The goofy techie, of course, is Ed Snowden, and the question might seem hard to answer if the Obama administration’s incompetence were not on display for all to see. The international press, belatedly catching on to the fact that our president is a fool, is having fun with the U.S. Thus, Reuters headlines, with a snicker: “Questions turn to U.S. competence in Snowden saga.”
As well they might.
The Obama administration has spent the past few weeks arguing it can wield power responsibly after Edward Snowden unveiled its sweeping spying programs. Now the administration must prove it can wield power effectively.
Well, it certainly can domestically. Not only can it sic the IRS on its political opponents, it can buy whatever votes may be necessary with other people’s money. Dealing with foreign countries, where such powers come up short, is another story.
As the 30-year-old leads the world’s lone superpower on a global game of hide and seek, U.S. government officials faced questions about whether they had botched the effort to extradite Snowden from Hong Kong to face charges related to his leak of classified information.
Actually, they botched much more than that. How in the world could the NSA allow a random employee of a contractor, Booz Allen, who had been on the “job” for only a couple of months, such unfettered and apparently uncharted access to secret materials? The fact that the NSA did so is the best argument against that agency’s being a trustworthy custodian of Americans’ secrets.
The latest wrinkle in the Snowden saga poses a different set of questions for an administration that has spent weeks fending off questions about whether it has abused its power to collect taxes, investigate criminal activity and fight terrorism.
Abusive and incompetent! That’s Barack Obama.
On Monday, administration officials said they had done all they could to bring Snowden to justice. Chinese defiance, rather than bureaucratic bungling, had allowed the 30-year-old former contractor to slip out of Hong Kong as officials there weighed Washington’s request for extradition, they said.
Well, yeah. The Chinese hold our mortgage, so why would they pay any attention to Barack Obama? Obama’s policy of borrowing $17 trillion isn’t what a sane person would consider smart.
Snowden’s exact whereabouts were a mystery on Monday as Russia resisted White House pressure to stop him during his journey to escape U.S. prosecution.
Of course they did. Reset! Vladimir Putin is a smart, tough guy. Barack Obama–I will be gentle here–isn’t. Pete Wehner sums up their relationship:
Add to that Putin’s support for Iran’s nuclear ambitions and his crackdown at home. (The Washington Post writes that in “an attempt to suppress swelling protests against his rigged reelection and the massively corrupt autocracy he presides over, Mr. Putin has launched what both Russian and Western human rights groups describe as the most intense and pervasive campaign of political repression since the downfall of the Soviet Union.”). Taken all together, you can see that the Obama “reset”–which at the dawn of the Obama administration was described as a “win-win” strategy for both nations–has been a rout for the Russians.
With the Snowden situation, Vladimir Putin seems intent not only defying America but embarrassing her. It turns out that an irresolute amateur like Barack Obama was the best thing that the brutal but determined Putin could have hoped for.
He’s cleaning Obama’s clock.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the “reset,” and the disaster of American foreign policy over the last four years, have been attributable not only to Obama, but to our old-lady-president in waiting, Hillary Clinton.
Snowden’s decision to go on the lam creates another headache for the Obama administration, which has seen priorities like immigration reform threatened by a string of scandals.
That, plus the fact that the immigration “reform” bill is a disaster.
When it comes to the NSA revelations, most lawmakers were already aware of the surveillance program and few have raised objections. Republicans by and large have focused their criticism on Snowden and China rather than the administration.
That may change if the ordeal drags on. Republican Representative Peter King of New York on Monday said Obama should have taken a harder line with the Chinese authorities who ultimately control the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.
“I hate to be in the middle of a crisis second guessing the president, but where is he? Where is the president? Why is he not speaking to the American people? Why is he not more forceful in dealing with foreign leaders?” King said on CNN television.
Those are rhetorical questions, obviously. Barack Obama has never been a real president. He has never led. He seems to view his job duties as an unfortunate distraction from golfing and partying with celebrities. How could anyone be surprised to learn that he is an inept, ineffective president?
There are also likely to be increasingly embarrassing questions about how Snowden managed to download and take many highly sensitive documents when he was working in Hawaii for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. The head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, said on Sunday that he did not know why the NSA did not catch Snowden before he left Hawaii for Hong Kong in May.
Well, that’s reassuring! The NSA has wonderful technical capabilities to spy on everyone in the world, but can’t figure out how its own contract employee made off with a pocket full of secrets. Maybe that’s a sign that the U.S. would be ill-advised to go down the road of totalitarian, all-knowing government. Maybe we can start by repealing Obamacare.
Obama first learned that Snowden had turned up in Hong Kong on Sunday, June 9, as he flew back from a weekend of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But Obama does not appear to have played a direct role in trying to get him back.
Really? There’s a shock! Obama hasn’t played a “direct role” in anything other than an election campaign since he first ran for the Illinois State Senate.
Obama declined to say on Monday whether he has spoken directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin or other foreign leaders about the extradition efforts. Obama had an icy meeting with Putin a week ago at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
Reset! Reset! Remember how contemptuous the wet-behind-the-ears Barack Obama and his newly-minted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose only claim to fame was her marriage to Bill, were of the Bush administration’s Russia policy? Reset! Putin thinks Obama is an idiot. Can you blame him?
Obama’s public schedule leaves little room for the extradition effort. He makes a major speech on climate change on Tuesday, and then leaves on a week-long trip to Africa.
This is really pretty funny. Obama would surely deal with the crisis that was brought about by his administration’s incompetence, only he is too busy! He’s going to prevent climate change–sure he is! Just dial down that CO2 thermostat! Well, our small part of it, anyway. And no doubt his trip to Africa will be just as productive as the hundred or so trips to Africa by his predecessors have been. Too busy to actually function as president? That’s our Barack! With luck, he will be able to squeeze in a couple of rounds of golf.
Though the White House has distanced itself from the Snowden affair…
Of course! The White House distances itself from everything. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in a U.S. that didn’t have a president–vis-a-vis foreign countries, at least–you are now finding out.
Officials from the FBI, the Justice Department and the State Department worked with their counterparts in Hong Kong to extradite Snowden over the next several days, culminating in a telephone call between U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen, on June 19.
“There was a sense that the process was moving forward,” a Justice Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Hong Kong officials asked for more information and evidence two days later, but did not give the United States enough time to respond before Snowden left the Chinese territory on June 23.
We should have known that Eric Holder would be involved in the fiasco, somehow. One can only imagine what the Chinese think of Holder.
George Terwilliger, who served as the Justice Department’s No. 2 official under President George H.W. Bush, said it was too early to know whether the agency should be blamed for failing to get Snowden.
“These are not legal issues, per se. They’re political and diplomatic issues, and most of the skills that are exercised are exercised away from the public eye.”
Or not exercised, as the case may be. When you read these stories in which European journalists make fun of the Obama administration, you need to keep in mind that most of them, along with the European elites whom they represent, want the United States to be weak. That is why they awarded Obama a Nobel prize before he had done anything at all: it was a Nobel prize for weakness. But even the Euros can’t resist laughing at what a fool we have for a president. A fool, anyway, if you assume that we all want the United States to be a strong and prosperous nation.