The Senate Intelligence Committee has just released the Executive Summary of its report on the intelligence failures leading up to the Underwear Bomber’s attempted bombing on a plane landing in Detroit. I’ll have a bit more to say in a bit. But I wanted to focus on point 14, which feels an awful lot like that famous August 6, 2001 memo.
Intelligence Analysts Were Primarily Focused on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Threats to U.S. Interests in Yemen, Rather than on Potential AQAP Threats to the U.S. Homeland.
Analysts’ competing priorities contributed to the failure of the Intelligence Community to identify Abdulmutallab as a potential threat. Prior to the 12/25 plot, counterterrorism analysts at NCTC, CIA, and NSA were focused on the threat of terrorist attacks in Yemen, but were not focused on the possibility of AQAP attacks against the U.S. homeland. These other priorities contributed to the failure of analysts to recognize and collate the several pieces of intelligence reporting that mentioned Abdulmutallab.
Nine years and how many billions later, and we still haven’t figured out that terrorists might want to hit us in the United States?