The William Webster Report: Working Thread

The William Webster report into the Nidal Hasan killing is here. I’m about 45 pages in–it’s an interesting report, both in content and in method. In particular, I like the way Webster dealt with classified information, including both redactions bu also substitutions.

I’m going to do a working thread here, though will be reading most of this after dinner. I’m going to use both the spelling Aulaqi here, bc that’s what the report uses, just so I can type directly, as well as Awlaki, bc that’s what I’m used to. Sorry about the lack of page numbers at the beginning.

Page 7: Note what is not included on the list of JTTF successes: The Najibullah Zazi investigation, even though FBI has bragged about JTTF’s work in Aurora CO. Also note that Mohamed Osman Mohamud–and a bunch of other entrapments–are on the list.

Databases: Webster’s section on databases really makes it clear that 7 years after 9/11, FBI agents were still dealing with a klugy, unworkable system.

Note the reference to what tier Aulaqi’s investigation was treated as.

Note the investigation into Aulaqi had lapsed, then got picked up again in 2006. Also, unless I’m missing it, they don’t mention the prostitution.

PDF 45: “The Aulaqi [investigation] [redacted] also served as an occasional “trip wire” for identifying [redacted] persons of interest.” This admits something that has been clear: FBI used Aulaqi (and Samir Khan and others) as a place to go look for radicals.

PDF 48: Note the discussion of how the FBI uses IP, as a guidance tool.

PDF 49: FBI didn’t write up an IIR on Hasan bc they thought he might be a Communications Officer with access to such reports, didn’t want him to find out abt Awlaki investigation.

[Note: switching to hard page numbers now]

Page 56: Note Webster mentions that Hasan’s derogatory job evals were leaked to the media. If I’m not mistaken he doesn’t say the same about the emails, though they were.

Page 56: “Given the [redacted–probably FISA related] origin of the information [redacted] WFO-SSA and WFO-TFO believed that interviewing Hasan would jeopardize the [Aulaqi investigation] [redacted]. They could think of no way to interview Hasan without disclosing the FBI’s access to the messages, [redacted] which would harm the prime interesting–San Diego’s investigation of Aulaqi.” I also wonder whether they didn’t want to disrupt using Awlaki as bait.

Page 61: Note that on July 1, 2009 they recoded the Aulaqi investigation from 315 to 415. Not sure what 415 is (it must be new after this list). But that would be just before Abdulmutallab showed up. Note that the Aulaqi team had reviewed 29,000 files by November 5, which is a point when Abdulmutallab was already in training.

Page 61: For some reason, Webster reports the gun purchase (which took place on 7/31) after Hasan reported the vandalism.

Page 62: Note the claim that a subject told him Awlaki told the subject that he should kill other soldiers. This is, I believe, too late to be Abdulmutallab. It is probably also not Rajib Karim, the British Airways guy Awlaki reportedly communicated with, both because of timing and bc Karim did not plead guilty to Awlaki related crimes.

Page 62: Note the report cites Abulelah Haider Shaye’s interview with Awlaki.

Page 67: I’ll return to this. But the analysis shows that the FAA WOULDN’T do anything to catch Nidal Hasan. Funny, DiFi used Hasan as an excuse for getting US person data today.

Electronic  surveillance of the [email protected] email account in the weeks preceding the shootings would not have produced any actionable evidence of imminent violence or other wrongdoing.

2 replies
  1. EH says:

    The FBI probably can’t get any competent database people who can also pass contemporary clearance requirements.

  2. Jeff Kaye says:

    Haven’t the time this AM to read Webster’s report (so glad you are). But in a moment of serendipitous context (and somewhat O/T, I suppose), I’d thought I’d mention that one of the discoveries that Jason Leopold and I made while writing our recent article on drugging detainees, was that William Webster was publicly calling for the use of “truth drugs” and other “invasive” methods on GWOT prisoners.

    For a step back into the time machine, where Webster was pushing Sodium Pentothal, and “One of the most cooperative al-Qaeda leaders captured since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks [was] Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi,” take a look at this April 2002 USA Today article.

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