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Part of Barack Obama's New Strategy for Fighting Terrorism is Ordering Intelligence Agents to do What They Should Have Been Doing All Along

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.


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Comments (18)

Unfortunately, U.S. intelli... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Unfortunately, U.S. intelligence periodically falls into serious lapses because of complacency problems. During WWII, for example my own grandfather from Norway, Captain John Einarson who piloted the huge Ipswich merchant ship had to worry about the twin threats of Nazi U-boats and the Japanese.

During the war, Nazi agents were freely allowed to check ship schedules at American insurers offices, and arranged for U-Boats to be off the Eastern coast to sink the American ships after they left New Jersey and other Eastern ports.

My grandfather's own ship was eventually captured by the Japanese, and he was taken prisoner and tortured and flogged by them.

As important as supply ships were to the war effort, poor security only allowed the Germans or Japanese to capture or destroy vast numbers of U.S. ships. So American security has been worse at one time. After all, both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 happened due to poor security. In a nation like Israel, with far better security, neither event would have likely been successful. American security complacency is not good.

"Unfortunately, U.S. intell... (Below threshold)

"Unfortunately, U.S. intelligence periodically falls into serious lapses because of complacency problems. During WWII,....."

With your example in addition to Kim's post are you saying this only occurs during administrations in which a Democrat is in the White House?

I thnk Paul has it right th... (Below threshold)

I thnk Paul has it right this time. Somehow it seems these folks were under the impression that we had not been attacked in so long because the threat had diminished. Not at all. The threat has not changed. In fact, that there have been so many "small" operations uncovered and thwarted shows that they have merely changed tactics. I want to say I'm surprised that they're just now coming to that realization - but I'm not.

"Um, I have a question. Why... (Below threshold)

"Um, I have a question. Why in God's green earth weren't our intelligence agents already following up on terrorism leads?!"-kp

Earth to Kim. Remember ABLE DANGER, an effective intelligence program sabotaged by the Pentagon, killed by the White House, denied by congressional leadership, and the eventual hearings consigned to the memory hole by the powers that be and its running dogs in the corporate media?

So, I may assume that your question is a rhetorical one?

Even now, the Amsterdam John Doe (Person #2), the sartorially-fit advance man/ handler, is being agitatedly pooh-poohed and declared a Mass Misunderstanding on the part of dozens of completely disinterested witnesses to the flight in question, by a certain media lapdog just this morning (Neil Boortz, Mr. "Libertarian").

Of course, the airport video is FAR from being accounted for, let alone released. I'm getting OKC Murrah Bldg flashbacks! EVERY civilian video of every bank, office complex, and fast food outlet was Out of Order lest the viewer see McVeigh driving a unlicensed bustmobile AND a Ryder stepvan simultaneously through downtown.

It was surreal to ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
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.

It was not an act, the shock was genuine. How could Obama's appeasement tour have failed to end the conflict? Unfortunately, for the American people we're stuck with this clueless administration for another three years.

It's evident that THE ONE n... (Below threshold)

It's evident that THE ONE needs to make another speech in Cairo. Maybe tout his Muslim roots a little more.

Well the American public elected this idiot with all his 'vast executive experience'. Didn't you expect that he'd also hire like-minded idiots to work for him?

Can we expect another "hard pivot"?

This falls under proof that... (Below threshold)

This falls under proof that the liberals have deluded themselves into thinking the terrorists only hated and wanted to kill republicans. Now hopefully they woke up to understand they hate us for being who we are. The terrorists now know we have weak leadership and they are exploiting it. As the two terrorists attacks in one year on our soil. The terrorists have a clearer understanding of what Obama's changes do them the liberals.

Has our anti terrorist deparatment head finished his skiing trip yet? I mean, the Knicker Bomber couldn't disrupt his vacation. This is worse the "hell of a job brownie". ww

How often did we on the rig... (Below threshold)

How often did we on the right stomp our feet and say Obama had no exprience, that he didn' "get" the GWOT, that he didn't (and still doesn't, IMO) believe we're at war, that his agenda and not America's security was his priority? Infinitely. Yet few listened.

So now we've not only had the Crotch Bomber as a security breach and intel failure, but the massacre at Ft. Hood by a military officer who posed and clear and present danger with jiadist rhetoric and radical Islamic ties AND the Jordanian double agent who blew up himself, killing 7 CIA agents.

And none of it is "shocking." It's merely the end result of a policy of folly and deadly naviete that most reasonable people saw coming--at least to those who weren't drinking Obama-brand Kool Aid.

If the current administrati... (Below threshold)

If the current administration was able to dismantle the U.S. intelligence in only 11 months, after the previous administration took 8 years to build it up, then it couldn't have been worth a bucket of warm spit to begin with.

After all, from what I read on WizBang, the Obama crew is too ineffectual to accomplish anything.

Rance,Oh, it's qui... (Below threshold)


Oh, it's quite easy "dismantle" the agency, actually. Here's how: Announce that you're going to potentially try CIA agents for doing their jobs (aka: interrogations), and you can handcuff an entire gov't agency, makiing everyone field agent and officer so worried that if he/she pisses in the wrong direction that they'll end up in front of the JD and AG.

Dismantle is the wrong desc... (Below threshold)

Dismantle is the wrong description ... disabled is more like it ...

Its like you car ... cut a couple of wires and your beautiful complicated, fine tuned sports car is nothing but a big driveway paperweight ...

and those wired were cut on purpose, don't kid yourself ...

Peter, Jeff,You ar... (Below threshold)

Peter, Jeff,

You are kidding yourself if you think that career employees of the agencies are that easily demoralized or derailed.

Bush did it!... (Below threshold)

Bush did it!

This post has been linked f... (Below threshold)

This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 1/9/2010, at The Unreligious Right

It can amaze people that do... (Below threshold)

It can amaze people that don't have established careers in low-mid management the impact quarterly/yearly reviews can have on a person's or department's output.
If the top says "we don't use the term terrorism" then the guy who uses that word in his emails and reports will soon find his performance reviews in the crapper. Compensation and promotion are tied to said performance reviews.
The old hands in any agency or office know the game, and unless they are willing to put their prospects on hold or are ready to move on, they adapt before the first reviews are done.

I can't believe how easily ... (Below threshold)

I can't believe how easily all of you self-professed patriots are willing to write off the career intelligence professionals as a bunch of whining cry babies who are willing pick up their marbles and go home. You do them a great disservice. If someone had suggested the same thing here during the last administration, you would have jumped all over them.

Rance, then you know little... (Below threshold)

Rance, then you know little about this site and it's contributors/commentors.

I'd suggest you search along the timeframe in and around the NYT CIA leaked stories concerning "black sites" and the Rendition program.

The key phrase you used, "career intelligence professionals," is at the heart of the matter.

They are in it for the long haul and as such they are from all sides of the political spectrum.

As a result each administration regardless of party affiliation butts up against those in parts of their admin that willingly leak info to suit their personal agenda.

All that's left to say i... (Below threshold)
Bill M:

All that's left to say is welcome to reality, Mr. President. It's about time you finally caught on.

With this bunch, don't bet on it. They can't concentrate that long.






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