Lieberman: “To put it bluntly, our homeland defense system failed in Boston”

posted at 4:41 pm on May 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

“Why are we still having problems connecting the dots?” asked House Homeland Security chair Michael McCaul, and he asked one of the right people.  In a hearing this morning, McCaul invited DHS co-creator and former Senator Joe Lieberman to analyze the issues of stovepiping that the 2002 consolidation was supposed to address, in the context of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Lieberman responded in writing with a blunt assessment:

“To put it bluntly, our homeland defense system failed in Boston,” Lieberman said in a written “statement for the record” submitted to the committee. As a senator, Lieberman introduced legislation that led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. …

In response to questions from McCaul, Davis said local authorities in Boston, including a joint anti-terrorism task force, were not aware of key developments in the radicalization of Tamerlan Tsarnaev that had come to the attention of federal agencies, including a warning from Russian state security, Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia’s Dagestan region and his posting of radical Islamist videos on the Internet.

Davis said he would like to have known that information before the bombings but that he could not say for sure whether the knowledge would have enabled authorities to prevent the attack.

“I can’t say I would have come to a different conclusion” than federal investigators did after looking into Tsarnaev and shelving the inquiry. But Davis said local authorities would have talked to Tsarnaev and given him “a second look, absolutely,” if they had received the information.

“Why are we still having problems connecting the dots?” McCaul asked, citing the creation of the Homeland Security Department and the expenditure of billions of dollars to combat terrorism.

The fact that neither the FBI nor Homeland Security notified local members of the joint terrorism task force in Boston of suspicions about Tamerlan Tsarnaev “is really a serious and aggravating omission,” Lieberman told the committee. Local law enforcement “could have stayed on this case” and picked up signals from students, members of Tsarnaev’s mosque and others “that could have prevented all this from happening,” Lieberman said.

Here’s the Massachusetts Undersecretary for Homeland Security telling McCaul that no one at DHS ever bothered to let them know about the Tsarnaevs, courtesy of CBS:

It might have helped if the FBI took the warnings from Russia about Tamerlan Tsarnaev more seriously.  Both the FBI and CIA were notified by Russia at different times of the FSB’s concerns over his connection to radical Islamist extremism.  Despite having come to the US as a refugee from political persecution, Tsarnaev returned to stay in Dagestan for six months — while leaving a wife and small child behind.  None of this prompted the FBI or DHS to share that information with other law-enforcement agencies, despite the CIA’s move to add Tamerlan and his mother to the TIDE database.

The FBI is taking a closer look at those six months now, according to the New York Times:

But now, investigators are looking into a range of suspected contacts Mr. Tsarnaev might have made in Dagestan, from days he might have spent in a fundamentalist Salafi mosque in Makhachkala, the capital, to time spent outside the city with a relative who is a prominent Islamist leader recently taken into custody by Russian authorities.

The emerging details of his time here have not fundamentally altered a prevailing view among American and Russian investigators that he was radicalized before his visit. However, there have been reports that he sought out contact with Islamist extremists, and was flagged as a potential recruit for the region’s Islamic insurgency.

The local counterterrorism group in the Caucasus presumed that Tsarnaev had failed to make any connections during his stay.  However, evidence points in the other direction:

Investigators in Russia are also looking into Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s interactions online, and exploring whether he and a Canadian-born militant, William Plotnikov, might have been part of a larger group of diaspora Russian speakers who mobilized online, under the auspices of an organization based in Europe, a law enforcement official said.

Unearthing what investigators have learned became more difficult two weeks ago when President Vladimir V. Putin told reporters that, “to our great regret,” Russian security services did not have operative information on the Tsarnaev brothers that they could have shared with American officials. The police in Dagestan have said Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not under surveillance.

Since then an official from the Anti-Extremism Center, a federal agency under Russia’s Interior Ministry, confirmed for The Associated Press that operatives had filmed Mr. Tsarnaev during visits to the Makhachkala mosque, whose worshipers adhere to a more radical strain of Islam, and scrambled to locate him when he disappeared from sight after Mr. Plotnikov was killed in a counterterrorism raid. An official from the same unit told the newspaper Novaya Gazeta that Mr. Tsarnaev had been spotted repeatedly with a suspected militant, Mahmoud Mansur Nidal, who was killed shortly thereafter in a counterterrorism raid.

If we’re missing the connections between those dots, what other dots remain unconnected on other potential threats?  What other communication barriers exist that will end up stovepiping critical information that will only come out in the aftermath of an attack?  If the formation of DHS didn’t solve those problems, perhaps we should rethink the approach of adding layers of bureaucracy onto the problem and look for ways to eliminate organizational barriers instead — which is what we should have done in the first place.


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Failure, from Obama on down.

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM

The Boston authorities are furious. They were intentionally left in the dark by Obama and Napolitano.

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2013 at 4:43 PM

The dead terrorist was buried in ‘undisclosed’ location.

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Nice to see that not everyone is susceptible to Obam’s Jedi Mind Trick speech.

You know, the one where he said the bombers failed at least 10 times?

Ben Hur on May 9, 2013 at 4:44 PM

FBI looking more closely at 6-month trip to Dagestan.

Scouting out another Michelle Obama vacation?

The Rogue Tomato on May 9, 2013 at 4:45 PM

In 7 years, after 9/11, no one died from terrorism under GWB.

Since Obama is Pretender in Chief, there were 5 successful terrorist attacks in the USA.

“The media is (are) Obama’s scandal condom” — Greg Gutfeld

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM

why does napolitano still have a job?

Steven McGregor on May 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM

That picture looks like an ad from GQ.

Ward Cleaver on May 9, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Too busy frisking grandmas and kids in wheelchairs at TSA checkpoints…

albill on May 9, 2013 at 4:49 PM

The Boston authorities are furious. They were intentionally left in the dark by Obama and Napolitano.

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2013 at 4:43 PM

What, don’t they know that the occasional 9/11 is no big deal?

Ward Cleaver on May 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Lieberman is a rarity, a Democratic Jewish supporter of Israel and as such has been always supportive of fighting Islamic terrorism, but it is precisely these types of flexibly principled people like him that enabled his party to gain power and continue their goal of weakening America, which he is now complaining about.

When asked to be the Dem VP candidate with Gore he dropped his sometime conservative pretension like a hot potato.

Don L on May 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM

“Why are we still having problems connecting the dots?”

Because this admin, as hard as it tries, can’t connect the dots to home-grown, gun-loving, bible clutching, Obama hating, TEA party conservatives.

And no matter how hard they keep trying not to all the dots right now seem to connect directly to terror prone radical muslims.

This admin can’t have that and won’t connect those dots. It upsets CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudis so much.

hawkeye54 on May 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Honestly, we just need you productive people to just cede moer rights and wealth.

Voila, problem solved.

tom daschle concerned on May 9, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Lieberman: “To put it bluntly, our homeland defense system failed in Boston”
========

Looks like the Light of Truth is slowly Illuminating
the facts of………………

canopfor on May 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Yes, because chechnyans are known for their long history of peaceful loving ways…

Blake on May 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM

What, don’t they know that the occasional 9/11 is no big deal?

Ward Cleaver on May 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Actually, far too many of those Bostonians probably think Bush did it (9/11) so they could relax now that he’s gone and a messiah has taken his place.

Don L on May 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

We need to take yet more liberties from you and grow gubernut even larger if we are going to be able to do our jobs. Now don’t be greedy and fork over some more taxes…for the children.

Rinse and Repeat

trs on May 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

It’s more than just willful ignorance. This is what happens when you scrub the truth out of the training material.

rightmind on May 9, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Honestly, we just need you productive people to just cede more ALL your rights and wealth.

Voila, problem solved.

Because in the long run our rights and wealth are too important for us to manage ourselves. Government is in the best position to care for all our needs as it sees fit.

hawkeye54 on May 9, 2013 at 4:57 PM

As a senator, Lieberman introduced legislation that led to the creation of the [so called] Department of Homeland Security

So now he is complaining about it. Just like some who pushed [so called] ObamaCare are now complaining about it. Same clown show just under a different tent. Has Lieberman yet said “We had to pass it to find out what’s in it?”

VorDaj on May 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

In 7 years, after 9/11, no one died from terrorism under GWB.

Since Obama is Pretender in Chief, there were 5 successful terrorist attacks in the USA.

“The media is (are) Obama’s scandal condom” — Greg Gutfeld

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM

So what you’re saying is that when Bush trampled on our constitutional rights, he did it competently, while Obama tramples them in an incompetent fashion?

Either way, they’re both big government statists and I have no use for either of them.

Shump on May 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Either way, they’re both big government statists and I have no use for either of them.

Shump on May 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Both have profusely praised Islam, America’s greatest enemy.

VorDaj on May 9, 2013 at 5:03 PM

“To put it bluntly, our homeland defense system failed in Boston”

We have a homeland defense system ?
Is that what they call putting jihadies and their families on welfare rolls these days ?

burrata on May 9, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Let’s stop all muzlim immigration NOW. ALL kinds of visas. If it saves the life of a single child, we have to do this.

Let’s do this for eight-year old Martin Richard.

slickwillie2001 on May 9, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Nice to see that not everyone is susceptible to Obam’s Jedi Mind Trick speech.

You know, the one where he said the bombers failed at least 10 times?

Ben Hur on May 9, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Oh, not to worry-there are plenty of Low-IQ Democrat Voters commenting at the WaPo link!

The always-delusional Fergie Foont leads the Laugh Cavalcade:

As far as I’m concerned, nothing that ever comes out of Joe Lieberman’s mouth is worth listening to. He is a non-person.

And the fun continues downhill from there…

Please tell Joe “no public option” Lieberman to just go away. He was also the major accessory to Mr. Bush/Cheney/Powell’s sell job to get us into this made-up war in Iraq that bred many of the crazy radicals like the Tsarnaev brothers.

Darn, I thought we were done with the worm Lieberman. He had nothing to add to the discourse when he was an elected official, now he is more than useless.

Massive ego, matched only by his irrelevance.

And remember, these Rocket Scientists nominated Lieberman to be their Vice President in 2000.

Del Dolemonte on May 9, 2013 at 5:11 PM

I still can’t trust Lieberman – he looks too much like Senator Palpatine / The Emperor.

dentarthurdent on May 9, 2013 at 5:16 PM

It might have helped if the would link Islam with terrorism.

And the links are staring us all right in the face. Till we do that, there isn’t really much point except to sit back and enjoy the pain of the mutilated survivors.

And isn’t it funny how much coverage there has been of those survivors?

thgrant on May 9, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Both have profusely praised Islam, America’s greatest enemy.

VorDaj on May 9, 2013 at 5:03 PM

That too.

Shump on May 9, 2013 at 5:17 PM

So what’s new with this?
This regime has failed at EVERYTHING it has done that was supposed to be FOR this country.
The only thing they’re succeeding at is their unstated goal of destroying the country.

dentarthurdent on May 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

The local counterterrorism group in the Caucasus presumed that Tsarnaev had failed to make any connections during his stay. However, evidence points in the other direction:

So has somebody in an official position called this terrorism now? I ask because the rat-eared coward has not. Officially we have not had a single incident of terrorism on American soil since we elected the Muslim-named one. Unprecedented.

But I’ve got to wonder why exactly we gave citizenship to the live terrorist even as his brothers name is coming to the attention of the FBI and CIA. Guaranteed most of us would not even be able to get a government security clearance if we were on a list at one of the alphabet organizations. Or is Tamerlan Tsarnaev the “Joe Smith” of Russia?

Happy Nomad on May 9, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Another day, another Democrat admitting that everything they do to fix our nation’s problems just makes them worse.

txhsmom on May 9, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Well…. since none of these new departments (ahem – DHS) are effectual, lets scrap them and save some cash.

Free Indeed on May 9, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Every time I see that particular picture of Tsarnaev, I want to smash him.

That picture captures the essence of the foreigner receiving welfare, subsidies, and all sorts of goodies. And he dresses like a girl too.

portlandon on May 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM

There’s no way such a system can be omnipotent.

rickv404 on May 9, 2013 at 5:44 PM

That’s a pretty fancy get-up for a welfare kid.

steebo77 on May 9, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Seems many agencies within this administration ‘are taking a second look’ at how they’ve performed. Too bad they won’t issue any corrections.

GarandFan on May 9, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Every time I see that particular picture of Tsarnaev, I want to smash him.

That picture captures the essence of the foreigner receiving welfare, subsidies, and all sorts of goodies. And he dresses like a girl too.

portlandon on May 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Well, if it makes you feel better, you should be using the past tense.

Happy Nomad on May 9, 2013 at 6:03 PM

As a senator, Lieberman introduced legislation that led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

That was one of the biggest mistakes ever. The GOP allowed itself to be bullied into creating that Frankenstein “federal police force” by that joke of a 9/11 commission that, itself, should have been laughed out of existence.

Now, I see these DHS SUVs all over the place with “POLICE” written on them in big letters, as if the US is supposed to have a federal police force. It is disgusting. And they have the label “federal protective police” written on their sides – to explain their alleged mission. I’m offended byt he sight of these SUVs and the idea that the feral government is moving so swiftly to institute the un-American idea that

“We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded [as the military].”

This place resembles Jakarta more and more every day. That’s what we get when a retarded Sukarno copy is given the executive power and allowed to operate with no constraints, at all.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM

That’s a pretty fancy get-up for a welfare kid.

steebo77 on May 9, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Makes me wonder if we are on the wrong path with the “Misha” lead. Misha sounds more like a fashion consultant than a jihadi.

It’s not easy to learn how to dress like a Russian pimp, maybe Misha helped him.

slickwillie2001 on May 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Seems many agencies within this administration ‘are taking a second look’ at how they’ve performed. Too bad they won’t issue any corrections.

GarandFan on May 9, 2013 at 6:03 PM

GarandFan:Exellent point(s),and they won’t take any heat,nor
firings,either!:)

canopfor on May 9, 2013 at 6:27 PM

If the formation of DHS didn’t solve those problems, perhaps we should rethink the approach of adding layers of bureaucracy onto the problem and look for ways to eliminate organizational barriers instead — which is what we should have done in the first place.

Of course, those of us who believe in smaller government thought it was a terrible idea at the time. That is if the above quote is modified. Change eliminate to modify.

burt on May 9, 2013 at 6:32 PM

“To put it bluntly, our homeland defense system failed in Boston”

DUH!

Obama’s policies and attempts to protect American lives have failed:
… at Fort Hood…
… in Boston…
… In Benghazi…
… in Cairo…
… and in 18 other Embassies/nations on the anniversary of 9/11 on 9/11/12 when 20 Embassies were unprepared for attacks, Marines at the Cairo Embassy were ordered NOT to carry live Ammo that day, and after 2 previous terrorist attacks & much prior warning the 1st Ambassador in over 30 years to be killed was provided no protection and left to die alone.

easyt65 on May 10, 2013 at 8:55 AM