In the Arena

On Undiebomber

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Josh Gerstein has a very good piece, comparing the Obama Administration’s reaction to Undiebomber to the Bush Administration’s reaction to the shoe-bomber, Richard Reid. But I’d go a step further–and this is very important to remember: The Cheney-Bush Administration, lost in a prior paradigm, refused to take seriously warnings from the Clinton Administration–especially National Security Adviser Sandy Berger–about the danger posed by Al Qaeda. Cheney and Rumsfeld couldn’t imagine that a non-state actor could pose a significant threat, and so they fixed on two vestigial non-threats:

1. former cold-war rivals like Russia and China

2. threats to the oil supply like Saddam Hussein

They proceeded to ignore intelligence reports, including the famous one from the CIA, delivered to Bush while he was on a month-long vacation, in which Osama bin Laden’s intention to attack the U.S. was predicted.

I am not saying that they could have prevented 9/11…but they might have. And so it is truly disgraceful for Republicans–King, Hoekstra, Cheney et al–to be attempting to politicize this foiled terror attempt, especially in a year when the U.S. intelligence community successfully thwarted a number of terrorist plans.