Why was Russia’s security service invited to Obama’s terrorism conference, but the FBI director wasn’t?

The State Department wants your input on how best to fight “violent extremism.” Seriously. They’re crowdsourcing some ideas. They even have a cutesy faculty lounge graphic to go along with the campaign:



Isn’t that just… academic. Whatever you do, don’t perform an unfiltered Google image search for “ISIS horrors” before replying. That might cloud your judgment a tad, and they’re looking for serious responses only.

This is part of what we’ve been led to believe is a thoughtful effort to address the root causes of Islamic violence (just don’t call it that), which culminated this week in a summit on extremism in the president delivered a series of symposium-style addresses on the topic. The professor was back in his element, and he clearly enjoyed every minute he spent shedding the constraining yoke of his role as commander-in-chief and donning the more familiar and comfortable academicals.

But this deeply serious conference was perhaps slightly undermined by the fact that the White House declined to invite the nation’s chief counterterrorism enforcement official, FBI Director James Comey.

The second clue indicating that this event was more about puffing up the president ego, and those of his coterie of flatterers, was the fact that Russian Federal Security Service Director Aleksandr Bortnikov was invited.

On Friday, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl probed White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest about the strange lapse in judgment that led the White House to fail to invite the nation’s chief counterterrorism official to what was ostensibly a counterterrorism conference.


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“We wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a perception that this conference was overly focused on law enforcement tactics,” Earnest said.

Well, the White House is in no danger there.

Earnest added that the White House did, however, invite “his boss,” Attorney General Eric Holder.

When Karl asked what kind of message it sends for the head of the successor organization to the KGB attend this conference but not the director of the FBI, Earnest blamed Russia. He insisted that the United States extended an invitation to Moscow, and the Kremlin decided that it was in their best interests to send a delegate from the FSB to attend this conference (which, by the way, makes perfect sense from Moscow’s perspective).

“Was there any hesitation of having an official there from Russia given that he is on the European Union sanctions list related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?” Karl asked.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Earnest replied dismissively.

Clearly, this is a deeply serious administration.

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