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Tuesday, September 25

Pundita offers to loan her Ouija board to U.S. Intelligence Community

September 23, The New York Times, Deadly Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts:
WASHINGTON — The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation.

Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city.
“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” said one American official who has served in Libya and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is still investigating the attack. “We got our eyes poked out.”
Senior American officials acknowledged the intelligence setback, but insisted that information was still being collected using a variety of informants on the ground, systems that intercept electronic communications like cellphone conversations and satellite imagery.

“The U.S. isn’t close to being blind in Benghazi and eastern Libya,” said an American official.
September 20, Reuters, Security concerns worsen for oil firms in Libya
For U.S. international oil companies in Libya, Stevens' death means they have lost a key interlocutor.
"In addition, IOCs have been shaken by the U.S. intel failure. If the (government) didn't get the intel right, how are the security teams at IOCs supposed to know what's going on? They're all recalibrating their assessments right now."
September 17, Fox News, No demonstration before attack on US Consulate, source says
[...][A] senior Obama administration official told Fox News on Monday morning that the Libyan president's comments [that the attack on the Benghazi embassy was premeditated and didn't arise from a protest of the anti-Islam video] are not consistent with "the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community," which has been investigating the incident, and are accordingly not credible.

"He doesn't have the information we have," the U.S. official said of Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif. "He doesn't have the (data) collection potential that we have."
For an overview of what's wrong with American intelligence-gathering in the post-9/11 era, see ISA Intel Jen Alic's Blind, Deaf and Ignorant: 5 Recipes for US Intelligence Failure.

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