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Response to ljm2002 (Reply #154)

Tue Aug 13, 2013, 11:22 AM

160. I had hopes for constructive change to CIA Counter-terrorism operations in 2008.

Last edited Tue Aug 13, 2013, 02:13 PM - Edit history (9)

The Tsarnaev case points out the fatal lack of reform and control over U.S. covert operations. In particular, we now see that the Obama Administration has in fact not been successful in efforts to fix what the President previously characterized as "a systemic failure" of U.S. intelligence to prevent the entry of persons known to the CIA to be terrorists. That this obvious fact after the Boston Bombing is being pointed out on a blog and not in the major media also highlights that there has also been a failure of the corporate press, and its abdication of any meaningful role since 9/11 as public watchdog over these dangers.

At the beginning of the Obama Presidency, and that seems a long time ago, there seemed to have been some cause for hope for change after the 2009 Underwear bomber incident. Obama was reported to have been furious that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was known to the CIA since the previous August, was allowed on a Xmas Day flight to Detroit at Amsterdam's Skocpol Airport. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2009/12/obama-systemic-failure-allowed-alleged-bomber-on-plane.html The President was quoted at the time as saying,

"The warning signs would have triggered red flags and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America," Obama said. "A systemic failure has occurred, and I consider that totally unacceptable."


A new candor by the Administration appeared to have been signaled when, in early January 2010 Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy pretty much came out and admitted in public testimony to a Senate Committee that a decision had been made to permit the Underwear Bomber to keep a visa to enter the US even though he was a known intending terrorist. Here's the key section of Kennedy's testimony, that was widely ignored:


1/20/10: Statement of Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Secretary of State for Management - Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary,
http://travel.state.gov/law/legal/testimony/testimony_4635.html - Cached - Similar

In addition to these changes, the Department is reviewing the procedures and criteria used in the field to revoke visas and will issue new instructions to our officers. Revocation recommendations will be added as an element of reporting through the Visas Viper channel. We will be reiterating our guidance on use of the broad discretionary authority of visa officers to deny visas on security and other grounds. Instruction in appropriate use of this authority has been a fundamental part of officer training for several years.

The State Department has broad and flexible authority to revoke visas and we use that authority widely to protect our borders. Since 2001, we have revoked 51,000 visas for a variety of reasons, including over 1,700 for suspected links to terrorism. We have been actively using this authority as we perform internal scrubs of our data with watchlist information provided by partner agencies. For example, we are re-examining information in our CLASS database on individuals with potential connections to terrorist activity or support for such activity. . . We recognize the gravity of the threat we face and are working intensely with our colleagues from other agencies to ensure that when the U.S. Government obtains information that a person may pose a threat to our security, that person does not hold a visa.

We will use revocation authority prior to interagency consultation in circumstances where we believe there is an immediate threat. Revocation is an important tool in our border security arsenal. At the same time, expeditious coordination with our national security partners is not to be underestimated. There have been numerous cases where our unilateral and uncoordinated revocation would have disrupted important investigations that were underway by one of our national security partners. They had the individual under investigation and our revocation action would have disclosed the U.S. Government’s interest in the individual and ended our colleagues’ ability to quietly pursue the case and identify terrorists’ plans and co-conspirators.

But, apparently, even after all the publicity that Umar had been assisted onto the flight, the Anwar al-Awlaki operation in Yemen stayed open for business, as we found out later with the AP embroglio over the wire service's report published in March that the Yemen AQ bomb-making cell had been penetrated by the CIA and Saudi intelligence double-agents. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/15/184274166/leaks-bombs-and-double-agents-more-on-that-ap-story The droning of al-Awlaki and several other highly visible AQ figures appeared to have put an end to this sort of attract and trap operation involving CIA double-agents.

The Boston Bombing in April, nevertheless, is yet another instance where we are told that information about a designated terrorist let into the U.S. wasn't shared or fell through the cracks -- even though Tamarlan Tsarnaev was originally nominated as a terrorist by the CIA, and his name (with alternative spellings) appeared on three watch lists before he traveled and returned through US customs following his adventure in Russia and Chechnya -- yet, again, nothing was done to even monitor him and prevent another attack.

Nothing has changed, and this is just sickening.

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ljm2002 Aug 2013 #154
LineLineLineNew Reply I had hopes for constructive change to CIA Counter-terrorism operations in 2008.
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