As part of his counter-terrorism strategy, President Obama ordered our intelligence agents to create a system that will allow them to follow up on terrorism leads and fight them aggressively. Even Richard Clarke was shocked that our intelligence apparatus wasn’t already following up on leads:
In a revealing admission, President Barack Obama said today he was directing U.S. intelligence agencies to begin to do something many had assumed they were already doing: “[A]ssigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high priority threats so that these leads are pursued and acted upon aggressively.”
“That is a shock because we had such a follow-up system when I was there,” said Richard Clarke, the White House counter-terrorism director in the Clinton and Bush administrations. Clarke, who worked on the Obama transition team, is now an ABC News consultant.
The President said he would hold his staff accountable but said no one person was responsible or would be fired. “Ultimately the buck stops with me,” the President said.
In announcing his review of the failures that allowed a “known terrorist” to board a flight to Detroit with a bomb on Christmas Day, the President said there was “a failure to connect the dots of intelligence that existed across our intelligence community.”
Um, I have a question. Why in God’s green earth weren’t our intelligence agents already following up on terrorism leads?! Who directed them to stop? I won’t be surprised if it was the president himself.
When I saw the president’s speech yesterday and the follow up comments by John Brennan and Janet Napolitano, it became painfully clear that these folks actually believed that there really was no terrorism threat and that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were making it all up or at least exaggerating the threat for political gain. This explains why Obama, Panetta, and National Counter Terrorism Center director Michael Leiter didn’t cut their vacations short and rush back to Washington once they learned of the Christmas Day almost-massacre. It also explains why Napolitano couldn’t believe how determined al Qaeda is and that they would use a single suicide bomber.
It was surreal to see Obama, Brennan, and Napolitano stand in front of the American people and the world and act all shocked that radical Islamic terrorism actually does exist and that we are at war against terrorists who are determined to destroy our way of life.
On the one hand it is a relief to know that they finally understand what we are up against. But on the other hand, I’m angry because 13 soldiers were needlessly slaughtered at Fort Hood and 287 more people could have been killed on Christmas Day because of their ignorance and naivete.
And now President Obama and his team have to rebuild the anti-terrorism intelligence network – the very network that kept us safe for seven years – because they dismantled it after President Bush left. President Obama can’t say he wasn’t warned. Dick Cheney tried to tell him a number of times to not mess with the system that was already in place.
All that’s left to say is welcome to reality, Mr. President. It’s about time you finally caught on.