Obama “Cleared the Decks” for the Preliminary Terror Reports

Dec 31, 2009 7:08pm

From Jon Garcia:
 
Though President Obama continues his Hawaiian vacation, White House officials are busy painting a picture of a president who is constantly engaged in dealing with the fall out from the failed terrorist attack aboard NW flight 253 on Christmas Day, careful to show Obama is balancing his leisure activities with appropriate attention to his job.   A senior White House official says Obama continues to receive the preliminary results from the terrorism reviews he ordered on Sunday. The deadline was today. 
 
"I think he cleared the decks for it and now the question is, as we get additional information in over the course of the next several hours and this evening, Hawaii time, he'll have some more opportunity to look at it," the official said.  In addition to getting his daily briefing, Obama is also getting his terrorism spot reports twice a day and his situation reports three times a day, the official said. "Some of it he's doing online, some of it he's getting paper and sitting down at his desk and working it, and some of it is through conference calls. … Frankly I think a number of agencies will be working right up to 11:59 tonight…The president will be reviewing them himself in kind of this raw form," the official told reporters covering the Presidents trip to Hawaii. He will be reviewing these reports over course of the weekend in preparation for a multi-agency meeting in the White House situation room on Tuesday afternoon. Among those involved in that meeting, which Obama himself will lead, included but aren't limited to: CIA, DNI, DOJ, DHS, NCTC, TSA, NSA, STATE. "He's continuing to learn new things … and is continuing to ask a lot of probing questions," the official said. There is no further word on the final deadline for final reports, which Obama said would be in the coming weeks. Asked about the "accountability phase," the official said: "I think that as we get clarity out of the review of what happened that will certainly be how we do it. But as I indicated on Tuesday, we're not going to prejudge the review as it relates to that. But we obviously want the reforms that are put into place to be driven by facts and we'll certainly have accountability measures driven by facts, as well. The official also said he didn't think Obama would end up playing referee in inter-agency fingerpointing. The official agreed with an assessment memo that DNI Dennis Blair sent to the intelligence community praising it's members for overall gains in spite of this systemic and human failures that lead to the botched terror attack. "He's absolutely right," the official said. "The forward lean that we've kept on these terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan has led them to try to look for new opportunities and new spaces to operate, including Yemen, Somalia, Southeast Asia. And it is our intention to, as the President said in the West Point speech, to stay on offense with a combination of partnership and pressure in places like Yemen and elsewhere to ensure that we can counter them and their hateful agenda."

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