Saturday, April 10, 2004

U.S.: The sick folly of the Left

Taken from Fox News:

The following is a redacted text of the presidential daily briefing from August 6, 2001:

Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997' has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."
This is an historical assessment. It reveals Bin Ladin's long term planning, his tactics and strategic goals. The example of Ramzi Yousef may have signified not just bringing the fighting to America, but trying to blow up the WTC. However, the PDB raises only the first scenario and not the second.
After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted text] service. An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an [deleted text] service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.
This is vague. What does retaliate in Washington mean? A presidential assassination? Bombing the Capitol? What kind of bombing? With these Islamic nuts, it's always some kind of bombing because they have no interest in political process.
The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Ladin's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the US. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that Bin Ladin lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own US attack.
Ressam was caught by a customs agent at the border. There was no BOLO for Ressam, just a border agent who thought something was fishy. This bit ignores the terrorist strike of 1993, the first attempt on the World Trade Center. Is there a connection to be drawn here between targets? LAX in this paragraph and an attack in Washington in the previous one? Only in hindsight. Even in hindsight, the connection doesn't hold because the LA attack that was planned was location specific -- the airport itself. Ressam, though, has contacts with Al Qaeda via Abu Zubaydah. It is likely that Ramzi Yousef also did because they had tactics in common -- the use of sodium cyanide to kill large numbers of people -- which Ressam had learned in an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. The Atlantic Online also reports the Ramzi Yousef-Al Qaeda connection. If there is a gap in knowledge here, it is the fault of the FBI and the CIA.
Ressam says Bin Ladin was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Although Bin Ladin has not succeeded, his attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Ladin associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.
Again, a historical assessment of Al Qaeda's tactics.
Al-Qa'ida members -- including some who are US citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qa'ida members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our Embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.
This points to the government's awareness of Al Qaeda's fifth column tactic. If the FBI and the CIA did not look at the actions of Muslims in this country, they would be derelict in the performance of their protective duties. It also points to the long term Islamic strategy to seek immigration in non-Muslim countries in order to undermine them from within.
A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Ladin cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.
More of the same. The thing is, did the FBI know who these young men were? Was the FBI tracking them, or was the FBI's inability to track them hampered by this country's laws?
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar' Abd aI-Rahman and other US-held extremists.
Here's a stunner. The 1998 aircraft hijack tactic was supposed to be in furtherance of a particular goal, releasing Abd al-Rahman. The key word here is "hijack," which is far and away different from using the plane as a weapon. A review of the history of airline hijackings will demonstrate this to be so. The tactics employed when a plane was hijacked were similar to that employed by the staff and passengers of those on the downed airplanes on 9/11, with the exception of the one in Pennsylvania. The difference there was that cell phone conversation with relatives informed those on board that more than a hijacking was intended.
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
Other types of attacks may well have been homicide bombings, sarin gas attacks as employed by Aum Shinrikyo in Japan, or sodium cyanide attacks, as Ramzi Yousef and Ahmed ressam had been trained by Al Qaeda to perform. THe vagueness of the term is open to wide interpretation. The danger for those analyzing the info was on relying on historical data rather than thinking wildly outside the box of novel ways of attack that relied on the attacked country, rather than the attacker, providing the means for the attack.
The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks
with explosives.
Again, a false trail laid. "Explosives" is generic and encourages one to think in terms of what is known rather than what could be employed thus. The faulty thinking in this regard must be laid at the door of the FBI and CIA because they remained within conventional parameters and did not realize that common usage terms, such as "hijacking" and "explosives" might have alternative and new layers of meaning. These tactics emplyed by Al Qaeda were totally asymmetric. They represented violent thinking outside the box at its best. The FBI and CIA did not demonstrate a corresponding ability to match this type of thinking with aymmetic analysis, perhaps because they might have a reliance on history and a trail of evidence. What is needed is an organization, independent of the FBI and CIA, staffed with people who are encouraged to regard the U.S. as powerless, and who must devise asymmetric ways of defense tactics to realize a wider and even more asymmetric strategy to defeat terrorism. The old paradigms of intelligence and analytical thought will not work, for they are too bound by the restraints of organizational and institutional culture. Hopefully, out of this all will come a new and totally covert organization as I have described, and one that even Congress is absolutely ignorant about.

Furthermore, in a David Freddoso article, "Graham: We Had Same Info as Bush", which appeared on the May 27, 2002, cover of HUMAN EVENTS(Make sure to read all of the article, it is that important.), Freddoso reported this:
Sen. Bob Graham (D.-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told HUMAN EVENTS May 21 that his committee had received all the same terrorism intelligence prior to September 11 as the Bush administration.

"Yes, we had seen all the information," said Graham. "But we didn't see it on a single piece of paper, the way the President did."

Graham added that threats of hijacking in an August 6 memo to President Bush were based on very old intelligence that the committee had seen earlier. "The particular report that was in the President's Daily Briefing that day was about three years old," Graham said. "It was not a contemporary piece of information."

Graham's comments contradicted combative statements made recently by the Democratic congressional leadership, and confirmed White House assertions that the only specific threats of al Qaeda hijackings known to the President before September 11 came from a memo dating back to the Clinton Administration.
In sum, the release of this PDB is not about proving the bona fides of the Bush administration concerning what it knew about the 9/11 attack. Instead, it is about pure and rank partisanship which would reveal sensitive security information for the merest political gain. If America is hurt by the release of the PDB, even redacted, well, tough titty. What matters to Democrats, and to the anti-Bush dupes amongst the bereaved 9/11 families, is that the presidency of GWB attacked, and repeatedly, and that his credibility, reputation for truth telling and being a straight shooter are all undermined so that GWB seems no more different and reliable than Slick Willie Clinton. National security? What's that?

For Democrats, sticking it to a Republican American president is more vital than battling against terrorism at its source. Consequently, they're willing to reveal national security data in some misguided hope that the nation has enough semi-literates to believe that "Bush knew ... Bush lied." That the release of such data compromises or might compromise the nation's ability to glean intelligence from foreign and domestic sources -- after all, what snitch in his right mind will want to talk if his data becomes prime media fodder? -- is a small price to pay, especially if the Republican president can be brought down.

Foolishly, as has been the case every time Democrats have gone up against President Bush, they have been suckered into playing a hand that leaves them caught in the headlights and revealed as the stark raving partisans that they are. The release of the PDB reveals that Condi Rice told the truth; establishes Richard Clarke as a liar; underscores that Democrats on the 9/11 Committee are partisans with an anti-Bush agenda; and teaches Democrats -- once again -- the same lesson they've been unwilling to learn since 2001: never play poker with a master poker-player.


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