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Holt Blasts Cheney on Terrorism

If former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, former CIA Director Mike Hayden and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan weren’t enough, here comes Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), chairman of the House’s intelligence oversight board, to blast former Vice President Dick Cheney for not “understand[ing] the difference between talking tough and acting smart.” In a post at TPMCafe, Holt writes that Cheney is too concerned with rhetoric and not enough with effective action:

Do not misunderstand; this is not just a polite clash of ideas. It is deadly and deadly serious. We need our intelligence and law enforcement communities to gather information about radical movements, identify training, penetrate cells, disrupt, discredit, and eliminate those who would harm Americans and innocents anywhere. But most of the work necessarily is unglamorous, meticulous watching and analyzing. Prior to 2001, too much of the thinking in intelligence agencies had been the Cold War spy-versus-spy maneuvering and now too much of it is the warfighting mentality that replaced it over the past eight years. The failure to share information in 2001 was that the intelligence community was still in the Cold War mentality. The failure to share information this month was that the intelligence community had replaced the Cold War mentality with a warfighting one. If the focus is on “kinetic action” it shapes how you evaluate and value information. How irrelevant the movements of disciples of an extremist must seem when the focus is on assassinating him. How unimportant the denial of a visa must seem if what really counts is warfighting. A watchlist takes on less importance at an airport if the purpose of it is thought to be identifying an assassination target on a distant frontier rather than sidetracking a would-be bomber.

It is Cheney, not President Obama, who has misdiagnosed the problem and gotten us off track.

Meanwhile, Cheney — and his pals at Politico — have even lost Chris Matthews.

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