In a nod to former vice-president Dick Cheney’s assertion that President Obama is “trying to pretend we are not at war” with terrorist elements, Obama said today in a press conference about security updates that, most certainly, “we are at war” and are in “a never-ending race to protect our country.” In response to recent failings in the system to monitor terrorism threats, which allowed the attack on Fort Hood to unfold and the nearly successful Christmas Day bomb attempt, Obama ordered a series of steps to improve the sharing and analysis of intelligence on terror threats. By broadening the criteria to add people to terrorism watch lists, speeding up the process of sharing them, and devoting more resources to following high-level leads, he hopes to help curb further such disasters. (The government analysis of the failures leading up to the Christmas Day attack was also released today.) “We must follow the leads that we get and we must pursue them until plots are disrupted,” he said. “We can’t sit on information to protect the American people.” In addition, he reiterated that these failures happened on his watch, and that “the buck stops” with him.
Obama: ‘We Are at War’ [Caucus/NYT]