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Intel Chief Issues Tepid Reaction to Senate’s Abdulmutallab Report

It’s so dry it borders on passive-aggressive. “Immediately following the attempted attack, Director Blair initiated reviews to identify [intelligence community]-wide shortcomings and potential solutions,” reads a statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, responding to this afternoon’s declassified Senate report on systemic intelligence failures that allowed would-be-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board a passenger aircraft on Christmas. “The findings of these reviews identified many of the same systemic problems noted in today’s [Senate intelligence committee] report.” If only a press release could yawn performatively.

The full statement is after the jump.

The Intelligence Community (IC) fully supported the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of IC information and procedures prior to the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Immediately following the attempted attack, Director Blair initiated reviews to identify IC-wide shortcomings and potential solutions. The findings of these reviews identified many of the same systemic problems noted in today’s SSCI report.

As a result of the ODNI’s internal review and the President’s January 7 directive, the IC has undertaken certain corrective actions to address these shortcomings. Specifically:

The DNI clarified roles and responsibilities among the IC’s counterterrorism functions, ensuring that any stream of threat reporting receives follow-through to its conclusion;

The establishment of a dedicated analytic element at NCTC to thoroughly and exhaustively pursue terrorist threat threads, including identifying appropriate follow-up actions by other intelligence and law enforcement organizations, and increasing the number of personnel resources dedicated to enhancing the records of information on individuals contained in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment or TIDE;

Renewed efforts to integrate disparate data and information systems to make data more discoverable/accessible by analysts IC-wide; and

Investments in education and training, which will provide counterterrorism analysts with a career-long curriculum to facilitate integration, collaboration, and tradecraft improvements.

In light of the recent Times Square bombing attempt, Director Blair noted that, “The Intelligence Community is aggressively focused on potential threats, especially new tactics by radicalized individuals. At the same time, institutional and technological barriers remain that prevent seamless sharing of information. We can and must outthink, outwork, and defeat our enemies. The Intelligence Community is absolutely committed to that goal.”

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