Patterico's Pontifications

8/11/2006

What Counterterror Techniques Broke the Terror Plot?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 7:20 am



Was the terror plot broken by counterterror techniques of the type disclosed by articles in the New York Times and L.A. Times?

Captain Ed reviews some of the evidence, and says it’s possible, but that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. But Ace, Power Line, and the editors of the Wall Street Journal feel the evidence is sufficient to conclude that the answer is “yes.”

Instapundit cautions:

It’s also worth noting, though, that a tip from a worried British Muslim played an important role, which is why measures that over-alienate Muslims and immigrants are likely a bad idea. Striking a balance is hard, especially with all the political posturing going on.

It’s hard, but it’s important.

51 Responses to “What Counterterror Techniques Broke the Terror Plot?”

  1. Maybe the law enforcement approach of Kerry works?

    And I heard that they actually used the FISA court and got warrants, so that evidence gathered could be used in the legal case against the terrorists.

    Unless you really think we should invade the UK so ‘we can fight them over there instead of over here’?

    Who woulda thunk?

    Ed (fcb51d)

  2. We could learn many things from looking at Britain’s counter-terror laws. The Patriot Act hardly goes far enough.

    Obviously there were many intel facets to this: money trail from Pakistan, wire intercepts, and according to one report ISaw a MI-5 undercover had penetrated the group. Another story today also claims the investigation started with a tip from the Pakistani community in Britain.

    Of course 2 days ago the Dog Trainer was running stories about how FBI agents unfairly pressure members of the muslim community to provide info on terrorists . . . unbelievable.

    C Student (4db148)

  3. Reading CQ post made me think there might be a wonderful solution for getting around the warrants anyway with a good ally like the UK; A sort of “you scratch our back we will scratch yours” where we listen in on their domestic calls, and they check ours. As I recall from reading the FISA clauses any equipment that is completely outside our borders doesn’t need a warrant, ally or not. Odd thoughts.

    Cheers

    galletador (b58eba)

  4. Unless you really think we should invade the UK so ‘we can fight them over there instead of over here’?

    If only the English had democracy, they wouldn’t feel the hopelessness that drives people to terrorism. We just need to feel their pain, and then bring the light of freedom to England.

    jpe (182338)

  5. Galletedor: we know very little about the ECHELON system works, but we do know that its legal structure is what you described.

    jpe (182338)

  6. The Latest On The London Airline Plot…

    All the while the left is onto another conspiracy….mainly that these arrests were engineered by Bush, Cheney and Rove because Lieberman lost. It’s so dumbfoundingly ignorant that I have trouble believing they actually believe this, but as we h…

    Flopping Aces (ef3aba)

  7. I think we will find it was a combination of lots of things especially nose to the grindstone work of all involved. Suddenly the GOP looks good again and this may well turn the election, after all it’s clear that the Dems don’t want any surveilance at all without a court order so they can bust the poor bastards who do the job.

    Howard Veit (28df94)

  8. As usual, reality is the GOP’s friend, just as denial is the friend of the Dems.

    As long as the Dems can pretend they don’t have to confront evil, they can focus on how we should be chit-chatting with the freedom fighters so we can negotiate a blissfully peaceful coexistence.

    Terrorists plotting blowing stuff up interjects a nasty dose of reality into their wonderland of ignorance.

    csufbomb (30e635)

  9. How about this? How about we give a get-out-of-jail-free card to any Muslim who turns in their terrorist neighbor/family/coworker. The rest of them, we round up and we intern them until there are no more terrorists.

    Look, you can’t blow up a plane if you’re sitting around a campfire in Montana.

    You want to win this? Start at the source of the problem.. Moslems who want to blow us up and other Moslems who won’t turn in the Moslems who want to blow us up.

    paul a'barge (2bd3a7)

  10. A question for some of the whiz kids on here. Why are the terrorists in the U.S. (yes, 99% of the islamist in the U.S. are terrorists in waiting) buying thousands of Trac Phones and throwing away the paperwork and chargers? Is there something in them that can be used to make an explosive device or something that can be used to make a drug like meth which has some really explosive, flamable and poison in it? There is a use for them other than making phone calls until the battery dies and then throwing them away. They wouldn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without a purpose. Answer please.

    Scrapiron (a90377)

  11. The brits need to learn how to fight terrorism. Invasions and war leave us with explosions and purple fingered democracy. Yay. Police work and investigation get us unable to carry on ipods and laptops. Boo.

    actus (6234ee)

  12. There are so many people trying to eat at this trough its hard to tell who was involved and what worked.

    jpm100 (06f700)

  13. We have reached a terrible juncture. The British have little to learn from us, but we have alienated their intelligence services. How? The usual: blabbermouthing to the press, that’s how.

    While MI5 is known to run covert agents in the British Muslim community, their work is among the most sensitive in British intelligence circles, and normally close relations between UK and US agencies have not been helped by the ABC report, which appeared to originate with US law enforcement officials.

    Reports circulating in the US media yesterday also suggested that the entire operation against the plotters began last summer with an unsolicited tip to MI5 from a British Muslim only days after last July’s suicide bomb attacks on London.

    According to US officials who briefed the Washington Post, the unnamed informant had grown concerned about the actions of his neighbors and contacted police with his suspicions.

    It is beyond all comprehension that the United States government has not yet prosecuted any leaker– not one. These despicable egomaniacs feed apparently feed their sense of puffed up self-importance by “briefing” the newspapers. And the newspapers publish this stuff, to the detriment of the country. I want prison sentences for these horrible people! The president is accountable for this problem.

    MTf (bbe3a8)

  14. “The brits need to learn how to fight terrorism. Invasions and war leave us with explosions and purple fingered democracy. Yay. Police work and investigation get us unable to carry on ipods and laptops. Boo.”

    Hard to invade your own country. Their terrorists have been home-grown. Can’t take your ipod on the plane? Wah. Better than being blown up. Suck it up.

    sharon (63d8f8)

  15. MTf said:

    It is beyond all comprehension that the United States government has not yet prosecuted any leaker– not one.

    They probably don’t know who the leakers are. With all of the outrage, whomever it is will be keeping a very low profile and play it far more cautiously.

    Paul (b182b9)

  16. They probably don’t know who the leakers are.

    That’s why we have Grand Juries. Don’t fall into this trap: the only reason why leakers are not now in jail for their crimes against the country is because the president is afraid of the political fallout. That’s all. He has the duty to defend our national secrets and he has the power. What he doesn’t have is the backbone.

    MTf (bbe3a8)

  17. “There is a use for them other than making phone calls until the battery dies and then throwing them away. They wouldn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without a purpose. Answer please.

    Comment by Scrapiron”

    Ask the NY Times. Once the low level jihadists learned that the NSA was checking phone calls, they sent out to Walmart to buy phones that are untraceable. They use them for a day or two, then throw them away. That’s why they don’t need the chargers.

    The best analysis, on the Glenn and Helen podcast this morning, was that the tip, as in so much of police work, was useful for the timing. They had the rest through surveillance. “The lucky man is usually the one who leaves the least to luck.”

    FISA is important if you are going to prosecute and that usually means wire taps. The NSA program blown by the Times was more akin to data based marketing. Ralphs wants to know what the people in your census tract are buying. They don’t care that much about you. They don’t have the time. Apples and Oranges.

    Mike K (32afd1)

  18. That’s why we have Grand Juries.

    Grand Juries need names and evidence to convict. Hard to do that without one or the other.

    “…the president is afraid of the political fallout.”

    If that were true, he’d be Clinton, who avoided taking any tough stance that might erode his job approval numbers. That’s why whenever the Gore/Lieberman 2000 Campaign complained about anything wrong with the country, Bush’s autoresponse was: “You had eight years to address this.”

    He has the duty to defend our national secrets and he has the power. What he doesn’t have is the backbone.

    Interesting to accuse a man villified in the press and on lefty blogs for moving forward in the GWOT of having no backbone.

    Paul (b182b9)

  19. Grand Juries need names and evidence to convict. Hard to do that without one or the other.

    Grand juries don’t convict. they indict.

    actus (6234ee)

  20. The grand juries interview reporters and ask them where they got the secret information. Just like Judith Miller. Works for me.

    Mike K (32afd1)

  21. Can’t take your ipod on the plane? Wah. Better than being blown up. Suck it up.

    You’re right. It looks like the law enforcement approach to terrorism works.

    actus (6234ee)

  22. It looks like the law enforcement approach to terrorism works.

    Like with our embassies in Africa? Or the Cole? Or the first WTC bombing? Or Khobar Towers? Or et cetera, et cetera …..

    SMG

    SteveMG (b96bba)

  23. Like with our embassies in Africa? Or the Cole? Or the first WTC bombing? Or Khobar Towers? Or et cetera, et cetera …..

    I don’t think we had a very strong law enforcement approach to terror then. Or maybe its just that the brits are better at the war on terror than us.

    actus (6234ee)

  24. very strong law enforcement

    So it’s not simply the law enforcement mechanism or approach? It has to be a “very strong law enforcement mechanism”?

    And, of course, you and your friends on the Left would support this “very strong” approach?

    The Brits are better?

    7/7 London tube bombings?

    SMG

    SteveMG (b96bba)

  25. My guess is that law enforcement can be an effective weapon against terrorism predominantly when we are working with close allies and where we have extensive contacts and relationships with those foreign security agencies.

    If it involves a country – say Oman or Qatar or Kenya or the Phillipines (see Operation Bojinka) – where there is a weak or less professional security apparatus and where the US has a crude or barebones relationship, we’ll have a more difficult time preventing attacks. Additionally, my guess is that these countries also have the problem of terrorist sympathizers tipping off any investigation.

    Sure, law enforcement can be one weapon in our war against terorism. But it has to be complimented with other power, both soft and hard.

    EricH (b96bba)

  26. It has to be a “very strong law enforcement mechanism”?

    Well yes. 9/11 changed everything. Of course we take terrorism more seriously now.

    actus (6234ee)


  27. I don’t think we had a very strong law enforcement approach to terror then. Or maybe its just that the brits are better at the war on terror than us.

    Comment by actus ”

    Actus, I would suggest you read Louis Freeh’s book for the scoop on Khobar Towers. After the bombing and after the Saudis had arrested some suspects, Freeh begged Clinton to ask the Saudis to let FBI agents interview the Saudi prisoners. Clinton told him he would ask but never brought the subject up. Finally, after about two years, Freeh asked Former President Bush to intercede and he did. The Saudis then allowed the FBI to interview the plotters. A law enforcement approach requires cooperation from your own side first. The FBI didn’t get it from Clinton.

    Surprised ?

    Mike K (32afd1)

  28. Maybe the law enforcement approach of Kerry works?

    Er, when did Kerry invent the “law enforcement approach” exactly?

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  29. You’re right. It looks like the law enforcement approach to terrorism works.

    Can you then explain why the Clinton model failed?

    Further, who in the Republican party argues against using law enforcement tools to stop terror attacks?

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  30. Invasions and war leave us with explosions and purple fingered democracy.

    Care to tell us which invasion was taking place during the 1993 WTC bombing?

    You ignorants simply can not think about what you’re typing.

    Or you’re simply stupid.

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  31. A law enforcement approach requires cooperation from your own side first. The FBI didn’t get it from Clinton.

    Surprised ?

    Not at all. I expect my government to drop the ball all the time. Like the recent attempt by the bush admin to cut funding for research on explosive detection technology. Crappy government doing a crappy job.

    Care to tell us which invasion was taking place during the 1993 WTC bombing?

    What are you talking about?

    actus (6234ee)

  32. What are you talking about?

    Comment by actus

    Um, your own comments perhaps?

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  33. Um, your own comments perhaps?

    I noticed. But I don’t see what an invasion in 1993 has to do with it.

    actus (6234ee)

  34. “I noticed. But I don’t see what an invasion in 1993 has to do with it.

    Comment by actus”

    We noticed. Clueless, they call it in some quarters. The jihad war began in 1923 with the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood and accelerated in 1979 when Khomeini took over Iran. I know. Your next question is aren’t the MB Sunni and Khomeini Shi’a ? They seem to work together pretty well. Most of al Qeada who are not in Waziristan are in Iran.

    Reagan’s withdrawal from Beirut in 1983 and Clinton’s withdrawal from Mogadishu in 1992 gave them the game plan. Our Achilles’ heel is our news media who are antiwar and anti-Republican.

    Mike K (32afd1)

  35. Thanks for the factoids mike.

    actus (6234ee)

  36. But I don’t see what an invasion in 1993 has to do with it.

    Um, in case you missed it, it was you who typed the word “invasion” and “explosions” in the same sentence.

    By the way, how did “law enforcement” work out with the London tube bombings again?

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  37. Rule #432,224 of the Internet:

    Never have an exchange of more than two posts with Actus.

    SMG

    SteveMG (b96bba)

  38. “Thanks for the factoids mike.

    Comment by actus”

    You’re welcome. Would you like a reading list ? I aim to please. You aim too please.

    Mike K (32afd1)

  39. “You’re right. It looks like the law enforcement approach to terrorism works.”

    Law enforcement is one approach to terrorism. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. That’s why you need other approaches as well.

    sharon (63d8f8)

  40. The best solution to terrorism is the ‘hoof-and-mouth disease’ approach …

    Since terrorists carry and spread terrorism, eliminate the carriers and you eliminate the problem …

    Nice and permanent … at least until some more arise spontaneously elsewhere …

    Yes, I know – over-simplified, yet effective … look up Hassan – the Old Man of the Mountain …

    Alasdair (48477d)

  41. Scrapiron said:

    Why are the terrorists in the U.S. (yes, 99% of the islamist in the U.S. are terrorists in waiting) buying thousands of Trac Phones and throwing away the paperwork and chargers? Is there something in them that can be used to make an explosive device or something that can be used to make a drug like meth which has some really explosive, flamable and poison in it?

    They can be used to remotely trigger a bomb.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  42. By the way, how did “law enforcement” work out with the London tube bombings again?

    Almost as well as war has in Iraq. If you want certainty, I can offer death and taxes. But thats about all that’s certain.

    actus (6234ee)

  43. Almost as well as war has in Iraq.

    Er, had we not invaded, two of the world’s most wanted terrorists would still be alive.

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  44. Er, had we not invaded, two of the world’s most wanted terrorists would still be alive.

    I’m sure a lot of people would still be alive. But like I said, I can’t guarantee it.

    actus (6234ee)

  45. “I’m sure a lot of people would still be alive. But like I said, I can’t guarantee it.”

    A lot of people would be dead. But in different parts of the world. I can guarantee it.

    sharon (63d8f8)

  46. A lot of people would be dead. But in different parts of the world. I can guarantee it.

    Like I said: Death and taxes are guaranteed.

    actus (6234ee)

  47. Like I said: Death and taxes are guaranteed

    And?

    This isn’t relevant or in any way a “point” confirming anything.

    You really, really have not learned much with your edcuation.

    I’d explore refund options if this was the extent of my ability to “argue” about things.

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  48. This isn’t relevant or in any way a “point” confirming anything.

    I think you get the point, that people would be dead with or without an invasion of iraq.

    I’d explore refund options if this was the extent of my ability to “argue” about things.

    Who’s arguing here? sharon’s point that people would die without an invasion of iraq is rather irrefutable.

    actus (6234ee)

  49. I think you get the point, that people would be dead with or without an invasion of iraq.

    Except I didn’t say that.
    I said two of the world’s most wanted terrorists.

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  50. Except I didn’t say that.

    I know. Thats why me and sharon said it.

    actus (6234ee)

  51. Actually, I said people would be dead with or without the war. It really just depends on which people you are most concerned about being dead. Are you more concerned about your neighbors being dead or terrorists? Frankly, I’m happier with the terrorists being dead.

    sharon (63d8f8)


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