Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Karen DeYoung’s Washington Post story today isn’t actually about the 2004 intelligence-community reforms failing to stop the would-be Northwest Airlines Flight

Amandeep Coleman
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jan 07, 2010

Karen DeYoung’s Washington Post story today isn’t actually about the 2004 intelligence-community reforms failing to stop the would-be Northwest Airlines Flight 253 bomber, despite its headline. It’s actually about how one approach to implementing the critique President Obama offered Tuesday for why Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to get on Northwest Flight 253 will make things worse.

Obama thinks the dots should have been connected. But the dots were insufficient in specificity, even when viewed in aggregation, under current rules for placing an individual on the no-fly list. And on Saturday, Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made an empty statement that gestured at taking the heat for the undesirable outcome of Abdulmutallab’s boarding the plane.

As I’ve been reporting for days, some intelligence officials argue the solution isn’t to increase the number of people on the pre-no-fly terrorism watch lists becuase that might do little aside from opening the firehose of data on full blast. For instance, here’s DeYoung:

Regardless of where fault is ultimately assessed, several 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?”

Glenn Greenwald had more on that garbage-in-garbage-out problem yesterday in a very perceptive post.

In fairness, Obama isn’t saying “there needs to be more dots.” He’s saying there needs to be better connections of the dots. Well, OK, but that’s asking the intelligence community to really strain the amount of information there was about Abdulmutallab and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In practice, what the experience of the last five years has indicated is that the answer will be “there needs to be more dots.” And that, as DeYoung’s piece points out, makes the problem worse.

Today the White House will release the preliminary findings of its Flight 253 reviews. National Security Adviser Jim Jones said we’ll feel “a certain shock” when we see how many dots there were that should have been connected. And I hope there are some new dots there. Because right now, the only shock I feel concerns how the White House isn’t leveling with the public about what the standards are for placing someone on a no-fly list and is instead placing unrealistic expectations on the intelligence community.

Amandeep Coleman | Amandeep had never known a moment when she wasn't reading or making up stories, having been born into a family of readers. She took out a pencil and notebook during the now-famous blizzard and started writing down one of those stories. It was there that I began my professional life. Her first book was written after several rejections and manuscripts. She is a member of many writers' organizations and has received several accolades from her peers and the publishing industry. The New Yorker recently dubbed her "America's favorite novelist".


Giffords shooting leads nation to introspection and political finger wagging

In the wake of the shooting in Arizona this weekend that critically injured Rep.

EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management

At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from

E-Verify Mandate Begins Today

The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm

EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules

The EPA seal (Pic via The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.

EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann  has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.

EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’

In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work

EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria

The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards

EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’

All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of

EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |

Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.