Thursday, May 20, 2010

US National Intelligence Director to resign over failure to stop terror plots

Dennis Blair, U.S. National Intelligence Director, is going to resign, evidently over his failure to detect terrorist plots. Blair will be remembered as the fellow who wanted to appoint Chas Freeman, a Saudi groupie and a fan of human rights suppression in China, to vet the National Intelligence Report.  Blair cannot really be blamed for the intelligence failures. U.S. intelligence reports are now forbidden from mentioning "Islam" and "Islamic." The reports must read something like this, "We have reliable information that a terrorist will blow up an airliner. We can't say anything about his motivation or identify his religion." Not much to go on there, is there? So nobody knew where to look for the terrorists.
Wait and see. The usual people will blame Blair's resignation on the "Zionist lobby."
Ami Isseroff
By Greg Miller
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 20, 2010; 6:20 PM
Dennis C. Blair is expected to offer his formal resignation Friday as the nation's intelligence director after a relatively brief tenure marred by failures of U.S. spy agencies to detect new terrorist plots and by political missteps that undermined his standing with the White House, U.S. and congressional officials said.
"We have been interviewing several strong candidates to be his replacement," a U.S. official said.
Blair, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was President Obama's surprise pick last year to serve as director of national intelligence, a position that put him in charge of carrying out Obama's campaign pledge to terminate controversial programs -- including the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods -- that had drawn condemnation around the world.
Much like his predecessors, Blair struggled to gain traction in a job that was created five years ago to solve systemic problems that had contributed to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. In the view of many experts, his office was given inadequate authority to accomplish the task. Blair lost turf battles to CIA Director Leon E. Panetta, was forced to retreat from personnel decisions, and made comments in public testimony that were sometimes seen as embarrassing to the administration.
But the timing of the announcement suggests that the administration had lost confidence in Blair after the agencies he oversees came under sharp new criticism for their failure to detect or prevent new terrorist plots. Among them were the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, as well as the failed car bombing of Times Square earlier this month.
The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a scathing new report of U.S. spy agencies' handling of the airline plot this week, documenting at least 14 distinct failures to take steps that might have prevented a Nigerian man from boarding the aircraft with a bomb hidden in his underwear.
Blair reportedly offered to resign during a meeting with Obama in the Oval Office on Thursday. ABC News was the first to report that Obama had accepted the offer, making Blair the highest ranking member of the administration so far to depart.


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