Reference: WH CT Summary, POTUS Directive, DNI Blurb

08 Immigration, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, Analysis, Ethics, Government, Law Enforcement, Methods & Process, Military, Office of Management and Budget, Policy, Reform
White House Summary

EDIT of 9 Jan 10: Note seven comments from retired senior officers.

Critique of the CT Summary for the White House

This is a negligent piece of work that fails to include all that is known merely from open sources of information, but more importantly its judgments are misdirected.  This incident remains incompletely investigated until the person who video-taped events on the airplane comes forward and is identified.

Where we differ:

1. It was passengers who restrained the individual, not the flight crew, as is stated in the first paragraph.

1)  Does not identify the primary error.  The Embassy officer (or CIA officer) who interviewed the father did not elevate the matter.  The same kind of mistake occurred when the Taliban walked in and offered us Bin Laden in hand-cuffs.

2)  The absence of a machine-speed cross-walk among US and UK visa denials is noted, but the weakest link is overlooked.  The Department of State either didn’t check their visa files or, as has been remarked, may have failed to get a match because of misspelling.  The necessary software is missing. State continues to be the runt in the litter (we have more military musicians than we have diplomats) and until the President gets a grip on the Program 50 budget, State will remain a dead man walking.

3)  Another point glossed over: the intelligence community, and CIA in particular, did not increase analytic resources against the threat.  Reminds us of George Tenet “declaring war” on terrorism and then being ignored by mandarins who really run the place.

4)  “The watchlisting system is not broken” (page 2 bottom bold).  Of course it is broken, in any normal meaning of the word “system”.  John Brennan is responsible for the watchlisting mess, and this self-serving statement is evidence in favor of his removal.  If we are at war, we cannot have gerbils in critical positions (quoting Madeline Albright).

5)  “A reorganization of the intelligence or broader counterterrorism coummunity is not required…” at the bottom of page 2.  Reorganization, in the sense of moving around blocks on a chart, may not be required, but the entire system is broken and does need both principled redesign and new people the President can trust with the combination of balls and brains and budget authority to get it right.  Thirteen years after Aspin-Brown we still have not implemented most of their suggestions; the U.S. intelligence community is still grotesquely out of balance; and the Whole of Government budget is still radically misdirected at the same time that our policies in the Middle East are counterproductive.

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Journal: The Plot Thickens–Who Benefits?

John Brennan

Who Would Benefit Politically from a Terrorist Incident on American Soil? The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab

by Tom Burghardt    January 5, 2010

Despite some $40 billion dollars spent by the American people on airline security since 2001, allegedly to thwart attacks on the Heimat, the botched attempt by Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day was foiled, not by a bloated counterterrorist bureaucracy, but by the passengers themselves.

Talk about validating that old Wobbly slogan: Direct action gets the goods!

And yet, the closer one looks at the available evidence surrounding the strange case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the more sinister alleged “intelligence failures” become. As this story unfolds it is becoming abundantly clear that U.S. security officials had far more information on the would-be lap bomber than we've been told.

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Journal: Michael Scheuer Slams Brennan, Tenet, Berger on CNN


Michael F. Scheuer former chief of the Al Qaeda analytic station, just slammed John Brennan, George Tenet, and Sandy Berger on CNN (12:50 Eastern time).  He stated that among those who died in Afghanistan recently was the officer who devised a workable plan for eliminating Osama Bin Laden, a plan that was cancelled by Brennan, Tenet, and Burger, all saying we should leave the problem to Saudi Arabia.

Their reluctance is consistent with decades of policy forbidding unilateral clandestine operations within the territories of the despotic regimes that are consider our “best pals” in “higher ends” that favor the state over the people.

Brennan is best known for his mis-handling of the massive watchlist that still does not work; Tenet is best known for “slam dunk” fraud in support of Dick Cheney, and for declaring war on Bin Laden in a whisper; Berger is best known for leaving the Kurds hanging, a story told by Robert Baur in one of his books, and for stealing documents from the national archives.  He has not produced a book of note.

From where we sit, the honest case officers and analysts are finally being heard, and the “politicals” are finally being held accountable, even if only in isolated public denouncements, for their decades of dishonest intelligence management, dishonest mismanagement that continues today.

See also:

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