January 7th, 2010
09:10 AM ET
5 years ago

Giuliani: Obama needs 'major correction' on terror response

(CNN) – Echoing other high profile conservatives in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day terrorism attack, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN Wednesday President Obama waited far too long to react to the botched bombing and needs to make a "major correction" in the way he is dealing with terrorism.

Speaking on CNN's Larry King Live, Giuliani said the time it took the president to react to the attempted attack may "convince our enemies we are not ready."

President Obama first addressed the issue from his vacation spot in Hawaii three days after the attempted attack, calling for a complete review of the incident and the country's airline security policies. He then gave a public assessment of those reviews in a statement Tuesday, saying they had uncovered that "U.S. intelligence had uncovered numerous "red flags" prior to the attack."

"All this is ten days too late," Giuliani said. "This something you react to immediately. Not after your vacation. The president of the United States, when there is a potential massive attack on the country, should have been on top of it immediately."

Giuliani, who late last month announced he would not run for either governor or senator in New York this year, also faulted the administration for not classifying the bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as an enemy combatant.

"The minute you [don't designate him an enemy combatant], you cut off the ability to question him," Giuliani said. "I don't know the inside story. He was talking until he went out and got him a lawyer. You want to talk to this guy for a month. You want to keep him for a month or two get to get you a the intelligence he is going give you."

Giuliani's comments closely echo those of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who released a statement saying the president is pretending there is not a war on terrorism.

Speaking to Larry King, Giuliani defended Cheney's criticisms, though said he disagreed with some of them.

"Nobody was concerned about that when everybody criticized President Bush day in and day out including testimonies calling him names when he was trying to prosecute the war in Iraq, and Vice President Cheney is entitled to his view."


Filed under: President Obama • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Hmmm...let's review Mr. Giuliani's record on terror...

    1) Under his decade of leadership the city of NY failed to create a basic infrastructure for emergency response like, for example, a system of common radio frequencies for first responders...which contributed to the deaths of countless fire and police officers on 9/11 because they couldn't communicate with each other.

    2) Despite the 1992 attack on the World Trade Center, the Giuliani Administration chose to MOVE its emergency responce center TO the World Trade Center and, as a result, rendered the city virtually helpless when the 9/11 attacks occurred.

    Giuliani likes to claim that he demonstrated "leadership" on 9/11. However, I'd much rather have a leader who sidesteps the TV cameras and, instead, quietly builds the infrastructure that is necessary for protecting us.

    January 7, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Mike Syracuse, NY

    As defined by the Geneva Convention, the bomber would be classified an 'illegal combatant'. Illegal combatats have vitually no rights under international law. They may be interrogated at will, tried by military tribunal (which we did in WWII) and executed even though no one was killed. Why would we not want to take the strongest possible action against the bomber rather than let him lawyer up in a civilian court? Obama is sending the wrong signal that we consider these people no worse than a purse snatcher.

    January 7, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. Bedtime for Obonzo

    He's right. Which do you prefer - a criminal defendant who may know the means to PREVENT future attacks, but remains silent on advice of counsel, or an enemy combatant who can be interrogated properly. John Brennan, Obonzo's counterterrorist chief, said on the Sunday talk shows that we may be able to obtain information from him by offering him a "plea agreement"! Give me a break - this guy tried to kill 289 people! Simply reacting after the fact will get people killed. He should be on the redeye to Gitmo with the waterboard prepped.

    January 7, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. maf

    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, we are still not listening to you after your abysmal speech at the GOP convention. . . really stopped listening to you after you stopped being Mayor of New York. GO AWAY.

    January 7, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. Bedtime for Obonzo

    And for those of you who keep saying "GWB tried Richard Reid as a criminal defendant," keep in mind that that occurred only a couple of months after 9/11, well before the military tribunal system was in place.

    January 7, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. rosslaw

    Guiliani appointed a mobbed up Bernie Kerik to Commissioner of Prisons, then N.Y.C. police commissioner after Guiliani fired the fantastically successful William Bratton, then recommended him for head of Homeland Security, an appointment rescinded within one day when even the Bush White House, no stranger to the criminal element, felt uncomfortable, placed the central NYC emergency response office in an obvious target, the World Trade Center, and this idiot is offering advice to Obama-thanks but no thanks.

    January 7, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. KellyO

    This is being blown out of proportion. Hundreds of thousands of people fly every day around the world and one plane is threatened and suddenly its a "major attack". It would have been horrific if he had succeeded in blowing up that plane but we need to temper our response in relation to the event. The terrorists win when we act like babies and freak out every time some Islamic extremist does something no matter how small. The idiot set his pants on fire, and now we need to react and make the prospect of flying anywhere ever so unappealing and cumbersome that people are going to stop doing it just to avoid the hassle of being strip searched every time they go to the airport. People need to calm down, you're more likely to get hit by a car crossing the street than you are to die on a plane thats been blown up by a terrorist.

    January 7, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Louis Merriken

    Hey Rudy, He commented a lot faster then Pres. Bush did with the Shoe bomber. Do us all a favor and GO AWAY!

    January 7, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    First of all no one criticized Bush day in and day out because it would be considered treasonous to criticize Prince Charmin and his ineptitude and blatant lies in regards to HIS war. Obama was on vacation and STILL responded quicker and more expeditiously than Bush did during the Katrina fiasco where his citizens were DROWNING and starving, and cut off from basics like food,, water, and toilets!

    I'm sick and tired of the incessant criticism from the peanut gallery of Rep. leadership. I've never seen a bunch of people with less abilities give so much unrequested advice. Let the President handle the business of the country. If he screws up he'll handle that too without your assistance.

    January 7, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. Laverne

    How is it the republicans keep hollering President waited to long when he reacted within 72 hours of the incident. Do these people have amnesia to the fact that it took Bush 6-7 days to react to the shoe bomber and besides isn't it wise to take a day or two to gather the facts before you open your mouth, at least that is what intelligent people do. Guilliani is full of it which is why he has decided to not run for office because he knows he will never win in a 100 years with this botched up past and all the skeletons he has in his closet. He is not fit to talk about anybody. He is a LOSER!

    January 7, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. George Bush

    If Obama sat around reading "My Pet Goat" to elementary students while the nation was under attack, I'd understand Giuliani's concern, but on the contrary, he was gathering facts to make informed, rational decisions.

    January 7, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Al

    Talk about someone taking their time,,how about Katrina Bush. Apparently poor george forgot he was in charge,,,,and of course there was no warning about the hurricane. Poor George during another one of his mistakes,,,,,reading to the kiddies while the twin towers were being destroyed. Thanks to Mr. Giuliani, a former prosecutor who knows evidence is important,,,,thanks to the ex-mayor, all of the evidence disappeared quicker than the time it took bush to realize Katrina had destroyed New Orleans. Guiliani and Cheney are no longer in control, thankfully. Please shut up and retire, take a vacation, go to hell.

    January 7, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. John D.

    The President absolutely needs to rethink his whole political agenda. The raod he is traveling is long and bumpy. It would not hurt for him to get some people around him who are not quite so incompetent and controversial as well.

    If he continues down the deceptive path he has choosen, things will not fare well for him after the 2010 elections and rightfully so. He has not kept one promise, not one, of which were made during his campaign. NOT ONE!

    Mr. President, it is not only high time you live up to your promises, it is long overerdue.

    January 7, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    George Bush response time to Richard Reid(Shoe Bomber) = 6 days

    Barack Obama response time to Christmas bomber = 3 days

    People like Giuliani, Hoekstra, Cheney and the rest of the right wing loons need to look at facts prior to opening their mouhts'. Our current President is fighting and handling the so called "War on Terror" better than the previous administration. I'm loving this covert drone war going on in Yemen and Pakistan. These bombings weren't happening on a daily basis under the last administration.

    January 7, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. Pat in IL

    This hypocrit and liar is the one wo needs a "major correction". Why would anyone listen to him in the first place?

    January 7, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. Scott, Tucson

    One really can't blame obama for being so naive, having no real world experience other than that of a community organizer, he probably believes in rainbows and Unicorns and that all people loves one another, and that Muslims are truly peace loving folks.

    January 7, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. No Incumbents 2010

    Guiliani is turning terrorism into a political issue. There needs to be a bipartisan anti-terrorism policy. The partisan bickering only makes us weaker vis-a-vis our enemies.

    January 7, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Larry

    One Republican makes a statement and a half dozen more come out with the same statement.

    I know why Republicans lost their power.... They're stupid!

    January 7, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. Joe

    Hate to say it, but Rudy's right. O does not give the impression of someone you wouldn't want to mess with. Way too apologetic and metro...

    January 7, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Steve in Denver

    Well, now, glad we have an authority speaking.

    Let's see. Decides he wants to put NYC's emergency response center in the WTC complex. Fire and police experts tell him that is a bad idea, it should be undergound in Brooklyn. He does it anyway. First WTC bombing identifies fire and police radios as inadequate, inability to communicate will cause deaths. Eight years later, same radios, 343 fire fighters and 70+ police dead. Rudy, your 15 minutes are up. Aren't you due in divorce court yet?

    January 7, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. Steve in Denver

    The minute you [don't designate him an enemy combatant], you cut off the ability to question him,"

    Pardon me? So under our legal system, mr. former prosecutor, arrested suspects can't be questioned? You get more rediculuous every time you open your mouth!

    January 7, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Ndubih Kwesh

    The republican are trying to make political mileage out of this serious incident. Of course they did not expect President Obama to jump out of wherever he may have been ... swimming in the ocean or having a meal ... and blurt out a statement without having accurate details.

    January 7, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Your comment is awaiting moderation AGAIN

    Oh yes dear lord, Rudi is the best one to complain about terror...guess what when asked about why he thought three days to respond to the undie bomber was too long. But he said that taking six days to respond to Richard Reid trying to blow up the plane with his shoe was just right. BECAUSE THIS WAS BEFORE 9/11 AND THE ADMINISTRATION WAS NOT PREPARED TO SCREEN PLANES.

    What in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Dick Gregory did not catch him on this. The Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11th 2001. Richard Reid the shoe bomber tried to blow up a plane in December 2001. Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that September comes before December, at least most people know that. But I guess Rudi and Gregory don't know the progression of the months of the year.

    January 7, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. What?

    That sounds weird coming from the guy who was Mayor of the city that was attacked on 9-11 and then was repeatedly criticized for his inefficient handling of the situation.

    January 7, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. Sniffit

    Giuliani needs "major correction" on whether we give a tapdancing fart what he has to say.

    "Enemy Combatant" = made-up GOP fantasy phrase with ZERO domestic or international legal significance. It's nothing more than a political shenanigan invented by the Bush administration to create an illusory justification for GITMO, extraordinary rendition and torture. Educate yourselves.

    January 7, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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