FBI Asks William Webster to Look Closer at Nidal Hasan Analysis
The WaPo reports that the FBI has appointed William Webster to review the FBI’s response to Nidal Hasan’s actions leading up to the Fort Hood shootings.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has asked former director and retired federal judge William H. Webster to conduct an independent review of the bureau’s actions in advance of last month’s deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Tex., according to government officials familiar with the move.
But the most interesting thing about the report are the details it offers on the FBI’s analysis of Anwar al-Awlaki’s communications.
FBI agents in California already monitoring Aulaqi, whose violent rhetoric has inspired terrorist plots in Canada, Great Britain and the United States, forwarded two e-mails to the Washington task force, another government official confirmed. An analyst there took a few months to review the messages, before concluding they were innocent and in line with research Hasan had been conducting about Muslim soldiers and mental health issues, the official said.
Later e-mails between Hasan and the cleric were not sent to agents in Washington, but were reviewed by analysts in San Diego who determined they were in line with the earlier correspondence, the official added.
To sum up, the FBI maintains that Awlaki has “inspired” attacks plots [corrected per KenMuldrew] in Canada, the UK, and the US. Though this does not include a description of what “inspired” means.
It also reveals that the actual analysis of Awlaki’s communication–which we have reason to believe were collected under FISA surveillance–was initially done in CA (presumably, in San Diego). But the initial decision whether or not to pursue an investigation of Hasan based on the wiretaps was made in DC.
Not that I have any grand conclusions about that–but I do find it curious that the analysis of communications with Awlaki–whose last US-based location was in the DC area–was done in San Diego.
One more thing. What the WaPo doesn’t mention about Webster’s background is that, in addition to being a judge and a former FBI Director (and an Amherst grad), he’s also a former CIA Director and Chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Both of those roles would add another layer of expertise that may be useful for this review.
Update: I asked Tim Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, why they might be doing the analysis in San Diego. He said that the JTTF in San Diego is pretty substantial. Like me, he speculated that SAIC, which is located in San Diego, may be involved.
The most likely contractor would be SAIC, and not just because it’s based in San Diego. It has very close ties with the FBI and is a prime contractor on a massive FBI database called Investigative Data Warehouse. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been trying to shine some light on IDW through FOIA, and earlier this year released some of its findings: http://www.eff.org/issues/foia/investigative-data-warehouse-report
Their conclusions along with the conclusions of some of Hasan’s co workers, along with him asking for CO status…Some real fuck ups. Why oh why would you send this guy off to where ever. Clearly had some problems that they had all ready noticed.
Ew ot this statement out of Whitehouse is priceless
Whitehouse on whether health care bill is too long: ‘It has fewer words than a Harry Potter novel!’
San Diego? I thought we were done with Wade and Cunningham for good.
I’m wondering if it has to do with the location of a contractor, or whether there’s an active investigation into him out of SD.
OT – EFF Submits Brief in Key State Secrets Privilege Case:
Good. I hope it produces a superb analysis.
San Diego and DC seem to have been the two places Awlaki lived in the U.S. — see this recent article in the Toronto Star. Awlaki is also said to have met with two of the 9/11 hijackers in San Diego, so maybe those are the analysts who’ve been following him longest?
You’re right to wonder what “inspired” means in the case of the so-called Toronto 18, and I’m surprised that Michelle Shephard, who is usually very good on this turf, didn’t let a little irony show through in her summary of that case, especially the role of one of the agents provocateurs, whom she quotes there. That guy, Mubin Shaikh, rabbits on non-stop, and there have been times when some of us have wondered whether he wasn’t the most “inspired” of them all.
In Shephard’s defence, I imagine she was interested to see Awlaki’s name come up again in the context of the Fort Hood shootings and just got what she could get. The case here, though, has turned by stages semi-comic and is known in some parts as the case of the Paintball
18 113? Actually, I think there were more like 21 arrested in the first place, in a mass swoop by every level of police force in teh country, but they’ve been letting people go from the beginning.
No doubt there were a few older suspects who fantasized about training a group of kids for jihad, but the kids themselves seem to have been pretty clueless and have mostly been freed, some under supervision. I see that the ringleader has entered a guilty plea, which is news to me — must pursue that.
Just to put a slightly different angle on this conversation (and hope bobschacht comes to comment on this angle), suppose that the people in SD, who were tasked with assessing Hasan’s level of danger to others, were contractors.
How well qualified were they? How well were they compensated? Did they have medical? Did they gain more from their employment than ‘just a paycheck’? Were they rewarded for bringing questions to their supervisor(s)? Or not?
Or if they were a contractor, were they making squat while the ‘owners’ creamed off 50% of the contract revenues? Or was their pay enough to live comfortably so they could actually focus and concentrate on their work?
To underscore my point, today on “Morning Meeting“, Dylan Ratigan compares the pay of an AIG exec ($500,000 base), a teacher ($52,000), a firefighter ($45,000), and… an Army private ($19,500)**.
We’re paying billions to banksters, while at the same time allowing military contractors to cream off huge sums of money from procurement budgets.
Pay, wages, and health care may be viewed as ‘side issues’ to the task of evaluating Hasan (or anyone else), but it would be interesting to know whether Webster will factor in those elements.
** Pretty good snark, for those who like snark, BTW ;-))
I don’t know what you were hoping for, from me, but I’m not sure I follow what you’re hinting at. If there were contractors involved, what exactly they were contracted to do would be an issue.
For example, we have in recent years seen “investigations” that were so narrowly tasked that if they encountered evidence of a war crime in their investigation, they would not have done anything about it because it wasn’t on their “to do” list.
More relevant, apparently, is that there were two relevant folders about Hasan, and the critical people did not get to see both folders. (One was a personnel folder, and the other may have been a special investigations folder– I can’t remember.) As I recall, one of the critical parties was tasked only with reviewing one of the two files, and never saw the other. The danger was much more clear to those who saw both files, but those who did see both in time to do something, were not in a position to do anything.
Bob in AZ
Forgive me, Bob. I couldn’t resist.
“that if they encountered evidence of a war crime in their investigation, they would
not have done anything about it because it wasn’t on their “to do” list” just roll over and play dead.
Oh, mostly because you are the other commenter around here who says that you also watch “Morning Meeting”, and I thought the segment was quite interesting, particularly in view of the other news that I’ve spotted in my checking around on the Toobz today.
However, if [email protected] thinks that these are actually well-paid, competent contractors, then it suggests the processes and procedures are buggy; then it may not be a problem of hiring unqualified people, it’s the procedures they used. Your description certainly made my eyebrows raise:
What an absolutely tragic, but all too human, problem. At least what you have described looks fixable, however.
I guess that’s the silver lining…
Note my update–both Tim Shorrock and I suspect that if a contractor is involved it’d be SAIC.
Those guys are well-compensated. Not bankster rich, but certainly affluent.
Plots, not attacks. As in the Paintball boys that Skadl talks about.
Anyway, this whole business smacks of looking backwards, not forwards. Nothing good can come from it (can it?).
Thanks for the correction–plots, not attacks.