During the Bush administration, Sean Hannity repeatedly attacked Democrats critical of Bush’s handling of the Iraq war or the war on terror by accusing them of “undermin(ing) troop morale”, “emboldening our enemies,” and undermining our Commander-in-Chief” by using “reckless rhetoric” in a time of war. But Hannity threw caution to the wind last night as he accused President Obama (without offering any proof) of endangering national security and “surrender(ing) to terrorists.” The funny thing was that Hannity was so intent on accusing Obama of being weak on national security, that he could not ever actually discuss the national security issues he supposedly cared so much about.
After trying and failing to get former Congressman J.C. Watts to blame the current economic mess on Democrats, Hannity tried and failed to get Gen. Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to say that Obama had endangered national security and surrendered to terrorists.
But first, as part of the Hannity’s America segment, Hannity reported on the Obama administration’s hiring of “disgraced former CIA director (John Deutch)… after being stripped of his high level security clearances.” Hannity went on to say that Deutch had been appointed to a board that will review troubled spy satellite programs. Hannity must have forgotten to mention that it’s a temporary board.
Hannity correctly reported that after Deutch resigned from the CIA, he was accused of storing classified documents on his home computer and subsequently stripped of his security clearances. Deutch also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor but was pardoned by Bill Clinton. What Hannity didn’t mention is that Deutch’s lapse, though offensive to the layperson, was relatively insignificant to our security. More importantly, Deutch’s clearance was reinstated a few years ago by the Bush administration.
Surely Deutch might have some important expertise to lend to a board reviewing top-secret, troubled spy satellite programs. But the reasoning for hiring Deutch was never offered by the “we report, you decide” network. Instead, Hannity opined, “Rather than recklessly endanger our national security, I kind of wish that Obama would just go back to the good old days. You know, when he appointed people who just didn’t pay their taxes.”
It was enough to make you think that Hannity didn’t care a fig about our spy satellite programs (almost certainly an integral component of the war on terror) and only wanted to focus on maligning Obama via Deutch. This from the guy willing to torture so long as it will keep us him safer.
Later in the show, Hannity framed his interview with Gen. Myers, author of a new book about national security, to further smear Obama. Other than a pro-forma question at the end of the interview, Hannity was stubbornly disinterested in Myers’ views on the war on terror (though Myers must be far more knowledgeable than Hannity on the subject) and instead spent almost the entire interview trying to push Myers into saying Obama has made the country or will make the country more vulnerable to attack.
Hannity started the interview with a clip of Dick Cheney telling CNN that Obama’s policies “raise the risk to the American people of another attack.”
Myers said that Cheney is correct to think it’s important not to get too complacent about terrorism, then added that he has a chapter in his book that talks about “the way forward.”
Hannity interrupted Myers as he started to explain what he thought that way might be. Why? Because Hannity wanted to dwell on what some might think of as “undermining” Obama. Referring to our Commander-in-Chief, Hannity said, “But if we can’t use the term ‘war on terror.’ If we can’t use the term ‘enemy combatants.’ It sounds to me like, in many ways, even linguisitically, we have literally, you know, surrendered.”
Myers obviously didn’t want to go there. He said, “I do think we need good public debate about all these issues.” He pointed out that, like Obama, the Bush administration wanted to close Guantanamo. “We just couldn’t find a way to do that.”
So Hannity pushed further. “But when you specifically close Guantanamo, you get rid of enhanced interrogations… terror surveillance program… that was keeping America safe. By pulling back on these and going in the opposite direction, can the American people conclude that we will be less safe?”
Myers hedged again. “I think we have to be very careful what we pull back,” he said, and added that there were other things that have “kept us safe.” He continued, “A new president will approach things differently.”
So Hannity tried again. “Is (sic) any of their decisions concern you? Maybe that’s another way to put it.”
Myers replied that it’s hard for him to “delve in the political arena” and “the last thing I’m gonna do as a former Chairman, is get in the way of a new president, new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
So Hannity temporarily backed off and asked what the biggest national security challenge is facing the country. When Myers said, “violent extremism,” Hannity pounced again. “Do you think America is vulnerable?” he asked. “I’m thinking (the terrorists) are still at war with us.” Suggesting, of course, that Obama doesn’t understand that.
Finally, Hannity got to some of the substance of Myers’ beliefs, that the country has focused too much on tactical battles, “instead of long-range strategies.” Myers spoke of a threat from “a global insurgency, a loose grouping of violent extremists that have a common aim, and that is to delegitimize existing governments and put themselves in power and they’re extreme in their views.”
But that was all the information Hannity wanted to hear about from this national security expert. Hannity told Myers he was a “Great American” and ended the interview.