11:06 AM, Mar 11, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper is disputing the conventional wisdom on Russian incursion into the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. In an interview with WTOP Radio that is also posted on the DNI's website, Clapper insisted that the intelligence community's reading of the situation prior to Russia's military intervention was "not a failure by any stretch":
"I have lived through some genuine intelligence failures in my career and this was not a failure by any stretch," Clapper said. "We tracked (the situation in Ukraine) pretty carefully and portrayed what the possibilities were and certainly portrayed the difficulties we'd have, because of the movements of Russian troops and provided anticipatory warning of their incursion into Crimea," Clapper added.
During an expansive interview in his office, Clapper pointed out that, "We were following closely the political and economic developments in Ukraine. We spoke to it in our statement for the record at the time and as the situation unfolded with the Russians."
On February 27, Secretary of State John Kerry was publicly expressing optimism that calm would prevail. The following day, the day of Russia's invasion of Crimea (as the State Department would later refer to it,) State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked about Russia's military intentions towards Crimea:
QUESTION: So talking about reports – sorry. Do you have any independent confirmation yourselves within the Administration that there is yet any Russian intervention in [Crimea]?...
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything – any more details to share with you. We’re concerned about the same reports that you have seen, and obviously, we’re closely watching this internally as well.
QUESTION: So nothing – no independent knowledge of any Russian intervention in Crimea?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any independent information to share with you.
The WTOP report notes that "[d]uring a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, McCain, a Republican, said it was a "massive failure" that the U.S. intelligence agencies did not predict Russia's activities."
What happens when a political messiah fails?Mar 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 24 • By JAMES W. CEASER
Every student of American religious history has heard of the event known as “the Great Disappointment.” In 1818 William Miller, a former naval captain turned lay Baptist preacher, developed a new method for calculating biblical chronology to arrive at the conclusion that the millennium would take place sometime between 1842 and 1844. Finally published in 1832, Miller’s thesis quickly drew attention. A sect began to form, spreading from Miller’s home region in Eastern New York to New England and beyond. Millerism was born.
Congress prepares to undo one of its few worthy reforms. Dec 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 14 • By ELI LEHRER
After a decade-long run of bad weather that included Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Ike, and a host of other river valley and storm-surge floods, the 45-year-old National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) owes taxpayers about $25 billion that no analyst believes it will ever pay back. Meanwhile, by keeping rates far lower than the private market ever would for some flood-prone properties, the program encourages development in ways that endanger lives and harm the environment.
7:36 AM, Oct 8, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Eugene Robinson makes the case for Obamacare by writing, essentially, that it is a done deal. Time to get over it and move on. This is a corollary of the "law of the land" argument, which asserts that the thing has been written in stone and those who are still opposed and favor repeal should quit and acknowledge their defeat in its utter finality.
Rumors of Barack Obama’s political skill have been greatly exaggerated.Oct 10, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 04 • By NOEMIE EMERY
5:00 PM, Sep 2, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Via Greg Hengler, it's always fun to watch when when one of America's most disingenuous commentators mans up and admits the guy he's been defending for years is kind of an empty suit. Mmm, that's some tasty crow:
We were lucky Shahzad’s bomb fizzled. Next time we might not be as lucky.5:50 PM, May 4, 2010 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES and THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Sunday morning, Janet Napolitano twice suggested that the attempted attack in Times Square was a "one-off" event during an interview with ABC News. ABC's Jake Tapper had asked Napolitano directly about the possibility of international involvement, given the similarities (superficial, at least) between the crude bomb discovered in the Nissan Pathfinder in New York City and those used in attempted bombings in London and Glasgow in 2007. "Well, right now, we have no evidence that it is anything other than a one-off, but we are alerting state, local officials around the country, letting them know what is going on."
Calling the attempted attack a "one-off" wasn't directly responsive to Tapper's question. But it's clear that Napolitano, who also described the bomb as "amateurish," wanted to downplay the seriousness of the attack.
We can’t keep relying on Lady Luck.12:48 PM, May 4, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Faisal Shahzad, a 30 year-old naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, has been arrested as the chief suspect behind the failed car bomb attack on Times Square this past Saturday. The good news is, of course, that the bomb was fairly unsophisticated (showing a low-level of expertise), it failed to detonate (sparing the lives of New Yorkers and tourists), and the man believed to be responsible for assembling and deploying the car bomb was apprehended in short order. Authorities were able to pinpoint the would-be terrorist in impressively little time.
It is not all good news, however. Law enforcement and intelligence officials failed to stop the perpetrator from placing his bomb in the first place. We were simply lucky that onlookers weren’t killed. If this was truly the work of a rogue individual, a “one-off” event as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano suggested on Sunday, then that failure would be somewhat understandable. As law enforcement and intelligence professionals have repeatedly lamented, it is exceedingly difficult to stop a “lone wolf” terrorist.
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