Gregory Craig resigned for all the wrong reasons. President Obama should instead ask Janet Napolitano, John Brennan, Eric Holder, and Dennis Blair to resign.
Remember Greg Craig?
Before his recently announced return to the private sector, Craig was White House counsel in the Obama administration, and also the President’s designated point-man on smoothing the way for fulfilling an ill-conceived presidential campaign promise: the closure of the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay by January 2010. It is widely acknowledged that the “resignation” Craig tendered in November of last year was the result of his failure to manage the difficult politics involved in shutting Gitmo down.
There were numerous indications along the way that Craig had fundamentally misread Congress and the American people on this issue. We were recently reminded of just how bad the miscalculation was: reports indicate that the administration will likely be backing down from the idea of putting 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — currently held in Gitmo — on trial in New York City, because it rightfully believes Congress will not hand over the funds for such a misguided, politically suicidal endeavor.
But when it comes to Craig’s removal, one thing is more telling than Congress’s repudiation of his overtures. Craig was shown the door because of his failure to sell a bad policy that, were it to be realized, would jeopardize our national security and make us less safe.
Compare that outcome with the Obama national security team’s handling of Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian al Qaeda operative who attempted to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day. From the moment Abdulmutallab got on the plane to the moment he was Mirandized and allowed to lawyer up like a common criminal, key individuals with principal responsibility for preventing these incidents — Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan; Attorney General Eric Holder; and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair — proceeded to mishandle the attempted bombing and its aftermath in trainwreck fashion:
Napolitano: Shortly after a few brave passengers thwarted Abdulmuttalab’s underwear detonation, Secretary Napolitano proclaimed on CNN: ”..the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action.” This prompted widespread ridicule and bipartisan calls for her resignation. She subsequently backtracked, stating that the system clearly had not worked, and that her comments to the contrary were taken out of context.
Given that Napolitano began her tenure by replacing the word “terrorism” with the decidedly sterile phrase “man-caused disasters” in the DHS lexicon, and then proceeded to issue a report indicating that soldiers returning from service in Iraq or Afghanistan were a security threat, it is perhaps not surprising that, consistent with her inverted view of the threat landscape, this near-catastrophe was seen as a demonstration of success.
Brennan: Mr. Brennan initially suggested there was “no smoking gun” to indicate that Abdulmutallab intended to board a plane and blow it up. Brennan’s own report was released days later, indicating:
The information available to the CT community over the last several months — which included pieces of information about Mr. Abdulmutallab, information about [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] and its plans, and information about an individual now believed to be Mr. Abdulmutallab and his association with AQAP in its attack planning — was obtained by several agencies. Though all of that information was available to all-source analysts at the CIA and the [National Counterterrorism Center] prior to the attempted attack, the dots were never connected, and as a result, the problem appears to be more about a component failure to “connect the dots,” rather than a lack of information sharing.
But is it not precisely the job of the counterterrorism and intelligence community to connect such dots? As homeland security expert James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation aptly put it prior to the report’s release:
There is almost never a smoking gun. There was no smoking gun in 26 of the 28 terrorist attacks foiled by the US since 9/11 (Abdulmutallab and Richard Reid were stopped by dumb luck). We built the post-9/11 security system because we never expect to have a smoking gun, because we expect the administration to connect-the-dots.
Holder: The first FBI agents on the scene interrogated Abdulmutallab for about fifty minutes before the Holder Justice Department intervened from Washington and instructed a team of new agents to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights, after which he promptly stopped talking and did not start again for several weeks. As Thomas Joscelyn points out in the Weekly Standard, Abdulmutallab potentially knows a great deal about al Qaeda operations overseas and here in the United States, including those involving American recruits — he could have disclosed valuable intelligence on this much sooner had he not been Mirandized. Ironically, while this administration insists on, in the words of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, never letting a serious crisis go to waste, the Attorney General proceeded to waste this serious crisis in less than an hour.
What precipitated the switch? Because the Justice Department is being run by an Attorney General who insists on using our criminal justice system to handle terrorists, interrogations must now stand up to more stringent, defendant-oriented rules of evidence to obtain a conviction. The result: the same ideology that had driven Holder to try the 9/11 perpetrators in Lower Manhattan made it harder to gather timely, accurate intelligence and possibly stop future attacks.
Blair: Dennis Blair is the Director of National Intelligence. According to the DNI website: “the Office of the DNI’s goal is to effectively integrate foreign, military and domestic intelligence in defense of the homeland and of United States interests abroad. “
Given that integration is in the job description, it is more than a bit alarming that Blair, when testifying before the Senate on the Detroit flight incident, indicated that the so-called High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), rather than the FBI, should have taken custody of Abdulmutallab. As Blair put it:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online