Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama Talks Homeland Security

Some interesting nuggets in relation to homeland security during Obama's ABC News interview yesterday. According to the president-elect, homeland security occupies the top slot in the administration's priority list:
When I set up the hierarchy of things that I've got to do, my number one priority every single day that I wake up is how do I make sure that the American people are safe. We've got an outstanding person in Janet Napolitano who's going to be heading up our homeland security department. She is already in deep consultation with the other members of my national security team and we are going to have to stay vigilant and that's something that doesn't change from administration to administration.
In what must be a major disappointment to his most devoted followers, Obama indicated that his Justice Department appointees probably won't be prosecuting Bush administration officials for so-called "crimes" such as torture and warrantless wiretapping:
We have not made final decisions, but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing. That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law. But my orientation's going to be to move forward.
In conceding that Guantanamo prison won't be closed in the first 100 days of the administration, the president-elect has also apparently discovered that the issue is a lot more complicated than it appeared on the campaign trail:
It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication....I think it's going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak to help design exactly what we need to do.
Separately, according to, the incoming administration's top counterterrorism official said the new team would in some ways "be more aggressive" in fighting international terrorism than the Bush administration. "Counterterrorism coordinator Dell Dailey said he did not mean the Obama administration would do more to try to kill terrorists, but would be more aggressive in building partnerships with other nations."