Monday, January 04, 2010

Political correctness at odds with America's anti-terrorism policy

FACT: Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged Christmas Day UNDERWEAR BOY terrorist had been in the U.S. government's many terror databases for over a year. The CIA has been aware of him for months.

FACT: Umar's father in November told the US embassy officials in Nigeria about visits to Yemen where his spiritual leader Imam Anwar al-Aulaqi and military leader al-Shihri (Released GITMO detainee No. 372) reside.

FACT: The U.S. government (NSA electronic intercepts) had intelligence from Yemen in September 2009, that leaders of a branch of Al Qaeda there were talking about "a Nigerian" being prepared for a terrorist attack.

FACT: Umar got on the Northwest plane and attempted to blow it up.

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Is anyone else as disappointed as I am with what they read about the man who tried to blow up an airplane in Detroit with all of those innocent passengers aboard?

This man’s name was in a database of people with suspicion of ties to terrorists, but he wasn’t on the no-fly list. Why don’t security officials give people such as him close scrutiny, including cavity searches? Why are there people who would still regard this as profiling? This is merely common sense.

A farmer would be more worried about a fox snooping around his henhouse than a rabbit. How often does a rabbit scare the chickens?

And when I read that the man is a “suspect,” I consider that a poor choice of words. This guy is a downright criminal, caught in the act. Let’s drop this courtesy of using words like suspect; he is a terrorist in the strict sense of the word.

Many of us who read the newspaper made flights over the holidays, and all of us would feel safer knowing that the Homeland Security Department is going to be diligent in screening these crazies, even if some shortsighted people refer to it as profiling.

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Democrat Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said that when the government gets tipped to trouble as it did before a 23-year-old Nigerian man boarded the Northwest Airlines jet with explosives, "someone's hair should be on fire."

Few questioned that judgment, even if some Democrats rendered it in more measured tones.

Obama received a preliminary assessment ahead of meetings he will hold in Washington next week on fixing the failures of the nation's anti-terrorism policy. Administration officials said the system to protect the nation's skies from terrorists was deeply flawed and, even then, the government failed to follow its own directives.

Obama spoke separately with counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who announced she was dispatching senior department officials to international airports to review their security procedures.

Despite billions of dollars spent to sharpen America's eye on dangerous malcontents abroad and at home, the creation of an intelligence-information overseer and countless declarations of intentions to cooperate, it was already clear that the country's national security fiefdoms were still not operating in harmony before the attempted bombing Dec. 25.

The preliminary assessment is part of a continuing, urgent examination that officials said Thursday is highlighting signals that should not have been missed. One likely outcome, they said, was new requirements within the government to review a suspicious person's visa status.

Officials are tracing a communications breakdown that would have had grave consequences except for the attacker's fumbling failure to detonate an explosion and the quick response of others on the flight. Now Obama, like George W. Bush before him, is struggling to get the nation's disparate intelligence and security agencies on the same page.

"The president was direct in his assessment that intelligence failures were a contributing factor in the escalation of this threat," Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair wrote to employees. "This is a tough message for us to receive. But we have received it, and now we must move forward and respond as a team."

An anxious father's pointed warning that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to destroy the Northwest plane, had drifted into extremism in Yemen, an al-Qaida hotbed, was only partially digested by the U.S. security apparatus and not linked with a visa history showing the young man could fly to the U.S.

Other clues were missed too, such as conversations between the suspect and at least one al-Qaida member that U.S. authorities are studying now. The form of the conversations, whether written or by phone, has not been disclosed and it is not known whether U.S. officials intercepted them before the attack or found them later.

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

The fact that the Obama "Administration" had launched a demoralizing attack on its own intelligence services is a factor which will emerge as instrumental in this debacle.

The travelling public is sure going to be sleeping much better tonight, knowing Obama has "ordered a review" and that Napolitano remains secure in her job.

What a bunch.

Anon.