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Obama Has "More Confidence" in Brennan?

Blair's out.

9:05 PM, May 20, 2010 • By MICHAEL ANTON
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I’ve never been a huge fan of Admiral Dennis Blair as Director of National Intelligence—nor of the institution of DNI, for that matter. A fine naval officer, Blair seemed out of his milieu as DNI, often unaware of basic facts that someone in his position should know. Part the problem is inherent in the DNI concept—the conceit that some all-seeing super-bureaucrat could, simply by virtue of high rank, a big staff and an even bigger budget, fix all the problems with America’s intelligence community. But some of the problems resided with Blair himself. The Obama administration has come to the same conclusion and asked Blair to resign. 

Obama Has "More Confidence" in Brennan?

John Brennan, seated at the right hand of Obama.

So far so good. But reading through the report by ABC’s Jake Tapper one comes across this hair-raising assertion: “… the White House made it clear that it had more confidence in others, such as counterterrorism and homeland security adviser John Brennan ...” 

More confidence in Brennan? Really? To understand how terrifying that assertion is, one does not even have to look much past this week. 

First, in prepared remarks in Washington, Brennan referred to his love for “al-Quds,” which happens to be the Arab revanchist name for the city that the rest of us call “Jerusalem.” This terminology is routinely used by Islamist terror groups to rally the faithful. For instance, as Andy McCarthy points out, “al-Quds Day"—every year an occasion for boisterous anti-Israeli demonstrations—“was actually started by Ayatollah Khomeini 27 years ago.” Also, the worst of the worst within the Iranian Revolutionary Guards—itself the worst of the worst within perhaps the world’s worst regime—are called the “al-Quds force.” Perhaps Brennan just thought he was being politically correct—you know, like the way we are all supposed to say “Mumbai” rather than “Bombay” nowadays. But I’ve never heard of a “Mumbai Martyrs Brigade.” Have you? 

This is not even the dumbest thing Brennan has said this week. At a conference in Washington, he said that the Obama administration is exploring ways to strengthen the hand of “moderate elements” within Hezbollah. This is the same Hezbollah that in 1983 blew up a Marine barracks, killing 299 American and French servicemen, that launched an unprovoked war against Israel in 2006, and that is responsible for dozens of attacks, kidnappings and other atrocities since its inception. For years, it’s been a staple of wooly-headed American thinking that if only we could find a way to reach out to Iranian “moderates” we could put the whole 1979 misunderstanding behind us. But this naivety never extended to Hezbollah and other outright terror groups—until now. Brennan’s proposal is a bit like assuming one can negotiate with “moderate” Nazis—itself a highly debatable proposition—and then looking to find them in the SS.  That’s not naïve; it’s insane. 

Earlier this year Brennan said that the 20% recidivism rate of the Gitmo detainees released up to that point was “not that bad.” See, he explained, the rate for American criminals sometimes approaches 50%. Well, yes, but—terrorists are not criminals.  Terrorists are by definition a special kind of mass murderer. Recidivism among, say, forgers is regrettable but among terrorists it can have cataclysmic consequences. What’s more, it’s not as though that “not bad” 20% rate is holding steady. It’s rising. A detainee released by the Obama administration in December of 2009 was already back in the terror game after only three months—far quicker than the 18 month average for most of the known terror recidivists so far. 

These are only a few of John Brennan’s greatest hits. His record of insouciance, political correctness, misleading statements and naivety is long and rich.

Maybe Admiral Blair deserved to be fired and maybe he didn’t. Without knowing more, we can’t know for sure. But we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a White House that has “more confidence” in John Brennan on the issue of terrorism is a White House that does not understand or take seriously the fight against terrorism.

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