Sunday, June 19, 2005

Terrorism Expertise Not Required - Apply FBI...

Terror expertise not priority at FBI

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In sworn testimony that contrasts with their promises to the public, the FBI managers who crafted the post-Sept. 11 fight against terrorism say expertise about the Mideast or terrorism was not important in choosing the agents they promoted to top jobs.

And they still do not believe such experience is necessary today even as terrorist acts occur across the globe.

Does anyone see a problem with this other than me?

The FBI's current terror-fighting chief, Executive Assistant Director Gary Bald, said his first terrorism training came "on the job" when he moved to headquarters to oversee anti-terrorism strategy two years ago.

Asked about his grasp of Middle Eastern culture and history, Bald responded: "I wish that I had it. It would be nice."

"You need leadership. You don't need subject matter expertise," Bald testified in an ongoing FBI employment case. "It is certainly not what I look for in selecting an official for a position in a counterterrorism position."

WHOA HERE! If you do not need subject matter expertise it would seem you could realistically schedule an appointment with your local mechanic in order to have a heart bypass...same logic...yes it is rather ludacrous.

In a development that has escaped public attention, FBI agent Bassem Youssef has questioned under oath many of the FBI's top leaders, including Director Robert Mueller and his predecessor, Louis Freeh, in an effort to show he was passed over for top terrorism jobs despite his expertise. Testimony from his lawsuit was recently sent to Congress.

Those who have held the bureau's top terrorism-fighting jobs since Sept. 11 often said in their testimony that they - and many they have promoted since - had no significant terrorism or Middle East experience. Some could not even explain the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, the two primary groups of Muslims.

Let's see, we have a highly qualified person with great background and expertise in terrorism matters that can not serve the public in the way most beneficial for OUR SAFETY because the new makeup of the FBI (post 9/11) under Bush does not feel that expertise and understanding of the subject matter is important.

Does anyone still wonder why bin Laden is still at large?

Hell...even I can tell the difference between Sunni and Shiite.

The hundreds of pages of testimony obtained by The Associated Press contrast with assurances Mueller repeatedly has given Congress that he was building a new FBI, from top to bottom, with experts able to stop terrorist attacks before they occurred, not solve them afterward.

"The FBI's shift toward terrorism prevention necessitates the building of a national level expertise and body of knowledge," Mueller told Congress a year after the suicide hijackings, as lawmakers approved billions of new dollars to fight terrorism.

Daniel Byman, a national security expert who worked on both congressional and presidential investigations of terrorism and intelligence failures, reviewed the Youssef case for the court. Byman concluded the spurned agent is one of the government's most-skilled terrorism fighters and that the FBI overall remains weak in expertise on the Middle East, terrorism and intelligence liaison.

"Many of its officers - including those quite skilled in other aspects of the bureau's work, lack the skills to work with foreign governments or even their U.S. counterparts," Byman concluded.

"Knowing about counterterrorism would help a supervisor ensure a proper investigation and avoid missing important aspects of the case," he said.

Watson, who oversaw the first two years of transformation, testified he could not recall a single meeting in the aftermath of Sept. 11 in which FBI leaders discussed the type of skills or training needed for counterterrorism.

I do not have to add anything at all for the point to be made, do I?

When asked if he had any formal terrorism training that justified his appointment as the No. 3 FBI official, Bald said, "It would have been on-the-job in the counterterrorism division." Bald entered the counterterrorism division in 2003 after leading the FBI's Baltimore office during the Washington sniper case.

The assistant Bald brought in to run the division last year gave a similar account.

"It's a tremendous learning experience, the seat that I'm sitting in. You learn every single day about this," Deputy Assistant Director John Lewis testified.

When asked whether he, as the FBI's former counterterrorism chief, could describe the differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Watson answered, "Not technically, no."

He also said that his assertion a few years ago that bin Laden had been killed - a declaration that conflicted with CIA assessments and fresh video evidence - was not based on fact. "It's my gut instinct," he answered.

This is so disturbing that I can not stomach any can read it yourself from the link provided at the top.

Is it any wonder that we are vulnerable? This proves that Bush has NOT MADE AMERICA SAFER. His has stacked all the cards against the people of this country. Those who led us to war have no experience in war, only avoiding it. Those assigned to protect us from the terrorists that may try to harm us have no knowledge or understanding of the subject matter while those who do are squeezed out.

"...tremendous learning experience..." my ass...

I would not want my auto mechanic to do heart surgery on me and it is insulting to every American citizen that the Bush administration loads our intelligence leaders with people without any experience in what they are doing.

Is that the reason we got hit on 9/11...because Bush appointees really did not have a clue of what they were doing? If so, Bush is, at least in part, responsible for almost 3000 innocent people losing their life. Then he fabricated a connection to Saddam and helped cause tens of thousand more deaths.

This is our lives at stake, damn it!


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