Here we go again. As I suspected when this story first broke, and as Reuters is now confirming, the disruption of the recent underwear bomb plot originating in Yemen is a national security fiasco. Consider this:
As a result of the news leaks, however, U.S. and allied officials told Reuters that they were forced to end an operation which they hoped could have continued for weeks or longer.
The White House, National Security Advisor John Brennan, and former White House counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke, whom I’ve written about before, have acted like amateurs, threatening on-going covert operations the result of which could be the deaths of Americans and others because of their absolute stupidity. Their actions are beginning to border on the treasonous. Reuters writes:
At about 5:45 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 7, just before the evening newscasts, John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top White House adviser on counter-terrorism, held a small, private teleconference to brief former counter-terrorism advisers who have become frequent commentators on TV news shows.
According to five people familiar with the call, Brennan stressed that the plot was never a threat to the U.S. public or air safety because Washington had “inside control” over it.
Unable to exercise any restraint, Richard Clarke then goes on ABC News and said the underwear bomb plot “never came close because they had insider information, insider control.” Not satisfied with that little tidbit, Clarke then goes on Nightline and says:
“The U.S. government is saying it never came close because they had insider information, insider control, which implies that they had somebody on the inside who wasn’t going to let it happen.”
Is this anyway to run covert operations?
Our enemies monitor our media, read our blogs, watch our news (remember bin Laden’s obsession with how he was portrayed on the news?). These enemies now know that we were able to infiltrate their operations. Our allies now know that we can’t be trusted with secrets. Britain’s MI5 and MI6, along with the Saudi’s, were intimately involved in an operation that:
could not have been more sensitive — the successful penetration by Western spies of AQAP, al Qaeda’s most creative and lethal affiliate. As a result of leaks, the undercover operation had to be shut down.
The House Intelligence Committee and the FBI should investigate thoroughly how this White House, and former White House staffers, compromised covert operations against America’s enemies.
Failure to investigate and prosecute those guilty of blowing this cover will further embolden those enemies at the gate.