May 06 2010

More Evidence Team Obama Stopped Shahzad Monitoring Begun Under Bush-Clinton

Welcome Big Government Readers – be sure to follow the links embedded below to previous posts on the timeline of decisions by the Obama administration to curtail surveillance, and if you have the time check out all our posts on the Ft Hood Massacre and the Christmas Day Bomber for how these details unfolded.

Major Update Below!

As I posted yesterday, there was a disturbing blurb in a NY Times article that indicated Faisal Shahzad, the now infamous Times Square Bomber, was under surveillance as a potential terrorist during the Bush administration.

George LaMonica, a 35-year-old computer consultant, said he bought his two-bedroom condominium in Norwalk, Conn., from Mr. Shahzad for $261,000 in May 2004. A few weeks after he moved in, Mr. LaMonica said, investigators from the national Joint Terrorism Task Force [JTTF] interviewed him, asking for details of the transaction and for information about Mr. Shahzad. It struck Mr. LaMonica as unusual, but he said detectives told him they were simply “checking everything out.”

JTTF’s typically surveillance an individual – especially a US Citizen – under the FIS Court authorization. These authorizations have to be renewed every 90 days or so by the US Attorney General. As has been noted before (see here, here and here for details) the Obama administration began shutting down Bush-era terrorists investigations last year as they debated how to reduce our nation’s surveillance of terrorists threats. The person who killed 14 people at Ft Hood last fall was one such suspect whose JTTF investigation was suspiciously shut down around this time last year.

There is more evidence which seems to point at changes made by the Obama administration in terms of their monitoring Mr. Shahzad. For example, after being on the terrorist watch list for almost a decade, Shahzad was removed from that list sometime after 2008, according to CBS News:

Sources tell CBS News that would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad appeared on a Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list – Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) – between 1999 and 2008 because he brought approximately $80,000 cash or cash instruments into the United States.

Major Update: Reader thfries notes this next bit is probably satire. I did was not able to get to the source story (still on travel with very narrow posting windows) so from here on I would ignore it. – end update

Now there is another damning tidbit out that confirms that Federal Investigators may have been blinded and hamstrung by the lack of FIS Court authorization to fully monitor this threat:

Taking great pains to explain how Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad was able to make it to JFK airport and board an Emirates airliner before being nabbed, authorities today said that they were following Mr. Shahzad, “but only on Twitter.”

A spokesman for the surveillance team following the suspected terrorist said that they were closely monitoring Mr. Shahzad’s tweets, “but he must have figured something out because all of a sudden he blocked us.”

The surveillance team’s revelations come on the heels of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s shocker that it had friended Mr. Shahzad on Facebook weeks ago and had even played the popular online game Farmville with him.

A few days before the Times Square incident, Mr. Shahzad attempted to blow up one of our sheep,” a Department spokesman said. “In retrospect, that should have been a red flag.”

OK, why is this disturbing? Well Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are probably considered to be in the public domain, since individuals freely volunteer to communicate with others openly. It therefore may not require a FIS Court warrant to monitor. The idea someone could block government monitoring on Twitter using one of its privacy settings is another indication this was not a full up surveillance. The government can get past that little barrier.

The fact is someone was trying to keep and eye on Shahzad, but possibly without the full authority of the JTTF and FIS Court. Someone was trying to monitor this guy. Someone who may have disagreed with the decision to pull back from the Bush era level of concern. – end suspicious reference

I also don’t think this has the smell of a JTTF in progress given all the phone calls from America to Pakistan should have been detected by NSA, and that 5 month training stint Shahzad did in Pakistan. These too should have had a JTTF on the edge of its seat – if it was active.

This might be why the administration was playing catch up with Shahzad, even after the bomb was detected and were only lucky to find a phone number connection to lead them to him.

50 responses so far

50 Responses to “More Evidence Team Obama Stopped Shahzad Monitoring Begun Under Bush-Clinton”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJ Strata. AJ Strata said: new: More Evidence Team Obama Stopped Shahzad Monitoring Begun Under Bush-Clinton […]

  2. AJ,

    We have a few GS-11 and GS-12 Jack Baeur’s out there using twitter and Facebook because the left wing lawyers calling the shots have turned off the FIS and NSA listening options.

    I expect AG Eric Holder to now make it illegal for Federal investigators to use any internet social media to track terrorists because it is an invasion of their privacy rights under the US Constitution.

  3. thfries says:

    AJ, you missed a key piece of this story–it was written by Andy Borowitz. It is satire. Borowitz is definitely a lefty, but he’s usually pretty funny.

  4. AJStrata says:


    I could not get to the original – thanks for the heads up!

  5. tarpon says:

    Think about what has happened here … the only success with the last few attacks came because the bomber was inept.

    Eventually they will pick a smart bomber.

  6. WWS says:

    “The surveillance team’s revelations come on the heels of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s shocker that it had friended Mr. Shahzad on Facebook weeks ago and had even played the popular online game Farmville with him.

    “A few days before the Times Square incident, Mr. Shahzad attempted to blow up one of our sheep,” a Department spokesman said. “In retrospect, that should have been a red flag.”””


  7. AJ,

    Think through the implications of
    1) A South Asian man named “Faisal Shahzad” buying a one way ticket to Dubai
    2) At JFK Airport,
    3) With CASH
    4) In the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack
    5) On Time Square, and
    6) Getting aboard the plane without getting tagged and stopped by TSA.

    Why do we bother paying for the TSA at all?

    If political correctness makes them that ineffective. We should just shut it down and take our chances. I’ll trust my fellow passengers more than a TSA screener to stop a terrorist.

  8. Oh, and “Faisal Shahzad” made it to the terrorist watch list in 1999 through 2008.

  9. colin says:


    He actually made the TECS list, which is different than the “watch list.” The TECS list can include criminal suspects as well. The “watch list” is actually several lists: The TIDE database, which includes people with overseas terrorist connections, the TSC database, which includes people the FBI says are connected, either to foreign or domestic groups, and the two TSA lists, the “selectee” list and the much smaller “no-fly” list.

    There should be some cross-pollination between the two lists, but that’s not always the case. Someone can pop up in the TSC database and not be on TECS, or not show up as a selectee or on the no-fly list.

    In short, there is not centralized bad guy database accessable by all law enforcement and intelligence agencies. That’s a big problem.

    I still want to know why the guy who bought Shahzad’s house got a visit from the NJTTF in 2004.

  10. >>There should be some cross-pollination between the two
    >>lists, but that’s not always the case. Someone can pop up in
    >>the TSC database and not be on TECS, or not show up as a
    >>selectee or on the no-fly list.

    Again, I have to ask the question,

    “If the TSA cannot do their job, why have them at all?”

  11. AJ,

    This is a very scary observation from the American Thinker on what the Obama Administration’s politically correct leftist ideology means on the ground level between Americans and their Muslim neighbors.

    It’s a terrible thing when Americans have to face the day not only needing to know where their own children are, but also asking the haunting question: Do you know where your Muslim neighbor is, and what he’s up to?

    We have to ask that question now because our president and his people will not.

    So in the end, Barack Obama has brought about the exact scenario he has worked so hard to avoid. If Americans were assured that our president and our national security employees are doing the necessary watching and profiling, then we would also know we don’t have to do it. We could be nice, hospitable, and open to our American Muslim neighbors and coworkers.

    But when we know that the people paid to fight terrorism refuse to see the obvious, then we are necessarily put on high alert. We take on their jobs. We watch. We stare. We shy from the company of those we know might become our worst nightmare.

    The Obama Administration does not have the power of the US Army professional chain of command to stop Jacksonian Americans from preemptively reacting to publicly crazy Muslims like Major Hasan.

    And when they start reacting, local Jacksonian dominated jury pool’s won’t give the Feds the convictions they need to squelch them either.

    We are now in a situation where main stream media supported Presidential policy dysfunction is making sectarian prejudice a matter of personal survival.

    And that is scary.

  12. WWS says:

    If I lived next door to a muzzie I think I would buy one a them vietnermese potbellied pigs and let it root in his yard at night.

  13. Quite Rightly says:

    Linked at Bread upon the Waters and Potluck.

  14. WWS,

    That is a road I really, really, don’t want our nation to travel.

    The problem here isn’t just Obama. It’s the whole lefty establishment and all their “diversity friends.”

    In terms of out of step political-cultural group think, remember the 1993 House Democrats and Federal gun ban laws pre-Nov-1994 (and 9-11-2001) versus the American public’s devotion to gun rights.

    It took 12 years of abject political defeat, plus Sept 11th, to turn Democrats around on gun rights, and that was a small political-cultural issue.

    Federal, State & Local government post civil rights “diversity” laws and bureaucracies are far more important to the power and finances of the Left than American gun rights.

    The American Left would rather die than change.

    Worse, they would rather large numbers of non-Leftie Americans die than change.

    The issue at hand is that Non-Leftie Americans will not play along with that “Diversity” screen play, when it is their survival at stake.

    And it isn’t the Lefties who will pay most of the price of that public policy mistake.

    I just don’t see how we can avoid going some distance down that path.

  15. dbostan says:

    Impeachment NOW!

  16. […] Strata Sphere is all over this […]

  17. […] AJ Strata notes today that JTTF investigations of US citizens almost always require a FIS Court authorization that must […]

  18. kathie says:

    The day that an Islamic terrorist is not so stupid and unlucky, will be a very bad day for Obama and team.

  19. Allahpundit reports that Faisal Shahzad had contacts with American-born Muslim cleric Anwar Awlaki.


    I guess we can be glad that the only competent training any of Awlaki’s jihadis got was what Major Hasan got from the US Army.