Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bombing suspect had no coat, luggage

What's funny is, this congressional committee is hearing the story of a massive failure of a perceivably inept intelligence and security apparatus, with no consideration given to the possibility that it was allowed to happen, or that government - ours, theirs, whoever's - was an accessory. Not one word spoken about the bare minimum - that this attack was known nd was allowed to happen. No, this was benign negligence, an intelligence failure, one we must figure out a way to fix.

Take the initial facts: Not only was he already on a terror watch list, in no small part because his own father went to the CIA and told them he might be a terrorist, he has no jacket - in the middle of the most extreme cold spell the northern hemisphere has experienced in many decades. No luggage. He pays cash for a one way ticket. Even if they didn't already know, the guy has "terrorist" written all over him. I mean, that's just textbook. It's so obvious one could easily postulate that he actually wanted to be caught. But that assumes this wasn't a black op, a staged event. Consider: with no passport, an expired visa, no identification of any kind, he is escorted past security and onto the plane on an international flight. He is then videotaped the entire flight. How did someone know to videotape him? Not anyone else, not just the flight in general - him alone. Another man is arrested after the plane lands, but the FBI lies about him. Says he wasn't on the flight. Then he was on the flight but was arrested on immigration charges. Well if it was an immigration issue, why lie about it in the first place?

There's something rotten in Denmark, friends. You don't need me to tell you this. But most people really think this is just Obama's administration being soft on terrorism, or that, gosh, the TSA and the NSA and the DHS just don't have all the tools necessary to combat terrorism. They need more money, and more power, and more intrusive methods of humiliating us and violating our rights. And, oh, geez, we're going to have to start killing a whole mess of Yemenis too, because Yemen, not Afghanistan, was really the home of al Qaeda - which our government created - the whole time. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia/Eurasia. Nothing stupid about any of this at all.

    Boston Globe -

    Bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded his Christmas Day flight in Amsterdam to frigid Detroit with no coat - perhaps the final warning sign that went unnoticed leading up to what could have been a terrorist attack.

    Congress got its first behind-the-scenes look yesterday at the attempted airline bombing, and officials said the security failures were even worse than President Obama outlined last week. It remains unclear, however, how those failures will be fixed.

    “He was flying into Detroit without a coat. That’s interesting if you’ve ever been in Detroit in December,’’ Representative Bill Pascrell, Democrat of New Jersey and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said after a briefing by John Brennan, presidential counterterrorism adviser.

    Dennis Blair, national intelligence director, and Michael Leiter, national counterterrorism center director, briefed the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, and Brennan took questions from the House in overlapping sessions yesterday.

    Congress wants to know how Obama plans to improve an intelligence system that failed to recognize the significance of repeated warning signs that Abdulmutallab was planning an attack. Also, the Nigerian showed up at the Amsterdam airport without any luggage - another sign that officials acknowledge should have prompted more scrutiny.

    Critical warning signs had emerged even earlier, in mid-October, when a National Security Agency wiretap picked up discussion out of Yemen that referred to a Nigerian being trained for a special mission, according to a House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.

    Obama has ordered agencies to review and tighten their procedures but has mostly left it up to them to figure out how.

    “There were more dots crying out to be connected than I realized,’’ said Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat and member of the House Intelligence Committee. “If any two of the dots were connected, it would have moved the organization to quickly connect the other dots.’’

    In November, Abdulmutallab’s father in Nigeria reported to the US Embassy that his son had gone to Yemen and had fallen under the influence of radicals there. Another point of failure, acknowledged last week by the White House, was that a misspelling of Abdulmutallab’s name at the US Embassy in Nigeria initially made the State Department believe he did not have a US visa and therefore was less of an immediate concern.

    “A system shouldn’t get stymied by a single misspelling,’’ Holt said. “If you mistype something in Google, Google comes back and says maybe you want to look at this other spelling.’’

    The FBI says Abdulmutallab tried to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was carrying nearly 300 people, by injecting chemicals into a package of explosives concealed in his underwear. He has pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment.

    Congress is planning several hearings on the case.