Ken Blackwell
We all breathed a sigh of relief when the ball fell in New York’s Times Square and the holiday season this year ended without another terror attack, or attempted attack on our homeland. You’ll recall that on Christmas day, 2009, the notorious “underwear” bomber tried to blow up his jet over Detroit . Young Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian citizen, wanted to take down his Northwest Airlines Flight 253 right over Detroit ’s airport. Had he succeeded in detonating his BVDs, his victims would not only have been the 288 passengers and crew he was flying with, but doubtless hundreds or thousands on the ground.

This year, thank goodness, no attacks. But that does not mean we didn’t have cause for concern. The newly-installed Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, was interviewed by ABC TV’s Diane Sawyer. In the company of homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano and the president’s assistant for homeland security and counter-terrorism, John Brennan, Jim Clapper got the first question:

“London. How serious is it? Any implication that it was coming here? …Director Clapper?”

London? What about London? That’s what Clapper’s on-camera face seemed to be saying, but he remained mum. He’s really good at keeping national security secrets, it seemed. Or, as we would soon find out, was London a secret to the Director?

It was. It turned out that everybody but Jim Clapper knew about the Britain ’s MI5 arresting a group of terror suspects ranging in age from 17-28. The ring hailed from the English cities of London , Birmingham and Stoke. Cardiff , in Wales , was also the target of the arrests. It was the largest mass arrest of would-be terrorists in recent memory.

Our director of national intelligence didn’t have a clue. Well, that was London , after all.that’s 3,000 miles away.

Presidential assistant Brennan went on TV to try to shovel up what the donkeys had left on the ABC set. “I know there was breathless attention by the media to these [ London ] arrests and it was constantly on the news networks. I am glad that Jim Clapper is not sitting in front of the TV 24 hours a day and monitoring what is coming out of the media.”

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. It seemed like a skit from Saturday Night Live. Is there anything more bizarre than the Keystone Cops show that was put on TV for Americans this holiday season?

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
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