Bye-bye Blair

Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, will resignin, apparently at the request of President Obama. Normally, I’d be happy to see Blair go. Indeed, his decision to appoint Chas Freeman — the Saudi-Manchurian candidate — as chariman of the National Intelligence Council probably amounts to sufficient reason for a sacking. In addition, Blair hardly inspired confidence when, in the aftermath of attempted Christmas bombing, Blair seemed not to know that the High-Value interrogation Group was not yet operational.
But in the context of this administration, we may end up missing Blair. That’s the view of Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R., Mich.) ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. He says Blair is “the one person you could count on for rationality among Holder, Napolitano and Brennan.” You can read more of Hoekstra’s statement here.
Thinking back on Blair’s career, he did criticize the decision by FBI agents last month to question the Christmas Day airline bombing suspect as a criminal, rather than interrogating him as a terrorist. And he at least recognized how demoralizing to the intelligence community it was for the administration to release documents that spell out in detail harsh interrogation techniques used by CIA officers on suspected al Qaida terrorists.
One can debate the extent to which Blair is a “grown up” on intelligence matters. But he may well be what passes for one in the Obama adminsitration.

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