Starting the New Year—and new decade—off with the wrong message, the US closed it’s embassy in Yemen in the face of threats from al-Qaida in the Arabian Penninsula. Granted, the embassy in Osama Bin Laden’s ancestral homeland has been attacked before and al-Qaida threats shouldn’t be dismissed. But enhancing security, increasing raids on suspected al-Qaida cells, and closer work with Yemeni authorities seems better than throwing up your hands and going home. Evacuating non-essential staff seems prudent, but just shutting down is giving in to the jihadists. To me it smells like taking the safe option to avoid another potential terrorist success. Well, no loss of life here, but it’s a terrorist success nonetheless. And it knocks a leg out from under the Yemenis in their antiterrorist efforts.
Pres. Obama’s expert on homeland security and counterterrorism, Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan appeared on Fox News Sunday on Jan. 3 and spoke with Chris Wallace. Discussing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempt to blow up NW flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, Brennan said:
There was no single piece of intelligence—a smoking gun, if you will—that said that Mr. Abdulmutallab was going to carry out this attack against that aircraft.
What we had, looking back at it now, were a number of streams of information.
Brennan added “It’s much different than prior to 9/11,” meaning agencies were territorial and weren’t willing to share information. While that may be the case, the result is the same from my perspective. Agencies simply didn’t share information and, as Obama himself said:
There were bits of information available within the intelligence community that could have—and should have—been pieced together.
Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence, and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged. The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America.
Thomas Kean, former head of the 9/11 Commission, told CNN that Abdulmutallab’s father going to the authorities with his concerns should have been smoking gun enough. “We had an administration that’s not focused as it should be on terrorism,” Kean said. Noting health care reform and climate change, Kean added, “They weren’t giving this enough attention. It’s understandable but unacceptable.”
I’ve already discussed a number of missed red flags in the Undie-bomber’s case. The bigger issue, which Kean spoke to, is Pres. Obama doesn’t understand the nature of terrorist threat. Charles Krauthammer makes a very good case on this in his Detroit News column. While Obama speaks of addressing the rule of law, which is admirable, there are some disconnects.
Many, including some senior politicians, have called for Abdulmutallab to be declared an enemy combatant and subjected to military interrogation. The Obama Administration did away with “enemy combatants” in March 2009. In fact, the administration changed a lot of terms in the interests of political correctness. Krauthammer cites these changes to the lexicon as responsible for “linguistic—and logical—oddities that littered Obama’s public pronouncements following the Christmas Day attack.” Thus, the terrorist is a suspect. Now he’s all lawyered up and awaiting charges and trial in the comforts of Milan Federal Prison. Krauthammer’s perspective:
This is all quite mad even in Obama’s terms. He sends 30,000 troops to fight terrorism overseas, yet if any terrorists come to attack us here, they are magically transformed from enemy into defendant.
The logic is perverse. If we find Abdulmutallab in an al-Qaida training camp in Yemen, where he is merely preparing for an attack, we snuff him out with a Predator — no judge, no jury, no qualms. But if we catch him in the United States in the very act of mass murder, he instantly acquires protection not just from execution by drone but even from interrogation.
Other lexiconic changes that permitted the Administration’s distraction from its core responsibilities—defense of the Constitution, the nation, and its people—include the end of the Global War on Terror. In its place, we have the more pubic relations friendly term of Overseas Contingency Operations. Perhaps that’s another reason why Abdulmutallab isn’t an enemy combatant—he committed his jihadist attempt to join the virgins in US airspace. He wasn’t trying to perpetrate a terrorist act; rather, he was attempting to induce a man-made disaster, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s way of thinking. Three Mile Island was a man-made disaster. Blowing up a plane is terrorism. And Obama’s repeated referred to him as a suspect and an extremist. He’s a jihadist, pure and simple.
You may think it’s just politics, and it’s probably not surprising, but former Vice President Dick Cheney said “Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war” with terrorists. The problem is, Obama’s reactions to two other jihadist attacks on US soil during 2009 bear this view out and I’ve said so before.
The military tradition of placing a Soldier’s empty boots with his rifle muzzle in the ground and helmet on the rifle butt is a means of honoring comrades who have fallen in battle. There were 12 sets of these for Pres. Obama to see when he paid tribute to the 13 fallen. Still, he sought to negate, or at least minimize the jihadist nature of MAJ Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood. Although thousands of Muslims serve honorably in the US military, willing to give their lives in defense of their country, family, freedoms, and way of life, MAJ Nadal Malik Hasan is not one of them. Hasan’s case is another with missed red flags. He received poor evaluation reports, was known to speak out against the Global War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operations, frequented Islamist websites, was pen-pals with a radical Imam in Yemin, and made no secret about not wanting to deploy to Iraq before the end of the year. Hasan’s job? He was an Army psychiatrist whose duty was to help Soldiers get over Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), yet he berated some, if not all of them.
Obama’s initial response to the Fort Hood tragedy? He made a statement during a press conference at the Department of the Interior. Obama started with a shout out and schmoozed his cronies. He doesn’t get to Fort Hood until 2:28. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up! Video at the end of this post.
I want to thank my Cabinet members and senior administration officials who participated today. I hear that Dr. Joe Medicine Crow (ph) was around, and so I want to give a shout out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner. It’s good to see you.
I might add Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited survivors that evening. Former President George W. and Laura Bush spent time with the victims the following day. Obama made it to Fort Hood Nov. 10th, 4 days after the Republican leaders.
Earlier this year, another domestic jihadist killed Army PFC William Long, 23, and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18. The two were shot outside an Army-Navy recruiting station in West Little Rock, AR, by a lone gunman. The shooter? Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, 24, who had changed his name from Carlos Leon Bledsoe after converting to the Muslim faith. He, too, was under FBI investigation, having told others he was going to kill as many Army personnel as he could. Sadly, Obama didn’t comment on the West Little Rock attack for two days. In his statement, the President expressed his deep sadness, condolences, and wishes for a speedy recovery following the “senseless act.” What Obama is missing is a committed jihadist doesn’t see killing Soldiers as senseless.
So, to summarize. There were 3 terrorist incidents committed by Islamists on or over US territory in 2009. In all 3 cases, the jihadists were know to authorities as having extremist views. The victims include 13 military personnel killed in the Global War on Terror outside the designated combat zones. Will their families get the benefits they would be entitled to if they had died in Iraq or Afghanistan? They certainly deserve them. There was one civilian victim at Fort Hood. NW flight 253 nearly added 290 (11 crew and 279 passengers) to the death toll, not counting any potential carnage on the ground. All 3 incidents had red flags and the attention of the authorities. Yet, each time, authorities failed to react. And, in the Flight 253 case, Obama’s top counterterrorism/homeland security appointees have made buffoons out of themselves. Napolitano’s “the system worked” quote will go down in history and Brennan’s “no smoking gun” only makes sense because he caveats it with “no single piece of intelligence.”
The simple truth is the system failed miserably in all 3 cases. And, since none of them is related at all to “Overseas Contingency Operations” (except the Fort Hood Soldiers getting ready to deploy), we are still very much engaged in the Global War on Terror. Don’t get me started on the 90 days it took the Ditherer=in-Chief to decide if he was going to support his Commander on the ground. It’s time to fulfill that Oath you took.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
The Oath military personnel take upon enlistment or commissioning includes defending the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” That’s certainly implied by the Constitution for the Commander-in-Chief.