The Weekly Standard, DEC 29, 2010
In fact, the more we learn about what the plotters were up to, as well as the efforts to stop them, the more troubling the DNI’s ignorance becomes.
Three facts, in particular, have emerged that make this lapse inexcusable.
First, the State Department says the plotters had the U.S. embassy in London in their sites. On Monday, a Foggy Bottom spokesman confirmed that the embassy was on the plotters’ “targeting list.”
Second, according to the Guardian (UK), the alleged would-be terrorists were arrested “after several months of surveillance and monitoring by police and MI5 officers.”
Third, the UK press has reported that the plotters were, at the very least, inspired by the notorious al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki. … Awlaki is currently one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.
Phi Beta Iota: The DNI has been sand-bagged by three people and himself. Neither John Brennan (kitchen DNI at the White House), Leon Panetta (cheerleader for the CIA), or Michael E. Leiter (lawyer fronting the National Counterterrorism Center) appear to have any direct interest in seeing Jim Clapper succeed. Unfortunately, Jim Clapper has also sand-bagged himself by accepting “business as usual” and contenting himself with improvements on the margins–doing the wrong things righter. There is not a single piece of the US secret world that is working the way it should, in part because the entire mess lacks the legitimacy derived from relevance, and in part because the one thing Jim Clapper could have done on his own authority–the creation of an Open Source Center and an embedded Multinational Decision Support Centre–he has not done. Since the obvious needs to be spelled out, here are the two reasons why the OSC/MDSC are essential: 1) to begin providing the 96% of the decision-support not now provided to everyone including the President but explicitly not provided by classified to anyone below the President including policy, acquisition, and operations action officers; and b) to create the baseline for evaluating the Return on Investment (RoI) for the mis-begotten pieces of the secret world that are not, by any stretch of the imagination, worth the $90 billion a year they are costing us now. If there were one person among the seniors actually capable of making a difference, it should have been Jim Clapper. Happy New Year…