The CIA failed to notify other agencies about AbdulMutallab
The father of terrorism suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab talked about his son's extremist views with someone from the CIA and a report was prepared, but the report was not circulated outside the agency, a reliable source told CNN's Jeanne Meserve on Tuesday.
Had that information been shared, the 23-year-old Nigerian who is alleged to have bungled an attempt to blow up a jetliner as it was landing in Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day might have been denied passage on the Northwest Airlines flight, the source said.
U.S. officials said the father, a former Nigerian banker, expressed his concerns about his son's radicalization during at least one meeting and several calls with officials at the embassy in Nigeria.
The information on AbdulMutallab had been sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, but it sat there for five weeks and was not disseminated, the source said.
Federal authorities have charged AbdulMutallab with trying to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear as the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, made its final approach to Detroit. The device failed to fully detonate, instead setting off a fire at his seat.
An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the federal government had information that should have been assessed and meshed with other information "that would have allowed us to disrupt the attempted terrorist attack" before the suspect boarded the jet.
"What we have here is a situation in which the failings were individual, organizational, systemic and technological," the official said. "We ended up in a situation where a single point of failure in the system put our security at risk, where human error was compounded by systemic deficiencies in a way that we cannot allow to continue."
But an intelligence official said that the son's name, passport number and possible connection to extremists were indeed disseminated. "I'm not aware of a magic piece of intelligence somehow withheld that would have put AbdulMutallab on the no-fly list," the official said.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said department staff did what they were supposed to have done by sending a cable to the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington about the matter. Kelly said any decision to have revoked the suspect's visa would have been an interagency decision.
This isn't good at all. Despite the intelligence official, who claims nothing would have placed AbdulMutallab on a no-fly list, at the very least he should've raised a ton of red flags, especially with the amount of interaction that his father had with embassy and intelligence officials regarding his son. Systemic? That's an understatement.
When we created the Director of National Intelligence post, I warned that it was a mistake because the failures to follow would be compounded. There is far too much in-fighting between our intelligence agencies. I said then that we didn't need a DNI. We needed to streamline and reform our intel agencies. Set aside those for domestic operations under one banner, and one for foreign intelligence under another. (Personally, I'd like to see them linked, but given their parameters and restrictions, that's just not possible in America. For something like my vision to happen, we'd have to rip apart the bureaucratic red tape that has plagued our intel agencies since their beginnings.)
Yesterday I called for Janet "Incompetano" Napolitano's head on a platter. She is beyond incompetent in that post, and she's proven it often since taking that post. But now I call for Leon Penetta to be relieved of his duties as Director of Central Intelligence. (For the uneducated, that would be the guy who heads up the CIA.) Liberals screamed for heads to roll regarding our failures to stop 9-11, and I supported their call. What I didn't support then, and I won't now, is the nilly-willy screams for the president's head, or members of his administration that weren't in the know.
Before we jump off the cliff, let's make sure we have the right heads before we go any further. We don't want scapegoats or those that are forced to fall on their swords to protect the real people who allowed this failure to occur.
ADDENDUM: Michael Goldfarb from the Weekly Standard has an interesting piece of information in a blog post today regarding AbdulMutallab. In a post entitled "The Nigerian Lawyers Up," not only are we informed that AbdulMutallab has obtained a defense attorney, but also this fascinating little nugget of information:
It sounds like he was singing when they first got him, and of course we now know that the government already had enough information on him to justify sending a Blackwater hit team after him, but now that the people with all that information are finally in a position to ask the questions -- LAWYER. And let's not pretend that the FBI was asking him the right questions over the weekend as they told reporters they were still working under the assumption that the Nigerian had "acted alone." The CIA may have known he was al Qaeda months ago, but the FBI apparently didn't know until Monday -- after al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack. But now he's got a lawyer, and we can't interrogate him, we can't smack him around, we can't lay a finger on him.
OK, if the government deemed him enough of a threat to contract a Blackwater team to either kill him or capture him, then we, the people, aren't getting the full story about what the government knew and when they knew it, and more importantly why this man wasn't forbidden to board an airliner. I have e-mailed Mr. Goldfarb for a link to that piece of information because I'm not finding anything about a Blackwater hit team going after him on the Internet, on a host of search engines.