Thursday, January 07, 2010

Democratic Co-Chair of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, Blasts the Obama Admin on Eunuch Bomber Complacency

May I say that charging the "eunuch bomber" as a common criminal has hampered forever the amount of details we can get from this person in regards to his contacts and/or knowledge of terror cells.  This is where the Democrats have failed the U.S. citizen the most.

Lee Hamilton, the Democratic co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, blasted the Obama administration as “too complacent” on counterterrorism after the attempted EunuchBomber attack last month.  Jake Tapper asked Hamilton where the blame lies for a series of errors and failures that led to allowing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab onto the Northwest plane from Amsterdam to Detroit.  Hamilton gives most of the responsibility to the bureaucrats, but say the President has a “major” share of the blame as well:
“I just think what’s pervasive through the country, and has been now for a number of years, is the complacency, an inertia, a business-as-usual attitude … that I think is harmful,” former 9/11 Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton told ABC News. This, he says, includes the entire political leadership of the United States — President Obama, leaders of Congress and the “many, many people that have had a part in Homeland Security.”
“You can’t put all the responsibility on the president, but obviously he shares a major part of it,” said Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman. “His speech yesterday suggested he’s going to bear down on this, I hope that’s the case.” …
Director of National Intelligence Adm. Dennis Blair (Ret.) holds a position created because of a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission. Blair and the National Counter Terrorism Center are chiefly responsible for connecting the dots, for analyzing the data coming in.
We asked Hamilton whether they weren’t the ones chiefly responsible for dropping the ball.

“On the basis of what I know now, I would answer that question, ‘Yes,’” Hamilton said, adding that it was possible some of the information didn’t get to the DNI or NCTC offices in a timely manner.
That, of course, was the problem that the 9/11 Commission supposedly fixed in its recommendations, which led to the creation of the DNI and the NCTC.  Others point to those solutions as part of the problem.  The Washington Post reports this morning that the intelligence community is almost screaming “We told you so” when the additional bureaucracy created by Congress in those recommendations amounted to barriers rather than doorways:
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the federal government was radically restructured to emphasize counterterrorism, with new agencies and divisions established. Twenty-two other domestic agencies were combined under a new Homeland Security Department.
The government’s intelligence components were placed under the new umbrella of the DNI after the 9/11 Commission inquiry and other investigations determined that the cultural and electronic firewalls between them had prevented information-sharing in the days before the 2001 attacks. Under the new system, agencies were restricted largely to intelligence-gathering and instructed to contribute analysts to rotating duty at the NCTC. Intelligence officials at the CIA and other agencies argued against separating collection from analysis. …
It is unclear whether the NSA, in the parlance of the community, “formally disseminated” the information in the intercepts to the NCTC or others. Although initial reform plans to combine all intelligence databases into a one-stop searchable system remain incomplete, NSA databases are available to NCTC analysts, as is the CIA database, in which agents began compiling a biography of Abdulmutallab after his father visited the embassy.
Some of the finger-pointing centers on claims and counterclaims about who should have flagged what for others to pay attention to and who should have looked where without being prompted. Travers, the TIDE chief who also serves as deputy director of the NCTC, predicted the problem even earlier than his 2007 expression of concern about the volume of terrorist information.
“If an organization posts something to its webpage, it can claim to have shared information,” he wrote in the forward to a 2005 book published by the Joint Military Intelligence College. “Whether the right people know the information/analysis is there, and actually make use of it, is entirely another matter.
“Indeed, we’ll almost certainly be dealing with precisely this problem in the post mortems of our next intelligence failure; the relevant intelligence will have been posted, but the right analysts never found it among the terabytes of available information.”
Instead of streamlining intel agencies into two or three coherent organizations, eliminating duplication, and focusing on clear missions, the 9/11 Commission instead recommending increasing bureaucracy by adding DNI for analysis disconnected from intel gathering, and using the NCTC as a data warehouse for intel. 
 ...[read more]...