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9/11 Was Due to IT Incompetence

By Duane Thresher, Ph.D.          September 11, 2019

Today is the 18th anniversary of 9/11, which occurred in 2001. I was living in New York City (Manhattan) at the time, where both World Trade Center towers were brought down by foreign terrorists in hijacked airliners. I had been to the publicly-accessible tower top many times and it was weird trying to navigate the city without the towers. Living in NYC right after 9/11, waiting for the next attack, was scary.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are the U.S. Government organizations tasked with protecting us from foreign threats like 9/11. Their spectacular failure to prevent 9/11 -- which all the evidence indicates should have been possible -- was due to IT incompetence.

Since Information Technology (IT) is really communication-of-information technology, IT is mostly computer networking. "Computer" includes supercomputers, desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, TV, etc. There has been a "convergence" and all of these devices now communicate -- their most important function -- over the Internet.

For years the NSA and the CIA were primarily human spy agencies. The NSA did do research in encryption, for which they became well-known, but did so primarily so they, and the CIA, could communicate securely with their human spies and break the communications of enemy human spies, particularly those from the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union had dissolved about ten years before 9/11 (early 1990's) and terrorists had become the big threat. It quickly became apparent that the way to stop terrorists was to monitor them on the Internet, which had also become widely used about ten years before 9/11 (early 1990's).

The NSA's and the CIA's IT equipment was actually surprisingly bad before 9/11. More importantly (and the cause of the bad IT equipment), their people were IT incompetent, particularly their leaders.

When 9/11 occurred the IT incompetent NSA and CIA were thus caught completely unaware, resulting in 3000 dead and billions in damage.

After 9/11, the NSA and the CIA turned this mega national security failure into a mega funding success. They got more money from Congress for IT equipment than they knew what to do with. Literally, they did not know what to do with the money; they were IT incompetent.

Since the NSA and the CIA themselves were IT incompetent and knew it, they hired companies, like Booz Allen Hamilton and Dell, respectively, who said they were IT competent. And a flood of money from the U.S. Government, with essentially no oversight (particularly for secret agencies), brings a flood of frauds/fakes.

See Principles of IT Incompetence (IT Hiring: Cascade Failure).

Since Booz and Dell themselves were IT incompetent and knew it, they hired people who said they were IT competent. And an IT incompetent company offering high-paying jobs attracts a lot of IT incompetent frauds/fakes, like high school dropout Edward Snowden.

Incompetents are more likely to be disloyal since they constantly fear for their jobs anyway; see Principles of IT Incompetence (IT Hiring: IT Incompetence Breeds Disloyalty and Corruption).

Working for Dell, Edward Snowden hacked the CIA in 2012, then purposely went to work for Booz so he could hack the NSA in 2013. After that he fled to Russia to avoid capture and execution for espionage. (What Snowden did to the NSA and CIA was hacking, i.e. data breaches, and because he intentionally went to work for them so he could hack them, it was espionage, not whistle-blowing.)

Another mega national security failure by the NSA and the CIA, about 10 years after 9/11.

The CIA learned nothing from this data breach. They turned their IT over to extreme IT incompetent CIA Chief Information Officer (CIO) John Edwards, whose only IT education is from ITT Technical Institute, which was shut down by the U.S. Government as just a student loan scam that provided an education that was worthless, to any employer who was even a little knowledgeable; essentially Edwards does not even have a college education. The NSA is probably no better, but it is hard to learn anything about these secret agencies because they are immune to FOIA.

Will the next mega national security failure by the NSA and the CIA, about 10 years after the last, be the takeover of U.S. elections in late 2020 by foreign hackers?