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Updated: January 1, 2010 18:31 IST

Intelligence agencies are still not talking, says 9/11 commission chairman

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A file picture of Mr. Thomas H. Kean who was the Chairman of the panel investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks in US during 2001.
A file picture of Mr. Thomas H. Kean who was the Chairman of the panel investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks in US during 2001.

Communication gap between intelligence agencies allowed a terror suspect to board a US bound plane with explosive, the former chairman of the 9/11 Commission has said, contending that the post December 25 chorus is like “reading the same script over again“.

As intelligence agencies get a lashing over their failure to connect the dots in the al Qaeda plot to bomb a US plane, Thomas H. Kean said his commission’s report on the 9/11 attack had found the same fault in the system.

“We said if they (agencies) had talked to each other, there was a possibility that 9/11 just wouldn’t have happened.

“And here again... intelligence agencies didn’t seem to be talking to one another... That was the major fault we found in our report,” Mr. Kean told CNN.

Arguing that the alarm raised by the Nigerian terror suspect’s father was reason enough to have stopped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab at the airport itself, Mr. Kean said he should have been identified and stopped.

“Our report documented again and again the failures and the problem this time, it’s, you know, it’s like reading the same script over again,” he said.

Mr. Kean said the agencies did not talk to each other to communicate the bits and pieces of information available on the Nigerian.

“They didn’t put these pieces of information together. It didn’t come up in the National Terrorism Center, I presume. I presume the director of national intelligence didn’t have this information,” Mr. Kean rued.

He said all other pieces of information aside, the Nigerian father’s statements alone “should have gotten attention”.

“And look, one incident alone, this wasn’t any father. This was a father who was one of the top citizens in his country and a very prominent businessman.

“When he has the courage to come forward to the American Embassy and say, look, I’m worried about my son, he’s in with terrorists, all that, that should have risen right to the top,” Mr. Kean said.

The former Chairman of the 9/11 Commission said the US has to be always be on the alert.

“Since we’re fighting a shooting war in Afghanistan against these very same people... it’s particularly important now to stay alert. They will try to do this. They will try it out of Africa or Asia or out of any number of places in the world where they have affiliates,” he said.

Asserting that there is “a lot of al Qaidas around now,” he said, it should be made sure the intelligence agencies are working the way they should.

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