The defense and intelligence communities are skeptical when dealing with Democratic Presidents. Democratic presidential candidates must trash both departments to win the primary votes of liberal activists. They make promises to decrease Pentagon budgets and redirect the spending to domestic programs. Obama's win over Hillary Clinton was largely due to his ability to rhetorically express anti-war sentiment.
By the time the campaign was over, it was no secret that the CIA and defense establishments were skeptics and against many of his more radical plans. Unfortunately, a byproduct of this distrust is a renewed vulnerability to foreign terrorists. Obama alienated the front line, his boots on the ground.
Obama's presidency was not helped by his decision to neglect meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the chief general in Afghanistan, until almost nine months into his term. During this extended period, Obama bothered to speak with his general only once over the phone. This lack of communication violated Obama's campaign promise to listen to America's generals. To compound this error, Obama dithered, taking months to finalize a new strategy for his Afghan offensive.
Obama also instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to pursue an irresponsible investigation of the methods used to interrogate suspected terrorists after 9/11. The interrogation probe, which is largely seen as a witch-hunt against George W. Bush's administration, is opposed by seven former CIA chiefs from both political parties. Obama brazenly ignored the warnings of these bipartisan experts and has allowed Holder a free hand.
On December 29, Obama issued Executive Order 13526 which declassifies the most sensitive of national secrets, including the daily presidential briefing. By issuing this controversial executive order, and rolling back precedents set by the Clinton and Bush administrations, Obama is further threatening his relationship with the intelligence community. By divulging sensitive documents, the methods and contacts of U.S. spies become part of the public record. His decision creates an incentive for the agencies to withhold or hide information. Naturally, spies never want to years later appear on the front page of the newspaper to have their decisions critiqued by the uninformed.
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