Anatomy of a Cover-Up

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New revelations about the failed Christmas Day attack on Northwest
Airlines Flight 253 continue to emerge as does evidence of a systematic
cover-up.

With the White House in crisis mode since the attempted bombing,
President Obama met for two hours January 5 with top security and
intelligence officials. Obama said that secret state agencies "had
sufficient information to uncover the terror plot … but that intelligence
officials had ‘failed to connect those dots’," The
New York Times
reports.

The latest iteration of the "dot theory" floated by the
President, aided and abetted by a compliant media, claims "this
was not a failure to collect intelligence" but rather, "a
failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already
had."

"Mr. Obama’s stark assessment that the government failed to
properly analyze and integrate intelligence served as a sharp rebuke
of the country’s intelligence agencies," declared the Times
uncritically.

While the President’s remarks may have offered a "sharp [rhetorical]
rebuke," Obama’s statement suggests that no one will be held
accountable. Indeed, the President "was standing by his top
national security advisers, including those whose agencies failed
to communicate with one another."

While the President may be "standing by" his national
security advisers, the question is, are the denizens of America’s
secret state standing by him? One well-connected Washington insider,
MSNBC pundit Richard Wolffe, isn’t so sure.

Wolffe, the author of a flattering portrait of Obama, Renegade:
The Making of a President
, when asked on MSNBC’s
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
January 4 what is the White House
"focus here right now?" Wolffe’s startling reply: "Is
this conspiracy or cock up? It seems that the president is leaning
very much towards thinking this was a systemic failure by individuals
who maybe had an alternative agenda." (emphasis added)

"I will accept that intelligence by its nature is imperfect"
the President said, "but it is increasingly clear that intelligence
was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged."

The question is why? And more pertinently from a parapolitical
perspective, what "alternative agenda" is playing out
here that would put the lives of nearly 300 air passengers at risk?

British Evidence: Down the Memory Hole

As Antifascist
Calling
reported last week, The
Sunday Times
and The
Observer
newspapers disclosed that MI5 had built a dossier
on Abdulmutallab which showed "his repeated contacts with MI5
targets who were subject to phone taps, email intercepts and other
forms of surveillance."

It has since emerged, the Associated
Press
reported January 4, that British authorities began
assembling a security file on Abdulmutallab shortly after his arrival
the UK in 2005 when officials claimed he was in contact with "known
radicals."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s spokesperson Simon Lewis said on
Monday, "Clearly there was security information about this
individual’s activities, and that was information that was shared
with the U.S. authorities. That is the key point."

In a climb-down from Lewis’s admission, The
Wall Street Journal
reported that Home Secretary Alan Johnson,
whose brief includes MI5, said in an appearance before Parliament
Tuesday, "Whilst we did provide information to the U.S., according
to standard operational practices, linked to the wider aspect of
this case, none of the information we held or shared indicated that
Abdulmutallab was about to attempt a terrorist attack against the
U.S."

The Brown government has steadfastly refused to say just when the
file on Abdulmutallab was passed to the U.S., letting stand the
implication it was sent before the aborted Christmas Day attack.

The cover story being floated by MI5 now mendaciously claims the
agency did not send Abdulmutallab’s security dossier on to American
officials "because of concerns about breaching his human rights
and privacy," The
Sunday Times
reported January 10.

"MI5 has privately conceded that as early as 2006 its surveillance
operations had picked up ‘multiple communications’ between the 23-year-old
Nigerian student and suspected terrorists in Britain," The
Sunday Times disclosed.

Despite these concessions, we’re now to accept at face value the
absurd claim that information on a terrorist suspect wasn’t passed
along by British spooks to their closest ally "because of guidance
from [MI5's] legal department."

Trying selling that fairy tale to Republican victims of the secret
state’s "human rights and privacy" campaign in Northern
Ireland as The Sunday
Herald
revealed during their multiyear investigation into
Britain’s dirty war!

Under intense pressure by the United States about these disclosures,
the Brown government has gone to great lengths to stress "the
importance to Britain of close intelligence cooperation with the
United States."

Still reeling however, from U.S. threats to cut-off intelligence
sharing last summer if torture evidence was disclosed to the public
by the British High Court, the government is moving to avoid a similar
controversy over the Abdulmutallab affair.

In late July, The
Guardian
revealed that "Hillary Clinton, the US secretary
of state, personally intervened to suppress evidence of CIA collusion
in the torture of a British resident, the high court heard today."
The
Guardian
also reported that MI5 chief Jonathan Evans said
in a speech in October that the "Security Service had been
‘slow to detect the emerging pattern of US practice in the period
after 9/11′."

While the torture files were eventually released in late October
by a High Court order, it is certainly reasonable to ask: what other
"U.S. practice(s)" are being suppressed today by the Brown
government?

The
Independent
confirms this and states, "The Downing
Street comments were reported to have angered the US government,
but after talks with the White House, Mr Brown’s spokesman tried
to lower the diplomatic temperature. He said relations remained
‘excellent’ between the two countries."

As part of a new and improved sanitized narrative, the Home Office
now claims that Abdulmutallab’s transformation into an erstwhile
suicide bomber began only after he left Britain. This, despite revelations
by The Sunday Times last week, that he stoked MI5′s interest
precisely because of his repeated contacts with individuals "who
were subject to phone taps, email intercepts and other forms of
surveillance."

In a further development that can’t please the British state, The
Guardian
reported January 7, that Yemen’s Deputy Prime Minister
for Defense and Security, Rashad al-Alimi, told a news conference
that "information provided to us is that Umar Farouk joined
al-Qaida in London."

The
Wall Street Journal
reports that al-Alimi said Thursday,
that Abdulmutallab had "no links" to al-Qaeda "when
he first came to Yemen in 2004 and 2005 to study Arabic" and
that he "was radicalized during his time in the U.K., where
he had studied between his two stints in Yemen," charges that
"senior British counterterrorism officials" dismiss, claiming
"there was no evidence to back them up."

Why then, would Abdulmutallab’s web-browsing habits, cell phone
conversations as well as "other forms of surveillance"
on "targets of interest" to British spooks indicate a
"lack of evidence"? It would seem to suggest just the
opposite.

Indeed, Abdulmutallab had been in "close contact" with
"a key suspect in an Al-Qaeda plot to murder British citizens,"
according to MP Patrick Mercer, the chairman of the parliamentary
counter-terrorism committee. Mercer told The Sunday Times
January 10, that the alleged airline bomber "had been in touch"
with the suspect, currently a resident in a high-security British
prison awaiting trial, "while both men were students in London."

Read
the rest of the article

January
15, 2010

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San
Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action
Quarterly and Global Research,
an independent research and media group of writers, scholars, journalists
and activists based in Montreal, his articles can be read on
Dissident Voice,
The Intelligence Daily,
Pacific Free Press
and the whistleblowing website Wikileaks.
He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil
Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK
Press
.

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