Friday, May 31, 2002
The Second Coming
Connecting the dots...But all the hand-wringing over information gathering may be for naught if cops can't connect the dots on the data they do collect. A series of revelations in recent weeks has shown that the FBI and CIA had gathered data hinting or warning of the Sept. 11 attacks but failed to coordinate and respond to the information. In one case, investigators overlooked a memo from a Phoenix field office warning that potential terrorists were enrolling in flight schools. In another case, a Minneapolis agent told FBI Director Mueller that bureaucratic bungles thwarted her investigation into the alleged 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui.
It's quite conceivable that many of the HQ personnel who so vigorously disputed Moussaoui's ability/predisposition to fly a plane into a building were simply unaware of all the various incidents and reports worldwide of Al Qaeda terrorists attempting or plotting to do so.
When you read about the FBI, I want you to know that the FBI is changing its culture. The FBI prior to September 11 was running down white-collar criminals and that's good, was worrying about spies and that's good. But now they've got a more important task, and that is to prevent further attack. And so the FBI is changing.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, hacking groups have formed and participated in pro-U.S. and anti-U.S. cyber activities, fought mainly through web defacements. There has been minimal activity in the form of DDoS attacks, mostly between opposing protesting groups. NIPC has reason to believe that the potential for future DDoS attacks is high. The protesters have indicated they are targeting web sites of the U.S. Department of Defense and organizations that support the critical infrastructure of the United States, but many businesses and other organizations—some completely unrelated to the events—have been victims.
Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said that the warning signs were not just a series of dots to be connected, but rather "a virtual blueprint." Even ardent supporters of the bureau, like Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama , questioned the bureau's lapses. He said somebody at the agency should have been able to put together the efforts by Ms. Rowley's Minnesota colleagues who were suspicious of Mr. Moussaoui and the July 10 memo from an agent in Phoenix about Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons.
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