Saturday, January 2, 2010

Amidst Serious Security Breaches in the War on Terror Obama Worries about Blame

Newsweek reveals Obama was briefed just before Christmas on the potential for a terrorist attack on the United States.  As usual, this comes from an anonymous administration official:
President Obama received a high-level briefing only three days before Christmas about possible holiday-period terrorist threats against the U.S., NEWSWEEK has learned. The briefing was centered on a written report, produced by U.S. intelligence agencies, titled "Key Homeland Threats," a senior U.S. official says.

The administration official, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, says that nowhere in this document was there any mention of Yemen, whose affiliate of Al Qaeda is now believed to have been behind the Christmas Day attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to bring down a transatlantic airliner with a bomb hidden in his underpants.
But wait, there's more:
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan was briefed in October on an assassination attempt by Al Qaeda that investigators now believe used the same underwear bombing technique as the Nigerian suspect who tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, U.S. intelligence and administration officials tell NEWSWEEK.
Never mind the fact  that had this incident occurred under Bush, the Rosie O'Donnell's of the world would be out in full force with conspiracy theories promoting the idea that Bush wanted the attacks to happen or more absurdly ordered them.  I don't believe Obama secretly hoped the US would be attacked and won't stoop to that level.  I do think it reeks of incompetence given the history of this past decade however.

Whatever failures led up to the Captain Underpants incident on Christmas day, the larger question looming from these Newsweek reports is why are the administration officials leaking all this anonymously?   The answer is in the same report:
Presidential aides are concerned that Obama will somehow be unfairly accused of dropping the ball on the fight against terrorists in Yemen—a country where, in fact, the evidence suggests that Obama, as early as last summer, ordered a significant increase in U.S. intelligence activity.
He's worried about being blamed, honestly, I am speechless.  Redstate updated a report that indicated Obama's rush to acknowledge the deaths of six CIA agents in a suicide bombing by an informant was a huge psychological win for Al Qaeda:
 People tell me the President’s rush to acknowledge the attack on the CIA in Afghanistan and mourn the deaths openly, publicly, and via press release is a huge no no. The CIA and greater intelligence community would prefer not to have the attention put on them. Additionally, because the President took the time to draft a blanket statement focused on the CIA in general instead of individually and more privately focusing on the families of the victims, it acknowledges the CIA’s work in Afghanistan, acknowledges that the attack has an impact on the CIA, and gives the terrorists a new recruiting tool — “you too can cause America to publicly mourn the loss of their spies.”

To you and me this may not seem like a big deal. But I’m told this is hugely significant and shows just how out of touch the Obama administration is with the intelligence community. I’m told that no other President has issued such blanket statements of public mourning directed toward an attack on the CIA and thereby having the White House itself confirming an attack on our intelligence community.
 Allahpundit points out how devastating the attack on the CIA was in the war on terror:
These people were the tip of the American spear against jihadist kingpins in the Afghan/Pakistani border region, the innermost circle in a big Venn diagram that starts with the CIA, proceeds to the units tasked with finding intel on AQ, and ends with the elite charged with building the target list for drone operators. In one split second, that last circle was practically erased.

 So while serious security breaches threaten the war on terror, Obama worries about his image and seeks to deflect blame to the intelligence community that is the integral force in fighting the war effectively.  Obama's narcissism can be laughable when it means Chicago loses the Olympics but when it undermines his relationship  with the intelligence community that is a different matter entirely.   Newsweek is a notorious water carrier for the administration.  While they are quick to make the case that Obama hasn't dropped the ball in Yemen, facts on the ground speak otherwise.

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