According to the LA Times, John Brennan, the senior Obama counterterrorism official, declared there was “no smoking gun” in the Christmas Day Detroit bound bombing. Putting aside the frantic phone calls from the father — pardon me, Mr. Brennan, but that’s a big deal. There was no smoking gun found after Pearl Harbor or 9/11. There is almost never a smoking gun. There was no smoking gun in 26 of the 28 terrorist attacks foiled by the US since 9/11 (Abdulmutallab and Richard Reid were stopped by dumb luck). We built the post-9/11 security system because we never expect to have a smoking gun, because we expect the administration to connect-the-dots.
Then Brennan made it worse. He continued the White House line of placing responsibility anywhere but with the White House. “There was no piece of intelligence that said, ‘This guy’s a terrorist. He’s going to get on a plane,’” Brennan said. Later, he added: “It was the failure to integrate and piece together those bits and pieces of information.” Sorry, that’s not an explanation. It is not enough to blame the system and human error. There will always be human failures and system failures. Rather than holding people accountable after the fact; fixing the problem after the fact; and then moving on to the next issue; we would rather that the president just act like a war president 24-7-365.