American Morning

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December 30th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Connecting the dots after 9/11

(CNN) - The father of terrorism suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab talked about his son's extremist views with someone from the CIA and a report was prepared, but the report was not circulated outside the agency, a reliable source told CNN's Jeanne Meserve on Tuesday.

Why, eight years after the attacks of 9/11, was U.S. intelligence unable to connect the dots? On Wednesday's American Morning we discussed the matter with former Homeland Security Inspector General Clark Kent Irvin and former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson.

Related: Source: CIA had report on suspect

Filed under: Airline safety • Terrorism
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Allen N Wollscheidt

    The problem is that the system is NOT fail-safe : It is operating backwards !

    It is a system of hit-and-miss denials of permission to fly.

    Instead, it should be a system of MULTIPLE verified permissions to fly, ALL of which must be in place, verfified, positive for permission to be granted.

    In this system, if a failure occurs, the proper head to cut off is immediately apparent, NO finger pointing.

    January 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  2. Jay

    CNN reported that two passengers saw the terrorist suspect with a wealthy-looking Indian because of a passport issue. Now CNN is quiet about that instance. Here is a link I got from somebody connecting the dots differently including that instance. How about CNN follows up that story.

    January 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  3. paul d johnson

    terrorists and suicide bombers are void of a thinking facility, they are the same people of low esteeme, rather than getting thier own esteeme up they allow someone more radical than them selves to indoctrinate them, i think the christmas day terrorist is a man of low esteeme that he felt rejected in society and fell into the same people worse than himself, i do hope that someone with health care training can do something for him mentally, the situation does show how important it is for airport security to do the best they can to combat a situation that has almost become a disease, all those people that died in planes and office towers never did anything to them terrorists.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  4. Victor Changlee

    The war on terror cannot be won with weapons of terror. The weapons of terror are guns and bombs (WMDs, IEDs etc,).
    The war on terror can only be won with love, tolerance an understanding.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  5. hdoc

    Note on the same page, CNN has an article about dogs who can be trained to sniff explosives, including the one used on Dec 25. One dogs training over 9 years cost 60K! Way cheaper than these scanners discussed here.


    Both of these idiots CNN interviewed failed to even acknowledge this invasion of privacy.

    January 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  6. gordon dalla costa

    The US is like a sitting duck Muslims join your armed forces and then they kill your comrades, and you do nothing. It is time that muslims are not allowed to join the armed forces. On top of that security should be tightened, to the point of discrimination, It is time to put up some fences

    January 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  7. bill

    Business as usual, same as our banks and stock market, nothing has changed, the same turf wars and excesses will continue until they have to change, buying off the banks was wrong, they should have failed no matter what the size, then you would have seen real change, the intel community wont change until they allow another 9/11 and they are then forced to change.

    January 1, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  8. jim vicalvi

    Considering the quality, or really lack of the same,of our appointed political hacks and their flunkie assistants that are appointed to run these agencies I DO NOT FLY. Knowing that these people are responsible for the safety of millions of people worry me.
    Also, knowing that the same kind of incompetents are, possibly, going to be responsible for my healthcare REALLY worries me. Flying I can avoid. At age 63 I can't avoid health care.

    December 31, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  9. Shadysider

    Because our intelligence agencies are run by a bunch of morons? How have they not hired a tech firm to implement a program accessible by ALL agencies that has a list of the names of all suspected terrorists and anyone on any watch list. Seriously, THAT should have been the FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT step that they could have taken. And they haven't done it. Republicans want to criticize Obama about national security when they should be excoriating the security agencies, but they want to be seen as working with the security agencies rather than against them. Consequently I blame Republicans as much as our security agencies.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  10. Craig Jacobsen

    To: John Roberts

    Did you know you cannot email the Dept of Homeland Security from their website! At least I couldn't find the link. And today their public comment voicemail box is full!
    There is an easy solution to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S. Everyone entering or leaving the U.S. must be required to have a passport or visa. This document must be barcoded. TSA scans every one who attempts to fly to or out of the U.S.. If it connects with a name on the list–they don't fly. The list should be the "long list" of 500,000 or so names. FBI, embassies, CIA; all should be able to add to the list. If the list grows to 1,000,000 or more, so what. Let those individuals prove they are not terrorist affiliated.

    Very simple–simple for you or I but probably too complicated for our lame "country-protecting" government to comprehend.

    If anyone knows how I can email this suggestion to Homeland Security, please let me know.

    December 31, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  11. IamJohnGalt

    The Undie-Bomber: Lighting a Fatah

    Al Qaeda has to be laughing its jihads off right about now. They send a half-witted recruit onto a plane to apparently ‘fail’ in setting off a ‘shoe bomb’ and we react by requiring the entire world to shed its shoes to feed the illusion that doing so somehow makes us more ‘secure’.

    If nothing else AQ learns quickly, so they send in another dim bulb to set his own underwear on fire. Our reaction is to pat down everyone’s tighty-whities, to photograph their genitals and to demand we sit in our seats like bad little children, stretching our bladders to breaking while we die of boredom the last hour of a flight.

    Anyone want to bet how long it will be before some numb-nutted bureaucrat will have everyone taking off their undies and placing them in a plastic tub for full public inspection? Not the tub for your shoes or the one for your laptop or the one for your liquids or the one for your pocket change or the one for your meds or the one for your personal belongings or the one for your carry-on or the one for your coat or the one for your belt…no, a new tub will be the only thing that assures our complete peace of mind.

    Bin Laden has to be snickering into his burka at how effective his boys are at yanking our collective chains. Terrorism is ultimately about control. The sleight of hand they employ is to keep us looking at the threat of bombs. Meanwhile, with the other hand, they chip away at the core of our fast-shrinking everyday lives, stealing the small things that define free will. They are slowly, but surely, herding the cattle into the pens for slaughter. The genius is that they are getting us to do it to ourselves.

    December 31, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  12. Charles (Chuck) Bowling

    It is not surprising that the "dots" are not connected. Currently, the federal government does not have the capability to connect the "dots" in a truly large comprehensive data base because all agencies rely on human analysts to process the data. Humans have foibles and cannot see into true complexity. The job should be left to a proper use of computers to connect the "dots" and the humans be left out of it. Unfortunatly, the public and the media collectively think that the fedeal
    government currently has the computer capability to do this. They do not have that capability and will not have it until a concerted effort is made to achieve a computer gestalt capability.

    December 31, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  13. Joshua Wertheim


    For all international flights into the United States, if not a U.S. Citizen:

    1. No cash purchases of airplane tickets;
    2. At least 24 hours advance purchase required;
    3, The credit card used for purchase must belong to one of the passengers and be presented along with ticket and passport upon boarding;
    4 If any of the following are true, the passenger(s) must (a) arrive at the gate at least 90 minutes before scheduled departure time, and (b) be strip-searched or 'body scanned' before boarding:
    a. Cash purchase
    b. One-way ticket
    c. Same day purchase (within 24 hours of scheduled departure time)
    d. Credit card used for purchase not presented upon boarding
    e. On any watch list
    f. Carrying a passport from a 'terror watch list state' such as Yemen
    g. Connecting from flight originating from a 'terror watch list state'

    December 31, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  14. Arthur Press

    Wake up America!!!! This was just yet another ploy by our government to keep the War On Terror alive. Wake up to the fact that 9/11 was an inside government action. This action gave Bush/Cheney and their cabal the consent of the american people to launch their illegal wars of aggression! Our government is not squeaky clean, as some of you seem to believe. These actions were committed with the intent to create a New World Order. Do your research!!! And for those of you who are unaware, the New World Order plans an 80% population decrease worldwide via weaponized vaccinations. We are at the most critical turning point in mankind's history!! Research this information, it is all out there to be found. Save this world from the diabolic evil satan worshippers who intend to take over complete control of this world. But, don't take my word for it. Educate yourselves and become aware of the NWO, the Bilderburgers, the Committee of 300, the Council on Foriegn Affairs to name a few. This is a wake up call. Our survival is dependent on destroying this evil presence. It is also time to try George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and all others who are complicite in this scheme, for war crimes. And, yes, all of my accusations can be corroborated with factual articles and expert testimony. Don't drink the Kool Aid!! It is time for us to take back our civilization. Time is running out quickly!!

    December 31, 2009 at 4:37 am |
  15. well informed

    probably for the same reason warnings about 9/11 were never acted upon

    December 31, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  16. SmartAmerican

    Ok, I don't really care about all the finger pointing. Christians In Action need to stop worrying about some political turf war. There was someone in our beloved Government who knew enough to put the pieces together. I bet they passed that information on to their superiors. So yeah there was a failure in the intelligence chain. Whoever was responsible should retire. Overall our security was lax and we got lucky. Mr. President I ask that you secure this country and force the intelligence community to communicate. Our luck can not hold forerver

    December 30, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  17. jeremy

    who dropped the ball??

    more like....who was the sharp dressed man who got the bomber on the plane through security and at the boarding gate....AND WITH NO PASSPORT when another passenger/witness saw and heard the entire conversation.. The witness said he and his wife spoke with CIA and other authorities afterward and follow up.

    I saw the interview of this witness and now........
    no one is covering this lead.... This incident is obviously yet another political coverup to enforce even more new policies upon us. It's all a lie in my personal opinion. They create the problem so they can fix it...

    So who is the sharp dressed man, who was he working for to have authority to just put this bomber on the plane. Was he CIA?? Was he a Sky Marshal?? Was he actually working for a terrorist cell?? Black-ops??? Reminds me of the 911 fraud coverup, when facts and truths are diverted, hidden and forgotten by the masses.

    All I'm hearing is now.....more security, less rights, and the hero that thwarted the bombing...............ya, what about the HERO that saw and overheard the REAL STORY. He's the biggest hero, but I suspect his life will be in danger now... hmmm...

    So CNN, are you going to report the hidden facts????????????
    Probably not.

    December 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  18. Allen Hoey

    Hey, could someone over at CNN run the story and footage about Bush's delayed response to the shoe bomber? The GOP is up in arms about Obama, apparently having suffered permanent memory loss about badly W dropped the ball and didn't hell for it. If you don't know what I mean, check this link:

    Full reportage of the news means giving the background necessary for the public to understand the current news in context.

    December 30, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  19. anonymous

    It's obvious now that even in 2001 if Mohammed Atta's father had called up the CIA to discuss worries about him, the bureaucracy to process the information would still have allowed Atta to get on the flight in Boston. The government (including both parties – this is a non-partisan problem) needs to get a lot smarter about using the info it has.

    December 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm |