Michael Leiter Went Skiing … And All We Got Were Vast Expansions of Data-Sharing and No T-Shirt

In its short summary of the new NCTC data sharing guidelines, Lawfare said this:

The White House has passed new ”Guidelines for Access, Retention, Use, and Dissemination. . . of Information in Datasets Containing Non-Terrorism Information.” Read the new guidelines here. The Times tells us that the National Counterterrorism Center can now ”retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism” for 5 years, instead of the previous 6 months. You can thank Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for that. The Wall Street Journal and the Post also have the story. [my emphasis]

Actually, no.

I guess you can’t blame Michael Leiter for going skiing right after the UndieBomber attack. But when the report on the 14 failures that led us to miss the attack was released, it was pretty clear the National Counterterrorism Center–Leiter’s unit–deserved most of the blame.

Leiter wasn’t fired. He served over a year longer.

We didn’t do the most basic thing we could have done in response to the UndieBomber attack–hold those who failed accountable.

Instead, we’re now rolling back Americans’ privacy yet again, because those in charge would prefer to trade citizens’ civil liberties for actual accountability for failure.

It’s easy for folks like Lawfare to blame all this on the terrorist and none of it on the people who failed to defend against terrorism. And ultimately, that means the rest of us pay because Michael Leither chose to ski instead of ensuring we found terrorists.

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