July 22, 2004

9/11 Report 

The 9-11 Commission published it final report on the Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. You can read the whole thing here, but be warned: it's a 7.4 MB PDF document.

I have not read it, and I don't know if I will. But I have read Chapter 11: Foresight - and Hindsight. Many of the critics of Bush and "the Government" base all of their analyses (hem...) on a massive dose of hindsight. Thus, the correct course of action shines like dust particles under an UV light (or the violet lights in a club). But under that light, you cannot see the surroundings, the contours.

The report, instead says that two of the biggest failures were the lack of imagination and adaptability of the intelligence agencies.
In other words, CIA, FBI, NSA and all the lot did not adapt to counter al-Quaida and the islamic terrorism in general. They were mostly still stuck in a Cold War (Russian spies) mindset. Although some officers issued reports and briefed the Cabinet, the idea that islamic terrorism was a mortal danger did not take the proper space in the intelligence community's brains.

Moreover, no-one could imagine that the terrorists were going to use hijacked civilian planes as the did on 9/11. Yes, people examined scenarios, but no real countermeasures were taken, because the very possibility of such a bold and destructive attack seemed too vague, too unrealistic. Intelligence agencies are not like 007's headquarters. Instead, they are the kingdom of bureaucracy and routine and paperwork (not so much the agents in the field). But bureaucracy is the antithesis of imagination. Have you ever seen a bright, creative person feeling at ease amidst paperwork and routine? I have not.

There is much food for thought in that chapter alone, but I need some more time to elaborate.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?