Time for some new reports of missed red flags about Flight 253

posted at 4:51 pm on January 4, 2010 by Allahpundit

Not as egregious as the lapses we already know about but every data point counts. Remember that story over the weekend about how British intel had this guy’s name years ago and forgot to mention it to the U.S. until now? Well, they didn’t forget:

Intelligence that the Detroit plane bomb suspect tried to contact radical Islamists while a student in London was passed on by British authorities to the US, Downing Street has said.

The name of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was included in a dossier of people believed to have made attempts to deal with known extremists that was shared with American intelligence.

But he was not singled out as a particular risk, Gordon Brown’s spokesman said, insisting that Abdulmutallab was not radicalised until after he left the UK in October 2008.

Fair enough, but if this is true, then U.S. intel had Abdulmutallab’s name in the system twice over, once from the Brits and once from the report his father filed at the embassy in November. The NCTC had reason to believe that Al Qaeda in Yemen was planning to use a Nigerian for whatever it was they were planning; one would think that fact, combined with two independent reports on Abdulmutallab’s jihadist tendencies, would have been enough to upgrade him to the no-fly list.

Meanwhile, turns out credible jihadis started bantering online about PETN just a few weeks before Abdulmutallab booked his ticket — and a few weeks after the Saudis warned John Brennan about underwear bombs:

A private Israeli intelligence company told ABC News Monday there was a surge of online discussions in extremist Islamic forums about blowing up planes three weeks before Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempt to bring down Northwest Flight 253. The discussions recommended using “improvised detonation chain” devices, exactly like the one used onboard the Detroit-bound flight…

Three weeks ago company founder Gadi Aviran and colleagues noticed a surge in Internet traffic from well-known extremists talking about how to bring down planes using combinations of chemicals including PETN, the chemical used by Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day…

From those details and level of expertise displayed Aviran says he knew the threats were serious and sent a warning to his company’s clients worldwide which include in his words, “Western governmental agencies.”

If Aviran knew, I’m assuming our guys did too. The big question via the Counterterrorism Blog: Why did AQ in Yemen try to “upstage” Bin Laden and the boys in Pakistan with its very own freelance attack on the U.S.? One possible answer: Er, because they thought they could pull it off and figured Bin Laden would be pleased. Another possible answer: Knowing that Yemen is coming apart at the seams, they’re deliberately trying to draw U.S. reprisals in hopes of galvanizing public opinion against the government and toppling the regime. The Wash Times reports today that that’s actually become a top goal of the organization, and in light of this horrifying Foreign Policy piece about how fragile the country is — “Yemen is going to explode” — it doesn’t seem far-fetched. The strategic goal would be to turn the country into another Waziristan, with Saudi Arabia suddenly in the role of Pakistan in having to stamp out (or coopt) a giant flaming bag of jihadist shinola on its doorstep. The sooner Yemen is destabilized, the sooner the Kingdom is potentially destabilized, and then who knows how far things go from there.


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But the system worked! /sarc

Chip on January 4, 2010 at 4:53 PM

One possible answer:

Because they haven’t stopped trying to kill Americans?

upinak on January 4, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Wasn’t this all supposed to have been fixed after 9/11? The government has failed again yet some people are eager to surrender ever more liberties in order to gain some supposed “security”

lodge on January 4, 2010 at 4:58 PM

One big cluster fark waiting to ignite…and it’s all under Ob@ll-less One’s watch–we are so screwed!!!!

lovingmyUSA on January 4, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Two quick points.

You speak of Al Q as if its a true Chain of Command organization…

But as we saw with Al Q in Iraq, they are more splinter groups with a common goal. Al Q in Yemen and such may not even be in daily contact with the big wigs in Pakistan.

Second point… Bin L is a very smart guy. He understands that we won the Cold War by making the Soviet Union stretch its resources to the breaking point. We now find ourselves in a Recession, with 18% real unemployment, huge debt, huge deficits, insane suicidal energy policies, and stupid economic policy… while still occupying two other countries, and bombing at least 2 more.

They wish to expand the battle space to more countries… banking on us bankrupting ourselves.

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 5:00 PM

If Yemen Govt falss and is ruled by AQ, does not bombing the country become easier? I would think with Saudi intel and our air force, we could do some damage to anything that forms. Can Arabs hate us any more whether we bomb the country or not?

WashJeff on January 4, 2010 at 5:08 PM

They didn’t want to follow/profile him because he’s black.

SouthernGent on January 4, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Fair enough, but if this is true, then U.S. intel had Abdulmutallab’s name in the system twice over, once from the Brits and once from the report his father filed at the embassy in November.

Despite this, he still hadn’t received the necessary bright red tshirt that says “I’m a Jihadi and I got PETN in my Pants!”

If he had worn that, we might’ve got him for sure…/s

ted c on January 4, 2010 at 5:09 PM

But as we saw with Al Q in Iraq, they are more splinter groups with a common goal. Al Q in Yemen and such may not even be in daily contact with the big wigs in Pakistan.
Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 5:00 PM

I think there as many competing groups of AQ as there are intelligence agencies and they all want to upstage each other. It is to bad our intelligence agencies can’t cooperate for the common objective any more than they do.

fourdeucer on January 4, 2010 at 5:10 PM

No need for osama to try and take us down, ogabe and his posse will do it all for him.

What was the term osama used about the ‘weak horse’…I think he found his holy grail in ogabe.

lukespapa on January 4, 2010 at 5:12 PM

From those details and level of expertise displayed Aviran says he knew the threats were serious and sent a warning to his company’s clients worldwide which include in his words, “Western governmental agencies.”

I can’t believe we can’t get these agencies to communicate with each other…heads should roll on this one, isn’t it about time someone got serious with these “governmental agencies”?
AQ will prod, and try time and time again until they get “lucky” and actually succeed…while we bureaucrats worry about who is to blame, who should be telling whom, who is in charge, and if in charge what legal responsibility will they be held accountable for.
AQ doesn’t have to be organized, or an expert, or intelligent, just persistent…

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 5:13 PM

The sooner Yemen is destabilized, the sooner the Kingdom is potentially destabilized, and then who knows how far things go from there

whoa horsey

chill out dude

windansea on January 4, 2010 at 5:14 PM

fourdeucer on January 4, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Exactly, it isn’t how effective AQ is, it is how ineffective we are, with all the infrastructure in the world, we can’t get our guys to relinquish their pride and be team players…time to clean house.

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 5:15 PM

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Yeah… problem is that we have to be perfect in our security.

We could stop 100 potential attacks… and its just business as usual… but if they succeed with ONE… its a huge victory for them…

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 5:19 PM

They are all, Brennan included, trying to salvage themselves and it only gets worse day by day. Epic failure!!

rjoco1 on January 4, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Yemen’s destiny as the next best terrorist-breeding cesspit has been evident for years. Anyone with a passing interest in foreign affairs knows that: except, of course, for those who rule over us. Seemingly no-one in power has any foresight. All they concentrate on is the here and now, devoting no attention to the threats looming just out of reach.

Track-A-'Crat on January 4, 2010 at 5:21 PM

How many people are on board flights right now, although they may or may not actually do anything, who should not be?

MB4 on January 4, 2010 at 5:23 PM

But how does all this add any significance to Michelle’s White House garden (which apparently grows fresh spinach and tomatoes right on through the snow and ice), and Messiah’s golf game on the Hawaiian links (you know, the State he was born in – after he left the Madrassa in Nigeria or wherever this lying piece of creepness crawled out from). I mean come on – HE was crowned in a Greek Temple for crying out loud – why would THE ONE be at all concerned about terrorists? What’s important is the upcoming Food Channel interview and Nancy Pa-Lousey’s hem line. Got to love these community organizers – man I bet they can offload 5 keys of coke near school yards before you can spray paint gang symbols all over a church door! Go Barry! Mao loves you!

Cinday Blackburn on January 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Hmmm… I wonder how long it’s going to take for every single failure of security on this issue to become the fault of that Evil Bush feller. Hmmm… Oh wait… that’s already happened. Silly me…

Mad Mad Monica on January 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM

It’s a bit disturbing to see news reports of intel folks talking about having seen a surge in known terrorist-types talking about PETN and blowing up airplanes in the couple of weeks prior to the event.

Are they *trying* to get the people they’re watching to stop talking openly about stuff and find another way to discuss it?

I guarantee if *I* had been one of those guys and saw this kind of commentary, I certainly would presume that the web sites I had been using were compromised, and would stop using them.

It’s not far afield from an early-40′s front page Times of London article proclaiming for everyone that the Brits had acquired and learned how to use the German Enigma machine and were able to intercept and decode Nazi communiques. They would never have done such a ridiculous thing. Usually, if you find yourself able to listen in on your enemy surreptitiously, don’t you keep your damned mouth shut about it?

Midas on January 4, 2010 at 5:28 PM

You’ll never get the myriad of agencies to share info, work together etc. Our government suffers from the very same disease that kills all large organizations. They are simply to damn big with NOBODY in charge.

Anybody who has ever worked for/with/around big corporations can attest to the fact, the more people you have involved, the more f&cked up the results. Government is big business on steroids with one more twist, you can’t ever get fired no matter how badly you f%ck up.

Tim Zank on January 4, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Last time I looked, Yemen is flat and surrounded by water one one side and Saudi Arabia on the other. Not too hard to bomb the crap out of it and there is no way SA will allow a failed AQ state on its border. There are no Muslim shrines or holy places in Yemen, so nobody will give a rip if it is flattened.

rockmom on January 4, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Hmmm… I wonder how long it’s going to take for every single failure of security on this issue to become the fault of that Evil Bush feller. Hmmm… Oh wait… that’s already happened. Silly me…

Mad Mad Monica on January 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Chimpy Bush had a terror guy working for him named Jack Goldsmith. Jack briefly became a darling of the America-hating Left when he quite his job and criticized Bush.

However, a few years later, Goldsmith told a crowd at Boston University that Bush had in fact under-reported the terror plots and actual threats against the US, and the Left immediately dropped him like a hot potato.

Del Dolemonte on January 4, 2010 at 5:37 PM

To quote that great troll, Bleeds Blows: “The buck stops in the Oval office..unless that’s Obama. Then its Bush’s fault.”

PappaMac on January 4, 2010 at 5:56 PM

To quote that great troll, Bleeds Blows: “The buck stops in the Oval office..unless that’s Obama. Then its Bush’s fault.”

PappaMac on January 4, 2010 at 5:56 PM

So far that’s been the epic smackdown of Bleeds of 2010.

Speaking of flamin’ jackasses, CNN just had as a “source” on terrorism the slap happy Larry Johnson, who wrote almost exactly 2 months to the day before 9/11 that terror attacks were “on the decline”.

On July 10, 2001–two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon–Johnson wrote an op-ed for the New York Times (“The Declining Terrorist Threat”) in which he argued that Americans were “bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism” and, in truth, had “little to fear” from terrorism. And, in turn, he rebuked his former colleagues in the national security bureaucracy for using the “fiction” of the terrorist threat to pump up their budgets.

Johnson, who also served as the deputy director for the office of counterterrorism at the State Department in the early 90s, was interviewed by PBS’s Frontline for its 1999 program, “Hunting for bin Laden.” According to Johnson, Americans had “tended to make Osama bin Laden sort of a superman in Muslim garb,” when in reality he is “more of a symptom of a problem” than a looming threat. And while bin Laden “would like to kill Americans . . . wanting to is different from being able to, having the full capabilities in place.” By Johnson’s lights, “Osama bin Laden . . . has not been a very effective organizer or leader. He talks a great game.”

Del Dolemonte on January 4, 2010 at 6:14 PM

I guess no one reads the important documents thru these days, including certain legislation. Maybe they just skim thru it. Or maybe glance at it. A little gander, even? At least some x-ray vision thru the files? No? You are probably right.

Sherman1864 on January 4, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Despite this, he still hadn’t received the necessary bright red tshirt that says “I’m a Jihadi and I got PETN in my Pants!”

If he had worn that, we might’ve got him for sure…/s

ted c on January 4, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Doubtful! The big mamas of color with the badge and the “I WON” attitude are too busy going through the white folks luggage and subjecting the 30 something Barbie lookin gals to wanding to bother with a brotha with a stoopid t-shirt and funny accent.
At least thats’ the experience I’ve had every time I fly. Attitudes at the ticket counter at the care rental and the security check from Obama Mamas.

dhunter on January 4, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Obama needs to give another speech and then all wil be well.

aikidoka on January 4, 2010 at 6:44 PM

If the Americans had destroyed or seized the sources of terrorists’ funds as long ago as 2002, when I first began advocating that course of action in one forum or another, it seems they would not now be facing these setbacks.

Kralizec on January 4, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Well now, we certainly wouldn’t want anyone to jump to conclusions./

Disturb the Universe on January 4, 2010 at 7:29 PM

I’m a Dinner Jacket’s web site hacked

J_Crater on January 4, 2010 at 7:57 PM

I wonder how many friendly Muslims working for the government have access to these streams of information? Maybe they get confused and think it’s Wikipedia and do their own editing.

BL@KBIRD on January 4, 2010 at 8:53 PM

a giant flaming bag of jihadist shinola on its doorstep.

Can the post itself be a thread winner???

fred5678 on January 4, 2010 at 9:03 PM