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White House More Concerned with CYA than National Security

The White House does not see the terrorist attack on NW 253 as a national security issue. It's a political issue and are now working furiously to formulate its defense. From The Prowler at The American Spectator:

On December 26, two days after Nigerian Omar Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to use underwear packed with plastic explosives to blow up the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight he was on, and as it became clear internally that the Administration had suffered perhaps its most embarrassing failure in the area of national security, senior Obama White House aides, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and new White House counsel Robert Bauer, ordered staff to begin researching similar breakdowns -- if any -- from the Bush Administration.

"The idea was that we'd show that the Bush Administration had had far worse missteps than we ever could," says a staffer in the counsel's office. "We were told that classified material involving anything related to al Qaeda operating in Yemen or Nigeria was fair game and that we'd declassify it if necessary."

The White House, according to the source, is in full defensive spin mode. Other administration sources also say a flurry of memos were generated on December 26th, 27th, and 28th, which developed talking points about how Obama's decision to effectively shut down the Homeland Security Council (it was merged earlier this year into the National Security Council, run by National Security Adviser James Jones) had nothing to do with what Obama called a "catastrophic" failure on Christmas Day.

"This White House doesn't view the Northwest [Airlines] failure as one of national security, it's a political issue," says the White House source. "That's why Axelrod and Emanuel are driving the issue."

The Obama's national security policy regarding terrorism can be summarized in two words: Blame Bush. That's about it in a nutshell.


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Comments (24)

Wonder if ANYONE in the Whi... (Below threshold)

Wonder if ANYONE in the White House is aware that Bush IS NO LONGER IN CHARGE OF ANYTHING.

As for the White House response, EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL TO THEM. The survival of Obama is paramount. HE makes no error. HE is without fault. HE knows all, sees all.

In other words and to no on... (Below threshold)

In other words and to no ones surprise... BLAME BOOOSHHHHH!!

What amateurs. All they nee... (Below threshold)

What amateurs. All they need to do is make up an episode and say its still classified. These BOZO's really have no clue how to run a despot regime. Hope they stay stupid.

The Obama Regime:B... (Below threshold)

The Obama Regime:

Blames Bush for everything bad...and takes credit for anything good (even imaginary things that result in the Nobel "Peace" prize)

Demonizes Christians & Ex-Military as "potential home-grown terrorists"

Proclaims Tea Party participants to be "Extremists"

Conducts ALL legistlative business behind closed doors...with ONE Party participating.

Hires self-proclaimed Communists into key positions.

Yup, we're in the very best of hands!

Rather than taking a proact... (Below threshold)

Rather than taking a proactive approach to stopping terrorists before they get on the planes, this administration wants to be able to say if, God forbid, one of these attacks succeed, that at least the passengers were uncomfortable and bored the last hour of their lives!

Its just terrorism... Its n... (Below threshold)

Its just terrorism... Its not like its a 'crisis' crisis.

And what was the Republican... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

And what was the Republican national security response when they had their chance.

When Bush/Cheney were in power and on vacation, they downplayed the nearly identical terrorist incident, December 22, 2001, 8 years ago, with the shoe bomber, Richard Reid.

Bush 'monitored' the situation at his Crawford Ranch for 6 days, before uttering his first public word on it, after Rumsfeld on December 27th had sai, "That's a matter that's in the hands of the law enforcement people and not the Department of Defense," he said. "And I don't have anything I would want to add."..great.

Bush finally addressed reporters and the nation from Crawford on December 28, 2001, and declared:

"A stewardess on an American Airlines flight - or a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight - was vigilant, saw something amiss and responded," he added. "It's an indication that the culture of America has shifted to one of alertness, and I'm grateful for the flight attendant's response, as I'm sure the passengers on that airplane."

As always, for the GOP grandees like Cheney, it is "do as I say", not as they did, when they slowly and rather nonchantly reacted, in order not to disturb their Christmas vacation, and the nation, in 2001.

What did team Barry, Rahm, ... (Below threshold)

What did team Barry, Rahm, Axlerod know and when did they know it?

Hate to say this but any si... (Below threshold)

Hate to say this but any single incident is seldom a great indictor of wither someone is weak and strong on National Security. Every dog has his day and you simply can't be 100% successful. However every incident should be look into.

My concern is what Obama is doing to strengthen or weaken National Security. Bush was bash over the head for his policies to strengthen it. One can argue if he went too far or not but he certainly did strengthen it. Everything we know of Obama so far is the opposite.

Of course they are more con... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Of course they are more concerned with CYA and blaming Bush.

If you've noticed they really aren't doing much in terms of actually running the country. They're doing a LOT in terms of giving money to themselves and their friends, but they aren't really trying to run anything.

They want to take businesses over and use them to further enrich themselves and their friends, but not actually do anything to make hose businesses sounder or more profitable.

If they actually had the ability to run government (Obama has never run ANYTHING) they wouldn't have to blame Bush any more nor would they have o play these CYA games.

Steve...First resp... (Below threshold)


First response to the Fruit of the Boom incident (12/24/2009) from the Obama White House: December 28, 2009

Scott McClellan gave a breifing on the shoe bomber that was in the papers by 12/23/01.

Now the Obama head of HLS was making the rounds on the Sunday shows, true. But all she did was beclown herself and, by extension, the man that appointed her.

I don't mind any President not rushing to the microphone for a failed attempt. If he isn't going to announce that heads are rolling or some new plan that will make a difference, what's the point?
But it is telling that the current White House responds quicker to a former VP's criticism (hours) than they do to a failed terror incident (days).

Hey Stevie, pull your fucki... (Below threshold)

Hey Stevie, pull your fucking excuse making head out of your ass. BUSH AIN'T IN CHARGE ANYMORE. Your savior Barry IS IN CHARGE. You know, the asshole who doesn't believe in TERRORISM. Just "man caused disasters". He thinks giving a speech in Cairo will cure those bastards of their "hate". Just some more of his "smart diplomacy". Really worked for us with the Russians didn't it? And really endeared us to the Poles. So take your "look what Bush did" bullshit and pound it pal. Lord Fuck-Up is our president now.

crickmore "As always,... (Below threshold)

crickmore "As always, for the GOP grandees like Cheney, it is "do as I say", not as they did, when they slowly and rather nonchantly reacted, in order not to disturb their Christmas vacation, and the nation, in 2001."

So that's your defense, they did it so it's ok now?

Just so ya know... it's not.

"So that's your defense, th... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"So that's your defense, they did it so it's ok now?"

Steve will be promoting waterboarding in his next post.

Stevie,Back in 200... (Below threshold)


Back in 2001 we were still trying to think up ways to keep our airports and travel safe from terrorist threats. Obamao has had eight years of experience,time and money to provide security for our nation. If anything your weak little comparison makes Obama look worse. Nice job. Seems to be a hard thing to do these days. You go ahead though and blame Bush. Just like Obamao. Everyone sees it as weak,lame and pathetic.


Barry and crew are trying t... (Below threshold)

Barry and crew are trying to CYA and handling it just as well as they've handled the economy.. The only cover there doing a good job at is CYA for the groincloth exploding imaginary virgin fuc up hunters.

Mr Crickmore is not "blamin... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Mr Crickmore is not "blaming Bush" for this particular screw-up. He is simply pointing out that, before Cheney threw stones, he should have remembered that his administration DID THE SAME OR WORSE in the Richard Reid incident. When they handled it that way, were they "pretending we weren't at war?"

And one would have to be naive to think the White House would not swing into action on a political front in this mess. What are they supposed to do, just lay down and let Cheney, Hoekstra, King, or whoever else rip 'em to shreds all week?

You know, I think it's shameful the way the Republicans are posturing on this. I don't remember Democrats, or anyone else, bad-mouthing Bush about Reid's failed attempt just a few months after 9/11, when you would think vigilance would have been highest. Think about it. They could have really made hay out of that if they had wanted to. The fact that they chose not to, or that it didn't occur to them to take advantage politically at a time of war, speaks volumes about the difference between the parties. Republicans are shameless. They'll politicize ANYTHING, from dead grandmas to National Security.

And this insistence that Bush's name never be mentioned -- "He's not in charge anymore!!!" -- is hilarious coming from people who want to blame Clinton for 9/11, or Carter for "emboldening Islam" in the 19freakin70s. Besides, maybe Bush wouldn't be mentioned at all if Cheney would behave with some decorum. To expect the White House not to respond when Cheney attacks them is, as I said, naive.

I wonder which commenters c... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I wonder which commenters could take the time to cast 3 negative votes, but weren't able to come up with a refutation of comment # 17.

Anyone? Bueller?

Hey Brucey, I just gave you... (Below threshold)

Hey Brucey, I just gave you #5.

Read my response to Steve for refutation of your claim that the Bush admin did the same or worse.
That's why people just voted you down, since your arguments had already been addressed.

Oh, and of course there are... (Below threshold)

Oh, and of course there are more readers than there are commentors...

That's hardly a refutation,... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

That's hardly a refutation, sir, since you have basic facts wrong. Starting with the fact that the attempt took place on 12/25, not 12/24. And there was a statement from the WH that same day, at least in answer to reporters' questions. I heard it myself. Now, to be sure, it was just a generic, "The President has been informed, blah blah yada yada" but it was a response.

Napolitano gave her infamous stupidass interview on 12/27, so there's another fact you have incorrect.

Not to mention the fact that, far from treating the shoe bomber as a military matter, the Bush administration handled it as a law enforcement issue, JUST LIKE THIS ONE.

Then there's the fact that Obama called a press conference specifically to address this issue on 12/29, in which he took responsibility for it. Bush was not heard from on Reid until SIX DAYS LATER, when he basically blew off the question.

Now perhaps you can point out to me where you refuted the fact that Republicans are shamelessly politicising a national security issue, in contrast to how Democrats behaved in the Shoe Bomber incident. I must have missed that.

Perhaps, Mr SCSI, you can s... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Perhaps, Mr SCSI, you can show me an example of a Democratic candidate for governor using the Shoe Bomber episode as a fundraising tool.

Shameless, I tell ya.

Ever hear of a typo, Brucie... (Below threshold)

Ever hear of a typo, Brucie? I put as much care into comenting on my phone as NaPo puts into her bread and butter on these long holiday weekends :P
As for the WH response, the only one I saw, and only one on the WH website, was from 12/28. If there is another one, feel free to link to it.
BTW, wasn't the 27th a Sunday? Seem to recall an interview on CNN that day, where somebody said "the system worked" to Candy Crowly
Same woman that made the statement wanted to beef up the Canadian border, believing the 9/11 terrorists entered the US via lax Canadian security... and defended the DHS report that said returning troops are potential terrorists.

When you are arguing about ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

When you are arguing about dates, and how many days have elapsed, etc., Mr Wuzzy, it's important to get the dates right, IMO.

My points in comment # 17 were that, one, Cheney is guilty of throwing stones while living in a glass house. Two, that Republicans like Cheney, Hoekstra, and King, not to mention the GOP shills on FOX, are shamelessly exploiting a security matter for political gain in contrast to the kid-glove treatment they gave when the Bushies treated the Reid matter THE SAME WAY. And thirdly, that a political WH pushback is to be expected after enduring several days of attacks by the likes of Cheney and Hoekstra.

You claim that you refuted these points, but I don't see it. All I see is subject-changing and sarcasm. ("Brucey") Not to be rude, but the phrase, "Put up or shut up" comes to mind.






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