U.S. Senators last week praised the intelligence community for its role in locating Osama bin Laden but questioned whether the cooperation exhibited in that case is illustrative of the level of integration across the community envisioned by intelligence reform legislation they helped co-author.
At the second in a series of hearings the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is holding to examine implementation of national security reforms in the wake of 9-11 and where improvement is needed, the answer was mixed, according to Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME).
“The success in locating and killing bin Laden required intense and focused cooperation among key intelligence agencies,” Lieberman said. “But when the target is not at this high level, the evidence about improved functioning of the Intelligence Community is mixed. “We need to ensure that the shoulder-to-shoulder cooperation we saw in the hunt for bin Laden is being applied to all those lurking in the shadows planning fresh attacks, because the death of bin Laden does not mean the death of al Qaeda or Islamist terrorism. And the threat of homegrown, lone wolf terrorists–like Hasan–is growing. Our revamped intelligence community must take on these challenges and more.”
Collins said, “Last week’s welcome news that Osama bin Laden was killed demonstrates the kind of successful collaboration of intelligence and operations that we envisioned in reforming our capabilities and intelligence community in the wake of the attacks of 9-11-01."
This successful operation against bin Laden demonstrates the importance of sharing intelligence information across the agency silos — the opposite of the disjointed pre-September 11 experience. This is a great victory for our intelligence efforts and a great blow to al Qaeda. But al Qaeda is not going away. That is why it is time for Congress to examine and build on the successes that emanated from the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, identify any shortcomings, and work to correct them,” Sen. Collins said.
The 9-11 Commission famously reported that no one was in charge of the intelligence community, contributing to al Qaeda’s successful attacks. In response, HSGAC drafted and Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the most sweeping intelligence reform since the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency.
That legislation created a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to harness the federal government’s 16 intelligence agencies under unified leadership. The 2004 Act also created the National Counterterrorism Center to ensure that there was a single place in the government to assess terrorism threats using the full resources and knowledge of the government.
There have been impressive intelligence successes such as the 2009 arrest of Najibullah Zazi, who received training from al Qaeda and was planning an attack in New York City. There have also been intelligence failures, such as the attacks by Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber, and Times Square bomber Faisal Shazad. The Committee’s report on the November 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, by a “lone wolf” also found that clues to the perpetrator’s Islamist radicalization and the potential danger he posed were hiding in plain sight.
Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he’s a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
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