Massive NSA Data Mining misses the Boston Marathon Bombers

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 15th, 2013

Week in Review

The Obama administration says they need to track and store the metadata from our phone calls to mine data that will help them catch terrorists.  They’ve been doing this for a long time.  Starting long before the Boston Marathon bombing.  Yet they couldn’t catch these terrorists before they acted.  Despite all of that data mining.  Which is pretty sad considering they come from a hotbed of Islamist activity.  Dagestan.  Which is near Chechnya.  Another hotbed of Islamist activity.  Which has been a thorn in the side of Russia ever since the fall of the Soviet Union.

And as if this wasn’t enough, and don’t you think it should be, the Russians said, “Hey, this guy Tamerlan Tsarnaev?  He’s probably a freaking terrorist.  You should watch this guy.  Before he kills someone in America.”  And the FBI said, “Thanks.  We’ll look into it.”  Which they did.  And found nothing.  Despite all of that data mining (see Sensenbrenner: Data Mining Missed Red Flags in Boston Bombing by Lauren Fox posted 6/10/2013 on US News & World Report).

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the author of the Patriot Act, says he thinks NSA’s dragnet data mining may have obscured clues that Boston Bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were planning to carry out a deadly attack…

Before a 2011 trip to Chechnya and Dagestan, a region from which Tamerlan sought asylum in the U.S., the Russians sent a notice to the FBI that the eldest Tsarnaev brother might have ties to radical groups in the region.

The FBI looked into it and said nothing suspicious materialized after an initial investigation. The FBI looked for things like “derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity and associations with other persons of interest,” the FBI said on its website. After that, the FBI did not continue looking at Tamerlan Tsarnaev because the Russian government did not respond to requests for more information and because, an FBI source told the New York Times in April, the agency didn’t have legal grounds to continue keeping track of Tamerlan.

No legal grounds to track Tamerlan?  But they have all the legal grounds to track all of our phone calls?  It just makes you wonder why they’re collecting all of that data.  And what they are using it for.  For Tamerlan Tsarnaev all but had a blinking neon sign on his head saying he was an Islamist terrorist who was here to kill Americans.  But they just couldn’t see this.  So if they’re not tracking terrorists with all of that data mining who are they tracking?  U.S. citizens?  To identify their political enemies?  Like the Tea Party.  So the appropriate actions can be taken?  Like those partisans in the IRS took against the Tea party?

It makes one wonder.

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Like most Acts of Domestic Terrorism the Boston Bombings have a Connection to Militant Islam

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 21st, 2013

Week in Review

We’ve had some people with mental health problems obtain firearms and go on shooting sprees on soft targets.  Grade schools.  Colleges.  Theaters.  High schools.  The government’s answer to these?  Take guns away from law-abiding people.  As they don’t appear to want to track people with mental health problems.  Which would be easier.  Because there are a lot of warning signs.  Schools complain about strange and disturbing behavior.  Strange and disturbing enough to expel some people from school.  But it ends there.  And these people wander free amongst us.  Family members have even tried to get these people committed for public safety concerns.  But doing that today is so difficult that few can get people who are a danger to themselves or to the public committed.  Changing this would make grade schools, colleges, theaters and high schools safer than new gun control legislation.  For using guns is not the only way to kill soft targets (see Boston bombers: FBI hunting 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” linked to brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by Christopher Bucktin and Andy Lines posted 4/21/2013 on the Mirror).

The FBI was last night hunting a 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” linked to the Boston marathon bomb brothers.

Police believe Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were specially trained to carry out the devastating attack.

More than 1,000 FBI operatives were last night working to track down the cell and arrested a man and two women 60 miles from Boston in the hours before Dzhokhar’s dramatic capture after a bloody shootout on Friday.

A source close to the investigation said: “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.

“They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come…”

Investigators have begun piecing together how the “well-mannered” brothers of Chechen origin were radicalised. Neighbours of the family said older brother Tamerlan had recently become obsessed with Islam. He mysteriously left the US in January last year to spend six months in Russia. Yesterday senior FBI counter-terrorism official Kevin Brock said: “It’s a key thread for investigators.”

It also emerged the Bureau interviewed Tamerlan two years ago, at the request of the Russian government, but could not establish that he had ties to terrorist radicals.

This was despite his worrying Russian-language YouTube page featuring links to extremist Islamic sites and others since taken down by YouTube.

One link showed an hour-long speech by an Islamic teacher called Shaykh Feiz Mohammed, while other videos are labled “Terrorists” and “Islam”.

The radical cleric, with links to extremist British Muslims, encouraged his followers to become martyrs for Islam. He said: “Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid…”

US Government officials have said the brothers were not under surveillance as possible militants. And an FBI statement said the matter was closed because interviews with Tamerlan and family members “did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign”. But now they believe the pair, who emigrated to the United States from Dagestan about a decade ago, were part of a terror cell.

If there is a sleeper cell they may be able find a trail to them by exploring the past lives of the two bombers.  There were a lot of warning signs before the bombings we missed.  Perhaps we’ll be able to see them when we’re actually looking for them.

It almost appears that we have a problem looking at people.  Whether they’re people with mental health problems.  Or domestic terrorists.  It’s as bad as our airport security.  Where we’re patting down every grandmother and child.  We need to start profiling people.  Not so much by skin color.  But by behavior.  And with good questioning.  “Where are you traveling?  Who are you visiting?  Where does he work?  What’s his boss’ name?  Where does his wife work?  How good are you at making bombs?”  Depending on the answers to these questions security either moves on to someone else.  Or they pull this person aside for further questioning.

We need well-trained and highly skilled people.  So we don’t turn the country into a police state.  Observe everyone.  Question those whose behavior looks off in some way.  And read their body language.  Is he searching for answers?  Or do they appear too well rehearsed?  Does he seem nervous?  Is he avoiding eye contact?  Is he sweating?  Does he laugh at the bomb question?  Or does he flinch involuntarily?  Does he seem different from other travelers?  Is he carrying a large backpack and doesn’t appear interested in what everyone else is interested in?  Like a marathon?  If so perhaps security should approach this person.  Talk to him.  Ask what’s inside that backpack.  And search that backpack.  You can’t search everyone standing along a marathon course.  But you can have security mingling through the crowds looking for things that are not like other things.

Of course before you can do that you have to admit that there are people out there that want to hurt us.  That there is a War on Terror.  And not explain terrorist attacks away as workplace violence (the Fort Hood shooting).  Or say that al Qaeda is on the ropes and deny additional security requests in a hot bed of Islamist activity (Benghazi).  Just because it wouldn’t look good during an election campaign where a common refrain was Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.

To fight the War on Terror will require some in government to stop putting politics first.  The gun control debate is more about passing long-desired legislation than it is about making our kids safe.  To prevent the senseless slaughter of innocent people by people with mental health problems it would be far more effective to institutionalize these people that are a risk to themselves and to the public.  And to protect us from further acts of domestic terrorism we have to be able to say words like Muslim extremist.  Militant Islamist.  Islamist terrorist.  For even Bill Maher has said that Islam is the one faith that has a history of killing Americans.  Not all Muslims are terrorists.  But Muslims carry out the majority of terrorist attacks.  And until you accept that fact how are you going to defend the United States against militant Islam?  For you can’t fight this war with one arm tied behind your back because of political correctness.  Which means when we’re profiling people we have to look at those who are most likely to kill us in a terrorist attack.  People who travel to hotbeds of Islamist activity.  Those who are kicked out of mosques for being too radical.  People who have YouTube pages featuring links to extremist Islamic sites.  And what do these all have in common?  That word the Obama administration does not like to use attached to any acts of domestic terrorism.  Muslim.

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