He finally said it. Barack Obama finally declared that we are at war.
He also admitted that there were intelligence failures. Government failures.
This afternoon my counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, John
Brennan, will discuss his review into our terrorist watch list system,
how our government failed to connect the dots in a way that would have
prevented a known terrorist from boarding a plane for America, and the
steps we’re going to take to prevent that from happening again.
I’m one of those nuts who is convinced there’s very little governments can do to prevent terrorist attacks. If there’s one thing terrorists are good at (aside from setting their junk on fire) it’s adapting. Our enforcement is more reactive. After 9-11, anything sharp was confiscated by TSA . After Richard Reid tried to ignite his own shoe, we were all forced to remove our shoes as a security precaution. When a bunch of goat-fuckers tried to mix fluids into something incendiary, we were prohibited from carrying such innocuous things as toothpaste on the plane.
No matter what we do, they’re going to adapt and try again. That’s their nature.
The only thing we can really do is improve the way we deal with intel prior to an attack.
First, I’m directing that our intelligence community immediately
begin assigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on
high-priority threats so that these leads are pursued and acted upon
aggressively not just most of the time, but all of the time.
We must follow the leads that we get, and we must pursue them until
plots are disrupted. And that means assigning clear lines of
Second, I’m directing that intelligence
reports, especially those involving potential threats to the United
States, be distributed more rapidly and more widely. We can’t sit on
information that could protect the American people.
directing that we strengthen the analytical process, how our analysis
— how our analysts process and integrate the intelligence that they
My director of national intelligence, Denny Blair,
will take the lead in improving our day-to-day efforts. My Intelligence
Advisory Board will examine the longer term challenge of sifting
through vast universes of — of intelligence and data in our
And, finally, I’m ordering an immediate
effort to strengthen the criteria used to add individuals to our
terrorist watch lists, especially the no-fly list. We must do better in
keeping dangerous people off airplanes, while still facilitating air
Do I think throwing more money at the problem to purchase new technologies will work? Not necessarily. Even the full body scan x-ray that shows passengers in their full glory wouldn’t have detected the Crotchbomber’s deadly maxi-pad. Only an orifice search could have detected the dildo bomber’s deadly stash last summer. I doubt anyone is willing to go that far.
Technologies ain’t going to cut it, people. Good old fashioned intelligence analysis will.
We are at war. We are at war against Al Qaida, a far-reaching network
of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly
3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again. And we
will do whatever it takes to defeat them.
It’s not just al Qaida. We’re at war with terrorism. We’re at war with those who sanction and support al Qaida. We’re at war with radicalism and violent fundamentalism.
But hey… it’s a start.