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Member since: Wed May 5, 2004, 09:44 AM
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Vietnam was started & fought by liberal Democrats, too. That war almost killed the Party

and gave us this guy:

NIXON: He's tanned, rested and ready for '16.

Why is the Administration Withholding Israeli-Provided Intercepts That "Prove" Responsibility?

This afternoon, nine days after the event, the U.S. Government issued its first official account of events in the northern Damascus suburbs. The State Department released a report, U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013, that alleges the following: http://www.c-span.org/uploadedFiles/Content/Documents/USGassessmentonSyria%281%29.pdf

The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack. These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting. Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence . . .

The State Dept Report is missing something essential -- any specific evidence of command authorization for the attack. That is essential to a finding of governmental culpability that must be present if the US or anyone else is going to launch a punative military action against Syria.

Here's what the "declassified" document just released does not contain: any specific information, or reference to specific information, that in any way ties officials at the Minister of Defense or higher level in the planning and execution of this attack. What it does say is that the the Syrian Minister of Defense upon learning of the attack ordered it to cease.

Furthermore, the specific information provided by other sources shows that the Minister of Defense personally spoke with the unit commander after the attack, and the Minister is characterized as being panicked by the news he receives. Foreign Policy’s magazine The Cable reported on August 27: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/08/27/exclusive_us_spies_say_intercepted_calls_prove_syrias_army_used_nerve_gas

Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.”

That report goes on to express the uncertainties that have arisen in assigning culpability for the incident:

But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? "It's unclear where control lies," one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. "Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?"

Nor are U.S. analysts sure of the Syrian military's rationale for launching the strike -- if it had a rationale at all. Perhaps it was a lone general putting a long-standing battle plan in motion; perhaps it was a miscalculation by the Assad government. Whatever the reason, the attack has triggered worldwide outrage, and put the Obama administration on the brink of launching a strike of its own in Syria. "We don't know exactly why it happened," the intelligence official added. "We just know it was pretty fucking stupid."

The UK National Post-Telegraph reflected that assessment that there is no certainty as whether this attack was ordered from above or the unauthorized work of a lower-ranking officer in the field:http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/08/28/intercepted-phone-call-helped-convince-u-s-that-syrian-regime-was-responsible-for-deadly-chemical-attack/

A report about the new evidence was published on Foreign Policy, an international affairs website, as President Barack Obama announced that the United States has “concluded” that the Syrian government carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians. Yet U.S. intelligence officials say questions remain about whether it was an officially sanctioned attack or the work of an over-zealous officer.

The intercepted message does not conclusively establish who gave the order to use chemical weapons and could mean it was a mistake, analysts suggested.

Furthermore, another factor to consider is the accuracy of the assessments that have been produced. the source of the key intercepts was IDF Unit 8200, the Israeli NSA. This is from a report the following day in The Guardian (08/28): http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/28/israeli-intelligence-intercepted-syria-chemical-talk

The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime's deployment of chemical weapons – which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any western military action – has been provided by Israeli military intelligence, the German magazine Focus has reported.

The 8200 unit of the Israeli Defence Forces, which specialises in electronic surveillance, intercepted a conversation between Syrian officials regarding the use of chemical weapons, an unnamed former Mossad official told Focus. The content of the conversation was relayed to the US, the ex-official said.

The 8200 unit collects and analyses electronic data, including wiretapped telephone calls and emails. It is the largest unit in the IDF.

Israel has invested in intelligence assets in Syria for decades, according to a senior government official. "We have an historic intelligence effort in the field, for obvious reasons," he said.

Israel and the US had a "close and co-operative relationship in the intelligence field", he added, but declined to comment specifically on the Focus report.

Senior Israeli security officials arrived in Washington on Monday to share the latest results of intelligence-gathering, and to review the Syrian crisis with national security adviser Susan Rice.

Finally, we observe, Susan Rice and the Administration have been sitting on these Israeli-based intercepts for five days. Why does this report lack any direct reference to the Israeli NSA-based information which formed the basis for White House decisions. The Obama Administration can not credibly claim a need to protect sources and methods, particularly when in this case they have already been publicly described in several news media reports in the United States, the UK, and Israel.

Why are we, the American people who must bear the responsibility for the costs and consequences, intended and unintended, of Obama's reprisal attack, not being shown this critical evidence?

Same Iraq WMD Fabricators Planned US Attack by "Drawing Attention" to Syria's WMDs in 1996

They almost did it again - manipulated the US into a direct military role in Mideast conflict. Tonight, the US is once more poised to launch yet another Shock and Awe-style missile strike, again on the basis of a selective reading of intelligence, most of it provided by Israel.

The NYT reports this evening:

WASHINGTON — President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said on Thursday, even with a rejection of such action by Britain’s Parliament, an increasingly restive Congress, and lacking an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council.

That news comes on the heels of revelations yesterday that the original source of intercepts of Syrian communications on which the Obama Administration is basing its decision to launch unilateral attacks on Syria is Israeli intelligence, specifically IDF Unit 8200, the Israeli NSA. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/28/israeli-intelligence-intercepted-syria-chemical-talk

Certain Obama officials have been pushing direct US military intervention since March 2011, while similar urgings for action against neighboring Mideast countries goes back at least 15 years before that to release in 1996 of a neocon manifesto, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm written for the then newly installed conservative Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu (has Bibi been in and out of the top office for that long, now?). The best-known authors of that planning paper were Richard Perle, the Wurmsers, and Doug Feith, who went on to establish the notorious Pentagon Office of Special Plans (OSP), the DoD unit under Undersecretary for Intelligence Steven Cambone that fabricated much of the intelligence to justify Bush's invasion of Iraq.

"A Clean Break" is a remarkably candid and concise document that accurately predicted U.S. and Israeli policy and actions in the region, particularly events in Syria involving external agitation of internal ethnic conflict, foreign military responses, and Israel "drawing attention" to Syria's WMDs -- all events that have finally come to fruition during the last couple weeks.

The 1996 document extracted below explicitly states that Syria's WMD along with Turkish and Jordanian-sponsored ethnic conflict inside Syria will serve as a pretext for western intervention, leading to the possible breakup of Syria, while at the same time PM Netanyahu should reject U.S. pressures to accept land for peace. That is exactly what has come to pass in 2013.

As A Clean Break makes clear, serial regime change in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and then Iran has long been the goal of a core group of Washington power players in both parties going back to that era. Here's the plan to transform the Mideast (and the U.S.) so as to expand Israel's regional hegemony, along with Turkey and Jordan, with Saudi Arabia the silent partner of the Rightwing parties in Israel, the US, and the UK. This plan of serial regime change was later euphemistically termed, "The Arab Spring", when conditions were deemed ripe for overthrow of a string of governments of states surrounding Israel.

The "Clean Break" document was submitted to then PM Benjamin Netanyahu. It is remarkably prescient, and has come to pass through the wars and covert operations waged by the past two U.S. Administrations, with a few bumps in the road, almost exactly as planned 17 year ago.

Ironically, as alluded to below (and developed at greater length in later sections of the document not excerpted below,) make clear, the ultimate point of neocon regime change is to invert the relationship of Israel with the US, and to make the former autonomous of the constraints imposed by the latter. The U.S. is the ultimate target of Right-wing regime change planned in Israel by the same Neocons advising Netanyahu's Likud Party who went on to carry out the Iraq War WMD fabrications: http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm

A Clean Break:
A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

Following is a report prepared by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000." The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy.

Israel has a large problem. Labor Zionism, which for 70 years has dominated the Zionist movement, has generated a stalled and shackled economy. Efforts to salvage Israel’s socialist institutions—which include pursuing supranational over national sovereignty and pursuing a peace process that embraces the slogan, "New Middle East"—undermine the legitimacy of the nation and lead Israel into strategic paralysis and the previous government’s "peace process." That peace process obscured the evidence of eroding national critical mass— including a palpable sense of national exhaustion—and forfeited strategic initiative. The loss of national critical mass was illustrated best by Israel’s efforts to draw in the United States to sell unpopular policies domestically, to agree to negotiate sovereignty over its capital, and to respond with resignation to a spate of terror so intense and tragic that it deterred Israelis from engaging in normal daily functions, such as commuting to work in buses.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government comes in with a new set of ideas. While there are those who will counsel continuity, Israel has the opportunity to make a clean break; it can forge a peace process and strategy based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism, the starting point of which must be economic reform. To secure the nation’s streets and borders in the immediate future, Israel can:

* Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats. This implies clean break from the slogan, "comprehensive peace" to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power.

* Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas and nurturing alternatives to Arafat’s exclusive grip on Palestinian society.

* Forge a new basis for relations with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West. This can only be done if Israel takes serious steps to terminate aid, which prevents economic reform.

This report is written with key passages of a possible speech marked TEXT, that highlight the clean break which the new government has an opportunity to make. The body of the report is the commentary explaining the purpose and laying out the strategic context of the passages.

A New Approach to Peace

Early adoption of a bold, new perspective on peace and security is imperative for the new prime minister. While the previous government, and many abroad, may emphasize "land for peace"— which placed Israel in the position of cultural, economic, political, diplomatic, and military retreat — the new government can promote Western values and traditions. Such an approach, which will be well received in the United States, includes "peace for peace," "peace through strength" and self reliance: the balance of power.

A new strategy to seize the initiative can be introduced:


We have for four years pursued peace based on a New Middle East. We in Israel cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent. Peace depends on the character and behavior of our foes. We live in a dangerous neighborhood, with fragile states and bitter rivalries. Displaying moral ambivalence between the effort to build a Jewish state and the desire to annihilate it by trading "land for peace" will not secure "peace now." Our claim to the land —to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years--is legitimate and noble. It is not within our own power, no matter how much we concede, to make peace unilaterally. Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimension, "peace for peace," is a solid basis for the future.

Israel’s quest for peace emerges from, and does not replace, the pursuit of its ideals. The Jewish people’s hunger for human rights — burned into their identity by a 2000-year old dream to live free in their own land — informs the concept of peace and reflects continuity of values with Western and Jewish tradition. Israel can now embrace negotiations, but as means, not ends, to pursue those ideals and demonstrate national steadfastness. It can challenge police states; enforce compliance of agreements; and insist on minimal standards of accountability.

Securing the Northern Border

Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:

* striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.

* paralleling Syria’s behavior by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.

* striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper.

Israel also can take this opportunity to remind the world of the nature of the Syrian regime. Syria repeatedly breaks its word. It violated numerous agreements with the Turks, and has betrayed the United States by continuing to occupy Lebanon in violation of the Taef agreement in 1989. Instead, Syria staged a sham election, installed a quisling regime, and forced Lebanon to sign a "Brotherhood Agreement" in 1991, that terminated Lebanese sovereignty. And Syria has begun colonizing Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of Syrians, while killing tens of thousands of its own citizens at a time, as it did in only three days in 1983 in Hama.

Under Syrian tutelage, the Lebanese drug trade, for which local Syrian military officers receive protection payments, flourishes. Syria’s regime supports the terrorist groups operationally and financially in Lebanon and on its soil. Indeed, the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon has become for terror what the Silicon Valley has become for computers. The Bekaa Valley has become one of the main distribution sources, if not production points, of the "supernote" — counterfeit US currency so well done that it is impossible to detect.


Negotiations with repressive regimes like Syria’s require cautious realism. One cannot sensibly assume the other side’s good faith. It is dangerous for Israel to deal naively with a regime murderous of its own people, openly aggressive toward its neighbors, criminally involved with international drug traffickers and counterfeiters, and supportive of the most deadly terrorist organizations.

Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan "comprehensive peace" and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program, and rejecting "land for peace" deals on the Golan Heights.

Moving to a Traditional Balance of Power Strategy


We must distinguish soberly and clearly friend from foe. We must make sure that our friends across the Middle East never doubt the solidity or value of our friendship.

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the 'natural axis' with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity.

Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and < . . .>

There's a near perfect inverse relationship between Black Budget spending and national security.

The more we spend on secret domestic spying and covert action abroad, the weaker the U.S. becomes. It's been going that way for decades.

If the intercepts prove anything, it's that some Gen. Ripper type launched the attack on his own.

Might as well blame President Merkin Muffley for that errant SAC wing sent to bomb Russia to protect America's precious bodily fluids. Since the red line has been crossed -- doesn't matter who or why -- we might as well kill a lot of people in Syria, anyway. Shows resolve.

This is as insane as the plot line of "Dr. Strangelove"- psychotic Gen. Jack Ripper sets off WW3 to protect his precious bodily fluids. Some middling officer commanding an isolated Syrian Army unit in a northern suburb of Damascus fires off some chemical rounds, which is something the Syrian Defense Minister is clearly upset by, and everyone else has to die winning the war. Utterly insane.

The White House needs to release the intercepts so the rest of us can hear what was said, and make up our own minds - they should have done that five days ago, but didn't. Why not? Assad isn't the only one who isn't being transparent.

The original source of the intercept is Israeli intelligence. We can and should release it and wait for independent analysis and authentication before we do a thing. Here's the source for that: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/28/israeli-intelligence-intercepted-syria-chemical-talk

Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.

You know when fluoridation first began? Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.
-- General Jack D. Ripper

I'll buy another personal Airbus 380 and a Boeing 747, just to celebrate

Thank you, America.

On second thought, make that two Boeings with this order.

(Response to question: Who wins if America bombs Syria?)

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

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.

Your world view, if not an aggregation including poor people is that of a corporate economist

The US has fallen by most indices of life at the middle to something like 18th in the world. For the bottom quintile, life is very much like a developing country, for those at the bottom 10 percent, it's a 3rd world country. That's a fact.

Yes, things are still rosy at the top. But, below that, there's growing insecurity. And below that, misery. But, if you're not a consumer, you don't exist in the view of the corporate economists.

For once, I agree with you. When actual US terrorist attacks occurred, NSA spying was useless.

For several decades, every real mass casualty "foreign" terrorist attack that has succeeded inside the US has been carried out by groups and individuals associated with CIA covert operations. In some of these, particularly 9/11, the NSA was conducting surveillance on some of the principal participants, but the FBI was prevented from accessing this data by another federal agency, the Central Intelligence Agency.

Consider this, for instance, about the hijackers who commandeered Flt. 77 on 9/11: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=journals&uid=143890

Court records from the trial of convicted co-conspiractor Zakaria Moussaoui shows the FBI was aware of NSA intercepts of Midhar and and his partner Nawaf al-Hazmi in the months leading up to 9/11, who went on to hijack Flt. 77 that slammed into the Pentagon. The pair had also met with the other principal 9/11 hijackers at various locations inside the US. Based in part on NSA wiretaps that were later withheld and suppressed, FBI agents had, in fact, located the pair inside the US in mid-2001, but the investigating agents were ordered to close their files after CIA refused to cooperate and pressured the Bureau to shut down several lines of field investigation that were focusing on the plotters.

(FBI Director) Mueller's claims omit those key facts. The Director instead stated that Khalid al-Midhar was being monitored by intelligence agencies, but “they lost track of him,” Mueller said. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2013/0613/Secret-NSA-program-could-have-derailed-9-11-attacks-FBI-director-says-video

In each major terrorist attack that occurred here during the last twenty years, one or more of the perpetrators was known directly to the CIA and identified as a terrorist, yet they somehow managed to enter the US and carry out attacks. This is true going back to WTC '93, and includes 9/11, the string of Anwar al-Awlaki-related incidents (which included 9/11 and the Underwear Bomber), and the Tsarnaev brothers. In other words, almost all real terrorism that has caused civilian casualties in America in recent times has been carried out by "our" terrorists, or more accurately, individuals known by the CIA to be part of terrorist groups.

Let's look at the older Boston Bomber, Tamarlan Tsarnaev. Tamarlan was nominated by the CIA as a terrorist in the fall of 2011 after a Massachusetts triple-murder in which the older brother is now implicated in the killing of his closest friend. Nonetheless, while an active murder investigation was ongoing, Tamarlan was allowed to leave the country to travel to Russia and Chechnya where he met with Islamic militants, and then hastily returned when his local contact with the militants was killed by the Russian security forces. Yet, inexplicably, he was never stopped or questioned during these travels, despite being on three terrorist watch lists. Again, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was designated a terrorist at about the same time he is alleged to have been involved in a triple murder, but at the time whatever was known to the CIA was never turned over to Boston Police or the FBI. In addition, he was not stopped when he left or returned to the US, despite the fact that he is not a US Citizen and was listed on the watchlist: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/27/17945669-boston-bombing-suspects-mother-was-in-us-terror-database?lite

If, after 9/11, we had simply curtailed the CIA's use of terrorists, instead of hastily passing the Patriot Act, we wouldn't be having this debate about NSA. Instead, the government threw money at NSA contractors to spy on everyone, Bush invaded Iraq, and the CIA continued along its merry way, running known terrorists in and out of the country who proceed to carry out attacks with seeming impunity.

Unfortunately, American casualties from terrorist attacks is seen as acceptable collateral damage of CIA covert operations (or, treated as acceptable by US policymakers, who never really change the way intelligence agencies do business) and are used as a pretense to go to war (not necessarily against those who actually attack us) and to build up a police state apparatus inside the US.

This is the real "intelligence failure" of U.S. Counter-terrorism. The lies told to obscure and redirect responsibility for these losses are all the more revolting for the fact that they are so transparent.
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