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Countdown: Detroit bomber intel failure: ‘Conspiracy or cock up?’

Diana Sweet
Raw Story
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

On Monday evening’s edition of MSNBC’s Countdown with host Keith Olbermann, guest Richard Wolffe discusses the nation’s intelligence gathering associated with the Flight 253 ‘underpants bomber,’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and serious questions that have risen about whether or not there was foul play, information intentionally withheld, or a conspiracy involved.

Wolffe is a journalist, MSNBC political analyst, and author of the Barack Obama book Renegade: The Making of a President.

Addressing the current focus of the intelligence failure, Wolffe begins, “Was speaking to White House folks earlier today and it’s clear the president is still deeply concerned and troubled even angry at the intelligence lapses but they see this more as an intelligence lapse more than as a situation of airport security faults. So the question is why didn’t the centralized system of intelligence that was set up after 9/11, why didn’t it work? Is it conspiracy or cock up? Is it a case of the agencies having so much rivalry between them that they were more determined to stymy each other or the centralized system rather than the terrorist threat or was it just that there were so many dots no one could connect them because it was just all too random to figure out. It seems that the president is leaning very much towards thinking this was a systemic failure by individuals who maybe had an alternative agenda.”

The Countdown host returns to the question “Cock up or conspiracy?” “Was there a reason these agencies were at war with each other that prevented that intelligence from being shared? Olbermann then asks the big question of the evening, “Is the implication there that there is at least a possibility that somebody understood how serious this could be and yet withheld information in order to make some other part of the counterterrorism system look bad?”

Wolffe responds by bringing up the White House internal inquiry, “That has got to be an area that the White House is looking into and, you know, motives can be hard to assess because it’s not clear that this person was easily identified as a terrorist. Even with the father coming forward saying they had concerns, was that more of a family concern or were there enough fingerprints here about the radicalization of this individual to suggest that it should have been taken to a different level – at the very least a security level beyond more than a nominal sharing of information. That’s where this inquiry, this internal inquiry, for the moment, has to go.”

“You can defend every airport as much as you like, in the end though the most efficient, safest, border line for security has got to be human intelligence. There seems to have been plenty of human intelligence in this case,” he concludes.

President Obama is scheduled to meet with his top security officials today to discuss the terror plot, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano according to a report from CNN News.

Obama is then to speak to the public to discuss his findings, and announce new airline safety measures.

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Jan. 4, 2010.

View the original article at Raw Story

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