So Many Questions
10:15 PM, Dec 29, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
As soon as Obama came out for that second press conference, you knew that there were going to be some new revelations. Now the avalanche begins -- and so do the questions...
"It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect's name on a no-fly list," Obama said today. Could the "component of our intelligence community" include, say, the National Counterterrorism Center? The president "intends to demand accountability at the highest levels." Who is to take the blame for this if not Dennis Blair? As a CIA official told Mike Allen, "The United States government set up NCTC - and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence - to connect the dots on terrorism. If somebody thinks it could have been done better in this case, they know where to go for answers."
Per Allahpundit: Wasn't the "magic piece of intelligence" in this case the fact that "the Nigerian" was suspected of meeting with terrorists in Yemen? What the hell do you have to do to get on the no-fly list?
The father told the CIA his son was in Yemen, and Awlaki and Yemen are very much on CIA/IC mind at that time (the failed Predator strikes came just two weeks later) -- hard to believe the Nigerian doesn't come across their radar there, or that they're not tracking people leaving Yemen soon after first strikes. How high up did the NIgerian's name go as the strikes on Alwaki were being planned? Is it possible that the NIgerian's presence had Yemen had contributed to the sense of urgency about going after Awlaki?
Per the Washington Post, administration officials only got information indicating a "linkage" with al Qaeda on Monday night. But the media were already reporting those ties on Monday -- al Qaeda had claimed responsibility by Monday morning! Was it just that nobody wanted to disrupt the Obama's Christmas vacation? How could Obama have been the last to know?
Again per the Washington Post, Obama only learned about the contact between the CIA and the Nigerian's father on Tuesday morning in a conference call National Security Adviser Jim Jones, his top counterterrorism expert John Brennan, and deputy National Security adviser Tom Donilon. Why are the peole mentioned as being on the conference call all White House? Has the president spoken with Panetta since Friday? With Blair?
If yesterday Obama really didn't know any or most of what's now coming out -- which was 72 hours after the incident -- even though parts of the IC must have known...isn't that a little scary?
And didn't Obama at least know enough yesterday to know that he wasn't an "isolated extremist," as he told reporters in Hawaii in his first attempt to set the record straight on the threat this attack posed?
Why was the Nigerian turned over to the criminal justice system immediately? Did the administration simply prefer a nice, straightforward, uncomplicated trial to culling whatever intelligence this guy has to offer?
As late as Sunday, the FBI was still telling reporters that they were operating on the assumption that the Nigerian had "acted alone." Obviously there were numerous elements in the intelligence community that knew better at that point. Why was the FBI still so completely out of the loop more than 24 hours after the attack?
Who are the two officials who told CNN that we are now considering retaliatory strikes against Yemen in conjunction with Yemeni leaders? Is that even remotely defensible -- to leak information about the planning of sensitive military planning? Were these two career guys or are they political? And if the leaders of the U.S. and Yemen are joining together (in a publically private agreement) to engage in lethal military strikes killing members of Al Qaeda -- removing them from society and their families without benefit of due process or humane considerations -- how would closing Gitmo remove the stain of injustice from America?