Homeland Security

Disconnecting the disconnected dot connectors

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.”


Amateur hour is over

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.


Dick Cheney, neocon wars and the politics of terror

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.


Kill them before they kill us!

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.


Reversing field for a bold response

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.


So now we're at war?

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.


TSA: Is DeMint right in more ways than one?

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.


If Napolitano should resign, Bush and Cheney should have been impeached

If Janet Napolitano should be fired for her role in the Christmas bombing plot, George W. Bush should have been impeached for being warned about planes flying into buildings in New York and ignoring those warnings, and Dick Cheney should have been impeached for his role in the CIA leak case and prosecuted for his role surrounding torture.

No, the cheap, partisan attacks should stop. Republicans should be far more modest about their own responsibility. Of course, Napolitano could have handled this better, but the consequences of her mistakes are nothing compared to the consequences of mistakes by Bush, Cheney, Alberto Gonzales and many others.


9/11 and 12/25: Obama’s dilemma

After almost a year of his presidency the first impression given by Barack Obama holds up: That he is a smart guy, a nice guy, a guy who wants to do the right thing. But questions arise now as to whether or not he has the ability to do the right thing. It has been proposed here at The Hill and elsewhere that Janet Napolitano be fired. She has no place in her job. But does Obama have the character to fire her? Does he understand management’s necessities? Does he understand battle?

Here, there and everywhere after the terrorist attempt on Christmas Day in Detroit heroically thwarted by a passenger, the original feelings came up again that first surfaced after 9/11. The same feelings I felt when troops were first sent to Tora Bora; mixed feelings that sadness, helplessness would now be vindicated by courage and neutralized by vengeance and possibly justice. George W. Bush said he would bring Osama bin Laden back dead or alive. It was not a bad thing to want then or now.

12/25 might in time, and time not far along, prove to be a very good day for George W. Bush. Maybe not so good for Barack Obama. Because Obama from here on out will be compared to Bush.


Napolitano needs to go

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano needs to go. Immediately. For the safety and security of the nation. It's not personal, it's just that, well, Americans would prefer not to risk getting blown to smithereens just to spare President Obama the "embarrassment" of having to fire one of his Cabinet members and to spare Napolitano some hurt feelings. Especially after both urged Americans to give them the benefit of the doubt after the Fort Hood massacre.
Unlike the economy's ups and downs, a terrorist attack or attempted attack cannot be spun by the spinmeisters. At least not successfully and certainly not with any moral fiber. It is what it is. And the failure of Obama to keep the nation safe after former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney managed to do so after 9/11 is, interestingly, talked about very little in the mainstream media. I guess they are too busy wiping all of that egg off their faces.