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.