Diane Sawyer of ABC referred to them as “the three people standing sentry over America's security.” If these are our sentries we had all better start guarding ourselves…
Where do we draw the line between a “gaffe” and just sheer incompetence?
In what Scotland Yard called the biggest anti-terrorist sweep in Britain in two years, police arrested a dozen men accused of plotting a large-scale terror attack on Monday December 20.
Saying this was big news would be an understatement. Given the amount of people arrested and the proximity to the Christmas holiday, you couldn't turn on a television, the radio or the internet without hearing the news unless you lived in a cave somewhere. I take that back. I bet even Osama bin Laden heard the news.
That same afternoon, Diane Sawyer from ABC World News sat down with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan for a round table interview.
These three people make up the agencies that are supposed to keep us safe. You would think that they would all be aware of something as big as the largest terror arrest in the UK in two years, you would think that they would have known about it before it ever even made its way to the media. Yes, you would think that, but you would be wrong.
During the interview, Diane Sawyer brought up the terror arrests in London, here is a transcript of that conversation,
SAWYER: But we wondered. How did they stay in control with so much information coming in every day. For instance, the afternoon of our interview, the day’s news had been filled with the terror arrests– twelve people in London just that morning. But when we asked the Director of Intelligence: “London, How serious is it, any implication that it was coming here.? Any of the things that they have seen were coming here?”
(7 SEVEN SECOND PAUSE, Clapper looks puzzled, stumped, like a deer in headlights)
CLAPPER: (Looks over at Napolitano and Brennan) London?
SAWYER: Dr. Clapper?
BRENNAN: You read the arrests of the 12 individuals by the British this morning
BRENNAN: … this is something that the British informed us about early this morning that it was taking place.
SAWYER: Later in the interview …I came back to the director … did he really not know? I was a little surprise you didn’t know about London, Director Clapper.
CLAPPER: Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t.
BRENNAN: You referenced London, but you didn’t about the arrests.
I'll ignore the fact that Brennan tried to make it look as though Sawyer was at fault here with that last statement, but I have to ask... What?! The Director of National Intelligence was unaware of the arrests in London that morning?
In case you are unaware of what this man does, allow me to explain. Remember 9/11? Remember how various agencies had information about those involved and where they were before 9/11, but because most of those agencies didn't share information a lot of this information was never passed on?
The DNI position was one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The 9/11 Commission Report, which was released on July 22, 2004, identified major intelligence failures that called into question how well the Intelligence Community protected US national and homeland security interests against attacks by foreign terrorists.
Because of the way information had been handled, or not handled, the DNI was developed as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Among their duties the DNI is the liaison between all our National Security agencies.
Director Clapper is the 'bridge' between all of our security and intelligence agencies.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence website on the '”Who we are” page it states,
About the ODNI
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC), overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program and acting as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to the national security.
Congress provided the DNI with a number of authorities and duties, as outlined in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004. These charge the DNI to:
Ensure that timely and objective national intelligence is provided to the President, the heads of departments and agencies of the executive branch; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior military commanders; and the Congress
Establish objectives and priorities for collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of national intelligence
Oversee coordination of relationships with the intelligence or security services of foreign governments and international organizations
Coordination with the intelligence of Foreign Governments, as in, the United Kingdom?
Okay, so why does this man even still have a job? This was not a gaffe or a misunderstanding, he admitted to not knowing about the arrests. Fire him! Period.
How does the person charged with our not only our security, but also the main intelligence advisor to the President as well as the overseer of 16 other intelligence agencies not know of a threat that size to the UK?
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement about Director Clapper being unaware of the arrests in London. Jamie Smith, ODNI Public Affairs stated,
“The question about this specific news development was ambiguous.”
“Ambiguous”? Are you kidding me? Had Diane Sawyer said “tell me about what happened this morning, do we need to worry?” That would be “ambiguous”.
Later, Brennan admitted in a press conference that Clapper had not been informed about the London arrests by his staff.
Really? Then not only should the Director be fired, but those people on his staff who are supposed to make he sure he knows what is going on should be fired as well, after all, he hired them.
But National Security Director John Brennan also stated,
“There was breathless attention by the media about these arrests and it was constantly on the news networks,” Brennan told reporters. “I’m glad that Jim Clapper is not sitting in front of the TV 24 hours a day and monitoring what’s coming out of the media. What he is doing is focusing on those intelligence issues the president expects him to focus on.”
It would seem to me that the Director should be watching the news then. Evidently he would be more aware of terror threats that way.
In a second statement, Clapper’s office said,
“He was not briefed on the UK arrests because they didn't appear to involve the US Homeland and didn't demand any immediate action. Clapper has been focusing on tensions between North and South Korea and the START nuclear treaty with Russia.”
So he was too busy doing other things that “didn't demand any immediate action”, like Korea, because we all know how much of threat there is of North Korea setting off bombs here in the U.S., all those homegrown North Korean suicide bombers running around and all.
It “didn't appear to involve the US Homeland”? Appear? It didn't appear that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was going to explode his underwear on board a Detroit bound plane last Christmas either, but I seem to recall Director Napolitano saying “the system worked”.
A civilian, a fellow passenger, not even American, stopped what would have been the potential death of hundreds.
This entire situation shows the sheer incompetence of those that Obama has chosen for his staff, not to mention, keeping our country and those that are in it safe.
I wrote about Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan earlier this year,
John Brennan had just given a speech on February 13 at New York University, in which he stated,
"...And as part of that experience, to learn about the goodness and beauty of Islam....I came to see Islam not as it is often misrepresented, but for what it is... a faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity….”
Two minutes later in the same speech he referred to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, by its Arabic name,
“And in all my travels, the city I have come to love most is Al Quds...”
During his speech at the CSIS however, John Brennan must have forgotten that his title is “Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism”, because according to his speech, our enemy is not terrorism and, therefore, there could be no Counterterrorism;
“The President’s strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face. Our enemy is not ‘terrorism’ because terrorism is but a tactic. Our enemy is not ‘terror’ because terror is a state of mind and as Americans we refuse to live in fear. Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.”
Yes, these three wonderful people, as Diane Sawyer stated are “standing sentry over America's security.”
During that same interview Director Napolitano stated,
“We are thousands of people are working 24/7, 364 days a year to keep the American people safe.”
Maybe Clapper’s office should have just said that the day of the interview was his day off and therefore his was unaware of the London arrests. It wouldn't make me feel any safer, but it definitely sounds better.
Sleep well my friends, our sentries are there for our protection.
Editor’s Note: Nine of the 12 people who had been arrested in London, Cardiff, Stoke-on-Trent, and Birmingham on December 20, accused of a plot to attack London, have now been charged with “conspiracy to cause explosions”, and three have been released. More information will appear on FSM today in a Global Terror Alert.
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