Born and raised in New Jersey, I’m hardened to the slights about my native state — what exit do you live at? and put-downs like that. But the home of two terrorists — alleged — in North Bergen, my own hometown, is too much. As if “The Sopranos” and “Jersey Shore” and “Real Housewives” weren’t enough to seal the distorted reputation, to eclipse the high-class Princeton image — now we have terrorists in North Bergen? As they’d say at the Institute For Advanced Learning, gimme a break.
The story of Faisal Shahzad's path from naturalized U.S. citizen living the American dream to terrorist attempting to kill an untold number of people in New York's Times Square is terrifying, a chilling reminder that not only does the enemy live among us, but we can't do much to stop attacks on the homeland no matter how hard we try.
Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York, assured the public that there would be no racial profiling of Muslims or Arabs in New York City after the bombing attempt at Times Square. But unfortunately, the night before, when egged on by that panting puppy, Katie Couric, who suggested "a home-grown," suspicion, the mayor replied: "Home-grown, maybe a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the healthcare bill or something.” Tea Partier. Got it.
Both the Obama administration and its Republican critics are to blame in the latest effort to politicize national security.
We all learned last weekend on NBC's “Meet the Press” that White House counter-terror adviser John Brennan consulted Republicans in Congress on Christmas Day when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was Mirandized just 50 minutes after being taken into custody. Brennan claims no one asked him whether or not Abdulmutallab was given the right to remain silent and the members he named — Sen. Kit Bond (R) of Missouri and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) of Michigan — exploded. Hoekstra claims he will never speak to Brennan again unless the phone conversation is recorded, and both he and Bond are demanding that President Barack Obama fire Brennan.
The Obama administration, coming under fire for administering Miranda rights to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab just 50 minutes after questioning him about his attempted bombing on Christmas Day aboard a Northwest Airlines flight, has begun to rethink several key national security questions. This week we learned from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) that the White House is revisiting a plan to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a prison in Thomson, Ill. And we know from key Democrats, though the Department of Justice continues to deny it, that the trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed won't be taking place in New York City after all.
The terrorists won by forcing cowardly politicians, both Republicans and
Democrats, to undermine Attorney General Eric Holder’s plans to bring KSM to
trial in lower Manhattan, within blocks of the scene of the crime, ground zero.
By so loudly opposing the New York City venue, of course, Republicans are outright hypocrites. For eight years, under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the policy of the United States was to bring terrorist suspects to trial in federal civilian court, most of them in New York. According to Human Rights Watch, they brought 119 such cases following Sept. 11, with a 91 percent conviction rate. And that included two high-profile security trials: shoe bomber Richard Reid in Boston and al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui in Alexandria, Va.
In the two weeks since an alleged terrorist tried to detonate an explosive device on a flight bound for Detroit — in what has become known as the Christmas Day bombing attempt — there has been no shortage of finger-pointing in Washington about who is to blame for a very close call.
So there was President Barack Obama with his stern face, telling the world still again that the system failed, trying to assure one and all he is serious, “less interested in placing blame than I am in correcting these mistakes.”
But isn't a little blame in order? The one thing the "Underwear Bomber" accomplished with his inept attempt to cause calamity is that his blundering was easily matched by those whose job it is to see these kinds of things coming. They are, after all, in charge of the sprawling, gazillion-dollar apparatus that is supposed to "connect the dots.”
Enough is enough. There was a time when the amateur hour that has characterized the behavior of the staff in the Obama White House over the past year could be chalked up to innocent inexperience. Now that behavior is nothing short of dangerous and President Barack Obama is being ill served by those by those closest around him: Mr. Cool must lose his cool and fire those staff members who have failed their president and failed their nation.