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June 13, 2007

"We're Fighting Them Over There So We Don't Have To Fight Them Over Here"

A decent slogan, and one I've been receptive to. But all along the slogan contained an implication I missed -- We're fighting them over there because we refuse to fight them over here. Or even, you know, take the most basic steps towards tracking them over here.

I hate to be dick, but Mr. President, isn't it possible to fight them over there and over here?

Spongeworthy objects to the stats mentioned in the post below regarding the great decline in terrorist-related deportations under Bush. He states that this number is potentially misleading, as many questionable individuals have chosen to self-deport rather than live in a society suspicious of them.

In addition, there was a report -- a while ago; I doubt I can find the link -- that embassy staffs never had the capability of truly vetting a visa application. So, post 9/11, they took a different tack -- they simply began rejecting most applications from terrorist-infested countries without bothering to prove any terrorist-connections on the part of a particular applicant. They did so without much fanfare -- they didn't consider it politically or diplomatically helpful to announce to the Muslim world that Muslims were now to be presumptively denied visas in many if not most cases -- but that might in fact be a contributing factor to the decline in terrorism-related deportations.

However. There are still plenty of illegal immigrants here -- some with terrorist designs -- who snuck into the country pre-9/11. The left -- and Bush, of course -- would like to bury the fact that the Fort Dix Six Duka brother terrorists had illegally enterred the country from Mexico, for example.

The Duka family entered the United States illegally through Mexico in October 1984, according to the sources. In 1989, Ferik Duka made an application for asylum with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and acknowledged the family's illegal entry into the country.

Nobody in the family was ever given legal residency status, the sources said. It was unclear why the Duka's had not been charged with immigration violations earlier.

It's a bit clearer to me -- the Bush Administration, like previous administrations, simply doesn't "do" border security or immigration enforcement.

Even as regards potential terrorists. Why, it's unAmerican to deny such people their shot at the American dream... of blowing up Americans for the glory of global jihad. I think the Statue of Liberty expressly invites such folk into the country -- Give us your teeming, huddled, basement-bomb-making massess...

So, you know, the fact that the French-created Statue of Liberty invites terrorists into our country makes it unconstitutional to do a damn thing about them.

I have an FBI source -- yes, me, I've got a source -- whose job it is to track and surveil suspected Muslim terrorists all day long. That's all he does -- tail, videotape, watch, listen. And his report from the front-lines is this: Even in the case of those strongly suspected of being terrorist plotters and sleepers, the FBI simply doesn't have the manpower to watch them all 24/7. In fact, they get watched perhaps two or three times a week for 8 or 12 hour shifts. Then he has to move on to the other high-risk terrorist suspects.

It's not his fault -- his team is relatively small and there are just far too many high-risk terrorist suspects for them to watch all the time, even if they were somehow able to work seven days a week and 24 hours a day.

And you can ask MI5 about what can happen when you simply don't have the manpower to track each and every suspected terrorist:

MI5 is being accused of a cover-up for failing to disclose to a parliamentary watchdog that it bugged the leader of the July 7 suicide bombers discussing the building of a bomb months before the London attacks.

MI5 had secret tape recordings of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the gang leader, talking about how to build the device and then leave the country because there would be a lot of police activity.

However, despite the recordings, MI5 allowed him to escape the [surveillance] net. Transcripts of the tapes were never shown to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC), which investigated the attacks.

The disclosures prompted allegations of a "whitewash" from politicians and victims of the attacks this weekend.

Last week the committee, whose members are appointed by Tony Blair and report to him, cleared MI5 of blame after it failed to thwart the attacks, which killed 52 innocent people and injured more than 700. It concluded that MI5 had no reason to suspect Khan of plotting attacks in Britain. [The ringleader of the 7/7 Tube bombing] was regarded as "peripheral" to higher priorities.

The new evidence shows MI5 monitored Khan when he met suspects allegedly planning another, separate attack; that he had knowledge of the "late-stage discussions" of this plot; and that he was recorded having discussions with them about making a bomb and leaving the country. He was also recorded talking about his plans to wage jihad - holy war - and go to Al-Qaeda terrorist camps abroad.

...

The MP said that if the transcripts showed Khan had been involved in discussions about bomb-making and another possible attack, the committee had been seriously misled. "If that is the case, it amounts to a scandal," said the source. "I would be outraged."

Rachel North, a survivor of the bomb at King's Cross, was shocked by the disclosure: "I am shaking with anger.

...

"It seems that MI5 taped Mohammad Sidique Khan talking about his wish to fight in the jihad and saying his goodbyes to his family - a clear indication that he was intending a suicide mission . . . he was known to have attended late-stage discussions on planning another major terror attack. Again, I ask the home secretary whether that is true."

Reid said the questions were "legitimate" but failed to answer them.

Although there's room here for blame on the part of MI5 -- not just their initial botched evaluation of the threat posed by Khan, but their later cover-up of their deadly error -- the greater scandal is that Western populations are content to allow these murderers free reign in their countries and refuse to take the threat seriously.

MI5 erred badly in not prioritizing Khan more highly. But it is the fault of the British public -- and the American public, too, as well as our political leadership which downplays the actual dimensions of the threat -- for expecting law-enforcement to be able to track so many terrorists with so few agents and so few resources. Rather than take the common-sense approach of making our agents' jobs easier by deporting any and all suspected terrorists -- allowing agents to concentrate on the remaining citizens who are possibly terrorists -- we continue to pretend everything is normal and there's no reason at all for such "drastic" measures.

Bush is to blame, Congress is to blame, and the American public is to blame. In that order.

And one day we're going to have 100 or, who knows, 1000 people killed due to our governments' blithe disregard for terrorist immigrants -- both illegal and legal -- and the government will claim "We couldn't possibly have known, we couldn't possibly have done more," the same as MI5 and Tony Blair's government claimed after 7/7.

Bullshit. After 9/11, you're all on clear notice. You cannot claim you haven't been warned. You were warned, to the tune of 3000 dead and the spectacular destruction of the Twin Towers.

If megaterrorism like this was supposedly "inconceivable" before 9/11 -- a shaky propostion at best -- it is certainly no longer inconceivable.

And yet, despite the promises made immediately after 9/11 that everything would change and we would never forget, not much at all change and we have almost entirely forgotten.

How many have to die, exactly, before government shakes out of its business-as-usual don't-rock-the-boat mode? 3000 didn't do it; perhaps 10,000 is necessary.

PS: I had really wanted to link a powerful British video report on the failure to track Khan I'd watched about a month ago, but I haven't found it. If any of you have the mad Google skillz, let me know if you hunt it down.

Update: Muslim Immigration Levels At Highest Levels In Two Decades. At least in 2005:

In 2005, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.

Thanks to Aldolfo.

And, thanks to Sinistar Entropy, here are a pair of videos -- not the one I remember, but still good -- about MI5's failure to watch Mohammad Sidique Khan closely. Part of it was due to a lack of resources to watch all possible terrorists; part of it was a spectacularly bad evaluation of Khan as relatively low-risk.

Here's the deal: Law enforcement wouldn't have to engage in such potentially-disasterous prioritization of threats so frequently if our nations more highly prioritized reducing the overall threat by reducing the number of potential malefactors in our countries.

It might not be as bad here as it is in "Londonistan," but my FBI friend tells me it's pretty damn bad. When you can only surveil what you consider to be your top-level security risks two or three days a week at most (and only for part of those days)... well, that means for 75% of the week they're entirely unwatched. Just as Mohammad Sidique Khan was unwatched.

And we see how well that worked out for the Brits.

But immigration is, you know, just terrific for the economy. Look at all the big-spending, pump-priming reconstruction after a particularly econically-stimulating visit by 19 immigrants willing to do the jobs that almost no Americans were willing to do.


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posted by Ace at 05:27 PM

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