• Polito's Take: A recurring nightmare


    From FOX 25 news commentator Jim Polito:

    Didn't they fix this after 9/11? I thought we had learned from the intelligence and law enforcement mistakes that contributed to the success of the 9/11 terrorists. We were told that before 9/11 the CIA and the FBI were not sharing information and that local law enforcement was completely out of the loop. Obvious warning signs were missed like the report of men from the Middle East taking lessons on how to fly a plane but not how to land it. There were other morsels of intelligence that never made it into the system that tracks terrorist threats. We also share in the failure of our government because we were naive about the intentions of others in the world. We could not even imagine an attack of such magnitude and our false sense of security led us to believe there was no reason to report suspicious activity.

    Last week, I was preparing to discuss the Marathon bombing in the context of how much freedom are we willing to give up for security. I don't expect our government to protect us one hundred percent of the time. It's impossible. If history has taught us anything, it's that a dedicated and devoted killer cannot always be stopped. However, a dedicated and devoted killer who is interviewed by the FBI at the request of Russian authorities can be stopped. If I were a victim, or a victim's loved one, I would not be planning a duck boat parade for the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security. I'd feel betrayed, furious and I'd be justified in my condemnation of a system that failed me.

    I've heard the excuses and explanations. Frankly, they only add great insult to immense injury. Allow me to state the facts. In early 2011, Russia asked the FBI to look at Tamerlan Tsarnaev's activities. The request was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam. The FBI said in a statement released last week that Russian intelligence officials claimed Tsarnaev was preparing to leave the United States for travel to Russia to join unspecified underground groups. The FBI interviewed Tsarnaev and family members that summer and reported that they did not find any terrorist activity. In January 2012, Tsarnaev leaves for Russia. It's not clear what he did while there, but he was staying in a city that is a hotbed of activity for Chechen rebels. He returns in July and creates a YouTube channel with links to videos related to Chechen terrorists. In September of 2012, Tsarnaev applies for US citizenship. It's widely reported that his application prompted "additional investigations." The FBI has declined to comment on those investigations. Finally, after two, possibly three arguments with preachers at a Cambridge mosque, leaders of the mosque tell him he will no longer be welcome if he continues to interrupt sermons. Tsarnaev was apparently upset over comparisons of Martin Luther King to the Prophet Mohammed.

    Consider this. The FBI interviews Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 and finds no evidence of terrorism. However, his application for citizenship in 2012 was not immediately approved and "additional investigations" were prompted. Some reports show those investigations were open at the time of the bombing. Haven't we been here before? The right hand didn't know what the left was doing? The people who we pay to keep us safe can't have it both ways. Don't tell me that you didn't find any evidence of terrorism while you're explaining that his application for citizenship was not approved.

    We all just woke up from a nightmare… again.

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