Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, tells National Review Online that he’s “disappointed” with President Obama following the president’s remarks this afternoon on the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253. “We almost lost 270 American lives on Christmas Day and the president has decided to review a watch list. This is about more than a watch list,” says Hoekstra. “It’s about leadership.”
Criticism of Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary, for her handling of the incident, “should be directed to President Obama, since she’s taking her lead from him on this,” says Hoekstra. “I think she’s made some terrible mistakes. Like many in this administration, she’s reluctant to use the word ‘terrorism.’ Though she may prefer the term, this was not an example of an almost ‘man-made disaster.’”
“Out of 300 million Americans, she is the only one who thinks the system is working when a guy with a bomb gets on a plane,” he says. “The other 299,999,999 of us know it’s not.” Obama, he adds, “needs to articulate a clear, concise strategy” to address “the threat of radical jihadists.”
“After eleven months in office, the president is still sending contradictory messages on national security,” says Hoekstra. “He says he wants to address the threats yet look at how he has responded to this, how he responded to Fort Hood, how he’s open to prosecuting folks in the CIA, how he’s closing Guantanamo Bay, and how he’s bringing terror suspects to New York City.” Such moves, he says, “make no sense” if one is “trying to build a strong national security policy.”
“The president may express his concern but his decisions are the statements that people remember,” says Hoekstra. In coming days, the congressman tells us that he will continue to call for an investigation into Flight 253 and the government’s homeland-security operations.