U.S. and U.K. Close Yemen Embassies

The U.S. and U.K. closed their embassies in Yemen due to threats by al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP.)

The embassy statement is here.

Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan told ABC's This Morning:

“I spoke with our ambassador in Sana, Steve Seche, early this morning and last night, looked at the intelligence that is available as far as the plans for al Qaeda to carry out attacks in Sana, possibly against our embassy, possibly against U.S. personnel,” Mr. Brennan said. “We decided it was the prudent thing to do to shut the embassy.”


According to the BBC, Brennan also said.

"This is something that we've known about for a while," he said. "We're determined to destroy al-Qaeda, whether it's in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or in Yemen...."We know that they have been targeting our embassy, our embassy personnel."

On Monday, a statement was posted on the AQAP website, that said:

"We call upon every Muslim who cares about his religion and doctrine to assist in expelling the apostasies from the Arabian Peninsula, by killing every crusader who works at their embassies or other places, declare it an all-out war against every crusader on Mohammad's peninsula on land, air and sea," it said in a statement.

As to the intelligence failure regarding Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his failed Xmas day attack:

US President Barack Obama's counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said there were several "bits and pieces" of intelligence gathered in the run-up to the botched Christmas Day bombing, and that human or systemic failure lay in not putting together those pieces of a larger puzzle.

"There was no smoking gun. There was no piece of intelligence that said this guy is a terrorist and is going to get on a plane... None whatsoever," Brennan told Fox News Sunday as part of a round of talk-show interviews. "It was a failure to integrate the bits and pieces of information."

< Changing Theories on the AQAP Failed IED Attack on Saudi Prince | More Primers on AQAP >
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  • Display: Sort:
    "It was a failure to integrate the (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 12:22:49 PM EST
    bits and pieces of information".    That's the smoking gun.

    Here we appear poised (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by JamesTX on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 12:40:35 PM EST
    for yet another international militaristic response of some sort, whether it be direct or indirect, probably involving hundreds of millions of dollars in weaponry and other military-industrial-complex products. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am willing to consider all explanations. I simply consider all permutations of incoming data. Among those are a few scenarios which involve the question, "what if the undies, or the shoes for that matter, were never intended to go off?" A royal family member "narrowly escapes" a bomb plot. Unimportant third-world civilians are killed in droves for effect. Americans have to give up more civil liberties, but none are actually harmed. Sorry. There are still other plausible explanations for me.

    Yes, we will buy another war we do not need, (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 01:28:53 PM EST
    with money we do not have.  Meanwhile, we have crackerjack national security advisors like Brennan who seem to blame the terrorist for not making it easier for us to catch him, as in "...no piece of intelligence that said this guy is a terrorist and is going to get on a plane, none whatsoever"   It would seem to be elementary, even for an aspiring Sherlock, to put those glaringly apparent and suspicious pieces together at least to the extent that might, just might trigger some added interest

    But we did have SOME warning (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jbindc on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 01:28:40 PM EST
    Obama received a briefing three days before Christmas about possible terrorist attacks over the holidays.  While it didn't mention Yemen specifically, it does raise questions as to what the administration really knew.

    According to the official, the holiday threat briefing--one in a series of regularly scheduled sessions with top counterterrorism officials--was held in the White House Situation Room on Dec. 22. Present were representatives of agencies involved in counterterrorism policy and operations, including Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and FBI Director Robert Mueller. The CIA and the national intelligence director's office were represented by deputy agency heads: CIA deputy director Steven Kappes and David Gompert, the principal deputy to national intelligence czar Dennis Blair. Also present was Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, a unit of the intelligence czar's office that was created after 9/11 to ensure that intelligence reporting about possible terrorist plots was shared quickly among all U.S. agencies that might have some capability to do something about it.

    The senior official says that beginning in early December, based on reports coming in from intelligence agencies, policymakers had begun tracking a stream of information that alluded to a possible holiday-period plot against the U.S. orchestrated from somewhere in Pakistan. However, the official says, this reporting later turned out to be "garbled," and it was determined that the threat was probably a washout. The official denies that the White House received any report, representing the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies, warning that a holiday-period plot originating in Yemen and targeting the U.S. homeland could be in the works.

    In a background briefing for reporters on Dec. 29, also attributed in an official White House transcript to a "senior administration official," that official asserted that in the wake of the attempted underpants attack, it had become clear to the president and top advisers that before Christmas the U.S. government was in possession of "bits and pieces" of information, which, if they had been properly knitted together, "could have ... allowed us to disrupt the attack or certainly to know much more about the alleged attacker in such a way as to ensure that he was on, as the president suggested in his statement, a no-fly list." In the briefing, the official identified three rough categories of information that the government had which could have been relevant to foiling the attack: information about Abdulmutallab and his plans, about Al Qaeda and its plans, and about "potential attacks during the holiday period."

    Ah, well (none / 0) (#8)
    by Zorba on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 06:36:05 PM EST
    It does have a flavor of Condi Rice's "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."  This after the Presidential Daily Briefing in August, 2001 that said "Bin Ladin determined to strike in US."  Not quite that bad, but not good.  

    Why does it annoy me the U.S. closed (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 02:03:17 PM EST
    it's embassy so quickly, based on rumors, but failed to keep the Christmas Day Nigerian terrorits off the flight to Detroit?  

    Certain items tend to jump out at them (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 02:59:40 PM EST
    when they decipher the intel :)

    Yes, it seems (none / 0) (#5)
    by JamesTX on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 01:59:55 PM EST
    too easy. If it were me, I would have already been sneaked and peeked, detained, convicted and sentenced to twenty stacked life terms in secrecy, rendered, and shot dead.

    So, AQ has run us out of Yemen (none / 0) (#9)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:06:13 AM EST

    It turns out that Bush was stupid to release GITMO terrorists to that place.

    We have not been run out (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 11:38:01 AM EST
    We only closed the embassies to the public at this time.  They are still conducting usual business but it is more difficult obviously right now.