Dick Cheney went crawling to Rose Garden speech troll Daily Caller to whine about Obama last night, claiming Obama didn’t give any credit for the Osama get and – wait for this one – Obama isn’t reading his intel and that’s why he doesn’t know that people are offended that he is taking credit for the Osama get.
“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.” Cheney got his info from a column by a Marc Thiessen, a former Bush administration speech writer, who wrote a book defending enhanced interrogation (so you can see how unbiased he is), which claimed that Obama had not attended even half of the daily presidential briefs since he took office.
Thiessens’ confusion seems to emanate from the fact that this President sets his own schedule and likes to read the intel himself, rather than have it read to him.
Thiessen assumed that because the President didn’t attend all of the meetings where intel was read aloud, he wasn’t reading it. Thiessen stuck his Poujadist chest out on the Washington Post to announce that his boss had almost attended them all. Thiessen must not realize that he is making the argument against attending the meetings with that statement, as Bush’s record is nothing short of shameful in the intel department.
Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.
That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.
Obama’s national security record speaks for itself, and it says that whatever Obama is doing is working better than Thiessens’ boss’ approach, but of course, that is the entire reason Republicans are scrambling on the anniversary of 9/11 to smear the President in an election year. Simultaneously, they take sour refuge in screaming that any note taken of their failures is politicizing a tragedy. Republicans are also busy trying to distract from Romney’s failure to mention the troops in his convention speech, and indeed this morning the Romney campaign referred to foreign policy as a “distraction”.
Politico reported on President Obama’s schedule and how he takes his intel, “The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor wrote in an e-mail. “He receives and reads his [Presidential Daily Brief] every day, and most days when he’s at the White House receives a briefing in person. When necessary he probes the arguments, requests more information or seeks alternate analysis. Sometimes that’s via a written assessment and other times it’s in person.”
And then came the schooling:
The president also has frequent national security meetings beyond the daily briefing, and would also be briefed on the latest intelligence before meeting with a foreign leader, for example. “Marc basically wrote a story culled from our public schedule that shows how Marc’s old boss, President Bush, structured his day differently than President Obama,” Vietor wrote. “Not exactly breaking news to anyone who has covered this place for the last few years.”
“I believe if you compare our foreign policy record with the one … that preceded this one, we’re comfortable with that comparison,” he said at the White House’s daily press briefing. “This president is very much steeped in the details of national security issues.”
Lest you think the old war criminal is off his rocker, we knew this was coming after The New York Times published a devastating time line with new facts that Bush ignored the 9/11 intel even more egregiously than previously thought. The NYT piece paints Bush out to be the sleeper in chief, ignoring the escalating alarms of danger from the intel.
Here’s just a smattering of the neo-con incompetence that directly resulted from seeing what they wanted to see (so consumed were they by old grudges against Saddam), instead of dealing with the facts:
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
Almost sounds as if The Daily Caller was running the Pentagon back then, with conspiracies against personal enemies leading the charge over reality and sense. Sounds about right, because that is how these folks conduct themselves; they are children wallowing in fear and rage, dangerously blinded to facts, as Thiessens’ column proves once again — too busy pursuing childish personal grudges and agendas to deal rationally with reality.
What is a Republican to do when they’ve been shown up by a Most Competent Democratic President? Well, The Daily Caller is always up for some conspiracy oriented pot shots, when they’re not busy pretending that they don’t understand the proper time to ask questions during a Rose Garden speech. Thus Cheney took to Daily in order to politicize the utter crap out of 9/11, yet again.
Dick, whose Halliburton garnered cushy $7B in no-bid Iraq contracts, must miss the days when he could mislead the public by falsely suggest there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11.
The Washington Post reported Oct. 6 that Cheney often “skated close to the line in ways that may have certainly left that impression on viewers,” especially by repeatedly citing the possibility that hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi official, a theory disputed by the 9/11 Commission.
If Cheney is so hot on reading intel, what was that all about?
Think Progress broke it down in 2006, when Bush suddenly defiantly announced that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11:
To justify the war, Bush informed Congress on March 19, 2003 that acting against Iraq was consistent with “continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”
As ThinkProgress has repeatedly documented, Vice President Cheney cited “evidence” cooked up by Douglas Feith and others to claim it was “pretty well confirmed” that Iraq had contacts with 9/11 hijackers.
You know what we still haven’t heard from Republicans? An apology over their conflation of 9/11 with Iraq or the Weapons of Mass Destruction lie that was used to falsely invade Iraq.
The Right say liberals hate Bush just like they hate Obama, but the truth is that they have spent years manufacturing conspiracies in order to generate hatred of this President, whereas the folks who were horrified by Bush felt that way because of actual real facts that occurred; i.e., the way he ignored the intel leading to 9/11 (not saying he could have prevented it, but we will never know that now), the way he charged into war in Iraq and mislead the public over who we were after (the Fox audience still thinks that Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11), and the way he flew over Katrina while ignoring pleas for help.
I didn’t vote for Bush, but on 9/11 I was behind him 100%. I wanted him to be a good leader, because our country needed it. I wanted him to do pull us together, but instead, we were lied to about a war on “freedom” and weapons of mass destruction. I have many friends who fought in Iraq, “defending” this country. I’ve seen the tragic and confusing deaths of returning troops. I’ve seen the flags flying on the porches of those left behind.
These things do not a birth certificate equal.
There is nothing Dick Cheney or the Republican Party can do about these facts except try to confuse the public and distract them. Instead of admitting they got it wrong and coming back stronger than ever, they’ve doubled down on the image they want to sell to the public. This image requires them to be dishonest as a matter of course, and to gin up hatred based on lies and silly arguments regarding Obama giving himself any credit for being the courageous leader he is.
Who cares? No one really cares about Republicans whining about Obama giving himself credit (which he didn’t do, ironically, but that will never change the fact that brainwashed Fox viewers believe what they’re told). This is, quite frankly, one of the stupidest reasons to pick on this president that I’ve ever heard them propose. At some point, they just sound like preschoolers whining over Obama getting the better lunch.
The thing is, Obama didn’t GET a better lunch. He MADE that lunch with hard work, diligent attention, and a lot of courage. Yes, Obama built that. But unlike the Republicans, he’s not afraid to give credit to the folks who helped us get there.
President Obama announcing the death of bin Laden, “Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.”
This should shame Republicans, but as you’ve seen, they have little interest in reality or facts these days; they’re happily running against a made-up, fictional Obama that anyone could hate but no one recognizes as the actual President Obama.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.