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."
ROGER CRESSEY: It's important to understand that there are multiple lists. The lowest level list, with over a half-a-million names, you can get on that list by one person saying "I believe you Peter have terrorist ties or extremist views." That's what happened with Abdul Mutallab in this case. His father went to the embassy. To get to the more sensitive and significant list, there has to be more information, there has to be corrobating information. So it looks like right now, the intelligence community didn't have those additional pieces of information. We talk often about how there's a need to connect the dots. Right now it appears there weren't enough dots to connect.And a bit later . . .
JENNA WOLFE: Could the fact that he allegedly got as far as he did mean that the administration's whole reputation on how they handle terrorism matters be hurt in some way?Let's summarize:
JOHN HARWOOD: Well certainly you're going to hear Republicans--and we already have--complaining that the administration doesn't take terrorism seriously enough. And so that partisan debate will be reignited.