In last night’s remarks, President Barack Obama made another one of his late-in-the-game, 180 degree turnarounds. Not only did the system not work, as asserted by Robert Gibbs and Janet Napolitano after the Christmas Day incident aboard Flight 253, but now the President is calling it a “systemic failure” in our intelligence agency apparatus. No longer is it, as Obama said earlier, an “isolated incident” committed by the “alleged” terrorist.
The government, it is clear, knows that al-Qaeda was behind the attack, had information beforehand that someone from Nigeria would be involved, and had “warning signs” that were ignored. And just as before 9/11, intelligence agencies either did not share material some of them had with the other parts of the security apparatus. It also is now known that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had engaged in much activity that gave even his father cause to worry, as President Obama acknowledged:
“It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect’s name on a no-fly list,” Mr. Obama said of the father’s warning. “There appears to be other deficiencies as well. Even without this one report, there were bits of information available within the intelligence community that could have and should have been pieced together.”
In other words, the president now acknowledges precisely what all his critics said from the start — and it took two days and obviously formal notice from Rahm Emanuel and company to alert him to the truth.
We also know — as many people said from day one — that Abdulmutallab was most likely radicalized in Britain, a nation whose leaders have all but given a welcome hand to Islamic extremists out of worry that they will be judged politically incorrect. Or as The New York Times reporter put it in typical incredulous Timespeak, “Britain remains a nation of deep Islamic ferment, where a young man like Mr. Abdulmutallab can become radicalized, perhaps without notice.” (my emphasis)
Well, perhaps if the British government shut down Wahhabi mosques run by radical clerics, instead of having the Queen knight some of them and the former mayor of London give them keys to the city, that is a problem that might quickly disappear. There have been scores of red flags writers like Melanie Phillips and others have pointed to for years about the success of Islamist mosques in London, so for the Times to write that now intelligence agencies are “are focusing on the possibility that his London years, including his possible contacts with radical Muslim groups in Britain, were decisive in turning him toward Islamic extremism” is positively alarming. (again, my emphasis.)