The National Security Agency may be bigger and badder than ever before, Federal agencies may be militarizing and expanding their law enforcement roles in unprecedented ways, local police departments may be lapping up the government’s cast-off tanks and riot gear under the guise of dealing with worst-case terrorism encounters, and the United States may be ready to sell the farm to court nuclear wild cards like Iran.
But don’t let anyone fool you: Whatever he may say to justify America baring its teeth at its own citizens while lying down like a lamb for our known enemies, President Barack Obama must have other motives at heart. According to the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, at the end of the day, Obama just isn’t all that interested in National security.
Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) told The Heritage Foundation last week Obama “denies reality and tried to wish things away” — when he even bothers to attend national security briefings at all.
The long and short of it is, the leadership starts at the top. And when the leadership denies reality and tries to wish things away, and creates a narrative that defies reality, it’s very hard to work in a bipartisan way. At the end of the day, National security issues above all should be bipartisan. I have attempted to govern my committee, as chairman of Homeland Security in a bipartisan way. In fact every bill that I’ve gotten out of my committee has passed in a bipartisan way, and I think that’s the way we need to govern. I think that’s important that we try to do that. Certainly, when it comes to National security issues we should. I just personally think this President is weak on national security, and I don’t think, frankly, he’s interested in it. It’s not where his interest lies, which is why he doesn’t attend many of his National security briefings.
McCaul’s remarks echo those of American Enterprise Institute fellow Marc A. Thiessen, who observed in an opinion piece for The Washington Post last year that Obama’s campaign rhetoric made him out to be a leader with a deep personal investment in matters of National security.
In reality, though, his handlers were observing a man whose scheduling choices suggested he couldn’t care less — so long as he could go along to get along.
“It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting,” Thiessen wrote:
The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.
…When Obama forgoes this daily intelligence meeting, he is consciously placing other priorities ahead of national security. As The Post story that the Obama White House sent me put it, “Process tells you something about an administration. How a president structures his regular morning meeting on intelligence and national security is one way to measure his personal approach to foreign policy.”
Indeed it is. So is how often he holds it. With President Obama, it seems, the regular morning meeting on intelligence is not so regular.