August 13, 2006


U.S. Responded to Plot With Speed, Secrecy (Dan Eggen and Spencer S. Hsu, August 13, 2006, Washington Post)

The British probe began modestly last year, in the aftermath of the London subway bombings, when a concerned citizen within London's large Muslim community tipped authorities to a suspicious acquaintance, sources have said.

But starting about two weeks ago, authorities in London and Washington grappled with a succession of three major developments that shifted the investigation into a higher gear and led to last week's hurried raids and arrests. First was clear evidence of plans to target the United States; then came plans by the British to shut down the plot; and finally a frantic rush to execute the arrests earlier than expected to avoid losing suspects or allowing an attack to occur, according to intelligence and law enforcement officials.

In late July, the British became "exceptionally concerned about where the specifics of the investigation were leading them -- it was getting more from conception to completion," one official said. Chertoff publicly described this as the moment "that the investigation revealed that this planning was taking the direction of targeting the United States."

Within days, the FBI was hunting down names provided by British intelligence and police, seeking to identify any domestic tentacles of the suspected plot. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, who took over the bureau just days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, cleared most of his schedule to concentrate on the probe around this time, aides said.

More than 200 FBI agents and scores of analysts and other personnel would be assigned to the operation in late July and early August, mounting dozens of clandestine surveillance and search operations on individuals with possible links to the London plotters, officials said. Among the individuals were people who had been called or e-mailed by suspects or their relatives and acquaintances, as the FBI combed through layers of the group's "social network" inside the United States.

The case included labor-intensive 24-hour surveillance, which can require several dozen people to watch a single target, one official said. Those conducting the surveillance generally had no idea why the subject was being watched, the official said.

The volume of surveillance was such that it produced a noticeable surge in applications for clandestine warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees most intelligence surveillance inside the country, according to law enforcement officials.

An administration that either accepted a denial of such an application or waited for the court to catch up--if it were to stop being a rubber stamp--would have failed in its constitutional duties. Meanwhile, it seems safe to assume they weren't even applying for warrants on the overseas communications they were monitoring.

PLANE-BOMB BOTTLES FOUND (August 13, 2006, NY Post)

British cops investigating the airline bomb plot have reportedly found scores of bottles that had been filled with the components for liquid chemical bombs in outdoor garbage bins.

The bottles contained liquids including peroxide, which can trigger an explosion when mixed with other chemicals and ignited with a small spark, Britain's News of the World reported today.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2006 9:54 AM

I wonder if the reason they had to hurry was the fear that the MSM would leak what was going on. I am certain that if the NY Slime heard about it it would be on the front page before the day was out. I would imagine that if they did not fear the leaks, the whole mess could have been rolled up but I am glad they took the action when they did.

Just a surprise to see the WaPo print an article that was so complimentary to the administration. How did that happen. Must have just slipped through the cracks.

Posted by: dick at August 13, 2006 11:18 AM

In the second article:"...and that among the airline bomb-plot suspects were a mom-and-dad suicide couple who planned to take their baby with them on the mission" These people are really crazy, no if's or but's. The whole population must be hypnotised in the mosques to behave like zombies. They have no human feelings or decencies.

Posted by: ic at August 13, 2006 1:34 PM

"Just a surprise to see the WaPo print an article that was so complimentary to the administration"

On the list of targets was the Washington Post's headquarters perhaps?

I'd still get some idea of the forcefulness of this stuff. From my recreational chemistry past I remember such concotions as making a nice "boom", but nothing really beat the commercial stuff like M-80s or dynamite for making holes in things. ("A stumping we will go...") it requires some engineering, too.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 13, 2006 5:43 PM

Make that "I'd still like to get some idea..."


Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 13, 2006 5:45 PM