(WND) Shortly after the failed al-Qaida “underwear bomber” plot to massacre 290 passengers on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit, President Obama scolded the nation’s intelligence community for failing to “connect the dots.”
he president said the ability of Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to come so close to carrying out the 2009 attack – foiled only by a malfunctioning of the explosives in his underwear – was “not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”
“That’s not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it,” Obama said on Jan. 5, 2010, after meeting with members of his national security team on the subject of “improving homeland security.”
“Time and again, we’ve learned that quickly piecing together information and taking swift action is critical to staying one step ahead of a nimble adversary,” the president admonished.
For Philip Haney, a subject matter expert in Islam and terrorism for the Department of Homeland Security at the time, Obama’s rebuke demoralized many of his colleagues in the agency.
“Most Americans were unaware of the enormous damage to morale at the Department of Homeland Security caused by President Obama’s words,” Haney told WND.
But Obama’s words were not only dispiriting to Haney and many of his DHS colleagues, they were filled with wicked irony.
Just before the Christmas Day attack, Haney had been ordered by his superiors at DHS to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamic terror groups from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS).
These types of records, Haney explained, are the “dots” that enable DHS Customs and Border Protection officers to see patterns that could pose a threat to the nation’s security.
“It is demoralizing – and infuriating – that today, those elusive dots are even harder to find, and harder to connect, than they were during the winter of 2009,” Haney said.
As Haney explains in his new, revelatory book “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” the order to scrub the records came even after the trial of an Islamic charity exposed the vast Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S. and its stated aim, according to FBI evidence, to “destroy Western Civilization from within.”
Haney says that in spite of the irrefutable evidence presented in federal court, the administration has made a conscious decision to exchange a facts-based law enforcement approach for a “policy of engagement and dialogue based on a civil rights and civil liberties approach to counter-terrorism.”
Link to 9/11 imam
Some of the individuals and organizations linked to Abdulmutallab, in fact, were part of the Hamas network case Haney was ordered to scrub.
He discovered Abdulmutallab was linked to Anwar al-Awlaki, the senior al-Qaida recruiter who was the imam at the Falls Church, Virginia, mosque attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers.
Abdulmuttallab also was president of the University College London’s Islamic Society, making him the fourth president of a London student Islamic society to face terrorist charges in the three years prior to 2009.
The “underwear bomber” also had received a multiple-entry visa from the American embassy in London, valid from June 12, 2008, thru June 11, 2010, which he used to visit the Al-Maghrib Institute in Houston, Texas.
The Al-Maghrib Institute already had ties to other organizations in the Hamas network, and an Al-Maghrib leader would later develop ties to the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah of America mosque in San Bernardino, California, attended by San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook.
WND previously reported Haney’s disclosure that the Obama administration, citing concerns about discrimination against Muslims, shut down a case he developed that possibly could have stopped the San Bernardino massacre last December.
Removing the dots
Haney recalls, writing in “See Something, Say Nothing,” that the small office where he carried out the order to modify the records had a TV on which he followed the public congressional hearings regarding the underwear bomber case.
He watch as members of Congress grilled Obama administration officials, demanding to know why their subordinates purportedly were unable to understand the intelligence they had gathered.
Why were they failing to connect the dots?
Meanwhile, as Haney writes, “I was literally removing those very same dots from TECS, the system we all used to track the activities of individuals and organizations with known or suspected ties to terrorism.”
Haney believes that the type of information that the Obama administration ordered removed from travel and national security databases was the kind of information that, if properly assessed, could have prevented subsequent attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombing by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the murder of four Marines by Muhammed Yusuf Abdulazeez in Chatanooga, Tennessee.
WND reported last week Haney was the one who informed the House Homeland Security Committee in 2013 that a Saudi citizen taken into custody in the Boston Marathon bombing case was an armed and dangerous terrorist who was about to be deported. Haney can show that Janet Napolitano either was lying or grossly misinformed by staff when she angrily insisted to Congress that the Saudi had nothing to do with the still mysterious case.
Moreover, four years before the bombing, Haney entered into the TECS database information on a network of organizations and individuals whose central hub was the Islamic Society of Boston and its Cambridge, Massachusetts, mosque.
It was the mosque attended by the Tsarnaev brothers.