Let me say this without reservation, despite the left-wing assault when I twittered it: I do not doubt that more Americans will die at the hands of terrorists under the watch of Barack Obama than under the watch of George W. Bush.
Back on January 8th, I wrote
General Michael Hayden and John O. Brennan are career guys. They are not partisans. I could not tell you if either one was a Republican or Democrat or even if they voted.
They are professionals. But because they are connected to the Bush administration and the War on Terror, Obama is throwing them out.
These are the men who have kept us safe and alive for eight years. It was not Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld forcing policy positions on the intelligence community. It was the intelligence community making recommendations that were embraced by Cheney, Rumsfeld, and ultimately the President.
In Barack Obama’s rush to release memos outlining the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Bush administration upon recommendation by the intelligence community and approval by the Department of Justice on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others, the Obama administration has curiously refused to release two key details: (1) that the enhanced interrogation techniques were highly effective at revealing crucial, life-saving intelligence and (2) that the techniques were only approved after the events of September 11, 2001.
They want us to know that the Bush administration implemented interrogation techniques Barack Obama disapproves of, the people who allowed those techniques might be subject to prosecution, but will not reveal what data was gathered or the justification for the techniques.
Why? Because the American people might realize just how effective and the enhanced interrogation techniques were. For example, water boarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed revealed enough data to prevent a second wave attack against Los Angeles, California.
Dick Cheney started calling for the release of the information yesterday.
What is really noticeable is that after Barack Obama released the memos, he raced to the CIA to do damage control with the spies whose work he just undermined.
Well, the damage control efforts did not work. Someone released a memo from Admiral Blair, the Director of National Intelligence. Adm. Blair said the enhanced interrogation techniques were effective and yielded valuable information. Funny, when Barack Obama released Adm. Blair’s memo, he left that part out, but the New York Times got a leaked copy.
President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.
“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday. . . .
Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”
Barack Obama is happy to throw real men under the bus who made the tough decisions and did the dirty work to keep us safe. He is happy to undermine our intelligence efforts to placate the left. And he is willing to leave out key details Americans might want to know about the effectiveness and necessity of the techniques.
How many Americans will die because of Barack Obama’s weak national security leadership?
By the way, when I had lunch with Vice President Cheney back in January, we discussed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Here’s the relevant part of that conversation:
Many of the administration’s opponents have never let go of the belief that terrorists could be prosecuted. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the best example: the dividing line between the Bush administrations admirers and its most vehement critics falls along not just party lines, but separates those whose views are legalistic and academic and those who view war pragmatically.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed belonged to Osama bin Laden’s inner circle inside Al-Qaeda: he was the operational planner behind the 9-11 attacks. On March 1, 2003, the Pakistani ISI captured him. He eventually landed in Guantanamo Bay. Cheney pointed out that very little was known about Al-Qaeda in the early days of the War on Terror. People forget that. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, having gone through enhanced interrogation, provided “a basic database of information on Al-Qaeda,” according to the Vice President. The sheikh provided information on where Al-Qaeda was located, how it received its funding, how it trained, etc. Without that information, which would never have been obtained via a judicial system prosecution, the United States would have been seriously set back in the early advancement of the war.
I stand by what I wrote on January 8th:
That Obama is sweeping out career intelligence officers is a clear sign he intends to clear out the policies these intelligence officers advocated and implemented — the very same policies that kept us safe for eight years.
But there is an additional, very serious issue at stake here.
The low level guys, the Jack Bauers if you will, are seeing all of this. They see a President right now who made tough decisions in secret and stood by those decisions when they became public, even though those decisions were hugely unpopular. The low level guys intrinsically knew they could kill bad men in undisclosed locations and be supported if the lights came on.
These same men see the incoming President unwilling to stand behind one of their own — a career CIA officer in John O. Brennan. It is an unspoken message to all of them that should they take the bold action needed to keep freedom secure, they may not be backed up by President Obama should the actions come to light.
They will therefore return to their state of being prior to 9/11. And darkness will again start creeping from the shadows.
Barack Obama is playing a dangerous game; a game that will probably see many of us killed. And we should not be shy about saying so.