USA Today refuses to “cheerlead” for Brennan, White House

posted at 12:15 pm on February 9, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

In my earlier post on the subject of John Brennan and his accusation in USA Today that critics of the White House “only serve the goals of al-Qaeda,” I neglected to mention that one of those entities that apparently have become a handmaiden to Osama bin Laden is … none other than USA Today.  In an editorial that appears in parallel to Brennan’s op-ed, and was apparently written before the editors saw the contents of Brennan’s piece, the newspaper categorically rejects Brennan’s arguments on the Sunday talk shows that people should stop criticizing the performance of the government and start praising it unequivocally instead. Indeed, they scoff at Brennan’s argument as a demand for “cheerleading” and conclude that there isn’t much reason to have confidence in Barack Obama’s national-security team:

– CIA Director Leon Panetta and other top officials agreed last week that an attack by al-Qaeda is likely in the next three to six months. The warning is bound to frighten the public, with no obvious benefit beyond the ability to say “I told you so.”

– Top administration officials revealed last week that bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was again cooperating with authorities. Great. But the news pretty much negates earlier claims that no intelligence was lost when Abdulmutallab was prematurely read his rights.

– In Senate testimony, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair had a “Duh!” moment as he hit his forehead and acknowledged that authorities fumbled the initial questioning of Abdulmutallab by failing to call in the high-value interrogation group, which was created to question terrorism suspects. Refreshingly candid, yes, but not a statement that inspires confidence. Especially when the same day, at another Senate hearing, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified that the high-value unit was still in its “formation stages” and that “there was no time” to get it to Detroit.

All of this follows the string of blunders that allowed Abdulmutallab to carry explosives onto a U.S.- bound plane in the first place. The chaos that followed his arrest now looks just as bad.

The editorial concludes that the failure to stop Abdulmutallab before he got on the flight and the series of failures after he was captured have a common thread: “slipshod coordination leading to bad judgment.”  Sitting on the sidelines and leading cheers won’t fix those failures.  Comparing the people who point out the obvious, as USA Today’s editors do, to terrorist sympathizers doesn’t build any confidence that the White House has really acknowledged the failures at all, let alone start to fix them.

We only have one President at a time, and national security is almost completely under his bailiwick.  Americans of all political stripes want the nation secured properly, ergo we all want this administration to adopt the policies that actually accomplish this to be implemented, and foolish policies that handicap our national security efforts to be jettisoned.  Those policies were certainly on the table over the last several years for public debate, and this President and several high-ranking officials of his administration made them into political battlegrounds — as is the right and responsibility of Americans to do in holding their government accountable for its performance.

Maybe someone at USA Today can explain that to Brennan and Obama.  Of course, now they’re on Brennan’s list of terrorist sympathizers, so perhaps it won’t do much good anyway.

Update: Jim Geraghty points out an interesting set of assumptions from the administration:

I see he refers to Abdulmutallab as a “suspect” but asserts that administration critics, ipso facto, “serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”

In other words, in the eyes of one the administration’s top men on counterterrorism, Abdulmutallab gets a presumption of innocence that you and I don’t.

Imagine that!


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This White House “only serves the goals of Al Qaida”.
Truth hurts.

abobo on February 9, 2010 at 12:19 PM

When you have lost USA Today?

daesleeper on February 9, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Are we talking about The USA Today?

angryed on February 9, 2010 at 12:21 PM

About time!

Cheer for nobody, USA Today. Report actual news in a neutral fashion and watch readership soar.

Dark-Star on February 9, 2010 at 12:21 PM

In other words, in the eyes of one the administration’s top men on counterterrorism, Abdulmutallab gets a presumption of innocence that you and I don’t.

That’s because “you and I” are highly unlikely to blow up a jetliner.

Mr. D on February 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM

It will only get worse from here on, the administration mistakes will be blamed on the American people at an increasing rate.

Bishop on February 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM

See my dog? His name is Bo.

FOWG1 on February 9, 2010 at 12:23 PM

I’m waiting for Jimmy Carter to weigh in

John the Libertarian on February 9, 2010 at 12:24 PM

“bailiwick”….?

Come on Ed will ya ?
I had to go look that up.

NeoKong on February 9, 2010 at 12:25 PM

I see he refers to Abdulmutallab as a “suspect” but asserts that administration critics, ipso facto, “serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”
In other words, in the eyes of one the administration’s top men on counterterrorism, Abdulmutallab gets a presumption of innocence that you and I don’t.

Unless, of course, you are K.S.M.

Brennan has already convicted him and sentenced him to death.

Sentence to be carried out after K.S.M.’s “trial”, of course.

David2.0 on February 9, 2010 at 12:27 PM

that’s because “you and I” are highly unlikely to blow up a jetliner.

And unlike certain “high ranking government officials”, you and I are most likely NOT practitioners of that most famous Religion of Peace.

oldleprechaun on February 9, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Dissent is patriotic.

patriette on February 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM

The Birther wing of al-Qaeda…

mjbrooks3 on February 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM

That’s because “you and I” are highly unlikely to blow up a jetliner.

Mr. D on February 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM

But fairly likely to vote out Democrats…

18-1 on February 9, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Uncle Joe says “gird your loins”.

Knucklehead on February 9, 2010 at 12:32 PM

surprise, surprise, surprise…

cmsinaz on February 9, 2010 at 12:35 PM

The damage-control folk in the ObaMao administration keep throwing out Michelle ObaMao puff pieces in an attempt to divert attention from the fatal flaws in the WH policies and practices. Apparently MO’s “favorability” is much higher than the Adolescent-King’s (Go figure!), so the nonsense continues.

Soon it will be date night on St. Valentine’s Day and then another vacation break getaway for President’s Day weekend.

This house-of-cards administration was built on shifting sands of media puffery. As such, it is collapsing much quicker for not having a solid foundation.

onlineanalyst on February 9, 2010 at 12:37 PM

We had to hope that the veil over the “newspeople’s” eyes had to start dissolving sometime. Too bad it took a full year or more. I wonder what kind of damage has been truly done to our national security under this administration.

Tennman on February 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM

USSR Today is pretending to be objecitve because the blowback from coveriong for the incompetance of the Administration and their minions will make them lose both their remaining readers.

kingsjester on February 9, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Out of respect for the office of the President, I will pledge to give a moment of silence………

…….DONE!

Rovin on February 9, 2010 at 12:41 PM

America! Duh Yeah! YouTube parody of Blair testimony

Mervis Winter on February 9, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Good for USAToday, a little late though imho.

RealMc on February 9, 2010 at 12:50 PM

In other words, in the eyes of one the administration’s top men on counterterrorism, Abdulmutallab gets a presumption of innocence that you and I don’t.

That’s because “you and I” are highly unlikely to blow up a jetliner.

Mr. D on February 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM

We don’t get the presumtion of innocence because the Administration finds us guilty of being unpatriotic for having the nerve to challenge their exocution of the war on terrorism.

fourdeucer on February 9, 2010 at 12:50 PM

I have seen the enemy….and he is me?

ted c on February 9, 2010 at 12:55 PM

“Katrina” Terrorism

J_Crater on February 9, 2010 at 12:56 PM

…Soon it will be date night on St. Valentine’s Day and then another vacation break getaway for President’s Day weekend….

onlineanalyst on February 9, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Hopefully Ojesus will bother to sober up before talking about our corpse-men after his next party night.

hillbillyjim on February 9, 2010 at 12:57 PM

It will only get worse from here on, the administration mistakes will be blamed on the American people at an increasing rate.

Bishop on February 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Just another case of the people getting what they voted for…good and hard!

Dark-Star on February 9, 2010 at 1:00 PM

In other words, in the eyes of one the administration’s top men on counterterrorism, Abdulmutallab gets a presumption of innocence that you and I don’t.

That should surprise no one. This is the same administration where Ms President O declared a “WAR” on Americans who are corpulent and not on Islamo Nazis.

david kumbera on February 9, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Can you imagine the trouble we’d be in if they didn’t have that best evah Transition Team with their precedent elect seals and logos. I was a little concerned at the time, but never did I anticipate this type of preparation, and such a flawless transition into pulp fiction.

ontherocks on February 9, 2010 at 1:04 PM

The Obama administration constantly infuriates me by

1. Going absurdly out of their way to interpret the actions of hostile foreigners in the most sympathetic light; and

2. Leaping instantly to demonize all domestic political opposition as being evidence of supreme guilt.

Mr. President, whose side are you on?

jwolf on February 9, 2010 at 1:06 PM

I’m confused. Is USA TODAY racist or just unpatriotic?

jukin on February 9, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Apparently Obama, even though he wants to move the trial of KSM from NYC, is bowing to Holder, who is holding steadfast to his decision.

Who the heck is in charge of this land?

Obama is a sissy.

Schadenfreude on February 9, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Michelle Obama sure has toned arms.

And fat kids.

Al Qaeda hates fat kids.

A prime recruiting tool for jihaids, as is well known.

profitsbeard on February 9, 2010 at 1:14 PM

This is what happens when you let a bunch of loud mouth ‘know-it-alls’ TRY to run the country. Bestest Administration, evah! Gonna “hit the ground running”. “Best and Brightest”. Well at least they have the sloganeering down.

As for The One. HE commits no error. HE is without fault. HE knows all. HE IS THE OBAMASSIAH!

GarandFan on February 9, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Michelle Obama sure has toned arms.

And fat kids.

Al Qaeda hates fat kids.

profitsbeard on February 9, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Al Qaeda doesn’t hate fat kids. They love them.

They taste just like chicken.

UltimateBob on February 9, 2010 at 1:29 PM

I wonder how hard the administration had to search to find this useful idiot, Brennan. His statements are reminiscent of the flawed assessment of Iran’s nuclear program, completely backwards.

If Brennan is representative of what career CIA personnel think, God help us.

walkingboss on February 9, 2010 at 1:31 PM

The White House is probably thinking who needs USA Today when they have the competent excellence-in-journalism insane asylum inmates that are currently running around MSNBC available to press their case; flimsy as it is.

pilamaye on February 9, 2010 at 1:32 PM

UltimateBob on February 9, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Reminds me of an old camp joke:

Q: What do we do if we see a bear?
A: Butter the fat kid and give him a push.

(oddly enough, the nearest bear was hundreds of miles away and living in a zoo to boot.)

Dark-Star on February 9, 2010 at 1:36 PM

“The attorney general said, ‘I’m going to charge him tomorrow,’ ” and “there were questions raised about whether or not he should in fact go to law of war detention status,” according to the transcript of a White House background briefing for reporters last Tuesday by two senior administration officials.

If John Brennan is to be believed, then clearly this shows that there are al Qaeda sympathizers in the White House.

J_Crater on February 9, 2010 at 1:40 PM

In other words, in the eyes of one the administration’s top men on counterterrorism, Abdulmutallab gets a presumption of innocence that you and I don’t.

Criticism of the Administration is an admission of guilt. No presumption required.

Two legs bad, four legs good.

BobMbx on February 9, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Somebody at USA TODAY is going to get a stern talking to.

elderberry on February 9, 2010 at 1:46 PM

He WILL stand with his Muslim brothers.

capejasmine on February 9, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Mueller testified that the high-value unit was still in its “formation stages” and that “there was no time” to get it to Detroit.

No time? Ummm, let’s say the travelled by horse and buggy. How long would it take them to reach Detroit? Longer than it took the CIA to dig up some family members overseas and then haul them back here, in order to persuade Umar?

If the interrogation team can’t be mobilized quickly enough to question a guy near THE DETROIT AIRPORT, what are they gonna do if we capture a guy in the mountains of Pakistan?

hawksruleva on February 9, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Michelle Obama sure has toned arms.

And fat kids.

Al Qaeda hates fat kids.

For future reference, the minor children of elected officials are off limits. No matter what. Adult children are also out, until they jump in.

This is a long standing tradition in the press (the old, real press) that has worked well. They don’t deserve any of it, nor did they ask for it. They can’t choose their parents’ vocation.

Spouses are out, unless they include themselves in the rhetoric, as the lovely Mrs. Obama has.

BobMbx on February 9, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Indeed, they scoff at Brennan’s argument as a demand for “cheerleading” and conclude that there isn’t much reason to have confidence in Barack Obama’s national-security team:

Well no sh!t…..
…but liberals would rather discuss more important issues like what Sarah Palin has written on her hand.

Baxter Greene on February 9, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Apparently Obama, even though he wants to move the trial of KSM from NYC, is bowing to Holder, who is holding steadfast to his decision.

Who the heck is in charge of this land?

Schadenfreude on February 9, 2010 at 1:13 PM

They all think they’re in charge. That’s one of the consequences of having a leader who has A)never been the man in charge and B)can’t make decisions without consulting everyone. All of his cabinet/czar/staff people think that THEIR input is the most important, and that their advice is the advice that will be implemented.

I’m sure there’s a bit of the “last person in the room” syndrome going on, where Obama’s views are dominated by his most recent conversation.

hawksruleva on February 9, 2010 at 1:55 PM

For future reference, the minor children of elected officials are off limits. No matter what. Adult children are also out, until they jump in.

BobMbx on February 9, 2010 at 1:51 PM

That’s true, unless the officials are conservative.

hawksruleva on February 9, 2010 at 1:56 PM

But now that the sun has risen on the 386th day of the Obama White House, many political observers are coming to see that the ex-state senator from the South Side is running his federal administration in Washington much the way they run things back home: with a small….

…claque of clout-laden people from the same school who learned their political trade back in the nation’s No. 3 city, named for an Indian word for a smelly wild onion.

That style is tough, focused, immune to any distractions but cosmetic niceties. And did we mention tough. A portly, veteran Chicago alderman once confided only about 40% jokingly, that he had taken up jogging to lose weight but quickly gave it up as boring because “you can’t knock anyone down.” That’s politics the Chicago way.

Schadenfreude on February 9, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Michelle Obama sure has toned arms.

And fat kids.

Al Qaeda hates fat kids.

A prime recruiting tool for jihaids, as is well known.

profitsbeard on February 9, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Michelle calls it the War on Fat/Obesity, but this admin. can’t call it the War on Terror. This tells us all we need to know about the thugs in charge, at the moment.

Schadenfreude on February 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM

I’m sure there’s a bit of the “last person in the room” syndrome going on, where Obama’s views are dominated by his most recent conversation.

Well, I hope that vacuuming lady shows up pretty soon, and tells him to listen to the people.

drunyan8315 on February 9, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Who’s that dude on the right?

slug on February 9, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Is there a “reset” button someone can push… please??

D2Boston on February 9, 2010 at 2:46 PM

So Brennan said:

Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda. Terrorists are not 100-feet tall. Nor do they deserve the abject fear they seek to instill. They will, however, be dismantled and destroyed, by our military, our intelligence services and our law enforcement community. And the notion that America’s counterterrorism professionals and America’s system of justice are unable to handle these murderous miscreants is absurd.

Fear-mongering helps the terrorists. What is false about this? Terrorists seek to sow terror. Fear-mongers seek to sow fear. Fear and terror are synonyms. This is obviously true on the face of it.

It’s so silly to listen to the Right now say that it’s okay to attack the President in matters of national security. Of course it’s okay to criticize; it always was. For Republicans, it’s only okay now. Obvious inconsistency.

For the Left: we’ve always been against fear-mongering. We’ve always said that fear-mongering helps the terrorists. This is completely consistent, not to mention obvious.

Brennan: “Terrorists are not 100-feet tall. Nor do they deserve the abject fear they seek to instill.”

HotAir: “Yes, they are! Yes, they do!”

Very brave, proud warriors. Keep up the good work.

orange on February 9, 2010 at 3:07 PM

I have seen the enemy….and he is me?

ted c on February 9, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Hi ted c! Clever, clever statement!

silvernana on February 9, 2010 at 4:12 PM

“bailiwick”….?

Come on Ed will ya ?
I had to go look that up.

NeoKong on February 9, 2010 at 12:25 PM

born in the fifties, makes sense to me…

DanMan on February 9, 2010 at 4:45 PM

orange on February 9, 2010 at 3:07 PM

If you have to make up stuff no one here ever said to make your argument, perhaps your argument isn’t that strong.

Just a suggestion, if your argument isn’t that strong, perhaps you should get a better one. Just sayin.

runawayyyy on February 9, 2010 at 5:34 PM

If you have to make up stuff no one here ever said to make your argument, perhaps your argument isn’t that strong.

Just a suggestion, if your argument isn’t that strong, perhaps you should get a better one. Just sayin.

runawayyyy on February 9, 2010 at 5:34 PM

What did I make up?

orange on February 9, 2010 at 6:25 PM

The Lame Stream press CORPSE is beginning to rise from the dead!

Marco on February 10, 2010 at 12:53 AM