White House refuses to admit security breach in announcing underwear bomber cooperation

The Obama administration's inexplicable decision to tell the world that the Christmas Day Undy-bomber has started talking, putting Obama's politics ahead of national security, has raised the ire of at least one Republican Senator. As we reported earlier, a White House briefing earlier this week had the real world effect of warning al Qaeda to roll up any networks which Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab knows about.

Missouri Senator Kit Bond, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Thursday said in a letter to the White House that he was:

"deeply disturbed with the official handling of vital national security information regarding the recent cooperation by the Christmas Day bomber....

FBI Director Bob Muller (sic) personally stressed to me that keeping the fact of his cooperation quiet was vital to preventing future attacks against the United States... Twenty-four hours later, however, White House staff assembled members of the media to announce Abdulmutallab's cooperation and to laud the events that led to his decision to cooperate with law enforcement personnel."

As detailed in the earlier post, the timing of the White House briefing to which Bond referred was such that it almost certainly was approved by, if not conducted by, Barack Obama.

Bond continued his criticism of the White House's indolence about national security during a later appearance on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell:

MITCHELL: You're basically saying that what the White house briefings, the backgrounders, whatever else took place, have jeopardized possible operations on the ground. Is that your suggestion?

BOND: It's not my suggestion. That's what the intelligence community leaders told my staff, that's what Director Moeller told me. He urged us not to ask those questions.

MITCHELL: Didn't it come out in hearings, though... Didn't Dennis Blair, the head of the Director of National Intelligence make this public during the threat assessment testimony?

BOND: He was-- There was one question asked. It was asked of FBI Director Moeller. I tried to stop that question from being asked. The FBI Director at the time, maybe operating under new instructions answered, 'Yes, he is cooperating.' That's all that was said ...

But then the White White House went out and talked all about Abdulmutallab's family coming over and the fact that he had been talking for about three days. That is the information they told us the intelligence committee could not afford to have out because it could destroy their opportunities to pursue the information he gave them...

Using the information that Abdulmutallab was able to give us in his second round of questioning last week would have given us significant advantage in stopping further terrorist attacks. Had we been able to question him at the time of his arrest, rather than have him Mirandized, we could have gotten that information five weeks earlier.

This was unfortunate interference from the Department of Justice and in the White House in an ongoing intelligence investigation critical to our nation's safety.

The Obama machine immediately started knee-jerk pushback; Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that Bond owed the White House and law enforcement personnel an apology.

I don't know which is more breathtaking: that Obama has shown such utter capriciousness for his national security duties; or that Republicans are beginning to show signs of growing a backbone. Maybe Scott Brown's election has given them enough confidence to finally point out that the emperor's haberdashery is somewhat, uhm, lacking.

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