Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Next Wave, Redux

Vice-President Joe Biden says the U.S. will likely be hit by terrorist "backpack bombers" in the coming months. Biden made the observation in an interview with CNN's Larry King, which was taped earlier today.

A transcript of Biden's comments is already posted at "The Swamp," a group blog from the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau. Scroll down for the VP's terror prediction, which occurred towards the end of the interview:

KING: Terror -- last week on terrorism, the heads of the major U.S. intelligence agencies told Dianne Feinstein that another attempted terrorist attack on the United States is coming certain in the next few months.

BIDEN: Well...

KING: What do you make of that?

BIDEN: Well, look, let me put it this way. The idea of there being a massive attack in the United States like 9/11 is unlikely, in my view. But if you see what's happening, particularly with al Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula, they have decided to move in the direction of much more small bore but devastatingly frightening attacks.

KING: Detroit?

BIDEN: Detroit. But I think what you're seeing morphing here -- and it's a concern to us -- is you'll see the -- the concern relates to somebody like a shoe bomber or the underpants bomber, the Christmas attack or someone just strapping a backpack on them with weapons that are indigenous and blowing up, you know, walking into (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: So that's going to happen?

BIDEN: Well, I -- I think there are going to be an attempts. I hope we've been -- I've been really impressed. As I said, I've been here for eight presidents. I used to be in the Intelligence Committee. I was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. It's something I spent my professional life doing. I've been really impressed with the success we've had, building on the last administration, in dealing with these.

Reading the transcript, it seems clear that Mr. Biden was trying to avoid one of his patented "slips of the lip" that might divulge more detailed information. Put another way, it's highly unlikely the Vice-President randomly selected "backpack bombers" as an example of a potential threat.

And when he refers to "someone like a shoe bomber or the underpants bomber," it's a tacit admission that Farouk Abdulmutallab was part of Al Qaida's "next wave." His fellow operatives--trained at the same camps in Yemen--are still out there, probably on American soil and waiting to strike.

The underlying intent of Mr. Biden's comments (along with those of intelligence officials last week) seems clear enough: America is being prepared for a series of near-term attacks against the homeland, strikes that may be impossible to defeat.

Once again, the question: what actionable intelligence was missed--or delayed--because we Mirandized Abdulmutallab after less than an hour of interrogation on Christmas Day?

8 comments:

Ed Rasimus said...

"I've been really impressed with the success we've had, building on the last administration, in dealing with these."

I'm surprised he didn't choke on those words!

Spook86 said...

I had the same thought, Ed. Ol' Gaffe-tastic Joe came dangerously close to committing the cardinal sin in the Obama Administration: giving credit to George W. Bush.

fmfnavydoc said...

Spook/George,

Saw this in the European Edition of Stars and Stripes - thought it would be of interest for the blog:

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=67965

Aerospook said...

It infuriates me to hear these people talk about backpack bombers as something that might do a bit of local damage. The impact of a TNW in an american city would not only do major property damage, kill many people, but would also paralyze our financial system.

Chris said...

"Once again, the question: what actionable intelligence was missed--or delayed--because we Mirandized Abdulmutallab after less than an hour of interrogation on Christmas Day?"

Does anyone really think that missed intelligence from Abdulmutallab is the worst intelligence and/or counter-terrorism failure we've had as a nation in the past 12 months?

Sorry, sir...you're beating a dead dog here. That ship has sailed. Mirandizing that kid - as dumb and irresponsible as it was - is not the be-all, end-all of our nation's effort at combating terrorism on our soil. It was a missed opportunity, but if it were a stock, it'd be a penny stock, not Berkshire Hathaway.

tfhr said...

Chris,

How can you say that without knowing what value could have come from more timely interrogation?

davod said...

Late to the conversation again. However:

"Mirandizing that kid - as dumb and irresponsible as it was - is not the be-all, end-all of our nation's effort at combating terrorism on our soil."

What was done is reflective of a prosecution via intelligence/interrogation mindset that appears on the battlefield as well. I recall reading, after the new interrogation rules were announced, the CIA in the field were not interviewing/interrogating new captures. The same for the military.


The quick reaction follow up of material and information obtained from captures was lost. This was the way the Delta/Special forces teams in Iraq caught/killed many of the ratbags. The information was used before the ratbags knew of the capture.

Dan said...

What if there were xxx million people in the US who were required to
"Fight until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah." (Qur'an:8:39)?

What if all these people enjoyed the freedoms and libertys of their neighbors?
What if their goals were spelled ot plain as can be in black and white.
And what if their neighbors ignored the code they were REQUIRED to follow and welcomed them by the thousands?