High-level national security meeting at White House while Obama plays golf
I'm sure al-Qaeda is suitably impressed with the seriousness with which our president takes the threat of a terrorist attack in the next few days.
President Barack Obama kicked off his birthday weekend Saturday with a round of golf with friends and a getaway to Camp David.
Obama, who turns 52 on Sunday, left the White House just after 8 a.m. EDT -- that's unusually early for the half-hour motorcade ride to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland -- to squeeze in some golf before the celebration shifted to the presidential retreat nestled in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains.
Before leaving, officials said Obama's counterterrorism adviser updated him on a potential al-Qaida threat that led the State Department on Friday to issue a global travel warning to Americans and order the weekend closure of 21 embassies and consulates across the Muslim world.
The White House said the president's three golfing foursomes included some of his friends from Hawaii, where he grew up, and Chicago, where he lived before becoming president, along with current and former aides.
Meanwhile, back at the White House, the adults in the Obama administration met to discuss the most serious and specific terrorist threat to US interests since the 9/11 attacks:
"Early this week, the president instructed his National Security team to take all appropriate steps to protect the American people in light of a potential threat occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.
"Given the nature of the potential threat, throughout the week, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco has held regular meetings with relevant members of the interagency to ensure the U.S. Government is taking those appropriate steps.
"This afternoon, National Security adviser Rice chaired a meeting with the Principals Committee to further review the situation and follow-up actions.
"The president has received frequent briefings over the last week on all aspects of the potential threat and our preparedness measures.
"After today's principals meeting, the president was again briefed by Ambassador Rice and Ms. Monaco.
Attending that White House meeting was a who's who of intelligence and national security officials, including:
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
National Security Advisor Susan Rice
Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco
Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President Jeff Prescott
Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan
Director of the National Security Agency Keith Alexander
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen
Acting Assistant Attorney General John Carlin"
But no Barack Obama. This must be a rope-a-dope strategy as Obama's suicidally casual approach to the threat knocks AQAP off balance, scaring them off by dazzling them with his uncaring attitude.
It was Obama's birthday on Sunday. Does it matter that he spent 6 hours on Saturday playing golf rather than deal with the terrorist threat?
I guess we'll find out in the next few days.