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Nation in brief: Attack blamed on intelligence flaws

WASHINGTON – Despite a top-to-bottom overhaul of the intelligence community after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the nation’s security system showed some of the same failures when it allowed a would-be bomber to slip aboard an airliner, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report at times contradicted the Obama administration’s assertion that the nearly catastrophic Christmas Day bombing attempt was unlike 9/11 because it represented a failure to understand intelligence, not a failure to collect and understand it.

The congressional review lays much of the blame at the feet of the National Counterterrorism Center, which Congress created to be the primary agency in charge of analyzing terrorism intelligence.

“The NCTC was not adequately organized and did not have resources appropriately allocated to fulfill its missions,” the congressional summary said.The Christmas Day plot failed when a bomb failed to detonate aboard a Detroit-bound airliner and FBI agents quickly arrested Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and charged him with the attack. Abdulmutallab has been linked to an al-Qaida spinoff group in Yemen.

Pirate leader makes apology

NEW YORK – A Somali suspect who became the boyish face of 21st-century piracy by staging a brazen high-seas attack on a U.S.-flagged ship off the coast of Africa pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges he hijacked the ship and kidnapped its captain.

Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse has been jailed in Manhattan since he was captured last year and faced what was called the first U.S. piracy prosecution in decades.

“What we did was wrong,” a subdued Muse said through an interpreter. “I am very, very sorry about what we did. All of this was about the problems in Somalia.”

He also pleaded guilty to hostage-taking and conspiracy. He faces a minimum 27 years in prison. Sentencing was set for Oct. 19.

Prosecutors branded Muse the ringleader of a band of four pirates who provoked a deadly drama by targeting the Maersk Alabama on April 8, 2009, as it transported humanitarian supplies about 280 miles off the coast of Somalia.

3 militia members free pending trial

DETROIT – Three of nine members of a Midwest militia accused of conspiring to overthrow the government were released from jail Tuesday until trial after prosecutors suddenly backed off an intense effort to keep the entire group behind bars.

David Stone Jr., 19, Jacob Ward, 33, and Tina Stone, 44, were released to family members after appearing in federal court in Detroit. They must wear electronic monitors and follow strict conditions first set by a judge earlier this month.

The three are among nine indicted members of a southern Michigan-based group called Hutaree. All are charged with conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the government and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction.

The government is fighting to keep the other six in custody.


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