Jun 15 2008

Time We Got Serious About Terrorists With WMDs – Remove The Blindfold From The NSA

Published by at 12:40 pm under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

(Click on the image to find out more about it).

The liberals in this country need to stop playing games with national security. What I am talking about is they need to stop trying pretending the mythical dirty tricks run by the NSA are more important than the reality of terrorist states having nuclear weapon designs:

A draft report released by a former U.N. weapons inspector found that the international smuggling ring that supplied nuclear designs to Iran, Libya, and North Korea also obtained the blueprints for an advanced nuclear warhead, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

David Albright, a well-known nuclear weapons expert, said that designs for a nuclear device small enough to fit on a ballistic missile were found on computers belonging to the now-defunct smuggling ring of rouge Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Khan — who remains under house arrest in Pakistan for selling nuclear technologies — supplied secret nuclear blueprints to Libya, North Korea and Iran, according the Post. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been conducting an on-going investigation into what other secrets may have sold by A.Q. Khan.

We need the legal blinders removed from the NSA right now, before any product of these plans that have possibly made it into Iranian hands (and how knows where else) make it to the US. This election year is not the year to let our guard down so the Democrats can pander to their paranoid far left constituents.

I want to remind people of what happened after 9-11 as it relates to the NSA. I found an intriguing transcript of General Hayden regarding the post 9-11 world as it pertained to the NSA. And it echos ALL my claims and views regarding what did and did not transpire regarding the protections of people here in the US. I don’t have time to go back through all my posts now and show where I made the prediction or observation prior to this presentation he gave, but suffice it to say I apparently was spot on.

And one thing I was spot on about is the old laws, pre 9-11, provided terrorists enormous sanctuary and protections once they got to the US:

Look, let me talk for a minute about this, okay? Because a big gap in the current understanding, a big gap in the current debate is what’s standard? What is it that NSA does routinely? Where we set the threshold, for example, for what constitutes inherent foreign intelligence value? That’s what we’re directed to collect. That’s what we’re required to limit ourselves to — inherent foreign intelligence value. Where we set that threshold, for example, in reports involving a U.S. person shapes how we do our job, shapes how we collect, shapes how we report. The American SIGINT system, in the normal course of foreign intelligence activities, inevitably captures this kind of information, information to, from or about what we call a U.S. person. And by the way, “U.S. person” routinely includes anyone in the United States, citizen or not.

So, for example, because they were in the United States — and we did not know anything more — Mohamed Atta and his fellow 18 hijackers would have been presumed to have been protected persons, U.S. persons, by NSA prior to 9/11.

I testified in open session to the House Intel Committee in April of the year 2000. At the time, I created some looks of disbelief when I said that if Osama bin Laden crossed the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York, there were provisions of U.S. law that would kick in, offer him protections and affect how NSA could now cover him. At the time, I was just using this as some of sort of stark hypothetical; 17 months later, this is about life and death.

Emphasis mine. In other words, General Hayden was raising the alarm about how intelligence was handicapped once a terrorist actually was able to get into our country, and he raised this alarm on Clinton’s watch. Now, if I was some liberal nutcase I would be saying this means Clinton knew of 9-11 and did not do anything in hopes of obtaining some personal and political gains out of the carnage. Thankfully, I am not a liberal nutcase.

What it does really mean, though, is the old laws forbid dissemination of key information on possible attacks on the US because of paranoia over misuse of the system. Hayden goes on to explain what this meant prior to 9-11 and afterwards:

If the U.S. person information isn’t relevant, the data is suppressed. It’s a technical term we use; we call it “minimized.” The individual is not even mentioned. Or if he or she is, he or she is referred to as “U.S. Person Number One” or “U.S. Person Number Two.” Now, inherent intelligence value. If the U.S. person is actually the named terrorist, well, that could be a different matter. The standard by which we decided that, the standard of what was relevant and valuable, and therefore, what was reasonable, would understandably change, I think, as smoke billowed from two American cities and a Pennsylvania farm field. And we acted accordingly.

Prior to 9-11 they had some hint of Atta and company in the US. But the NSA could not pass along information that would help US law enforcement ID the culprits or locate them. After 9-11 they realized who ridiculous this was. They realized it was better to give law enforcement the information needed to investigate and determine whether there was a real risk or not. The big change after 9-11 was not who the NSA listened to, but how much more information they would flow to the FBI and FIS Court to ensure suspected communications with known terrorists was not another 9-11 in the works.

I will take a moment and go back to one of my posts from January 2006, where I noted a NY Times article that confirmed my then speculation (which has proven to have been accurate since) that the change was not a bypassing of the FIS Court, but an actually an increased use of the FBI and Court to make sure these contacts with overseas, known terrorists were not a threat:

Today’s NY Times story discusses in great detail the tidal wave of leads coming out of the NSA after 9-11, causing the FBI to use lots of resources to track the leads down here in the US. That permeates their story. So this is the result of the Bush action then.

OK, then that also is the clearest indication of what changed in Bush’s 2001 order: he opened the flow of leads from NSA monitoring regarding communications between people overseas and people here in the US. The NSA mission probably did not change, but their target list grew as we got intel from the battlefield and arrests. But what probably changed is how easily it flowed now to domestic law enforcement.

This new flood the FBI sources whine about is evidence of the Bush order. Not any attempt to go around FISA, just opening a flow of leads that was pretty much shut prior to 9-11.

That was 2006. Now here is Hayden on the same matter (and I only recently found this transcript which is from the same month as my post):

Now, as another part of our adjustment, we also turned on the spigot of NSA reporting to FBI in, frankly, an unprecedented way. We found that we were giving them too much data in too raw form. We recognized it almost immediately, a question of weeks, and we made all of the appropriate adjustments. Now, this flow of data to the FBI has also become part of the current background noise, and despite reports in the press of thousands of tips a month, our reporting has not even approached that kind of pace. You know, I actually find this a little odd. After all the findings of the 9/11 commission and other bodies about the failure to share intelligence, I’m up here feeling like I have to explain pushing data to those who might be able to use it. And of course, it’s the nature of intelligence that many tips lead nowhere, but you have to go down some blind alleys to find the tips that pay off.

OK, why am I going all over this again? Right now the NSA, FIS Court and FBI are working under the older, broken FISA legislation because the democrats are playing games for their trial lawyer supporters. Right now only existing leads and investigations can use the the updated approach that allowed NSA to send leads to the FBI. Under the new, now partially suspended rules, the FIS Court was required to allow these leads – and any follow-on evidence – as valid probable cause for warrants and surveillance (prior to 9-11 the FIS Court refused to accept evidence from NSA generated leads).

Any new leads now fall under the pre 9-11 idiocy where we just pretended everyone in the US was innocent, even if they were getting calls and money from known terrorists. Worse than that is the last vestiges of those fixes we made after 9-11 (and which kept this country safe from attack against all odds) are going to expire soon, leaving the country wide open again to any cell now in the country.

We need to remember that we must be right 100% of the time to stop Americans from another round of massive, horrifying deaths. The terrorists only need to be right once into achieve their goals. So what insanity does it take to make it easier for the terrorists? Why blind ourselves to their potential cells here in the US preparing the next 9-11? What kind of idiot says ‘connect the dots’, but ‘you cannot see or use the dots’ because it is illegal to do so’? Laws are not meant to be suicide pacts.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Time We Got Serious About Terrorists With WMDs – Remove The Blindfold From The NSA”

  1. crosspatch says:

    I agree, AJ. Politics is one thing, but playing with the security of our children is something else entirely. There were families with children, mothers and fathers on board those planes on 9/11 … Democrats and Republicans, too, were slaughtered.

    We must strive to see that such an attack is never repeated and use every tool in the box to see to it that it doesn’t.

  2. VinceP1974 says:

    Make sure the border is unguarded though… after all why guard it if you can’t guard the entire thing

  3. kathie says:

    A Congressmen wouldn’t put their support from lawyers over the welfare of American citizens would they?

  4. Neo says:

    This certainly explains the meaninglessness of the MSM interpretation of the November NIE.

    Who needs a nuclear weapons development effort when there’s plenty of nuclear weapons designs available from the Khan network or the CIA’s Merlin effort.

  5. joe six-pack says:

    Many people believe that we should follow the same strategy that won the Cold War. Containment. The problem is that the assumption is that time is on our side. In the war against terrorism, time is NOT on our side.

    It is only a matter of time before one of these terrorist organizations obtains an effective WMD. The only reason that I can see why they would not use it right away would be to save up enough of them to hit us with 6 or 7 of them at once.

    This would make the war in Iraq look so small as to be insignificant.

  6. Dc says:

    Containment is a strategy to prevent a war breaking out. Once war has errupted, containment takes on an entirely new/different meaning. You can’t go “back”.

  7. norm says:

    i know you are scared shitless…”massive, horrifying deaths”…oooh the melodrama. the erosion of the constitution because you are wetting your pants in irrational fear is what is massive and horrifying. if chicken shits like you are successful in gutting our rights what is left to defend?

    according to the nat’l lung assoc. secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers each year. that’s a lot more americans than terrorists have come close to killing. should we invade tennesee?

  8. Neo says:

    From the LA Times ..

    Yet in spite of all the accusations of White House “manipulation” — that it pressured intelligence analysts into connecting Hussein and Al Qaeda and concocted evidence about weapons of mass destruction — administration critics continually demonstrate an inability to distinguish making claims based on flawed intelligence from knowingly propagating falsehoods.
    committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV got in this familiar shot: “Sadly, the Bush administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.”
    Yet Rockefeller’s highly partisan report does not substantiate its most explosive claims.