by Jim Emerson, staff writer
On the morning of December 7, 1941 American forces were surprised by a sneak attack launched by the Imperial Japanese Navy. This attack killed 2,402 Americans. The attack was an attempt to shut down the U.S. Navy to prevent it from interfering with the Empire’s plan to invade South East Asia and Western held territories. There were simultaneous Japanese attacks on the Philippine Islands and on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. This was, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it, “a date which will live in infamy.”
Historians have blamed this attack on the failure of America’s military intelligence apparatus. Military intelligence intercepted and decoded Japanese diplomatic communications that would have alerted decision makers before the sneak attack. The problem with good intelligence in the hands of military and civilian bureaucrats is that the reports often never make into the hands of the right people.
September 11, 2001 was a day of infamy for a newer generation of Americans. Over 3000 Americans. The 9-11 commission report identified as many as 10 missed opportunities to predict the attacks by the Bush and Clinton administrations. During the summer of 2001 there were a significant number of reports of al Qaida activity relating to possible strikes against the United States. The CIA and the FBI were reporting that al Qaida operatives were contemplating using airliners as flying bombs. Hindsight is an amazing thing, it can easily point to the facts after an event has taken place. But before the 9-11 date, time and targets were largely unknown.
The greatest obstacle to comprehensive intelligence gathering was a “Wall” blocking communications which had its roots in the first term of the Clinton administration. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick called for increased separation between intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, thereby halting all intelligence sharing. Threat warning intelligence collection never got to the customer. Strangely enough, the leftist Democrat responsible for the whole mess was assigned to the 9-11 commission in order to blame others!
The biggest failure of 9-11 occurred when the FBI ignored its own agents warning about an investigation of suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui had been suspected of being involved in preparations for a suicide-hijacking and is often identified as the 20th hijacker.
What happens when political leadership willfully ignores intelligence? Why, Benghazi, of course. Intelligence analysts reported on a massive al-Qaida gathering near U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens’ residence. The terrorist rally called for followers to kill American diplomats. Acting according to this report and additional warnings, “...the State Department issued a travel advisory warning Americans against going to Libya in August 2012. Obama administration officials have long denied any warning before the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks.” (1)