Let’s take a look at those informational “snippets” and summarize what is quickly emerging as growing evidence of U.S. foreknowledge of an imminent attack on an American passenger plane:
* May: the British government withdrew its student visa for Abdulmutallab, a graduate of the prestigious University College London and placed him on a watchlist, barring his entry into the UK. MI5, and presumably their MI6 military intelligence colleagues in Yemen, compiled a dossier on the would-be bomber, citing his “political involvement” with “extremist networks” that have enjoyed on-again, off-again ties with NATO military intelligence organizations across the decades. This information, as Brown government spokesperson Simon Lewis, who let the cat out of the proverbial bag, was shared with their American counterparts.
* August: U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and NSA, intercepted cell- and satellite phone traffic which revealed that a Yemeni affiliate of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets, also known as al-Qaeda, were finalizing preparations for an operation that would utilize a “Nigerian.”
* October: Newsweek revealed in their January 11 issue, that the dodgy cleric, the American-born Anwar al-Awlaki, who communicated extensively with the disturbed Ft. Hood shooter, Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, posted “a provocative message on his English-language Web site: ‘COULD YEMEN BE THE NEXT SURPRISE OF THE SEASON?’” According to Newsweek, “Al-Awlaki seemed to hint at an upcoming attack that would make Yemen ‘the single most important front of jihad in the world’.” The Washington Post reported in 2008 that al-Awlaki had extensive contacts with 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Hani Hanjour and was suspected of having assisted the 9/11 plot. According to the Post, “three of the hijackers had spent time at his mosques in California and Falls Church.” Despite, or possibly because, of these dubious connections “he was allowed to leave the country in 2002.” According to the History Commons, it is only in 2008 that the U.S. government concludes that the shady imam “is linked to al-Qaeda attacks.” However, Al-Awlaki’s provenance as a new “terrorist mastermind” should be viewed with suspicion, given well-documented links known to have existed amongst the 9/11 hijackers and American, Saudi and Pakistani secret state agencies.
* October: the same month Al-Awlaki was hinting at a “surprise,” Newsweek revealed that John O. Brennan “received an alarming briefing at the White House from Muhammad bin Nayef, Brennan’s Saudi counterpart. Nayef had just survived an assassination attempt by a Qaeda operative using a novel method: the operative had flown in from the Saudi-Yemeni border region with a bomb hidden in his underwear. The Saudi was concerned because he ‘didn’t think [U.S. officials] were paying enough attention’ to the growing threat.” A familiar trope we’ve heard in the aftermath of other terrorist strikes.
* Early November: Newsweek published an exclusive report January 4, that two U.S. “intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security circulated a paper within the government last fall that examined in some detail the threats that bombs secreted in clothing–or inside someone’s body cavities–might pose to aviation security.” According to information leaked to the newsmagazine by anonymous “national-security officials,” the report “was prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center in conjunction with Homeland Security and the CIA,” and that “one principal point of discussion in the document was whether the detonation of a bomb hidden in clothing on an airliner would have a different explosive effect than the detonation of a bomb secreted in a body cavity under similar circumstances.” (emphasis added) This chilling report, prepared in the wake of intelligence information provided U.S. security agencies by Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism czar, should raise provocative questions. No other media outlet however, has followed the trail.
* November 19: Abdulmutallab’s father, a prominent Nigerian banker and former high state official, visits the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, telling State Department and CIA officials he believes his son is a threat. A cousin tells The New York Times that the father told U.S. officials, “Look at the texts he’s sending. He’s a security threat.” Although Embassy personnel promise “to look into it,” the cousin told the Times that “they didn’t take him seriously.”
* November 20: the CIA prepares and files a report on Abdulmutallab that is sent to agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia “but not disseminated to other intelligence agencies,” unnamed “officials” tell the Times. Embassy staff also wrote and sent a cable known as a “Visa Viper,” to the State Department and National Counterterrorism Center and a security file is opened on the suspect.
* December 9-24: Abdulmutallab travels to Ghana from Ethiopia and pays cash, $2,831 to be precise, for a ticket on a Northwest Airlines flight from Lagos through Amsterdam to Detroit, landing on Christmas Day. “It is now known” The Independent on Sunday reported January 10, “that the Ghanaian hotel he listed on his immigration form was not the one where he was actually staying.” According to IoS, although the FBI “has officers on the ground in Ghana and believe it is likely the terrorist may well have had his final al-Qa’ida briefing, and supplied with equipment and explosives, there,” no steps are taken to apprehend the suspect. “All this” IoS comments, “was more than a month after his father, a wealthy Nigerian banker, had met officials at the US embassy in Abuja to share concerns about his son.”
* December 22: during a White House Situation Room briefing Newsweek reports that “a document presented to the president titled ‘Key Homeland Threats’ did not mention Yemen, according to a senior administration official.”
* December 25: Abdulmutallab boards Flight 253 in Amsterdam with only a carry-on bag for his international flight; the would-be lap bomber holds a 2-year entry visa into the United States. As is standard procedure, the Department of Homeland Security is notified an hour prior to departure that he is a passenger on the plane.
* December 25: the Los Angeles Times disclosed January 7 that “U.S. border security officials learned of the alleged extremist links of the suspect in the Christmas Day jetliner bombing attempt as he was airborne from Amsterdam to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed.” Homeland Security officials “declined to discuss what information reached the U.S. border officials in Amsterdam on Christmas Day.” Despite suspicions by Customs and Border Protection agents, who had accessed NCTC’s TIDE database, the flight crew is not notified of Abdulmutallab’s presence aboard the airliner and additional security precautions therefore, are not made.
Once you lop off the daffy leap of faith required to next assert that "therefore, Barack Obama wanted Flight 253 to be hijacked," nothing more elegantly makes my point that the United States has many enemies, tracking all of them is hard, coordination amongst interdepartmental and international intelligence agencies is hard too, and many but not all terrorist plots are foiled.
That's some fine work, boys. Even disregarding that almost their entire case is built on political hearsay, if you haven't drunken the Truther Kool-Aid you actually have quite elegant proof of the fact that the government did not hijack this flight right here.