On February 2nd, NBC correspondent Pete Williams announced Breaking News during the 5 PM ET edition of Hardball: the Christmas Day Bomber, Umar Abdul Mutallab, was giving fresh, actionable information to the FBI which the United States was in turn "aggressively chasing down."
Less than an hour later, this NewsBuster blogged on the matter, wondering whether by leaking the news, "the Obama administration compromised national security," in an attempt to deflect the criticism it had been receiving for mirandizing Mutallab rather than treating him like the enemy combatant he is.
On today's Fox News Watch, panelist Jim Pinkerton gave a "hats off" to this NewsBuster for being first to raise the issue.
Has the Obama administration compromised national security by leaking the fact that it's obtaining actionable intelligence from Umar Mutallab? On this afternoon's Hardball, Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams reported the breaking news that Obama admin officials have told him that the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Mutallab, is providing actionable, fresh intelligence.
Williams stated that officials told him the intelligence is "very valuable and still current" and that the government is "aggressively chasing down" the leads obtained.
Just how little confidence is there in the ability of the Barack Obama administration to fight terrorism? So little that even liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen is now mocking the pathetic efforts of this administration in his latest column:
There is almost nothing the Obama administration does regarding terrorism that makes me feel safer. Whether it is guaranteeing captured terrorists that they will not be waterboarded, reciting terrorists their rights, or the legally meandering and confusing rule that some terrorists will be tried in military tribunals and some in civilian courts, what is missing is a firm recognition that what comes first is not the message sent to America's critics but the message sent to Americans themselves. When, oh when, will this administration wake up?
President Obama's handpicked intelligence czar blames officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice for failing to permit the gathering critical intelligence from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Underwear Bomber who attempted to down a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day 2009.
What's more, neither Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair nor FBI director Mueller or Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano were "consulted about the charging decision" for Abdulmutallab, a decision which may have resulted in the loss of a golden opportunity to collect intelligence from the would-be bomber before he was able to lawyer up.
Oh, and did I mention that the special task force that President Obama commissioned precisely for these situations isn't fully operational yet?
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy appeared as a member of the show’s panel, after host Jon Scott’s introduction to the show’s first segment – which involved President Obama’s response to the underwear bomber – Kennedy characterized Scott’s introduction as sounding "like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker." Complaining that he was ideologically outnumbered on the panel after left-leaning panel member Judith Miller – formerly of the New York Times – was critical of Obama, Miller declared, "Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues," prompting Kennedy to exclaim, "You went to jail to protect Dick Cheney! Come on!":
ChrisCuomo says there's no proof Mutallab will talk less as a lawyered-up criminal defendant than as an enemy combatant. Suggestions to the contrary are just politics. George Stephanopolous manifests the same problem his old boss did: he doesn't know what the meaning of "is," is. Steph claims Mutallab "is" singing. But reports are that the would-be mass-murderer was singing—but isn't any more.
It was all part of Good Morning America's defense today of Pres. Obama's decision to give the NWA 253 bomber the full ACLU treatment, rather than dealing with him as the enemy combatant he is.
Fortunately, Rudy Giuliani was there to set things straight . . .
Appearing as a guest on Thursday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto on FNC, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch – known for being a relatively centrist Democrat – chided President Obama for being reluctant to use terms like "war on terrorism" or "Islamic extremists," and, when host Cavuto pointed out that Obama had managed to improve attitudes toward America in the Muslim world, Koch sarcastically shot back: "Isn`t that nice? Did they stop trying to kill us?"
Even while declaring himself to be a supporter of the Obama administration, the former New York mayor still voiced his frustrations about the "attitude" of the White House – citing an article by right-leaning columnist Charles Krauthammer – and came out in support of profiling Muslims at airports:
As has been noted here in the recent past, it isn't just government entities that are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to identifying radical Muslim preachers as accessories to terrorism - it's also the media. Consider the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, a man who has consistently shown ties to terrorist attacks, yet who had gone predominantly under the media radar as nothing more than a simple cleric.
Also consider the curious case of one Yasir Qadhi, a man recently interviewed by CNN for a sympathetic look at the failed underwear bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. A man who has apparently escaped background investigations by both CNN and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). (H/t the Jawa Report)
How else to explain CNN's representation of Qadhi as a simple, orthodox teacher of Islam, who had no idea of the extremist views of AbdulMutallab? And how else to explain the baffling decision by the NCTC to utilize Qadhi in its deradicalization efforts?
What, you might ask, is wrong with presenting this man as a moderate teacher of ‘the nuts and bolts of Islam?'
Well, for starters, he is - by his own admission - a proud member of the U.S. terror watch list, and an instructor at an institution so extreme in their teachings, that an anti-terror consultant once dubbed the school ‘Jihad U.'
Find out more about the man CNN presents as an innocent professor of Islam after the break...
Bill Kristol has set forth a stinging indictment of the Obama admin's handling of the war on terror. His two-minute monologue on today's Fox News Sunday delineated a devastating bill of particulars:
It was a mistake to treat Abdul Mutallab as a criminal defendant rather than as an enemy combatant: "Mr. Brennan [Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser who appeared earlier] said to you that we're very worried that there're other Abdul Mutallabs out there. This Abdul Mutallab was there for four months. He might know who the others are. He might know their names. Will you let him lawyer up?"
As to Brennan's claim that there was no "smoking gun" regarding Abdul Mutallab: "He is the smoking gun," going on to detail all the red flags surrounding him. "Frankly, for Mr. Brennan to say, well, no smoking gun, that itself shows a kind of not-serious-about-the-war mentality."
Representative Pete Hoekstra recently indicated that the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 should be a clue that helps the Obama Administration ‘connect the dots' on terrorism.
While that remains unlikely with an administration more obsessed with right-wing extremists, man-caused disasters, and the impeccable success of our counterterrorism systems, perhaps it's time to start holding the main stream media accountable for their own inability to connect certain dots.
Such is the case of the media's handling of Anwar al-Awlaki...
Like a football coach trying to explain away the trouncing his team just took by building up the opponent, Janet Napolitano is seeking to diminish the Obama administration's NWA 253 failure by exaggerating the cunning of the Christmas Day plot.
The hapless Homeland Security head has a 679-word piece in today's USA Today basically promising to do better. She begins with this line [emphasis added]:
Friday's attempted terrorist attack against Northwest Flight 253 near Detroit is a powerful illustration that terrorists will go to great lengths to try to defeat the security measures that have been put in place since September 11, 2001.
"Great lengths?" Really? You buy a plane ticket for a kid, stick a few ounces of explosives in his nappies, then hope he'll make it onboard and remember which end to light.
The combatants were Pat Buchanan and Spencer Ackerman of the lefty Washington Independent. The topic was the treatment of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Buchanan wanted the budding terrorist classified as an enemy combatant in order to extract the maximum amount of information from him. Ackerman, in ACLU mode, favored having young Umar tried in federal court and given all rights extended to US criminal defendants.
My antennae went up when at the end of their debate, Buchanan saw Ackerman off by wishing him "Merry Christmas." A bit of Googling reveals that Ackerman, who describes himself as a "very short Jew," has recently written of his "deep-seated contempt for white gentile culture."
It took a tough question from Matt Lauer, but after having laughably claimed that "the system worked," DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has now conceded the obvious: that the security system that permitted Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board NWA 253 with explosives "failed miserably."
On Today and in other interviews this morning, Napolitano attempted to use her own ignorance as a shield. Each time she was hit with a hard question, her response was to the effect "yeah, we're wondering about that ourselves." She also continued to point the finger back at George Bush, repeatedly mentioning that the security procedures in place were formulated under the Bush administration. Whatever happened to "change you can believe in"?
But back to Today, where Lauer laudably asked Napolitano the necessary question: how could she possibly have claimed, as she did yesterday, that the "system worked"?
Pres. Obama should find time in his busy vacation schedule to drop a palm-trees-and-sandy-beaches thank you postcard to NBC. On this morning's Today, successive network staffers defended the administration's [mis]handling of the Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab matter.
First, terrorism expert Roger Cressey [who usually plays it straight], claimed there wasn't enough information to "connect the dots" and move young Umar from the "watch list" to the "no-fly" list. Really? The guy's father, a respected international banker, was so concerned about his son's extremist Islamist views that he took the unusual measure of personally contacting the US embassy with a warning. Dots? How about a huge, flashing, neon exclamation point!?
Next, John Harwood backhands GOP criticism of the Obama admin's national security policy as "partisan."