1. HUMAN ERROR, INCOMPETENCE: the clues piled up, but why did US security fail to act over terrorist?
America's much-criticised intelligence agencies were back under the microscope yesterday, as an urgent inquiry ordered by President Barack Obama got under way into how they failed to prevent the Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from almost blowing up a US airliner on Christmas Day.
New details make clear that the authorities had unusually abundant clues that such a terrorist attack was imminent: not only the father's warning to the CIA in November that his son had developed alarming extremist Islamic views, but also intercepted "chatter" from al-Qa'ida leaders in Yemen about "a Nigerian" who was being trained for a terrorist operation.
Yet Abdulmutallab, 23, was only placed on a register of 550,000 people who might have links to terrorism, not on a smaller list of 14,000 subject to special screening before being permitted to board a plane, or on a 4,000 person no-fly list. Nor was his multiple-entry visa to the US revoked....
Dennis Blair, who as Director of National Intelligence is in overall charge of the 16 US intelligence-gathering agencies, told The Wall Street Journal that although improvements had been made since 9/11, "gaps remain and they must be fixed".
His words are acknowledgement of the similarities between today and eight years ago, when bureaucratic rivalries between the CIA and the FBI prevented the pooling of information that might have thwarted the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Something similar appears to have happened this time, prompting the thinly veiled anger of Mr Obama on Tuesday as he ordered a preliminary investigation into what happened to be completed within 48 hours, in other words today.
2. Obama hits out at failures
HONOLULU - PRESIDENT Barack Obama has lashed out at systemic intelligence failures over the attempted attack on a US jet.
He has demanded answers on why information was never pieced together by the US intelligence community to trigger 'red flags' and possibly prevent the botched Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner.
3. of course despite all the failures this will JUSTIFY bombing targets in Yemen. and who will die? you can be sure some innocent civilians who never did anything to deserve being blown into the next life by the US military.
The US and Yemen are looking at new targets in Yemen for a potential retaliation strike, two senior American officials told CNN Tuesday following the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, which al-Qaeda in Yemen claims it organized.
...The CNN report said that "by all accounts, the agreement would allow the US to fly cruise missiles, fighter jets or unmanned armed drones against targets in Yemen with the consent of that government." [that was the WHOLE POINT of the underpants bomber exercise -- to get to this step, to justify bombing Yemen. also useful of course for stripping away additional rights. - ed.]
4. other incidents now coming out of the woodwork, to justify after the fact
A TERROR suspect armed with hidden explosives and a syringe was caught trying to board a commercial flight, it emerged yesterday.
The Somali man was caught with equipment almost identical to that of Detroit bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on a flight from Mogadishu to Dubai.
The arrest in November lends weight to Abdulmutallab’s claims to the FBI that he is just one of many Al Qaeda-trained terrorists willing to kill themselves to destroy Western targets.
5. Chinaview version of this story sounds much less exciting because it happened a month ago and was a ROUTINE PROCEDURE.
MOGADISHU, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- A Somali man with chemical powder and liquid was arrested last month by African Union peacekeeping forces based in Mogadishu as he tried to board a plane at the international airport in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, spokesman for the AU forces said on Wednesday.
... "We have intercepted the man before he boarded the plane because he was carrying nearly one kilogram of powder and almost one litter of liquid in a bag," Barigye Bahoku, spokesman for the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), told Xinhua.
Bahoku said that AU forces apprehended the man in November and handed him over to the Somali government for further investigation.
He said that he was not aware of the nature of the powder or the liquid found with the man, adding that "the interception was a routine procedure" to prevent any liquid or chemical on board a plane.
read more @ chinaview
6. and now the Saudis killed in Niger were whacked by al Qaeda, although at first it was just a robbery -- more justification
RIYADH: The search for those behind the murder of four Saudi tourists in Niger has been intensified, said Umru Tahiru, chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of Niger.
...“Our government has deployed a special team to investigate the incident,” said the diplomat, adding that his government is waiting for the findings of ongoing investigations to take the next course of action.
The governor of the Tillabery region of Niger told a local radio station that the attack, near the village of Djambala in the remote Tillabery region, happened in a restive zone where Tuareg rebels and Al-Qaeda cells are active.
The attackers wore turbans, carried AK-47s and attempted to tie up the travelers after forcing their three-vehicle convoy to a halt. The attack has increased tensions in the Sahel region, which has already been wracked by a wave of hostage-takings. Four Westerners — three Spaniards and one Frenchman — are believed to be in Mali and held hostage by Al-Qaeda operatives.read more @ arab news
see earlier stories here