Insp. Clouseau's White House: Obama was also unaware of phone taps on foreign leaders
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:02 AM ET
Conventional political wisdom in America is that as commander-in-chief, the president of the United States knows all and sees all. Barack Obama's press office is constantly announcing his briefings on everything from global threats to hurricane preparations, wildfires and floods.
Recent revelations about the National Security Agency's ubiquitous monitoring of every phone call and email would seem to indicate that's Obama's goal too.
But over recent months the Obama administration has developed a peculiar pattern of behavior in this area. Obama himself and unidentified aides using news leaks have boasted of the president's ignorance of things that an ordinary person outside the Oval Office bubble would think a chief executive should know.
That's the kind of dodge favored by those whose father never taught them to take responsibility for their actions.
Last week HHS Secy Kathleen Sebelius told CNN straight-up that the nation's leader whose name is synonymous with his signature healthcare legislation, had no idea at all for days that there were some problems launching, running, updating and using the ObamaCare website.
Apparently Sebelius didn't think the failed site-testing and crashes merited a presidential heads-up, even though her boss had been tirelessly touting the site's guaranteed efficacy for months. Or maybe Valerie Jarrett just forgot to pay the White House cable news bill.
Before that, a detached Obama pleaded no knowledge of any Benghazi whistle-blowers being prevented from testifying before Congress about that awful night.
He professed ignorance that any IRS agents would dare to intimidate and harass conservative groups to the benefit of the liberal's reelection campaign, although his lawyer just down the hall knew. Apparently she didn't think illegal political oppression by tax authorities merited a presidential heads-up
Obama didn't know his attorney general didn't know about the Justice Department's illegal gun-running operation benefiting Mexican drug gangs. Because Obama like Eric Holder is so committed to press freedom, he was unaware that Holder had lied on a signed court document about a criminal suspect in the media and then lied to Congress about it.
That was so serious that Obama ordered Holder to investigate Holder. And as a direct result, Holder is still in office.
Americans still do not know where Obama was doing what during the deadly night of 9/11/12 in Benghazi where four Americans died in a terrorist mob with no rescue attempt because Obama and his crack security team failed to anticipate Arab world trouble on that historic attack anniversary. And failed to respond to cries for help.
For two weeks after the CIA had debunked the report, Obama was still believing or at least feigning belief in speeches that an obscure YouTube video ignited the violence.
Now, comes word, via the Wall Street Journal, that for the first 56 months of his reign, Obama was clueless that his intelligence people had tapped the phones of three dozen world leaders, including close allies.
According to unidentified government sources leaking details to the paper, intelligence officials did not deem eavesdropping on the personal cellphones of heads of state that Obama deals with daily worthy of mention to our own head of state.
"Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn't have been practical to brief him on all of them," the newspaper reported. That kind of claim is classic Washington CYA. Who said anything about all?
Obama has skipped numerous daily presidential intelligence briefings during his tenure, until media inquired about their absences on his public schedule.
Hypothetically speaking, if someone who works for you knows what a German chancellor told her husband the other day, wouldn't you think even a Harvard grad with an allegedly keen legal mind might question the source of such intimate knowledge? Especially since he would be making crucial policy decisions based on such intel.
But apparently not.
According to the Journal, the NSA has stopped monitoring the personal communications of a few of the 35 tapped foreign leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But the agency continues to listen in on numerous others because they are producing useful intelligence.
Next, we'll discover that Obama was not aware that he was drawing a red line in Syria when he said he was drawing a red line in Syria. As smart as he is, 13 months later Obama realized not only that he had announced a red line over use of chemical weapons. But that he had also just announced an imminent unilateral strike on an impudent Syria for disobeying himself.
And as soon as Obama realized what Obama had done, Obama promptly changed course and left the attack up to Congress, guaranteeing that nothing would happen.
AP / How many Obamas does it take to get an umbrella through a gate?