That President Obama has accepted the tendered resignation of his director of national intelligence (DNI), retired Navy admiral Dennis Blair, is cause for hope: Maybe — just maybe — a more complete and desperately needed housecleaning is underway in the senior ranks of this administration’s national-security apparatus.
While the exact reasons for Admiral Blair’s departure have yet to be fully explained, chances are they involved frustrations he and others felt with the office of DNI and its dysfunctional relationship to the rest of the intelligence community (IC). This was the predictable and predicted consequence of needlessly adding yet another layer of bureaucracy to the IC at the insistence of the 9/11 Commission.
Particularly problematic have been the epic bureaucratic struggles between the DNI and Leon Panetta, the director of central intelligence (DCI). In these fights and others — notably, those in which Mr. Panetta stood up for CIA interrogators and the Bush administration lawyers who gave them guidance in the difficult months following the 9/11 attacks — the DCI has generally performed better than might have been expected. (That is especially so given his years as a senior Democratic member of Congress from California and his tenure as Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff.) His is not one of the heads that should roll.
Among those whose should, however, is Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan, himself once considered a candidate for a top intelligence post — until, that is, he proved to be unconfirmable by the Senate. His consolation prize, to the country’s great detriment, was the double-hatted job of homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser.
Since he assumed these posts early in the Obama administration, Brennan has shown himself to be a man of abysmal judgment, ill-concealed arrogance, and serial incompetence. These traits have been in particular evidence following the series of actual or attempted attacks in the United States conducted by adherents to the seditious, supremacist program authoritative Islam calls “Shariah.” He has been party to the obscuring of the wellspring of such violent jihadism and an enabler in the U.S. government and elsewhere in America of its ostensibly “non-violent” counterpart: the stealth jihad the Muslim Brotherhood calls “dawa.”
In recent days, John Brennan has made comments that make plain how dangerously out of touch with reality he is. Taken together with his previous mis- and/or malfeasance, they constitute grounds for demanding his termination. In comments at an event sponsored by the Nixon Center in Washington, he declared that “Hezbollah is a very interesting organization. What we need to do is find ways to diminish their [sic] influence with the organization [sic] and to build up the more moderate elements within Hezbollah.”
More moderate elements? Such a formulation bespeaks an addled belief that we can safely ignore the determination of every member of that designated terrorist organization to achieve the destruction not only of Israel, but of all infidel governments in favor of the global theocracy commanded by Shariah. Such beliefs are as reckless as they are ignorant.
As Andy McCarthy has bemoaned, Brennan also demonstrated his true colors by declaring that “in all my travels, the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together.” This latest, particularly unctuous effort at appeasement of — er, “sensitivity” toward — the Arabs can only increase their contempt for this government and country. Those perceptions are likely to intensify the jihadists’ efforts to compel our submission to Shariah through violent means, as well as more stealthy ones.
America requires steady and competent hands in the wheelhouse of the ship of state as it traverses very treacherous international waters. Replacing Dennis Blair and John Brennan with individuals who actually comprehend the dangers we are facing and are capable of devising strategies for countering them would be important first steps towards making possible the sort of course corrections that are so urgently needed.
– Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and host of the nationally syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio.”