Monday, November 16, 2015

ISIL meets CYA

At his Turkey news conference today, President Obama set out a sensible and realistic process for understanding whether terrorist incidents could have been anticipated. One wonders what would happen if it was applied to 9/11!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Jim, every day we have threat streams coming through the intelligence transit. And as I said, every several weeks we sit down with all my national security, intelligence, and military teams to discuss various threat streams that may be generated. And the concerns about potential ISIL attacks in the West have been there for over a year now, and they come through periodically. There were no specific mentions of this particular attack that would give us a sense of something that we need -- that we could provide French authorities, for example, or act on ourselves. But typically the way the intelligence works is there will be a threat stream that is from one source, how reliable is that source; perhaps some signal intelligence gets picked up, it’s evaluated. Some of it is extraordinarily vague and unspecific, and there’s no clear timetable. Some of it may be more specific, and then folks chase down that threat to see what happens. I am not aware of anything that was specific in the sense -- that would have given a premonition about a particular action in Paris that would allow for law enforcement or military actions to disrupt it.

Recall also that the Russian plane bombing might have been discussed ahead of time as something big involving aviation.

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