Monday, March 14, 2011

Clueless Clapper

by Robert Spencer

Nothing epitomizes more perfectly the Obama Administration’s abject failure to come to grips with the reality of the global jihad and a rapidly shifting international situation than the embarrassing tenure of James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence. Last week, Clapper again demonstrated how wholly unequipped he is for the job he holds, telling 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?

In an age when North Korea is testing to see how much bullying of South Korea it can get away with, and is aggressively pursuing a nuclear program, and while Iran’s leaders repeatedly make genocidal statements regarding Israel and triumphalist predictions that America and Israel will soon be destroyed, and is pursuing a nuclear program of its own, Clapper’s statement sounded like that of a Rip Van Winkle who had been asleep for twenty years, or maybe twenty-five, and hadn’t yet been clued in that the Cold War was over.

Has James Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the Air Force and longtime intelligence professional, made any study in the area of national intelligence since 1985? Is he aware that the world situation has drastically changed since 1985? Has he had any kind of thought at all since 1985?

This wasn’t the first time the Director of National Intelligence showed his astonishing lack thereof, either. Late last December, 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. Nonetheless, Obama’s team ran interference for him, 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.

That might fly once, but then Clapper did it again last month, when he claimed at the height of the Egyptian uprising that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular,” a claim as absurd as it was inaccurate. The Brotherhood 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, he 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.

On the other hand, maybe it’s better that Clapper not know that the Muslim Brotherhood is religious, because if he did, he might lose sight of its political program. In a political climate in which sane people who are concerned about the national defense of the United States must learn to be grateful for small favors, we should be thankful that Clapper didn’t dismiss the Muslim Brotherhood as a political force altogether, and describe it as a mere pious association, devoted to prayer, fasting and almsgiving and not in the least concerned with who should succeed Hosni Mubarak. He remains, however, 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.

James Clapper is perhaps the most abysmally ignorant and unqualified individual ever to hold a position of such responsibility, although his boss Barack Obama may give him a run for his money. Clapper has repeatedly demonstrated that he has 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 keeps making excuses for him, explaining away his idiotic remarks, and running interference for him with the international media. What Clapper has done to merit this treatment is unclear, but the stakes are really too high for this game to be played without consequences: Clapper makes every American less safe, and he should be fired forthwith.

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Robert Spencer

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