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.
It took President
Obama two weeks to step forward and deliver a decisive response to the foiled
Christmas Day bombing and more than a year to own the war on terror. But
yesterday, in remarks accepting full responsibility for the lapse in security
that led to the Northwest Airlines incident, he did both.
In detailing just how
his administration failed to integrate intelligence that showed the potential
danger Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab posed to the United States, and how he has
ordered reviews across the entire system to improve the sharing of such
intelligence, Obama took an inadequate system over for good.
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.
Let’s first discard certain right-wing theorists who know nothing
about war in real life, and certain extreme partisans who view the death of Americans
from acts of terror as just another excuse for their uncontrollable partisanship
that knows no limits and has no shame. For six years I worked on the CIA Intelligence
Identities Protection Act, subject of the famous CIA leak case, with its original
sponsor, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas). For more than two decades I have worked with
every aspect of intelligence and counterintelligence.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, al Qaeda brazenly declared its goal of building an Islamic empire that would wipe out the “infidels” (read this as you and me).
Since then, there have been at least 29 foiled terror plots against the United States.
The terrorists intend to destroy us. They will strike again. They have told us so — most recently with the botched attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight.
It took former Vice President Dick Cheney mocking President Barack Obama to fire up the stoic, no-drama, vacationing White House last week and provoke the ultimate response — sending John Brennan, Obama's counterterrorism adviser, out to the Sunday shows to hit back at Cheney. It was the exactly the kind of response they should have used out of the box.
I was quite interested to hear President Barack Obama
declare in his remarks this past Saturday that America is a country at war.
To be sure, the signals coming from the president and his administration
in the days following the attempted terrorist attack on our soil Christmas Day
have been both muted and mixed. First, press secretary Robert Gibbs and Secretary
of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano sought to assure us that the
"system" worked following the attempted murder of hundreds of Americans
aboard a jetliner on final approach to Detroit. The only thing that worked was
that the would-be terrorist martyr was able to elude scrutiny and place himself
aboard a flight to the United States after (1) purchasing a one-way airline
ticket to America after (2) his father had warned American officials as to the
"radicalization" of his son and (3) said terrorist was placed on a
watch list by American authorities. The system worked, indeed.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) may have become one of those 50 monkeys at a typewriter who has actually come up with something. Usually he just spews out garbled slime that serves no other purpose than to add to the highly partisan incoherence. This time he may have landed on a valid target: Errol Southers.
As galling as it may be, perhaps he's actually correct when he says there should be no rush, that senators need to think a little bit longer before they decide whether to confirm Southers as the best person to head the Transportation Security Agency. Not that he had nailed the correct reasons. DeMint's motivation, after all, was blatant obstructionism of the most Republican kind. He claimed it had to do with the possibility that Southers might allow TSA employes to unionize, which, to the GOP base, is akin to Satanism.