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OK, maybe this isn’t quite as bad (yet) as “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US”, but it doesn’t look good. This from a Washington Post story on yesterday’s talk show circuit by John Brennan, the Obama administration’s chief counterterrorism adviser:
Brennan revealed that at least part of the suspect’s name had appeared in intelligence reports indicating that a Nigerian was being prepared for a terrorist attack by the al-Qaeda group in Yemen. “We did have the information throughout the course of the summer and fall about . . . plans to carry out attacks,” he said. “We had snippets of information, we had information about Umar Farouk, but we didn’t have any type of information that really allowed us to identify Mr. Abdulmutallab.”
Brennan added: “We may have had a partial name. We might have had an indication of a Nigerian. But there was nothing that brought it all together.”
Huh? Isn’t bringing “it all together” the job of intelligence agencies? How much more information did they need?
I asked a former CIA officer about Brennan’s remarks. He replied: “Brennan’s performance was disgraceful. A hapless effort to put a happy face on a disaster. They had the Nigerian’s full name, and a photo (provided by this father). He was traveling in true name, on his Nigerian passport, with a recently renewed US visa. There is no acceptable explanation or excuse. The finger pointing is in full swing, but you can bet how it will turn out. Brennan is in charge of the review. There is no chance he is going to accept any responsibility for this, but he will affix blame and responsibility on the target of his choice.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”