So, it’s a week before Christmas and the world may not be perfect but things seem pretty good.
At least that’s the sense you might get from the “holiday message” sent out to members of the intelligence community by Dennis Blair, the Obama Administration’s Director of National Intelligence.
“The spirit of this special season is all around us,” Blair (or at least one of his staff wrote). “In whatever ways you choose to observe the holidays and the New Year, I hope they include some well-deserved rest and time to catch up with friends and family.”
And if you think that’s all kinds of warm and fuzzy, Blair was just getting warmed up.
“For those who are safeguarding the nation at home and abroad, I want to take this opportunity to express the gratitude and warm wishes of our entire intelligence community. Your service is a priceless gift.”
Then — just over two weeks later, on New Year’s Eve — Blair sent out a second message to the intelligence community, one that started out: “It has been especially challenging week for the Intelligence Community and the nation…. Our mission to protect Americans is unending.”
The warm and fuzzy is gone. What happened? Two things, I suspect.
One is obvious — the Christmas Day attempted attack on the flight to Detroit.
The second, I’m thinking, was President Obama telling the nation he’s going to “insist on accountability at every level.”
If Im working in some homeland security related position in the Administration, I’m hearing that and thinking I better get my act together.
Which backs to Blair’s second message, which went on to say: “the President was direct in his assessment that intelligence failures were a contributing factor in the escalation of this threat. This is a tough message for us to receive. But we have received it, and now we must move forward and respond as a team.”
In other words, no more warm and fuzzy.
“Al Qaida and its affiliate organizations, as well individual suicide terrorists, have observed our defenses and are designing future attacks to circumvent them” Blair continued. “They are doing so right now, as you are reading this message. These attacks will be harder to uncover, interpret and stop.”
Well, Mr. Blair, it’s amazing how an attempted terror attack and a warning from your boss about people being held accountable can kill your holiday buzz, huh?