De Borchgrave: Obama's Weak Response to Airliner Attack Increases Threat to U.S.

Monday, 04 Jan 2010 07:29 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Influential journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave tells Newsmax that the Obama administration is “trying to make the best of a very bad situation” by downplaying the security lapses that led to a Nigerian sneaking an explosive device aboard a plane.

De Borchgrave, editor at large for The Washington Times and United Press International and a Newsmax columnist, also warned about the threat posed by Pakistanis who are British citizens and can enter the U.S. without a visa.

And he pointed to a “growing convergence” between the ambitions of Iran and al-Qaida in the Middle East.

See Video: Arnaud de Borchgrave describes the threat facing the U.S. after Obama’s weak response to terrorism - Click Here Now

Newsmax.TV’s Kathleen Walter asked de Borchgrave about the Obama administration’s response to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian Muslim who spent time in Yemen and allegedly attempted to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.

“I think it’s been very weak,” said de Borchgrave, who also works with the Transnational Threats Project with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“What we saw was them trying to make the best of a very bad situation. Clearly we had all sorts of signals about a Nigerian that obviously was in touch with al-Qaida, that checked in without baggage, that paid for his ticket in cash. There were a dozen signals.

“His father talked to [American officials] in Nigeria and that was relayed to the CIA, and as I understand the story it was also relayed to the National Counterterrorism Center. Something fell apart.

“The problem with our intelligence agencies is that we have 16 of them, employing 100,000 people, with a budget of $50 billion, and half of the analysts have only seven years of service because they were mostly hired after 9/11.”

Walter noted that Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser James Brennan said there was no “smoking gun” that would have tipped off authorities about Abdulmutallab and the al-Qaida plot to down an American airplane.

“I would call that twaddle in all its irrational splendor,” de Borchgrave declared. “It’s ridiculous to maintain such a thing, but he’s trying to put the best face possible on a very bad situation.”

The U.S. also received ample warning about the dangers posed by extremists in Yemen back in 2000, when suicide bombers attacked the USS Cole in the Yemini port of Aden. The attack, which killed 17 Americans and cost $250 million to repair the destroyer, was ordered up by al-Qaida at the cost of $10,000, de Borchgrave told Newsmax.

That disclosure came from “papers found in al-Qaida safe houses after the liberation of Kabul, including the bill for that attack, $10,000,” he said. “Yemen has been huge in the al-Qaida framework for a very very long time.”

Abdulmutallab studied in Britain for several years, and the British are in a “very bad situation” trying to cope with the terrorist threats, de Borchgrave said.

“Practically all the plots they are watching now track back to Pakistan. Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, the three most important places. And the Brits have had to put up with a lot of things because of human rights considerations.”

British polls show that about 100,000 British Muslims were in favor of the 2005 subway and bus attacks in London, Walter observed.

“It’s a huge problem,” de Borchgrave responded.

“They’ve admitted this for a long time. And the biggest problem for us is that these Pakistani Brits are allowed to come to the United States without a visa because they are British citizens.

“The overwhelming majority of them approved of 9/11, and then you have others who claim that 9/11 is a fraud because it was done by Mossad and the CIA in order to pursue the destruction of Islam. So you have all these different crosscurrents among the Pakistani Brits, and there are many of them, that make it a very dangerous situation for Britain, and their internal security service I think today is better than the FBI at home.”

Walter mentioned a recent article de Borchgrave wrote about the spread of terrorism via the Internet.

“I think that is where most [Muslim terrorists] are being recruited,” he said.

“You have sons of middle class families from Somalia or even Yemen. They are rather bored with their lives and they go online and they suddenly find themselves with an al-Qaida site. Al-Qaida has thousands of Web sites today. Prior to 9/11 they only had 50 or so.

“These kids get snapped into this global caliphate, the Muslim world uniting and standing up to the West because they are taught online the West is determined to destroy Islam.”

He added: “Where this administration went wrong is by trying to tell us the reason for continuing the war in Afghanistan was al-Qaida. President Obama even said that is where al-Qaida is. Well, that is precisely where it is not.

“But he had to be in favor of one of the two wars. He was against Iraq. Had he come out against Afghanistan as well, he would not be president today.”

Turning to Iran, de Borchgrave said Tehran is “determined to acquire a nuclear weapon” and warned that “there is now a growing convergence between Iran and al-Qaida. Osama bin Laden’s family has been living in Iran since 9/11.”

The convergence is “of Iran’s ambitions throughout the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula and al-Qaida’s ambition to get rid of all the royal regimes up and down the Gulf, the sheikdoms, the emirates.

“They both have a convergence of interest and that’s something to watch in the coming months.”

See Video: Arnaud de Borchgrave describes the threat facing the U.S. after Obama’s weak response to terrorism - Click Here Now

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