WaPo Lets Anonymous Obama Officials Claim Obama's 'Much More' Aggressive on Terror Than Bush

The Washington Post played up Barack Obama’s war-on-terror credentials at the top of Friday’s front page. (Or to use Team Obama lingo, their war on "man-caused disasters.") The Post used to be upset by secret terror attacks, but now they like them, if they help Obama look strong to voters. "U.S. ‘secret war’ expands globally," boasted the Post headline, "Terror groups are targets."

News that doesn’t make Team Obama look good is harder to find. Take this Jeff Stein story from Wednesday, deep inside on A-13: "The FBI appears to be ready for a chemical, biological or radiological terrorist attack, but the rest of the Justice Department is ‘not prepared,’ according to a blistering audit released Tuesday."

The Obama the Secret Warrior story by Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe is most biased in how it asserts from the first paragraph that Obama is "much more" aggressive than the national-security slacker named George W. Bush:

Beneath its commitment to soft-spoken diplomacy and beyond the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups, according to senior military and administration officials.

Secrecy is now a good thing, not offensive to journalists as it used to be:

One advantage of using "secret" forces for such missions is that they rarely discuss their operations in public. For a Democratic president such as Obama, who is criticized from either side of the political spectrum for too much or too little aggression, the unacknowledged CIA drone attacks in Pakistan, along with unilateral U.S. raids in Somalia and joint operations in Yemen, provide politically useful tools.

Obama, one senior military official said, has allowed "things that the previous administration did not."

Special Operations commanders have also become a far more regular presence at the White House than they were under George W. Bush's administration, when most briefings on potential future operations were run through the Pentagon chain of command and were conducted by the defense secretary or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"We have a lot more access," a second military official said. "They are talking publicly much less but they are acting more. They are willing to get aggressive much more quickly."

The White House, he said, is "asking for ideas and plans . . . calling us in and saying, 'Tell me what you can do. Tell me how you do these things.' "

...But Obama has made such forces a far more integrated part of his global security strategy. He has asked for a 5.7 percent increase in the Special Operations budget for fiscal 2011, for a total of $6.3 billion, plus an additional $3.5 billion in 2010 contingency funding.

Criticism of Obama’s approach doesn’t enter the story until paragraph 22. The left-wing critique of Obama is represented only by a weak recitation of objections from the United Nations, and a Bush official doesn’t comment until the third-to-last paragraph:

Former Bush officials, still smarting from accusations that their administration overextended the president's authority to conduct lethal activities around the world at will, have asked similar questions. "While they seem to be expanding their operations both in terms of extraterritoriality and aggressiveness, they are contracting the legal authority upon which those expanding actions are based," said John B. Bellinger III, a senior legal adviser in both of Bush's administrations.

The Obama administration has rejected the constitutional executive authority claimed by Bush and has based its lethal operations on the authority Congress gave the president in 2001 to use "all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons" he determines "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the Sept. 11 attacks.

Many of those currently being targeted, Bellinger said, "particularly in places outside Afghanistan," had nothing to do with the 2001 attacks.

[Image from Moonbattery]

Washington Post Karen DeYoung Greg Jaffe Jeff Stein
Tim Graham's picture


Sponsored Links