"I don't think it's fair to lay this on President Obama or the Obama administration. A lot of these practices are ones that have been going on for quite awhile."
- Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, reacting to Republican charges the Obama administration is “soft on terror.”
“Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you.”
- Richard A. Clarke, then national coordinator for counterterrorism, apologizing to families of 9/11 victims, 9/11 Commission public hearing, 24 March 2004
This is not going to be a post about my revulsion to a nation brought to its knees by some lunatic with an explosive device. Nor is it going to be about fearmongering.
This one is about missed opportunities.
January 6, 1995 – Manila, Philippines. Ramsey Youssef and Abdul Hakim Murad are cooking up bomb chemicals in the kitchen of their apartment when a fire erupts. They run from the building. The acrid smoke attracts Manila police. While Youssef hides in a nearby karaoke bar, he sends Murad back to retrieve his Toshiba laptop, which has files about all his terrorist plans. Police capture Murad and the laptop. Among the plans on the computer, according to the then Manila police chief, were plans to fly commercial airliners into landmark buildings in the United States. The police chief says he gave all the information to the FBI, but the FBI denies there was information about terrorist plots on the computer.
Two years earlier, Youssef, the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, carried out the first attack on the World Trade Center. Both he and his uncle are now in custody.
- Paraphrased from National Geographic’s four-hour documentary, “Inside 9/11.”
Then Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet told the 9/11 Commission that during the summer of 2001 “the system was blinking red.” On August 6, a month before the 9/11 attacks, the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) was headlined, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in US.”
Perhaps the biggest problem in this on-going plague is not airport security. The biggest problem, it seems to me, lies within the higher echelons of our government. How can a previous administration get away with outing a covert CIA operative, however peripheral its involvement? As recently as last month, Newsweek reported on “turf wars” between CIA Director Leon Panetta and the national intelligence czar, retired Navy Adm. Dennis Blair.
Already Republicans are making this latest incident, in the words of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, “a political football.” Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, tweeted on Twitter that the White House is “stonewalling” on sharing data about the incident.
He’s disseminating information on Twitter?
You can bet President Obama is rethinking his SOTU address. To me, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Congressional hearings on the Detroit terror scare are being planned for early January.
Here’s a question they can answer:
Who will be the next high-ranking government official to say, “Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you.”?