This deals with before 9-11 and before 12-25-09, the efforts and mindset of both that were present.
Not so much blame, as much as the efforts and the outcomes.


The Clinton administration did take the threat posed by Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda seriously.
Devoting resources and man power to it and suffered opposition from the Pentagon and CIA.
The President asked the Pentagon for a plan of action against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
But was told it would take a large military response involving several hundred thousand troops and a full fledge invasion. While President Clinton wanted a small surgical strike and capture.

The CIA did not want to put human assets into Afghanistan and refused to have a CIA operation similar to a military strike also saying it would take far too much manpower then was reasonable to do.

One of the problems faced by Clinton was that without human assets the reports that were received would be dated. Reports of Bin Laden’s where about would come in generally days later then where he was on the date. Cruse missiles would take over an hour for the gyros to spin up to be used.

And Bin Laden never stayed in one place long enough to use the cruse missile on.

Clinton always wanted to have a small surgical strike on Bin Laden but got objections from the military and the CIA.

The task force assigned to Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda did an advisory that was presented to the newly elected G. W. Bush in August of 2001. Warning that there were indications of a plan to attack the United States homeland. That the increased chatter was systematic of a growing threat and of it being in the near future.

It also indicated a focus on commercial aviation, though not a specific threat.
No one actually saw the happenings of 9-11 or that the focus was using planes as weapons.
They saw the likelihood use of a bomb or highjacking within the U.S.

The problem that presented itself with the Bush administration was they were cold war chicken hawks.
They just could not perceive of a serious threat to the United States smaller then the Soviet Union.
They did not take the advisory serious and actually scolded the team for focusing on the small fish and they should be focused on Saddam Hussein. Whom they came into the office wanting to depose him.

The mindset of a preoccupation on Saddam and that a small group of radical Islamic terrorists could not be a threat to the U.S. kept them for acting or preparing for a terrorist attack.
They just were not looking for a serious attack or thought it possible that it could be a serious matter.

As such the attack came as a complete surprise and there was not system set up that would have stopped it.
Or any way that would have caught them before the attack was carried out.
Of course in hindsight there were several indicators, dots if connected would have told them where to focus and what might have been in store for 9-11.

Since the idea of 19 individuals being willing to fly a jet into a building just was not in our mindset.
We were not looking for it to happen, it was the unimaginable far away from the Western comprehension.
There was a lacking of understand of the Islamic mindset, we could understand someone being willing to die in order to save another’s life but not kill themselves to kill another!
It was actually unforeseeable to us; not possible to us it was insane!

Afterward the mechanics of a system were put in place; I can tell you that different law enforcement agencies are extremely territorial. Be they a Local, county, State and Federal. There just is nothing more insulting for an agency to found out an outside agency is playing on their playground without permission.

It is true of the FBI and CIA, so even after the formation of the Homeland security department it was an up hill battle. A good example is what was happening before 9-11 and continued after that date.
The CIA knew that most of the hijackers were in the United States but had lost track of them.
The FBI had noticed the numbers of Middle Eastern men taking flying lessons and it seemed odd to them.
But did not ask the CIA for information or if these individuals were possible terrorists.
9 years later we see how it was not improved to a great detail.
In fact as the years passed these agencies slipped back into their old habit and the case may have just been that it was not tested or caused a tragic loss.

Recently a statement was made that under President Obama we had one terrorist attack and under President Bush none. That is not true by the way, even without 9-11 there were seven under Bush.
Ranging from two where the terrorist drove their car into crowds to the D.C. shooter was convicted of terrorism.

Now in 2009 we have a better understanding of the subject, any understanding would have been an improvement. We went into it so blind an example is that a reporter was following an U.S. combat team that was charged with finding and destroying car bombs. Along with a team of Iraqi soldiers, responding to a report of a location of a car bomb manufacturing operation.

The response team wandered about and did find a couple of cars that did appeal to be in the process of being modified for that purpose. The Cameraman stood there filming and going between the different military personal.

When the reporter and cameraman got back and were reviewing the tapes.
Someone who did speak the language overheard the audio and was shocked!
Right there beside the U.S. troopers were Iraqis talking about how silly this was.
That they knew where arms cashes and Car bombs were that moment.
The translator for the Americans would join in with the Iraqis and even told he knew where some were.

Whole agency that focuses on the threat that is presented by the terrorists. Systems that intercept the communications and are focused on them.
Warning sign to watch for and will indicate where the threat is coming from and when it is happening.
Lists of “Red flags” some being buying a Plane ticket with cash, no bags, one way tickets among others.

Reports and Intel comes in almost daily to any Law enforcement agency.
I have no doubt that often there is a flood coming into homeland security.
There are those who make a living off of selling information and some times it is totally made up.
Some are like what happens in a local Police department, someone sees something they either do not understand or mistake as a crime and call.

The agency must go through and evaluate each one for its value and seriousness.
Searching for a suspect is a process of elimination and if there is no direction to go in or something that points to a certain person. This process can be overwhelming you literally start out suspecting everyone living on the Earth at the time.

Then eliminate everyone not in the country at the time.

Then eliminate everyone not in the State at the time
Then eliminate everyone not in the county at the time.
And then those not in the city at the time till you have a smaller suspect list.
That is the process when you have nothing to go on.

So we have a system to detect suspects of terrorism.
We have a system that intercepts their communications to draw Intel.
A system that looks for the signs and Red flags as to actions that is indications of a terrorist.
All these systems and Red flags being aware of the threat and trying to stop another terrorist attack.

So what is at fault that on Christmas day a person could fly into Detroit with a bomb with the intent to blow up the plane?

Unlike with 9-11 it was not being unaware of the threat, we have been aware of it since 2001.
We have systems in place to be aware of plans and detect someone with the intent.

Unlike with 9-11, we had several indications of a plan to be carried out.
And a clue as to what direction to be looking, several communications referring to the “Nigerian”.
Now this could have been one of two things, either it could have been a ploy, a misdirection to keep anyone interest from looking in the right direction.

Say the one to carry out the attack is from Great Britain, they would not want the U.S. to be looking closer at anyone from Great Britain. So the indication that the bomber is from another country like Nigeria.

The second is that the bomber is from Nigeria and that is how they are referring to him.
Either way it should cause an evaluation to determine which is the case.
And it should be something to cause attention to be heightened to any information concerning Nigeria.
So now there is a direction to be looking in.

So the problem is which Nigerian?

Nigeria itself is not free from Islamic terror and has a history of such groups forming and operating there.
Like the majority of these groups their intent is solely dealing with the country they are in.
In that respect Al-Qaeda had been unique in their goal of taking on the foreign Satan.

Now Al-Qaeda in Yemen seems to be joining them in their goal, though that actually maybe separate of
“Al-Qaeda proper“. The differences can be seen in the type of attacks, the embassy bombing in Africa
and 9-11. The Cole would seem more the act of a small group with limited thought to it.

Both major death tolls and planned out to even being at the same time when the bombs went off.
A large operation with a large goal, more the acts of an organized group that takes years to plan.

The Christmas incident was not as well planned and limited in it intent to inflect casualties.
Only a little under 300 is not enough for Al-Qaeda proper ego.

So now Intel has a location where a plan is coming from and a direction as to which this threat might be.
“Yemen” and the “Nigerian” this should have cause a focus and greater scrutiny.

Then in late October early November a father in Nigeria come into the CIA and tells them that he fears his son who is in Yemen has became radicalized and maybe a threat to the United States.
Yemen and a Nigerian again, so here is a person of interest to be watching and researching.

To sum up, there is a location and a organization now a suspect and in the process of him traveling to the United States he threw several of the standard Red flags that was on the list of Red flags.

So how was it that the system set up failed?

Obama is soft on Terrorism?
No, he did not change the system in place; the same people that President Bush had in place populated it.
It was to operate in the same manner whether it is Bush or Obama.

Bush? No with the signs and the system it would be well able to have detected and stopped it.
All flags thrown and the Intelligence to have detected a threat and uncover it.
So the problem that is frightening is not the system mechanics.

So what is frightening then?
It is that even with the system mechanic there was a failure.
It was not a lacking in the system it was a lacking in the thought process.
How could this not have been stopped?
That even when there was a clear and present danger the level of blindness that missed it was so total.

You need not be a former Law enforcement officer or a security expert to see the failing in the system.
It is a simple matter to see the dots that were present and to connect them.
So how was it that they were not connected and this stopped before the plane took off?
There was enough that there would be no need to have a full body scan to have detected it.
No need for added security measures to counter it, the present mechanics of the system should have stopped it.

There was nothing unforeseen or undetected that happened.
The only way this person could have been more open as to the intent or the path he took would have been if he had went on National TV. Dropped his pants and pointed to the bomb with one hand and held up his plane ticket with the other hand.

Now the frightening thought is even if he had done that would he have been noticed and stopped?
Considering what happened there is a real concern that he may not have.
Frightening is it not?

In a clinical nature I wondered just how it would be spun?
The need for more restrictions!
It is that Obama just does not say “war on terror” enough!
It is that Republicans are not in control of the Congress!
Its we are not nuking the entire region!
It’s is that Republicans are being nothing more then noise makers at a party!

Everything to blame and no honesty in any of it as to what had happened.
A total failure of those responsible for the system and that is impossible to excuse by any means.


Filed under Uncategorized


  1. Well, tstb, after reading this once I have to tell you like I told 6176 last week — I love you bunches but I like you better when you speak English. I’ll try reading it again to see if I can understand what you’re saying.

    For now, you’ve lost me!

  2. So, are you saying the Christmas Day bombing attempt was worse because systems were in place and they failed? And, you’re comparing that to 911 when no systems were in place to fail?

  3. Isn’t the goal of terrorists to terrify people?

    Seems not to take much to terrify the Republicans! They’re askeered, I tell you! And taking away all our cherished civil liberties is no problem, as long as that keeps them safe. And, not only are they askeered, they’re pretty stupid! Because nothing has happened to cause a smart person to spend their life being afraid!

    Shoot, we haven’t even yet made air travel so annoying that terrorists won’t use it! But the Republicans are pushing to have all Americans inconvenienced as much as possible — that outta do it!

  4. We must elect a Republican president in 2012! Because, ya know, we’re very afraid and the only people who can keep us safe are Republicans, right?

    Like Rudy said last week — there weren’t any terrorists attacks under bush the lesser! Ya know, we can ignore what we need to ignore to make our case!

    Shows how smart he and his are, doesn’t it?

  5. Zippy

    Fnord, what Dog is saying, basically, is we have all these anal intelligence mechanisms in place yet are still missing the obvious. The unaddressed question is why, though Dog hints at with the Iraq anecdote; while our people were furiously engaged in a search suicide bombers in Iraq, very simple leads were ignored due to simply not due to the failure, as the overused phrase goes, to “connect the dots.”

    But each one of those “dots” is essentially a piece of information. While it’s important to work with the information you have—even incomplete information–what we have, in the opinion of myself and attorney Glenn Greenwald, is the dumb overcollection of information, thus overwhelming the system, producing gridlock on even studying the information, let alone drawing sound conclusions (by the way, I held this view before Greenwald even started his column in 2005–my former colleagues at the American Civil Liberties Union could vouch for that).

    It appears, scarily, that both Greenwald and myself have been right. From the Washington Post:

    he Central Intelligence Agency should be asking some painful questions this week about its performance: How could a suicide bomber have flown to Detroit despite a strong warning to a CIA station that he might be a terrorist? How could a Jordanian double agent have penetrated a CIA base in Afghanistan and killed seven agency employees?

    Talking to veteran counterterrorism officers, I hear a common theme that unites these two disastrous lapses: The CIA has adopted bureaucratic procedures that, while intended to avoid mistakes, may actually heighten the risks. In the words of one CIA veteran, “You have a system that is overwhelmed.”

    The two cases are very different. Yet they both illustrate what can happen when intelligence managers are eager for results but worried about risks. The consequence is a breakdown in tradecraft that can have fatal consequences. Meanwhile, an intelligence reorganization that was supposed to improve efficiency has made the bureaucracy problem worse.

    The Christmas Day bombing attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a story of clues that were lost in a blizzard of information. The young man’s father delivered a stark warning in November to CIA officials in Nigeria: His son had become radicalized in Yemen and was a security threat. Agency officers took the appropriate action, bureaucratically speaking — they alerted the State Department and sent messages up the CIA’s chain of command.

    The CIA officer in Nigeria sent a cable to the agency’s Counterterrorism Center, which gathered biographical data and a photo. Copies went to the National Counterterrorism Center, a separate (and arguably redundant) bureaucratic entity that reports to the director of national intelligence. Analysts in either of those two centers could have pressed to add Abdulmutallab’s name to the no-fly list. But they didn’t.

    State Department officers also did the right thing, technically speaking: They put Abdulmutallab’s name into their “Visa Viper” system, for higher-ups to review. The Nigerian was now floating in a sea of data called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, with 500,000 names (compared to about 4,000 on the no-fly list).

    How did the big database get so clogged? My sources guess that embassies worldwide send an average of one Visa Viper a day, and there are 180 embassies. You can see the overload: Everyone is covering their backside by sending warnings, but nobody has time to ring the alarm bell.


    Remember when the Bushies actually attempted to implement something called Total Information Awareness? That insane mentality has produced the kind of “intelligence” we see today.

    Unfortunately, we still our officials–including the President–kowtowing to public fears, even though Obama offered a number of caveats in his speech that Bush would not have indulged. Perhaps full-body scans, like any kind of intrusive search, has its place in the pantheon of law enforcement tools.

    But, to paraphrase a car ad, the best kind of terrorist attack is the one that never happens in the first place, and for that we need actual intelligent intelligence.

    And you would, after all the bad press, the CIA “old dogs” would be anxious to blow the whistle, but I guess any kind of whistleblowing is a costly move–particularly when they’re engaged in trying to bury the many crimes that have been committed under the aegis of the Agency.

    Perhaps we need to make a deal: Keep the bodies buried (so to speak) if they’ll actually hand the data collection over to people who know what the hell they’re doing, and use appropriate minimization procedures (unlike what we have now). But I have no right to endorse such an unconscionable trade.

    And that would also mean ending the Domestic Spying Program, among other things.

  6. Zippy

    Note: I think I proofread my comments as well (not at all! ;-). Hope it translates into English!

  7. Zippy

    Here’s another pertinent one, even if from 2007, from FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley (yes, both links stolen from Greenwald):


  8. Zack!

    As a tone poem, this post is okay–but as a statement or argument it needs work. Zippy’s comment reads far better, and maybe deserves to be promoted to an actual post.
    As for the desire we seem to have to constantly look back and finger the person who “dropped the ball,” I don’t see much point. It seems like the goal we all have in mind is stopping terrorism, no? It’s just not going to happen. Which to me doesn’t mean we should cultivate a sense of hopelessness or apathy, but rather that we need a different way to approach this problem–analogies to the abortion issue are probably apt (reduction vs. elimination, etc.).
    Incidentally, Greenwald says something like this in a recent post (I don’t have it in front of me, or I would link/quote): paraphrasing, as long as we’re blowing up other countries, other countries–or factions within that country–are going to try and blow us up. It’s a pretty simple equation, to me.

    • I agree with your simple equation, Zack. As much a pacifist as I am, and I am one of the most ardent you’ll ever encounter, if an invading country drove their tanks down my street, occupied my neighborhood, I too would see the need to protect my home, my family… I would, perchance, be called an enemy combatant?

      Citizens of other countries, no matter the toils and troubles they may have faced within their country and government, would see an invasion as something to defend against.

    • “It seems like the goal we all have in mind is stopping terrorism, no? ”

      While that would seem to be a completely logical and reasonable statement, I am not entirely sure that I agree with it.

      There are two ways to look at the current situation. One was presented above by Greenwald and the other is that it is in the best interest of those in charge to keep us all afraid, eye-balling each other, hating each other and willing to hand over whatever privacy or freedoms we might have in order to “stay safe,” whatever the hell that might mean.

      I happen to be leaning toward the second scenario more and more. How convenient are these “security lapses” that keep us in fear and therefore keep the military industrial complex pumping away?

  9. Zach, I am thankful Zippy made tstb’s words clearer (for me and for you it seems), but I still cherish and protect the opportunity for everyone who wants to be a contributor here to do so, at whatever level they choose. The day, nearly 10 months ago now, when we began this blog we asked everyone what level of participation they desired — blogger, editor, author… It’s a better place because we all participate at the level we’re comfortable with, and we all have the opportunity to hear from each other, begin the topics we want to discuss… It’s worked out well for our little blog. We’ve grown steadily, never had a month that didn’t better the previous one and we look forward to meeting and including new people as we grow.

    Thank you for your participation!

  10. Zippy

    I second fnord’s comments–thank you, and stick around if you can! Fnord is correct; I was among those asked to be a regular commentator (and could no doubt still do so with Iggy’s and Fnord’s indulgence).

    But time constraints make even my sporadic comments a guilty indulgence.

  11. tosmarttobegop

    Zippy did see a point I fail to bring out, there was so much intelligence and in an odd sense the drive was to not over look. No one wanted to be the one who dismiss something that later after the fact was the shining light that would have stopped it.

    But in the rush and over focus they miss something that was so obvious.
    And it is that was so frightening here was something that was everything that if you were training someone to combat terrorism should be looking for.

    You would have used as examples of things to be looking for and in real life they were totally missed!

    My differences were to point out that 9-11 we were not looking and things could have been missed.
    But now such things should have not been missed since the bugs should have been worked out and we are aware.

  12. tosmarttobegop

    Fnord it may have been a case of something I pointed out when I started writing.

    You know exactly what you are saying.
    And sometimes forget that those reading it may not understand it since they can not reading your mind.

  13. Zippy

    I did miss one of your essential points, too, Dog, mainly that there was an excessive focus on troop deployment rather than information analysis.

  14. tosmarttobegop

    It almost goes without saying that Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda was a second thought for the Bush administration. The day after 9-11 it was Paul Wolfowitz who said that they should attack Iraq.
    When Collin Powell pointed out it was Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda had attack us and they are in Afghanistan not Iraq.

    Then Wolfowitz retorted that there were more viable military targets in Iraq then Afghanistan.

    Yes the focus was not on getting those who attacked us and was on the desire to take out Saddam.
    But for this I was wanting to focus on why there was a difference between 9-11 and that attack and that of 12-25-09.

    I hope this comes across with the analogy, when the house caught on fire on 9-11 there was no fire hydrants within blocks of the house. But when the house caught fire on 12-25, fire hydrants had been put in at both the end of the block and still the house fire was not stopped.

    The fire men had ignored the alarms ringing at the fire house and kept playing cards and watching TV.
    In part because they were so concerned with being ready for a fire and were not going to be distracted by any smoke!

  15. tosmarttobegop

    Zippy I think that during the Iraq debacle intelligence was diverted to Iraq.
    With the disastrous condition in Iraq and the death toll there it became important to the administration to learn more in Iraq then in Afghanistan.

    But that is more an after fact of 9-11 not a cause for the lacking of effort before the attack.
    I tried to separate the efforts before Iraq and the singular focus of Iraq.
    The mindset of the Bush administration aside from their thoughts of Saddam.

    They just could not get their heads around the thought that a small terrorist group could possible be a threat.
    They just could not think in such small terms when it came to a threat.

    The reality is very few of us could before 9-11, it just is not in our thought process.
    We could imagine a soldier seeing a hand grenade land in the foxhole and them diving on it to save his buddies. Self scarifies in the name of saving lives, but not for the purpose of killing innocents people.

    If you had came on a blog on 9-10 and said that the following day nineteen individuals will take control of four planes with the intent of flying them into the World trade center and the Pentagon.
    No one would have taken you serious, even the experts on terrorism at the time would have not thought it realistic.

  16. lillacluvr

    I read somewhere last week (I cannot remember where) about the reprisal of the theory that WTC 9-11 was an inside job.

    I am not into conspiracies, but sometimes I wonder if things are so out of our control that we do not have the slightest idea what really goes on.

    I remember something about George W. Bush’s brother’s security company in charge of the WTC security that day and there were questions about how the buildings actually came down.

    At this stage of the game people, with all the madness and pure hatred I’ve seen come from some politicians (mostly on the extreme Right-wingers of the GOP currently) – would it surprise me if some group had enough arrogance to try to pull it off – probably not.

    But there are alot of questions about that day that still are not answered.

    And exactly how does Rudy Giuliani forget that 9-11-2001 was under George W. Bush’s watch? But he is joined by several Republicans who were spouting the same thing the week before.

    We the People need to wake up and smell the coffee and stop with all this political infighting.

    But as long as we have people who will refuse to even acknowledge unrefutable facts (9-11-2001 was on GWB’s watch), then why are we fighting?

    Either deal with the truth or get out of the way – that’s how I feel.

  17. tosmarttobegop

    Lill the answer is part delusion and creating their own reality, the Giuliani’s of the world are looking at it this way.

    The terrorists had been in the country before Bush took office and the plot was thought of and acted on before then too. all Bush was he happened along shortly before the attack, by then all that was left was for the terrorists to get on the plane.

    SO… they content that the attack was not on Bush’s watch but on Clinton’s.

    And now I think I will slip into my Con’s mind and since I am so tired of the cold it is now 95 degrees outside and I am going for a swim! Laaa a aa aLaaa!

    • lillacluvr

      And what Bin Laden said in his 2004 tape that was released right before George W. was re-elected was that their plan was to bankrupt the US and to keep us fighting until our economy and our country was broken.

      And, don’t look now – but I think our country is broke – in money and in being a unified nation – what do you think?

  18. tosmarttobegop

    I would think that Bush would have a very big ass.

    He would have to have one in order to have both Bin Laden’s and Dick Cheney’s hand up there pulling the strings!