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FBI -- Federal Bureau of Incompetence

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Brad
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0 posted 12-05-2006 05:42 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Though he's one of only six FBI agents with advanced Arabic skills, Youssef believes that, since 9/11, the FBI has blocked him from playing a significant role in the war on terror. He claims discrimination, and sued the FBI in 2003.

"To be totally set aside, blackballed since 9/11, makes absolutely no sense," he says.

Beyond Youssef's own employment claims, depositions of nearly a dozen top FBI officials in his case have exposed what critics say are serious shortcomings in the FBI's approach to counterterrorism. The taped depositions, which have never been aired before, seem to reveal a stunning lack of knowledge about some terrorism basics.

Terrorism 101
Dale Watson, now retired, was the FBI's top counterterrorism official before and after 9/11.

In a deposition taken on Dec. 8, 2004, Youssef’s lawyer Stephen Kohn asked Watson: “Do you know who Osama bin Laden's spiritual leader was?"

Watson: Can't recall.

Lawyer: And do you know the differences in the religion between Shiite and Sunni Muslims?

Watson: Not technically, no.

John Lewis was until recently the FBI’s deputy assistant director of counterterrorism. During his deposition on May 17, 2005, he was asked if he knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis.

Lewis: You know, generally. Not very well.



I don't know what to say here.
serenity blaze
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1 posted 12-05-2006 06:37 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

You could start by educating me--what IS the difference?

(and I know, it's not my job to know, but now I'm curious)

and yeah, yeah, yeah, I could look it up m'self, but I'm more likely to remember something somebody tells me than something I read. I tend to forget what I read, as you well know. heh.

Alicat
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2 posted 12-05-2006 08:10 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Basically, it all boils down to the first three Caliphs and whether or not they are recongnized.  Sunnis recognize the first three Caliphs following the death of Muhammad as well as Ali, whereas the Shi'a recognize Ali, who was the fourth Caliph in 656 AD, but not the prior three.  Ali was considered to be a direct descendant of Muhammad (his cousin, son-in-law, and first young man to accept Islam), and the true keeper, defender and phophet of Islam, and depending on who you asked, either the First Caliph, or the Fourth Caliph.  And the Sunni and Shi'a have been killing each other over that for over 1300 years.
Christopher
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3 posted 12-06-2006 11:25 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Kind of at a loss myself, Brad.

Phenomenal lack of intelligence? Or does understanding just not figure into their strategy?
jbouder
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4 posted 12-06-2006 01:48 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

Is the CEO of Toyota an expert in mechanical engineering?  Is Bill Gates an expert in the use of all the software his company produces?  Probably not.

Not defending the guy, Brad, but I think he was an administrator (responsibilities fell more on the HR and budget elements of his department).  In my experience working with government agencies, the guys and gals in executive management positions rarely have the specialized expertise of line managers and workers in the Bureau.  If his job was to make sure employees in his department were compensated properly and was able to preserve or expand his department's budget, then he did his job as a public administrator.

I just don't think it is fair to judge the capabilities of those actually doing the counterterrorism work by the depth of knowledge possessed by the executive.  Granted, I think he should have been able to answer those questions (while I am no expert in autism, my job requires me to have a grasp of the general issues).  Any manager should.

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (12-06-2006 04:41 PM).]

Christopher
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5 posted 12-06-2006 03:03 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Glad you summed it up like that, Jim. Because while I wouldn't expect the CEO of Toyota to be a mechanical engineer, I would expect him to have a general understanding and be able to explain the difference between a carburetor and fuel injection.
Brad
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6 posted 12-06-2006 03:17 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Karen,

Think the DaVinci Code. Imagine if Christ really did have a blood line that survived Him. Does Peter begin the Church (the first three caliphs--Sunni) or Mary and her daughter (Shiites). Now, look at Ali's explanation again.

Does that help?  

Jim,

Six people who speak advanced Arabic? Sure, a manager doesn't have to be a specialist but he must be surrounded by them.

And maybe endowed with the curiosity to search for five minutes on the internet?

As I recall, they were going to install a language program (or are we only relying on the NSA and CIA? If so, why not farm out those six?) to increase members with fluent knowledge of Arabic.

What happened?

jbouder
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7 posted 12-06-2006 04:26 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

FYI, these are the departments for which the Assistant Director - Counterterrorism is responsible:

http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/FBI/a0410/orgchart.htm

This provides a little more information:

http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/FBI/a0410/background.htm

It turns out that he is responsible for quite a lot.

This sounds to me to be more about poor executive management of human resources than it does the inability of the FBI in general to effectively counter terrorism.  Youssef also seems to be regarded as a whistleblower for embarrassing the FBI Director when Youssef complained to a US congressman about not being more involved in counterterrorism.

How has government historically treated whistleblowers?  How should whistleblowers be treated?  By going to a congressman with a grievance, was there a breach of trust that is paramount to Youssef's responsibilities, past performance notwithstanding?  How would you treat a whistleblower?

So why did the language program fail?  Why don't you list the possible reasons why it could have failed?  I can think of quite a few.

Chris:

I could care less whether he can tell the difference between a carborator and a fuel injector system.  All I care about is that his company continues to turn out quality cars and that strong sales continue to increase the value of the company's stock. And he will do this as long as he surrounds himself with deputies that have the answers to the questions he doesn't.  Top-down decisionmaking paradigms are a fading trend, Chris.

To both of you, it seems to me you are both rushing to answers when all I am getting from the brief blogs and articles I've read in addition to Brad's snippit are more questions.

Jim
Brad
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8 posted 12-06-2006 05:41 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
This sounds to me to be more about poor executive management of human resources than it does the inability of the FBI in general to effectively counter terrorism.


But that's what I'm complaining about.

Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees here, but to me intelligence begins with gathering people together who can read and listen to the language from which they're suppose to be learning something from.


  
serenity blaze
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9 posted 12-06-2006 08:14 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thanks Brad.

That DID help.



Now, if only HBO would make some movies...(winking at m'bro Alicat)
Christopher
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10 posted 12-07-2006 11:24 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

I don't know Jim - in my own company (in the top half of the Fortune 500) there's a strong drive for upper management to have that general knowledge. The Div. Pres doesn't need to know how to build a house, but he does have to understand a bit about it in order to correctly make strategic decisions. If, as you suggest, all he needs to do is hire able deputies (vp's) to have that knowledge, then he ends up little more than a glorified headhunter, with the VP's holding the true reigns. To me, that's as effective as hiring a president based solely on his abilities to gather good people to do the real job. Can we say figurehead?
jbouder
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11 posted 12-08-2006 01:46 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

Perhaps that's what you were asking, but it wasn't obvious from your posts (you gotta be more clear, man!)    

Even though you level the charge of incompetence at FBI leadership ...

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1208061shareef1.html

I'd say that a high level of competence on the part of the FBI resulted in catching an otherwise unaffiliated would-be terrorist.

Chris:

I think it is highly probable that this guy had a pretty strong grasp of the principles of investigation.  He might not have been able to name Bin Laden's underlings, but he certainly knew that Bin Laden had underlings.  He didn't know the fine points of demarkation between Sunni and Shiite Islam, but he was most certainly aware the two factions exist and that they often come into conflict with one another.

I'm not sure he fails the test, even under your standard.

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (12-08-2006 02:33 PM).]

jbouder
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12 posted 12-08-2006 02:03 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Karen:

I'd take Brad's impressive analogy a step further and build on it.  Assume both the decendents of Mary and the church established by Peter believe that the establishment of a Christian State is a chief end of the Church (imperialism as opposed to evangelism).  Assuming the church of Mary had political control and the church of Peter refused to recognize the legitimacy of that control, the Church of Peter might see it as their God-given right to supplant the illegitimate Maryite government with their own.

What do you think would happen?

Now take it a step further ... assume that certain fundamentalist elements in these churches are extremely imperialistic and believe it is their mandate to overthrow other powers and establish a worldwide Christian State.  How do you think they'd treat their neighbors?

Jim
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13 posted 12-11-2006 07:51 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

This sounds to me to be more about poor executive management of human resources than it does the inability of the FBI in general to effectively counter terrorism.



The whole problem I see is that it is management and not leadership.

Toyota is a great company to look at because the CEO of Toyota knows what everyone's job at Toyota is!  CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT!

No one at the FBI seems to know anything about improvement.
 
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