On Wednesday, national security adviser Gen. James Jones warned that we would feel “a certain shock” at revelations in a White House report on what the Obama administration is calling the “failed Christmas terrorist attack.” He was referring to the breakdowns that allowed a 23-year-old Nigerian-born, al-Qaida-trained suicide terrorist to nearly bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit. But the stunning information isn’t learning “what did we know and when did we know it” leading up to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempt to detonate a bomb concealed in his underwear. The greatest cause for alarm is in what has happened since.
On Thursday evening — after multiple delays — the president stood before a teleprompter in the State Dining Room of the White House to deliver brief “Remarks on Strengthening Intelligence and Aviation Security.” He took no questions.
Then, in a “news blitz” that continued on and off the record for more than two hours, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, John Brennan, assistant to the president for counterterrorism, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs provided additional details on what went wrong and the “reforms and corrective steps” needed to prevent a recurrence. Though the so-called mainstream media showered the presentations with accolades, little of what was said Thursday was reassuring. Some of it was downright disingenuous.