The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

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Despite some
$40 billion dollars spent by the American people on airline security
since 2001, allegedly to thwart attacks on the heimat, the botched
attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to bring down Northwest Airlines
Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day was foiled, not by a bloated
counterterrorist bureaucracy, but by the passengers themselves.

Talk about
validating that old Wobbly slogan: Direct action gets the goods!

And yet, the
closer one looks at the available evidence surrounding the strange
case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the more sinister alleged "intelligence
failures" become. As this story unfolds it is becoming abundantly
clear that U.S. security officials had far more information on the
would-be lap bomber than we’ve been told.

The
Observer revealed
January 3 that the British secret state had Abdulmutallab on their
radar for several years and that he had become "politically
involved" with "extremist networks" while a student
at University College London, where he served as president of the
Islamic Society.

Examining "e-mail
and text traffic," security officers claim to have belatedly
discovered that "he has been in contact with jihadists from
across the world since 2007."

Indeed, The
Sunday Times disclosed
that the 23-year-old terrorism suspect was "’reaching out’
to extremists whom MI5 had under surveillance." The officials
said that Abdulmutallab was "’starting out on a journey’ in
Britain" that culminated with last week’s attempt to destroy
Flight 253.

It is claimed
by unnamed "British officials" that "none of this
information was passed" to their American counterparts; on
the face of it, this appears to be a rank mendacity.

The Sunday
Times further reported that security officials have "now
passed a file" to American counterterrorism officers that show
"his repeated contacts with MI5 targets who were subject to
phone taps, email intercepts and other forms of surveillance."

None of this
should surprise anyone, however. In light of multiple prior warnings
which preceded past terrorist atrocities, the selective leaking
of information to the British media in its own way, buttresses the
official story that the near-tragedy aboard Flight 253 was simply
the result of ubiquitous "intelligence failures."

But as we have
seen with Mohamed Atta, Richard Reid and Mohammad Sidique Khan,
Abdulmutallab’s "journey" was one undertaken by many before,
often with a wink-and-a-nod by British and American security officials
when it served the geostrategic ambitions of their political masters.

As security
researcher and analyst Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed wrote in New
Internationalist
in October: "Islamist terrorism cannot
be understood without acknowledging the extent to which its networks
are being used by Western military intelligence services, both to
control strategic energy resources and to counter their geopolitical
rivals. Even now, nearly a decade after 9/11, covert sponsorship
of al-Qaeda networks continues."

Networks which
Ahmed and other analysts such as Michel Chossudovsky, Peter Dale
Scott and Richard Labévière have painstakingly documented,
enjoy the closest ties with Western intelligence agencies stretching
back decades.

That intelligence
officers, including those at the highest levels of the secret state’s
security apparat, did nothing to hamper an alleged al-Qaeda operative
from getting on that plane – in a chilling echo of the 9/11 attacks – calls
into question the thin tissue of lies outlined in the official narrative.

An Intelligence
"Failure," or a Wild "Success" for Security
Corporations?

Charged December
26 with attempting to blow up a U.S. airliner, according to The
Washington Post
Abdulmutallab "was listed in a U.S.
terrorism database."

The Post
reported that the suspect’s name "was added in November to
the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE." It
is further described as a "catch-all list" which "contains
about 550,000 individuals" and is maintained by "the Office
of the Director of National Intelligence at the National Counterterrorism
Center."

However, The
New York Times revealed
December 31 that the "National Security Agency four months
ago intercepted conversations among leaders of Al Qaeda in Yemen
discussing a plot to use a Nigerian man for a coming terrorist attack."

Times’
reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eric Lipton, citing unnamed "government
officials," disclosed that "the electronic intercepts
were translated and disseminated across classified computer networks"
months before Abdulmutallab boarded Flight 253 in Amsterdam.

But when the
NSA intercepts landed at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC),
overseen by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
(ODNI), analysts there "did
not synthesize the eavesdropping intelligence with information gathered
in November" when Abdulmutallab’s father provided the U.S.
Embassy in Nigeria crucial information on his son’s involvement
with the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence
assets, also known as al-Qaeda.

Seeking comment
from NCTC proved to be a daunting task. As the Times delicately
put it, "officials at the counterterrorist center … maintained
a stoic silence on Wednesday, noting that the review ordered by
President Obama was still under way."

Despite revelations
in the British press, the White House maintains that U.S. intelligence
agencies "did not miss a ‘smoking gun’" that could have
prevented the botched attack, the Associated Press reported January
3.

White House
aide John Brennan, citing "lapses" and "errors"
in sharing intelligence said, "There was no single piece of
intelligence that said, ‘this guy is going to get on a plane.’"

As we will
soon see, Mr. Brennan has every reason to hide behind such mendacities.

Investigative
journalist Tim Shorrock, the author of the essential book Spies
For Hire
, reported
in CorpWatch, that NCTC is an outsourced counterterrorist agency
chock-a-block with security contractors in the heavily-leveraged
homeland security market.

Read
the rest of the article

January
4, 2010

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