When Politico starts to note what might’ve gone wrong, it’s best to remember what didn’t — in two consecutive terrorist incidents, now, despite initial setbacks, local authorities have foiled terror plots and caught their man, with the help of federal officials. And in the first case, despite being washed through the “liberal” criminal justice system, and contrary to seemingly willful disinformation throughout the media, the lawfully interrogated perpetrator provided actionable intelligence both before and after receiving his Miranda warnings. That’s two big successes — both accomplished without significantly compromising civil rights.
Comparatively, President George W. Bush presided over the largest terror attack in American history, and might fairly be considered negligent in his handling of the matter, before and after the attack. Critically, despite continually eroding Americans’ civil rights for security’s sake, Bush still failed to catch his man, and never made significant arrests on American soil. No, suspects detained, tortured, and later freed as innocent emphatically do not count.
For equality’s sake, it’s also widely acknowledged that President Bill Clinton probably missed a prime opportunity to catch Osama Bin Laden, before we ever knew just how dangerous he was, due most likely to an overly technical, cumbersome reading of FISA.
Admittedly, much of a President’s success in counterterror depends on luck, or the men and women on the ground in local law enforcement. But if we’re going to start unfairly blaming Obama for things that didn’t happen, we might as well unfairly credit him for the same.