On Dennis Blair’s resignation as director of national intelligence:
Remember when Abdulmutallab was captured in Detroit for trying to blow up the airplane, he was questioned for less than an hour, then he got his Miranda rights, and he said nothing for over a month. After that, the family arrived, he started talking.
At that point, the administration began leaking a lot of the information as a way to undo the political damage — because it had taken a lot of attacks (in that month when he wasn’t saying anything) for actually Mirandizing him and losing potentially important information about the terrorists he was with in Yemen.
So, once he started talking there were all kind of stories about his connections with Yemen, etc. What you heard Blair talking about was how dismayed he was by all those leaks, because if you‘re in intelligence and you’re getting all this information, you don’t want it to be publicized in a way that our enemies in Yemen are going to hear about it and take measures . . .
So, this was a fairly strong attack on the White House for using intelligence as a way to tart up its political position — which had been damaged by the Mirandizing issue — and to actually jeopardize American national security.
Even though he said it in fractured syntax, it was a very strong message and I think it really hurt his standing inside the White House.
On Rand Paul’s remarks on the Civil Rights Act:
This is not going to sink him, but it is a negative. If on the first day of the general election campaign you have to issue a statement saying I’m not in favor of repealing the Civil Rights Act, you have a problem. Why are you even discussing it?
There is a reason why in America libertarians are admired and their ideas are current, but they get half a percent of the vote when they actually want to govern. People don’t want this purist individualism actually in government.
And I think he should have had an easy answer saying: “The Civil Rights Act was one of the great achievements of our day and it made our country enormously better in every way. But… our real problem today, in part, [is that] because of the prestige that the federal government acquired as a result of the success on civil rights, it thought it could solve everything, and for the last 50 years we have been injecting it in every area of life, and I’m saying it’s not the way to approach things.”
But to actually debate the first principles about desegregation on day one of the campaign, this is a huge unforced error.