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Fighting Terrorists, Not Each Other

In the days following the attempted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airplane on Christmas Day, some critics of the Obama Administration have made absurd claims that the President and Members of Congress do not take our national security seriously:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Politico, “President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war.”

Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan wrote in a fundraising letter: “Since President Obama took office, he and his left-wing cronies have taken steps to undermine the work of our brave men and women who work tirelessly to keep us safe.”

But as an editorial in yesterday's Washington Post, Soft on terror? Not this president, underscores, now is not the time for partisanship and petty politics:

…The country would benefit from a serious and bipartisan effort in Congress to ensure that the lessons of the Christmas attack are learned. A groundless campaign to portray Mr. Obama as soft on terror can only detract from that effort.

During appearances on “Meet the Press” yesterday, clear pushback to the former Vice President and Congressman Hoekstra came from former colleagues who served in national security capacities in the Bush Administration.

Current and Former Intelligence Leaders Agree — Focus On Protecting America, Not Partisanship

JOHN BRENNAN, Assistant to President Obama for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and senior CIA official under President George W. Bush:

I’m very disappointed in the vice president’s comments. I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. I’ve worked for the past five administrations. And either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president’s position, both in terms of the language he uses and the actions he taken–he’s taken, or he’s ignorant of the facts. And in either case, it doesn’t speak well of what the vice president’s doing. The clear evidence is that this president has been very, very strong…I would not have come back into this government if I felt that this president was not committed to prosecuting this war against al-Qaeda. And every day I see it in the president’s face, I see it in the actions he’s taken, and so I’m confident that this country is, in fact, protected by this president’s position on al-Qaeda and against terrorist activities… I think we have to remember who the enemy here is. The enemy is al-Qaeda. And as this finger-pointing is going on in Washington here, these partisan politics and agendas, quite frankly, I find it very disappointing that people would use this issue, issue of tremendous import of national security and forget that it is al-Qaeda that is killing our citizens.

MICHAEL HAYDEN, Former Director of the CIA under President George W. Bush:

I would ask, on behalf of the community of which I used to be a part, for everyone to kind of calm down a little bit, stop hyperventilating. Let John [Brennan, the president's counterterrorism adviser] take this study [of the Christmas Day incident], look at this in detail to learn what we can learn from it without a sense of … accusation.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, Former Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush:

When asked if he has confidence in current Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano: “I do. … I heartily endorse her.”

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