If there is such a thing as strong evidence for the saying, "never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence," it is that eternally gobsmacking institution known as government. Well, except that government is pretty damned malicious, too. But right now, let's focus on the incompetence part. In particular, on the special skill it takes to identify and apprehend terrorism suspects, persuade them to cooperate and participate in a witness protection program, and then … lose them. Really, lose, as in "where are my car keys?" except that instead of the fob for the Ford Explorer, you're poking through the sofa cushions for people you believe to be homicidal psychopaths.
The U.S. Marshals Service was unable to find two former participants in the federal witness protection program who were known or suspected terrorists, according to an inspector general's report.
The Justice Department's inspector general identified "significant issues concerning national security" in a review of the handling of terrorists admitted into the program, according to the report released today.
"We found significant deficiencies in the handling of known or suspected terrorists," according to the report by Michael E. Horowitz, the department's inspector general.
Included in the reported deficiencies were lax monitoring of individuals in the program -- something that included the inability to find two former participants in the program.
U.S. authorities have placed suspects in the program in lieu of prosecution as a way to gather intelligence and information about possible terrorists or plots.
Fortunately, according to the usual unnamed Justice Department official, "federal investigators have since accounted for the two individuals, both of whom left the program and the country." Umm … Except, that's like saying, "oh yeah, I know where my car keys are. The guys who stole the Explorer have them!"
What're the chances that Eric Holder accidentally subpoenaed the Associated Press's phone records while trying to order Chinese takeout?
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