Monday, September 20, 2021
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Why Are We Not Stopping al-Qaida Communications?

pressure cooker bomb

The United States of America is the most powerful country in the world.  In any category one might propose.  It’s wealth, assets, military and technological capabilities and wealth of intelligence and intelligence-gathering capabilities are unmatched.

As a nation we declared after September 11, 2001 that we were at war with what we called “terror” as practiced by the adherents of radical, murderous Islam.  The title “War on Terror” was given to our national effort by politicians, but make no mistake, the American people declared war, regardless of what officialdom enacted by law or executive order.

Followed Afghanistan.  Followed Iraq.  Followed covert operations in any number of Mid/East, Asian and African countries.  The success or lack thereof of all those operations has been,  is and will be subject of debate.  But come now two high-ranking congressional dignitaries, one Republican and one Democrat, to plead that after twelve long years, thousands and thousands of lives, the expenditure of trillions of dollars and the rips and tears and radical changes in governments and international relations in general, we are less safe now than we were pre-9/11.

“The fatalities are way up. The numbers are way up. There are new bombs, very big bombs. Trucks being reinforced for those bombs. There are bombs that go through magnetometers. The bomb maker is still alive. There are more groups than ever. And there is huge malevolence out there,” Feinstein said.

Oh, yes, Mrs. Feinstein.  The bombmaker is still alive.  In fact, we are still marching our troops up and down the sidewalks of Kandahar and environs everyday apparently sacrificing our expendable soldiers to trigger IED’s made by the bombmakers that are incredibly, maddeningly, still alive.  But that is another branch of this tree we are examining today.

The developments and situations that seem to support that connection are described in the article.  But the one matter which is put forth as part of the reason we are less safe is the one that prompts us to beg our question.  What they propose is that because the existence of all of the intelligence-gathering schemes and the massive amounts of data accumulated is now common knowledge thanks to the disclosures of NSA intelligence-gathering, , we are less safe by that being common knowledge, as well as whatever …..the enemy….might be doing.

Citing the recent disclosures about the interworking of U.S. intelligence operations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Rogers said it has changed the way al-Qaida operates and communicates, making it even more difficult to detect an attack before it becomes operational.

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—Stop. >break<  Mr. Rogers, here is a stupid question: How do we know  “it has changed the way al-Qaida operates and communicates, “?  Don’t answer that question, you would be breaching security like Snowden.  So we’ll just accept your premise.  But then that means that we do, in fact, know how al-Qaida operates and communicates.  If we know how al-Qaida operates and communicates, Why Are We Not Stopping Them From Operating and Communicating?  Why Are We Less Safe? >break<Stop.

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So here is our question:  If all of the Snowden allegations and all of the news reports and all of the public information obtained through oversight hearings and all of the on-the-record admissions by cognizant authorities are by and large true, in other words if we are so freaking smart and we know so freaking much and we have mountains and mountains of facts, data, information about people, places and things all over the globe, up to and including private cell phone conversations between the German Chancellor and her caterer, or whatever, then why in the hell are we less safe?

If, as demanded by officials and politicians on both sides of the aisle and from all branches of government and all the major in-the-know commentators and scholars, we absolutely  have to have all of the programs and features and resources of the NSA and everything under its umbrella to keep us safe, then why are we less safe?  A decade ago we created an entire Cabinet-level department charged with assimilating and coordinating all national resources to keep us safe. We spared no expense.  Why are we less safe?

If in addition to all the military power and international cooperation and money and other resources we have the sine qua non, the information necessary to carry out our war on terror, to deter the enemy and keep us safe, then why are we not safe?

—–The question then is a simple one.  We obviously, and by the administration’s and the politicians’ and the talking heads’ own admissions, have everything we need, including the information.  So the question is……what are we doing with it?

To put a fine point on it, what is the NSA, and by extension the administration and the military and the foreign services and the Department of Homeland Security and the overseers of all those agencies in Congress, doing with  all of the cell phone data and credit card transactions and reading lists and grocery shopping habits that it collects on me and my neighbors? (My neighbors down the street and my neighbors in Tunisia.  Tunisia?  Have I inadvertently answered my own question here?)  If they are using it to keep the nation, and the free world, safe, then why are we  less safe?  If they are not using it to keep the nation and the free world safe, then what are they using it for?  Or are they using it at all?

A corollary to all this is what are our leaders doing with our military assets? An example: We were given to understand that in the wake of the typhoon that ravaged the Philipines recently, one of our significant military assets, a fleet aircraft carrier, a warship of the highest order capable of wreaking havoc upon enemies of all stripes, in multiples of ways,  was sent to render humanitarian aid to the Philipines.   Would one be automatically labeled  cold-hearted and insensitive to ask why, when assets like aircraft carriers and other units are being rationed in the Middle East theater of operations, one can be spared to ferry supplies to typhoon victims?  Has no one ever heard of cargo ships?  And then our representatives on intelligence committees who themselves didn’t think to question the use of military assets in this manner  see fit to come out and sound the alarm about America being less safe?

In a word, just what the hell is going on in the command and control, advice and consent, strategic planning and preparedness and asset allocation regimes at all levels of our government?  Apparently, our question is both stupid and unnecessary, because we certainly are almost a lone voice in the wilderness wailing “Why? Why?  Why?”  But we are not surprised.  We couldn’t even get the US Senate interested in establishing a Select Committee to investigate Benghazi.  US ambassadors? Ordinary citizens on the streets of Boston?  The country at large? What’s the big deal?  Silly us.

Benghazi Four

Crossposted at Grumpy Opinions

bobmontgomery
Poor. No advanced degrees. Unorganized. Feeble. Disjointed. Random. Past it. .... Intrigued, Interested, Patriotic and Lucky.

3 COMMENTS

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Considering the source, maybe we aren’t less safe. But I agree we are, except for none of the reason Lady Di might provide. Since we first built Diego Garcia in the early 70s, the argument has raged in the intelligence community about the value of human intelligence (HUMINT) vs technology. Tom Clancy had been a powerful advocate for years. the last James Bond film, Skyfall, (2012) was all about the need for live agents, real people, doing really hard things to bad people, to make things right. The TV series,a Person of Interest in built on the same premise.

    There really aren’t many of them out there (clever bad guys), but of all the assets we have, from drones, to internet intercepts, we don’t really seem to have, or want to have anyone who can go in and cut those bastards’ throats in a very public way. I’m for that.

    • Exactly. It’s not a board game. We are not paying them our hard-earned money to archive intelligence data. We are paying them to use it. The Russians gave our intelligence people specific information on the Tsarnev family and what did they do with it? No, they’d rather collect “metadata’ and create software programs to examine “patterns” to be further archived somewhere.

  1. Considering the source, maybe we aren’t less safe. But I agree we are, except for none of the reason Lady Di might provide. Since we first built Diego Garcia in the early 70s, the argument has raged in the intelligence community about the value of human intelligence (HUMINT) vs technology. Tom Clancy had been a powerful advocate for years. the last James Bond film, Skyfall, (2012) was all about the need for live agents, real people, doing really hard things to bad people, to make things right. The TV series,a Person of Interest in built on the same premise.

    There really aren’t many of them out there (clever bad guys), but of all the assets we have, from drones, to internet intercepts, we don’t really seem to have, or want to have anyone who can go in and cut those bastards’ throats in a very public way. I’m for that.

    • Exactly. It’s not a board game. We are not paying them our hard-earned money to archive intelligence data. We are paying them to use it. The Russians gave our intelligence people specific information on the Tsarnev family and what did they do with it? No, they’d rather collect “metadata’ and create software programs to examine “patterns” to be further archived somewhere.

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