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Mission Accomplished

With the near-catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas, everyone's pointing fingers and trying to figure out just what failed in stopping the Underwear Bomber. There were plenty of clues out there for the intelligence community, just waiting for someone to put them all together -- and no one didn't. Instead, it took the intervention of a single passenger and the bomber's own incompetence to keep the bomb from going off.

Why didn't anyone recognize the threat this guy posed?

Because no one was looking hard enough.

And that's because the intelligence community has heard -- loud and clear -- the message the Obama administration is sending.

During the Bush administration, the message to the intelligence agencies was simple: "do what you need to do to keep America safe." If that meant getting a little close to the line, so be it -- the administration would have your back. As long as you acted with the best of intentions and didn't flagrantly break any rules, you'd be covered.

For example, suppose you're tasked with interrogating captured terrorists. you're not going to torture them. That's clearly over the line. So, what do you do?

You call up the Justice Department and ask them to tell you exactly where the line between "torture" and "not torture" is, what precisely the law allows and forbids. You find out just what is and is not allowed, and you follow that line militantly. But you push that line, doing whatever you can to get useful information out of this guy.

But Bush's promise expired last January 20. And the Obama administration changed the message: if you get too close to breaking the laws, then you very well could end up facing criminal charges. In fact, if you have gotten too close to breaking the law in the past, you're still on your own.

The Obama administration has been flirting, off and on, with whether or not officials who conducted or authorized "enhanced interrogations" will face criminal charges. Every now and then (mainly, it seems, when they need to throw a bone to their hard-left base), they hint that there will be criminal prosecutions, but the main message is to leave the threat hanging.

So, what's an intelligence professional to do? Simple -- the nail that sticks up will get nailed down. Hunker down, do your job, and don't make waves.

It's a simple cost-benefit analysis: suppose you have a hunch that this talk about a "Nigerian" Al Qaeda is planning to use might be the same punk you heard about who was reported as "suspicious" by some relative or something. Should you reach out and try to confirm it?

Well, if you do, you might cross some line regarding the civil rights of those who haven't been charged with a crime, or interfering with some other department or agency's area of responsibility, or breaking some other rule or law.

On the other hand, if you don't, then you might get a general yelling at, but nothing specific -- or significant.

After all, who's got your back in the Agency? The CIA Director isn't anyone with any intelligence experience -- Leon Panetta is a career political operative. And the Secretary of State isn't a career diplomat or student of foreign affairs, but another politician.

So, if you wanna keep your career going, do you job -- but don't go above and beyond. Don't draw attention to yourself -- because the rule today is "no attention is good attention."

And if, because you just did your job and no more, some terrorists slip through the net and don't get caught, so be it. You better look out for your own best interests -- because no one else is doing it for you.

This is the climate that the Obama administration is fostering among those who are defending our nation. And whether or not they intend it that way, that's how it's playing out.


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Comments (11)

Exactly! And fucking idiot... (Below threshold)

Exactly! And fucking idiots like Sabre can't grasp the concept that the 'leaders' set the tone. Well Barry has said there is no 'war on terrorism'. The Holder DOJ is a farce.

The lefties were all about "connecting the dots" after 9/11. It was "Bush's fault!". Well now it's Barry's turn, but we don't hear "It's Obama's fault". After all, HE can commit no error. HE can make no mistake. HE is the Obamassiah. The fault must lie in others.

Yeah. Just another example of His "vast executive experience".

History is replete with military units and commercial organizations that 'failed'. Yet when the leaders were replaced, those units and companies suddenly turned around. Too bad we have to wait 3 more years.

GarandFan: "Too bad we h... (Below threshold)

GarandFan: "Too bad we have to wait 3 more years."

Has 2010 brought you a new optimistic outlook, my friend?

At the rate we're going we don't HAVE three years. Certainly not before our enemies decide the "fatted calf" is fatted enough!

Our Intelligence Agencies and our military fear prosecution by the very government they are sworn to "Protect & Defend". We have to pray for them to break the law, in order to have them adequately defend us.

I find it interesting that ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I find it interesting that with 8 years of negative press about military losses under Bush that every branch of the military managed to exceed their recruiting needs every year. Yet, now under Obama we cannot meet them.

Go to the link at AT... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

Go to the link at AT and like the title says, "What we are up against". "O" and the left are not going to focus or even acknowledge the WOT because they are at war with America. Well worth the time.


Ooops. The link is not work... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

Ooops. The link is not working. Just go to Americanthinker and scroll down to the bottom right. These men give insight as to how "O" was able to get elected.

"Why didn't anyone recogniz... (Below threshold)

"Why didn't anyone recognize the threat this guy posed?"

The threat was recognized, but people are afraid of PC persecution.

Jay, you got right to the r... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jay, you got right to the root of the problem. To paraphrase James Carville "it's the leadership style, stupid." I can only add that it might have something to do with there being too many lawyers in high positions. You have to admire the justices system to want to become a lawyer and that admiration and familiarity leads Obama and others to want to treat terrorism as a criminal matter. It's the wrong tool for the job, but it's what they know and respect. Besides that, war is antithetical to liberal thinking. What they don't seem to realize is that you don't need to believe in war to be a victim of it. Sometimes going primitive is the correct response.

I find it harder and harder... (Below threshold)

I find it harder and harder to argue that removing these clowns from office ASAP would a most patriot deed, however finding a replacement of merit in the line of succession is even scarier.

I don't like the Obama Admi... (Below threshold)
Bill Richards:

I don't like the Obama Administration either.
But I do not agree with your general position Jay. Its time to stop defending Bush era abuses.

Quote: "As long as you acted with the best of intentions and didn't flagrantly break any rules, you'd be covered."

Break any rules? Rules or laws? Flagrantly? Is breaking laws just a little, ok?

How about law breaking when it benefits the collective,... ok then?

Jay, you never got it. Arguing with you is like talking to a rock, so I will not argue.

Bush era security measures destroy the American way of life. Casting a suspicious eye on the general public is a sign of a Federal government who's overstepped its bounds. THEY WORK FOR US. I have heard is stated before that the feds covert spy program on the American public is fine, because if you are not guilty, then you should have nothing to worry about. We don't feel the Bill of Rights is worth preserving? Shredding the Bill of Rights, and then saying its not shredded, is no defense at all. Communists and anti Americans, have this same callous disregard for our Constitution.

This whole terrorism thing is being handled all wrong.
It boils down to the basics. Which is more important, Life or Liberty?

Those who state life is most valuable make a good point, but they are wrong. Liberty is most valuable.
What is life without liberty?

Those who justify the Patroit Act and all the insane measures taken to keep America safe at all costs, are cowards. Our soldiers fight and die every day to defend and protect what? An ideal. They fight and die, to protect Liberty and our way of life. Not you, and not me.

Better to get hit, and keep our liberty intact. many died for it, who are you to throw it all away in the name of safety?

Thats the bottom line.

During the Bush administ... (Below threshold)

During the Bush administration, the message to the intelligence agencies was simple: "do what you need to do to keep America safe."

And yet the shoebomber still got through. So how exactly are you managing to blame the crotchbomber on Obama, if even Bush's supposedly strong message couldn't stop those bent on causing mischief?

Yet another rightie post starting off on a manufactured premise, and then unraveling from there.

so, jay, if i call the DOJ ... (Below threshold)

so, jay, if i call the DOJ and tell them that you are a threat to national security, you're ok with them putting you on the no-fly list without any second thoughts? to prevent someone without strong, clear previous ties to terror and violence would mean basically freezing our entire transportation network. when they say 'give me liberty or give me death', we have to be ready to accept death as a possible outcome to preserve that liberty. it is impossible to eliminate all risk from life.






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