How close was the Times Sqauare bomber to getting away?

How close was the Times Sqauare bomber to getting away?

G. Wesley Clark, MD

How close did the Times Square bomber come to getting away? The FBI lost him from surveillance, and did not locate him until the final passenger list was submitted from Emirates airlines, after the doors of the plane were closed.Eric Holder says he “was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him.”

According to the Obama official government version, as reported by AP and several other outlets, “he was in his seat and the plane was preparing to leave the gate. It didn’t. At the last minute, the pilot was notified, the jetliner’s door was opened and Shahzad was taken into custody.”

However, the actual flight controller recording shows otherwise. The plane was not at the gate, it was not just pushed back, it had taxied to the runway, and was “number one” for takeoff, had been switched to tower frequency for takeoff clearance, and the tower controller was actually in the middle of saying “position and hold” (on the runway for takeoff), when she ordered a return to the gate.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has a different version, alleges that bomber was removed from the plane, the plane taxied to runway, then was called back to remove two more passengers. Based upon the puzzled tone and query of the pilot talking with the controller, this sounds really fishy, and is most likely a CYA by the FBI or DOJ.

Thankfully, the Taliban is just slightly more incompetent at making bombs, than our government is at catching the bombers, and at protecting us.

Federal response to BP oil spill a Tom and Jerry cartoon

Federal response to BP oil spill a Tom and Jerry cartoon

Jeannie DeAngelis

It never fails, a few days after a national emergency; rising to the surface like oil floating in the Gulf of Mexico emerges the revelation that the federal government dropped the ball and exacerbated an otherwise manageable problem. 

Even Boy Scouts know that being prepared at the outset prevents something small from turning into a major catastrophe. Yet Washington DC, with all its money, resources and bluster can’t seem to follow through on the plans even they propose. Could it be that bureaucratic regulators are the ones in need of regulation?

In 1994, federal agencies established a plan of attack to address the potential threat of oil spills. Called an “In-Situ Burn,” the decision was to employ fire booms to burn off oil if there was an accidental leak. 

Fire booms contain oil leakage and prevent environmental damage before it reaches the coastline. Sort of like a sponge mopping up spilled milk before it drips through the cracks in the table, between the floorboards and into the basement.

Yet sixteen years after the 1994 decision and at the time of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, fire booms slated to be used by the federal government were unavailable for deployment to the Gulf of Mexico.

Representatives from the Obama administration emphatically maintain that from “day one” preparations were in place to handle accidental oil spills.  Maybe the administration can explain to the residents of Louisiana why not one fire boom was available when an actual crisis took place?

In other words as spilled milk spread all over the floor, the feds decided it was time to go shopping for a sponge.

Former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oil spill response coordinator Ron Gouguet — said, “Officials had pre-approval for burning. The whole reason the [1994] plan was created was so we could pull the trigger right away.” Gouguet speculated if the booms were readily available, “burning could have captured 95 percent of the oil,” potentially containing the slick 100 miles from shore.

Would it be inappropriate at this particular juncture to say, “Too late”?

The first fire boom arrived on-site eight days after the initial explosion. Jeff Bohleber, chief financial officer for Elastec/American Marine of Carmi, Illinois claims federal officials, scrambling to find a fire boom to address the potential environmental disaster, called Elastec/American Marine to request the “the only boom in stock.”

Jeff Bohleber said officials mistakenly believed fire booms were a “tool of last resort.”  Bohleber begged to differ, “No, this is absolutely the asset of first use. Get in there and start burning oil before the spill gets out of hand.”  The Elastec/American Marine representative maintained, “Six or seven of these systems in place when this happened … it would have significantly lessened the amount of oil that got loose.”

Bohleber shared “the National Response Center discovered that it had one [fire boom] in storage.”  Well good thing because as every Boy Scout knows, it pays to be well prepared. By the way, where was that “one” fire boom –in the garage under a pile of old sneakers?

In the meantime, Elastec/American Marine supplemented the feds by “arranging for six to be shipped in [from South America].”  Unfortunately, the apologetic hard working Jeff Bohleber, “keep[s] running into delays.” 

Once again the nation should pay heed to the inadequacy of a federal government unable to get a dozen fire booms to the Gulf of Mexico, while simultaneously swearing to be ready from “day one” to provide 300-million Americans with health care.

 

Author’s content: www.jeannie-ology.com

Fixing What Aint Broke, Hiding What Is

Fixing What Aint Broke, Hiding What Is

By Andrew Foy, MD

The financial-regulatory reform bill currently under consideration in Congress highlights a recurrent theme among the left. Whenever liberals want to pass legislation intended to solve a particular problem that increases the size and scope of the federal government, they revise history and create imaginary villains which their bill is intended to combat. They never admit that it is they and their previous polices who are at fault.
The recession is a lesson in unintended consequences. In the government’s attempt to increase home ownership it created an enormous housing bubble. The bubble inevitably burst leading to the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
In 1993, President Clinton significantly broadened the Community Reinvestment Act, originally signed in 1977, which required all F.D.I.C insured banks to give more loans to lower-income households (or less creditworthy borrowers). This move received broad political support. As a result of these changes, homeownership and inflation soared.
Furthermore, the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac enthusiastically purchased high-risk mortgages from lenders on the secondary mortgage market. Encouraged by the knowledge that high-risk mortgages would be swallowed up by Fannie and Freddie, lenders had incentive to extend as many mortgages as possible, regardless of the creditworthiness of borrowers.
Finally, in 2006, the Fed raised interest rates from 1% to 5.25% to avoid high inflation. Suddenly mortgage payments shot up, the demand for housing dried up, foreclosures multiplied, the credit crunch ensued, and heavily leveraged firms collapsed.
According to the left, none of the above matters, instead, the cause of the recession was deregulation, which allowed for the creation of huge systemic risk throughout the entire financial system. When this risk was coupled with unbridled greed it created a housing bubble. When the housing bubble inevitably burst it took down the entire American economy.
What exactly was deregulated? According to Veronique De Rugy, “the great villain in the deregulation myth is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1999, which repealed some restrictions of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, namely those preventing bank holding companies from owning other kinds of financial firms.”
The left claims this act broke down walls between banks and other kinds of financial institutions, thereby allowing enormous systemic risk to filter through the financial world. However, investment banks, such as Lehman Brothers, who were at the center of the crisis, would have been able to make the same bad investments if Gramm-Leach-Bliley had never been passed.
Other often-cited causes of the crisis are derivatives such as mortgage-backed securities that were left unregulated by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. However, tighter regulation of these agents would not have made the actual bad loans and mortgage-backed securities any less likely to go bad when the bubble finally burst.
The left’s response to all of this is quite predictable and the administration is calling for limits on the size of financial institutions and wants to prohibit commercial banks from carrying out some kinds of “high risk” trades.
Essentially, the left’s argument boils down to this: the government needs to regulate bad investment and decrease systemic risk. But hindsight is twenty-twenty and in this case, the bad investment was in the government-fueled housing market. The investment vehicles were only outgrowths of the housing bubble, and had the housing market continued its upward trajectory, these derivatives and mortgage-backed securities would have turned out to be great investments.
Perhaps the worst part of the left’s regulatory-reform plan is that it conceals the main cause of the crisis, for it does nothing to address the Fed’s cheap-money policy or the unsustainable subsidies that the government is still providing to homeowners and mortgage-purchasers like Fanny and Freddy. It also doesn’t guarantee that taxpayers won’t have to pay for more bailouts in the future.
Further, it is an oxymoron to think the government would be capable of decreasing risk when they were incapable of foreseeing the inevitable bursting of the huge bubble their policies created in the first place. In a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 10, 2003 Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) declared the following regarding the soundness of the government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac:
“I worry, frankly, that there’s a tension here. The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios.”
Then in another hearing on Sept. 25, 2003, he said the following:
“I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing… I believe there has been more alarm raised about potential unsafety and unsoundness than, in fact, exists.”
But Frank was not alone in missing the boat on the upcoming housing crisis. In the Senate Banking Committee, Feb. 24-25, 2004, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) said the following:
“I, just briefly will say, Mr. Chairman, obviously, like most of us here, this is one of the great success stories of all time. And we don’t want to lose sight of that and [what] has been pointed out by all of our witnesses here, obviously, the 70% of Americans who own their own homes today, in no small measure, due because of the work that’s been done here.”
What excellent work indeed.
To make a crude analogy, the left’s response to the recession is similar to a parent blaming an auto manufacturer for making an engine too fast, when their child was drunk and speeding and got into a wreck.
Like an auto-manufacturer is expected to make capable engines, the job of markets is to create investment opportunities. Blame should be placed on the driver for being irresponsible and creating conditions conducive for disaster. In this case, the conditions of the housing market were driven irresponsibly by government policies, the market like the engine in the car, simply did its job and responded to the input it was getting.
Instead of increasing the power of the government and expanding its regulatory control, we should regulate liberal members of congress who foolishly believe the government (they) can steer results and outcomes by taking away their licenses in November.
“Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.”
- Milton Friedman
Andrew Foy, MD is co-author of The Young Conservative’s Field Guide and can be contacted through his website at ahardright.com.

Security slip let suspect on plane, near takeoff

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Security slip let suspect on plane, near takeoff

 

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May 4, 9:44 PM (ET)

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and MATT APUZZO

(AP) Attorney General Eric Holder, right, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano,…
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The no-fly list failed to keep the Times Square suspect off the plane.

Faisal Shahzad boarded a jetliner bound for the United Arab Emirates Monday night before federal authorities pulled him back. Although under surveillance since midafternoon, he had managed to elude investigators and head to the airport.

The night’s events, gradually coming to light, underscored the flaws in the nation’s aviation security system, which despite its technologies, lists and information sharing, often comes down to someone making a right call.

As federal agents closed in, Faisal Shahzad was aboard Emirates Flight 202. He reserved a ticket on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport, paid cash on arrival and walked through security without being stopped.

(AP) President Barack Obama talks about the New York City Times Square car bomb attempt, before…
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By the time Customs and Border Protection officials spotted Shahzad’s name on the passenger list and recognized him as the bombing suspect they were looking for, he was in his seat and the plane was preparing to leave the gate. They knew to look for him because of updates to the no-fly list made earlier in the day.

At the last minute, the pilot was notified, the jetliner’s door was opened and Shahzad was taken into custody.

After authorities pulled Shahzad off the plane, he admitted he was behind the crude Times Square car bomb, officials said. He also claimed to have been trained at a terror camp in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region of Waziristan, according to court documents. That raised increased concern that the bombing was an international terror plot.

Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, was charged Tuesday with terrorism and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in Saturday evening’s failed Times Square bombing. According to a federal complaint, he confessed to buying an SUV, rigging it with a homemade bomb and driving it into the busy area where he tried to detonate it.

Shahzad had been under constant watch at his Bridgeport, Conn., home since 3 p.m. Monday and federal authorities had planned to arrest him there that evening, two people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. Authorities believe he decided to flee after being spooked by news reports that investigators were seeking a Pakistani suspect in Connecticut, one of the people said.

(AP) From left, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Nora R. Dennehy, Assistant Attorney…
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Shahzad somehow lost the investigators who were trailing him, the two people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.

The FBI and the NYPD declined to comment.

The Obama administration played down the fact that Shahzad, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, made it aboard the plane. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wouldn’t talk about it, other than to say Customs officials prevented the plane from taking off. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the security system has fallback procedures in place for times like this, and they worked.

And Attorney General Eric Holder said he “was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him.”

But it seemed clear the airline either never saw or ignored key information that would kept Shahzad off the plane, a fact that dampened what was otherwise hailed as a fast, successful law enforcement operation.

(AP) In this photo from the social networking site Orkut.com, a man who was identified by neighbors in…
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The no-fly list is supposed to mean just that. And Shahzad’s name was added to the list early Monday afternoon as a result of breaking developments in the investigation, according to a law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

But when Emirates sold the ticket, it was working off an outdated list. Airline officials would have had to check a Web forum where updates are sent if it were to flag him. Because they didn’t, law enforcement officials were not aware of his travel plans until they received the passenger list 30 minutes before takeoff, the official said.

By that time, passengers are usually on board.

Gibbs blamed the airline but emphasized a more positive bottom line: U.S. authorities did get Shahzad on the no-fly list and he never took off.

“There’s a series of built-in redundancies, this being one of them,” Gibbs said. “If there’s a mistake by a carrier, it can be double-checked.”

(AP) Attorney General Eric Holder, left, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano…
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The list is only as good as the nation’s intelligence and the experts who analyze it. If a lead is not shared, or if an analyst is unable to connect one piece of information to another, a terrorist could slip onto an airplane because his name is not on the watch list.

Officials allege that’s just what took place ahead of the attempted Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound jet. In the case of the Times Square suspect, the intelligence process worked: Shahzad’s name was on the list, but the airlines didn’t check it when he bought his ticket.

Shahzad went through normal airport security before he boarded the plane. He was unarmed and had no explosive material on him when he was arrested.

Emirates did not return repeated calls for comments. Earlier in the day, the company issued a general statement saying it was cooperating with investigators and takes every precaution to ensure its passengers’ safety.

The reliance on airlines to check government lists has been a known problem for years. The government has long planned to take over the responsibility for matching passengers to watch lists, but the transition has taken longer than expected. The new program is still in the test phase for domestic airlines and is still months away from beginning with international carriers.

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