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Covering Up The Obama Failure: What We Still Don’t Know About The Christmas Terrorist Attack

Tuesday, December 29, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here are links to today’s lead stories on the Christmas terrorist attack from the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The key graphs come at the very end of the Times’ story:

Mr. Mutallab visited the embassy on Nov. 19 and told officials his son had been radicalized, was missing and might be in Yemen, said a State Department spokesman, P. J. Crowley. Mr. Crowley said that Mr. Mutallab did not say he believed his son planned to attack Americans, but that he expressed general concern about his radical views.

The information was taken seriously, Mr. Crowley said, but was judged insufficient to warrant revoking Mr. Abdulmutallab’s visa, although his file was flagged for investigation if he reapplied. Embassy officials representing several security agencies discussed the information on Nov. 20 and sent a cable to Washington. His name was added to a database of 550,000 names with suspicion of terrorism ties, but it did not go onto the 4,000-person no-fly list.

Here’s part of the Post’s account:

Authorities said there was no reason to suspect Abdulmutallab of dangerous activity until his father visited the embassy in Abuja on Nov. 19. The next day, under a program called Visa Viper, mandated by Congress to ensure all terrorism-related information is promptly reported to Washington, the embassy sent a cable saying the father was “concerned that his son was falling under the influence of religious extremists in Yemen,” a State Department official said.

The State Department, under existing procedures, passed the Viper information to the National Counterterrorism Center for entry in its terrorism database. Neither the State Department nor the NCTC, officials said Monday, checked to see if Abdulmutallab had ever entered the United States or had a valid entry visa — information readily available in separate consular and immigration databases. “It’s not for us to review that,” the State Department official said.

The Post noted earlier in its story that London authorities had placed Abdulmutallab on a watch list last May.

The key, and as-yet-unanswered-and-apparently-unasked, questions are obvious: What does it take to get on to the “no fly” list? Who dropped the ball on the “Visa Viper” team? To whom did the terrorist’s father speak in Nigeria and at what length? What sort of information was passed back to the U.S. in the cable –a line, a paragraph, an “urgent urgent” warning in big red block letters?

In short: What happened? Where are the details? The names of thos involved and the hour at which they failed to act?

Who is running the DHS effort in Amsterdam? Who is supposed to be watching the people London is watching as they go to and from the al Qaeda-friendly confines of Yemen? Do we even share information with Great Britain anymore or is the president’s obvious antipathy for England mirrored down the line of the entire executive branch?

Ask yourself what the response of the nation’s elite media would be if this had happened in December, 2007 and George Bush was at his ranch? Would the press lazily accept a two minute statement followed by golf? Would Bush’s DHS chief Michael Chertoff’s bland assurance that “the system worked” followed by a retraction the next day be absent from the news or be running on a near-endless loop? Would demands for Secretary Rice’s head be heard from the left? Would we have anonymous quotes from “senior Adminsitration officials” and leaks from CIA operatives?

Or would we have the sort of non-coverage President Obama is benefitting from?

The thorough politicization of the MSM on matters of politics has been an accomplished fact for years, but a few people believed that the Beltway-Manhattan media elite would still function as an independent press corps on domestic policy and especially on matters of national security.

The complete failure to cover the approaching fiasco of Obamacare disproved the former hope and now the almost backhanded treatment of the obvious questions about the Christmas terror attack and the refusal to mount any sort of sustained inquiry into the massive breakdown of security or demonstrate any curiosity about what could have been done or what might be done now demonstrates the complete collapse of the traditional Fourth Estate’s interest in covering anything about President Obama’s incompetence or the incompetence of his senior advisors.

The evidence mounts and mounts as to the Administration’s utter fecklessness on several crucial fronts, and the MSM is reduced to reporting on the speed of his motorcade along Hawaii’s roads.

If you want to learn anything about the terrorist or the continuing threat from yemen, check the British press, where you can learn of his views on 9/11 from the Telegraph or about the hundreds of other militants still in Yemen and still planning attacks from the Times of London.

Just don’t count on America’s media to do anything that will throw a spotlight on the blunders of President Obama and his national security team.

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Brian Rooney for Congress

Monday, December 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Brian Rooney is running in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District. Brian’s an old friend –despite being one of the Steeler Rooneys– and is a USMC combat veteran of Iraq as well as a great lawyer with the Thomas More Center.

You can end 2009 on the right note with a contribution to Brian’s campaign fund via this link.

“President Obama’s Year of Failure”

Monday, December 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My Washington Examiner column reviews President Obama’s first year in office, which ends with a spectacular failure to stop a terrorist before he reached American airspace.

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