9/11 Commission chair: I can’t believe we’re still having these intel problems

posted at 3:00 pm on December 31, 2009 by Allahpundit

Eight years later, the system still doesn’t work.

“It’s discouragingly familiar,” said Tom Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission. “It’s exactly the language we heard when we were making recommendations for the 9/11 report. That was five years ago. We made our recommendations based on the fact that agencies didn’t share information and it seems to be the case that, once again, they didn’t share information. It’s very discouraging.”

“We thought that had been remedied,” the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kit Bond (R-Mo.), told POLITICO. “If they’re not talking with each other, that’s a problem that we’ve been tearing our hair out over for a long time, demanding that they talk to each other. … I’m very upset.”

“This is textbook Al Qaeda 2001,” says an intel expert, aghast, to the Times. “They tried to hit the hardest target we have, the one on which the most money and attention has been spent since 2001. And yet we didn’t prevent it.” Why not? Follow the link and read the Times piece. Looks like it was the National Counterterrorism Center — created after 9/11 for the explicit purpose of connecting the dots on terror data collected by different agencies — that failed to connect the dots. Another NYT story out this morning runs through the timeline of when the dots appeared, but that info should already be familiar to HA readers: They heard jihadis in Yemen talking about a plot involving a Nigerian, they were told by a Nigerian father that his radical son had gone missing in Yemen, and they heard chatter about a Christmas attack around the time Abdulmutallab bought an airline ticket for, um, Christmas Day. And still — no connection. It actually reached this point of bureaucratic absurdity:

The TIDE issue has become a “he said, she said” among various government agencies. My colleague Marc Ambinder reported that, according to one of his sources, the State Department thought NCTC was checking visas against the TIDE list, and NCTC thought that State was doing the checking.

“You’d be shocked how many times we still come up with this, ‘Gee I thought you were doing it,'” my source added. “Initially, our reports were that he was on no-fly list. Obviously that was wrong. This is clearly a failure of the system.”

For instance, he asks rhetorically, “Why – if he was denied British visa – why wasn’t that shared with us? I don’t know.”

They better clean up quick because, as a third Times piece argues, the plotting against mainland America from big jihadist outfits is no longer confined to the Pakistani tribal areas. As for unconnected dots, I’ll leave you with two further thoughts. First, here’s a clip of the boss from this morning’s “Fox & Friends” wondering why we had to connect any dots at all to deny a visa to someone fitting Abdulmutallab’s profile. And second, read this post at the Jawa Report on Abdulmutallab’s exposure to radical Islamic propaganda — including the sermons of Anwar al-Aulaqi — right here in the United States. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you the connection to … the National Counterterrorism Center.

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onlineanalyst on December 31, 2009 at 7:25 PM

Excellent article. Highly recommend.

In the meantime, jihadi Hasan of Fort Hood has obviously lawyered up, and now his attorney is complaining that Hasan is “being treated harshly.

We are at war. Period.

In no other conflict in our history have we granted all sorts of legal rights and privileges to an enemy. Obama, in his Detroit commentary once again emphasized that law enforcement is how his administration will “handle” terrorism. These jihadis are not “lone gunmen” nor “an individual” who attacked Fort Hood, or tried to bring down an aircraft over Detroit. They are part and parcel to an enemy organization, whether they carry membership cards or have paid up their dues. They are the enemy.

About time we started treating them as such as a matter of announced US national security policy.

Giving apologia speeches in Cairo, as one example of many, does nothing to stop them nor to get the mainstream Moslem world to condemn them. Matter of fact, it gives them even more reason to get more bold in their planning and promulgation of war against us.

We are now seen across the globe as weak.

An enemy which plays to an opponent’s weaknesses wins.

Our dithering over how to “fix” a currently broken system that was not “fixed” by the 9-11 Omission tells our enemies that our house is not in order and thus open for attack.

Detroit, Christmas Day. A failed attempt. One of a kind? Or, one of more to come?

Not being able to interrogate Abdulmutallab is not a good way to “fix” our weaknesses. Treating Abdulmutallab as a criminal defandant is not a way to “fix” what needs to be fixed. Having an Administration believing that holding trials in the public fora is the key to defeating jihadist terrorism is not a way to “fix” anything. Returning Yemeni Gitmo detainees to Yemen is not a way to end their terrorist acts.

The Obama Administration. Just. Doesn’t. Get. It.

Start the New Year off right. Spend a few dollars for stamps. Send letters to your Senators, your Congressional representative, the Attorney General, the White House, among others, and demand they explain to you, in writing, and all of America, exactly what in God’s name they are doing.

Insanity opened the door for 9-11. Continuing the insanity is keeping that door wide open once again.

9-11 Commission? A waste of time and millions in taxpayer dollars. Billions, actually, if you look at the results.

coldwarrior on December 31, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Lets see… those in the inside knew that creating the DNI would be a massive bureaucracy and probable Charlie-Foxtrot due to the extra bureaucracy that would tend to make people less accountable.

Then a blue ribbon panel wants the DHS which was an even more massive CF, creating chaos and making communication more difficult. Especially between the INTs and the information that should pass between them.

So instead of ‘breaking down the wall’ two massive sets of bureaucracies with less accountability, less ability to share information (due to the ever-loving ‘oversight’) and need to keep extra layers of managers ‘in the loop’ then causes dots not to be connected due to lack of communications because no one knew who to talk to due to increased ‘oversight’ thus putting up a different and more massive wall.

Notice how not one, single blue ribbon panel ever calls for smaller organizations with less oversight (read: bureaucracy and management overhead) and more accountability?

Now how will the Federal Reserve’s ‘oversight’ of GM and Chrysler go? Fannie, Freddie, FHA, Ginny, Student Loans…

You know these things look a lot like ‘dots’ to me, and they are connected to spending-happy Congresses that want to make it look like they are doing something by increasing the size of government. All in an effort to create the illusion of security, while our necessary liberties are nibbled away by ‘regulations’ and ‘travel restrictions’ and ever loving ‘help’ for getting loans to people who shouldn’t take them out. These things are not unconnected.

ajacksonian on December 31, 2009 at 8:25 PM


The website ‘The Post and Email’ has recently begun a drive to petition the state of Hawaii for Zero’s BC.

As a result of this petition US ISP’s have decided to stop offering their services to the Post & Email.

The Post & Email needs $10K in donations by Jan 6th to fund a move to an overseas secure dedicated server. If they do not meet this goal they will have to cease existence.

Please spread this message, and donate if you can.

Mr Purple on December 31, 2009 at 8:46 PM

the interesting psychological question is why are the “Government Class” “surprised”

no one thinks that large governments are effective organizations. the primary purpose of large government is to spread the wealth around…hire people, transfer money, etc.

Does anyone really think that government people are generally competent? I don’t think so. (Yes, I’m sure that there’s a few, yada, yada)

They don’t have the management systems, the computer systems, the incentive systems to be effective. The main purpose is to absorb lots of people from the private sector.

So, please, spare me the Politician wondering why things always seem to be left undone.

r keller on December 31, 2009 at 9:02 PM

ajacksonian on December 31, 2009 at 8:25 PM

Well, that just saved me a lot of typing.

Very well put!

notropis on December 31, 2009 at 9:51 PM

I think this is the problem with these commissions. They make a ton of recommendations, but it’s like throwing everything in but the kitchen sink.

Waste of money.

AnninCA on December 31, 2009 at 11:17 PM

9/11 was a victory for the Islamists. A marginal victory, but they pulled it off.

Airport security is still a joke.

We kicked butt in two nations, then started trying to fight ‘fair’ and are now getting pwned.

Reconstruction at Ground Zero has been an embarrassment of indecision and bureaucratic bumbling.

The American public willingly elected a silver-tongued Muslim sympathizer.

Dark-Star on December 31, 2009 at 11:21 PM

Oscar Madison – “Is everybody happy!!”

Coronagold on January 1, 2010 at 7:58 AM

Happy New Year. This will make you want to FIX DC and the denizens thereof.
28th Amendment will be as follows:

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”

Subject: Retribution is less than 1 year away!

Take a look at this and just remember elections in November 2010.

1. U.S. House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700 and $5,300 raises.
2. They voted to NOT give you a S.S. Cost of living raise in 2010 and 2011.
3. Your Medicare premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2-years
4. You will not get the 3% COLA: $660/yr.
5. Your total 2-yr loss and cost is -$1,600 or -$3,200 for husband and wife.
6. Over these same 2-years each Congress person will get $10,000
7. Do you feel SCREWED?
8. Will they have your cost of drugs – doctor fees – local taxes – food, etc., increase?
9. NO WAY.

Congress received a raise and has better health and retirement benefits than you or I.

* Why should they care about you?
* You never did anything about it in the past.
* You obviously are too stupid or don’t care.
* Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie, Barney, et al, care about you?

Send the message to these individuals — “YOU’RE FIRED!”

In 2010 you will have a chance to get rid of the sitting Congress: up to 1/3 of the Senate and 100% of the House!

Make sure you’re still mad in November 2010 and remind their replacements not to screw-up.

It is ok to forward this to your sphere of influence if you are finally tired of the abuse. Maybe it’s time for Amendment 28 to the Constitution.

28th Amendment will be as follows:

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”

Let’s get this passed around, folks – these people in Washington have brought this upon themselves! It’s time for retribution. Let’s take back America .

If you don’t forward this to all your friends you’re just part of the problem of national apathy.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 1, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Kurt Haskell: “Today is the second worst day of my life after 12-25-09. Today is the day that I realized that my own country is lying to me and all of my fellow Americans. Let me explain…”

Rae on January 1, 2010 at 9:25 AM

As a retired (25 yr. USAF), I can attest that the various agencies that gather information of all sorts and for various (rationalized) reasons do not pay well in the same sandbox.

The term ‘Information is power’ is the primary reason they do not work well together. Primarily because bureaucracies foster one-up-manship to be able to claim they are more powerful and deserve more taxpayer money to stay Number One. The solution is simple leadership that mandates sharing is caring (the Demoncrate way), or the more you share the larger your share (Republican way).

MSGTAS on January 1, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Let it be clear that we are still having “these……problems” because, and only because, liberals exist.

Really Right on January 1, 2010 at 9:47 AM

notropis on December 31, 2009 at 9:51 PM

You’re very welcome.

A dirty job and all that…

ajacksonian on January 1, 2010 at 12:28 PM

One dot I’d like to connect: Obama’s White House has its own breach of security with the Solahi caper just last month. One year into his Presidency, he can no more secure the White House than the airlines that fly the public. How’s that for another unconnected dot?

richardb on January 1, 2010 at 2:57 PM