U.S. Director of National Intelligence on London terror arrests: Er, what terror arrests?

posted at 8:12 pm on December 21, 2010 by Allahpundit

If you thought the gaffes in Diane Sawyer’s interview with our counterterror brain trust couldn’t get worse than “364 days a year,” skip ahead to 3:35 and brace yourself. It’s so bizarre that I’m actually searching for ways to rationalize it. Napolitano claimed yesterday that there was no evidence thus far to think the plot was aimed at the U.S., so … maybe they figured Clapper didn’t need to be briefed on it? That can’t be right, though. There were fully a dozen men arrested and, after all, British-based plots have targeted America before, so surely the DNI would be apprised. In fact, let’s approach the question this way: Why would the DNI ever not need to be briefed on a major unfolding plot? Napolitano and Brennan apparently knew the details; even if Clapper was in a meeting when the news broke, wouldn’t you pull him out of it or at least him fill him in on the details on the way to being interviewed by a major network news anchor? Sawyer herself is clearly amazed by his ignorance or else she wouldn’t have devoted valuable airtime to highlighting it.

Lucky for this guy that he’s a Democratic appointee. Otherwise this might have been worrisome! Exit question: Dude?

Update: A reader who used to work for Clapper e-mails to say it’s well known that he’s bad with the media but that he has no doubt whatsoever about the man’s competence. (He does, however, have serious doubts about Napolitano’s.) Where that leaves us vis-a-vis not knowing about the London arrests, though, I don’t know.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Exit question: Dude?

Hey, he only has so much time in the day and with all of those white conservative domestic terrorists he’s keeping an eye on, some minor details fall through the cracks. Thank goodness it isn’t a really important position like EPA administrator or FCC chairman.

jnelchef on December 22, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Must have happened on his day off.

Kissmygrits on December 22, 2010 at 9:28 AM

terryannonline on December 21, 2010 at 9:13 PM

It’s only his job to know these things. It’s absolutely amazing that you defend his incompetence.

As another poster wrote, “We are so screwed.”

dogsoldier on December 22, 2010 at 9:58 AM

They are too busy tracking conservative bloggers and finding places to set up re-education camps to worry about internal matters in the UK.

All part of restoring America’s image abroad!

Neo on December 22, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Best answer on short notice:

“London is a small country…it doesn’t present a threat to the US”

BobMbx on December 22, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Allah, whatever the reader says, the facts prove incompetence. The man didn’t have a clue. His staff should have advised him, but he is responsible for them. Apparently this clod doesn’t even watch a nightly newscast.

Ipso facto, incompetence.

We have only avoided another horrific attack by sheer chance and good luck. Our so-called national security team is incompetent and paralyzed by politically-correct polio across the board.

novaculus on December 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Tapper reporting WH admits Clapper had not been briefed.

MayBee on December 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM

It’s impossible to buy the statement Sawyer read at the end of the segment. She asked him about it a second time, and his response was that he didn’t know about it, not that he didn’t realize what she was referencing. The other guy tried to put that spin out there, but Clapper’s answer was unmistakable.

Esthier on December 22, 2010 at 11:22 AM

A reader who used to work for Clapper…

Well, so long as an anonymous source says everything’s OK…

Crawford on December 22, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Allah, whatever the reader says, the facts prove incompetence. The man didn’t have a clue. His staff should have advised him, but he is responsible for them. Apparently this clod doesn’t even watch a nightly newscast.

Yes; publicly reported information shouldn’t require a briefing. At the minimum the guy could have read Rantburg on his way to the studio and been more aware.

Crawford on December 22, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Comment pages: 1 2