"Too Much Information" Essay

Submitted By MichiAustin
Words: 491
Pages: 2

There are major criticisms directed at the NCTC in regard to the Christmas Day terrorist airline bombing attempt. Critics question why the NCTC’s analysts, who examine this information every day, failed to detect Abdulmutallab’s plan. The analysts had received or were privy to intelligence about him from at least three agencies. They were also aware about a burgeoning terrorist threat in Yemen. Even last year the National Security Agency intercepted phone traffic of Qaeda operatives in Yemen talking about a “Nigerian” who was engaged in a new plot. And in Novemeber, Adulmutallab’s father, a prominent Nigerian banker, walked into the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and told officials he was afraid that his son had gone to Yemen and had become an Islamic radical. If anyone outfit was in a position to put all of these pieces together, it was the NCTC. They have multiple agencies giving them information, they examine information every day, they had reason to believe there was going to be an attack, and they had been warned.
But to describe the center as the place where all the dots are connected-implying that its staff are supposed to be able to predict the next attack-is at best a misunderstanding of the NCTC’s capabilities and at worst an attempt to pin the intelligence failures of Christmas Day on a single organization. In the global fight against terrorism the NCTC is mostly a passive participant. It cannot investigate terrorist suspects in the United States. That’s the FBI’s job. It cannot legally conduct covert operations overseas. That’s the CIA’s domain. It cannot intercept foreign communications. That’s the NSA’s bailiwick. It cannot revoke visas. That’s up t to the State Department. Some criticism can be leveled that they didn’t connect all the dots, but that can’t fall all on NCTC’s shoulders.