How Republicans Ruined the Intelligence Community

Karen De Young of the Washington Post points the finger at informs us that the reforms to America's intelligence community initiated by Ruler of the Galactic Empire, Darth Cheney President Bush and his the Republicans lapdogs in Congress in 2004, the legislation which created the National Counterterrorism Center, were the primary factor in the failure of the Intelligence Community to identify and deter the "underwear bomber."

That can't be true, can it? After all, everyone knows (or at least Republicans do) that it was Obama who made us less safe by de-prioritizing the "War on Terror."

Still, Ms. De Young does cite some damning evidence that suggests the all consuming desire to collect any and all intelligence on everyone may have made it extremely difficult to, in the jargon of the counterterrorism experts, "connect the dots" to legitimate threats to our security:

The failure of U.S. authorities to detect a plot to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day has reignited long-simmering concerns that intelligence reforms implemented five years ago remain inadequate to prevent terrorist attacks. [...]

[I]he most intense scrutiny has been directed toward the centerpiece of the 2004 intelligence reorganization: the National Counterterrorism Center. [...]

As the central repository for "all-source" intelligence on international terrorism, the NCTC is tasked with connecting the dots and advising the government on threats. [...]

[S]everal officials and experts said the failure to uncover the plot confirmed fears that the massive amounts of terrorism-related information being gathered since the 2001 attacks might outgrow the capacity to manage it. The CIA, the FBI, the military, and numerous Cabinet departments and independent agencies are flooded every day with new data from the field that is available to the NCTC.

"The single biggest worry that I have is long-term quality control," Russell E. Travers, in charge of the NCTC database of terrorism "entities," said in a 2007 interview as his list topped 400,000 and continued to expand. "Where am I going to be, where is my successor going to be, five years down the road?"

Travers is still there, and the database has grown to about 550,000. Beyond connecting the dots, "the challenge we now face is that we are collecting so much information," Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.) said last week of the system he helped devise as the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Yes, you heard that right. A senior Republican in Congress actually admitted that the reforms to our intelligence community which he "helped devise" may have made things worse. Of course back in 2004, Hoekstra wasn't just the "top Republican" on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he was its Chairman. He rubber stamped whatever the Bush/Cheney White House wanted back then. Now he's having buyer's remorse apparently.


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