Sunday, June 19, 2005


I remember the 9/11 commission. After praising the CIA and FBI for a whiz-bang job, the CIA even predicted bin Laden would attack America! And maybe use civilian aircraft! And using this information, everyone fell into a stupor before 9/11 but afterwards, they all solemnly promised they would wake up and smell the burning coffee beans.

Well, time flies! And time to go back to sleep. After getting vast police state powers and the right to torture prisoners at Gitmo and beyond in our extensive gulag overseas (but none in Siberia! Yeah!)--the result is more of the same stupidity and slack jawed back scratching that characterized them all before 9/11.

So we have committee hearings again about the same old same old!
In sworn testimony that contrasts with their promises to the public, the FBI managers who crafted the post-Sept. 11 fight against terrorism say expertise about the Mideast or terrorism was not important in choosing the agents they promoted to top jobs. And they still do not believe such experience is necessary today even as terrorist acts occur across the globe.

"A bombing case is a bombing case," said Dale Watson, the FBI's terrorism chief in the two years after Sept. 11, 2001. "A crime scene in a bank robbery case is the same as a crime scene, you know, across the board."

The FBI's current terror-fighting chief, Executive Assistant Director Gary Bald, said his first terrorism training came "on the job" when he moved to headquarters to oversee anti-terrorism strategy two years ago.

Asked about his grasp of Middle Eastern culture and history, Bald responded: "I wish that I had it. It would be nice."

"You need leadership. You don't need subject matter expertise," Bald testified in an ongoing FBI employment case. "It is certainly not what I look for in selecting an official for a position in a counterterrorism position."

In a development that has escaped public attention, FBI agent Bassem Youssef has questioned under oath many of the FBI's top leaders, including Director Robert Mueller and his predecessor, Louis Freeh, in an effort to show he has passed over for top terrorism jobs despite his expertise. Testimony from his lawsuit was recently sent to Congress.
Arrest all the usual suspects! Well, seems that the good ole boys network once again trumps doing a good job. Why promote men with names like "Bassem Youssef"? Bet he didn't join the same fraternities! Certainly, he doesn't worship in the local All White Church down the block! He sounds like those terrorists! All the 9/11 whistleblowers were chased out of the organizations. You can bet, no one working in the dark dungeons of Homeland Security are going to be whistle blowers! Dangerous work, that.

There were some prior to 9/11 like Mr. O'Neill of the FBI who was in charge of investigating bin Laden, you know, public enemy #350, behind Bert and Ernie and Squarepants Bob. The ambassador to Yemen got steamed at the way O'Neill was knocking around and she got him terminated. So he became head of security at the World Trade Center and his first day at work was 9/11/1 and he was seen outside the building, evacuating people and then disappeared forever.

No one in DC ever mentions his name. Funny, that. He is now as obscure as bin Laden.
Those who have held the bureau's top terrorism fighting jobs since Sept. 11 often said in their testimony that they — and many they have promoted since — had no significant terrorism or Middle East experience. Some could not even explain the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, the two primary groups of Muslims.
This Keystone Kops approach to terrorism characterizes our entire military/police state aparatus. One thing about the KGB: it kept things under control. Ditto the Nazi's Gestapo/SS. Here we are, struggling to create a totalitarian state using a gang of morons picked up on a golf course after drinking too much.

Country Club Total-idiots.
We fundamentally changed the criteria for hiring special agents and intelligence analysts to ensure that we get the critical skills, knowledge and experience we need to address today's threats," Assistant Director Cassandra Chandler told the AP.

"New agents receive personalized training from Muslim leaders. Street agents and managers in every field office have gotten to know the Middle Eastern and Muslim communities in their territories and regularly attend training sessions sponsored by community leaders," she said.
You know how they hire? They seek out Young Republicans who need work and can't do factory assembly or sales and hire them. The criteria is political: no Democrats allowed. This has made the FBI always a total right wing nut organization, ditto much of the CIA which had slightly looser standards. During the sixites when the police state FBI tried going after us lefties, we could ID them easily.

So, what is this "training" with "community leaders"? Do they meet Karzai and shake his shaking hand? Huh? You know, a young man sits in prison who easily infiltrated al Qaeda and even shook bin Laden's hand and yet we can't do this at all? And we doubled the money and doubled the staff and still can't do it?

When I was in Europe as a teen, I managed to meet all sorts of people including a Stasi agent and three guys in the KGB (they were funny) who were with some musicians from the CCCP and I crossed borders illegally, even swimming rivers and climbing mountains and did all sorts of neat things before the German politzei caught up with me and do you think the CIA wouldn't have loved to have me work for them following my dad?

Hahahaha. No way. My experience terrified them. The last thing they wanted was a roving mind, a restless action. Lawrence of Arabia was held at arm's length in his own office working underground. The paper pushers and politicians hate people like him. Independent and thoughtful is a big no-no.
Watson, who oversaw the first two years of transformation, testified he could not recall a single meeting in the aftermath of Sept. 11 in which FBI leaders discussed the type of skills or training needed for counterterrorism.

Youssef's lawyer, Steve Kohn, pressed further.

"What skill sets would they need to better identify, penetrate and/or prevent a future Osama bin Laden-style terrorist attack?" Kohn asked.

Watson answered: "They would need to understand the attorney general guidelines for counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigation."

"Anything else?" the lawyer inquired.

"No," Watson answered.
God forbid any of these guys learn a ferrin' language. Or read the Koran. Or watch al Jazeerah TV news. I think the Republicans wanted to keep Terri Schiavo alive so she could be trained to be an agent for the FBI! She certainly had an open mind.
But rather than a systematic search for the bureau's most talented Middle Eastern and terrorism agents worldwide, D'Amuro testified he brought to Washington the agents he personally knew had worked successfully on al-Qaida and other terrorism cases.

He said that in later promotions, Middle East and terrorism experience was helpful but not mandatory, noting the FBI also must deal with terrorism from domestic sources and the Irish Republican Army.
Oh, yes, all those Republicans attacking America! I hope the FBI arrests the ring leaders. They hang out at the White House. As for IrishRepublicans: excuse me, how many attacks on America have they done in the last 100 years? Zero? Huh?
When asked whether he, as the FBI's former counterterrorism chief, could describe the differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Watson answered, "Not technically, no."
It is like not knowing the difference between Catholic and Protestant and Orthodox. Talk about willfully blind.

There is no excuse for this. The looming failure that we all know will happen doesn't disturb these clowns because failure means they win the trifecta and get showered with money and awards.

No one in a position of responsibility was punished for 9/11. Not one.