Surprise! London arrests did have US connection after all

posted at 1:03 pm on December 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When Director of National Intelligence James Clapper got stumped on national TV by a Diane Sawyer question regarding the arrest of a dozen terrorist suspects in the UK, the Obama administration attempted damage control by claiming that the arrests had nothing to do with “the homeland.” Janet Napolitano made the same argument on Sunday, trying to downplay Clapper’s lack of data (via Weasel Zippers):

NAPOLITANO: Well, let’s — let’s be fair. It — I knew. John Brennan knew. We also knew there was no connect that had been perceived to anything going on in the homeland and that we were in perfect connectivity with our — our colleagues in Britain.  So one of the things I think that should be very clear to the American people is that those of us in homeland security who needed to know, we knew.

There are two problems with that argument.  First, the DNI’s scope is not just the “homeland” — it’s global.  And the second problem is that the plot busted by the Brits included a threat against the American embassy in London:

The U.S. State Department confirms that the 12 terrorism suspects arrested in the United Kingdom last week had targeted the American Embassy in London. …

State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed to reporters today that U.S. Embassy officials in London “are aware of this, are working quite closely with British authorities and appreciate the high level of cooperation that we have with them, and are obviously taking suitable security precautions.”

When he was asked if the information had come first-hand from British authorities, he said, “I think you asked me if we were aware that we were on the targeting list? and I confirmed that.”

The State Department is also warning U.S. embassies around the world to review mail screening procedures after parcel bombs were presumably sent by an anarchist group to various embassies in Rome last week. Toner said, “We have notified all U.S. embassies worldwide to review current mail screening procedures and to continue vigilance when opening mail.”

Gee, doesn’t that appear to be something that the man in charge of American intelligence on a global scope should know right away?

This is not really an issue of Clapper’s competence, at least not directly.  It is, however, a matter of whether we have organized our intelligence community in a manner that facilitates rather than impedes communication, and whether the structure is manned by effective leaders.  Clapper hasn’t been around long enough to make a fair value judgment on the latter point with him specifically, but the entire DNI/NICC structure has been in place for several years.  In the past year or so, we have now seen two very public failures of communication at the highest levels of the organization, one just embarrassing (the Clapper interview) and one potentially deadly — leaving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab free to board a plane to the US even after his own family warned American intelligence about the danger.

This has another similarity to the Christmas Day attack, too.  Immediately afterward, the Obama administration rushed to declare that “the system worked,” and in fact Janet Napolitano fronted that effort as well.  Instead, we found later just how much the system didn’t work, just as we have apparently discovered this week.  Congress should schedule hearings on the problems created by its own reorganization and revisit the issues of intelligence coordination and streamlining as one of its top priorities in the 112th Session.


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Democrats == Liars.

Straight up. Unrepentant.

moochy on December 29, 2010 at 1:06 PM

And the second problem is that the plot busted by the Brits included a threat against the American embassy in London:

but they didn’t mean American-American…..

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 1:09 PM

The natural reaction of this administration is to lie and obfuscate at every turn. And when the lie is found out (and actually reported by the MSM) they lie some more.

NotCoach on December 29, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Janet Incompetano is an apt description.
She has tunnel vision. A singular focus on average American’s, Tea Party people, the traveling public, all are suspect in her eyes.

They cannot bring themselves to admit what the real problem is.

Kini on December 29, 2010 at 1:09 PM

There is no such thing as objective “truth”, there is only perception and that can be managed to bring about any result we desire. Remember, nothing to worry about; it’s only a marketing problem!

Lew on December 29, 2010 at 1:11 PM

If you haven’t started a backyard bunker then you are foolish.

These people at the top of our federal government don’t have a freepin’ clue what they are doing, they thought it was all going to be a big party and that things would sort themselves out. A lot of innocent people are going to get killed because of these idiots.

Bishop on December 29, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Clapper is just a figurehead. He has no power and no one in the administration cares about his opinion. They just had to have one because GWB had one. Otherwise they would have to answer for it if an attack hit.

Don’t you get it? Obama is afraid to do anything different then GWB on Homeland or foreign policy. The man is a big ZERO!

SayNo2-O on December 29, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Gee, doesn’t that appear to be something that the man in charge of American intelligence on a global scope should know right away?

Yes, unless, that is, there was a par-tay that was in need of attendance….

2010 Obama administration list of priorities
Vacation
Par-tays
Expensive good food
Denigrate Americans
Blame Bush
Pursue socialist policies
Lie
Cheat
Steal
Immigracion’
Terrorists
US Constitution

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Napalitano is sooooooo in over her head!

GarandFan on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

If you haven’t started a backyard bunker then you are foolish.
Bishop on December 29, 2010 at 1:11 PM

they won’t let me buy the plastic to blow a hole in the frozen ground yet.

upinak on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

It is, however, a matter of whether we have organized our intelligence community in a manner that facilitates rather than impedes communication, and whether the structure is manned by effective leaders.

Jamie Gorelick could not be reached for comment.

Rovin on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Congress should schedule hearings on the problems created by its own reorganization and revisit the issues of intelligence coordination and streamlining as one of its top priorities in the 112th Session.

Terror notification received
Brief the DNI
Then the press

stop.

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 1:15 PM

What about that Clinton guy who is in charge of the CIA? (I can’t think of his name right now. Help.) Is he in the loop? If not, why not? If he is, which I think he is, why isn’t he communicating with whoever needs to know? This whole thing stinks. 0bama is not looking out for us.

Mirimichi on December 29, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Napalitano is sooooooo in over her head!

GarandFan on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

she may be in over her head, but she’s got her arm sunk up to the elbow in a lot of Americans’ a$$e$.

Don’t Touch My Junk.

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 1:17 PM

they won’t let me buy the plastic to blow a hole in the frozen ground yet.
upinak on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

I have a backhoe you can use and it even comes with a nice Pioneer sound system.

You have to come and get it though, I’m not trailering anything up to that desolation where you live.

Bishop on December 29, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Napalitano is sooooooo in over her head!

GarandFan on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

…and she has a REALLY big head!

darwin-t on December 29, 2010 at 1:19 PM

I have a backhoe you can use and it even comes with a nice Pioneer sound system.

You have to come and get it though, I’m not trailering anything up to that desolation where you live.

Bishop on December 29, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Does it have that 6 inch wide, 6 foot long steel pick at the end? I can’t get through the permafrost without it.

upinak on December 29, 2010 at 1:21 PM

I’m reading the newest Tom Clancy novel… And having a difficult time keeping the incompetent political appointees and assorted leftist bureaucrats in the book separate from the ones in real life.

Unfortunately We don’t have a real life Jack Ryan waiting in the wings to set things right

LegendHasIt on December 29, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Napalitano is sooooooo in over her his head!

GarandFan on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

FIFY.

bigmacdaddy on December 29, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Does it have that 6 inch wide, 6 foot long steel pick at the end? I can’t get through the permafrost without it.
upinak on December 29, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Better, it has an industrial-grade hydraulic jackhammer; you could punch through carbon steel with it.

Bishop on December 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM

upinak on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

You can make shaped charges with conventional stuff too.

LegendHasIt on December 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Is there no one out there who can save us from Napolitano’s complete and total incompetence?!!!!!

pilamaye on December 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Napalitano is sooooooo in over her head!

GarandFan on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Good lookin’ woman, though. I think if she let her hair grow long, started wearing red pumps, a push up, and modeled a gauzy teddy, you guys would see things differently.

a capella on December 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Better, it has an industrial-grade hydraulic jackhammer; you could punch through carbon steel with it.
Bishop on December 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Cool, I always wanted one of those…. Although even with that, I bet it would take days to get through my layer of clay two feet down out at the gulch. I get about an inch deep and a bucket wide and long in hour with my little backhoe.

LegendHasIt on December 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM

The elite media will be all over this….

d1carter on December 29, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Thanks to these blind ideological children…

… some of us are going to die a premature and horrible death.

Seven Percent Solution on December 29, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Good lookin’ woman, though. I think if she let her hair grow long, started wearing red pumps, a push up, and modeled a gauzy teddy, you guys would see things differently.

a capella on December 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM

There ain’t enough booze in the land, dude.

cntrlfrk on December 29, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Take it easy on Clapper. He was probably in intense meetings with his Muslim handlers advisers, measuring the incredibly high concentrations of tolerance to be found in Islam.

BL@KBIRD on December 29, 2010 at 1:36 PM

It is clear that both Napalitano and Brennen deliberately withheld information from the DNI in an area that was not in their lane. DHS only has direct authority in the United States. Overseas intelligence falls under the authority of the DNI through his oversight responsibilites for the CIA, NSA, NGA and DIA. The chain of reporting should have come through the the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) or DIA’s Joint Intelligence Task Force for Counterterrorism (JITF-CT) Lt Gen Clapper is normally very good to his staff and will answer even the most junior person’s E-mail himself but I suspect someone on his staff probably will get fried for not bothering to inform him of the arrests prior to his appearance on a prime time national news broadcast.

Under the Obama adminstration the DNI has been reduced from its already minor state to figurehead and scapegoat status to protect Obama’s cronies like Napalitano and Paneta (He’s a pretty good DCIA) I have it from the proverbial reliable source that Lt Gen Clapper initially turned downed the job but like a good soldier (airman?) he relented after a personal appeal from the President. He is probably regretting that choice now.

jerryofva on December 29, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Good lookin’ woman, though. I think if she let her hair grow long, started wearing red pumps, a push up, and modeled a gauzy teddy, you guys would see things differently.

a capella on December 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Yes we would see Janet Reno with long hair, wearing red pumps, a push up, and modeling a gauzy teddy.

Wade on December 29, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Good lookin’ woman, though. I think if she let her hair grow long, started wearing red pumps, a push up, and modeled a gauzy teddy, you guys would see things differently.

a capella on December 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Gaaa! Brain bleach, I know it is around here somewhere!

/Thanks for that visual

AZfederalist on December 29, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Which is worse, didn’t know, or did know but what they did know was not accurate, or was incomplete?

I would rather have a truthful bureaucrat say they didn’t have any information on [something] right now, but would find out, rather than a presumed leader claim to know all about it and be wrong about what they thought they knew.

Skandia Recluse on December 29, 2010 at 1:39 PM

DNI and DHS both have the problem of being too large a system to be responsive and accountable. Both agglomerated pre-existing large bureaucracies into them, and both groups are dysfunctional because of this: there is an extra layer of finger pointers between those doing the job and those accountable for the information.

If you want an accountable bureaucracy it must be small, have few layers of ‘administrators’, and be able to operate across multiple agencies to get a job done. You do not do that by building up large bureaucratic structures which only adds in layers of bureaucrats, decreases responsiveness and reduces accountability due to the larger number of finger pointers. If we can’t trust the actual IC and DHS components to do their jobs, then the problem isn’t with ‘oversight’ but with too much bureaucracy to start with.

Both DNI and DHS need to go as systems and their underlying components given the capability to work with each other and held directly accountable for that work. This would also be cheaper… but that is a side-light to a smaller bureaucracy.

ajacksonian on December 29, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Obama administration = Fluster Cluck

Laura in Maryland on December 29, 2010 at 1:49 PM

The system worked!

Kenosha Kid on December 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Isn’t it time someone stepped down already? Oh, right. We’re dealing with the Obama administration… everyone believes they deserve their jobs and a pay raise.

MeatHeadinCA on December 29, 2010 at 1:59 PM

“Brownie, you’re donin’ a hellava job!”

flytier on December 29, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Previously, our hope was that people like Clapper could help Napolitano, who was in over their head.

But it turns out that our entire Executive Branch may be in over their head.

hawksruleva on December 29, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Whoops…

Khun Joe on December 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

We also knew there was no connect that had been perceived to anything going on in the homeland.

Well yeah, it’s not like terrorists fly around the globe or anything!

Oh wait…

PattyJ on December 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Heckuva job Clapper!

OxyCon on December 29, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Oxy:

You are an ignorant slut!

jerryofva on December 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Wrong. Terrorists and US Constitution are not on the list of priorities at all.

antisocial on December 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

a capella on December 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM

The goggles! They do NOTHING!

VekTor on December 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

a capella on December 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM

You started the New Year celebrations already?

antisocial on December 29, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Maybe they didn’t want him to know. What better way to have a crisis than a DNI who’s not in the loop. If there happened to be a terrorist attack on the homeland and he wasn’t prepared because he didn’t know, our dear leader could throw him under the bus.

Kissmygrits on December 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

London arrests? What London arrests?

Buttercup on December 29, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Terrorists and US Constitution are not on the list of priorities at all.
antisocial on December 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

The Obama admininistration has made abundantly clear that they are only interested in stamping out HOME GROWN American terrorists – before they can begin to do any harm.

But this event – as have nearly all others in recent years – involved only MUSLIM TERRRORISTS. And, to the best of my knowledge, no one in the Obama Administration has even uttered that phrase, let alone expressed any interest in stopping it.

logis on December 29, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Ding! Ding! Ding! we have a winner.

Mr. Gritts gets it.

I know Denny Blair, Denny Blair is a friend of mine, and you Mr. Clapper, are the next Denny Blair.

jerryofva on December 29, 2010 at 2:34 PM

I know Denny Blair, Denny Blair is a friend of mine, and you Mr. Clapper, are the next Denny Blair.

jerryofva on December 29, 2010 at 2:34 PM

I felt a little sorry for Clapper when I heard he was being appointed. But then I thought, why is he taking the job – doesn’t he realize it’s a fall guy position?

Otis B on December 29, 2010 at 2:42 PM

2010 Obama administration list of priorities
Vacation
Par-tays
Expensive good food
Denigrate Americans
Blame Bush
Pursue socialist policies
Lie
Cheat
Steal
Immigracion’
Terrorists
US Constitution
Progressive/socialist interpretation of or ignoring outright the US Constitution

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

FIFY

Amendment X on December 29, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Please tell me we’re not just gonna take Janet’s word that she knew ANYTHING in a timely manner.

I don’t buy this for a second. She said what she said after she realized what a screwup had happened. AFTER she had been informed, not only of the DNIs ignorance, but also of the arrests in the first place.

In other words, her claim that she and someone else in the national security arena had full knowledge of the arrests when (before?) the DNI was quizzed was only made to cover the administration’s ass. Every single statement on this matter has been a bald faced lie.

runawayyyy on December 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM

How long before the “Homeland” becomes the “Fatherland”? Or the “new Mother Russia”?

gbear on December 29, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Are they lying just as a matter of routine or are they really this incompetent?

DSchoen on December 29, 2010 at 3:53 PM

In other news… our current U.S. administration is a gaggle of dishonest bumbling fools, water is wet, and the sky is blue.

FlatFoot on December 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Bah! None of them knew what was going on on London. I believe that other countries are holding back on what they tell our amateurs so we can’t screw it up!

Vince on December 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Yes, unless, that is, there was a par-tay that was in need of attendance….

2010 Obama administration list of priorities
Vacation
Par-tays
Expensive good food
Denigrate Americans
Blame Bush
Pursue socialist policies
Lie
Cheat
Steal
Immigracion’
Terrorists
US Constitution

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 1:14 PM

You forgot about Green Tee Parties (no spelling mistake!)

It’s a high priority to plug that d@mn hole, all 18 of them!

Steve Z on December 29, 2010 at 4:30 PM

And Obama insisted that Islam is a beautiful peaceful religion.

SilentWatcher on December 29, 2010 at 4:38 PM

The only thing that has saved us for the past nine years is that the terrorists have been even more incompetent than our bureaucrats.

Sooner or later, there’s going to be a terrorist with an IQ higher than room temperature and thousands of innocent people will be killed. I fear that day will be sooner rather than later.

bw222 on December 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

This is a return to Clinton the era communications where the FBI wasn’t allowed to share information with the CIA which culminated in losing the World Trade Center and 3000 people just to save Clintons a$$ from getting caught being with whores.

If it wasn’t for incompetence this administration would have no competence at all.

More Americans will die as a result of these clowns thinking that they can do no wrong.

Where will the media be then? Still rooting for the murderers and the democrat enablers!

toongoon on December 29, 2010 at 5:31 PM

we were in perfect connectivity

Best government-speak of the week.

LASue on December 29, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Ed: Why are you so quick to assume that the problem is with the way the department is organized rather than because of the people in the department? We have seen nothing from the individuals that suggests competency. If “the system did not work” it is perfect bureaucratic thinking for you to suggest looking at the bureaucratic structure rather than the people running it.

GaltBlvnAtty on December 29, 2010 at 5:42 PM

If “the system did not work” it is perfect bureaucratic thinking for you to suggest looking at the bureaucratic structure rather than the people running it.

GaltBlvnAtty on December 29, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Well of course we need another Bureau to watch over and coordinate the other Bureau, a few new undersecretary of something and a new czar or two wouldn’t hurt either.

whbates on December 29, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Hoooooooray! These people are going to run our healthcare. We’re not f*(ked or anything.

Branch Rickey on December 29, 2010 at 6:07 PM

My letter to both organizations follows
————————————-

Please reconsider your organization’s decision to forego participation at CPAC because the organization GOProud will be allowed to participate. Acknowledgement and submission to a biblical/divine injunction against homosexuality does not abrogate an equally biblical/divine injunction against human judgement one over another. This decision to shun a political organization (not a religious organization) because of GOProud reflects poorly upon Christianity. (Refusal to associate with an apostate religious organization would be altogether different.) Jesus loved sinners at large in the world. The Family Research Council’s decision communicates particular disdain for these sinners and for sinners in general.

This decision is politically divisive during a time when all holding their form of conservatism are needed to secure the defeat of liberals, whom are predominantly Democrats. Protection of Social Conservatism is primarily about securing a conservative judiciary. To accomplish this conservatism needs the Senate and the Presidency. Please choose unity for these purposes. Thus conservatism wins.

Sincerely,

Joe Conservative
somewhere, AZ
(hetero male prone to mild bouts of homophobia)

exdeadhead on December 29, 2010 at 6:42 PM

oops, wrong thread :-)

exdeadhead on December 29, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Clap On, Clap off, the Clapper!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XUOhjW2AXM

The whole Administration is a joke.

And will get Americans killed to preserve their Grand PC farce.

profitsbeard on December 29, 2010 at 11:15 PM