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Who’s in charge?

December 30, 2009

When Barak Obama spoke about the failure to stop Abdulmutallab, he spoke curiously distantly that there was a massive failure in “the” intelligence community.  I am a former member of that intelligence community.  The president is in charge.

He spoke of procedures which have been in place “for some time.”  The intelligence community is governed by law and executive order.  Executive orders come from the White House.  Barak Obama has been resident in the White House for some time now.

He spoke of the failure of the Department of Homeland Security.  Presidents appoint cabinet secretaries and supervise them.  That goes for the Secretary of State, too.

In our constitutional system, the president is both head of state and head of government.  As another Democratic president famously said, “The buck stops here.”

In the military, we understand that the leader is responsible for what happens on his or her watch.  We willingly take on that responsibility when we take the oath of office and assume command.  We don’t look kindly on those who seek to shift the blame.  We have a name for that kind of person.

It’s “coward.”


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