Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Madame Secretary, resign pt. 2

Perhaps I was a bit hasty when I called for the resignation of the secretary of DHS.

Thinking back, I now wish I had called for the resignation of the director and all deputy directors of the CIA as well whomever is directly in charge of the foreign service.

And the secretary of DHS.

Here is why:

ABC ferreted out the truth behind news reports that Umar Abdulmutallab's father alerted the U.S. Embassy about his concern that his son had gotten involved with radicals. The way such reports were worded conveyed the idea that the CIA didn't have a smoking gun to work with. Actually, the CIA had a smoking cannon handed to them.

ABC learned that what really happened is that Umar phoned his father to say he was calling for the last time because the people he was with in Yemen were going to destroy his SIM card. That would make his phone unusable. And that was as much telling his father he was entering the final phase of training for a terrorist suicide mission.

His father immediately alerted Nigerian intelligence officials that he was afraid his son was preparing for a terrorist mission in Yemen. The officials then brought him directly into the presence of the CIA station chief in Abuja on November 19.

So it's not as if some worried father wandered in off the street to unburden himself to a clerk at a U.S. embassy. And note that the Nigerian intelligence officials didn't run the risk of getting trapped in voice mail hell or hearing, 'I'm sorry your email got lost in the shuffle.' They made Double Dutch sure the station chief heard the father's statement and understood its import and urgency.

What happened after the station chief took in the father's account? Report, file, and forget:
The next day the embassy sent out a thin report to U.S. embassies around the world warning Adbulmutallab may be associating with extremists in Yemen. The CIA official compiled two more robust reports following the meeting with the suspect's father. One was sent back to CIA's Langley, VA [headquarters]; the other remained in draft form in Nigeria and was not circulated until after the attempted attack on Christmas Day, according to a U.S. official.[...]

The White House better be on notice, because if something goes bump in the night in the near future a quick impeachment is sure to follow. I realize there will be a political cost - short term, in my opinion - for a major house cleaning in a mid-term election year, but the Dems are toast in November anyway, and I think the American people would give the president a lot of credit for - shock! - holding the people responsible for our safety responsible for this lapse.


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