(Note: When originally published, this story was combined with the one below. They work better separately.)
Many opinion pieces have linked the TSA outrages to last year's "Christmas bomber" incident, which remains a very mysterious affair. This timeline
is of use:
* In 2008, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff authored a 38 page report warning of terrorists exploiting our security deficiencies – including air travel.
* On Christmas Day 2009, just before the “attempted bombing incident” on board flight 253, there were a total of 40 body scanners in use in 19 airports in the U.S.
* On Christmas Day 2009, numerous witnesses watched while Abdulmutallab, the supposed 'terrorist' was escorted TO the plane by several men in suits.
* After the 'bombing attempt' Chertoff made a flurry of media appearances suggesting that the “attempted bombing incident” could have been avoided if all airports were using full body scanners.
* The Washington Post printed an article on January 1, 2010, calling Chertoff out for using his government credentials to promote a product that benefits his clients. It was revealed that Rapiscan Systems, the manufacturer of the naked body scanner Chertoff was recommending, was a client of Chertoff's security consulting agency.
* Rapiscan has since received over $250 million in scanner orders.
Law professor Ann Althouse
quotes this timeline, although she assures us that no tin foil chapeau covers her lovely blonde locks:
Abdulmutallab, the supposed 'terrorist'... Oh, lord. That's too conspiracy-theory for me.
But not for me
. Fools go where angels and law professors fear to tread.
Yes, I have a theory, or at least the rough notes of one. Note, though, that this thesis comes wrapped in this cautionary note: I am not above offering a moderate amount of speculation, as long as it has been clearly marked as such. Consider yourself warned.
The key point is this: The current TSA scandal supplies a possible explanation for the many mysteries surrounding the Abdulmutallab affair. The conspiracy, if conspiracy there was, now has a motive -- money
Althouse, drawing from research done by Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake
, notes that the Department of Homeland Security promised to spend a billion bucks on airport security in the wake of the abortive Christmas attack. Before that episode, both the right and the left had mounted campaigns against full-body image scanners. Opposition remained strong even after the incident.
So the “groping” technique was developed as a way to punish people into using the scanners...
Keep this in mind as you re-read our earlier research into the so-called "crotch bomber." (Here
.) After reviewing that material, the obvious answer finally hit me: Would-be Jihadist Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab is a Nigerian version of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Many students of the JFK assassination believe that Oswald went to the USSR as part of a fake defector program. Former military intelligence analyst John Newman
has demonstrated this point with near-mathematical precision.
Of course, any ersatz defector has to make the ruse seem credible by creating an elaborate paper trail designed to give the impression of a genuine ideological conversion. In the old wartime drama Across the Pacific
, Humphrey Bogart does something similar. It's called "creating a legend," and its one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Wikipedia offers what purports to be a very full accounting
of Farouk's conversion to Al Qaeda-style fanaticism. (His family calls him "Farouk," and so will I. It's easier to spell.) To me, much of this evidence looks like a classic "legend."
For example: Even after this young man had joined Al Qaeda and took part in terrorist training, intelligence officials had a file on him containing "no derogatory information." Oh really? Then why compile a file at all? How likely is it that the scion of one of Africa's wealthiest families could turn into a violent jihadist without the news coming to the attention of American or British intelligence? Farouk made no secret of his sympathies.
We know that Al Qaeda -- indeed, the entire jihadist movement -- has long been penetrated at all levels. For example: Even before 9/11, a Moroccan agent named Hassan Dabou (eventually debriefed by the CIA) infiltrated Al Qaeda
and became close to Osama Bin Laden. Dabou could not have accomplished that task unless he had constructed a "legend" as detailed and convincing as Farouk's.
Here are some indicators that Farouk "Lee Harvey" Abdulmutallab was playing the same perilous game that Hassan Dabou played:1. The party animal.
The "email trail" (as outlined by Wikipedia) tells of a dramatic break between Farouk and his wealthy Nigerian father.
Among the other text messages he sent to his father were: "I've found a new religion, the real Islam"; "You should just forget about me, I'm never coming back"; "Please forgive me. I will no longer be in touch with you"; and "Forgive me for any wrongdoing, I am no longer your child."
However, African news sources revealed that Farouk attended his father's retirement party
, which occurred just one week before the Christmas incident.
A family source said Farouk was “generally around” during the celebrations marking his father's retirement from First Bank, but would not elaborate any further as Dr. Umaru Muttallab has ordered all members of the family to cease further cooperation with the media.
Some will dismiss this story out of hand, simply because the source is African. I take the account seriously.2. Dad's Yemen connection.
The father is a neoliberal banker who worked on an effort to transform Yemen into yet another Milton Friedmanesque "paradise." In other words, he worked closely with the very government that his son's cronies allegedly sought to destroy. The "allegedly" caveat stems from the fact that many Yemenis think that the Al Qaeda threat is a myth created by a repressive regime.3. How did Farouk board the flight in Amsterdam?
According to all initial reports, Farouk got on the plane without a passport, impersonating a refugee from Sudan.
Mysteriously, a passport later turned up. Yet the original "Sudanese refugee" tale is backed by credible eyewitness testimony, offered by Kurt and Lori Haskell:
While Mutallab was poorly dressed, his friend was dressed in an expensive suit, Haskell said. He says the suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. “The guy said, 'He's from Sudan and we do this all the time.'”
Who was this enigmatic accomplice?
Obviously, the smartly-dressed helper -- I am persuaded of his existence -- must have identified himself as a government official. If he carried no such identification, then his "we do this all the time" comment would have impressed no-one.
After first denying the eyewitness testimony, authorities later decided that the accomplice was simply there to make sure that Farouk did not get cold feet. But the "we do this all the time" comment undermines that explanation.4. The "oops" factor.
Why did Al Qaeda in Yemen -- or someone claiming to represent that group -- offer a bogus assertion of responsibility for the Christmas terror attempt? The official statement held that the attack was in response to a bombing raid on an Al Qaeda camp. Problem: Farouk bought his plane ticket before
the raid.5. The mystery video.
Multiple witnesses confirm that someone videotaped the entire flight -- and began taping well before Farouk made his big play.
As we have seen in this post
, one of the 9/11 hijackers videotaped the flight a couple of weeks before the fateful day. He was, we might say, casing the joint.
Obviously, the "crotch bomber" videographer wasn't doing that. He had some other purpose. We can fairly surmise the following:
A. Someone knew that a terror attempt was imminent.
B. Someone wanted a record.
C. Someone knew ahead of time that the terror attempt would not
destroy the aircraft.
We may also fairly speculate that the videographer worked for a Western intelligence service. How do we know this? Because the news media tried very hard not to talk about him
No journalist wants to be accused of compromising an ongoing intelligence operation.6. No boom.
Kurt Haskell has outlined some excellent reasons to believe that the bomb was never intended to explode. The best evidence:
The bomb required a detonator to explode...
...a detonator which this bomb lacked.7. Unlikely dialogue.
One aspect of Farouk's email trail strikes me as particularly unconvincing. In 2005 (before his alleged radicalization) he wrote:
I imagine how the great jihad will take place, how the muslims will win insha Allah and rule the whole world, and establish the greatest empire once again!!!
In 2009, he told a fellow student that he wanted to impose sharia law on the entire globe.
It all seems a little too pat. Although America's anti-Islamic fanatics often pretend that Muslims intend to conquer "the whole world," I've never before encountered an actual jihadist who baldly states this insane goal. "Death to Israel," yes. "Down with America," yes. But "Sharia in North Dakota"...?
Looks to me as though Farouk spent a lot of time mouthing the sort of dialogue that a jihadist would say only in a melodrama written by an evangelical Christian in Alabama.8. Chertoff's spook house.
Although many on both the right and the left now point fingers at Michael Chertoff, few have dared to address the intelligence community's involvement. The media's silence on this point is very telling. Take a closer look at The Chertoff Group
Co-founded by former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and Chad Sweet, former Director of Operations for the CIA
Leadership team includes General Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA, as well as Charles E. Allen, a former Assistant Director at the CIA and architect of DHS intelligence structure
Advocates for the usage of body-scanners for airport security, while maintaining clients which include manufacturers of body-scanning systems
The Chertoff Group’s leadership team is mostly comprised of former high-level employees of the DHS, CIA, NSA, and FEMA.
Yow! This group is spookier than the Haunted Mansion.
The Chertoff groups stands to make a ton of money from the widespread installation of their wittily-named Rapiscan scanners. So there's your motive.Summing it all up:
The fingerprints of intelligence are all over this thing.
We have good reason to believe that the Amsterdam accomplice was CIA. The videographer must have been a spook -- otherwise, the media and the official investigators would have spent a lot of time talking about him. The videographer's presence also indicates that Farouk's handlers knew ahead of time that the plane would never blow up. The CIA has a heavy presence in Yemen. Farouk's presence in that country makes much more sense if we picture him as an infiltrator, not as a zealot. His wealthy and influential father is precisely the sort of person the CIA seeks to contact and recruit -- which means that he very likely came to the direct attention of Chertoff's partner, Chad Sweet.
The whole thing hangs together. In my view, the story has but one remaining loose end: What did they tell Farouk to compel him to light the match?