Saturday, December 12, 2009
Ft. Hood deadline comes and goes quietly
Back in November 2009 I wrote an article regarding Obama handing the Ft. Hood terrorist attack (that’s right I said it! Terrorist attack!) investigation to his “Assistant to the President, for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan. In that article I was focused on the fact that Brennan somehow went from the CEO of the company that breached the State Department passport files of Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential elections to the Assistant to the President, for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. A contract employee from his firm “the Analysis Corp” was one of three individuals that breached the State Department files. The other two worked for another firm and were fired before the investigation and the employee from Analysis was “disciplined”. More importantly and in addition to the Federal Investigation of the breach, a witness that was cooperating with Federal Investigators was murdered and that case still remains unsolved to this day.
“A memorandum from President Obama.
His top intelligence/counterterrorism/homeland security adviser at the White House, former CIA official John Brennan, will direct an investigation that will wrap up at the end of the month to determine what U.S. intelligence knew about “warning signs” from alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.
On November 6, 2009, I directed that an immediate inventory be conducted of all intelligence in U.S. Government files that existed prior to November 6, 2009, relevant to the tragic shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, especially anything having to do with the alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, U.S. Army. In addition, I directed an immediate review be initiated to determine how any such intelligence was handled, shared, and acted upon within individual departments and agencies and what intelligence was shared with others. This inventory and review shall be conducted in a manner that does not interfere with the ongoing criminal investigations of the Fort Hood shooting. The results of this inventory and review, as well as any recommendations for improvements to procedures and practices, shall be provided to John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, who will serve as the principal point of contact on this matter for the White House.”
The brunt of the investigation is highlighted in red and basically asks about intelligence sharing between different members of the intelligence community as it related to Hasan.
This is a complete waste of time and a misdirection of attention. This is proven by the White House demand that Congress stand down until the White House investigation has run its course. The reason I say this is a waste of time is because we have already gone down this exact course in the investigation (9/11 Commission) back in 2004.
John Brennan wants to know how this could have happened, why it happened and will undoubtedly seek ways to improve them. At the time of the 9/11 Commission, John Brennan was the Director, Terrorist Threat Integration Center, Central Intelligence Agency.
In the book titled “The complete investigation”
The 9/11 Report
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
With reporting and analysis by The New York Times
The appendix (Pg. 633) titled “Preventing Further Attacks Inside the United States”
Lists John O. Brennan, Director, Terrorist Threat Integration Center, Central Intelligence Agency.
So, we are to believe, that John O. Brennan wants to get to the bottom of a “2009 Attack inside the United States” when in 2004 he had all the answers that he provided to the commission?
The following is John O. Brennan’s 9/11 Commission statement in April 2004, as reported by msmbc:
“Good morning, Chairman Kean, Vice Chairman Hamilton, and Members of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
I welcome the opportunity to join my colleagues from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discuss intelligence and law enforcement efforts to prevent terrorist attacks against U.S. interests. It is also a privilege for me to represent the many men and women from throughout the Government who have joined forces in an unprecedented manner in the new Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC).
As members of the Commission and the American public well know, the scourge of international terrorism poses a serious threat to U.S. interests, both at home and abroad. Since the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001, hundreds of innocent lives have been lost in terrorist attacks in Tunisia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey, and Spain. More attacks are in the planning stages, and U.S. lives and property are being actively targeted by al-Qa’ida and other terrorist organizations that have death and destruction as their principal goals.
We learned some painful lessons on September 11, 2001. We learned that while we had developed a wide array of U.S. Government counterterrorism capabilities and accrued a vast amount of information about those who would do us harm, we lacked a government-wide ability to integrate knowledge, data systems, expertise, mission, and capabilities, which are the critical weapons in the fight against terrorism. It is only through such integration of effort that we will be able to prevent future 9/11s.
As we strive as a nation to create such a framework, a key objective of the U.S. Government’s counterterrorism strategy today is to ensure that all agencies and departments involved in the fight against terrorism share threat information and finished analysis that can be used to prevent terrorist attacks. At the direction of the President, TTIC began its mission May 1, 2003, specifically to achieve this objective for counterterrorism analysis.
TTIC represents a new way of optimizing the U.S. Government’s knowledge and formidable capabilities in the fight against terrorism. For the first time in our history, a multi-agency entity has access to information systems and databases spanning the intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, diplomatic, and military communities that contain information related to the threat of international terrorism. In fact, TTIC has direct-access connectivity with 14 separate U.S. Government networks -- with connectivity to another 10 networks planned -- enabling information sharing as never before in the U.S. Government. This unprecedented access to information allows us to gain a comprehensive understanding of terrorist threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad and, most importantly, to provide this information and related analysis to those responsible for detecting, disrupting, deterring, and defending against terrorist attacks.
A key objective of TTIC is to develop an integrated information technology architecture so that sophisticated analytic tools and federated search capabilities can be applied to the many terabytes of data available to the Federal Government. We must be able to cross check these different data sets, which are collected by departments and agencies statutorily authorized to do so, in a manner that allows us to identify terrorists and their supporters before they reach our shores or when they emerge within our midst. Simply put, we need to create new knowledge from existing information. We can do this, with complete respect for the privacy rights of U.S. persons and in accordance with the Constitution, as we work together in a collaborative and integrated manner.
There exists within the TTIC “joint venture” real-time collaboration among analysts from a broad array of agencies and departments who sit side-by-side, sharing information and connecting the scattered pieces of the terrorism puzzle. These partners include not only the FBI, CIA, and the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, but also other Federal agencies and departments, currently including the Capitol Police, the Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Other federal departments and agencies have been invited to join.
As envisioned by the President, this physical integration of expertise and sharing of information enables and empowers the key organizations involved in the fight against terrorism. Collectively, they are fulfilling their shared responsibilities in a fused environment, “doing business” jointly as TTIC. This fusion and synergy will be further enhanced when TTIC and most of CIA’s Counterterrorist Center and FBI’s Counterterrorism Division collocate at a state-of-the-art facility this summer.
This integrated business model not only capitalizes on our respective and cumulative expertise, but it also optimizes analytic resources in a manner that allows us to cover more effectively and comprehensively the vast expanse of terrorist threats that will face the Homeland and U.S. interests worldwide for the foreseeable future.
In simple terms, we are closing the seams among U.S. Government entities engaged in the identification and analysis of terrorism information.
The integration of perspectives from multiple agencies and departments represented in TTIC is serving as a force multiplier in the fight against terrorism. On a strategic level, TTIC provides the President and key Cabinet officials a daily analytic product on the most serious terrorist threats and related terrorism information that serves as a common foundation for decision-making regarding the actions necessary to disrupt terrorist plans. Rather than multiple threat assessments and disparate information flows on the same subject matter being forwarded separately to senior policymakers, information and finished analysis are now fused in a multi-agency environment so that an integrated and comprehensive threat picture is provided. If there are analytic differences on the nature or seriousness of a particular threat, they are incorporated into the analysis.
Similar mechanisms transform threat information and analysis into alerts and advisories in order to better prepare the Nation as well as to warn targets of potential terrorist attacks.
For example, TTIC issued a terrorist threat alert at 11:00 p.m. on 20 December of last year, which triggered senior-level discussions and a subsequent decision before noon the following day to raise the national threat condition level to “orange.”
TTIC’s analytic assessments also have had an impact overseas. TTIC advisories, warnings, and alerts about threats to U.S. interests in the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast Asia have prompted reviews and adjustments of security postures and procedures at various locations over the past year.
As part of this warning and analytic orchestration role, TTIC has been designated by the Director of Central Intelligence to lead an integrated Intelligence Community analytic effort focusing on the potential terrorist threat to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.
In addition to connecting the proverbial intelligence “dots” and doing analytic assessments, TTIC also is actively working to ensure that terrorist threat information and finished analysis are disseminated to those who play a role in protecting U.S. interests at home and abroad. For example, TTIC sponsors a top secret website, TTIC Online, that has in excess of 3 ½ million terrorism-related documents at various levels of classification from the intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, diplomatic, and military communities.
TTIC Online currently is available to over 2,600 users at every major Federal department and agency involved in counterterrorism activities.
In the coming months, TTIC Online will be replicated at lower classification levels that will enhance the ability of DHS and FBI to make more terrorism-related material available to state and local government officials, law enforcement entities, and the private sector.
In addition, a joint information-sharing program office of TTIC partner agencies is currently focused on addressing key impediments to the free flow of terrorism-related information.
The Intelligence Community traditionally has used a marking called “ORCON,” or “Originator Control," which limits the dissemination of intelligence reports. The Intelligence Community has reduced the percentage of terrorism-related ORCON documents by about half since the latter part of 2001, from approximately 11 percent then to 6 percent now.
In addition, significant progress has been made by the Intelligence Community on the use of “tear-line” reporting -- reporting where sensitive sources and methods information has been removed so the information can be disseminated in a timely manner to a broader audience. The availability and use of tear-lines has increased nearly 70 percent since 2001.
Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6 of September 2003, TTIC is also responsible for integrating and maintaining a single repository of all U.S. Government international terrorist identities information in support of a streamlined Government-wide system for “watchlisting” and terrorist screening activities. To date, TTIC has approximately 100,000 known or suspected international terrorist identities catalogued. This information is provided to the FBI-administered Terrorist Screening Center, which ensures that front line law enforcement officers, consular officials, and immigration and border personnel have the capability to rapidly screen individuals known or suspected to be terrorists before they enter the United States.
I cannot tell you that all of these efforts have enjoyed smooth sailing, as there are many challenges associated with what is, in essence, the crafting of a new national terrorism analysis and information-sharing framework to better protect this nation. We need to implement this revolutionary concept in a thoughtful and evolutionary fashion, as my colleagues on this panel are actively engaged in fighting a global war against terrorism, and I believe that we cannot afford to adversely affect these activities by dislocations associated with organizational change or abrupt shifts in analytic responsibility. In particular, this new national framework for the cross-government integration of information systems, expertise, and analytic missions should not come at the expense of operational, collection, covert action, and investigative activities of our Intelligence, Law Enforcement, and Homeland Security Communities.
As we continue in what is destined to be a multiyear battle against the deadly forces of international terrorism, my colleagues and I have a special obligation to learn from the painful lessons of 9/11 and to continue the task of implementing a national counterterrorism system and strategy that maximizes the security and safety of all Americans, wherever they live or work. In my personal opinion, the organizational and information-sharing status quo that existed on September 11, 2001 was inadequate to safeguard America. While significant progress has been made since then, I believe that we, as a government and as a nation, are not yet optimally configured to deal with the terrorist threat. This Commission, with its studied and comprehensive review of the events and factors that resulted in the tragedies in New York, the Pentagon, and the fields of Pennsylvania, is ideally suited to take a fresh look at how all the eclectic parts of the national counterterrorism effort fit together and whether we need to adopt new and better ways to organize ourselves. It is only by enhancing the security of Americans everywhere that we will truly honor the lives and the sacrifice of those who died more than two-and-a-half years ago.
The TTIC that was headed by Brennan was responsible for the communication sharing of the following departments.
Members of the Intelligence Community:
Department of Defense
Defense Intelligence Agency; National Security Agency; National Reconnaissance Office; National Geospacial-Intelligence Agency; Army Intelligence and Security Command; Office of Naval Intelligence; Marine Corps Intelligence Agency; Air Intelligence Agency and finally Counterintelligence Field Activity.
Non-Department of Defense members
Central Intelligence Agency; National Clandestine Service; Department of Homeland Security; Coast Guard (Intelligence; Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection); State Department; Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Energy Department; Treasury Department (Office of Intelligence and Analysis; Office of Terrorism & Financial Intelligence); Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Agency and finally the Office of National Security Intelligence.
Hasan’s radical warning signs that would have been on many of the agencies listed above but not shared were:
In 2001, Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. which was also attended by Nawaf al-Hazmi, Hani Hanjour —two September 11 hijackers—and Ahmed Omar Abu Ali (who was convicted of providing material support to al Qaeda and conspiracy to assassinate President George W. Bush) during this period; a law enforcement official said that the FBI will probably look into whether Hasan associated with the hijackers.
Anwar al-Awlaki was the mosque's imam at the time. The imam was a spiritual adviser to the hijackers, and Hasan has been reported to have deep respect for al-Awlaki's teachings. Hasan sent Awlaki as many as 20 e-mail messages from December 2008 on, but a counter-terrorism specialist who reviewed the emails at the time was of the view that the e-mails were innocuous. Soon after the attack, on his website Anwar al-Awlaki praised Hasan for the shooting, and encouraged other Muslims serving in the military to "follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal."
In a November 2009 interview through a Yemeni reporter, Al-Awlaki said Hasan arrived at his own conclusions regarding the acceptability of violence in Islam. Asked whether Hasan mentioned Fort Hood as a target in his e-mails, the reporter declined to comment. However, al-Awlaki said the shooting was acceptable in Islam because it was a form of jihad, as the West began the hostilities with the Muslims. Referring to his blog post praising the shootings after they occurred, al-Alwaki said he "blessed the act ... the soldiers who were killed were not normal soldiers, but those who were trained and prepared to go to Iraq and Afghanistan".
Faizul Khan, the former imam of a Silver Spring, Maryland, mosque where Hasan prayed several times a week said he was "a reserved guy with a nice personality. We discussed religious matters. He was a fairly devout Muslim." Hasan often expressed his wish to get married, and Khan said "I got the impression that he was a committed soldier."
During his psychiatry fellowship at USUHS, Air Force Lt. Col. Dr. Val Finnell, a medical school classmate, said that while other students' projects focused on topics such as water contamination, Hasan's project dealt with "whether the war on terror is a war against Islam." According to retired Colonel Terry Lee, "He said 'maybe Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor'. At first we thought he meant help the armed forces, but apparently that wasn't the case. Other times he would make comments we shouldn't be in the war in the first place."
Hasan's business card describes him as a psychiatrist specializing in Behavioral Health - Mental Health - Life Skills, and contains the acronyms SoA(SWT). According to investigators, the acronym "SoA" is commonly used on jihadist websites as an acronym for "Soldier of Allah" or "Servant of Allah", and SWT is commonly used by Muslims to mean "subhanahu wa ta'ala" (Glory to God). The cards neglected to mention his military rank.
A review of Hasan's computer and his multiple e-mail accounts has revealed visits to websites espousing radical Islamist ideas, a senior law enforcement official said.
Hasan had come to the attention of federal authorities at least six months before the attacks, because of internet postings he appeared to have made discussing suicide bombings and other threats, though authorities did not at the time definitively tie the postings to him. The postings, made in the name "Nidal Hasan," likened a suicide bomber to a soldier who throws himself on a grenade to save his colleagues, and sacrifices his life for a "more noble cause." No official investigation was opened.
ABC News reported that officials were aware that Hasan had attempted to contact Al Qaeda, and that Hasan had "more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI" than just Anwar al-Awlaki.
Hasan was investigated by the FBI after intelligence agencies intercepted at least 18 emails between him and al-Awkali, who was under surveillance, between December 2008 and June 2009. According to journalist Brian Ross, in one of the emails Hasan wrote al-Awlaki: "I can't wait to join you [in the afterlife]," and said Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a military analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies: "It sounds like ... he's actually either offering himself up or that he's already crossed that line in his own mind." Hasan also asked al-Awlaki when jihad is appropriate, and whether it is permissible if innocents are killed in a suicide attack. In the months before the attacks, Hasan increased his contacts with al-Awlaki to discuss how to transfer funds abroad without coming to the attention of law authorities.
Despite two Defense Department investigators on two joint task forces having looked into Hasan's communications, higher-ups at the Department of Defense stated they were not notified before the incident of such investigations
So to reiterate the need to investigate the failure of John Brennan who during the 9/11 Commission bragged that the inter-communication network of all the intelligence areas would prevent further attacks on US soil is a mockery of intelligence period.
Obama, the Department of Defense and Janet Napolitano all stated initially that we must not jump to conclusions and to await the investigation to run its course. We know that this course has already been run and the answers given to the problem. We know that the very man who had the answers, testified that he had the answers is now spearheading a new investigation less than 5 years since he testified. The Obama Administration is not interested in answers, but stifling new questions of answers given long ago by John Brennan.
One final note, Hasan when killing Americans on American soil shouted “Allah Akbar”. John Brennan testified he had the answers to prevent this in the future, that his department has all intelligence agencies sitting side by side to share information that will prevent this from happening in the future. A future less than 5 years from his testimony is all it lasted.