* Formerly “Recent statements from morons.”
We know, also, that [terrorists are] working feverishly to obtain ever more destructive weapons, and using every form of technology they can get their hands on. And this makes the business of fighting this war as urgent and time-sensitive as any task this nation has ever taken on. As the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Mike McConnell, said recently, “The time needed to develop a terrorist plot, communicate it around the globe, and put it into motion has been drastically reduced. The time line is no longer a calendar, it is a watch.”
â€” Vice President Dick Cheney, commencement address at West Point, May 26.
I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk. Summertime seems to be appealing to them. We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities.
â€” Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security secretary, to the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, July 11.
We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications.
â€” John Kringen, the CIA’s deputy director for intelligence, to a House committee, July 11.
There continues to be no credible, specific intelligence to suggest that there is an imminent threat to the homeland.
â€” White House spokesman Tony Fratto, July 11.
There is a perception in the coverage that al Qaeda may be as strong today as they were prior to September 11. That’s just simply not the case.
â€” President George Bush, July 12.
Al Qaida is nowhere in the position today that it was before 9/11, and it’s nowhere in the position it would have been had we not been working hard on this problem for the last five or six years.
â€” National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on “CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer,” July 15.
Q: For the citizen watching this [White House press briefing on the National Intelligence Estimate on the terrorist threat to the homeland] and hearing that in Pakistan there is a safe haven, why should that American citizen not say, well, why don’t we go into Pakistan and deal with it that way?
Ms. TOWNSEND: There’s no question the President has made perfectly clear if we had actionable targets anywhere in the world, putting aside whether it was Pakistan or anyplace else, we would pursue those targets. There’s a number — but it’s hard for me to say to you, what is the target, what is the opportunity, what is the likelihood of success, what is our confidence in the intelligence. You’d have to know all those things for me to accurately sort of predict for you, and that’s one of those things you’re only going to know when all those factors come together.
But there’s no question President Musharraf is taking on extremism. He gave a speech after the seizure of the Red Mosque and said, we’re going to battle extremism in every nook of Pakistan and we are going to rid Pakistan, all of Pakistan, of extremism. So he’s clearly committed to taking it on.
â€” Fran Townsend, Homeland Security adviser to President Bush, at a White House press briefing, July 17.
Q: Is the Iraq War the reason, though, when we saw this National Intelligence Estimate in 2006, they talked about al Qaeda as suffering and this year they talk about a resurgence. Why has that changed in one year?
Ms. TOWNSEND: Sure. Well, al Qaeda has suffered. You know, the al Qaeda that existed on 9/11, two-thirds of them have been captured or killed. Working with our allies around the world, we’ve captured people like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh. So there’s no question they’re suffering. The difference is, this tribal agreement [in Pakistan] that was entered into about a year ago, we’ve seen that fail and provide safe haven now for al Qaeda.
â€” Fran Townsend, Homeland Security adviser to President Bush, on CNN’s “American Morning,” July 18.
Q: Do we have one-man rule in this country?
MR. SNOW: No.
Q: The President —
MR. SNOW: But thank you for asking.
Q: No, no, I’m going on.
MR. SNOW: Oh, I’m sure you are.
Q: The President has indicated that public opinion through the polls — (inaudible) the polls means nothing. He’s going to ignore totally whatever Congress lays down in terms of deadlines, time lines and so forth. What is this?
MR. SNOW: It’s the way our democracy works. The fact is, Presidents — you know, it’s interesting, Presidents sometimes will make unpopular decisions because they think that their obligations, in terms of saving lives and providing security to the American people, are paramount. And that’s what this President believes.
Q: So do members of Congress and so do the American people.
MR. SNOW: Well, but they’re — you know, the President is the one person who is vested with the constitutional obligation to serve as Commander-in-Chief.
â€” An exchange between correspondent and columnist Helen Thomas and White House spokesman Tony Snow at a July 13 press briefing.
Believe it or not, people outside Washington actually care about the government and they have a right to ask questions of the President. I think it’s — the President certainly takes plenty of questions in Washington, and it’s always important to hear from people around the country.
â€” White House spokesman Tony Snow at a July 19 press briefing.
xpost: 5th Estate