The era of fantasy-based policymaking is drawing to a close. My latest in FrontPage:
Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, submitted his letter of resignation on Wednesday, and the next day he told the House Select Committee on Intelligence that doing so “felt pretty good….I have 64 days left and I’d have a pretty hard time with my wife going past that.” Why? Is Mrs. Clapper opposed to intelligence policies based on politically correct fantasies and willful ignorance?
Nothing epitomizes more perfectly the Obama Administration’s consistent refusal to come to grips with the reality of the global jihad than Clapper’s embarrassing tenure as Director of National Intelligence.
One incident that took place in December 2010, four months after Clapper took office, epitomized his abject incompetence. British authorities arrested twelve jihadists who had been planning to set off bombs in a variety of locations; that same day, Clapper appeared on Diane Sawyer’s ABC show, on which Sawyer said to him that she expected he must be very busy with the London arrests. Clapper looked confused, and admitted that he had no idea what she was talking about. Arrests? A terror plot?
Had Sawyer been conducting a man-on-the-street interview, and Clapper was in reality the befuddled accountant he appears to be, he might be excused for having no idea that a large-scale anti-terror operation had just been carried out in London. But this was the Director of National Intelligence, and he was far less informed and up to speed on the situation than was Sawyer herself, or probably an entire legion of befuddled accountants.
Obama’s team ran interference for Clapper, claiming essentially that Clapper had been so involved with the London arrests that he was too preoccupied to answer Sawyer’s question properly, but that his display of cluelessness was no indication of…cluelessness.
But it was. Clapper showed that again in February 2011, when he claimed at the height of the Egyptian “Arab Spring” that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular,” a claim as absurd as it was inaccurate. Although the subsequent torrent of ridicule compelled the Obama camp to issue a correction, the subtext of Clapper’s statement was clear: the Obama Administration had no problem with Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, and was not only going to do nothing to stop it, but was going actively to enable it.
The Brotherhood that Obama worked so assiduously to aid is dedicated, of course, to establishing the rule of Islamic law not only in Egypt, but everywhere that it possibly can. And if that rather commonplace fact was too much for Clapper and his boss, they could have resorted to a much simpler indicator of the religious foundation of the Brotherhood’s political program: its name. It isn’t, after all, called the Arab Nationalist Brotherhood, or the Egyptian Brotherhood, but rather the Muslim Brotherhood. Its name itself shows that it is no more secular than the Christian Brothers religious order.
Clapper also appeared woefully (if not willfully) ignorant of the Brotherhood’s pro-Sharia agenda, and no doubt completely oblivious to the implications for the United States and the world of an Egypt governed by Islamic law.
There was, of course, more. In March 2011, Clapper told Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that Russia and China represented the greatest “mortal threat” to the United States.
Russia and China? Not North Korea and Iran, or the forces of the global jihad that grew steadily more aggressive while Clapper was Director of National Intelligence? Clapper’s statement sounded like a Rip Van Winkle who had been sleeping for twenty years or longer, and nobody had gotten around to clueing him in to the fact that the Cold War was over.
Had Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the Air Force and longtime intelligence professional, made any study in the area of national intelligence since 1985? Was he aware that the world situation has drastically changed since 1985? Had he had any kind of thought at all since 1985?
James Clapper is perhaps the most abysmally ignorant and unqualified individual ever to have held a position of so much responsibility. While he was Director of National Intelligence, Clapper repeatedly demonstrated that he had no idea about the nature of the world today, no sense of the genuine threats that face the United States, and no clue as to what to do about those threats.
Yet instead of firing him, Obama continually made excuses for him, explaining away his idiotic remarks, and running interference for him with the international media. What Clapper did to merit such solicitude is unclear, but the stakes were far too high for the nonsense and fantasy that Clapper purveyed. While he was Director of National Intelligence, Clapper made every American less safe. He epitomized the denial and willful ignorance that characterized the Obama administration’s approach to the jihad threat. In this time of swamp-draining, Clueless Clapper is leaving the stage not a moment too soon.