Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
The bungled attempt by the young Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas Day has raised a lot of eyebrows in and out of government. Within days The New York Times
was reporting that Abdulmutallab had been trained in Yemen by the one-time Guantanamo detainee Ali al-Shihri, that his wealthy father, the Nigerian businessman Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, had “urgently sought help from American and Nigerian security officials when cell phone text messages from his son revealed that he was in Yemen and had become a fervent radical,” and that the CIA “in November compiled biographical data about Mr. Abdulmutallab – including his plans to study Islamic law in Yemen – but did not share the information with the other security agencies,” most significantly the National Counterterrorism Center. The Center already had Abdulmutallab on a 550,000-person list of individuals with “possible ties to terrorism” but declined to include him on “more refined watch lists” or the worldwide no-fly list vital for airport security.
Continue reading On Prioritizing Terrorism
The USS Cole after the October 12, 2000 attack.
Had President Obama been aware of what the CIA did to the government of New Zealand in 2006 he might have been even more angry at his national security team. John Brennan, his counterterrorism advisor, conducted an investigation that failed to connect some old CIA dots that would have gone a long way in explaining why the CIA does not like to share information, even with the President of the United States.
Continue reading The No-Fly List: Americas Maginot Line Part II – How The CIA Lets Terrorist Fly
President Barack Obama meets with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House. Photo: US Government.
Politicians have long made promises that if taxpayers spend enough money, they can be protected from evil forces. The Maginot Line was supposed to protect France from a German invasion. The Germans defeated it easily because it was poorly conceived and largely built as a boon to French contractors. America’s Strategic Defense Initiative, the hugely expensive — $50 billion and counting — and failed “Star Wars” missile defense system envisioned by President Reagan, has so far only protected the bottom line of defense contractors.
Continue reading The No-Fly List Part I: America’s Maginot Line
Everything seemed routine on American Airlines Flight 11 as it took off from Boston bound for Los Angeles. Captain John Ogonowski and First Officer Thomas McGuinness got the Boeing 767 off the runway at 7:59 AM. They were joined by nine flight attendants even though there were only eighty-one passengers on board. A quarter hour later Flight 11 had climbed to twenty-six thousand feet on its way to its assigned altitude of twenty-nine thousand. About the time the seat belt signs were turned off in preparation for breakfast service, the Al Qaeda team went into action.
Photo by Baloba
Continue reading Unsafe At Any Altitude Part III: Hell Over Earth