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ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Detroit Terrorism Attack Shakes Obama

January 6, 2010

President Barrack Obama and his cadre of supporters are finding their worst nightmare coming true: the global war on terror is not going away.

The bad news for President Obama and the Democrats as the 2010 mid-term elections are not far away, and national security is gaining strength as a primary campaign issue, and one that will help Republicans.

This could force Democrats to defend their long-held belief that terrorism is more of a criminal justice issue than a military one. Republicans see it differently - they view the bad guys as military combatants, believe they should be treated as enemy soldiers, and processed through the military justice system.

President Obama established a new tone toward terrorism early in his Administration by quickly signaling that the U.S. would not use the term "global war on terror". 

The President also gave an "all clear" signal to the Justice Department to investigate, and seek criminal prosecutions against, Bush Administration lawyers for legal advice they gave relative to enhance interrogation methods against terrorists in the aftermath of 9-11. This sent shivers up and down  CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

He kept his pledge to close the Guantanamo Detention Camp located in the southeast corner of Cuba - and plans to bring those terrorists to a federal facility in southern Illinois.

However, terrorism resurfaced in November with a shooting attack at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas. The public was alarmed when the Obama Administration - including the FBI - would not acknowledge the shootings as an act of terror, despite the attack resulting in 13 dead and 31 wounded.

On Christmas Day came yet another terrorist act, in an attempted bombing by a Nigerian man, with al-Qaida connections and training, of a commercial airliner headed for Detroit, Michigan.

While the attack failed - the Obama Administration once again bungled the aftermath. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pronounced, "the system worked" in describing the near-miss attack which would have killed everyone on board the Northwest jet airliner.

During this time President Obama remained silent for three days- only to finally call the attacker "an isolated extremist" - despite the fact that he had been recruited and trained by al-Qaida in Yemen specifically for the Christmas Day bombing attempt.

Once arrested, he was placed in the criminal justice system where he was afforded a lawyer who immediately advised his client to stop co-operating with authorities. Thus, the U.S. lost any chance of gleaning intelligence from the terrorist about other al-Qaida sponsored attacks.

Meanwhile, John Brennan, Assistant to the President, Homeland Security, told Fox News Sunday that no one in authority within the government had been signaled that the Nigerian man was a potential terrorist threat. "There was no smoking gun. No piece of intelligence that said this guy’s a terrorist. He’s going to get on a plane. No, not whatsoever", he said.

That was not true as the man’s own father reportedly warned U.S. officials that his son was someone who needed to be watched closely. President Obama has said they "screwed up" and that authorities had plenty of information to uncover the plot before it ever got off the ground.

The public did not have the patience for the all-out assault against terrorism that punctuated the Bush years - but the fact remains the country was kept safe for seven years following the horrific events of September 11.

People are nervous about that record continuing under President Obama.