Tom Kean: Abdulmutallab “probably did us a favor”

Via CNN:

Washington (CNN) – The man who led the federal government’s inquiry into the intelligence lapses leading up to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks said Sunday that the Obama administration is plagued by the same problems the Bush administration had more than eight years ago.

Thomas Kean, the Republican who chaired the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, said Obama counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan had sounded “a bit defensive,” in an interview that had just aired on CNN’s State of the Union.

Kean said Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian who failed in his attempt to set off an explosive on an airplane about to land in Detroit, “probably did us a favor.”

“We had an administration which was not focused, as it should be, on terrorism and that’s understandable,” Kean said. “They were focused on health care and global warming and the economy. That’s very understandable. Secondly, we weren’t really focused on Yemen and the terrible things that are happening there. Now we are and that’s a good thing. And, thirdly, there were holes obviously and the [intelligence gathering] system wasn’t working well. We found out it wasn’t working well and the president understands it’s not working well and now we’re focused on fixing it.”

Kean directly repudiated Brennan’s earlier assertion that the circumstances that allowed AbdulMutallab to board a U.S.-bound plane on Christmas Day were different from those that led up to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“It’s not like 9/11,” Brennan had said earlier on State of the Union, adding that the “system didn’t work as it should have” due to “lapses” and “human error.”

“There wasn’t an effort to try to conceal information,” Brennan also said in reference to the well-chronicled competition and turf wars between security agencies prior to the 2001 attacks that was later blamed for the failure to prevent them.

Kean disagreed.

“He’s wrong when he says this wasn’t like 9/11,” Kean told CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger.


Here’s video of Kean’s remarks:

Of course, CNN was very helpful in pointing out that Kean is a “Republican” so that will mean the Usual Suspects will go after him even more so than they would have had this been the Democrat co-chair of the Commission, Lee Hamilton, who currently has a spot on President Obama’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. Of course, what TUS will conveniently forget in the midst of their outrage over the fact that anyone would “dare” say such a thing is the fact that Kean was part of a commission that, frankly, was a waste of taxpayer money because it wasn’t designed to actually help future national security operations conducted in the name of the United States both home and abroad. It was designed to the blame for 9-11 could be sprinkled around to everyone so that no one felt left out, and so that no one – chiefly, the Bill Clinton administration, was given the lion’s share of the blame. Kean and Hamilton demonstrated this attitude every chance they got. In short, what this menas is that Kean is in no way a “partisan gunslinger” out to alienate that Obama administration.

That being said, Kean is absolutely right here – except on the issue of it being “understandable” that global warming and healthcare “reform” were priorities for this administration. The highest priority of any US President and his administration, first and foremost, should be the safety and security of every American citizen, both here and overseas. For all the hopes many of us had that the Obama administration would reluctantly come to the same conclusion, the incident with the Detroit-bound plane – and even more so the embarassingly weak response to it – has shown us more so than any other national security incident/decision that has happened this year that they have not.

As I wrote to a friend earlier today, this President and his administration are more interested in appeasing Europe – and impressing them – than they are in the security of this country. Or, maybe a better way to put it is that they think they can appease Europe and impress them while at the same time tear down the national security measures Bush put in place and still keep us safe. It’s a dangerously naive view, and one that could very well make the next Islamofascist terrorist(s) a martyr(s) to his(their) cause – that is, in the event that he/they kill hundreds or maybe thousands more Americans in one or more terror attacks here at home.

I pray I’m wrong, and I pray that from this point forward the administration is, as Kean suggested, taking the threats from Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist outfits very seriously.

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