George Pataki: The Obama Administration’s Systemic Failure on Terrorism
Following the Christmas Day near-disaster on an international flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, President Obama referred to a “systemic failure” of our nation’s intelligence sharing. He is right in referring to a systemic failure, but it is not just in intelligence sharing. From day one, the Obama Administration’s anti-terror policies have amounted to a systemic failure that have placed our country’s security in grave jeopardy. As one who has seen and experienced the consequences of prior failures up close, I am urging the Administration to drastically change its approach to defending America.
Virtually every decision this Administration has made has placed American security at greater risk, since refusing from the very beginning to even acknowledge the existence of a War on Terror, or to call enemy combatants terrorists.
It is time for the Administration to wake up and smell the explosives.
It is time for them to acknowledge their mistakes and change course. Let me outline five specific actions that the president should take:
First, the decision to return six terrorists to Yemen last month was a mistake that should not be repeated. The Pentagon reported this week that one in five terrorists released from Guantanamo are either suspected or confirmed to have returned to the battlefield in places like Afghanistan. The president should suspend his effort to shut Guantanamo until we are certain of a secure alternative facility to hold all detainees.
Second, end the wrong-headed investigation of our own CIA officials. Against the strong recommendation of CIA Director Leon Panetta, the Obama Administration has begun an investigation into CIA agents who interrogated terrorists, even though this action was rejected time and again by prior Justice Department officials. The September 11th attacks were largely the result of a weak intelligence apparatus, and this Christmas Day near-disaster again was again a failure to appropriately share intelligence. The decision to investigate those devoting their lives to protecting us is an example of left-leaning political correctness run amok and greatly hurts morale at that agency at a time when we need a strong CIA more than ever.
Third, treat our military with respect and honor, not as criminals. Yes, we need our military to be professional, respectful and honorable, and they are. But to court-martial Navy Seals — among the bravest of the brave, who are willing and prepared to die for our country — because a barbaric terrorist complains of a bruised lip is absurd and unconscionable. What’s next? Assault charges against the brave passenger who foiled the Christmas Day bomber? We count on our military professionals to protect us. They should be able to count on their government to support and stand with them against America’s enemies.
Fourth, reverse the decision to treat Khalid Sheik Mohammad as a criminal defendant instead of a terrorist. He was captured while continuing to fight a war against us that he acknowledges, even if the Obama Administration refuses to acknowledge the same. As the mastermind of the September 11th attacks, he does not belong in our civilian court system and should be prosecuted under the military tribunal system created for this purpose. To give this butcher and his followers a global media forum to act like victims and spew their hate defies logic. It will inflame anti-American actions across the globe. To show the world such a weak, politically correct response to terrorists makes America and Americans less safe. This is an unprecedented, dangerous mistake and I implore President Obama to reverse this horrible decision before it is too late.
Finally, fire Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and replace her with a competent professional. I have met Secretary Napolitano and found her to be a perfectly nice, reasonable person. But on homeland security, she like the rest of the Obama Administration has been consistently wrong. From confidently asserting “the system worked” in the wake of the Christmas Day near-disaster, to her previous assertion that returning American servicemen and women were prone to right-wing terrorism and presented possible threats to our safety, she has consistently proven that she does not get it and is not up to the challenge of protecting Americans from terror threats.
I could go on. Failure to let Army officials know of the potential dangers prior to the Fort Hood massacre; calling the Christmas day bomber an “isolated extremist” although he was associated with the same radical Yemeni Islamist cleric who instructed the murderer at Fort Hood; issuing a hard timeline for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan at the same time as we are implementing a limited surge… The point is clear. Every week adds more to the growing list of missteps and mistakes made by the Obama Administration that greatly weaken American security and undermine our ability to identify threats and prevent terrorist attacks.
By taking the five steps outlined above, the president would demonstrate to the American people and the world that he understands the threats to our security and is willing to do what it takes to defend and protect our country.
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