Do we need a director of national intelligence?
The New York Post editorial board, with hilarious panache, goes after the clueless director of national intelligence:
On Monday, Diane Sawyer asked the White House's top anti-terrorism brains about the fallout from the sweeping arrests of 12 men in the UK early that morning.
Clapper's response: Silence. Crickets. The sound of one career, well, imploding. Pressed by Sawyer, he admitted he simply hadn't heard of the matter.
It was a mortifying lapse given Clapper's position: As DNI, he oversees all 16 US intelligence agencies and serves as chief intel adviser to the president. . . .
At least the White House has finally outlined its true security strategy.
Step 1: Pretend radical Muslims aren't at war with the US. When that fails . . .
Step 2: Close your eyes.
More shocking than the DNI's dimness was the nonchalant response of the White House and some Democrats. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) warned against exaggeration, saying that to "push this to any elevated status is a big, fat mistake." As big and fat a mistake as appearing utterly out to lunch on a major terror incident?
White House officials didn't exactly say, "Heck of a job, Brownie, er, Jimmy," but neither did they seem all that perturbed: "White House counterterrorism chief John O. Brennan said Clapper had been in classified Senate briefings about other subjects Monday when news broke that 12 terrorism suspects had been arrested in a London-based terror plot."
Putting aside the hapless Clapper, this should raise a more fundamental question: Do we need the DNI post at all? The elaborate reworking of our intelligence structure after Sept. 11 has made the system more cumbersome. But has it made us safer? Well, if it's no big deal that the DNI missed a significant terror incident, then maybe his job and many layers of bureaucracy can be eliminated.
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