Obama admits security “screw up,” but some wonder who’ll pay
President Barack Obama may have hoped to limit the political fallout from last month’s attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner by admitting there was a “screw up.” Will firings follow? Some think Obama’s unusually sharp rhetoric raises the odds that heads will roll.
One such observer is U.S. Rep. Peter King, an influential New York Republican.
“If the situation is as bad as the president says it was, as far as so many dots not being connected, so many obvious mistakes being made … I would think once the president set that stage, that to show that he’s serious, someone will have to go now,” King told ABC’s Good Morning America.
But the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee says he can’t tell which official should pay because the Obama administration hasn’t let Congress know who did (or didn’t) do what, when.
“There are so many moving parts here,” King said. “The president has not disclosed anything.”
According to King, that means the ax could fall on anybody at the top of the U.S. national security leadership: the secretary of homeland security; the directors of national intelligence, CIA, NSA, NCTC; or various White House advisers.
Whatever happens on the firing front, Obama won’t see the real political fallout until November when the congressional elections decide who controls Congress in 2011 and 2012 — a period that runs straight through the next presidential election.
Republicans are already using the attempted bombing to make voters think the president and Democrats are soft on security.
Meanwhile, Democrats face other challenges, including the impending retirements of Senate stalwarts Christopher Dodd and Byron Dorgan. Their departures could pose a direct security threat to the fragile 60-member Senate coalition that Democrats need to push through Obama’s legislative agenda against near-monolithic Republican opposition.
Photo Credits: Reuters/White House handout (Obama and his national security team); Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Dodd and Dorgan)