The “President Didn’t Know” Administration

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On the heels of the story that the NSA for more than a decade has been eavesdropping on leaders of America’s allies (most particular German Chancellor Angela Merkel), comes this response from the White House:  Obama had no knowledge of the program at all.

The White House cut off some monitoring programs after learning of them, including the one tracking Ms. Merkel and some other world leaders, a senior U.S. official said. Other programs have been slated for termination but haven’t been phased out completely yet, officials said.

The account suggests President Barack Obama went nearly five years without knowing his own spies were bugging the phones of world leaders. Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them.

First problem with this is, does anyone really believe a low-level intelligence staffer would decide to bug the phone of the leader of a major U.S. ally, without White House approval?  Secondly, when this information percolates up the food chain to its ultimate recipient (namely, the President of the United States) don’t you think people would wonder what the source of the intelligence was?

I think most people with a semblance of common sense would assume that this is a farce; for Obama not to know this was going on after five years in the Oval Office is either simply a lie, or means that our Commander-in-Chief is far more incompetent than even his harshest critics have claimed.

However, this “Obama didn’t know anything!” defense is nothing new.  Go back to Benghazi, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, etc…Obama never seems to know anything that is going on in his own administration.

And it isn’t even primarily foreign affairs issues either.  Look no further than Obama’s signature domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1.

“But not before that?” Gupta followed up.

To which Sebelius replied, “No, sir.”

To which I provide the same response:  either Obama is incompetent and doesn’t have a clue what is being done in his name on the signature policy initiatives in his own administration, or somebody is lying.  At this point, I am not sure which is more likely.

I understand the natural tendency of the President’s staunchest allies to defend him, and try to protect him from attacks.  But this is getting ridiculous.  Is there nothing Obama’s responsible for within his own administration?  Again, at some point, you come to the conclusion that either you are being lied to, or Mr. Obama simply is more incompetent than anyone could have imagined.  In that line of though, the President would be better served by taking responsibility for his mistakes, rather than looking for somewhere to hide when his policy decisions blow up in his face.