Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Sense a Disturbance in the Force...

While I was away attending a family matter a major tremor occurred. Not another earthquake, like the one that devastated Haiti, but a political shake-up. On 19 January, Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's vacant seat in Massachusetts over Democratic contender Martha Coakley:

As soon as the votes were counted, the Blame Game began. And who's the sinister mastermind behind the Democratic loss in MA? George W. Bush, of course!
And speaking of blame, half-way across the world, in some remote cave, eco-jihadist Osama Bin Laden blames the US for global warming:
OBL's intel is outdated. Somebody should brief him that the People's Republic of China is now the world's biggest polluter.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Political "Red Shirts"

We'll see come November...

The War Against Wall St.

Let's see, first the Obama Administration tried waging war against FOX News and now it's Wall Street. This is being sold as "getting our money back," however it's been blatantly clear that this is a political move. While banks who've paid bag government loans are being targeted, the (union heavy) auto industry is exempted:

Some comments from the Seattle Times:
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal rolls-in:

From Comrade Karla:

Can't anger the unions…that's why they will be exempt from any taxes to pay for O-care as well.

Haiti Devestated by Earthquake

A few days ago the island nation of Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. I was attending a training meeting at work, where we monitor earthquakes worldwide. During the meeting there were over a dozen aftershocks, all of them at, or over, 5.0 in magnitude.

Today I heard on the news, there's been over 40 aftershocks, 5.0 or higher.

Here's one of the initial news stories from the UK's Telegraph:

And here from the Boston Big Picture:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Kissing Commotion at Newark International

Several days ago, operations at the Newark Airport came to a screeching halt.
Another pair of Jihadi underoos went up in flame?
A man bypassed a security checkpoint to give his girlfriend one last kiss before she boarded her plane.
While the need for airport security is very real and a serious matter, the "Shoeless Shuffle" as Mark Steyn calls it, is getting out of hand:
In the movies, security officials are much more understanding, as in the movie Love Actually:

The New Year's Eve Bombing in Khost

(Image of the double-agent on-screen, from Time Magazine online)

While the world was celebrating the end of the 21st Century's first decade, several CIA operatives were killed by a double-agent Islamikaze.

Comrade Karla forwarded us the article with his comments:

Good discussion here about what went wrong, etc. Some really basic procedures appear to have been ignored, which really makes me wonder.

That Other Security Breach

According to National Security Advisor James Jones, Americans will feel a "certain sense of shock" when they read a report on the missed clues that allowed underwear bomber Farouk Abdulmutallab to board that Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day.

As he told USA Today:

President Obama "is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on," Jones said in an interview Wednesday.

"That's two strikes," Obama's top White House aide on defense and foreign policy issues said, referring to the foiled bombing of the Detroit-bound airliner and the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in November.

In that case, too, officials failed to act when red flags were raised about an Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan. He has been charged with killing 13 people.

Jones said Obama "certainly doesn't want that third strike, and neither does anybody else."

President Obama will speak on the report later today, outlining some of the corrective measures being devised to deter future attacks.

But Mr. Obama has been almost silent on that second, shocking security breach that occurred just days after the attempted airliner bombing. We refer to the suicide attack that took the lives of seven CIA operatives at their base in Afghanistan. A Kuwaiti-born doctor, being cultivated as a source on the Taliban and Al Qaida, blew himself up after being escorted into the compound, killing the CIA employees and his handler, a Jordanian intelligence officer.

It was the single deadliest day for the agency since a truck bomber targeted the U.S. Embassy in Beirut 26 years ago. Six CIA employees, assigned to the Beirut station, died in that attack.

According to various media accounts, the bomber responsible for the 30 December attack, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, was recruited by Jordanian intelligence for the purpose of penetrating Al Qaida and Taliban cells in Afghanistan. One CIA official told ABC's Brian Ross that al-Balawi was the "golden goose...the best hope in years" for obtaining actionable intelligence on senior Al Qaida terrorists, including the group's #2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Instead, al-Balawi was a double agent, part of a sophisticated terror plot to damage U.S. intelligence operations in Afghanistan. The degree to which he succeeded cannot be overstated.

Consider, for example, the number (and responsibilities) of the CIA operatives who attended the meeting. Seven of the agency's thirteen employees who were present died in the blast, including a female officer in charge of Operating Base Chapman, located near the Afghan-Pakistan border. Others killed by the bomber were described as some of the CIA's most experienced counter-terrorism operators. Their skills and expertise will not be easily replaced.

There's also the matter of other agents al-Balawi might have contacted. Sources claim the terrorist had visited Chapman before, suggesting he might have been in touch with other CIA employees, both at that facility and in the field. It's a safe bet that al-Balawi passed along names and descriptions of all Americans he met; we can only guess how many intelligence agents--working undercover "outside the wire" have been pulled from Afghanistan, for fears they will be killed by the terrorists. The same holds true for Afghans working with the Americans who handled the double agent.

Al-Balawi's exposure as a double agent will also force a revision of recent agency reporting from the region. As a "golden goose," there is little doubt that information he provided found its way into various CIA spot reports and longer analytic pieces. Now, those assessments will have to be scrubbed (or even pulled), since much of Al-Balawi's data is now suspect, to say the least.

As the reader of any spy novel knows, there are certain protocols for dealing with informants who might be double agents. Sadly, few of those were apparently followed by CIA operatives at Operating Base Chapman. According to some accounts, he was never searched when he entered the compound. Retired operatives also expressed surprise at the number of individuals who attended the meeting. Former CIA agent Robert Baer told ABC that in the past, only one or two officers who have participated in the session, along with the Jordanian escort. (Emphasis added by Comrade Karla).

But everyone believed that al-Balawi was the genuine article, a jihadist who had been successfully "turned" by the Jordanians and was about to deliver the goods on Al Qaida leaders. But the Turkish-educated physician--a known and prolific contributor on terrorist forums--delivered the unexpected, a devastating attack with far-reaching consequences for front-line HUMINT operations in what we used to call "The War on Terror."

It would be easy to blame leadership at Chapman for the debacle--and certainly, they bear some of the blame. But we also wonder how much pressure Langley placed on operatives in the field, hoping to find the "holy grail" that would lead us to Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Not long ago, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it "had been years" since the intelligence community had good information on the whereabouts of senior Al Qaida leaders. With the al-Balawi operation, the CIA was trying desperately to close that gap, and willing to circumvent normal security procedures to gain the information.

It's another reminder of how our HUMINT capabilities have suffered--and continue to suffer--under successive U.S. administrations. When President Obama talks about fixing intelligence problems, he needs to look beyond the failures that failed to detect the Nigerian bombing suspect before he boarded that Northwest flight. In many respects, the attack at Operating Base Chapman is even more serious than Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed plot. We need to address the issues that led to that disaster--and quickly. (Emphasis added by Comrade Karla).

***ADDENDUM: In the aftermath of the deadly bombing, many have lamented the CIA's "out-sourcing" of intel operations in the Middle East. As the theory goes, it's hard for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed American to join Al Qaida (although Adam Gadahn and John Walker Lindh might disagree).

Still, there are certain steps the U.S. can take to ensure the reliability (and affiliation) of source cultivated by other intelligence services. After al-Balawi was identified as the bomber, western reporters managed to track down his wife in Turkey, where he attended medical school. In at least one interview, Al-Balawi's wife affirmed his devotion to jihad and his hatred for America. If Agence France Presse can obtain that type of information, why can't the CIA?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

(The above quote is attributed to George Orwell).

Unfortunately, our elite SEAL teams aren't sleeping very peaceably lately, even when they're not "downrange" (deployed). Due to the insane ROEs (Rules of Engagements), 3 SEAL Team members are facing a court martial for "roughing up a terrorist":

Another example of "lawfare" at its worst.

Of all the issues that seperate me from liberals it's their aversion to self-defense, from the personal to the national level.

Model Warned for Knife

I've never heard of Myleene Klass until now. Apparently, the British model was warned by police for "brandishing a knife"--in her own home. She spotted a couple of suspicious teens skulking around her property and wanted to frighten them off:

Those of us 2nd Amendment advocates see incidents like this as the end game of the gun control lobbyists here in the US. Citizens will be powerless, as they are now in the UK, to defend themselves against criminals and subject to prosecution if they do so.

From the picture I copied from the link, it looks like a knife isn't all that she's brandishing. Which makes this story more disheartening to read that the British bobbies are so hell-bent on disarming law-abiding babes of their kitchen utensils.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mute Plea from Undies Bomber

The Underwear Bomber "stood mute" to the charges levelled against him today. (Whatever "standing mute" means in legalese). The judge entered a "not guilty" plea for him.

Reading the Yahoo! News article below, I was struck by how many lawyers are representing this terrorist. At least 4 by my count:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Airport Security "Kabuki Theater" Continues...

Well, today Obama says the "buck stops with me" regarding the failure of our intelligence and security bureaucracies to stop the Yuletide Underwear Bomber:

What this means, according to what Ralph Peters said on The O'Reilly Factor, is that our nation will respond to this latest terrorist attack by "...buying more stuff."

We're still playing defense. As usual, the idea of "winning" is not in this Democratic president's lexicon.

I came across this article the other day by Margaret Wente, via Mark Steyn's website:

We're focusing too much on trying to stop the methods terrorists employ as opposed to stopping the killers themselves.

I talked to a friend of mine earlier today, who returned from a business trip. While Abdulmutallab was trying to detonate his underwear, my friend was in Hong Kong. On their return trip, her and her husband were pulled aside and had to go through an extra round of screening--along with several grandmothers.

As far as I know, Mark Steyn coined the phrase "Airport Security Kabuki Theater." Speaking of Mr. Steyn, here's his latest take on this incident: