Thiessen cranks things up a notch

THIESSEN CRANKS THINGS UP A NOTCH…. Just yesterday, Marc Thiessen, up until recently George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter, wrote a rather twisted op-ed for the Washington Post, engaging in the kind of shameless demagoguery that’s so over the top, it almost reads like a parody. Today, Thiessen went even further.

Yesterday, Thiessen argued that if Barack Obama changes Bush’s national-security apparatus in anyway, he’ll invite domestic terrorism and will shoulder the blame for American deaths. Today, writing for the National Review, Thiessen believes Obama is the most dangerous president “ever.”

Less than 48 hours after taking office, Obama has begun dismantling those institutions without time for any such review. The CIA program he is effectively shutting down is the reason why America has not been attacked again after 9/11. He has removed the tool that is singularly responsible for stopping al-Qaeda from flying planes into the Library Tower in Los Angeles, Heathrow Airport, and London’s Canary Warf [sic], and blowing up apartment buildings in Chicago, among other plots. It’s not even the end of inauguration week, and Obama is already proving to be the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office.

This is not only a rather hysterical rant, it’s rather silly.

For example, a CIA program was not “singularly responsible for stopping al-Qaeda from flying planes into the Library Tower in Los Angeles.” What Thiessen neglects to mention is that the Library Tower plot was an idea that “had not gone much past the conceptual stage.” Many within the intelligence community eventually concluded that the Library Tower scheme was never much more than “talk.” We literally tortured this idea out of detainees, but that doesn’t make it a thwarted terrorist plot. What’s more, the evidence to bolster Thiessen’s other examples is no more compelling. (And this puts aside the notion that we might be able to get intelligence without torturing suspects.)

As for the notion that Obama is already the most dangerous president ever, the estimable Greg Sargent, blogging from his new home at WhoRunsGov.com, challenges Thiessen’s “toxic” assertion nicely.

And as for Thiessen, maybe he’s gunning to be a guest host for Limbaugh or Hannity, but these ridiculous pieces aren’t doing him any favors.