In their new book, FLEECED, political pundit Dick Morris and attorney-coauthor Eileen McGann (yes, Morris and McGann are married), expose companies – both foreign and domestic – U.S. media powerhouses, an ineffective Congress, highly-vocal party hacks, and, yes, Sen. Barack Obama, all of whom are slickering Americans for their own ends, and seriously compromising our national security (among other things) in the process.
FLEECED was released on Tuesday and almost immediately soared to the #1 spot at Amazon.com. On Wednesday morning, Morris and I spent a few minutes on the phone chatting about the book and how it serves as an important primer in both an election year and in a strategically evolutionary period in the war on terror.
Jumping right into a handful of primarily defense-related questions, I ask Morris about the danger posed to our national security and the potential degradation of defense under a, God-help-us, president Obama.
Repeating his oft-uttered mantra -- “Everybody is in love with the sizzle [of Obama] and nobody has looked at the steak,” Morris contends that Americans supporting Obama are too focused on an abstract notion of change and an “audacity of hope.” And those opposing him are too busy worrying about the maniacal rantings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whether-or-not Michelle Obama “likes America,” or if Barack Obama is wearing a flag pin on his lapel.
“No one seems to be doing the hard work of actually going through Obama’s positions, looking at what he’s for and against, and what he would do as president,” says Morris. “That’s what we attempt to do in this book.”
Regarding Obama’s self-proclamation as the candidate of change – and my particular concerns regarding defense – Morris says there is only a “going back to the past”: A reference to Obama’s recently announced foreign policy team; a handful of resurrected Clintonistas like Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, William Perry, and others, most of whom misread the signs or completely missed the intelligence of the rise of Al Qaeda in the 1990’s. Recently, Obama dusted them off and propped them back up as his new change champions.
There is however “one fundamental element” related to national security that Obama would indeed change.
“He does not believe in the two-track investigative-prosecutorial system [where one track pursues admissible evidence for criminal prosecution, and the other track pursues intelligence to break up terrorist activity before terror strikes],” says Morris. “What Obama is basically saying is that even if we are just gathering intelligence with no intention of admissing that intelligence into court, we have to follow all the constitutional norms of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments.”
For instance, Obama opposes wiretapping without warrants, launching investigations without notification, “and he basically lauded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing-investigation, which was conducted according to those rules, and sets that up as a model,” says Morris. “Pres. Bush, on the other hand, says his priority is not locking a guy up so that he does 10 to 20. His priority is stopping the guy from blowing us up,” which despite Bush’s shortcomings, he has indeed accomplished.
As Morris explains, the current administration’s approach both protects the constitution and prevents evidence obtained through the naturally-shadowy world of intelligence-collection from being used in criminal prosecution unless the intelligence-peg fits into the hole of fair-play evidence collection.
Moreover, the two-track system strengthens our intelligence arm, feeds the intelligence community’s information channels, and dramatically increases our ability to thwart terrorist attacks long before they become operational. And because the two-track system is technically following the letter of the law – intelligence prevented from being used as evidence if it is improperly obtained – the constitution is not violated.
“Obama would change this,” says Morris.
I then say to Morris, “Problem is, huge percentages of Obama supporters are very young, inexperienced voters – if nothing else this is evidenced by the sophomoric Obama ads aimed at college-age voters. They are not lawyers. Nor are they intelligence experts. So they don’t fully grasp these concepts. All they know and are hearing is that Obama is following the constitution and the letter of the law.”
Morris responds, “Yes, but I’m trying to do what I can, to put this in layman’s language and bring it to the people. That’s why we wrote the book.”
Asked if Sen. McCain needs to better-convey to the American people the potential degradation of defense under a president Obama, Morris says he believes McCain is trying, but has yet to find his stride.
“I don’t think McCain is explaining these points well or accurately,” says Morris. “This is a situation where people are prepared to listen to the explanation. These are not all college kids. These are mature, experienced, intelligent voters. But McCain is groping for the language and the style. It’s a learning curve. I just hope he gets it in time.”
It’s not just Obama’s national-defense naiveté or McCain’s lack of stride that concerns Morris.
In FLEECED, Morris and McGann hammer the political Left’s concerted effort to cripple talk-radio. They nail companies that are supporting Iran’s nuclear program. And they reveal the politically-motivated abandonment of good judgment on the part of “human rights activists, liberal Democrats, European do-gooders, even the U.S. Supreme Court,” all of whom have forced the U.S. military to release nearly 500 terrorists from Gitmo, and approximately 60 of those terrorists have since returned to the battlefield to be captured again or killed.
FLEECED also exposes the mainstream media’s deliberate and frequent dismissal of potentially disastrous terrorist plots.
“For instance, the plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge was a perfectly reasonable plot that would have worked,” Morris tells me. “[New York City police commissioner] Ray Kelly says the Brooklyn Bridge was in serious jeopardy. But the New York Times called the plot ‘pathetically amateurish and unthreatening … high improbable.’”
Morris continues, “A plan to invade Fort Dix with machineguns to kill as many soldiers as possible. One of the planners was a trained military sniper. But the Washington Post wrote, ‘would be terrorists … leaderless … no rigorous military training.’”
Morris also discusses the politically correct “diversity guidelines” proposed by the Society of Professional Journalists at their national convention in 2007.
Among the 19 guidelines are:
• When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacists, radical antiabortionists, and other groups with a history of such activity.
• Avoid using terms such as "jihad" unless you are certain of their precise meaning and include the context when they are used in quotations. The basic meaning of "jihad" is to exert oneself for the good of Islam and to better oneself.
• Ask men and women from within targeted communities to review your coverage and make suggestions.
According to Morris, “This is guiding terror coverage in this country, all of which is designed to reassure us into a fool’s paradise where we’re not subject to terror threats. That conspiracy to do that is what I am really exposing in this book.”
Asked if there are any book-related grumblings thus far from the Left, Morris says, “So far, not. I think a lot of them are disagreeing with me on the substantive issues, which is fine.”
In fact, there is much in the book that may be attractive to the Left.
“This is not what I would regard as a Right-wing book,” says Morris. “A lot of it is Right-wing, and a lot of it is Left-wing. I go after credit-card companies. I’m very critical of Halliburton for its work in Iraq. I talk about the whistleblowers who have been persecuted for their turning-in Halliburton.”
Wrapping up our conversation, I ask Morris if he believes it’s fair to say that Bush – his mistakes and his failure to stand up to his political opponents – has created an environment that is conducive to the rise of someone like Obama.
“Oh yes, I think absolutely,” Morris says. “But on the other hand, probably the single most-important factor in explaining the rise of the Democratic party is that nobody is afraid of getting attacked by terrorists anymore. And the thing that is causing that is Bush’s success in keeping us safe.”