The System is Failing
This past weekend the American public learned that not only was the Obama administration briefed about the bombing technique attempted on Flight 253, not only did the United States have information that a Nigerian was being prepared for a terrorist attack by al Qaeda in Yemen, but our government also knew that an “Umar Farouk” was involved.
Following these revelations, the Obama administration again took to the Sunday shows to defend their national security record. Last week Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to convince Americans that “the system worked”. She failed. This Sunday, Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan did admit that the system failed on Christmas Day but still insisted: “Every other day the system has worked this year….The system is working.”
No, it is not. The complete failure of the Obama administration to connect the dots on the Flight 253 bomber was not an isolated incident. On June 2nd of this year, Adulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, upset about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, shot and killed one soldier and wounded another while they were standing outside a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas. And on November 5th, Nidal Malik Hasan, also upset about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 12 people and wounding 31 others. And on December 10th, five young men, all Muslim extremists from Northern Virginia, were arrested in Pakistan at the home of a man linked to a radical jihadist group.
Since 2001, there have been 28 failed terrorist attacks against the United States. That averages out to about three foiled attempts per year. In 2009, there were six failed attempts — the most in one year. As troubling as these incidents are by themselves, Americans should be concerned about a White House that looks at this body of evidence and then declares “the system is working.” No, it is not.
The problem is not, as Brennan would have us believe, an isolated incident of “human error.” It is a failure of leadership. A failure by the occupant of the White House to admit we are at war and use the tools at his disposal to protect. Instead of providing stability and confidence in the intelligence community by seeking the renewal of key investigatory authorities authorized under the USA Patriot Act, President Obama has settled for a six-month extension tacked on to the Defense appropriations bill. Instead of going to Congress and pushing for a comprehensive war-on-terror detainee system, President Obama has punted the issue to the Federal Courts. Instead of promising victory for our war on terror efforts in Afghanistan, President Obama sent fewer troops than were required for a maximum military effort and gave al Qaeda a set date for our withdrawal.
Faulting the administration for a lack of leadership is not meant as a partisan criticism. Scoring political points won’t make us safe. The terrorists don’t care if they kill Republicans or Democrats or the West Wing is held by the left-wing or the right-wing. Nobody wants the White House to fail in this mission. But the President needs to stop blaming his predecessor and look forward. He needs to start over. Make winning the war against terrorism the top priority of his administration and act like a war president day in and day out.