It’s good to see that the Boston Globe is finally catching up to the Dirty Fucking Hippies and asking hard questions about why federal agencies never passed on relevant information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Kevin Cullen (boldface mine):
“Why would they be accountable to ‘60 Minutes’ or the Globe or whoever when they aren’t even accountable to Congress?” asks Bill Keating, the Massachusetts congressman who sits on that committee.
Keating watched the “60 Minutes” episode, too, and almost fell off his chair because the FBI had been ducking Congress by suggesting they didn’t want to compromise the investigation into the bombing or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s upcoming trial.
“We asked the FBI to come before our committee three times, and they refused,” Keating told me. “And then I see them on TV pointing at one of the Tsarnaev brothers in a surveillance photo . . . So they can go on TV, but they can’t go before Congress?”
…Now, to be fair, it appears the CIA was just as culpable as the FBI in not having Tamerlan Tsarnaev higher up on their radar. The difference is that investigating potential terrorists is the FBI’s purview, and the CIA operates as a clandestine agency. The problem with the FBI is they act as if they’re a clandestine agency when they expressly are not.
Right after 9/11, three very fine police leaders — Boston Police Commissioner Paul Evans, Lowell Police Chief Ed Davis, and John Timoney, of the New York, Philadelphia, and Miami police — went to Washington to see FBI Director Bob Mueller. They knew that everything had changed when those planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and that field in Pennsylvania. They wanted assurances that the FBI would change, too, and begin sharing information with local police….
I’ve talked to Cambridge police officers who would have been all over Tamerlan Tsarnaev if they had known Russian authorities told the FBI he had extremist leanings. They never got that intelligence because the FBI couldn’t be bothered sharing with local cops.
There just aren’t that many murders in Cambridge–it would have been a high priority. Joan Vennochi isn’t happy either (boldface mine):
As Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, points out in a piece written for WBUR.org, “Since 9/11, federal agencies and state and local law enforcement have been given hundreds of billions of dollars and breathtaking power to investigate anyone they deem ‘suspicious.’ ”
As a result, government data bases are vacuuming up vast quantities of information. None of it stopped the Boston Marathon bombings. “Who were the FBI watching, if not Tsarnaev?” asks Rose. That’s a good question, to which I would add, why did those who were supposed to be watching him do such a terrible job? And why are there no consequences?
I have an idea whom they were watching:
In campaigns that the ACLU now argues violated both “federal privacy regulations and the BRIC’s own privacy policies,” from 2009 to 2010, the intelligence center produced SARs on peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstrators, as well as on antiwar groups including CODEPINK. The BRIC also documented the behavior of protest speakers and participants including a city councilor, and famed Boston University professor (and pacifist) Howard Zinn, the latter of whom reports listed as an “extremist.” Memos show BRIC officers following peace and environmental protesters around downtown Boston, keeping tabs on their locations for no apparent reason. A read through the reports is demonstrably hilarious, smacking of the scene in Billy Madison where the snooping school janitor tells Adam Sandler’s nemesis that “Billy likes to drink soda.” An “intelligence report” from March 2010 about CODEPINK and United For Justice With Peace rings especially ridiculous, though not to the BRIC….
All things considered, it’s of little surprise that neither the BRIC nor the Commonwealth Fusion Center in Maynard picked up on dangers posed by alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev—even though the U.S. government had been warned twice by the Russian government that he had radical ties, and even though Tsarnaev raised more than a few red flags.
In September 2011, the Boston fusion center (‘BRIC’) turned its attention to Occupy Boston and anti-foreclosure activists. One might not agree with these activists, but they’re at worst annoying and inconvenient. Codepink? What the hell is a bunch of pacifist grandmothers going to bomb? So what if they embarrass a politician while he’s speaking (besides, the jackass might deserve it)?
We are constantly told by our political betters that there’s a tradeoff between liberty and security, but the fusion centers aren’t providing much security. Instead, they are tasked with monitoring non-violent political dissidents, instead of their putative mission which is to prevent violent terrorism.
Anger is the appropriate emotion. Perhaps rage.
I greatly respect Charles Pierce, but the person he needs to give credit to Chris Faraone who covered this last May, not anyone at the fucking Globe, which essentially slept through this for nearly a year.
And, no, we still have learned nothing from Sept. 11, 2001 either.