US, if such information as this was intercepted it would have been thrown out because of overly conservative policies (not laws) regarding threats from inside our country. After 9-11 Bush forced the FIS Court to accept probable cause petitions based on the leads the NSA picked up once they were vetted by the FBI. THAT is the big change in the NSA’s role in national security – we now pay attention when terrorists call their buddies in our country. How many of these kinds of attacks has the US foiled because we now take the risk to American lives seriously? Who knows, but thankfully we do.