Patterico's Pontifications

1/2/2010

Newsweek: “White House Adviser Briefed in October on Underwear Bomb Technique” (Updated)

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek break a stunning story:

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan was briefed in October on an assassination attempt by Al Qaeda that investigators now believe used the same underwear bombing technique as the Nigerian suspect who tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, U.S. intelligence and administration officials tell NEWSWEEK.

The briefing to Brennan was delivered at the White House by Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s chief counterterrorism official. In late August, Nayef had survived an assassination attempt by an operative dispatched by the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda who was pretending to turn himself in. The operative had tried to kill the Saudi prince by detonating a bomb on his body, but stumbled on his way into the prince’s palace and blew himself up.

The purpose of the Brennan briefing was to make it clear to the Obama Administration that terrorists were using something new — an underwear bomb:

“Saudi officials initially thought the bomb had been secreted in the operative’s anal cavity. But after investigating the matter more thoroughly, they concluded it had likely been sewn into his underwear, thereby allowing the operative to bypass security checks before his meeting with the prince. A main purpose of Nayef’s briefing for Brennan was to alert U.S. officials to the use of the underwear technique.

U.S. officials now suspect that Nayef’s attempted assassin and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian suspect aboard the Northwest flight, had the same bomb maker in Yemen, intelligence experts tell NEWSWEEK.

The briefing for Brennan is among a series of pre-Christmas warnings suggesting that the breakdown in the U.S. intelligence system prior to the Northwest attack may have been worse than has been publicly acknowledged, according to an article in the new issue of NEWSWEEK, “The Radicalization of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.” The full story can be read here.”

Now we know why Obama picked Brennan to lead the investigation. Either Brennan will quickly find out where the advance intelligence he received went astray … or Brennan is the dead-end and this investigation will go nowhere.

PLUS THIS from Politico:

“Richard Barrett, head of the UN’s Al Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Group, was also raising the alarm on the Al Qaeda assassination attempt back in Washington in October.”

— DRJ

UPDATE: So the Brits already had Abdulmutallab on their “No-Fly” list because he’s been on their radar for 3 years.

More Americans Relying on Food Stamps

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 9:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Times reports more Americans are relying on food stamps, including an estimated 6 million of them who don’t have any other income:

“About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay.”

A deputy secretary for the Department of Children and Families says this shows “[t]he program is doing what it was designed to do: help very needy people get through a very difficult time.” Advocates for the poor say it proves “the safety net is torn”:

“The food-stamp program is being asked to do too much,” said James Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a Washington advocacy group. “People need income support.”

There was a time when advocates for the poor believed people need jobs. Now the critics of dependency seem to be few and far between:

“The expansion of the food-stamp program, which will spend more than $60 billion this year, has so far enjoyed bipartisan support. But it does have conservative critics who worry about the costs and the rise in dependency.

“This is craziness,” said Representative John Linder, a Georgia Republican who is the ranking minority member of a House panel on welfare policy. “We’re at risk of creating an entire class of people, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government.”

Mr. Linder added: “You don’t improve the economy by paying people to sit around and not work. You improve the economy by lowering taxes” so small businesses will create more jobs.”

In fairness, some Americans are jobless and want to work, but the Obama Administration either doesn’t have a clue how jobs are created or doesn’t care. In the meantime, people need food.

— DRJ

Obama’s End-of-Year Polls (Updated x2)

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 6:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Rasmussen’s Monthly Presidential Approval Index hit a new low in December 2009:

Minus 15 for the December 2009 Passion Index (strongly approve vs strongly disapprove).

Meanwhile, Rasmussen lists Obama’s overall approve-disapprove index on December 31 as a minus 7 while Gallup’s end-of-the-month poll has Obama at a positive 9.

— DRJ

UPDATE: So are unhappy Democrats criticizing President Obama for his actions and policies that have dragged down his poll numbers? Not really. Instead Politico reports Democrats are trashing Rasmussen for his polling methods and results:

“Democrats are turning their fire on Scott Rasmussen, the prolific independent pollster whose surveys on elections, President Obama’s popularity and a host of other issues are surfacing in the media with increasing frequency.

The pointed attacks reflect a hardening conventional wisdom among prominent liberal bloggers and many Democrats that Rasmussen Reports polls are, at best, the result of a flawed polling model and, at worst, designed to undermine Democratic politicians and the party’s national agenda.”

UPDATE 2: How can the Obama Administration protect Americans in the War on Terror when they can’t even protect Obama’s image while he’s on vacation?

Obama on Vacation

Our government at work while President Obama is on vacation.

Houston Police Find Rocket Launcher and Jihadist Writings (Updated)

Filed under: Crime,Terrorism — DRJ @ 2:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The police did a “thorough” 2-3 day investigation that did not find any ties to terrorists or a terrorist network. Click2Houston.com has the details:

“A woman called police on Monday and said a man was forcing his way into her apartment in the 5300 block of Elm Street.

When officers went inside, they found something that made them concerned enough to call the bomb squad.

They found an AT-4 shoulder-mounted rocket launcher. It can shoot a missile nearly 1,000 feet through buildings and tanks.”

Apparently the woman had let the man store items at her home:

“The woman did tell police that the rocket launcher belonged to Nabilaye I. Yansane, someone whom she allowed to store items at her apartment.

Police records show that she didn’t want Yansane at her apartment, so she called them.

According to court documents, officers also found Jihadist writings that allegedly belonged to Yansane.”

The woman refused to speak with reporters about the man, his writings, or his weapon. Yansane plead guilty to criminal trespassing and was sentenced to 3 days, time he had already served. His attorney said “[o]ther people could have had access to the apartment, so maybe if a rocket launcher was located there, as is stated in the offense report, maybe it belonged to somebody else.”

No charges were filed regarding the rocket launcher because it was unarmed, a fact that led to this understatement-of-the-day:

“The former director of Houston’s FBI office said rocket launchers can be dangerous if they’re in the wrong hands.

“I don’t know any other use for those weapons except in combat,” Don Clark said. “I’ve had them in combat, used them in combat. That’s what they are used for.”

— DRJ

UPDATE: Commenter Diffus points out Confederate Yankee’s post on this topic — “Houston Wets Itself Over Glorified Pipe.” His point is that “This jihadi wannabe acquired a used (and therefore useless) AT-4 tube.” Commenter Dustin made a similar point.

My point is that we should stop focusing on how effective our enemies’ weapons are and start focusing on whether they are our enemies. It’s similar to airline security, where our goal should not only be to load a weapons-free aircraft, but should also be to profile the people loading and getting on that aircraft.

Tell Your Story About Being Banned at LGF

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:27 pm

Since I learned that I was banned at Little Green Footballs for disagreeing with Charles Johnson, I have received all sorts of messages from people saying, in essence: “I’m surprised it took you this long.”

Evidently a lot of people out there have similar stories.

I’d like you to tell them here.

If you were banned from Little Green Footballs simply for disagreeing with Charles Johnson, tell us about it in a comment. The more detail the better; if you have a link to the comment that got you banned, or you saved the language, please include that information.

I will say this: I enjoyed Charles’s site (though not as a regular reader) for years, and I do think it’s a shame to see him come to this. I was really reluctant to believe that he was simply dropping the ban hammer on people for simple disagreement. But there’s nothing that brings it home like having it happen to you.

So if it happened to you, tell us your story.

Patterico Banned at LGF

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Which, since I didn’t leave a comment there, evidently happened because I had the audacity to point out that Charles Johnson had omitted some facts in his post about that Obama Photoshop.

Charles last night posted an entry reproducing some (to me, pointless and unfunny) Photoshop of Johnson shining Sarah Palin’s shoes. In comments, he wrote:

Meanwhile, Patterico is actually trying to argue that the original picture of Obama shining Palin’s shoes has nothing to do with the right wing.

No, I’m not — and I went to comments to explain that I’m not. But when I tried to log in, I got this:

Patterico Banned from LGF

The remainder of this post sets out what I planned to say to Charles in response. Since I can’t say it there, I’ll say it here:

No, Charles, I’m not “trying to argue that the original picture of Obama shining Palin’s shoes has nothing to do with the right wing.” What I said was that you overstated your case when you claimed to prove that it did. You don’t know that, and you haven’t proved it. Which is why I said:

Charles: until you’re ready to actually prove where the image originated, please don’t claim that you have done so. It’s this kind of overstatement that runs you into trouble.

One of your commenters here said:

Patterico’s focusing narrowly on the origin of the picture, rather than how it is being forwarded and used by many right-wing websites, which is where the problem lies.

This is also not true. In my previous post, I provided a link to an example of a right-wing site that did indeed use the image in a racist way — as part of a compilation of anti-Obama Photoshops “including a picture of a black-faced Obama with a gleaming white smile, holding a plate of fried chicken and watermelon, accompanied by a caption reading: ‘Lawdy! I sho’ loves campainnin’!’”

As I said: “That guy is a racist.” I also said: “Does this mean that no right-wingers have used this image in a racist way? Of course not, as the above link shows.”

So I’m not ignoring right-wing racism at all, and in fact pointed out an example of it in my post.

But I am also not doing what you’re doing: suggesting that racism is uniquely a conservative phenomenon. I’ve got news for you: it’s not. There are racists in all walks of life in this country. The racism of the left emerges every time a black Republican comes to prominence.

The examples are out there, if you’re willing to see them. Trouble is, I don’t think you are. I think you have blinded yourself to examples that contradict your mindset.

And I think that’s a shame.

UPDATE: This has obviously happened to a lot of other people. I’m asking people to tell their own stories about being banned at LGF here.


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