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Belmont Club

The Element of Predictable Surprise

July 19th, 2014 - 6:15 pm

“Ok, surprise me.”

The enemy always does.  For years Hamas has been working on a secret weapon: tunnels. “Eight Palestinian militants emerged from a tunnel some 300 yards inside Israel on Saturday morning, armed with automatic weapons and wearing Israeli military uniforms, the Israeli military said. The gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at two Israeli military jeeps on patrol, starting a battle that killed two Israeli officers and one of the militants, according to the military. The rest then retreated underground, back to Gaza.”

tunnels

The IDF has taken 30 tunnels so far, many lined with concrete. While the Israelis were not strategically surprised, they were inevitably taken at tactical unawares. They knew there were tunnels but not where all were and how they would be used.

Israeli officials framed the encounters as successes in thwarting attacks on Israel. But they were also an indication that Hamas could strike even during the invasion through a tunnel network that Israeli officials just revealed they had been studying for a year to plan a way to destroy them.

Despite the belief in NSA omniscience, James Kitfield in Breaking Defense points out that Western intelligence has many institutional blinds spots that terrorists have identified. It is now only a matter of time before they strike, but they seem to be holding off until they can pull off the Big One.

We know that intelligence gaps exist and unfortunately politics has ensured the defensive horses are wearing not only blinkers but blindfolds.

“Imagine if the United States was under attack by a wave of warplanes that we had on our radar, and then those planes turned off their transponders and suddenly became invisible to us. That’s the analogy I would use to explain what is happening with terrorist plots,” General Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency, said in an interview. … “Believe me, those terrorists didn’t just decide one day to give the United States and Europe a pass. They are still trying to kill us. Only now, thanks in large part to Edward Snowden revealing our intelligence collection techniques and procedures, the terrorists know better how to get around our defenses.”

One of the first indications of that intelligence blind spot was a massacre last year by the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia. Though unfamiliar to most Americans, al-Shabab has been the subject of a “hard stare” by the U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism community. … Yet last September an al-Shabab terrorist cell attacked the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing more than 67 civilians and wounding more than 175 others – and U.S. intelligence experts had no warning. No warning, either, of an al-Shabab attack on a Kenyan coastal town just last month that killed at least 48 civilians.

“I was asked by a Kenyan official why U.S. intelligence didn’t warn them of these attacks, and the answer is because we didn’t see them coming,” said Alexander. “The fact that there were two major terrorist attacks by the same group that we didn’t see coming tells me and a lot of other people in the intelligence community that something is fundamentally not right.”

The current model of al-Qaeda is much more sophisticated than the original, with a minimum 7,000 jihadists with Western passports supported by intelligence, signals and other specialist cells.  While they have waxed, the West has deliberately waned.  The Obama administration has defined the threat away by tying the War on Terror to a campaign talking point. They must now maintain the fiction that “Osama bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive” because that was an electoral promise which on no account must be falsified.

The WOT is now officially over, except for low-level  responses like drone strikes and targeted intelligence operations.  But what if it’s not? What if the president declared victory with the enemy still rampant in the field? In retrospect, the major strategic miscalculation of the Obama administration may have been a failure to anticipate that the terror threat would evolve. Their implicit assumption was that the jihad would remain at the al-Qaeda 1.0 level indefinitely.  They never imagined it would mutate and they would have to take the very roads that they proscribed.

Kitfield’s sources think that something’s up, though nobody is sure what it is. “As a number of ascendant terrorist groups jockey for primacy, U.S. intelligence experts also fear they will compete for legitimacy by launching spectacular attacks on the West, the coin of the realm when Islamic extremists compete for followers and funds. Given the number of European jihadists now fighting in Syria and their proximity to the continent, the first blow may well fall in Europe, but no one can be sure. What the U.S. and Western intelligence agencies share is a vague foreboding that they are about to be blindsided.”

So where’s the attack?

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The blind spot is that the NSA thinks they are omniscient in capturing vast amounts of signal intelligence (Signit). It's what they aren't capturing in their nets that will kill us.
What US Intelligence has lacked for many years is human intelligence (Humint). I still doubt that the CIA or anyone else from the West has penetrated Al Qaeda or any other Islamic terrorist organizations. The CIA and the FBI fumbled about in the dark for years, missing all the clues that good Humint would have told us about the 9/11 plot (of 2001).

And now we have a President and his Executive Branch that thinks terrorism is over, Al Qaeda is on the run, it's all second stringers, etc.

I have read that the British Government had excellent and accurate intelligence on the plans and intentions of the Germans prior to WWII, but refused to believe it or use it.
The Obama Regime may have actually been told about a lot of things by accurate intelligence gathering, but was too busy suppressing their political opponents through the IRS and feeding information illegally to Obama political front groups about his opposition.
The Obama Regime may someday be seen for what it is, the most lawless government in US history. Ignoring good intelligence about Islamic terrorists to the detriment of the country is already self evident viz Iraq.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wretchard: "The major reason for the absence of large scale attack despite the growing Jihadi capability is they are not yet sure what the response will be."

How about another possible reason -- the real large-scale attack is already under way, under the radar so to speak. Some time ago, there was an article on the Internet (so it must be right!) asserting that, among fighting-age males in France, it was already at a near 50/50 balance between native French and immigrant Muslims. Wander through most cities in the UK, and one of the biggest newest buildings is usually a mosque. There are more shop signs in Arabic in central London than in Abu Dhabi.

Why launch an attack which will damage property your children will inherit? Maybe the jihadis are simply waiting until Old Europe simply dies off?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are high tech tunnels on OUR southern border, btw.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (193)
All Comments   (193)
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It is simply a matter of time before the global syndicate ok's yet another attack. Yes firmly believe they are, at this point, all planned and carried out to achieve global DOMINATION!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would not surprise me to see a major jihadi operation in America, but with the plans of Islam to conquer America moving along at a fantastic and very successful rate, why blow anything up and wake up the monster.? They have built over 2000 Mosques or "Islamic Centers" in our country, & the Mosques are where the revolution will begin. They have infiltrated all of our government institutions, with the help of our socialist leaders. If this continues apace, America will be subordinated to Islam within less than 50 years. No Constitution, no rule of law, no freedom of speech, assembly, religion. We will be ruled by shariah law and you cannot say we did not see it coming. Many are sounding the alarm but Muslims & leftists yell "Islamophobes!". Wake up America! You can believe there will be a big attack, but only after Islam gains the requisite strength & numbers. That day is not far off.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Part of the "wake up" is to get sleepy Americans aware.

The other part is the action step, for those Amercans who are already awake.

What are you going to do differently, now that you are awake?

At a minimum we can begin refusing to comply with unconstitutional laws/policies. We don't have to convince the tyrants to stop passing these laws. We can vote with our actions and simply refuse to abide.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The NSA is too busy watching those potential domestic terrorists,( you know, the ones Janet Napolitano described, as Constututionalists, veterans, and clingers to bibles and guns) , to have much times to be watching those who REALLY pose a threat. And besides, its politically incorrect to be defining and watching those who are the real enemy
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why no mention of domestic terrorists?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"
-- George Washington
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gaza Strip - Gazans are crying foul after Egypt stepped up its campaign to wipe out an underground network of transportation tunnels by blasting raw sewage down them, sometimes with deadly results for Palestinian workers.

Some 2,000 men and boys work in the tunnel trade in the Gaza Strip. But over the past three months, more than 80 percent have lost the only work and benefits available in besieged Gaza, which remains stuck in an Israeli blockade.

That occurred after the government of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi ordered the destruction of the underground transportation network. As part of that effort, the military began dumping raw sewage into the passageways.

A good start.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Frankly I'm expecting multiple teams of 6-8 terrorist striking shopping malls all over the country in around the same time frame. First step would be to chain and lock the doors. The next step would be to go walking from shop to shop shooting and grenading anything that moves a la Mumbai.

Imagine if terrorists simultaneously strike at 10 shopping malls spread over the country and slaughter every last man, woman and child therein? Imagine this during a shopping holiday like Christmas. Or perhaps Black Friday?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Imagine all you want, but what's been stopping these multiple teams for the past 10+ years?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
--reckon some of these suicide dead-enders get over to America, and find out they DO mind dying --and just sorta quit reading their email?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
This illustrates why it's useful to always have some conflict going on to act like "flypaper", in order to draw all the really dangerous actors to one place. Original thinking isn't valued in the Arab world and thus is very rare - therefore that segment of the population which is drawn toward violence is going to be drawn into whatever war is being publicized at the time. The old standby is the war against the jews, but now the shiite-sunni thing is kicking off in earnest, and they can't resist that one either.

In a way, we're actually quite lucky, here in America. Of course they hate us, but their hatred of us is shallow and recent - barely 30 years old, at best. They've hated Jews for far longer, and they've hated each other since they first existed, and therefore on a target value scale, we never get close to either of those groups.

Also, another mistake we make is to think that we will be an attractive target because this is where a rational person would attack. Silly people, thinking that rationality has anything to do with the way these arab terrorists think! It's all about emotion! It's all about feeling good! And killing Jews or other Arabs is always going to be far more emotionally satisfying than killing us over here on the other side of the world.

So we got that going for us.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
wws wrote: " but their hatred of us is shallow and recent - barely 30 years old, at best. "

Read Disinformation by Ion Mihai Pacepa for some insight into that 30 year phenomena.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's what Bibi Netanyahu says --'hey, you DO realize we're over here trying to fight the jihad for the whole western world, don't you?'
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anon, I don't think they have to go to that much trouble. I've noted for years that mall food courts have ~200 kids with backpacks every afternoon. I fully expect to hear about Tsarnaev II dropping a pack on a chair, just like all the kids do, and ghost out while texting, just like all the kids do...
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quoting the '90's T-shirt company - - -
It isto be worse, far far worse than:

"IT IS NOT "IF" BUT WHEN and HOW BAD"

It is in how many places, how will it have been enabled, how much disconnect, deny, dither and delay will be from the ____-in-WH?

///////////////////////////////////////////////
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our weak, inept, INCOMPETENT, Dishonest, Divisive President has weakened our economy, or military, and all of our defenses. While he was lying to us about Al Qaeda being on the run, Al Qaeda/ISIS was building an army and growing stronger than ever. Everywhere you look Obama has damaged our standing in the world and made us weaker. Its only a matter of time until we reap the results of his failed Presidency. Our adversaries and the terrorists are all on move, as Obama makes us weaker every day.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here, wanna be GOOD and terrified? Read the link from downthread:

http://guardianlv.com/2013/06/bio-warfare-in-iranian-plans/#SlFw6eTA6qvITvfW.99

--note its date, and that it mentions 'a new lab virus called MERS' and a 'new smallpox strain with no vaccine'.

--note the hair-raising quotes from the Iranian general in charge of the bioweapons program.

--note also this guy's three conditions for America to avoid release of these things, and ask yourself, gee, have we already surrendered?

Now here's some searches, all have some good sources on page one. Bear in mind that the bad guy playbook always includes salting, or seeding, pretexts and CYA talking points before it does something (or allows someone to do something) bad it wants to be able to plausibly, or even implausibly (acceleratingly increasingly), deny.

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https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8&q=cdc+mers&rlz=1I7GGLL_en&gws_rd=ssl

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https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8&q=from+ceo+of+seiu+to+board+of+smallpox+vaccine+co&rlz=1I7GGLL_en&gws_rd=ssl

(on this one, scroll esp to The Blaze and the Free Republic entries, and the cluster just below them)

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https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8&q=immigrants+disease+spread+over+usa&rlz=1I7GGLL_en&gws_rd=ssl

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https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8&q=cdc+loses+virus&rlz=1I7GGLL_en&gws_rd=ssl

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https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8&q=cdc+testifies+before+congress&rlz=1I7GGLL_en&gws_rd=ssl

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sick sick sick, or tic tic tic?

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wonder which would be the more important disqualifier for a president, given we regain the power to choose that is: (1) Not be an enemy of the state? or (2) Not be a liar?

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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