While President Obama dealt with the near miss of a terrorist attempt to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day from the beaches and golf courses of Hawaii’s Big Island, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center took a page from the vacationer-in-chief’s book. NCTC’s Michael Leiter decided to remain on the ski slopes rather than return to the nation’s capitol, just as Obama decided to remain in America’s Pacific Paradise.
Though it is true that modern communications technology allows the government’s top officials to stay in touch with the office from any place in the world, the point is that their actions send a message. At least this is what liberals said when George Bush flew from his Texas ranch back to Washington without stopping in New Orleans in the wake of the damage wreaked by Hurricane Katrina. They said that Dubya’s decision not to land in the Crescent City and survey the situation from the ground there showed that he didn’t care about the victims of Katrina. Following this way of thinking, then, neither the president nor the NCTC chief appeared to be bothered by the third act of terrorism to take place on U.S. soil on Obama’s watch (the other two being the Fort Hood killings and the shooting of two soldiers outside a recruiting center in Little Rock).
Indeed, the message sent by Leiter’s determination to ski right over the threat of terrorism was clearly evident in a comment by one U.S. official:
“People have been grumbling that he didn’t let a little terrorism interrupt his vacation.”
A little terrorism? Isn’t that like being a little pregnant?