ABC’s Jake Tapper is reporting (h/t Spencer) that President Obama has accepted the resignation of Adm. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence.
For several weeks President Obama has been holding serious conversations about whether to ask Blair to step down and has interviewed candidates to replace him. After a discussion this afternoon between the president and Blair in the Oval Office about the best way forward, Blair offered to resign and the president said he would accept, sources told ABC News.
Multiple administration sources tell ABC News that Blair’s tenure internally has been a rocky one.
On the heels of a number of intelligence failures involving the Fort Hood shooter, failed Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab, and questions about failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, it was no longer clear that Blair — tasked with coordinating the 16 intelligence agencies and ensuring that they cooperate and share information – still had the full and complete confidence of the president, sources say.
I expect Spencer Ackerman and other national security experts will explain what this means and whether Tapper has it right, but on the face of it, you have to wonder what Administration people are thinking.
Does the White House honestly believe that you can rain dozens of predator-guided missiles on villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan, presumably to kill Taliban fighters, but with near indifference to whether innocent people would be killed, and still pretend that would not increase the number of people wanting to retaliate in the US?
And does anyone seriously believe that any DNI, no matter how effective, or any security measures, no matter how invasive of civil liberties, can indefinitely protect US citizens?
If there is a credible, coherent strategy to reduce the number of people trying to kill Americans, other than killing everyone around those we suspect or fear, I haven’t seen it. You’d think that would be the first priority of a DNI and those to whom he/she reports.