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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

President Citing Terrorism To Thwart Congressional Oversight [2.0]

State of the Union Address -- 2007: President's Dubious Statements on Terrorism: Not Sufficiently Matched By Law Enforcement Responses

The Presidents comments on terrorism are not credible. Law enforcement dismisses information saying the suspects are amateurs; yet when given information that would trip up the amateurs, law enforcement inconsistently argues the opposite: That the suspects are trained, and would not get caught.

Law enforcement is making excuses to:

1. Pretend evidence cannot be challenged by unsophisticated suspects;

2. Pretend that a suspect is both amateur [and not sophisticated, nor linked with terror cells]; yet sophisticated [unable to be tripped up by law enforcement ruses that would only trap an amateur.

Because law enforcement does not show an active interest in pursuing supplemental terror information, the lack of dedicated manpower, we judge the war on terror is not a credible domestic program. A credible program would seriously accept evidence; consistently challenge or accept evidence based on a profile that was consistently amateur or sophisticated.

Law enforcement appears more interested in legislative agendas that in managing information related to what the President says is the most important agenda. If the terror threat were real, there would be no need to debate manpower requirements in law enforcement.

Because law enforcement supposedly has terror-related requirements, but limited manpower, law enforcement is not making the credible argument that there a bonafide threat.

* * *

Important Links

A. The lack of coordination in the FBI.

Note the responses to the CREW issue. Despite an investigation, the FBI IG was unable to find who in the FBI leaked invalid information to the media about whether the CREW had or had not appropriately done what it should.
The OIG was unable to determine from the interviews it conducted
who was responsible for making these inaccurate statements to the media.
Ref: 21 of 31

This lack of coordination on a simple media message indicates that not only is personnel staffing thin, but the experience levels are low:

___ Lack of check sheets, documentation, and other records related to media contacts

___ Inadequate internal coordination on a media message disseminated; yet not method to ensure the provided message was consistent

___ An assertion that there is insufficient manning relative to perceived media requirements, despite indicators the problem is manpower management, not resource availability.

___ Yet, known DoJ Staff counsel working on non-official business indicating that the personnel do not have enough to do; or, despite the known legal requirements, the staff is not doing their job as the statute requires. Ref

This means it’s more likely the asserted man loading requirements relative actual workloads are not an issue [staffing shortage claims are less credible]; but the issue is with inadequate coordination with the adequate man loading available. This is not a resource problem, but a management and leadership problem, compounded with the threat is not real; and the information provided exceeds the law enforcement perception of the value of that information. This is a repeat of the 9-11 threat indicators from the 9-11 Commission Report

B. The known recklessness, insecurity, and incompetence of senior personnel assigned to the FBI.

Personnel assigned are linked with known efforts to rebuff, not process, and not accept bonafide information. At the senior ranks of the FBI in DC, personnel are known to have a poor understanding of evidence, case law, declinations, and the basis to accept or not accept information.

Where something does not fit into a neat investigation subgroup, this valuable intelligence information is not shared with Congress to facilitate lessons learned; or a lawful oversight program that would effectively manage threat information; or provide to other agencies information related to unusual events outside the simple rubric: "Is this or is this not a crime?" That question is irrelevant when considering the intelligence value of public observations: Reports of unusual activity.

The fact that that information which does not fit anywhere, once collected, is not presented to Congress (in closed session) [to develop programs and plans to forward this information for agency review, and management] suggests that despite the wall falling between FBI and CIA, there remains a poor management structure in place who are unable to optimize the available, open source information; nor are they effectively developing solutions to work with Congress to lawfully glean lessons learned and more effectively govern or respond to unusual situations.

C. Overemphasis on AlQueda, without focusing on benefits of regional stabilizing forces which the US has destroyed, and not replaced

The President cannot credibly talk about the problems of insurgencies without talking about the benefits of the stabilizing forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. It may be true the US has opposed the Islamic Courts, Iraq Insurgencies, and Taliban, but the US provides nothing more credible as a stabilizing force.

Somalia is not credibly linked with AlQueda. The problem isn't with AlQueda, nor their connection to the Islamic Courts. AlQueda is, as with Iraq, an irrelevant issue in Somalia. The fundamental problem is the Islamic Courts' incorrect association with AlQueda, despite the Courts actual ability to provide a stabilizing force.

AlQueda has too much credit for things it is not doing; and the US, as it did in Iraq, is point to an imaginary enemy, while failing to realize that the Islamic Courts provided stability, as the Taliban did in Afghanistan. The US-Ethiopian attacks on the Islamic Courts have undermined the stabilizing forces, the same problem in Iraq.

Details Known problems with the assessments about Somalia: AlQueda does not have a position. [Ref Check the "original document" under Somalia, here:

29/12/06: Inside Somalia and the Union of Islamic Courts. An example analysis and the original document. Of this analysis, Said S. Samatar, the Professor of African History at Rutgers University said, “This is a remarkably well researched and written piece. Informative, lucid and incisive.”

* * *

We judge the following:

1. The President's statements about domestic terrorism, although legally possible under the laws of war, are not logistically supportable, nor consistent with the marginal approach JTTF is taking to specific, novel threat information.

2. Evidence of domestic terrorism, even if connected with a real plot, cannot be timely managed, reviewed, or processed, contrary to DoJ public statements. The lack of manpower dedicated to JTTF is not linked with a problem with overwork or limited manpower; but with inadequately managed staff dedicated relative to too much information.

3. The President by making comments about terrorism is most likely to stir the civilian population to notice things; but the legal and law enforcement communities do not have the dedicated staff, nor the time, to focus on the public reaction or inputs. Rather, law enforcement is more inclined to use reasonable public inputs as a basis to target the informant; or pretend that the efforts to provide information are not related to a real threat warranting immediate review.

4. The lack of timely response to apparent terror indicators suggests that the perceived threat, regardless its connection or disconnection with a real terror plot, means that law enforcement is still approaching the issue with deference to civil liberties, as opposed to a roughshod approach targeting innocent civilians. The problem is the lack of public confidence the US government has with civil liberties; and the lack of balanced support for incoming informants unless they actively press issues with senior management. This is, as was the case prior to Sept 11, one of the contributing factors: Outside government, it was difficult to find someone willing to take the threat information seriously, and timely act on that information. Even when threat information is provided, the failure to timely respond to that information suggests the DoJ places a higher priority on getting new funding, not in using the available resources to effectively interact with threat information. DoJ may lack resources to manage information; but concerns with management are less linked with inadequate resources, but more with poor management of available resources.

5. Addington and others cannot credibly argue times have changed, or that the threat requires renewed attention. If this urgency were required or real, law enforcement would have been dedicated real staff to handle this terror-related information. The lack of manpower, combined with the inconsistent excuses to rebuff possible terror-related information suggests law enforcement is making inconsistent arguments: On one hand arguing that they need resources; while on the other rebuffing information and refusing to timely respond to specific threats. Again, the issue isn't whether there is or is not a concern, but the excuses law enforcement makes not to immediately process information, but look for evidence of criminal activity.

6. The inconsistent law enforcement approaches to possible threat information -- arguing that amateurs would not be able to do things; but arguing that there is nothing that could test the amateurs -- indicates that there is a fundamental disconnect in the rationale behind the law enforcement approach to the intelligence gathering. We judge this disconnect is because the threat is not real; despite the respect for civil rights, there is nothing in the way of law enforcement getting information; and if there were a real terror cell, there is not a perceived risk within law enforcement that the evidence, plot, or details are real.

* * *

Problems With President's State of The Union Address in Re Terrorism

Ref Everything the President says must be done is related to his excuse of fighting terrorism.

When reason will not motivate, use war, it will mobilize Americans to unite against a common foe: The Constitution, rule of law, and Presidential accountability.

The President mentioned the intelligence networks that are working to fight and find "thousands" of terrorists.

Small problem: If they're out there, where are they?

Even if the US were to assert there is something, they don't have the manpower available to follow-up on the issues.

The FBI appears to be chasing its tail, not because the threat is elusive, but there's no real threat to be founds.

If there were real concern, in the "new era" after 9-11, tips related to open plots would not be rebuffed. Law enforcement would not be using non-sense to discredit possible terrorist leads on the grounds that the tips were related to amateurs; then contradict themselves asserting ruses to trap these amateurs would get detected.

A suspect cannot be labeled an amateur to dismiss a plot, evidence, or observation of unusual activity; and then law enforcement cannot reverse themselves arguing that only an amateur would get caught using a ruse.

The fact that law enforcement is not willing to use ruses against the so-called amateurs means law enforcement is rebuffing information, and not aggressively moving rebuffed for another reason: The law enforcement is not convinced the plots are real; otherwise, even with limited manpower, they would dedicate resources immediately to the new information.

* * *

Law enforcement cannot credibly argue that evidence is linked only with a sophisticated plot, yet they ignore the information that would assist other in possible similar plots in other locations.

Evidence related to possible terrorism cannot credibly be dismissed because of its possible linkage with amateurs. If the suspects were amateurs, there would be no resistance by law enforcement to mislead suspects with incorrect information; nor delay in pretending to know something to see whether the suspect reacts, ignores, or otherwise agrees with bogus information.

A suspect is either an amateur or an expert. Law enforcement is classifying suspects as either an amateur to dismiss a concern; but the President is calling them experts to mobilize the leadership. This is a smokescreen away from the President’s legal problems warranting removal. If the President’s remarks were believable, law enforcement would find a way to legally justify resources, time, attention, and justifications to target specific individuals because of suspicious behavior. Law enforcement, despite the Abu Ghraib abuses is constrained when they believe the suspect might lie, or not provide useful information even if interrogated under duress.

We judge the President is lying about the terror threat; and the issue with law enforcement has nothing to do with limited resources, but with ineffective national policy to adequately manage, with the available resources, the most credible line of evidence: There is not a credible threat of an active plot of terrorism, only the credible threat of a President being removed from office.

Terrorism is the President’s smokescreen to thwart needed attention on reckless DOJ Staff defiance of the rule of law; and ineffective FBI management, despite ample resources, to appropriately manage information. Keeping the scope of the NSA surveillance activity secret, or hiding other classification programs hardly inspires confidence that the secret activity is related to a lawful function, but related to efforts to protect the President from accountability.